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The Happy War-A Novel


 Have you read it?  If yes, please leave a short review on Amazon. Thank you! Original link
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  78 Hits

Stream of Consciousness Writing On the Anniversary of 911


  There’s a virus among us. It came from far away and is now everywhere. We’re supposed to stay home and when we go out, we’re supposed to wear a mask, like Zorro. And, there are fires all over California. People with asthma can’t breathe. People are sad. There are riots all over the place and a few peaceful protests that end up being taken over by mobs. I think God turned up the heat on the chaos in the streets. Bad folks don’t like 120 degrees either. I don’t like people who act like animals. Those people who flew into the tower—they were animals. There’s an election and some political crazy talk. Each side sounds horrid. Wake me when it’s over. But, if you really think one side is better ...
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Be careful what you wish for


The world we know has changed beyond recognition this year with the virus and its impact on the world economy. I've been here before when my successful career in London was so severely impacted by the financial crash that I had to reinvent myself in order to survive. In the darkest days, the last thing on my mind would have been rushing to share my plight on social media or posing half naked on Instagram. Who does that and why? Why is the approbation of complete strangers a necessity? How does that make an individual self aware? My faith provided solace when confronted with challenges that I found too difficult to surmount on my own. Faith, along with age and experience, helped me discover a...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  81 Hits

When wildlife is far more interesting than homo sapiens


Sometimes going for a walk is more inspiring than reading the news. The animal kingdom is full of wonder and I'm grateful to be filled with awe when for example, I come across this little fella in his armoury crossing the road as if he has all the time in the world:Or this little guy who has taken up residence with his mates/family on my terrace. Watching him catch flies is sort of miraculous:Much more interesting than politics, celebrities, #LeftWingLunatics, don't you think?Both of these creatures carries on about their business without fanfare or calling the paparazzi. They just are. A lesson to us all perhaps?Photos copyright SvD.Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  87 Hits

Summer in Your Mouth-A Recipe


  When life gives you lemons, either you make lemonade, or search everywhere for a unique and delicious recipe. Here’s a simple one that is sure to make you smile, or at least pucker up. (Please maintain social distancing when puckering up.) Painted by my husband, Steven Michelangelo GaalHe also grew the lemons.   Old Fashioned Citrus Bundt Cake (I prefer: Summer in Your Mouth Cake)   One cup milk Three eggs ½ cup canola oil ½ cup melted butter--that’s cooled off Zest of three lemons (3 or 4 tsp) or oranges and lemons ½ cup lemon, orange or tangerine juice.  (Optional: You can add a tablespoon of Cointreau Triple Sec or Grand Marnier  I went with Cointreau.) _________________ Three cups flou...
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  123 Hits

My Newest Book is Out! (A Soft Launch)


    It was bound to happen. A friend coaxed me into trying NaNo-for those who aren’t familiar—it’s the month of November--which is set aside as a time to write an entire novel –in one month. Yes, one month! Many try to do it and can’t finish, and a few have bestselling books because they forged through and made it.  I finished, but the book I wrote became a rough outline for my finished manuscript. There were so many bizarre things, such as errant words inadvertently stuffed into the one-month time limit, that later, during weeks of editing and months of rolling revisions, I began to pull my hair out,deleting paragraphs and changing complicated sentences into something comprehensible. As the...
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Watching a bee hop around is great therapy


My lifestyle is pretty frenetic running here and there, fielding calls from clients, sorting out problems with Notaires and agents, rushing off on viewings, plus I have a home life too. Dogs, a partner, a house to maintain. I do feel at times that my head is literally spinning. Sometimes shutting out the noise in one's head necessitates switching off 'phones, retreating to the garden where I have planted buddleia, a fragrant flower beloved by bees. This morning I found a good 15 minutes to just stare at the bees as they made their way around the plant hungrily feeding off each flower. What joy! Simple stuff makes me happy. Always remember, happiness is in your head. I met a client last week ...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  127 Hits

A Time To Read Books!


I don’t care what anyone says, my hair is supposed to be a long and tangled mess. This selfie displays my first attempt at trimming my bangs and it's from way back in April. I know it's funny, but you should see me now! In the kitchen, I ran out of a few spices and made some substitutions, heck, it still tasted good, didn’t it? So, hubs got involved, making crusty bread which turned out delicious.  We had help from a friend, who air-dropped packages of yeast over the garden gate. It seems his idea wasn't unique. Everyone bought up all the bread-making ingredients in the county! For awhile, flour became as rare as toilet paper.Anyway, the Fed-Ex guy is fast becoming a friend and, the Instacar...
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The march of the Far Left


Watching the prince and his handler as they rabbited word salads gleaned from self help books beloved by the likes of Oprah Winfrey (who as it happens grew very rich by regurgitating 'meaningful stuff' and 'changing lives'), I couldn't help feeling a surge of anger and exasperation. The prince and the handler are clearly a massive embarrassment to us Brits in general but the thing that riles me is their genuine lack of self awareness. I recall an American friend telephoning me in tears when the last episode of Oprah aired on TV. She felt bereft and mentor-less. Her days of soaking up wisdom while lying prostrate on a sofa in her pyjamas had come to an end and she felt rudderless. I watched O...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  141 Hits

A Poem-The Tireless American Rose


The Tireless American Rose Eve GaalThe tireless American rose. Graced our fallen, pricked our foes. A graveside decoration, saluted by soldiers, a comfort to widows, the perfume of angels, to any discerning nose. A queen’s bouquet, a honeymoon kiss, where petal strewn walkways, grace romantic getaways. Glistening with a bride’s tears, or a lucky graduate’s surprise, maybe a new mother’s gift, and those wreaths explode with beauty, when loved ones die. The tireless American rose, seen at parades, waiting after war. There backstage, awarding every star. A centerpiece at the gala, a holiday corsage, there to win, every battle, every kind of heart. With, or without thorns, Through raging pain, O...
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  128 Hits

Crying or Laughing?


