Thinking Out Loud

What is the essence of a life?

A deep thought indeed, but putting aside the belief in the existence of a supreme being for a moment, what is the first notion that question conjures for you?

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Is it the wail of a newborn when she is pushed from the womb, wet and shivering, into a cold world of bright light and jarring noise?

Is it a living being’s will and drive to survive?

Is it the slow and arduous process of becoming what your potential keeps whispering you can be, or the serendipitous ease of slipping into a role you were born to fill?

Is it what we cling to as we grow old, try to recapture, strive to enjoy in every waking moment, as the end draws ever nearer?

Could it simply be the state of being, dreaming, pondering and loving?

Or hating and enduring what the universe has given you?

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Maybe, life is the constant of the everyday: the laughter of a stranger on a crowded subway, the silly song that got stuck in your head and you sang in the shower this morning, a face that suddenly smiles in your direction, a warm hug, a lover’s kiss, or a soft place to fall after a long day.

100_3366Perhaps it is the enduring memory of a giant harvest moon, the languid ripple of a pond you sat beside last summer, the smell of warm cinnamon in an apple pie, the taste of licorice, or the sweet sip of ice-cold raspberry koolaid you loved as a child.

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Some of life is lived between the lines of our subconscious, in the many subtleties of our private, innermost selves.060

Life is all of this and much more. It is joy and disappointment, connection and camaraderie, isolation and despair, exquisite pleasure, and acute suffering.

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Life is the endurance of the human experience and the divining of purpose. Life is the continuity of unconditional love.

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What do you think  life is all about? What is your answer to this enduring question?

Friday Bouquet #8

I have been a loyal follower of The Mad Hooligan Chronicles for nearly as long as I’ve been blogging. It went through a metamorphosis last year, and changed its name from the original, The Howling Mad Cat.

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HMC

When HMC (Howling Mad Cat) departed for Kitty Cat Heaven at the ripe old age of 21, shortly after Ellie adopted two new cats by the names of Kobi and Bobo, and the Mad Hooligans blog was born.

Along with the adorably candid photos, Ellie treats us with three quotes to ponder, which relate to the topic of each of her posts.

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Bo & Kobi

From their profile:

“Verily I say unto you: Ye shall have two cats, and they will cause havoc amongst the household.”
At http://howlingmadcat.wordpress.com/.

A light-hearted read to brighten your day, I suggest you take a look at yesterday’s entry. You just may hit the follow button too:

The Life of Riley

Comments are closed here in hopes you will comment on their site.

Have a good weekend, everyone. <3

My “Backyard” – Pt. 2: The Beach

As the last tranquil days of summer disappear, I am drawn to the warmth of the sandy beaches that encircle Perry’s Point.

For a few moments, I can almost forget colder days are approaching…

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This stretch of sand is begging for bare feet.

“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower,
         hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
~ William Blake

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It’s good to see that the beach birds are still around.
The sandpipers and plovers seem to be in no hurry to wing their way south for the winter.

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Among the strands and clumps of kelp, there must be lots of yummy tidbits for them to eat.

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Notice how some like to stand on one leg.

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The different species get along fairly well, sharing nature’s bounty.

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Flight!

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Due to global warming, many species of birds in North America are dwindling in numbers, and the numbers on protected and endangered lists are increasing.

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I hope you never face extinction, my precious feathered friends.

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This one appears to have something to say about it all.

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I love their plump little bodies…

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…and their long beaks!

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Vivian doesn’t go down to the beach unless she has company…

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…Good thing for the beach birds!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~ Charles Darwin

Thank you for stopping by to enjoy the beach with me, and Summer’s last hurrah. :)

Has Fall arrived where you live?

Friday Bouquet #7

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I follow quite a few blogs by writers, and Moon In Gemini: Debbie’s Blog about Writing and Pop Culture is one of my favourites.

On her About Page:

I have very eclectic tastes in fiction, movies and TV.  I love genre fiction of all kinds, and am just as likely to have fantasy, horror, YA, historical fiction, sci-fi or romance residing on my Kindle.”

