Family will always mean the most to me. But as I ride the waves of life, there are many things, and I use that word broadly, that have been significant throughout the years. These are just a few…
Those camping trips when the kids were young: swimming in sapphire-colored lakes and cooling off in sparkling rivers, listening to the them play in the tent – their imaginations leading the way. Sitting around the campfire: singing, laughing, roasting marshmallows. Not just college, but all graduations were joyful events. The dogs that became special family members. Patio time – the talking, the reading, the wine – the outdoor living. Happy blooms in the garden and the hummingbirds flitting about. Walking among Redwoods and the sound of ocean waves. Pinecrest for our 30th, Bodega Bay getaways, and backpacking into serenity. The most loyal friends. Relaxing motorcycle rides. Winter’s coziness: a crackling fire and glowing candles. Chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven and homemade carrot cake (a veggie in our home). Kissing and hugging. Songs that resonate.Acts of kindness.
And the list goes on… Isn’t it wonderful that the list goes on?
Though we live under gloomy skies at times, there is always sunshine waiting to peek through…
What would I read on your list?
Lauren ❤️❤️❤️ Carrot cake photos: My son Lantana: Our garden Gratitude stone: Google
Another dog, that’s what I needed back then when our Black lab, Lucky Girl, on that gray November day Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Then Mom, Doris to those who knew her well, gracefully entered her Eternal home a few months later. I honestly Felt empty inside – all enthusiasm drained, Grasping for unreachable acceptance through the tears. Handling the loss of our sweet furry family member Involved revisiting those memories of the love she gave Joyfully to her four adopted humans. Keeping emotions intact, yet missing Mom – her voice, Laughter, funny off-key singing, and mouth-watering cooking Made greeting each sunrise challenging. Naturally with active emotions, our family felt Overwhelmed. Dad was devastated, losing his Gal of sixty-seven Precious years that began in days of World War II. Mom was the Queen. Another memory was her unequivocal love for dogs. Riley was one of many canines she and Dad loved over the years. So, amid these painful losses came Copper, our lab. The Time was right, and I felt Mom’s otherworldly approval because Underneath Copper’s quirkiness lies his loyalty, cuddliness, and Vigilance in holding the guard dog role. He’ll be at our feet When we call him, shake a paw when he sees our hand. Xenial describes our friendly lab when anyone visits. Even at the not so Youthful age of ten, Copper carries an abundance of Zest for bounding through life, for loving his humans – reminding us that love carries on.
Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.
Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.
Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners. Grandmother Lillian’s a meddler with an eye for the esoteric, dabbling in Dustin’s life and dealing out wisdom like a card shark. One innocent conversation at a time, she sucks Madlyn into the Lofton story, dubbing her the princess and bestowing on her the responsibility of both grandsons’ destinies.
And all Madlyn wanted was a simple reading job.
Uninspired by her self-imposed stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters completed, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat, right?
Little does she realize, the story will begin writing itself and, by the hand of destiny, become her own.
*** D. Wallace Peach’s eighth novel is a collision of medieval and urban fantasy centered in the Northwest Hills of Portland, Oregon.
Madlyn is quirky, blessed with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a tendency to say exactly what’s on her mind. At 28, she’s also abandoned her dreams of a fairytale life. A satisfying career and happily-ever-after romance simply aren’t turning up in her cards, and in fact, her junky car is careening downhill fast. A strong female protagonist with a reluctant streak, she finds herself trapped in a heroic adventure through overlapping worlds, unsure whether one or both are real.
Don’t look for a run-of-the-mill fantasy here. This is one tangled tale crafted especially for readers who enjoy plot twists that keep everyone, including the characters, guessing.
MY 5-STAR REVIEW:
A Fabulous Fantasy with a Twist
The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach ranks high in the unique and clever category. The storyline weaves back and forth between reality and fantasy. Qualities such as integrity, greed, and feeling defeated by life itself play a big part. Peach intersperses delicate pieces of wisdom throughout this adventure that only entice you to press on – eager and excited to see what‘s revealed with each page turn. Madlyn, Cody, and Dustin become likable and genuine characters, keeping you entertained from beginning to end. Grandmother Lillian adds spice to the twist and turns. You’ll run into some bloody circumstances where you may be inclined to cover your eyes, but please don’t. You’ll miss the compelling action and superb description; even the subtle hints of humor add a bit of lightheartedness.
