COVER IDEAS FOR THE TALES2INSPIRE EMERALD COLLECTION

 

 

 

 

I have asked Sean Somics, the terrific fellow who designed the T2I logo, if he would work with me on the cover. Below you can find three prototypes that we are working from and if you have an artistic eye, would appreciate your input.

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SAMPLE A WHAT I WANT TO KEEP: THE SHADES OF GREEN ON THIS SAMPLE

MY CONCERN: DOES  THE WHITE BOX AROUND THE EMERALD LOOKS TOO MUCH LIKE THE DESIGN TAKEN FROM A TEMPLATE? YOUR THOUGHTS?

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SAMPLE B – WHAT I LIKE: THE GREEN CURVED LINES CONTINUING DOWN THE COVER.

WHAT I WANT CHANGED:  THE GREENS NEED TO BE SHARPER AS IN SAMPLE A.  I DO NOT LIKE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COLOR PURPLE TO THE TITLE AND MY NAME.

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SAMPLE CWHAT I LIKE: AGAIN, I LIKE THE GREEN CURVED LINES CONTINUING DOWN THE COVER

I ALSO LIKE THE BOLD BLACK COLOR USED FOR THE TITLE AND AM INCLINED TO ASK SEAN TO USE IT FOR THE “BEYOND COINCIDENCE ” and “CREATED BY . . . ” PARTS AS WELL WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WHAT I WANT CHANGED: NEED THE GREENS TO BE SHARPER AS IN SAMPLE A. I DO LIKE

WHAT I’M ALSO CONSIDERING:  ASKING FOR A LIGHT HALO AROUND THE EMERALD LOGO TO BREAK ALL THE GREEN.

ANY OTHER IDEAS? PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME AT: tales2inspire@optimum.net OR POST THEM IN A COMMENT BOX ON THIS BLOG. TO AVOID CONFUSION, PLEASE REFER TO EACH COVER YOU DISCUSS BY LETTER (SAMPLE A, B OR C)

MANY THANK

LOIS

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THE FENCE by Herman Rosenblat (a survivor of ‘the camps’)

August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland  **
The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow’s Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.
Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.
“Whatever you do, Isidore,” my eldest brother, whispered to me, “don’t tell them your age. Say you’re sixteen.” I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.
An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.
“Sixteen,” I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.
My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.
I whispered to Isidore, ‘Why?’ He didn’t answer.
I ran to Mama’s side and said I wanted to stay with her. “No,” she said sternly. “Get away. Don’t be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.”
She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

Buchenwald Gate

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany.We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.
“Don’t call me Herman anymore.” I said to my brothers. “Call me 94983.”
I was put to work in the camp’s crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number.
Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald ‘s sub-camps near Berlin.

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One morning I thought I heard my mother’s voice. “Son,” she said softly but clearly, “I am going to send you an angel.”
Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.
A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German. “Do you have something to eat?”
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She didn’t understand. I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence. I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat – a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn’t dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both. I didn’t know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she  understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me?
Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.

Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia . “Don’t return,” I told the girl that day. “We’re leaving.” I turned toward the barracks and didn’t look back, didn’t even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I’d never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM.
In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I’d survived. Now, it was over.  I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited.
But at 8 a.m. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I’m not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival.
In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person’s goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none.
My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.
Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.
By August 1957 I’d opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in. One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me. “I’ve got a date. She’s got a Polish friend. Let’s double date.” A blind date? Nah, that wasn’t for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.
I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn’t so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life. The four of us drove out to Coney Island. Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!
We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn’t remember having a better time. We piled back into Sid’s car, Roma and I sharing the backseat. As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, “Where were you,” she asked softly, “during the war?”
 “The camps,” I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget. She nodded. “My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,” she told me. “My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.” I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world. “There was a camp next to the farm.” Roma continued. “I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.”
What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. “What did he look like?” I asked. “He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.” My heart was racing. I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be. “Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?” Roma looked at me in amazement. “Yes!”“That was me!” I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn’t believe it! My angel.
“I’m not letting you go,” I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn’t want to wait. “You’re crazy!” she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week. There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most
important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many  months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I’d found her again, I could never let her go. That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.

** This story was forwarded to me by a friend as part of a memorial chain to all those who became victims of concentration camp atrocities during Wold War II. However, since posting this story, I have learned that although the author is a survivor of the concentration camps, he falsely presented his story as truth, when in fact it is a work of fiction. 

You can read more about this hoax at:

 

* THE VOICE: A MEDICAL MIRACLE – by Stan Cupery M.D.

