Monthly Archives: August 2018

A Gift for Myself

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A few years ago a co-worker and I got on each other’s nerves in a big way, so much so that I wanted to walk out the door and not come back. I carried a grudge against her for some time, even after she left that workplace.

Finally I decided life truly is too short to carry a grudge. I contacted her, we started e-mailing each other, sometimes three or four times a day. We became friends and confidantes, exchanging our joys, sorrows, trials and tribulations. I heard her excitement with her new place of employment, and, later, her frustrations with it; and her decision to leave that place when family obligations and health concerns made it hard to continue working. She heard my frustrations as well with the things of life. Every now and then we got together at a local restaurant to celebrate good things in our lives–things to look forward to, as well as books, cats, and our mutual love of the outdoors.

While she didn’t write much, except as a catharsis, she enthusiastically supported my writing efforts. She commented on blog pieces, and gave me feedback for short stories. Before submitting one particular short story to a publisher, I emailed the story to her, asking for feedback. I asked if there were any troublesome places in the story–phrases or sentences she had to reread to understand. She replied the only problem was that she didn’t want the story to end. Any writer wants to hear that! With that encouragement, I submitted the story to the publisher.

I am so glad I overcame my anger with the help of God and gave myself the gift of a friend. I am enriched by her friendship.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–The Silver Chair

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Silver Chair is Book Six of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia is the fantasy series Mr. Lewis wrote for children.

The Silver Chair begins in an ordinary enough setting–a schoolyard–and an all-too-commonplace situation: one of the main characters, Jill, is hiding from a group of bullies. Eustace, a classmate, comes along, and as they seek to get away from the oncoming bullies, they cry out for help. The two end up in Narnia, where Aslan, the ruler of Narnia, sends them on a harrowing mission, warning Jill to remember signs he gave her.

Jill and Eustace run into strange creatures and many obstacles on their mission. Their travels might have been a bit easier had they not lost their tempers with each other, and had Jill remembered the signs. They run into trouble around every corner, and late in the book the journey’s end was still in doubt.

Aside from the plot, for me The Silver Chair reads as a lesson in the marks of evil, showing evil, as represented by a beautiful lady Jill and Eustace meet, to be dangerously deceptive. Evil confuses not only Jill and Eustace, but also another character, as to what is true and what is false.

Author’s comment: Since I’d never read The Silver Chair before, I didn’t realize bullying is the catalyst for the story. To me it was ironic, because of the repeated stories in the news about bullying.  If I didn’t know better I’d think that C. S. Lewis wrote the story just yesterday, but the paperback edition I have was copyrighted 1953, and Mr. Lewis died in 1963.

I enjoyed reading The Silver Chair, both for the story and for the lessons it illustrates.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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The Gift of Writing

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Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com

The more I write, the more I realize writing truly is a gift. It’s a gift given to the writer first, then a gift to others.

While writing a short story I discovered I was learning how to write–by writing. I learned to leave in only what was needed to fit the theme and intent of that story. I took out what didn’t carry the story along, as well as what actually distracted from it, no matter how much I liked the original wording. To learn what to leave in and what to take out is an important skill for any writer, and one I hope to have many chances to practice.

Writing forces me to learn more– about the craft, about publishing, about technology.  I need to know much, much more. The more I learn, the more I find to learn! Developing the discipline to do this is a gift.

Writing is a narrow arena which gives me perspective on the wider arena that is my life. Reading blogs about how other writers tackle problems in writing (the notorious self-doubt, for one) gives me confidence and aids me in applying the same tactics to dilemmas in other parts of my life. The mindset which helps a writer to succeed can be used to resolve situations outside of writing.

For me, writing is a gift that keeps getting bigger.

©P. Booher

Author’s Suggestion: A number of blogs motivate and inspire me. Check these out: http.//positivewriter.com, https//writingcooperative.com, http://www.kristiholl.com, http://www.writersinthe storm.com, http://www.stevelaube.com, http://www.booksandsuch.com, http://www.writermag.com. Andy Mort in the UK writes about creativity in different forms at: https://www.andymort.com. Down under, David Rawlings has a unique perspective in his blog and his short stories at: https://davidrawlings.com/au.