Those of you who visit my blog regularly, know I like to dabble in drawing. My last post was about painting, and how landscapes can become a type of escape, especially during tough times. Most fiction writers’ study human behavior or psychology, so they can create or “paint with words,” characters with realistic qualities. Right now, all you have to do is turn on the television, where the evening news is filled with colorful protesters who shout about peace, while carrying firearms. Oddly, if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it and novel readers wouldn’t find it believable either.   Mark Twain said:  “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction, But It Is Because Fiction Is Obliged to Stick to Possibi...
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  159 Hits

Spread Peace Through Art--Wish I Knew How to Paint!


Art Pastures painted in vivid greens, ‘neath skies of blended blues; soothing scenes depict tranquility, of places past-- Where tall grass blows upon a lea, shepherds tend gentle flocks, work horses graze, farmhands nap, chickens waddle to a trough. How fortunate that grandmother knew how to paint. Her heart, in cracking oils on canvas, randomly splashed on my suburban walls, reminds me, and those who visit, of peace and serenity. And you! How lucky are you? Given a chance to leave a legacy, to express yourself with art. A lifetime ahead--anew-- to spread love to future generations. Please pick up the brush, the pencil, even a box of crayons. It’s never too late to begin. (Written by Eve Gaa...
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Rufus van Dalen


My darling doggie, Rufus, went to Heaven today. I could not have asked for a better friend. For ten years of the fifteen years we were together, Rufus and I only had each other and my priority was always him. I organised my life around my dear, faithful, wonderful hound. I could have given him up and gone off to live in London enjoying theatre, opera, art, all of the things I love. But here was someone who totally relied on me and who was my responsibility. People used to say that I should give him away so that I could have a better chance of meeting the man of my dreams. To me that wasn't as important and seeing my doggie smiling and knowing HE was happy and contented.Rufus and I used to  w...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  157 Hits

Happiness is...


...sharing when you love someone..Photo copyright SvD.Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  4 Hits

We're Almost There-30 More ideas


Don’t Give Up!Here’s Some More ideas to help keep you busy while at home.(I tried something like this one.)1.       Play cards. Rummy, poker or 52 pickup? 2.       Paint a rock for gifts or paper weights. 3.       Have a balloon fight on the patio 4.       How about a family barbecue? 5.       Make chocolate or vanilla shakes 6.       Decoupage might be fun-no Mod Podge? Use Elmer’s glue. 7.       Quilting with scraps 8.       Chalk drawings on the sidewalk 9.       Make lemonade or iced tea in different flavors 10.   Read an ebook (I can suggest several good ones!) 11.   Write a book review on Amazon 12.   Cut your bangs? Maybe not. 13.   Color your own hair? 14.   Tell ghost stories 15.   ...
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  204 Hits

In Awe


I was watching “The Universe” on Netflix. The sun, the planets, the galaxies. Mind boggling terms of billions of years, millions of miles per hour. I had to stop as it made no sense. Infinite numbers you can’t put on a blackboard and explain. Awesome dude…. Life just happened to commence with the “Big Bang”? Give me a break. I am also in awe of Good, so powerful and meaningful and helpful. I am in awe and terrified by the rise of evil in the world today. Truth is good. Always. Our Judeo/Christian heritage is mocked. The truth is that truth can no longer be easily discerned. We are pandering to the feelings of minority/identity groups. When everybody has a cause there is chaos. The news has b...
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AS-201 The First


First place is what we try for in classes and on the athletic field. Always it is a dream to achieve a first place. It requires effort, a lot of effort. Just to be given a first place award without hard work makes it meaningless. There will be so many opportunities in life to make first place. The most important is to be the first there when someone is hurting, in need… Maybe it is just a pat on the back at the exact moment needed. Look at first responders. Look at our military who may be the first to save a person or buddy. Maybe being the first to tell the Truth in a group discussion. The award is given to you privately in the smile in your heart. Be the first to help someone see what is r...
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2020 Commencement Address

A Special Address from Bishop C.E. Melville: A Personal Testimony of Praise and Thanksgiving I wish I could write a somber post, but I can only state that I was always blessed, and for this I am eternally grateful to God, for His love and tender mercies. Thanksgiving Meaning: the expression of gratitude, especially to God (Dictionary.com). Growing up in the foster care system only offered me one way out, and it was through education. I found myself dreaming what it would be like to be a teacher, a nurse, or someone really big. I wanted make an impact in the life others. Though many thought I was different, I was just a little girl with big dreams. I knew that my beginning wasn't going to be ...
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  181 Hits

Hope In Times of Adversity

A Special Address from Bishop C.E. Melville: A Personal Testimony of Praise and Thanksgiving I wish I could write a somber post, but I can only state that I was always blessed, and for this I am eternally grateful to God, for His love and tender mercies. Thanksgiving Meaning: the expression of gratitude, especially to God (Dictionary.com). Growing up in the foster care system only offered me one way out, and it was through education. I found myself dreaming what it would be like to be a teacher, a nurse, or someone really big. I wanted make an impact in the life others. Though many thought I was different, I was just a little girl with big dreams. I knew that my beginning wasn't going to be ...
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  77 Hits

Becoming Like Christ

Sheltering in The Most High The journey of spiritual formation can be summed up like this, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:3-5 [1] For one to grow spiritually, and become like Christ, it means striving each day to emulate his character. Essentially, Paul describes the spiritual formation process—the process of being transformed from our temporal perspective to an eternal one. [2] This is not an easy walk, considering we live in world which has fallen so...
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