I began reading this book with the niggling awareness that fantasy isn’t my favorite genre. Candidly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the story for this reason. But let me tell you, I was hooked from page one! Peach has an exceptional skill of painting pictures with her extraordinary words, along with her knack for excellent world-building.
Since I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and story-telling, I’ll peruse the author’s collection for more compelling tales to transport me into exciting imaginary worlds. So, if you’re a fantasy genre enthusiast, then I highly recommend reading The Sorcerer’s Garden. And even if fantasy isn’t your go-to genre, I implore you to dive into this adventure just as I did. Five stars for a fantastic adventure!
If you’d like to pick up a copy, below is the Amazon link:
Visit D. Wallace Peach to peruse her fantasy collection:
There are words for anything in life, so I have some thoughts but where to begin… Donned in whites and golds, dusted with flavors of life, its creamy texture and enticing aromas mesmerize. Palates delight whether it’s spread, sliced, sprinkled, melted, or shredded.So versatile in the industry. Ahh, but why the calories?Yes, where to begin.
To the naked eye, this is just a bulletin board filled with post-it notes. A simple addition to a room, but the simple things can be most meaningful, more profound, more resonating than anything luxurious.
Which one (ones) resonate with you? Help you through the storm? A means for relaxation?
Feel free to take a few off the board if you’re so inclined. 🙂
Happy Saturday!And Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the wonderful moms out there, and to my mom and mother-in-law whom we miss so much.
This past week has felt 21-days long! Last Sunday, our son moved out of the house embarking on a road trip across country. He left the nest not for college or his internship, but for his independence. The pandemic had delayed his original plans, but they are delayed no more. So, my hubby and I officially hold the title of empty nesters. Excitement swirls in this new chapter for all of us, but while he blazed through state lines heading east, I worried. My hubby worried. We busied ourselves doing things around the house, and of course, going to work, trying to focus on the job. Some of you may recall that I briefly wrote about this in my post from April 17th. Now it’s as real as ever.
While we are proud of him, we miss his presence – the conversations, the laughter, the hugs. We know Copper, our dog, misses his “brother” too, that his canine perception senses the change. The quiet in the house is also LOUD. So, this past week has been an adjustment.
But now that he has reached his finish line and holds the keys to his new apartment in his hands, WE ARE HAPPY! We wish that his chosen path could have been on the west side of the USA. But, he now lives closer to his sister who also lives on that side of the country, which makes us HAPPY! We are eager to make new memories in his home just as we’ve done with our daughter and son-in-law.
I have shed many tears during this exciting, bittersweet week. They fell out of joy for our son and the new adventures awaiting on the horizon. They gushed out of worry as he accelerated on those highways; I thought of other reckless drivers out there. And I have never felt such an affinity for my cell phone before as I anticipated his text messages to ping each evening, letting us know he is safe. It was in those momentswhen tears flowed out of relief.And if you’re wondering, my hubby shed a few, too.
So, this post is all about FINDING YOUR HAPPY!
Wherever it may be, it’s out there, loud and clear!!!!
And don’t let it go!
“Reasons for feeling Happy float around us every day, but it’s up to us to capture them and relish in the joy.”
Lauren Scott 🥰❤️
(When I think of happiness, flowers also come to mind. The California Poppies are gorgeous and abundant around here, but I don’t have a good photo to share. So, of course, I visited Google, where I also found the Happy Face. The Daisies are from our garden.) 😍
Since I loved to sing ever since I was nine years old, I had always dreamed of singing professionally when I grew up. Performing solos in school and special concerts encouraged that dream right along. So, maybe belting out a tune or crooning through a ballad on stage was my way of shining. If we’re gifted with a talent, shouldn’t we share it with the world?
