Author Archives: Miriam Hurdle

Book Review: Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

It’s delighted to see the marvelous review of my poetry book from James J Cudney IV. He walked along side with me to recount my journey experience, my reflection on what it meant to endure and trust the process.
Please head over to his blog to read his review and over 900 of his book reviews. You’ll also find out more of his mystery books.

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

This Is My Truth Now

Before I get into my review of the book, Songs of Heartstrings, I’d like to share some information about the author, Miriam Hurdle. Authors, whether writers or poets, often pull from experience, i.e. the old adage: write what you know. In this case, there is clear evidence of the pain this poet went through in the past. Between losing loved ones, dealing with the end of a relationship, and cancer, Miriam Hurdle has gone to battle quite often and conquered many major obstacles in life. It is because of these experiences that we see and feel such beauty in her poems.

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert…

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Flash Fiction 2019.09.19 – Interlude

September 19, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an interlude. It can be a pause between two key moments, the pause between acts in a play, an intermission, or a temporary amusement. Go where the prompt leads you!

 

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Key Change

 

“Choir, that’s beautiful. All the parts blend well. We’ll add something to our rehearsal.”

“What? I just got all the lyrics memorized.”

“Wonderful, Liz, you can look at me rather than the music score.”

“What else do we have to learn?”

“We change key for the last stanza. The lyrics are the same. Chris composed the interlude. Now listen once.”

 “It sounds heavenly, but I can’t catch the note for the key change.”

“There are sixteen bars. Listen to the last bar. Hum the last note that takes you to the first note of the next stanza.”

“Got it.”

~

Image result for images of music notes

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction 2019.09.19 – Interlude

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #64 – Countryside and/or Small Town

The theme from Amy for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #64 is: Countryside and/or Small Town.

 

I live in the big cities most of my life. The advantage of living in a city is the accessibility. But I realize that needs are relative. Lifestyle is a learned taste and habit. People can feel satisfied with a simple living. They may not know the existence of certain things and do not have a need for them; therefore, they may not miss them.

We bought a 10-acre land 35 years ago in Sequim, Washington Peninsula at the foot of the National Forest. It was an undeveloped parcel. The previous owner logged most of the big trees. They made a profit from the sales of logging. They poured gravels on the logging trail as a road to access the property. The purchase was to build a retirement home.

We rented a trailer to camp out there to do some inquiry. The minimum necessity to make the land livable was to have electricity hooked up, dig a well and connect the sewage pipe. The first thing we needed was water. Upon inquiry, we realized that drilling a well cost $5,500 per drilling for an average depth of 150 feet. If they detected no water, we needed to pay to drill another spot to find water.

I started to walk around the property and do some thinking. Even though the price of the land was reasonable, it required a lot of effort and resources to make it livable. One discouraging thing to me was that the closest neighbors were 10-acres away. It was hard for me as a city girl not to have neighbors close by. Eventually we sold the property.

When we travel, I appreciate going to see countryside that frees my mind and gives me a sense of tranquility such as Denali in Alaska, Bavaria in Germany, places we passed by in Amsterdam, Longleat and Stonehenge in England.

 

Alaska.Denali IMG_6710

Denali, Alaska

2.Germany15- Barvarian Alps

Bavaria, Germany

Amsterdam f59 DSC03875 (2)

Amsterdam

c21 Longleat (2)

Longleat, England

stone4

Stonehenge, England

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #64 – Countryside and/or Small Town

 

 

 

My Book Review of Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano #RWISA #RRBC

My Book Review of Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano #RWISA #RRBC

Gwen Plano Letting go

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Blurb:

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.  Continue reading……

 

My Review

In her book Letting Go, Gwen Plano recounted her two abusive marriages in honesty and courage. She married the first husband after he had a mental breakdown. The psychiatrist gave her hope that Bruce could recover. She married him intending to help him and saved him from being admitted. She couldn’t handle his outrage and filed a divorce. She married Ron six months after they met. There were signs of Ron’s disturbed behavior, but Gwen stated that she was in a fantasy world of young love. In the years to come, Ron uprooted the family on minutes of notice and moved across the country and even to Japan. After they came back to the US, he was getting more violent, demeaning and controlling.  He physically abused their young son when the baby was seven months old. When the daughter was sexually abused at age five by clergies and complained about that years later, Ron didn’t want to deal with it and wanted to move on.

