*~Creating with acrylic paints on canvas~*
My painting of Whaley Lane in North Carolina~*
~My painting from our Sip & Paint party on Saturday evening~
*~Creating with acrylic paints on canvas~*
My painting of Whaley Lane in North Carolina~*
~My painting from our Sip & Paint party on Saturday evening~
When something ends a bit badly,
It isn’t always a mistake,
Sometimes, we are reckless with our lives
And don’t think things through enough
Before acting upon our thoughts,
We often must pick through a lot
Of fool’s gold before a rare diamond is
Revealed. —J. E. Cook ©2017
Driving past the sage colored pastures
With cows gently grazing on the bounty,
Puffs of cotton clouds fill the pastel blue
Old stone houses of varying sizes
Create a magical neighborhood among this
Countryside area of farmland,
One guest cottage with its own little
Garden patch calls to me,
It is quite a distance from the main house
On this farm,
Entering the cozy front room through
the turquoise door,
The hardwood floors shine back at me,
Light streams through the big window across
From the stone fireplace,
I quickly walk through and take in the cozy
as I approach the back door,
And go out to see the flowering apple trees
The vibrant leaves fluttering in the breeze,
One picnic table by a small goldfish pond
And a dog napping in the sun,
I hear the murmur of the cows in the distance
As I am greeted with a basket of cheese, wine,
French bread and tart berries gave to me
By a familiar woman in white
with a quilt over one
She hands the nurturing gift to me as she puts
The worn quilt over the rough boards on the tabletop,
The clouds seem to be following her to me,
we take our seats across from each other
And unpack the bounty in unison
to enjoy together,
In the afternoon sun with touches of shade
Now and then,
The hint of what will come causes us to toast
To this beautiful day on the farm. J. E. Cook ©2017
Philosophy teachers lecturing about Plato to us
Believing that every person on Earth has
Another half, they must find to complete
And they will fulfill all the needs of each other
After they fuse together to become one unit
Of love and happily ever after,
Vows to cherish until they part because death
But never is a long time to consider
And vow to each other with promises to keep
Until one dies. J. E. Cook ©2017
My family is raising awareness about this condition and these ongoing stages associated with this serious condition involving their growth rate and their limbs. Many children all over the world have to deal with this condition called Fibular Hemimelia upon birth. Fibular Hemimelia is a birth defect where part or all of the fibular bone is missing. It can be associated limb length discrepancy, foot deformities, and knee deformities that are present at birth.
“This is Quinn. She is my everything and my hero. Although, she is my daughter I find myself looking up to her a lot for how strong she is. She was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia at four months old after I noticed her legs were not developing at the same rate. She also had a foot deformity that doctors just kept saying was nothing more than a congenital foot deformity. I am so glad I pushed for answers so she gets the correct treatment as some, unfortunately, do not. She has had approximately 10 X-rays since birth, two braces, seen about 5 different specialists and just recently got a raised shoe. I know we have a long road ahead to get my baby two semi-normal legs. We will face the possibility of knee and ankle reconstruction and leg lengthening but my biggest worry is making her feel normal. She wears two separate shoe sizes and it is a struggle just to find something as simple as a pair of shoes not to mention adding the lift modification to the shoe. I find it so important to educate society on limb difference and to help others realize they are not alone. I find the more educated people are the less judgment they are. Myself and many other mothers are writing you on behalf of the FH community to get support and get the word out. People go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed on a regular basis and we would love to help decrease this and let people know there are options. We love our FH warriors.”
For more information about this please go here: http://www.paleyinstitute.org/orthopedic-conditions/fibular-hemimelia/fibular-hemimelia
Or here for questions to be answered:
Quinn spent a day at the Zoo with her parents
Then, going home she went to sleep.
On a green metal bench, outside
Our favorite ice cream spot
We watch the dogwoods dance
In the breeze off the lake,
The sky is bursting with their pink
Reminding me of the delicate
Frosted flowers on the cupcakes
Across the street designed
By a young baker,
The smells in the air
Around us are intoxicating
And the blooms
Become confetti on the sidewalks
My cone contains sweet caramel
That is sex on my tongue
As I lick it,
A touch of sea salt and
Sprinkle of pecan nuts,
A swirl of whipped cream
And a shiny cherry on top,
What else would one want
While they watch the skies
With their favorite love
And forget all the foreign thoughts.
Being with the man of your dreams
Is always wonderful
Even without these added pleasures
His curly hair at his neckline
As his sudden smile appears
When he watches the ice cream
Drip onto my lap.
His presence is appreciated
And his eye contact
Makes me blush
My shoulders ache for his touch.