“… Gemini is a sign associated with writing and communication.  It’s also a sign associated with people who can’t make up their minds about anything, so don’t be surprised by the variety of subjects that may appear in this blog.”

I am highlighting the following post because I agree with her opinion on strong female characters. For that matter, we think all strong characters are intriguing because of their flaws as well as their strengths. Their faults are what make them human and real.

The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

If you love fiction of any kind, I think you’ll like Moon in Gemini as much as I do.

Comments are closed here. I invite you to comment on Debbie’s blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

My “Backyard” – Part 1

“If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere.”
~ Vincent van Gogh

There is something about this time of year, before the advent of autumn, that I love about life on Perry’s Point.

Unconventional to say the least, my backyard here in Newfoundland has no fences, save for one side shared with our neighbour.

One day last week I got out early with my camera, hoping to capture the soft morning light.

The grass is still glistening with dew.

The grass still glistens with dew.

It's shaping up to be a splendid September day.

It’s shaping up to be another splendid September day.

View from the back door.

View of the islands from the back door

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Neighbour Ben’s boat

Vivian is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Vivian joins me, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

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Maisie is looking for a belly rub.

Maisie begs shamelessly for a belly rub.

The outermost point of land on Perry's Point

View from our deck of the outermost point of land on Perry’s Point

Walking toward the brink

Walking toward the brink. Around here they call it a “beel”, which I believe to be a slang version of “bill”, or small peninsula.

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This morning the bay is calm and serene.

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The inukshuk my husband made this summer

The Inukshuk my husband made this summer

The "Rock Cove", where rainwater collects

The “Rock Cove”, where rainwater collects

An ideal source of drinking water for our feathered friends. We've seen a few indulge in birdbaths here too.

It’s an ideal source of fresh drinking water for our feathered friends. We’ve seen a few indulge in bird baths here too.

The patridgeberries are ripening, on schedule for picking next month.

The partridgeberries are ripening, on schedule for picking next month.

I don't know what kind these are. Do you?

I don’t know what kind these are. Do you?

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Neighbour Ben's buoys and bobbers

Neighbour Ben’s fishing buoys and bobbers

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
~ Albert Einstein

Join me next Monday for:  My “Backyard”- Part 2: The Beach

Remembering Rhonda

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I started following Rhonda Elkins’ blog around this time last year, and was profoundly moved by her tragic story. It had only been months since she, a registered nurse, lost her 23-year-old daughter Kaitlyn to suicide, and writing about it in her blog, My Bright Shining Star, was her way of dealing with the devastation she was experiencing.

As tough as it must have been for her, Rhonda’s heart-wrenching posts turned into a new project: a book about her daughter to help raise awareness of the rampant depression and high number of medical students who take their own lives. Like her blog, it also proved to be a source of comfort for others who were going through the pain and anguish of losing a child to suicide.

With her permission, I reblogged this post back in February to help get her message out there, that even those closest to us often keep their depression hidden.

Earlier this week, I was shocked and saddened to learn Rhonda had followed Kaitlyn last Friday, leaving her husband and older daughter to pick up the shattered pieces of what remained of their family.

Rhonda had blogged recently about the good reviews her book was getting, as well as her decision to return to her nursing profession part-time (she hadn’t worked since Kaitlyn died in April of 2013).

I, like many others, had believed she had gotten through the worst of it, and was ready to go on with her life.

We were so wrong.

Your life had a purpose, Rhonda. You shared your heart and soul with your readers, painfully, yet with great eloquence. I’m so sorry you were suffering and unable to get past your grief and depression. I’m sorry we couldn’t help you more. And I pray you have finally found peace, and are reunited with your beautiful daughter Kaitlyn.

I will never forget either of you.

Links for Rhonda:

http://hosting-9605.tributes.com/obituary/show/Rhonda-Elkins-101642909

https://www.facebook.com/inmemoryofrhondasellerselkins

https://www.facebook.com/events/771748509514127/

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Stop the Bullying

With a new school year beginning this week, I urge those of you who are parents of young students to broach the topic of anti-bullying.

Perhaps you have had the talk before, but it bears repeating and reinforcing. Start a dialogue on all aspects of bullying, including cyber-bullying. A child’s future well-being may be at stake.

