Thursday Book Feature: Words of Life

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Words of Life: Essays and Poems

By Ann Chiappetta

Copyright 2019

 

From the author of Upwelling and Follow Your Dog comes a short collection of poetry and prose on family vacations, vision loss, animals, and other topics. It also includes a work of flash fiction. An introduction by the author explains what inspired this compilation.

I met Ann Chiappetta through Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities. I like how she writes about the lighter and darker sides of life. My favorite piece is one in which she describes how she rescued two baby sparrows, only one of whom survived, and the hard lesson her eight-year-old son learned from this experience. I recommend this book, which not only provides insight on vision loss but on other negative and positive aspects of life.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

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Like me on Facebook.

 

Five Firemen

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

How many firefighters does it take to change the batteries in three smoke detectors? Five, at least that’s how many showed up when I called and requested assistance with this task, being visually impaired and vertically challenged. Here in the United States, it’s recommended that we change batteries every six months after moving our clocks forward or backward to conform with daylight savings time.

When the five firemen arrived in their big yellow truck, I welcomed them into my home. One or two of them said they remembered me from the last time I’d called them about this. After replacing batteries in my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they offered to do a home safety inspection, which I didn’t think was a bad idea.

They asked me if I use a barbecue grill and about my other cooking habits. I told them that I use the microwave, stove, and oven very carefully and that if I were to use a barbecue grill on a regular basis, they would get a lot more calls to this address.

After the five firemen scoured the house and detached garage, they came up with several recommendations, assuring me these were only suggestions and that they wouldn’t check up on me. I can’t help wondering, though, what would happen if I were to have a fire caused by a clogged outside dryer vent, one of the problems they found. Now that’s scary.

***

Note: the above is my entry for the 2019 Blogger Bash Blog Post Competition. This year’s theme is “five.” If you’re a blogger, there’s still time to enter. Click here for more information.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: AWOL on the Appalachian “Trail

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

By David Miller

Copyright 2010

 

In this memoir, the author explains how and why he left his job and family and hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia for five months in 2003. He describes conditions on the trail, shelters, hostiles, and other places where he stayed, and his encounters with other hikers and wildlife, inserting snippets of information about his life into his narrative. At the end, he gives advice to anyone wishing to hike the Appalachian Trail.

This book helps put life in perspective. My minor aches and pains are nothing compared to the agony David Miller suffered on the trail as a result of foot infections, a sprained ankle, and other complications, some of which nearly caused him to abandon his hike altogether. When I work out, I tell myself I’m only exercising for an hour at the most, not walking for ten hours a day through rough terrain. On frigid winter nights when I burrow under my blankets in bed, I’m thankful not to be soaking wet, trying to get dry in an equally wet sleeping bag.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is quite a challenge. If you’re up to it, great. If not, I highly recommend this book. You’ll successfully hike this trail from the comfort of your own easy chair.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Note: This book is on sale this week for 50% off on Smashwords, so this would be a good time to check it out.

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Copyright 2017

 

This collection starts with a prologue in which the author, who is also an artist, describes how knitting sustained her during difficult times after she lost most of her vision in 2007. The poetry and prose that follow are divided into twelve sections, one for each month of the year. Some pieces reflect the time of year while others discuss the author’s faith in God, nature, art, music, and other topics.

My favorite piece is “A Wintry Tale” because it reminds me of many tumbles I took in the snow when I was younger due to my lack of vision. I believe Lynda was still sighted at the time of this story, so I found that refreshing. My second favorite is “A Pennsylvania Christmas” because it brings back memories of my own childhood Christmases, even though I’ve never received coal in my stocking.

I’ve known Lynda for years through our association with Behind Our Eyes, a not-for-profit organization for writers with disabilities. I’ve always been amazed by how, despite her sight loss, her appreciation of art and nature comes through in her vivid descriptions. Even if you have normal vision, this book will open your eyes, ears, and heart to life’s wonders.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: The Cat Really Did That?

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? 101 Tales of Miracles, Mischief and Magical Moments

Edited by Amy Newmark

Copyright 2017

 

This book speaks for itself through the title. It’s one in a series of many anthologies of true, uplifting stories produced by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Here, cat lovers share all kinds of stories about their feline companions: rescued cats who thrive and become part of a family, cats who save people’s lives, and cats who alter negative behavior and comfort the dying. A quotation about cats precedes each story, and there are plenty of pictures.

I enjoyed reading of the antics of many cats in this book. According to the introduction, those reading it are encouraged to adopt a cat. I hope these stories inspire others to adopt cats, but I’m not one who will do so, at least not now.

Although I love cats and have many pleasant memories of the ones in our family when I was growing up, after six years of caring for my late husband, who was paralyzed by two strokes, I’m still not ready to care for another living thing. I realize a cat wouldn’t require as much maintenance and the reward would be worth it, but that doesn’t make the responsibility any less daunting. Maybe someday I’ll be ready. Meanwhile, I’ll socialize with cats when given the rare opportunity and continue to read books about them such as this one.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Happiness

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

by Heather Harpham

Copyright 2017

 

This is the true story of how one sibling saved another’s life via a stem cell transplant. Heather Harpham’s daughter Gracie was born with a mysterious blood disorder, requiring frequent transfusions. She describes how she and her husband Brian accidentally conceived a second child soon after Gracie’s birth and the long, agonizing, decision-making and transplant process.

At first, I was concerned, not only for Gracie’s welfare, but about what her younger brother Gabriel would need to endure in order for Gracie to have the transplant. Then I learned that since Gabriel’s stem cells were harvested at birth with no pain or discomfort, nothing else needed to be done to him. Maybe the author should have made this more clear from the get-go.

I also didn’t like the way she, at the beginning, switched between scenes with her and Gracie in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after Gracie’s birth and the story of her and Brian becoming a couple and her subsequent pregnancy. Although the back story about Heather and Brian is important, at the time, I couldn’t have cared less. I was more concerned about Gracie. It would have been better to have a prologue with one scene in the NICU and then start the story at the beginning. That’s how I do it in My Ideal Partner; How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Otherwise, I love this sweet story with a happy ending.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Open Book Blog Hop: Dropping the Mic’

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Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring this. In her post, she challenges bloggers to write about a time when they dropped the mic’. Dropping the mic’ means experiencing a moment of glory. There are several such moments in my life. One stands out and is mentioned in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

When I published my first book, We Shall Overcome, my late husband Bill was confined to a wheelchair as a result of two strokes. I’d written the book several years earlier. Getting it ready for publication was a great way to escape from the stress of being a family caregiver.

One evening during the summer of 2007, I held my first book in my hands for the first time. Bill was sprawled in his recliner, as I removed one of the fifty author copies I’d ordered from the box. “Wow,” I said, as I gazed at the cover image I’d chosen, then turned it over to see my profile picture on the back.

“Let me see it,” said Bill.

He was totally blind, so of course he couldn’t see it, but he could hold it in his hands and share my pride and joy. I handed it to him and described the cover. Despite my limited vision, I could imagine the shit-eating grin that crossed his face when he said, “My wife, the published author.”

I held him. It didn’t matter that he would never walk again, that he could do little for himself and depended on me for everything. I had a man who loved me and a published book.

What about you? Can you think of a time when you dropped the mic’? Please tell me about it. I look forward to reading your stories either in the comment field or on your own blog with a pingback here.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.