Dr. Don Lloyd finished watching the ten o’clock news and flipped off the T.V. It was 10:30 p.m. He glanced outside and noted it was snowing. His window-mounted thermometer read fifteen degrees, about normal for mid-January in Wisconsin. By 11:00 p.m. he was in bed and snoring lightly when his telephone rang.  It was an emergency room nurse at the local hospital informing him that the rescue squad was bringing in a newborn baby girl from a home delivery. The baby was severely hypothermic. Dr. L. cradled the phone with his shoulder while he hurriedly dressed and listened to the rest of the story. On the ride to the E.R. he rehearsed in his mind the routine to treat hypothermia. He was apprehensive, to say the least. He was a family doctor, not a neonatal specialist.

The mother was a massively overweight teenager whose parents hadn’t even realized she was pregnant. The girl had gone off by herself, somehow delivered, placed the baby in a brown paper grocery bag and carried it to an abandoned house. She left it there on the basement floor to freeze to death.

By the time the girl returned home, she was bleeding so heavily her parents had to rush her to the E.R. The resident on duty removed some placental tissue, which quickly stopped the bleeding. He then quizzed the young mother on the whereabouts of the baby. She was evasive at first, but when the resident threatened to call the police, she finally admitted to what she had done. A frantic city-wide search by all available rescue personnel led to the baby’s discovery in a relatively short time. The baby, unfortunately, was already moribund when they found her.

When Dr. Lloyd arrived at the E.R., he was informed that the baby was so cold a rectal temperature could not be obtained. Her pulse rate was only twenty per minute and her weak, gasping respirations were only eight per minute. No blood pressure was obtainable. Her extremities had the consistency of frozen meat.

The snowstorm had morphed into a blizzard. A transfer by Med-Flight was out of the question. A neonatal I.C.U. ambulance was dispatched from University Hospital in Madison, but the normal driving time of forty five minutes was now estimated at closer to two or three hours. The I.C.U. personnel advised the local E.R. to keep up with their re-warming efforts, but added that they had never seen an infant survive with vital signs as dire as this little girl’s.

Upon arrival in the E.R., the little girl was immersed in tepid water to which warmer water was gradually added. After one hour of this routine, there was no response. No rise in temperature. All attempts to start an I.V. failed. The needles either bent or broke off in the hard tissue. Nothing was working. By this time, all of the rescue personnel had left. Only Dr. Lloyd and five nurses now remained in the E.R., which had suddenly turned very quiet. In desperation, Dr. Lloyd finally asked if anyone had any suggestions. The five nurses assisting him just shook their heads. Then all of them heard a soft voice say, “Ask God for help.”

Dr. L. asked if any of the nurses wished to pray. They didn’t, so he prayed.  He prayed like he’d never prayed before. Right in the middle of it, he had a brainstorm.

THIS  STORY CONTINUES IN the TALES2INSPIRE

  Emerald_RD 

Emerald Collection

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Stan Cupery is a retired family physician presently living in Venice, Florida and summering in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Cupery practiced medicine in Beaver Dam and Randolph, Wisconsin for thirty years. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College  (Ohio) and his M. D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine-where he was also an Associate Professor and administered the preceptor program.  He interned at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota and served two years in the U.S. Navy.

Get more info, ‘how to’s’ and ‘what if’s’ about Lois’ Tales2Inspire project

* DRAGONFLIES AND THE GREAT BLUE HERON by James Osborne

For more than a decade, Great Blue Herons had a special meaning for Brad and Cindy. During those years, Brad had no hint this special meaning would one day acquire a much deeper significance.

The couple enjoyed watching the graceful herons at their summer cottage feed one hundred feet away, drawn by schools of minnows in a bay below their deck.

Brad and Cindy also saw the birds feed in a cove where they often anchored their boat overnight.Blue herons became their favorite bird. To celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary they commissioned a watercolor of a pair of blue heron.

Blue Heron

Watercolor of a pair of Blue Herons, commissioned by Brad and Cindy for their 30th wedding anniversary

The years slipped by, as they will.  Those thirty years edged toward thirty-five. Their prized painting hadn’t been framed.  One day, Brad sneaked it out and got it framed. On the night of their 35th anniversary, as they prepared to turn in, there was the framed painting above their bed, where Brad had just finished hanging it minutes earlier.

Three years later, Cindy lost her battle with cancer.  And Brad, well . . . was lost, too.

