Identity and Loss, Hope, and Feathered Friends…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted book reviews, so I thought it was about time to share three wonderful books I have recently enjoyed…

Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss is an excellent anthology of engaging short stories from eight accomplished authors that I finished in one evening. The stories are inspired from a personal event and touch on identity and loss in their own unique way and setting, and all are well written with characters who seem as real as you and me. It is easy to get lost in their struggles, ascertaining how they will cope and heal. Each character is found at a crossroads where a life-changing decision is vital. Following each piece is a biography of the author which provides a little insight into the inspiration for writing the story. I found this to be very interesting.

This entire collection is five-star worthy, but a few stories that stand out are “Where Secrets Go to Hide” by Keith Madsen. The style in which Keith writes about a young boy who begins to collect secrets just like his sister collects baseball cards is filled with clever nuances of humor and suspense. Collecting secrets, doesn’t that grab you already? “Two Boys” by Carol LaHines tells of a mother’s loss, an emotional and moving tale, and an incomprehensible event that made my heart ache, being a mother myself. “Diary Omissions: The House on Edgewood Road” by Elizabeth Gauffreau is tenderly written about a mother who is unhappy in her role in life, and how her behavior affects her husband and two children.  

I recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys a little drama, loves short stories that are character-driven and based on real-life events.


Hues of Hope by Balroop Singh is a beautiful collection of selected poetry and the perfect medicine for keeping hope in the forefront of our minds. Divided into sections spanning from love to life’s challenges, this compilation stirs up emotions in each poignant line. This book will be one for the reader to rely on if life’s struggles become too much to bear, if a ray of light is needed to brighten the outlook.
 
Every poem had an impact in some way, but a few that stand out are the soothing emotions of “The Call of Calmness” – the first verse alone drew me in:
 
Gentle breeze breathes a quiet message/I am here to bless you/To softly swing/Sway with your dreams.
 
Since I am a tree lover, particularly of Redwoods, Balroop’s poem entitled “Redwoods” resonated with me, evoking images of incredible majestic redwoods I have had the pleasure of visiting. I especially love this verse:
 
Mother Nature smiles sweetly/As I stand, intimidated and/Intoxicated by the fragrance of flora/
Flourishing amid ironic beauty/Of fire-damaged trunks/Standing tall to tell their seminal story.
 
Reading “Do You Remember?” made me feel nostalgic, flipping through the reels of memories, joyful and challenging, and then viewing the future with “colors of love.”
 
I highly recommend this poetry collection to all poetry lovers, but most importantly, to everyone who needs a lovely dose of hope now and then.

Avian Friends: Encouraging Poems Inspired by Backyard Birds by Yvette Prior was inspired by the author’s family planting several trees in their backyard for the purpose of creating shade and privacy. What they didn’t expect was the arrival of a whole host of feathered friends that would entertain. Yvette began observing the birds, their behavior, sounds, and daily activities, jotting down her thoughts along the way.

This collection is divided into five sections, and following each poem, the author includes her inspiration behind her poetic words…delivering personal reflections of relating her aviary findings to the lives of human emotions and well-being. Yvette inserts tidbits of wisdom for living a balanced life. These snippets into Yvette’s mind are as entertaining and evocative as her poetry.

Some of my favorite poems are “What Matters” which speaks about materialism and how some people use possessions as their barometer for success. “Summer Sun” is a cute poem that tells us it is quite okay to simply be. In these times of living busy lives, carving out some quiet time for relaxation is a healthy choice for finding that balance. “Fall Crunch” paints a beautiful image of a new autumnal season, as well as showing the simple beauty of a cardinal. I recommend this lovely book to not only bird lovers, but to those who would enjoy grasping the deeper meaning behind Yvette’s poems.

Thank you for stopping by, and Happy Reading! ❤️

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

Touching, Funny, and Reflective…

I just found this latest, wonderful review for my book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, and of course, I have to share! I’ve heard that book reviews are like hugs for indie authors, so hug away!! Trish’s review may be short, but it’s very sweet, packed with all good things to say!

