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Along with bills (give us money), advertisements (spend your money), and bank statements (look what happened to your money), this arrived Friday.

There was no return address or name to tell me who it was from, and it was in a gray unassuming envelope.    My pulse hit a little harder in my fingertips as I worked to get it open. Mysterious and fun are anonymous things. The pulse switched from its curious tap tap tapping to a harder drum-drum-drumming as I pulled the paper free.  This might be Anonymous, but it definitely not purposeless.   It struck right to the center of my soul.

You see, I’ve been having a conversation with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah about my life, and not roaring.  Read the rest of this entry »

Image  —  Posted: January 31, 2016 in Inkspots

Today’s entertainment is brought to you by my Smallest Niece, who decided to tell a story while I wrote it down. She also thought that it would be fun to take pictures to illustrate the tale. So sit back wipe the mustard off your fingers, put down your patriotic hot dogs, and enjoy!


“The Adventures of Eeyore*”

This is Eeyore

This is Eeyore, and Eeyore’s flying basket

Eeyore is traveling to the Valley of Snow Land by flying basket He only has one blanket and four fish. He uses a fish to steer the basket, but he also has to eat them, so he won’t be able to steer all the time.  And he gets stuck a lot  (well you would too if you had to decide if you were going to have a meal, or steer your flying basket) and then has to land and fish. But not in the water, just in lakes.  Also he built a barn in Snow Land so he is not cold. And he goes out and fishes in Snow Land.

Eeyore  in his barn in the Valley of Snow Land

Eeyore in his barn in the Valley of Snow Land

He has a chest he is going to put the fish in, and he dives into the lake and uses his tiny ears to catch the fish and put them in the chest to eat later.  He fishes the fish out of the lake, all of them. But the fish at the bottom of the lake bubble up to the top so he can go fishing  again (apparently Eeyore has some mad fishing tricks most fishermen would love to know)  Eeyore makes a bridge out of the snow over the lake. Eeyore snores himself to sleep.

One day he decides to move himself to another place for more Adventures. He goes to the Island of Sun and comes back to the Valley of Snow Land at night.

 

Eeyore on the Island of Sun

Eeyore on the Island of Sun

He makes a small bed out of rags and takes a small nap. he is very chilled from flying over the Island of Ice.

Eeyore getting chilled as he explores the Valley of Ice

Eeyore getting chilled as he explores the Island of Ice

He is finally warm and gets into his basket to start another Adventure.  It is raining  hundreds of gallons of rain. Eeyore is on his way to the Valley of Rain. He is going to go above the clouds and turn on the instructions so he knows where it is.

Eeyore preparing to go to the Valley of Rain

Eeyore preparing to go to the Valley of Rain

The End.

Or. . .is it? Stay tuned, Scribes! Until the next time, Encourage one another!

*not affiliated with Disney in any way, my smallest niece and I  make no money from this tale, it is purely for entertainment.

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My life has taken a bit of a wild ride since I posted last. There have been  lots of changes,  some good and some bad.   That’s a post for another day, though.

Today, today I’m cracking the lid on this blog to share with y’all some of the amazing things I’ve found, walking in a local park. I’ve been walking a lot more lately, and found that it’s no longer something that I have to do, but something I actually enjoy doing. In fact when I’m stressed now, it’s the first thing that pops into my head, the  desire not to run and hide, but to go out and walk.  This, the the local hang out, the place anyone who is anyone wants to be. Well, anyone with feathers that is. But as LeVar Burton used to say on Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

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These fellows love their home, which is up in the eaves of the gazebo there on the pond. I saw them this morning with my Mom and my nieces, and despite the heat, went home, got my camera and walked back to take pictures because they are just about to fledge.

One more week  and they will be out of the tiny nest and on their own, I’m betting. The nest is all ready way too small for them; the more adventurous of them were clinging to the outside of it  when Mom and Dad were off getting breakfast. Despite looking like grumpy old men, they were rather adorable, and peeping like mad when I got under their nest, though I have to say, I look NOTHING like  Mom or Dad.  Seriously, what is going on with the down on the sides of their heads? It looks like wild old-man hair. Check it out:

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You and your taking pictures in the middle of the day. In my day cameras stole your soul. We had to chisel images into stone if we wanted to remembering the event.

They weren’t the only attractions on my walk; check out these busy bees.

DSCN7492Not exactly sure what this is, but the aroma around the plants was like raspberries.  And the bees were chowing down. If I had a tiny microphone to stick amid the blossoms I’m pretty certain that I would have heard  SLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRP  *burp*  and then “excuse me”  Bees are very courteous diners. You didn’t know that? *HA* Obviously YOU never watched this  episode of  Reading Rainbow.

The last arresting bits in the park ( It was  eighty five degrees outside and it felt like 104 according to the weather man, due to the humidity)  were these cool green pockets  amid all the hot splashes of Sun.

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After I found these, it was time to head home, before I completely melted into my shoes.  The cool thing is, a year ago, I’d not have gone out in the heat again and walked the extra  mile to get the pictures, having all ready walked two miles with Mom and the niece-lings.  Two years ago, I would have been in too much pain to even think about walking with Mom and the niece-lings.  Like I said before, there have been a lot of changes in my life since I posted last.  Good and bad. Hopefully a return to posting, will be counted as one of the good.

Until next time Scribes,

Encourage one another!

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My friend and I were texting, and she said something that made us both laugh and then, in that next breath,  made my heart ache with its savage truth.  Our conversation was running something like this:

HER: “I don’t see  [writing  group]  listed on their site, maybe it’s invitation only.”

ME: “You a grown up now,  you could call and  ask a librarian. They they aren’t dragons, they aren’t going to eat you.”