At Cindy’s memorial service, her  dear friend, Ellen led the service. She wanted to help Cindy’s young grandchildren comprehend what had occurred. Here is the story she told:

Once upon a time, a happy group of tiny bugs were playing on the bottom of a lily pond. One by one, the bugs climbed up a lily stem and disappeared. Those left behind wondered what had happened to their friends.  Then they agreed the next bug to venture beyond the surface of the pond would return and tell the others what they’d experienced.  

One day, a bug left and found itself on a lily pad. It fell asleep. When it awoke, the warm sunshine had dried its body. Instinctively, it spread the wings it had grown while asleep and began flying away. The bug had become a beautiful dragonfly with four resplendent wings. Then it remembered the promise. It swooped back toward the surface of the pond and headed downward. The dragonfly hit the surface and could go no farther. It was not able to return. Finally, it realized the others would just need to have faith that it was going to be all right.

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Original photo contributed by Sonia M. Smith

Before she passed away, Cindy had asked Brad to make two promises to her:

THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™

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EMERALD COLLECTION

Finalist award – 2013

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VERY PRECIOUS . . . LIFE IS A TENDER GIFT


LIFE IS A TENDER GIFT

Twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were born 12 weeks ahead of their due date. Needing intensive care, they were placed in separate incubators.

Kyrie began to gain weight and her health stabilized. But Brielle, born only 2 lbs, had trouble breathing, heart problems and other complications. She was not expected to live.Their nurse did everything she could to make Brielle¯s health  better, but nothing she did was helping her. With nothing else to do, their nurse went against hospital policy and decided to place both  babies in the same incubator. She left the twin girls to sleep and when when she returned she found a sight she could not believe. She called all the nurses and  doctors and this is what they saw.

 As Brielle got closer to her sister, Kyrie put her small little arm around her, as if to hug and support her sister. From that moment on, Brielle¯s breathing and heart rate stabilized and her health became normal.

 She asked me to share this picture to show the world how a little bit of tender love and affection can save someone’s life.

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My friend, Natalie asked me if I would share this tender little story with my friends. And so, I am sharing it with all of you. If it touches you, please pass it along to  a few of your Facebook friends, tell them about my new author page and ask them if they would LIKE it too. And everyone, both on and off Facebook, can FOLLOW this blog. by clicking on the word ‘FOLLOW’ in the upper left corner of this screen.

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NO MORE FACEBOOK GROUPS – Just One Central Place For All Of Us

NO MORE FACEBOOK GROUPS – Just One Central Place Where We

Can Interact, Share and Communicate

I am closing down my Facebook groups in 2 weeks, with all future postings going to one place: my new author page at http://www.facebook.com/tales2inspire. I’m consolidate to bring us all together (lovers of inspiring stories and those with a special interest in Aesthetics and beauty) – for better communication and interaction, for less splintering and confusion.

I don’t want to lose you as a friend, so please take a moment to click on this link and give the page a LIKE.

If you are a reader of inspiring stories, don’t miss AS I AM, one of the beautiful ‘tales’ entered into my Tales2Inspire 2013 collection, and MIRACLE, another one I will be highlighting this week. If your interest lies in aesthetics and physical beauty, don’t miss Lillian Shah’s  thought provoking article, Yes, We Do Notice When You Make a Change – Either Large or Small or Dr. Rucker’s article about Dark Under Eye Circles.

CLICK

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* THE FLOWERS – by Cheryl Stewart

She was a beautiful woman who left her home state of Washington to move to Alaska. She and her husband had a dream of moving north. They packed up their belongings and drove to this territory of the United States. Alaska was not yet a state and they settled in the small town of Anchorage.  She was a woman with a pioneer spirit, but never left her house without her signature Coco Chanel red lipstick.  This woman whom I speak of was model perfect in every sense of the word. She even appeared on TV every Wednesday afternoon for a local show called “The Women’s Touch”.

This woman was my mother.

Even though she was a stay home mom, she was the busiest person I ever knew. She loved her newly founded state and became a socialite and was involved in multiple committees that ranged from the PTA, local causes, and church functions. Once we children had left home, she volunteered once a week at the Anchorage Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center is a log cabin originally built in 1955, complete with a grass-tundra covered roof. It used to be one the original houses of an earlier time, and now stands in the middle of the financial district of downtown Anchorage. It is a landmark building

Loreane Rose’s philanthropy won her the Mayor’s Moose Award, 2003 Log Cabin Volunteer of The Year

Every Thursday while walking to the center, she passed a Native Alaskan homeless woman sitting on a park bench asking for money. My mother never gave her money, knowing all too well where the cash would be spent. Instead she brought her coffee in the morning and soup or a sandwich in the afternoon. My mother was curious about this person and her story, and started arriving downtown earlier. She sat with her to get to know her.