This musical topic was paramount in one of my past stories, “The Way It Was” so it may seem familiar to some of you who read that tale from the past. As much as singing was an integral part of my childhood and teen years, it was no longer my number-one interest in my adulthood.
A passion for writing gently slipped into that slot, becoming an essential part of my daily routine, whether I’m jotting down notes in a journal, penning a poem, typing away on my laptop for another short memoir, or creating a blog post for my long-standing blog. I always hope to inspire others who have read my writing. To give them something to take away – possibly to help ease the pain, or to be reminded that feeling gratitude calms the mind, or to inspire to take that challenge, loosening the grip of fear.
And lastly, now that I’ve recently exchanged pleasant greetings with “60”, a wife of 32 years, and mother of two incredible adult children, maybe, just maybe, my way of shining has always been to be the brightest version of myself for them.
Wrapping up my workday with fifteen minutes to go before stepping outside into Friday freedom, I hear my phone ping. A short text from my daughter: Hey, Mom, would you want to chat later?
It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked, and since she lives on the other side of the country, of course, I wanted to chat! My fingers tapped back: Sure! I’ll call in a half hour when I’m home.
For hours to fly by when we talk on the phone isn’t unusual at all. But this call turned out to beat that record by a landslide. When my husband walked through the door, home from work, I said, “Hi Honey, I’ve been talking to Steph for two hours.”
“Are you kidding me?” He asked, grinning, not understanding what in the world could keep a conversation going for so long.
And it kept going. We chatted about work – the fun and the annoying elements, and about friends. I asked her about the 3-year-old tabby cat, Oliver, she and her husband recently adopted. Somehow the weather swept into our conversation – another drought and fire season on the horizon for us, and lastly, about her brother who is moving out in a week, embarking on a new chapter of life. He’s been home with us for a couple of years post college graduation, working full-time remotely. But the time has come. The time is right.
Steph and I gabbed about Michael’s new chapter nudging “Dad and I” into our new Empty Nesters stage. Exciting times for all of us, but bittersweet where many different emotions whirl around in our heads and hearts. The thing is he’s moving across country, too, which means both of our children will be on the same coast as each other, but miles and miles and miles away from us. This is when our hearts become heavy. We can’t see Steph and Ryan on a whim, and the same will be for Michael when he’s moved.
I filled Steph in about Michael wanting to help us rearrange furniture in the bedrooms so that Mom and Dad can reap the benefits of having the house to themselves. Shortly after he signed his apartment lease, with each day came a new flood of tears for me. But as he moves furniture and rewires electronics, he has tamped down those tears by keeping my brain and emotions occupied. Though a tsunami will gush on the day he drives away. No doubt.
Steph understood. When she and Ryan moved, Michael lived with us. Tears still trickled down our cheeks, but it was different with having one of our kids still at home. So, when Michael leaves, it’ll just be Matt, me, and Copper, our crazy canine, who will watch the distance widen between us and his car. We know Copper will sense the emptiness in the house, missing the cuddles, too, from his brother.
After Matt watered the grass, he poured us some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and I carried the conversation out to the patio. He joined in, telling Steph all about his recent motorcycle trip, and how he checked off that box on his bucket list. He shared that his dad, two weeks shy of turning 98, is not doing well. “Give him a call,” he tells her. “And send him a birthday card with photos of Ollie. He’d love that.”
Before we knew it, tears from all of us struggled for freedom. The conversation stayed light-hearted, full of laughter, but also brimmed with love and poignancy. When we all finally said talk to ya later, four hours had passed!
Here’s my take-away: we love our children so much, yes, and sometimes to the point that it hurts. Parenting doesn’t get easier as age transforms into a larger number – with each new phase develops new sets of worries. But as our daughter and son pave their own paths, we couldn’t be prouder. They’re adulting and doing it well. We just wish their paths were on the west coast. Such is life. And as the gray hairs flourish and the wrinkles form, knowing they love us to the same extent is something so much bigger to be thankful for – and knowledge to sustain us until we or they hop on a plane, heading across country.