HER:  ” I’m pretty sure they are dragons.  You know when I was a kid, I wasn’t afraid of dragons. Now that I’m an adult I’ve learned to fear them.”

The truth of her observation cuts like razors.  Kids are fearless, trusting, wonder-holders, and bold enough to stare down Wyrms. But as we get older, life introduce rejection, falseness, betrayal, and heartache. We all learn to fear the dragons.  We lose the ability to stare into the eyes of a great beast, of someone different,  and see a potential friend.

 
It’s wounding that she’s right,  but I’m not going to stay  bleeding on the sidelines. I”m going to work on not assuming every last one I meet wants to eat me. I’m going to capture back the wonder I had as a kid, and with God’s help, I’m going to unlearn this fear  dragons.

Dragon image taken from Sandara’s gallery at deviant art. Click the dragon to go see her full range of work!

DSCN4661Dandelions. They’ve got deep roots and seem to be able to grow just about anywhere, even on the sides of walls in tiny little pieces of dirt. Give them half a chance and they will wriggle into what looks like absolutely hostile territory and by the end of the summer, not only have they conquered it, but they will  prepare for wide-spread invasion of what ground is not yet under their control . White puff balls  will spring up with their seeds tied to valiant wings,  ready to take to the wind and infiltrate the next lawn over, the garden  at the end of the block, and  the hill at the very end of the neighborhood.

Which is why I’m   rather aggressive in our war on these sunny sentinels.  Ruthlessly I tear them up,  leave them to wither on the sidewalk, and then  go after their tender green budded family members who are not yet open.   I dig with a spade until I find the tap-root and then I let it sizzle on the hard white concrete, bleeding out the last bits of its  life and moisture under the relentless beating of the summer sun.

Why am I so heartless with these yellow petaled intruders? Because if I give them even a tiny inch of space, they selfishly take over the entire garden. They just won’t play nice with others.

Having worked now for two years as a reviewer, I can say that the reviews on most books-for-sale-sites are the same way. Like dandelions, the fan written, fan squealing, five-star friend written reviews are choking out the thoughtful assessments of books. Memes like “Remember, reviews are tips for authors” are as dangerous as the September breeze over the bobbing white launch-pads in my garden.

No, reviews are not tips for authors.  Authors don’t get tips. They aren’t wait staff who are paid less than nothing and have to stand on their feet all day dealing with hungry people, food, and money. Tip your wait staff, not your author.

Reviews aren’t about the author at all actually, the good ones anyway, they are about the story that has been told. And the more that authors jockey to get fans to leave four and five-star reviews,  the less authority those reviews are going to have. Just like printing more paper money in a bad economy eventually is going to make the paper money worthless, so the more that authors push for four and five-star review, the more those four and five stars are going to drop value.

I think what makes me so angry about inflated reviews,  is that they really don’t do anyone any good. Readers stop trusting reviews all together, and authors start losing sales because people aren’t buying their book; the book that might be a really nice three star book.

My plea to authors and reviews is this: help me kill the internet  review dandelions by being honest.

Authors,   stop making “positive” reviews a way for fans to gain points towards rewards.  Stop pushing people you know socially to write reviews of your books. Submit your work to independent review sites. Stop using gushing fan reviews to sell your work on your social media pages.

Readers, don’t get sucked into the social vortex of “I like this author and they private messaged me or mentioned me in a post, therefore I owe him something because he acknowledged that I exist”, and embrace the freedom to write what you really believe about books. Write reviews of books you didn’t like. Write reviews of books you absolutely hated. Continue to express yourself, even if you are the only one saying that the book bombed.

Because in the end, truth is more important than success and being truthful is better than being liked.

Also, I think it would be a great idea if authors really wanted to set out a tip jar, to do what Ryan Bliss of Digital Blasphemy did; he set out a tip jar. On Digital Blasphemy you can literally give him a tip through Paypal, whether you’re a member, or not.

What do you think about the rise of four-and-five-star reviews on Goodread, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble Scribes? Do you believe it when someone writes a high review for books now? Or do you look at the one and three star reviews for the truth about a book?

Until next time Encourage one another!

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As promised, part two of the cupcake cooking adventure. So, I got to the break room early, and started setting up.  Gold cloth on the table for Belle’s dress in the ballroom scene, artificial dew-dropped rose for a center piece,  and yes, that is a fabulous  drooping petal leafed rose on the bag containing Caiti’s goodies made it a splendid sight.  Donna, our manager helped me with the streamers and balloons the night before. All that was left to bring and set out other than the roses were the cupcakes.

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These cupcakes. Aren’t they lovely? I would be delighted to tell you that I made those lovely sugar roses on the top, but that would be a lie. Those, I did buy. But I think they turned out incredibly well and it was a lovelier picture when I had them all in the box but I didn’t get a snap of that. So just pretend that it’s full and lovely.  I bought green plates for the party because we NEVER have plates at work and also it worked with the green/pink/gold that we had chosen for the colors.  I had just finished setting out the birthday girl’s cupcake when this happened.

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I thought I had left him safely at home. But no. Apparently chocolate is dragon nip, who knew? And he was bound and determined to have a cupcake. So bound and determined that he brought along backup.

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No cupcake is safe from this pair. And while the Dragon looks all cute and innocent, you have not seen what he did to my writing area when he was thwarted from eating ALL the cupcakes.

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Caiti very kindly shared her bounty of birthday cake with the Dragon (just one), though the Assassin had gone off on an adventure I think at this point or she would have given him his own.

Thank you so much Caiti, for sugaring up the night-fury before I had to take him home.

I’m not the only one with an evil laugh.😉

Until next time Scribes, Encourage one another.