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Showing posts from 2018

New Book by Mary Maurice

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The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe by Mary Maurice is a psychological journey travelled through the letters of Jack and a woman named Susan Jordan. From his first letter to Susan, the reader is drawn into a web of intrigue and mystery. Who is Jack and why is he writing so prolifically to Susan?  Why does she take so long to answer him? 

Author, Mary Maurice's poetic prose of her descriptions of the Southwest cast a gentle light on the weighty subject of suicide. The letters read as if someone is speaking to you, personally, pulling the reader into the drama. 

If you enjoy psychological mysteries, this book will certainly get your Jungian sensibilities peeked.

I enjoy mysteries, which is why I signed up to host this book for its maiden blog tour.  A warning, though: as I read through the chapters, I quickly realized that this was also a psychological drama that might cause issues for those with PTSD. There are portrayals of the suicide of a parent as witnessed by a young child, as wel…

Ponderings on the 65th

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Me on the occasion of my first birthday!
I am at the end of my natal anniversary and thought I would share some thoughts and wisdom from 65 years on this beautiful, blue planet we call home with gratitude to all who have traveled this journey with me.

I would love to share 65 bits of enlightenment, but perhaps we will go with nine as that is my favorite number and the number of my birth month as well as the total number of my birth day and year. 

1. Love is the most powerful force on Earth. Never let time pass without telling those you love that you love them.  Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

2. Children are our greatest asset. We are all responsible for maintaining and healing our Mother, Earth for them.

3. Dancing at random moments in the kitchen or out in the driveway or in the grocery store aisle with the one you love is such a gift, to yourself, your partner and anyone who gets the privilege of witnessing the dance.

4. Never - NEVER - forget to say thank you.  Even if it takes y…

Family, Friends and Fibro

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Some days, it feels like I am walking in the fog.
(c) 2011 LMRNeas
In this post, I will be discussing the pros and cons of a silent illness as it appears with family and friends. Since I cannot speak for every person with a silent illness, I am inviting those who also suffer to add their voices to this post by sharing their stories. When we tell our stories, we help ourselves as well as others.


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I began having arthritis symptoms as a child, after several bouts of what was then called, "scarletina."  My knees would become hot, swollen, and enflamed. My hands would ache. However, blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis always came back negative. 

I remember being told by family members to "stop pretending" that I was sick.  As a child, when the adults around you don't believe you, it leaves scars that take years to heal.

As I grew older, I would get strep throats so bad that my throat would close. I would be rushed to the hospital for massive doses of penicillin.  I r…

You're Sick, Again!?

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There have been times in the lives of people with silent diseases, illnesses, or syndromes when they have heard, "You're sick, again?" in a tone that lets them know that the person speaking these words is done. They can come from family, friends or from those at work. How can you respond to this?

First, let me say that hearing this is like someone running their nails down a blackboard. If a person with a silent illness hears this regularly, it can cause emotional and mental stress, which then leads to a host of other issues. Having someone to talk, someone who understands the condition as well as your history, is key to staying on an even keel.

Additionally, knowing how to respond, what to say and how to explain your condition so that others can understand is very important. This takes courage. Too many of us simply shut down. We either walk away, give some cursory answer that does nothing to enlighten the speaker of the irritating words, or explode from pent up frustratio…

Things Are Not as They Appear

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My decision to write a post about fibromyalgia isn't to start a pity party. I am writing in the hopes that this will bring some awareness to how conditions such as fibromyalgia, MS, endometriosis, migraine and a host of other disease/conditions are not obvious. The victim doesn't "look" ill, and yet, they may be doing all they can to put one foot in front of the other without screaming.
I have fibromyalgia. This was diagnosed close to 25 years ago after years of being in pain and having mysterious symptoms that the medical field could not diagnose. When I was given the diagnosis two things happened.  First, I began learning everything I could about this condition and how to keep it from taking over my life. Second, I promised myself I would not let this condition get in my way.
I will tell you, this has not been easy.  For years, I was told I was either lying about my pain to seek attention or I was a hypochondriac.  I am neither. 
Since I was six years old, I have had …