During the twenty-five years of abuse, Gwen studied and taught. The workplace was her escape. The busyness kept them going for twenty-five years. At one point, she realized Ron made her feel “small.” In an abusive relationship, women kept the abuse in secret, fear the reporting results in more abuse. These women may fear of not being able to stand on their own feet.

The beginning of her book, Gwen conveyed her Catholic upbringing which demanded her obedience to the church rules and prevented her from divorce. Her family background formed her endurance of hardship without complaint. It was after her seeking spiritual advice and assurance to rid her fear that she filed for a divorce and was set free.

 

My Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

 

 

About the Author

Gwendolyn M. Plano, aka Gwen M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir. In Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse, Gwen bravely recounts a violent marriage and the faith that opened her heart to hope, to trust, and to awe. Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a powerful story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s inspiring account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, open her heart, and honor the journey home.

Gwen’s second book, The Contract between Heaven and Earth, is the first of her thriller series and is co-authored by John W. Howell, published in June 2018. Author Jan Sikes wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

The Choice: unexpected heroes, the second in her thriller series, was published in June 2019 and continues the story.

 

Other books by Gwen Plano

The Contract: between heaven and earth     The Choice: the unexpected heroes

 

Contact Gwen Plano

Website: http://gwenmplano.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gwendolyn-M.-Plano/e/B00I5TAJ04?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwendolynMPlano

 

 

SoCS 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda is “wrap/rap.” I used unwrapped.

~

I gave two unwrapped gifts to myself when I graduated with the Doctor of Education in year 2000.

The first gift was two season tickets to six operas in 2001. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a radio. I listened to the news, ghost stories and other broadcast on my neighbor’s radio. There was a theme music playing before the news. After thirty seconds, the music faded as a female announcer came in to report the news of the day. That was the beginning of my classical music appreciation and I later identified the theme music for the news broadcast as the Overture of Bizet’s Carmen. I started taking voice lessons at nineteen years old and sang pieces of operatic music.

 

Image result for bizet's carmen

 

I hoped to see operas such as Carmen, La Bohème and La Traviata, and learn about less popular ones. Hubby likes mostly country western music, but he would go with me to see the operas. Part of the attraction to me was to dress up and be with other people who had the same interest. At the opera house, people could rent small binoculars at $7 each. We brought two binoculars with greater strength. I not only wanted to see the details of costumes but also the singers’ expressions.

Classical music was not Hubby’s taste, let alone opera. Many people enjoy classical music but have no interest in opera. The first opera we went, Hubby slept through the first half. I didn’t wake him even though his chin dropped to the chest. The only time I would interrupt was when he started snoring which didn’t happen. Snoring in a classical performance is rude to the performers and disrespect to the audience. People don’t cough or sneeze during the performance. They hold their breath and focused. When one movement is over, you’d hear people clearing their throats. The conductor waits until everybody quiets before he raises the baton. For the subsequent performances, I oriented him with the plots, so he watched the acts as if they were Broadway shows.

I stopped subscribing the tickets after three years when the popular operas repeated.

~

The second gift was a new car. I had a Honda Civic for about eight years. It had enough scratches and mechanical problems. It was about time to get a new car. I had ideas of the features in a new car that I liked, so I made a spreadsheet, listing on each row the specifications such as 4-doors, sunroof, automatic, CD player, and other items. On the columns, I listed four makes of cars – Infinity, Audi, Lexus, and Acura. At the bottom of the spreadsheet listed the price of each car. After the comparison and considered the pros and cons, I decided on the Acura. There were two determining factors, one of them was the price. I had to be practical after paying for three years of a doctoral program. Another factor was Honda had a higher rate of returning customers. Acura is the luxury car of Honda. I like Honda, so I would be happy with Acura. I bought an Acura.

 

Image result for images of 2000 white acura

 

Hubby kept up with the oil change and maintenance year after year. We didn’t have any major problem with the car. Four years ago, fifteen years after I had the car, I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I would need to buy another car for my remaining life. When to buy it? The car needed new tires, and we bought four new tires. The tires were good for five years or 50,000 miles. I wanted to wait until close to the end of warranty to get a new car. A school principal told me he kept his Honda to 300,000 miles. My car should make it for several more years with the leisure driving after retirement.

In September 2018, we went to Las Vegas for a week. Upon our return, the car started to get overheated. Hubby tried to drive slower, but it made no difference. I didn’t want to leave Nevada and have the car die in the desert. Calling AAA was in order. The driver came in a tow truck. After his assessment, he confirmed that the radiator broke. The car needed to be towed. We were not near any exit to turn around. The tow truck went forward fourteen miles to an intersection, then turned around toward Las Vegas. The closest Acura dealer was seven miles passed Las Vegas. Well, my insurance covers certain miles of towing and I paid for the rest. The dealer couldn’t work on the car until the next day. We spent a night in that city where the dealer was and picked up the car the next day.