This homeless street person was initially intimated by her questions, but my mother eventually made her feel at ease.

When asked her name, the native lady replied “Violet”. With her signature smile, my mother responded that her name was Loraene Rose. Without skipping a beat, she told her that they already had something in common. Both of their mother’s decided to name their daughters after their favorite flower. A friendship had blossomed.

Over the summer, they got to know each other better. Violet was an Inuit lady from Western Alaska in a small village on the Kuskokwim River Delta. She revealed her difficult life and that she had a daughter.  For some undisclosed reason, she had left her village and her daughter as well. The last time she had seen her daughter, she was 13 years old. My mother listened to her story, and then shared her own.  Loraene Rose had lost her mother to cancer when she was 13 years of age and didn’t have a second chance of ever seeing her again. Violet still had the opportunity of providing her daughter with that second chance. Not unlike most Native Americans, they have a predisposed affliction to alcohol. Once experienced, difficult to stop. Violet missed her daughter, but knew her daughter was ashamed of her. She redirected her shame and blame, and became helpful with other street living native people in Anchorage. She was the matriarch of the fallen natives. Autumn came and the weather began to change. In Alaska, weather changes without hesitation or anyone’s permission.

Inuit Family

It was a particular cold morning and my mother had purchased Violet a new hat and gloves. When she turned the corner onto 5th Ave, approaching The Visitor’s Center, to bring Violet her coffee and gifts, something was missing. The park bench was empty. Violet was not there.

It was not uncommon that street people froze to death during a cold night. My mother quickly ran to The Visitor’s Center and started making phone calls to the local missions and hospitals. Her colleagues stopped her and said, “Violet was here earlier and left you something.”

This story continues in the Tales2Inspire

RUBY Collection

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Please take a moment to visit my NEW Facebook Author page and LIKE it.

Thanks so much,

Lois

finalist Finalist – 2012

MAKING LEMONADE FROM LEMONS by Shannon Gordon

The year 2007 is one the Taylors are not likely to forget. In February of that year, my daughter Heidi was diagnosed with MS. Her first born son, Thomas was six years old at the time.  Brayden was merely three. They had said as a family that they would make lemonade out of the lemons they had been dealt. From day one Heidi was determined to be the Commander of her life rather than allowing MS to navigate her ship!  When summer arrived and school was out, Thomas said that he wanted to do something to help find a cure for MS. Heidi learned that Sunkist Corporation had lemonade stands available to folks who would sell lemonade and give a portion of the proceeds to a charity. Heidi asked Thomas if he was interested and with his usual zeal, he said YES!

Subsequently, he held lemonade stand sales in his driveway every Saturday that summer. When the sales were completed each day, he took his money into the house and divided it into four equal accounts—one for his friend who was his “employee”, one to pay back his Mom and Dad (Clark) for the lemonade and cups, one for his special savings account for the MS Society, and one for his own savings account.

 Thomas 1st stand

Thomas’ first lemonade stand . . . and the story begins

Additionally, that summer he became an official fund raiser for the MS Society of Utah. After signing their form, Tom received an official fund raiser shirt to wear at the stand and informational materials to distribute.

In August, Sunkist contacted Heidi and asked if they would be interested in holding a stand at the Albertson’s store in Sandy. They agreed and were the highlight of KSL-TV that weekend! It was a huge success!


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Thomas and friend at their Take-a-Stand lemonade stand

Later in the Fall, the MS Society of Utah invited Thomas to share his story and success for the MS Society with the Humana Corporation. Humana was in the process of gathering information from charitable organizations in order to distribute $1 million dollars to local charities in Utah. Humana awarded the Utah MS Society $10,000.00.

Thomas and Heidi attended the event and he made a great presentation of his summer activities. He met and joined in the presentation with Bob Harmon of Harmon’s grocery. They attended the presentation of the awards evening and the MS Society was granted a $6,000.00 donation–thus the start of the Take a Stand program.

 Take a Stand with Heidi, Brady and Tom

Left to right: Heidi, Brady (sitting) and Thomas – standing 

at Take-a-Stand lemonade stand

Thank you Thomas for reminding us that we are never too young or too small-in-number to make a difference. You are a shining example of  what one human being can accomplish. Determination and perseverance  are powerful forces indeed!

