Coffee in December…

It’s that time again when most of us wonder where the past year went and how fast it zipped by. In just a few weeks, we’ll be drinking champagne and kissing at midnight, ringing in a new year, 2023. Decades ago, these numbers sounded straight out of The Jetson’s! But before the bubbly and the kiss comes Christmas, a Christian holiday for those of you who celebrate the birth of Jesus. But another jolly soul arrives, too, Santa, so you know what we need to do…shop!!

And if you’re looking for a gift, specifically, a lovely book that can be read in one sitting or savored by reading one poem or story at a time, look no further, my book, More than Coffee, may just be the perfect choice!

To give you a little peek inside the pages, here are some wonderful reviews:

By Sally Cronin Delightful collection of prose and poetry reflecting on a life

This is a delightful collection of prose and poetry reflecting on a life tinged with sadness but also a great deal of love and humour. The author celebrates moments from her early life and marriage of over thirty years with stories that will entertain and also bring the reader’s own experiences to mind.

Sometimes it is the simplest things that evoke the warmest memories, such as a silver cutlery set, a toy frog called Sam, a yellowed kitchen chopper and the first time baking a traditional family birthday cake.

We are invited to concerts as a teenager overcomes self-doubt to solo in front of an audience of 2000 and fulfil a dream inspired by her idol Barbra Streisand. There are moments with spiders that might have you looking around your immediate surroundings, but you will also find yourself in some wonderful wilderness areas offering moments of reflection and a dip in a mountain pool.

Love is a central theme beginning with her mother and father’s love story that endured for nearly 70 years having begun in WWII with all its uncertainty and lengthy periods apart, and the author’s own fateful meeting with her husband, involving a kitchen appliance!

The loss of parents, even after a long and wonderful life, leaves a hole in our hearts. Their stories and poetry dedicated to them in this collection are heart-warming and reinforce the extent of their loving influence on the generations that followed.

The final part of the collection reflects on the changes that come when children leave the nest, and whilst this is obviously a time of sadness, there is also pride and delight as new lives are forged with future adventures to look forward to.

I enjoyed all the stories and poems in the collection and I am hard pushed to pick just one favourite but this one touched my heart.

Simple Existence

I stare at this page, milk white as the
blanketed ground in winter’s staging
where are the syllables?

I fear they have flown to faraway places,
across desert dunes and boundless oceans
and might not return so that I may tell him
(again) how irreplaceable he is.

Instead, I’ll touch his lips with mine
and steady myself in the arms of a man
who is satisfied with my simple existence.

I can highly recommend this collection to read in one sitting or to dip into when you are in need of gentle and uplifting moments.

By Jane SturgeonMore Than Coffee: So Much More Than a Memoir of Verse and Prose

I loved every word in this book. Scott’s style and loving expression took me into the heart of life and to what truly matters. Her thoughts of Wil, her father-in-law, are compassionate and delightful in equal measure. Scott’s love for her family and the life she and Matt have built for their children shine through. Belonging and Riding With The Wind are two of my favourite poems.

More Than Coffee is a delight from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a dip into the magic of life.

By Robbie CheadleA bright ray of sunshine

This lovely book is a mix of a memoir about the author/poet’s life with some beautiful freestyle poems included after each prose section to enhance the emotion and moments shared. The memoirs are relatable and cover delightful memories of family brought back through inherited items and stories shared by family members as well as the author’s own life experiences including achievements, romance, parental love, and overcoming fears. The author’s personality and humour comes through strongly in her writing and poetry, as well as her joy and pleasure in the simple things in life.

My favourite poem in this collection and the one that summarised for me the spirit and essence of this book is Fulfilled.

Fulfilled

Let me drink from the gaze in your eyes
Eyes that have me wildly mesmerized
Mesmerized under their vivid piercing spell
Spell which only you many cast over me
Me, with a heart madly in love
Love, a whirlwind of euphoric emotions so true
True in not only our hearts, but in our minds
Minds, fully aware of their endless thoughts
Thoughts so amorous of us entwined

Now, if after reading these beautiful reviews, you find your interest is piqued, simply click on the Amazon link above, and Magic! Your copy (or copies) will be on its way! 🙂

So, I will end by saying that through the poems and stories in my book, I hope to inspire you to see the beauty around, to feel gratitude, to face challenges with verve, and to trek through that fear knowing you will find the light. I invite you to pour a cup of your favorite roast, or your preferred beverage, sink into your favorite chair, and enjoy the the rich taste while turning the pages. My wish is that you’ll find even a little nugget that resonates.