A hug that brings me in so
Close right before his lips
Caress mine. –J. E. Cook ©2017
With me, you were often a different person…
Curled inside the new
quilt your mother made us
Feeling the warmth, it provides me
I love that feeling of the cool denim hugging
My naked body,
The blue lining keeping in the inner heat,
Our wedding anniversary of one year has
Arrived and gone,
You have been away for a while on business
In New Orleans,
I missed you so much,
But your phone calls kept me grounded
I shiver and pick at a loose thread hanging
From the quilt’s corner.
You join me under it and many others
Glad to have you back inside with me,
I cuddle close to your muscled chest
Warm suntanned skin, as fresh balsam scents
are mixed into our shared air,
I rise to kiss your sultry closed mouth,
Our lovemaking begins,
A pin in the fabric pricks my tender skin
Along my inner arm,
I’m snagged by it and a trail of red
Smears me as I move with you,
This not being the first time your mother
Forgot a pin or lost one,
Your lips touch the wounded spot
And everything is better and forgotten
As you keep kissing my skin
To my breasts and lingering there
For several moments,
I’m drowning in your passion,
A devotion that I never considered
It was what I once wished for
However, the price became too high
And it had so many strings attached to it,
Ones that were hidden and often dormant
Until they were unleashed by something
Unexpected and unwanted. –J. E. Cook ©2017
Sometimes, it is a book and other times it is a small selection of admired poetry. Here are some of my favorites by poets in time. William Blake is the one I would have to pick if I had to site one favorite poet; however, I have many favorite poets, writers, and authors that I often turn to every morning while I sip my coffee or tea in those early hours as the sun rises and creates an inspiring image on our skies.
The Garden of Love
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
‘Out, Out—’Related Poem Content Details
BY ROBERT FROST
The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
Come, you fragile poets filled with the sea’s liquid.
Come and leak your speech upon our parched beaches!
Come and sing with the ocean’s primordial influences.
Come and sanctify our living dictionary.
Come and listen to our seas–rivers–the many lakes.
Come and offer a levy to our tributaries.
Come and accompany us.
Come with your mask of shifting personas falling away.
Come with your torches burning.
Come add your bouquet to the existing aroma.
Come bring your artfulness for our sake of the art.
Come with your lacerations, tender, and red.
Come with your heart brilliant or obscure.
Come with your words for the distinguished dead.
Then go to the notorious graves and remember their souls.
And recite all of your remembrances.
Yes, come and find your passion; your true natural ability:
The marriage of thoughts to be esteemed hydration.
–J. E. Cook ©2016
Source: Marly Youmans, Author & Poet
It’s a cold February afternoon. There are tiny crystal snowflakes suspended in the frigid air. Many residents are thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts. Amelia is in her large dainty pink bedroom contemplating the big Victorian across the street called the Tabor House as the sun reflects off its snow-covered cupola. Looking out her window, she can view the corner of Commerce Street and Bluebird Crossing. As Amelia does this, she observes her girlfriend, Georgia sitting on her enclosed front porch. Her auburn hair is shimmering with a golden glow encircling her head as she reads from a big book in her lap. Georgia’s image makes Amelia think of sun-kissed berry. A tiny puppy is dozing against her left side on the white wicker settee. Georgia’s calico cat named Millie is sleeping against her right side. This intriguing glimpse of Georgia fascinates Amelia. She moves closer to her window. Amelia knows that Georgia’s father suffers from numerous allergies every spring. Dogs are one of the things on his long list to avoid. Millie is not permitted inside their house. The tiny black and white puppy will need care around the clock at this stage. Amelia thinks Georgia should keep the puppy indoors, or how will it survive?
Amelia gazes at her own face in her mirror. Her hair is smooth like corn silk, not one strand out of place. She heads down the curved stairwell. Grabbing her quilted coat from the hall closet along with her fur-lined mittens, Amelia watches for her mom as she puts on her winter outerwear. Amelia opens the front door and she goes out to sit on their front porch swing. Still thinking about the puppy and Georgia, she glances their way as Georgia reaches over to pick up the little pup. She cradles it in both arms, as Millie wakes and stretches into an arch. The cat backs away quickly. Millie jumps up into the windowsill, and she curls up into a ball. Amelia decides to visit them and see what is up with the new arrival.
Amelia knocks on the porch door as she peers through the glass. Georgia smiles. She comes over to open the door with the puppy still cradled in her arms.
“Georgia, where did you get that cute puppy?” Amelia asks with a cheerful smile spreading across her freckled face.
“Aunt Patsy gave him to me as an early gift for Valentine’s Day since daddy is a long business trip. He doesn’t know about him yet.” Georgia giggles as she sits back down letting the puppy rest in her lap.
“Won’t he be furious when he finds out?”