The Teacher in Me

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There are certain things as a teacher that I can't help doing. I knew these things for years before I got my teaching degree, but in taking coursework to get my M.Ed., what I knew was affirmed.  
I knew that being kind was essential to having a life that was truly successful. Kindness was one of the easiest things you can give to others.
I learned that to lead well a person must be willing to share - share the work, share the praise, and share the bounty. However, he or she also needs to take responsibility, which means that "the buck stops here." When there is fault to be found, a good leader takes responsibility for what has gone wrong and does not pass it on to others, even when they may also be at fault.
One of the most important things I learned, though, was to always question. By questioning, we learn. Therefore, I try not to take things at face value. I ask myself a series of questions.  Who said/did that?What was it that they said or did?When did this happen?Where ca…

Reflections on Families Belong Together Rally

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Families Belong Together - Rally - Greenfield, MA
Some reflections now that the air has cooled and I have had time to ruminate.
These are the things I saw that touched me:
Children laying in the grass coloring signs that read, "Families belong together."Elderly women standing in front of me with signs that read, "No Baby Jails!"A woman on the street that commented on my tree of life pendant, showed her Jerusalem cross, then with tears in her eyes and voice cracking said, "Next year in Tel Aviv!" Families of all types standing together.There were songs sung, most of them written by the singers. I had wished the PA system was better because I couldn't hear most of what was sung.  I know that one of the songs was about the Statue of Liberty. There was a refrain about holding her torch high, but I couldn't really get much more than that.  One of the most passionate speeches was from by a woman who told of how her family lived through the Holocaust and how…

Catch a Dream: Wendy Brown-Baez

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Today, I welcome Wendy Brown-Baez, author of Catch a Dream, as a guest blogger.

Catch a Dream weaves a story of love, the search for self, pain and descernment, all of which happens in war-torn Israel. Written in the first person, the heroine, Lily, captured my attention immediately. I fell in love with this character and wanted to know how her dilemmas would resolve. I believe most women will see a bit of themselves in Lily.

After reading her book, I asked her to answer the following questions. How do we live within contradictions of loving someone, who is not good for us? How do we let go of the hold of a bad relationship? 

Wendy wrote: 

These are a tough questions. How can we love someone and yet keep boundaries? I once shared my frustration about someone I loved and my friend said, “Just because you love him doesn’t mean you have to live with him.” But this is easier said than done when the heart takes over. In Catch a Dream, Lily is mesmerized by Levi’s charm and grateful for his att…

Me, too! and Worlds Apart

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"Worlds Apart" - (c) 2018 LM Neas
I have sat on the sidelines listening to the many revelations that have taken place since the "Me, too!" campaign began.  How heartbreaking to learn that so many people (both men and women) have been sexually assaulted or abused. 
However, in listening and watching, what I find disturbing is the McCarthy-istic trend into which the media seems to be heading. The desire to keep the news fresh and scintillating should not overshadow the responsibility of checking facts or remembering that people are innocent until proven guilty. 
What I am seeing happening is that leading news organizations, as well as tabloids found beside the check-out counters, are grabbing at every bit of inappropriate behavior, hyperbolizing much of it, ruining careers, and causing more pain and anguish.
Don't get me wrong. I believe that those who have used sex as a tool for power and gain should be held responsible for their acts. But, I also believe strongly t…

Backyard blessings

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Catbird at the suet feeder outside my window
I love learning about nature. For last several years, our garden has been the home to a catbird family. I had been told that local farmers consider them a nuisance because they love to eat blueberries and raspberries. I must say, I took little notice of them...until now.

This year, we put up suet. I found one that had fruit in it and thought it would be a treat. (The package said it would draw songbirds!) Early one morning in April I spied the catbird with his distinctive chestnut colored patch under his tail. He and his mate love the suet! 

This surprised me, so I did some research. 

Catbirds are actually quite amazing. They winter in the tropics amongst Mayan ruins and in Florida as well as the Caribbean. No wonder they like fruit!