Thank you for reading, and I offer my utmost appreciation to you who have enjoyed my memories, and to those of you who have written reviews.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS,
AND HAPPY READING! ❤️🎄❤️

A Little Bit More

She’d sit on the landing,
long hair cascading,
her little friends listening
to her read about Paddy,
Peter the Rabbit, and
The Three Little Bears.

My mind still can’t fathom
that this moment wasn’t
just yesterday
when she loved to create
her little delightful worlds.

Now, a beautiful woman
giving life her best
with an open heart
and a smile bright
as a field of sunflowers.

But geography intervenes…

And yet, our phone chats,
well, let me just say,
we make up for lost time!
Three hours later,
what could we have
possibly gabbed about?

Everything, and most
likely, a little bit more.

She knows the amount
of residence
she claims in my heart.
Then again, it is quite
difficult to quantify.
It would be like counting
the display of gleaming stars
in the vast evening sky.

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites.com – All rights reserved.

Simply Enough

Copper Boy

When he trots around on his long legs,
he carries eighty pounds of love.
And those amber eyes see right into
our souls.

When he smiles, his white choppers
shine as if they’ve never caused
any commotion…never mind
the afternoon when he attempted
to eat the barbecue!

When he hears a knock on the door,
his bark echoes across the Golden Gate,
along the marina into San Francisco.
Out of protection? Sure.
But mostly from excitement.

A social butterfly
sporting a Labrador costume,
that’s what he is…
freely passing out his affection,
assuming everyone loves
his slobbery kisses.

But he has a selfish side,
rolling over onto his back,
expecting a belly rub.
And who are we to deny his wishes?
And his ears, like feeling silk
between our fingers.
We can’t get enough.

How amazing to know his love
comes unconditionally.
To know he doesn’t waste minutes
worrying about world events
or whether the pandemic is here to stay.
And he is never one to judge.

He just loves in his simple way,
and we love him back.
And that is simply enough.

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites.com – All rights reserved.
Photo credit to my son when Copper was a bit younger.

*********************************************************

For inspiration to notice surrounding beauty, to feel gratitude, to face challenges and fears while sipping your favorite coffee roast or a beverage of your choice, check out my latest book: More than Coffee.

Adventuring on the East Coast

Last week my husband and I flew to Virginia to visit our son, and our daughter and SIL drove up from Tennessee. It was a chance for all of us to spend time together while our son acted as tour guide. He had some specific destinations in mind, so on those days, we were out the door by 8am to beat the crowds and get an early start. Fortunately, the weather complied, so no plans were detoured. Our first tour began with taking the Metro into Washington DC, a 20-minute ride from his apartment. This was a fun adventure.

Metro Station fun

The first stop was the White House, which was a bit underwhelming because of construction. Other historical sites we visited were the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, National Mall, the United States Capitol, Original Smithsonian Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the National Air and Space Museum. We covered 11 miles at a moderate clip!

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
(too bad it didn’t look real clean)
Heading to Washington Monument
View from the WW II Memorial
of the Washington Monument
In the Air and Space Museum
The United States Capitol

Another point of interest was Harper’s Ferry National Park in West Virginia. This is the town abolitionist John Brown raided from October 16-18, 1859 in an effort to initiate a slave revolt in Southern states by taking over this United States arsenal. Brown’s raid has been called the dress rehearsal for the Civil War.

From Google (paraphrased):

Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park is located in West Virginia. Paths wind through this quaint town that has 19th-century buildings, a Civil War Museum, and John Brown’s Fort, a key site in an 1859 abolitionist raid. The location where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, known as The Point, offers views of Maryland and Virginia. The Appalachian Trail Visitor Center has exhibits on the long-distance hiking trail.

In addition to the history, Harper’s Ferry is a small town full of charming shops to entice your wallets and delicious cafes to satisfy your palates. We walked about 6 miles, up and down hills, and on trails by the Potomac River, and also on the bridge overlooking the Shenandoah River. The views were incredible!

Posing by the Potomac River
with our daughter & SIL
The Point

Our last stop was at Fort Washington in Maryland…

From Wikipedia:

During the War of 1812 Fort Washington, built to protect the capital from enemy advances on the Potomac River, was captured by the British under the command of Admiral Gordon, three days after the burning of the capital.

It was interesting to read about the history while walking around this huge historic park with extensive hiking and bicycle paths. An abundance of grass made this park a perfect place for dogs to run around, and there were lots of happy dogs doing just that. This is a great destination for picnicking, fishing, and outdoor recreation. Historical re-enactments are held periodically at the Fort, and there is a small museum. Cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom, and they are beautiful.