MacTrish gives More than Coffee 5 stars:

Touching, funny, and reflective:

This volume is a delightful collection of observations about life and of the small, ordinary things viewed through fresh eyes. Some of the stories and poems made me chuckle, others were reflective and some were poignant and moving. This is one of those selections that is perfect for dipping into when the mood takes you. (If you’re an arachnophobe, you’ll enjoy Laughing Spiders!)

I am thrilled that another reader enjoyed my memories and the messages they conveyed. So, again, a Big Thanks to all of you who have bought a copy and indulged in a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) while dipping into my memories, some funny, and others reflective and moving like Trish mentioned).
And if you haven’t written a review, there is always time (but please, no pressure from me.) 🥰

One of the poems from my book:

Red Lipstick

With childlike fascination,
I leaned against the door frame
watching her apply a little
powder to her nose,
a touch of red to her lips.
No more, no less. She was flawless.
Then our eyes locked –
an unspoken connection.
Questions never-ending,
I gently tucked her wisdom
in a safe space where I could
draw from it easily.
I’d love to share tales
of life she’s missing.
Perhaps, again someday.

Extract from Laughing Spiders:

Mornings began to fuel unfamiliar anxiety as spider social calls manifested soon after the crack of dawn. The sun brightened the sky and another high school day was on the horizon. I grabbed a towel to dry off after showering when I felt something unnatural. Looking down, I watched in horror as a brown spider scuttled across my chest. I jumped, avoiding a nasty fall in the tub, and brushed the spider off not caring where it landed. I just wanted it off my skin.

These creepy-crawlies seemingly watched for me so they could plan their next prank. During another shower with my head full of shampoo suds, I spotted a black spider near my feet. The dance I did wasn’t a happy one. With a swish here and there, my foot managed to nudge the scary intruder down the drain with ripples of water, as I imagined it whirling into the dark depth of the water system. I quickly rinsed the suds out. Just as I felt calm run through my body, I looked down and saw that damn spider climbing out of the drain. This could only happen to me.

Extract from Ascent:

When we reached the top and I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side of the dome, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, drank some water, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I was relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and sat on a log for a time-out. I was so overwhelmed that the tears found freedom. I didn’t fight them. I cried for the loss of Dad. I cried for having completed this hike that I didn’t think I was capable of. I would’ve backed out graciously had I known the details.

After a few minutes, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water, a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, just click on “Buy on Amazon” below, and by the way, the holidays just happen to be around the corner in case you know of someone who may just want or need a gentle read. 💜


Thanks for stopping by, and whenever you do,
I hope you find something significant to take away. ❤️

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

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 ❤️❤️❤️

The Early-Morning Walks

Carol still grieved the loss of her husband, Bill. Twelve months had slipped away, but forty-six loving years of marriage wouldn’t allow her to let go of her beloved. Living without him was like living without air. Sadly, they couldn’t have children of their own and Bill wasn’t keen on adopting. So, they lived their life together spending time in the outdoors and traveling when they could. At seventy-three years old, Carol recognized that her friends circle had shrunk. She had several acquaintances to occasionally meet for lunch, but she no longer had that best friend to rely on for laughter or tears or to confess her deepest anxieties. The friends she thought would be in her life forever had drifted away like the wind carrying a lonely leaf over a meadow. But Charlie, her friendly pug, needed love and attention, so he filled that role in this chapter of her life. She talked to her furry friend all the time and he was an intent listener. She swore that he could understand every spoken word. He was quick to pick up on her emotions by giving her a lick on her cheek or a nudge from his tiny wet nose.