They are also quite talented singers. Early in the morning, when I leave for work, they are singing. They mimic other birds and, of course, make cats sounds. Since our green border has grown in, we have a cacophony …

A Letter from the White House

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Way back in the last century, I was a journalist for the York County Coast Star. During that time, I wrote about the happenings within the villages of York, Maine. Often, I would begin my column with a commentary on something that happened in the world or within the town.

At that time, George and Barbara Bush were in the White House. Their local paper was the York County Coast Star. 

On several occasions, I wrote about the Bushes. Once, when the president had told everyone he disliked broccoli and later when 150 seniors at Wellesley College protested the fact that Mrs. Bush was to address the graduating class saying, "she is not the type of career woman the college is educating," because, while she attended Smith College, she did not graduate. She left to marry George and begin a family.

The broccoli column was a tongue-in-cheek lament on what would mothers across the nation do to inspire their kids to eat broccoli, now that it was known that the president disliked it. The othe…

Remembering Omar

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In the early 70's, I was treated to dinner at Josef's Restaurant in Copley Square, Boston. Josef's was under the management of Locke-Ober's, another famous Boston eatery.  The fare included New England favorites but also culinary delights from France, Germany and beyond. I had Vichyssoise for the first time that evening. But, this is not the story I want to share...

On April 10, Google memorialized the actor Omar Sharif, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Zhivago. The minute I saw the Google Doodle, my mind flew to that night at Josef's.
My supervisors were taking me out for a special treat to celebrate the work I did with young children and my upcoming graduation from Baystate College (at the time known as Baystate Junior College for Women). I was dressed in my very best mini dress with hair coifed to perfection. As we entered the restaurant, I was telling a story in my usual hands-flaying-in-air-not-paying-attention way. 
Without breaking stride, I plowed into ano…

All Things Irish

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The fields in the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland 
Top of the mornin'!  Sure, and the sun is shining bright through me window and the soda bread is bakin' in the oven. 'Tis a good day to be Irish!
Well, if I went with my mother's philosophy any day is a good day to be Irish, but March 17 holds a special place in my heart. On the 17th of March, there were traditions and rituals that were part of our lives. Observing those rituals was as important to us as breathing air.
When I was young, we kids started the day with Mass...early...7:30 a.m. Then, we ran home, sporting our Irish knit sweaters and green apparel, looking forward to Momma's fresh baked Irish soda bread and a cup of tea. Then, after Momma put the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots into a huge kettle to cook at the back of the stove, we would bundle up in as much green as possible to be off to the parade. 
Having seen pictures of the parade from years past, I don't quite remember it being cold, but I k…

From Wannabe to Wife

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Last week I had the honor of hosting B. Lynn Goodwin, author of Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife on this blog as a guest blogger.  She wrote about how compromise and acceptance were important components in relationships. Her wisdom comes straight from the heart, as does her writing.

Lynn fills her memoir with humor, honesty and a growing, mature love that is often found in the lives of older adults. She pulls the reader in with her ability to mix just enough laughs with reality. 

The reality that she met her future husband on Craiglist may cause some to gasp in shock. However, I was nonplussed by the fact that this was the vehicle for their paths to cross. Life has taught me that some of the most wonderful relationships come about through some of the most unusual circumstances. But, what I wanted to know about was how did they make it work. (I soon learned, but no spoilers here...you have to read the book!)

Also, as a minister, I loved the spiritual aspect of the story. Lynn's ta…

Never Too Late

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Today, I am delighted to have a fellow educator and writer as a guest blogger for the Women on Writing Blog Tour of her new book.  B. Lynn Goodwin, author of Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife, shares her honest, and often, humorous thoughts on relationships, marriage, hope, faith and most of all, Love!

I hope you will enjoy reading her post.  Please feel free to leave a comment. Those who do, will have an opportunity of winning a copy of her book, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife. 

Compromise and Acceptance In my memoir Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife, I wrote, “I never believed that opposites were attracted to one another until I met Richard. Part of the allure was that we got along so well despite our differences. Part of the fear was that I might be on a pink cloud. “He wanted to marry me as soon as possible. I wanted to wait. He said he needed the influence of a good woman. I avoided the restrictions imposed by any man. Partners in a marriage are supposed to be equal—diffe…