Potomac River view
Yours truly under blue skies,
but with cold temps and just a little wind 🙂

Now, I ask you, “Have you ever had the Ambar experience?” Ambar is a restaurant in Arlington, VA offering Balkan Cuisine. Our son treated all of us to the Ambar experience which is when small plates are ordered and brought to the table for everyone to sample. If you want more of an item, you simply ask the waiter or waitress. The cost is the same for each person and there is a 2-hour limit. We finished just shy of an hour and a half. The experience alone bursted with energy in the packed and noisy restaurant. We enjoyed drinks first, then we dove into the food frenzy. A few items we indulged in were a Charcuterie board with a variety of spreads and white flatbread. Then came a kale caesar salad, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and a cheese pie. The main course consisted of stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, chicken skewers, meatballs, smoked sausage, salmon, and grilled shrimp. Remember, each plate had just enough for the five of us to sample. But even though we ate small helpings, we were full by the end of this food adventure, so we agreed to skip dessert.
I’m sure the desserts would have been absolutely heavenly because the food was to die for!
I’m sharing a few pics…

Cheers!
And this is the end of our east coast adventuring. Since our kids live across the country, the time spent together was beyond special. And even if we had stayed an extra day, there still would’ve been good-bye hugs and tears. So, we are grateful for this trip and what it brought to us. Until next time…

Hope you all enjoyed the adventure!

~Lauren ❤️

A Mind of Their Own

Tammy’s attempt at living on her own involved roommates and failed twice: one month following the first move-in date, her roommate became suddenly engaged, soon to walk down the aisle, then her second roommate unexpectedly chose to become a nun. So, she finds herself living in her childhood house again with her parents. The house is conveniently designed with three bedrooms – hers is on the opposite end from her parents with the kitchen and living room in the middle. A great floorplan that affords her a little privacy. She also has her own bathroom, not to mention, the third bedroom across the hall acts as her media room with a TV and the comfortable sofa that her parents will probably own forever. Tammy really has no means to complain, except that her twenty-sixth birthday is fast approaching, so she should be living on her own in the hub of independence. But she feels grateful that her parents allow the revolving front door, until she finds an affordable apartment of her own. She has dealt with enough stress with the roommate scene. 

She and her parents arrive home on the quiet block in their suburban neighborhood around the same time on this Thursday afternoon. The coffee cup shaped clock hanging on the kitchen wall shows five o’clock, and although Tammy is of drinking age, she doesn’t feel like joining her parents for their nightly cocktail. Work has been hectic, so she just wants to hunker down and fall into her Elin Hilderbrand book and its characters whom she feels like she’s known a lifetime. Her parents head for the black faux-leather bar in the corner of the dining room to shake their dry martinis. She strolls down the hallway, walking into her room and can’t wait to pull on her soft gray sweats before winding down. Funny, it’s only been ten minutes or so, but she doesn’t remember the weather raging outside. When she steps into her room, the wind blows up a storm, howling to the universe with what sounds like a very urgent message. Tammy rushes to the big window to pull down the blinds hanging above her oak desk.

Oddly, when she tugs on the blinds, they resist by pulling themselves up! They seem to have a mind of their own. With the fierce strength of the wind for support, it feels as though the blinds are angry at her. This struggle lasts only a few minutes, but long enough to cause some anxiety as she finally gives up and sprints out of her room. What just happened? Am I hallucinating? she thinks to herself, trying to catch her breath. Her heartbeat matches a marathon!

“Mom? Dad?” Tammy calls, her speedy footprints muffled on the tan carpeted hallway. The rest of the house stays eerily calm. She finds her parents sitting in the living room, sipping their martinis. Outside the slider, the sky can’t be any bluer and the sun shines brighter than a high-powered flashlight! What?

“I need to talk to you both!” The panic in Tammy’s voice piques her parents’ attention, so they follow her down the hall, as she motions with a wave of her hand.

When the trio steps inside her four pale lavender walls, they can hear a feather drop. The window blinds hang calmly as can be, and if those blinds can wink at her, Tammy swears they are doing just that! She explains with trepidation the horror of the blinds, how they acted uncontrollably in the stormy weather as though they had a pulse and were very much alive.

“I tried to pull them down, but they resisted, and the wind blew even stronger against my touch.” Even after the words tumble from her mouth, Tammy knows how ridiculous she sounds. She closes her eyes for a minute, breathing in, slowly breathing out. She recalls the sun shining in the living room. They won’t believe me. Why would they?

Her parents look at the blinds then they look at their daughter. Tammy reads their minds. She understands their facial expressions, the concern in their eyes.

