Author Archives: Miriam Hurdle

#bookreview: Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

I’m so thrilled that Liz Gauffreau, the poet, features me on her blog today. She did a fabulous and insightful review of my poetry collection, Songs of Heartstrings. She highlighted two of my poems and read one. Please head over to enjoy. While you’re there, check out her publications.

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Click on book cover to purchase from Amazon.

My Review

Reading Miriam Hurdle’s poetry collection, Songs ofHeartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude, I was immediately struck by the poems’ depth and breadth of reflection. The maturity of these contemplative poems brought to mind educational reformer John Dewey’s definition of reflective thinking as a meaning-making process by which individuals learn and society advances. This meaning-making process is very much in evidence throughout the collection–as is Hurdle’s strong religious faith.

The collection is organized into thematic sections, like suites of music. Taken together, they form the rich symphony of a life well-lived, including the inevitable discordant notes.

Hurdle employs of a range of forms in the collection, including free verse of varying lengths, acrostic, and prose poem, thereby demonstrating her sensitivity to the relationship between form and content. She chooses the form of poetic expression that will best communicate to readers…

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Summer Vibes

Andre is the guest host for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. His theme is Summer Vibes. He posted some biking, mountain climbing, hiking, swimming, diving, sailing, surfing, kitesurfing, and beach sailing photos.

He said, when it comes to the style of spending this most valuable time of the year, wishes would differ following their personal preferences.

I spend a lot of my summer in my garden

I love the cheerful sunflowers. The bees like them as well.

This baby grasshopper stayed on the African lily long enough for me to take a few photos. It’s the size of a grain of rice.

The monarchs have been doing very well this summer. I’ve raised about 50. There are still two chrysalises and one caterpillar. Then I’ll be done for this year because I’ll be away quite a bit the rest of the summer.

I also take summer trips with my husband and family

Hubby Lynton dived in Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Our family went on a whale-watching trip at Huntington Beach.

Photo on the left, Lynton and I went hiking at Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park. Photo on the right, we watched the crashing waves on Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii

I love to watch my granddaughters having fun in the summer

Autumn and Nora were building sandcastles at the beach in Three Creek Lake Campground, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

Autumn is getting good at paddle boarding at Three Creek Lake, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Summer Vibes

What are your favorite summer activities?

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Lens-Artists Photo – Seeing Double

Jez is a guest host this week for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge. Thank you, Jez, for this favorite theme of mine. He said, seeing double is all about reflections.

When I travel, I enjoy taking photos of reflections. There are reflections in the ocean, the lake, the pond, the fountain, the puddle, or the glass window. It’s delightful to take photos with the already perfect mirror images when the water in the pond or fountain is still. It’s equally intriguing to see the wavy reflections in the lake, the river, or the ocean.

I have a collection of reflection images from Spain, China, Hong Kong, Santa Barbara in California, Huntington Library in California, and Portland in Oregon.

Puente de Alcántara Bridge over the calm river, Toledo, Spain
Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China, with different colored lights and reflections in the underground water

Flamingos in the Kowloon Park, Hong Kong

Chinese Garden in Huntington Library and Art Museum and Botanical Garden, California

Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon

Granddaughter Autumn at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge – Seeing Double

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Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

Lynton and I joined the Trafalgar Tour on a 10-day trip in Spain several years ago. We can purchase a land tour only or land and flights. Their tours usually fly out of New York. We live in Southern California, so we cooked our own flights and met the tour at the first stop in Madrid, then went to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Lynton and I arrived in Madrid and stayed at the same hotel where the tour met. All the tour members met and introduced themselves to each other the evening before the tour began. The next day, after breakfast, the tour guide took us on a quick tour around the city. We only spent a couple of hours in Madrid because it was not our major sightseeing city. We got off the tour bus long enough to take a few photos. After making a few stops, we were on our way to Toledo.

I took the following photos and got the information from the websites about these places.

Las Ventas Bullring

The Las Ventas Bullring

Madrid’s main bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or simply, Las Ventas. The bullfight season runs from March to October. The best time to see bullfights in Madrid is during the months of May and June. The world-famous San Isidro bullfight festival takes place during these months and brings together the best fighters, bulls, and aficionados. Outside San Isidro, fights are normally held every Sunday, starting at 7 o’clock in the evening.  https://www.gomadrid.com/activity/madrid-bullfights.html

Royal Theatre

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre)

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) or simply El Real, as it is known colloquially, is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on 19 November 1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1966. Beginning in 1988 it underwent major refurbishing and renovation works and finally reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats. Today the Teatro Real opera is one of the great theaters of Europe hosting large productions involving leading international figures in opera singing, musical direction, stage direction, and dance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teatro_Real

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid)

Madrid’s Royal Palace is a beautiful baroque structure with some 3,000 rooms, making it one of Europe’s largest castles. Although the royal family no longer lives here, the Palacio Real still serves as the king and queen’s official residence, a venue for state ceremonies, and a place for tourists to get a peek into the royal history of Spain. https://www.viator.com/Madrid-attractions/Royal-Palace-Palacio-Real

Monumento a Felipe IV (on horse)
Reinando Isabel Segunda de Borbon
Miguel de Cervantes Monument in Plaza de España Madrid

Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

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Cover Reveal – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival

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Early this month, in a comment, Diana W. Peach asked me if I kept a secret about my new book.

Not really.

I’ve been writing my book about my cancer journey since 2016. I kept organizing, reorganizing, writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. I posted tidbits here and there but the story was still brewing. It is not a secret but it becomes normal for me to keep working on it until I call it done.

Well, my writing group at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University, Fullerton, has been extremely instrumental in helping it to come into shape with clarity. I’ll introduce this group of retired professionals to my blogging community later.

Today, I’m grateful to reveal my Cover, the Foreward, and the Blurb.

The book will be available on Amazon later in the summer. I’ll let you know when I have a date.

Foreward

You know the ending before you read the story because I’m here to tell it to you. The journey was long and dark, but I survived. The ending is an important part of a story, but the process gives it meaning. At many points during this cancer journey, I felt death was teasing me. I lost most of my muscle mass, lost 20% of my blood, and almost all my energy. Yet, I was breathing. It caused me to ponder. What is life?

I had an active and productive life up until the point when I had cancer. When I couldn’t lift my feet to walk, being productive was thousands of miles away from my thoughts. Family and friends became the only value in my life. In fact, they carried me through this journey.

Life is precious, and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living. I want to enjoy the beautiful earth and everything that lives on it. I want to emerge in the blessed and loving relationship between family and friends.

I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.

Blurb

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-a dangerous, aggressive, and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received the treatments at the beginning of 2009, her cancer progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and upward winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

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Thank you for letting me share this cover with you. Now, I have to get the ball rolling!

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