* BARBARA’S STORY – by James Osborne

Barbara was a pretty high school student with a bubbly personality, honor grades and a circle of close friends. Life was good.  Besides, she was dating Richard . . . sort of.

They’d started dating when Barbara was 15.  She liked Richard . . . a lot . . . but after attending a Roman Catholic convent school for her ninth, 10th and 11th grades, she felt conflicted – between marriage and a religious life. She had to be sure.  So, she entered a convent.

Six months later when she emerged, Richard was still waiting for her. Barbara knew. Only Richard could make her life complete. He asked her to marry him. Barbara was ecstatic.

Barbara #2

That’s how fairytales go.  Right?

Not this time.

Enter religion.

Barbara’s parents belonged to one religion. Richard’s parents believed in another. That didn’t concern Barbara and Richard, at first.  They paid no attention to such things. After all, they had each other. That was enough . . . or so, they thought.

While Richard’s parents were fine with Barbara and Richard’s plans to marry, the couple hadn’t counted on fierce opposition by Barbara’s father. It was the 1960s and religious bias still held a powerful influence over many of their parents’ generation.  Ultimately, it broke their hearts . . . and broke them up, forcing Barbara and Richard to go their separate ways.

Fast-forward 50 years.

Barbara and Richard found each other, their love unaltered.

This is their story:

In the intervening decades, Barbara and Richard had married others. They’d raised families, pursued careers, and experienced the triumphs and tragedies of life. Among those tragedies, within a few years, both of their spouses died.

“I loved my husband,” Barbara said. “We had a wonderful relationship. I was blessed. But during all that time, never a day went by that I didn’t think about Richard, wanting him to be happy and well.

There were no thoughts of disloyalty. I’m not made that way. I even told my husband about Richard  and he said that proved to him I knew how to love. It was a gift, he said. Wasn’t I lucky to have someone like him?”

I have to admit, just remembering the feelings that Richard and I shared all those years ago often warmed my heart and made me a more caring person, when I needed it.

Richard also freely admits that Barbara was on his mind persistently throughout those 50 years.

“I would hear her wonderful laugh in my mind, and feel buoyed by the great sense of humor I’d experienced in her,” Richard said.

Unlike many couples forced apart by religious prejudice, Richard and Barbara’s young families would encounter each other on rare occasions in parks and restaurants of their hometown. Both Barbara and Richard admitted there would be an emotional twinge, at first, but it passed, and the four parents and their children would mingle happily, leaving the past firmly in the past.

Barbara’s path took her to study accounting and ultimately become a supervisor in an accounting firm.

Richard’s route in life was decidedly unusual. He worked there while in high school, before becoming a teacher. Fifty years ago, a high school graduate could become a teacher within a few months. So, at 19, Richard not only was a teacher in a small rural town, but he also became principal of the local elementary school.

Then, tragedy struck. Richard’s wife died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In his grief, he found solace by focusing on his family, his education career, and his business interests.

Time passed. And then tragedy struck Barbara’s life. Her husband David died of cancer. She found comfort in her family and career. She had a few relationships. But they came and went, leaving her with increased wisdom and few regrets.

One day, Barbara and Richard met, quite by accident. They exchanged recent histories and decided to meet for a coffee  or two. They began seeing each other more and more often.

One day, Richard told Barbara that he was going away for a few weeks on a combination business/recreation trip  to the Florida Keys where he owned a condo. Barbara’s heart fell. Now that she’d found Richard again, the thought of being apart that long was more than she wanted to bear.

Then, Richard invited her to accompany him. Her heart leapt.

Barbara's Story

It won’t be hard to predict the ending! This story will continue in the Tales2Inspire

 Sapphire

Sapphire Collection. 

THE YEAR MY LIFE BEGAN

It wasn’t at birth.  nope.  Please don’t get me wrong – I had a wonderful and very unique childhood and my life, leading up to the present – well like everyone, I have had my share of ups and downs.  But as I will tell anyone and everyone who’ll listen (and yes this does mean I talk to myself a lot) I feel that my life really did begin a few years ago.  It happened something like this.

I awoke one morning, on a birthday actually, with my epiphany – I suddenly realized I had to get my late father’s book published.  He had finished writing it shortly before his death in 1993.  The manuscript had passed between my brothers and me since with the hope that sooner or later one of us might actually have it published and do something about it.