“Honey, we don’t know what to say. We had a little rain in the early afternoon, but it certainly wasn’t storming, and now look! The sun is shining; the day has turned out to be glorious!” Tammy’s mom says. She turns her head towards her husband, silently pleading for him to say something.

“Sweetheart, maybe you’re just tired and need some rest,” her dad says with empathy. “You said the bank has been especially busy with new clients recently, so maybe exhaustion is the culprit.”

“I’m not tired! I literally fought with those blinds! Every time I pulled, they pulled back with force! Look, I don’t mean to raise my voice. I know this sounds irrational, but it’s the truth! You guys have to believe me!”

Tammy suddenly sits up in bed, reaching for her cell phone that reads 5:03 am – her eyes the size of golf balls. A headache tries to attack every muscle in her head. She practically slides out of bed as quietly as possible, so she doesn’t rouse her husband out of his deep slumber. She walks into the bathroom, hoping to find unexpired Advil in the medicine cabinet. What the hell was that all about? Since when do I remember my dreams, and since when do window blinds come alive? Inanimate objects don’t communicate with humans…or do they? No!

Last night’s dream is so bizarre that Tammy fears it will control her thoughts throughout the day. She holds the title of Account Manager at the bank downtown, and with four new appointments on her calendar, concentrating on getting their accounts set up will take more effort. What is even stranger is the setting in her dream; her childhood home that she lived in with her parents before she married and had three children. Only her parents were in the dream, and they had passed away years ago. Tammy portrayed a younger version of herself still living at home with them. Made no sense at all.

Tammy’s desire to interpret this dream becomes all-consuming. Maybe recent threats of a drought manifested themselves through that storm, and the blinds were angry because of the potential fire danger developing. Yeah, that sounds perfectly logical.

But how her parents held the leading roles remain a mystery. Perhaps, subconsciously she missed their physical presence. She does miss them very much, and she often reminisces to her childhood. Okay, this reasoning sounds valid.

The supernatural quality confused Tammy, though, and it was a bit unsettling. She’ll never forget as a teen, watching The Amityville Horror in terror with her best friend, Melissa.  It took weeks to shake those images from her mind.

Will I ever unearth the why’s of this unnerving dream, pieced together with an array of question marks? I have no idea! But I’m keeping a close eye on the blinds in this house!

Lauren Scott (c)

A little bias, but…

I have to share this review written by my daughter of my latest book. Yes, it’s a little biased, but believe me when I tell you that my family and anyone who knows me well will be brutally honest. So, I’m touched by her beautiful words and her continued love and support for me…

More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose is a heartwarming collection of poetry and short stories about love, loss, nature, and parenting, all with the best friend of coffee close by. My name is Stephanie, and I am Lauren’s daughter. While I have heard these stories told before, written or expressed verbally, and have helped with the editing process along the way, reading the final product hit me in a deeper way. I was sitting on my couch in the apartment I share with my husband, reading my mom’s newest book, getting emotional on every page but mostly on short stories such as, ‘Ascent,’ about the journey of a backpacking trip after the loss of both her parents, ‘1989,’ my parents’ love story, and ‘The Way It Was,’ about my mom’s choir and solo singing opportunities encouraged by her teacher, that catapulted me, her daughter, in sharing that same passion for singing. Those are but a few examples that capture the raw emotions, authenticity and vulnerability she shares with the reader – aspects of life everyone can relate to. My mom has published two solely poetry books prior, but the amalgamation of the short stories and poems is a fine-tuned balance, one she has hit her mark on. I may be a little biased, but I couldn’t be any prouder! Do her the honor of purchasing and reading this book with a good old-fashioned cup of joe or your preferred drink of choice; you surely won’t be disappointed! Happy reading!

Thank you for stopping by and reading Stephanie’s review. If you’ve bought my book, I hope you’ve enjoyed the memories. And if you haven’t already written an Amazon review, I would greatly appreciate it if you would. I once read that reviews are like hugs for authors. And if you don’t already have a copy of More than Coffee on your kindle or in your book case, I hope you’ll check it out. Simply click “Buy on Amazon” below the image.

Thanks again,
Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

Words and Wishes!

“Mom, I love my new bed!”

Copper feels grateful for his new bed. He has three now spread throughout the house. So, as Thanksgiving Day inches closer, what are you grateful for? And don’t we all agree that showing gratitude isn’t just for this one day of the year; it’s for all year round. Let’s face it, watching the news gets depressing. The pandemic is still with us, people have lost their lives to this virus, fires raged in the summer, taking with them human lives and homes. Hurricanes landed causing devastation beyond our imagination. I feel like every day the news reporter tells us about another fatal shooting. Lives have been upended in the most horrific ways, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Still, if we dig deep enough, we can always find something to be grateful for.