Amelia sits down beside Georgia. She strokes the puppy’s fur. Millie doesn’t seem to care at all about them. The cat dozes in the sun’s rays coming through the windowpanes.
“Mom says she will take care of it. Whatever that means…” Georgia rolls her eyes at Amelia with a smirk appearing on her face.
Amelia looks over at Georgia, she pauses, “Patsy is your father’s sister, so maybe that is what your mom means…” Amelia whispers to Georgia as if she is afraid that the girl’s mother will overhear them.
Amelia continues thinking about how lucky Georgia is to have two pets when she has none. Her black bunny that she named Bell died last winter. Her parents don’t want her to have another pet because they live in town. Amelia’s parents think she should be content to share a pony with her younger cousin, Charity. She lives in the country. Amelia doesn’t get to ride the pinto pony as often as her younger cousin does because their farm is a good hour and a half outside of the city limits.
“Mom says dad will get used to the idea of having a dog around.” Georgia picks the pup up and hands it to Amelia to hold for a while.
“I just love how his hair is all wavy. He has such blue eyes when he opens them. Gosh, Georgia I would love to have a puppy like him.”
“My aunt has two more puppies to find homes for since she is only keeping their mother. Maybe, you could ask your parents if you could have one, too.”
Georgia glances at Millie. She gets up to catch her cat. Georgia brings Millie over and sits down by Amelia and the puppy.
Amelia notices that Millie is purring loudly and rubbing all over Georgia. She feels a little sorry for the cat because she must share Georgia now.
“Georgia, do you think Millie is going to feel left out if you spend a lot of time with your new puppy? After all, he is going inside with you and she must stay on the porch. It’s not that warm out here at night.”
“No, he stays in our garage. I check on him every two hours. Mom says he’ll be fine. He has a new bed with his toys and plenty of food.” Georgia tells her.
“But, the garage is where your dad works on his car on the weekends. I bet he won’t like having this puppy out there when he is polishing his red Camaro for the next car show at the park.”
“I really don’t know what he’ll say. I named him Freckles because he has all these little black spots on his face.”
“What do the other puppies look like?” Amelia asks as she stares at the pup’s face.
“One is almost all white with some big black spots on his belly and around each eye. The only female has small white spots all over her tan body. All of them have these beautiful blue eyes and long wavy hair. But, my aunt says, their eyes may turn brown later.”
“I’m going to ask my mom if I can have one for Valentine’s Day! Before they’re all gone.” Getting up quickly, Amelia hands Georgia her pup.
Amelia pauses before crossing the street, as a car passes by. She can’t wait to get her own puppy. As Amelia reaches her porch, her mother comes out the front door.
“Where have you been? I was calling up the stairway for you. I need to go to the grocery for some milk and bread before it snows again.”
“I was visiting Georgia. She has the cutest puppy! Can I have one too? For Valentine’s Day?” Amelia watches her mom’s face for clues to what she might say about a puppy.
Her mother eyes Amelia closely. “I’m not the one to ask about that and you know it. When your father gets in this evening, you can ask him.”
“Oh, mom. Why does he always make all the important decisions? You could tell him the puppy is a gift for me. Please. Don’t make me wait on him—the pups might be gone by then.”
“Amelia, please just get inside the car. We need to get back so I can start dinner on time. Your father works out in the weather all day. He needs a hot meal on time.”
Amelia walks to the drive and she gets inside as her mother starts their old rusty Chevy. As they cruise down the street to the stop sign, Amelia waves at Georgia. During the ride to the store, she daydreams about waking up to a puppy licking her in the face every morning.
Arriving back home with several bags of food and cleaning supplies, Amelia and her mother unload the trunk. Amelia can’t see across the street now because is it dark. She wonders if Georgia asked her aunt about the remaining pups and if there are any still available.
In the kitchen, Amelia’s mom is singing as she cooks dinner. Amelia is at the table doing her math homework. She is having a hard time doing her story problems because she keeps thinking about puppies. The back door opens and in walks, her father covered in tiny snowflakes. His dark coat moist from the snow. He pulls off his black boots at the door along with his work gloves.
“Daddy, I have something important to ask you. Can I get a puppy for Valentine’s day?”
Her father looks up from tucking his wool socks into his boots. His eyes go to the cook stove where her mom is looking at her cookbook on the counter. Her fingers are busy moving down the pages checking the ingredients for making seasoned dumplings. She turns away from them and she walks to the sink to run water as Amelia goes to her father’s side. Amelia watches his face as she waits for his answer that seems to never come out of his mouth.
“Did you hear me? Can I have a puppy?”
“A dog is a big commitment. I’m not sure you’re ready for that kind of responsibility.”