When it landed in my hands for the umpteenth time I typed it out – then on the morning of that particular birthday I knew I had to get it out – this feeling was a tad overwhelming and I couldn’t figure it out – but I am presuming that my mother’s advancing age (late 80s) might have had something to do with that feeling.  Fit as a fiddle usually (but then she was also the world’s leader in hiding minor details like life threatening health issues) – or so we thought.  It was then that I also recognized my stumbling block – how do you get published?  Seriously – how do you?  Now this itty bitty problem just might have been enough to put me off altogether but for the memory of Dad’s passion for his writing, ancestry and the outback of Australia, not kept nagging at me.  Added to that the thought of Mum and her pride in Dad’s efforts but not seeing them come to fruition – that did it.  Google to the rescue.  I found a self-publishing business that offered precisely what I was looking for. Full steam ahead.  There was no stopping this girl now.

 ‘The Sawers From Pitcairn’ was published exactly a week after mum died in 2010.

Damn.  But – I had tried and I was reassured that Mum knew that something had finally been done about the book, that it was close to release and that, I am told, made her a happy woman at point of death.  Well, as happy as anyone can be when facing the end of life.

 Thus was the catalyst for my writing.  It was and is now well and truly in my blood and I am following a lifelong dream of writing and publishing books.  Next off the rank was one about bullying.  Having been a victim of this hideous phenomenon for six nightmare years in my teens, at a boarding school in Adelaide, I endured it 24/7.  No escape.  As yes had suicide entered my head I would have considered it – not really thinking that it would also have been a very tragic and final ‘alternative’.  Some thirty years later history repeated itself when my niece suffered at the same school (her mother had been a day girl there and holds nothing but fond memories, which is how it should be, surely).  Having had ‘Bullseye’ published I was encouraged to continue and try to ‘fight’ the system on behalf of victims nationwide.  So this is what I am now doing, in conjunction with another victim and Mum, who is also one of the contributors to my book.  It is lovely to be able to say we are at last making headway with our advocacy too.  We have several different aspects involved in this and as we achieve each goal in turn, the feeling of success is wonderful.  We are doing this in an effort to try to help safeguard the safety, health and well being of the youth of Australia.  It is very slowly, but surely, working.

With this advocacy well underway and my second book safely ‘out there’ I was finally able to turn my attention to combining two of my passions – writing and the outback.  As mentioned earlier I did have the most wonderful childhood – I grew up on a sheep station in South Australia.  My primary education was provided by the School of the Air and correspondence lessons.  I have written a piece, ‘Edge of the Outback’ which loosely describes my life out there.  Now – my book on stations is a work in progress.  To say I am absolutely thriving on it would be the understatement of the century.  It is presenting the most enormous challenge but one that I am more than up to.  I am meeting the most fantastic people as I progress – new contacts being made and the information is just pouring in.

Following this one I have one for which I have already begun the research, about an Australian maritime disaster which occurred about a month before the ‘Titanic’ but due to the latter, for former was completely obliterated.  I was approached earlier this year by a couple who lost several family members in this tragedy – understandably they are wanting much more exposure about it and I will be writing this book for them.  All such fun and also so necessary.

After that – I am looking at a book about tradies.  This one also coming from experience – while I am still working on the approach to it, it will surround the experience of working in an office, alone (all my colleagues were moved elsewhere) while having the ceilings completely replaced by a group of around twenty tradesmen.  I plan this to be humorous with a lot of input coming from the tradies themselves.

 Every day something new happens or I discover a fresh approach to an old idea or problem.  Yes, I do meet some very negative obstacles which do halt me, very briefly.  Once recovered from the initial ‘blow’ that some of them can be, I simply take a step back, look at the problem, step to one side and move forward.  Generally with a fresh approach to that problem.  Onward and upward.

I do also have my share of health issues.  Some of which have been very nasty and have pulled me right down – but this occurred pre-epiphany.  I have been a chronic migraine sufferer – spanning a period of about twenty five years.  Not pleasant.  Not pleasant at all.  I used to be completely debilitated by these – trying to raise a young family, in a strange city with a husband who travelled for work more than not and having these pains swoop on you, rendering you virtually useless.  Not good.  But I am relieved to say that they have all but disappeared.  I still suffer from headaches and people who have never suffered from migraines would possibly consider the severity of today’s headaches debilitating – but not me.  Not any more.  I was also born with a heart condition.  Nothing serious – apparently – medication does keep it under control but it’s there – forever lurking and ready to pounce.

But (and I know the rule is not to start sentences and never a paragraph with a ‘but’) – ‘but’ none of this stops me – nor does that rule.  Might slow me down occasionally but life as it is is just far too good to let it keep me down.

LIFE IS GREAT.  THE SKY REALLY IS THE LIMIT.

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