Besides my family and Copper, I am grateful for the rain we’ve had, definite cause for a happy dance! We’re still heading into our 3rd drought year, but everything is green right now. Even the weeds are green for which I am grateful! We pray for more rainfall this winter so we can hear Mother Earth sigh once again.

I love the quiet early mornings when Copper and I go for our walks. We get to watch the sunrise and listen to the silence. The air is cool and crisp and wonderful!

I miss the long, light evenings from the summer, but hubby and I break out the candles for the long, dark nights. The coziness wraps us up in its warmth. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people living on the street or in their campers and vans. Having a roof over our head is not something to take lightly.

During this season, I love the smells of sweet and spicy, the baking of pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin cookies. Hello, Pumpkin! And who doesn’t love the wardrobe changing of the leaves on the trees? Those rich, warm reds, golds, and yellows. I’m thankful for my bookcase that is bursting at the seams. So many books make me happy! I don’t know what I’d do if paperbacks and hardcovers became obsolete. I love the feel of the pages and the smooth covers.

Earlier this year, I did a post about Gratitude and the list I shared had a beginning, but it didn’t have an ending. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?! I’m writing this on the fly without any intense editing, so please forgive any errors. Lastly, thank you for your continued support and friendship in this world of blogging. And a Big Thank You to those of you who have bought my book, More than Coffee, and to those who have written fabulous reviews.

My family, Copper, and I wish you all a very warm and loving Thanksgiving!
~Lauren 🧡🍁🍂🧡

Waiting to Exhale

The calendar showed October 4th, 2012. She and I sat in the sterile office surrounded by semi-gloss light blue walls, our hearts thumping, hands like ice. We waited for the man who wore a white coat to join us, hoping he would provide gentle answers to appease our questions.

The matter was serious, but when I first saw his face, I thought of Santa, stark white hair and fluffy beard, red, rosy cheeks good for pinching. The only thing missing was the apple red hat, and though he would bear dreadful news, his smile was welcoming, as if the three of us were meeting for a stroll in the park on a lovely spring afternoon.

It was amazing how a tiny scope could be guided through the mouth and throat then down the esophagus. CT scans, lab work, MRIs, and a needle too long to discuss occupied her hours for over 1,000 days. Still, we craved clarity. Our world was hazy like thick fog a driver would endure crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during summer in the wee hours of the morning.
And we waited – a necessary evil that all people grapple with too often to count the times on their hands.

Then on that autumn day came words we would have liked to have hurled back to Santa. We had hoped for gentle. Instead…
“All tests point to this auto immune disease, and there is no cause or cure,” he told us with a touch of remorse. The future would necessitate a transplant. It was not cancer, but this finding should not be shunned. She was twenty years old, like a sunflower of friendliness and optimism. He added, “Just live your life.”

I felt her physical pain rip through each atrium and ventricle – my most excruciating moments of being a parent. But her strength embraced and consoled me, her mother, of all things.
Life pulled us through each season.

The calendar now presents the year 2021: She is a lovely, young woman – a wedding band adorns her left ring finger, and geography has changed along with a new insurance card. She meets with another man who wears a similar white coat. X-rays and jabs repeat. “All of your tests are normal,” he affirms. All is normal. Words we had hoped to hear from this new expert.
“I don’t see a reason to keep you in the same box,” he confirms.

This is amazing news! But abdominal stabs and pruritus from the past were as tangible as a twisted knife to the gut. How can we negate that agony? What is the deeper meaning? Should we get the champagne flutes out, give them a quick wash? Has this nightmare finally ended? She chooses to live in the here and now.
Life continues to draw us forward to witness each sunrise and sunset,
although we are still waiting to exhale.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Like a Child

I’ve never seen him act this way
So listless rivalled to fun-filled days
Head hangs low with each new step
Where is his happy, bouncy pep?

Pacing round and round the room
Sunshine doesn’t fade the gloom
Seeking comfort with a whine
His distress infects my mind

He tucks his body in real tight
Leaning on my feet, he might
Those amber eyes touch my soul
Emotions begin to lose control

I’ll care for him until the day
He romps around, eager to play
His floppy ears will tell me so
My love for him will overflow

Our Copper Boy has been sick all week and
it’s been
heart-wrenching to see him not feeling well.
This is a first for him in his almost eleven years.
❤️

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

What’s on your list?

My favorite cake made by my son.

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.

Lantana smiles

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