 

 

 

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–The Horse and His Boy

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Photo Credit: Pexels. com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis, is Book Three in The Chronicles of Narnia, the fantasy series in which animals talk, Aslan the lion is present even when not physically around, and a human is as likely to meet a dwarf, faun, giant, or centaur as another human.

I don’t take vacations, or travel; I “travel” mentally by reading. Since The Horse and His Boy involves a long journey full of hazards and challenges, surprises, a battle over a cause worth fighting for, and a good ending in which everything is wrapped up, this is a book for me.

Because The Horse and His Boy is a fantasy, readers need to read it with an open mind, as though the creatures and events pictured really are real. With that in the back of my head, I came across some lessons embedded in the plot of the story–lessons about good and evil, the importance of keeping on when the journey gets hard, tedious, and you feel sorry for yourself, finding friends in people you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with, and for me–a spiritual parallel–in the hard places, God is a lot closer than you think He is.

Comment: As I mentioned, The Horse and His Boy is a book I pick up when I want a get-away to another world without leaving the chair. If that is what you are looking for, you may want to give The Horse and His Boy a try.

©P. Booher

 

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There Is Life After High School

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I don’t have fond memories of my school years. I was picked on from about second grade through eleventh grade. I never knew what would bring the teasing on–perhaps being the only person in second grade to have to wear glasses? (This was long before contact lenses.) Or maybe it was my shyness–often I couldn’t think of anything to say in peer-to-peer conversation, so I was quiet. (When you are in school, any little difference from what is considered “normal” makes a person ripe for picking on.) Maybe the teasing of the moment revolved around my non-existent athletic ability (if a team had to pick me, the kids groaned and I wished for the ground to swallow me). Continue reading

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The Great Bee Blackout

I have a problem with honey bees getting into the house. Hot, humid days drive the bees to greater activity outside, and I used to see more of them inside too on those days.

Last summer I found a hole high up near the ceiling where the bees came in. I plugged the hole with insulation. While that action greatly reduced the number of bees coming in to the back of the house, some bees still found their way in, making life a little more interesting than I really wanted it to be.

One morning this summer I noticed the curtain on the bathroom window was closed, and there weren’t any bees around. A thought hit me: Bees are naturally drawn to light. If a bee is inside, it automatically flies to the nearest source of light, whether that is a window or a light bulb. In the case of the light bulb, the bee fries itself, because it can’t stay away from the light.

That bit of knowledge led to a solution: I taped black plastic garbage bags to the bathroom window and the window on the back door. Although that makes the back part of the house very dark (like a cave), I don’t have bees coming in, so that part of the problem is solved.

Moral of the story: If you have a problem with wildlife in or around your house, think about what the particular species is attracted to/repelled by, and work from there.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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The Abby Chronicles–Of Fleas and Flea Combs, Cornstarch, and Pet Wipes

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Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter VII

As I was sitting on the desk washing myself (my fur coat requires a lot of attention) the younger human approached me with the flea comb. She started petting me and I moved as close to her as I could. She parted my coat with her fingers, then ran the comb through my fur.

The older human said, “I’ll bring the little wastebasket over.”

“Okay,” the younger human said, then added, “Could you bring the wipes and the little bit of cornstarch left in the box? The wipes are in the box that says, “Abby’s Stuff”.

The younger human combed me some more, then said, “Oh, Abby, we need to go over to the couch. My back is bothering me.”

She picked me up, along with the wipes and the box of cornstarch, and we went over to the couch. She sat down and rubbed cornstarch in the mats in my fur. I didn’t mind her rubbing my fur, even the fur on my belly. Truthfully, I liked all the attention. She explained the cornstarch could help untangle the mats, making them easier to get out. That sounded good to me.

I felt something damp and cool on my head, and smelled a peculiar scent. The younger human showed the wipe to me, keeping a firm hand on me so I wouldn’t run away.  She ran the wipe down my neck, under my chin, around the sides of my face, down my back, on my belly, and on my tail.

After she was done with the pet wipes I washed myself. The wipes made my coat smell. Since I am an inside cat, that fact wasn’t too bad. However, if I had business to attend to outside, it would be a different story. You see, any smell on my coat could alert enemies such as dogs, foxes, coyotes, or raccoons to my presence. Not good! Even though I am an indoor cat, instinct took over and so I washed.

Author’s Note: If you decide to use pet wipes, make sure the kind you get is safe for cats, since we groom ourselves so often.

 

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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