Her mother turns around to stare at them. Then, she starts mixing up the dumplings. Amelia waits for them to say something else. However, her father walks into the living room and turns on the TV. His favorite sitcom is on and he doesn’t like to be interrupted as he watches each episode. He tries to figure out the answers to the mystery quest taking place before it is solved.
“You better finish your math before dinner.”
Frowning at her mother, Amelia picks up her pencil with worn eraser. She tries to focus on the last story problem on the page. There’s a knock on the front door. Amelia peeks around the doorframe as her father answers it.
“Hello, Mr. Gilbert. May I step inside? The wind is picking up and I’m freezing.”
Amelia sees a teenage boy holding a box wrapped in pink foil paper. He is holding the box closely to his body. His hat is covered in snow as well as his wool coat. A scarf is wrapped tightly around his neck.
“Of course, come on inside. Our dinner is about ready. You can join us if you like.”
“Oh, no. Just came to drop off your package. Mom is waiting in the car for me and my father expects me to help him with the feeding soon.” The young man stays on the tile by the door waiting for someone to come to him.
“So, nice that you came over this evening with this weather. We could’ve waited until in the morning to receive it.” Her father takes the box and hands the teenage boy some cash.
“Well, I better get going. Thanks again, Mr. Gilbert.” The boy turns to leave.
“I’m sure this will work fine and be safe on the road home.” After the boy nods to him. Her father shuts the door tightly.
“Amelia, come here. I wanted to wait until morning since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. But, I don’t think this can be delayed.”
Amelia walks into the living room to stand beside her father as her mother joins them. She takes a seat on their couch with a dish towel still in her hands. Amelia looks up at her father. He hands her the pink box. It feels heavy and bit off balance. Amelia joins her mother on the couch as her father takes a seat in his recliner near the fireplace.
“Darling, maybe you should grab your camera and snap of picture of Amelia as she opens her early gift. Don’t feel left out, I have yours arriving in the morning.”
Amelia’s mother rises and she goes to retrieve her pocket camera from their bedroom where it is always lying on the bookshelf. The box seems to move a little on Amelia’s lap. She holds it tighter until her mother returns to the room.
“Okay, Amelia. I’m ready. Go ahead and unwrap your gift.”
Clunk. The box hits the carpet. Then, it rolls a couple of times. There’s low whine from inside it. Then, some squeals of some sort.
“Oh, no, I hope I didn’t break anything inside.” Amelia jumps up to get the box. But, her father is already picking it up.
“Go sit down on the couch, please.”
Amelia does so. She straightens her plaid skirt as she looks up at her father. He hands her the shiny pink box. Amelia places it in her lap again with one arm wrapped around it. She uses her other hand to rip the paper loose. The top of the box pops open. A set of bright blue eyes stares up at her. A pink tongue licks her cheek. Her fingers touch the tan wavy hair before the whole fluffy body lands on her chest. Paws on each side of her face. Wet kisses all over her freckles. A ball of energy wiggling in her hands. Amelia feels tears fall—joyful ones. She smiles at her parents, “This is the best surprise ever. I love you, both.”
I have read most of White’s published novels, and I think this one is my favorite thus far!
Home means so much to all of us and to each it is a different definition in our minds. White creates a meaning for her characters and shares it with her words. Her sensory descriptions make the images appear to me as read this fabulous book. Heirloom objects mentioned in repetition throughout make it true to her reader.
Vivien is wild at heart and often coming undone with her past chasing her and matching her in thoughts. Dementia is appearing through her mother’s actions and her speech. Mothers and daughters are evolving inside the story. The Walker women share some history and it drives the storyline along with surprises towards the ending.
Inherited ways are thought and discussed. Returning home is the key to facing Vivien’s past. Through Carol Lynne’s dairy, the reader learns the meaning of motherhood and how a women’s destiny can be revealed through those that she gives life. Children often shape women’s lives and what they do in the future. This is what the circle of life is for mothers and it takes place in this story.
The ghost of the dead woman takes form and drives the story into the past and what happened before Vivien was born. Generations are involved and objects give clues to what happened in the past. A ring inspires people to seek its meaning and it brings curiosity along the way to the intended discovery.
Whites handles the shifting timelines so well in all of her novels including this one. The era of the 1920’s has always fascinated me, and I became compelled to learn more about this timeline as I read on.
Keeping a gardening journal and talking about the replanting of a garden that held family memories was a nice touch too. The meaning behind the visiting crows and what a certain tree meant to the main character made me think about how nature often influences our daily thoughts. Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swamp sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget.
Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swampland sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and challenging journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one situation behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget. A step-daughter that becomes her focal point towards the end of the book. Chloe has made a lot of inroads and personal connections by visiting Vivien after she returns home. She becomes unforgettable even after she is retrieved by her father.
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