Consider having your child take the following pledge:

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As the pledge states, it is also important not to turn a blind eye when you witness bullying.  Yes, it takes courage to speak up, but as parents and teachers, we have to teach our kids to be compassionate.

Bullying is deliberately hurting another person with your words or actions. Would you want someone to treat you that way? 

One Thing These Famous Novels Have in Common

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As I await responses from various publishers on my novel queries, I’ve been reading reams of info on the publishing world. Learning what to expect in terms of selling your work can make you wonder if it’s worth it at times, when you think of all the love and effort you put into your project.

If there is one tidbit of advice I keep reading, it’s that you better be in it for the enjoyment and satisfaction of writing, and not for making a ton of money, or even a living. But that’s a topic for a future post.

I wanted to share this book list with you. It may give you more incentive to keep striving for that goal, to get your own work in print.

  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees
  • Harper Lee’s only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Margaret Mitchell’s only novel Gone with the Wind
  • Boris Pasternak’s only novel Dr. Zhivago
  • Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones
  • Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook
  • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
  • Daniel Dafoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
  • Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

All of these ten wonderful works of fiction, are, of course, bestsellers. Some of them even won the Nobel and/or the Pulitzer Prize. 

But what is most interesting and inspirational to me about this list is this: they were all first novels. Yes, that’s right, these were debut novels that were wildly successful, and in fact there are many more ( I shortened the list). The older classics are known to still sell thousands of copies a year.

And many of them were rejected by numerous publishers before ultimately being signed.

As an example, Kim Edwards found great success with her first novel The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the last one on my list, and the second to most recent I’ve read on the list. Published in 2005, it made it to #1 on USA Today’s list of bestselling books. As a result, in 2006 USA Today chose her novel as the Book of the Year. As they put it:

Book clubs and word of mouth helped send The Memory Keeper’s Daughter to Kite Runner heights, and once you’ve read this heart wrenching story, it’s easy to understand why it has connected with millions of readers.

On a stormy winter’s night in the 1960s, a doctor delivers his own twins. One is a perfect son; the other is a daughter with Down syndrome. He tells his wife the little girl died, and his lie reverberates across the years and affects every character.

Prepare for tear-blotched pages and a redemptive, hopeful ending that makes the tears easier to bear.”

I loved that book and loved finding out it was a first novel. So take heart, burgeoning writers. Perhaps your debut novel will make money. And if the stars align, perhaps it could be added to this list before long. Wouldn’t that be a dream realized? Stories like these are what keep me hopeful in selling and promoting my work.

You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

What keeps you optimistic in your writing life?

Friday Bouquet #6

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Misifusa’s Blog

With the spotlight on ALS this past week, I am reminded of how often we take for granted the wonder of our bodies and all they do for us.

Can you imagine what it would be like to lose all of those abilities?

Misifusa’s Blog: The Presents of Presence shares the gift of living a positive life in spite of adversity. And who among us hasn’t had challenges at one time or another? Yvonne is a breast cancer survivor who celebrates all that is praiseworthy in the world, and she has been an inspiration to me and many others.

In her own words:

Don’t berate your body for being overweight, not good enough or any other negative thought you may have about it.  Just breathe in and be with your essence of your body.  Hug your body like you would a sweet child who needs comforting.” 

I am highlighting the following post, because in spite of being at odds with our own physical afflictions, there is still so much to be grateful for.

Visit the link below, and don’t forget to tell her Jennifer sent you. :)

Love Your Body

by The Presents of Presence

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Misifusa’s Blog

Comments are closed here in the hope you will leave a comment on her blog.

My One and Only

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~ Albert Schweitzer

Nearly twenty years ago, I met my person. He came into my life at a time my “inner fire” had gone out, at a time I didn’t think I would ever be truly happy again. He gave me back my smile, made me believe in myself, and has been my best friend ever since.

Sixteen years ago today, I married him.

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Thank you, Paul,  for everything you do for me, everything you mean to me, and everything you are. I love you. Happy Anniversary to the man who rekindled my inner spirit and will always be the love of my life.

Do you have a special person in your life you are grateful for?

* Friday Bouquet will return next week