Because of Charlie, Carol couldn’t wallow in the stronghold of sadness. By eight o’clock each morning, she had locked the door behind her, and she and Charlie were walking around the neighborhood. She had remained in pretty good shape and maintained to keep it that way. Carol and Charlie usually spotted Jenna who lived around the block and who was the first to introduce herself over a decade ago. During that initial conversation, Carol learned that Jenna was married to Tom, and they had one son, Jack. They had moved into their home shortly before the two women had met.

It was a Friday morning when Carol and Charlie were about to reach Jenna’s house on their walk. She was standing by her car but walked over to meet them. “Hi Carol, it’s good to see you,” Jenna said as she bent down to pet Charlie on his soft little head.

“Hi Jenna, how are you? Why the long face?”

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…Tom and I are getting a divorce. I haven’t seen you all week to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve had a nasty cold that kept me inside. I’m so sorry, Jenna! I didn’t see this coming!

“I didn’t either, even though we’ve had some rocky moments. But after Tom and I talked, we thought it was for the best. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I wish I had happier news to share.”

“Don’t worry about me. I feel bad this is happening, but it’s good you and Tom reached an agreement. I hope you’re staying in the house…”

“Actually, I’m moving out, but Tom didn’t ask me to. It’s my choice. I already found an apartment where Jack will live with me part of the time, and the move is Sunday.”

“This weekend? That’s so fast, Jenna. I’m at a loss for words, except that I’ll really miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, and our morning chats. You and Charlie need to take good care of each other.” Jenna wrapped Carol in a good-bye hug before the two women parted ways.

Carol felt the beginning of tears pushing through as she and Charlie continued their walk. She would miss her friend, but she was also saddened by the news of their impending divorce. So many young couples were separating, and these statistics made her heart ache. She missed Bill so much and wondered, why can’t couples find what we treasured for what felt like a lifetime? Ironically, Jenna had been friendlier than many of the new residents in the neighborhood – one of the reasons Carol felt a pang of sympathy and concern for this lovely young woman.

The neighborhood had changed since Bill and Carol moved into town decades ago. She recalled former neighbors with nostalgia. Mr. Angelino across the street no longer played his accordion – no music flowed from his backyard patio. Mrs. Miller didn’t toss saltwater taffy from her kitchen window for the youngsters; her kind gesture always brought high-pitched laughter that could be heard over the noise of cars rolling up and down the street. Then there was Mrs. Arnold who extended a generous invitation to the neighbors for a swim in her pool that amusingly resembled a kidney. Her joy in cooling off in the aquamarine water on those scorching summer days should be shared with others; that’s how she saw it. I enjoyed so many refreshing dips thanks to kindhearted Mrs. Arnold. These three lovely friends had passed away long ago, and these times are now distant, precious memories. Therefore, Jenna’s affable demeanor brightened Carol’s days. And now Jenna’s moving, she thought with a heavy heart.

Younger couples lived in these older homes now, but they seemed nonexistent. They were probably busy with their jobs, and occasionally, the cries of a baby escaped through billowing curtains. Maybe computer screens had become their new companions. Computers are terrific tools, but they can also be sneaky time thieves! When Carol does happen to see any of these young people, they don’t smile or wave much, not like her old neighbors did.

The following week when Carol and Charlie spotted Jenna’s house on their walk, it was apparent that Jenna had moved out. Her green SUV no longer hugged the curb in its normal spot. Two living room chairs, a worn sofa and ottoman, and a dresser sat on the dried-up brown grass. The roses and lantana in the front yard that once blossomed in soft pinks and rich reds had wilted, looking sad and forlorn. Tom’s black truck was still there, sitting in the driveway. But the tan stucco house looked exhausted, probably from emotions pulling its walls in several directions.

It was Thursday of that week when Carol paused for a moment…I want to believe this house could tell joyful tales from the past, but now I feel that if this house could talk, it might shed a tear or two from the second story windows, and those tears would fall into the neglected garden.

Carol missed Jenna, a bright light on those early-morning walks. Perhaps after experiencing the loss of my old friends, then losing Bill, Jenna’s move is one more loss added to the list. It’s a heavy burden Carol will have to bear but then let go of when the time is right. She was aware the stages of grieving differ for everyone.