After replacing the radiator, I started to think of shopping for a car but didn’t feel the urgency. I was thinking about doing that within a year. I should have gotten a new car before September this year but I didn’t. Last Thursday, September 12, 2019 was the first week of classes at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a program for the retirees. On my way to California State University, Fullerton, the car was not running smoothly. I found a place to park and called Hubby. He said the car had some traction issue but not a big problem. I went on to my classes. On my way home, the car had bigger traction problem. I pulled over by the curb, stopped and restarted the car, made it go for half a mile and restarted again. When I made a left turn at an intersection, it stopped in the middle of the road. I rolled down the window, signaled the car to bypass me. After great struggle to restart many times, I was like dragging a pouting dog to go for a couple more miles. Two miles before getting home, the car said, “That’s it, I refuse to go any further.”

Hubby came right away. We called AAA and the tow truck came, towed the car to the dealership which was five miles away. This time it was the transmission problem. The manufacture doesn’t make the transmission for that model anymore. Getting a refurbished or used transmission cost $4,500. It’s not worth spending that kind of money when I’m overdue for a new car.

I got 217,000 miles and 19 years out of my Acura anyway. I’ll be car hunting and get another unwrapped gift for myself.

 

 

 

SoSC 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

 

 

 

 

Two Hikers Found a message in a Bottle and Helped Rescued a Stranded Family

There was a CNN news update by Cheri Mossburg on September 11, 2019 about two hikers helped to rescue a stranded family. The family wanted to thank these two hikers and made the news on this day.

Curtis Whitson, his thirteen-year-old son and his girlfriend, Krystal Ramirez went backpacking at the Arroyo Seco River in central California for the Father’s Day weekend. Their goal was to reach the Arroyo Seco narrows, float through the water shoot and down the waterfall before joining friends to float the last couple of miles down to a campground. After two-and-a-half days, the family reached the narrows, a spot in the river surrounded by solid rock up to 40 feet high on each side. But the water currents were too strong for them to pass through. After trying to hike up and over, Whitson and his son kept hitting dead ends. There was no way out.

The family couldn’t see anything past the canyon walls, but they heard voices on the other side. They tried yelling for help. They carved a message on a stick and throwing it over. But they realized a stick wouldn’t be enough.

Whitson spotted a lime green water bottle and carved ‘HELP’ into the exterior of the plastic. Ramirez, his girlfriend had scratch paper. She scratched out a note and popped the paper inside the bottle.

 

The family carved 'HELP' on a green bottle

The three made sure to include a note in the bottle

The family went back up the river to a small beach where they had stopped earlier for lunch. They floated down from the beach in about two minutes, but it took about 30 minutes to get back upstream. After they got to the beach, they spread out a blue tarp in a clearing and assembled white rocks to spell out “SOS.” As the sun set, they used a headlamp to keep that message illuminated.

 

SOS

After midnight, the sound of a California Highway Patrol helicopter woke them up. Someone said over the loudspeaker, “This is Search and Rescue. We have found you.” The rescue crew told the family to stay put and stay warm. They arrived early the next morning to bring them to safety.

The rescue officer told Whitson two men found the bottle and hiked two miles to their campsite to give the message to the site host. Flight Officer Todd Bainbridge said the crew used night vision goggles and FLIR (forward looking infrared) technology to spot the campfire and located Whitson and his family. The two hikers left before the rescue team arrived.

Whitson and his family are grateful for the two hikers and the crew member who saved them. He wanted the news media to help him find the two hikers who found his family’s message and saved their lives.

 

 

 

Colleen’s Poetry Challenge #145 – Photo Prompt

It’s the middle of the month challenge ~ time for a photo prompt!

This month Colleen used a photo chosen by last month’s “Photo-Prompt” Poet of the Week ~ Jane Dougherty.

 

Image by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

 

For the Birds

In

Midway

of ocean

Trees reach to sky

Haven, they built for

Birds, northbound and southbound

Water rises, heads go higher

Roots skinnier, refuse to be drown

Tens of thousands years they’ve survived

Until the last inhale, they will try

~

 

Colleen’s Poetry Challenge #145 – Photo Prompt

 

 

 

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