The Wheels Are Turning at the Seeing Eye #FridayFinds #Reblogs #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

After losing her guide dog six weeks ago, fellow author and blogger Mary Hiland is finally ready for another one. In this post, she explains the first steps in applying for a guide dog. You can check out my reviews of her books

here and here. Enjoy!

***

My darling Dora died of cancer six weeks ago. While there are times that something sets me off, a word, a song, or just the overbearing feeling of loneliness, and I weep, even sob, in self-indulgent sadness, I know that sooner or later, I must replace her with a new Seeing Eye ® dog. I hate using the word replace, because a dog like Dora cannot be replaced. Yet, I can’t go on needing to hold the arm of a kind person to go anywhere outside my home, and I’m terrible at using a white cane. It’s time to go back to the Seeing Eye to train with a new dog to regain my independence.

 

Read the full post on Seeing It My Way.

Thought-Provoking and Powerful Poetry #FridayFunReads #Poetry #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Origami Stars and Hot Air Moon

by Mandie Hines

Copyright 2020

 

What Amazon Says

 

To get past grief, we must go through it. In Origami Stars and Hot Air Moon, Mandie Hines traverses through the process of grieving, finding understanding of what loss is, and what it is not. These poems take you through a journey of reclaiming hope, remembering love, and rediscovering memories, while taking you down a path that eventually leads to healing.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I met the author, Mandie Hines, a few years ago through WyoPoets, my state’s poetry society. I enjoyed hearing her read her work during our monthly Zoom events. Now, I finally got around to reading this, her first poetry collection.

I liked the narrative quality of these poems. “Things I Regret Forgetting,” the first one, reminded me of losing my husband. Closer to the end of the book, she includes a poem called “About the Things I Regret Forgetting,” which explains the original poem, and I think that adds a nice touch.

Many of the poems are powerful, pinpointing loss and grief. Others speculate on poetry and various topics. I’m sure many writers will relate to “SASE,” a supposed response to a rejection letter. The title poem at the end brings the collection to a satisfying conclusion. If you’re dealing with loss and/or enjoy narrative poetry that evokes powerful thoughts, Origami Stars and Hot Air Moon is for you.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Facebook

Website

 

 

Poetry and Prose Offer Solace and Hope #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

Peonies in Winter

by Sally Rosenthal

Copyright 2021.

 

What Amazon Says

 

This is a small book for the small hours when we sit alone in the dark or feel as though our grief isolates us. Although we all travel sorrow’s path at some point in our lives, many of us walk that road alone and bewildered, failing to reach out to grasp the waiting hand of a fellow traveler.

In the months following her husband’s sudden death, Sally Rosenthal explored her reactions to loss and came to realize that strength is a synergetic wisdom woven from the love passed on through the examples of relatives and beloved animals. In poems and prose, she shares what she has learned about survival and resilience. Come sit with Sally at her kitchen table and share the journey.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I met Sally Rosenthal several years ago through Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ organization to which I belong. I’ve always enjoyed reading her work and was moved to discover she mentioned me in the acknowledgements at the end of the book.

I can relate to many of the pieces here. The title essay, “Peonies in Winter,” in which Sally describes finding old perfume bottles in her closet, reminded me of my mother’s old perfume bottles that I’ve kept for years since her passing in 1999. “Charles Palmer,” in which she talks about the grandfather she never knew, tugged at my heart, making me grateful I knew my grandparents before they left this world.

Being a widow and having been a family caregiver, I felt a special connection with Sally through her poetry on the subject. I had to laugh when I read her piece about Grade A chocolates. The resources at the end add a nice touch. I recommend this book especially to those who are grieving, but I think anyone can find solace and hope here.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Compelling Tale of Loss and Reconciliation #FridayFunReads #Reblogs #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Note: I reviewed this book here in May of last year. I think it’s worth a second look. Happy reading!

 

The Return

by Nicholas Sparks

 

What Amazon Says

 

In the romantic tradition of Dear John, an injured Navy doctor meets two extremely important women whose secrets will change the course of his life in this #1 New York Times bestseller.

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he’d inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

Tending to his grandfather’s beloved beehives, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can’t ignore. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road. Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues—until a crisis triggers a race to uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have imagined.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I’ve enjoyed several of this author’s books, and this one didn’t disappoint me. The myriad plot twists kept me engaged. At the end, I was afraid that one detail might be left to the reader’s imagination, but I was pleasantly surprised and relieved when it was unexpectedly resolved in the epilogue. I like how the prologue gives us an idea of how the book will end. If you like a feel-good story about loss and reconciliation, The Return is for you.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Novel About Loss #FridayFunReads #Inspiration #BookReviews

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Optimist’s Daughter

by Eudora Welty

 

What Amazon Says

 

This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel tells the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Along in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

It should also be said that Laurel is a widow, having lost her husband, I’m assuming, during World War II. Because I lost my own husband and father, I can relate to her. Her stepmother, the New Orleans doctor, and the people in the small Mississippi town where Laurel and her stepmother return help create this short, heart-wrenching tale of loss. However, preferring stories with a more positive ending, I found this one’s conclusion disappointing. But I’m not sorry I read the book.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website