Despite my own sadness, I hope this family can gather courage for acceptance of a new trajectory that lies in their future. I suppose I need to do the same thing. A year has come and gone and I’m no better off than the day I scattered Bill’s ashes on his favorite mountain.

Charlie nudged Carol out of her deep thoughts with his tiny wet nose as they began to turn another corner.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

The Right Time

Within the four walls
memories stir, the smell
of cologne remains
poignant, the sound of
laughter echoes a favorite
tune, tears struggle to
be set free.

The closet’s belly stays 
nearly full after six months’
worth 
of grieving. Clothes
hang 
proudly as if he’ll
search 
for the right shirt
and matching 
pants for the
day’s 
activities, all hoping
to be 
chosen for the outing.
Shoes sit tightly for their
next walk like dogs eagerly
awaiting their master’s call.

Some belongings have
warmed 
the backs of those
in need. But 
emotion’s pull is
firm, so to surrender
 all
feels like a balloon slipping
through fingers, escaping
into the big blue, slowly
fading away…

Lauren Scott © 2018

 

The Season’s Spirit

Blue-Christmas-Ornament-Backgound-Vector-Graphic

Guilt overshadows the season’s joy
when others’ loss becomes prevalent
They wish for a miracle of healing
their spirits hang on a thread so delicate

When will the blood stop shedding?
What will keep mouths from starving?
Do you hear it where you are?
The noise of despair is jarring

Is it so simple to say a prayer
for their anguish to be calmed
for love to hug their weary souls
for all to feel a connected bond?

~Lauren Scott © 2017
Photo: Google

This season of Magic, Miracles, and Faith isn’t joyous for everyone; for many it’s a Blue Christmas. So, may the Spirit find itself embracing all people, but especially those who are dealing with stress or depression from tragedy, and may Peace weave its way into their hearts, minds, and lives. Let us remember the Vision of “Goodwill to All Men.”

I’ll be away from blogging through the holiday weekend, so I wish you all a Christmas filled with an abundance of Love, Joy, and Peace. And a Big “Thank You” to all of you – both old and new friends – for your continued support here on WP.
~With Love, Lauren 💝

 

 

 

Remembering Kim…

It’s incredible how we become one big family here on WordPress. I’ve been blogging for about six years now and “met” Kim in those early days. She had become a wonderful friend, and her writing was honest, raw, and beautiful. I had often thought that if I made it to her side of the country again, we may have the chance to finally meet. 

I knew she had been struggling with her health lately, but when I found out she had passed, it hit hard. The finality is tough to deal with, but even though this sounds cliche, I’m so grateful she’s no longer suffering. I believe Kim viewed life as one big adventure – to live it to its fullest…

Below is a beautiful poem Kim wrote for a woman who was going into hospice care, a woman who was like a mother to her. As I read Kim’s words, I realize how much they relate to her new journey now and to how her family and friends are feeling.

All things are possible

I know the road before you is long and hard
it would be so easy to lay down your load
breathe in the tranquility of everlasting rest
as you climb the ladder to your promised reward
I know the challenges you face
wrestling with the peace calling you
and the comfort of loved ones pulling you
you have done your time it is your choice
if you take this path to glory
take the gift of love from those who care
lean on their strength to find your way
you are in my heart
I care more than the words express
selfishly I want you to stay
there wasn’t enough time
to do the many things there are to do
to share the words silently kept
my life was enriched by you
you are a part of my soul
and forever I will keep your spirit close

Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria 2/14/17
https://silentlyheardonce.wordpress.com/

Selfishly, we would want you to stay, Kim, but, it was your time for eternal rest, to be free of pain and suffering. Just know that You have enriched the lives of so many who loved you and cared – family and friends…We will miss you dearly, and “You are in our hearts and we will keep your spirit close.” ❤