Raindrops: A Poem

 

bright bubble clean clear
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is a poem I wrote after a rainstorm a few weeks ago. I have based it on trees in my backyard.

Raindrops

Water oak, cherry laurel, rooted deeply, leaves fanning outward in a riot of emerald, ruby, cinnamon.

Beyond this moment, God scatters His breath,

breathes life into the sparkling raindrops

spilling down.

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

I am currently writing a collection of my short stories and poetry. I plan to publish in one book rather than have two separate books. Please let me know what you think of my poem. Thanks.

 

 

 

Let Fear Go

photography of a woman in black swimsuit standing on the seashore
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

I have stopped watching the news. It promotes fear and dwells on the worst possible scenarios. I, of course, recognize that bad things happen, but I prefer not to dwell on those things I cannot control.  Fear paralyzes. Fear drains the joy out of life. There is beauty; there is love; there is joy in this life. I prefer dwelling on the beauty, the love, and the joy rather than on the fear of what may or may not happen. I choose to create my own reality and fill it with beauty, love, and joy. I am the change I want to see. I live my daily life from a hopeful and love filled perspective. Each person I encounter I see as a soul to be honored and to be loved. We have to be the change that we want to see in this world. Defeat fear with love. Defeat fear with joy. Defeat fear with the beauty that dwells within your own soul. If something needs to be changed, put your hands out and construct a solution rather than be afraid to try.

George Addair wrote: Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from living your life to the fullest. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Let go of fear, share your talents with this world and help make it a better place.

Psalm 27:1 says: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.

Don’t limit yourself because of fear of the unknown. Rest assured that you are not alone. God is with you forever and always. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from His love and protection. Just rest in Him. Let fear go. Let fear go.

II Timothy 1:7 says: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Of course, we still have to exercise a reasonable degree of caution, but it shouldn’t paralyze us. Of course, we have to be aware of world events, but our awareness shouldn’t blind us to the good that still exists in this world.

I forget who it was who said it is best to light one candle than to curse the darkness. I agree with this statement because lighting that one candle can illuminate our passage to the other side of fear.

The other side of fear is the achievement of all that you ever dreamed. Let fear go. Just let it go.

Clearing Out the Clutter

 

brown cardboard box beside green leafed plant
Photo by Sam Johnson on Pexels.com

 

I have just returned to work after a week vacation. For my vacation, I decided to tackle the spare bedroom where I have managed to store a collection of books which could possibly rival any small town’s library.  I am absolutely in love with books on almost any subject. I have always been thirsty for knowledge about the world around me. I have always wanted to try and understand the world. I read with the goal of trying to understand rather than with an eye for judgment. The world and its diversity is fascinating and limitless. There is always something new to learn. Row upon row of books on my shelves is a testament to my attempt to learn and to understand.

Books are like old friends that manage to remind me of times in my life. My college textbooks are still on my shelves. I cannot imagine not having my old nursing school books. I never completed the program but the notes in the margins remind me of who I was back then. My collection of Jane Austen novels reminds me of the first apartment I lived in right after graduating from college; I would sit on the balcony, sip a glass of iced tea and read Austen’s precise language. I still have those books along with some receipts from stores  where I had shopped; I had left these receipts between the pages as bookmarks. Novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Doris Lessing, Joseph Conrad,Theodore Dreiser, and Kate Chopin line my shelves and remind me of my courage to go back to college to earn my Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing when I had feared my older age would have barred me from tackling my dreams of becoming a professional writer. My old college algebra book reminds me of how I had exasperated my math professor with my inability to comprehend algebraic equations. I can still see my professor’s compassionate gaze-she let me write a report on a mathematician so that I could bring my grade F to a solid D-.  My book shelves are testament to those times in my life when I had struggled to make sense of loss due to death, divorce, disappointment. Different translations of the Holy Bible have offered me comfort, as have the words of writers such as Cheryl Richardson. Richardson’s Stand up For Your Life helped me to do just that when I didn’t think I had the strength to. She gave me strategies. I couldn’t imagine not reviewing her words from time to time. The Book of Psalms is always within my reach. It gives me comfort like nothing else can. In particular, Psalm 37: Be merciful unto me, O God, for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge until these calamities overpast.

Yearning to understand other peoples’ faiths led me to study the Bhagavad-Gita, the Dhammapada, and Thomas Cleary’s The Essential Koran. I closed each book with a deeper understanding of my own faith and those of others. Each gave me something to ponder. I couldn’t imagine not having these books at my fingertips. I learned something from each one.

Getting rid of too much clutter is, of course, important. Donating unused items to those who could benefit from the re-use of items is an absolutely wonderful idea. However, in my clearing out the clutter in my home I carefully identified those precious books that have enriched me. I have cleaned the shelves, dusted off the covers of these much beloved books, and lovingly placed each back to its honored place. I like to gather books around me and read back through. It is interesting how the passing of the years can change my own perspectives and make me see something new when reading something from long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Pride vs. Arrogance

The other day on my way to work I was flipping through radio stations. In so doing, a Christian radio broadcast caught my attention. The minister’s topic was about pride and how it can cause problems for a person. As he talked, the linguist in me began mulling over exactly what pride is as opposed to arrogance. I feel that there is a big difference between pride and arrogance; this difference is not explored nor is it understood as much as it should be. I continued flipping through the radio stations and cannot actually tell you how he finished up his sermon, but it got me to thinking.

Pride is the feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of a personal achievement or of an achievement of someone with whom you are closely associated.

For example, here is the main character for my novel set in the late nineteenth century:

Selma felt proud that she had had the courage to board the ship to Charleston. For two years she had struggled to save her money to pay for her passage to America. Her parents had told her that her dreams were foolish nonsense, that she should just marry Seamus and settle down. Looking out at sea, Selma re-read her cousin Elisabeth’s letter promising her a position at the dress shop. “I have actually done it. I am actually on my way.” 

The character Selma feels pride about her accomplishment. She is pursuing her dream. She is not arrogant about it.

Arrogance is an attitude of overbearing superiority; egotism.

For example, here is another character in the story who exhibits arrogance.

Mildred Turnbull’s elbow knocked against the blue cup. Tea spilled onto the lacy white table cloth. “Hessie, come clean this mess up now.”

Turning to her dinner guests, she scowled. “Stupid girl. She’s just stupid. Poor as a mite when she came knocking on my door looking for a position. Well, her slowness is about to get her kicked to the street. It’s the kind of people she comes from, you know.”

In this example, Mildred Turnbull has a sense of superiority over Hessie. Hessie is a flawed object in Mildred’s mind.  She has judged Hessie to be inferior to her because of social class. Mildred is the epitome of arrogance.

In developing characters for my novels and short stories, I have to carefully consider what personality traits I want to assign.

Depicting the difference between pride and arrogance does matter. Too many times people confuse the two.

As a child growing up, I often heard ministers talk about pride being a deadly sin. As a linguist, I really must disagree with the early translations of the word “pride.” A more concise rendering should be “arrogance.”  It is a person’s arrogance that is demeaning to society. Arrogance leads people to disrespect another person’s humanity. Arrogance is ugly in that it robs others of a sense of worthiness. An arrogant person is a cruel person. Those on the receiving end of arrogance are unfairly judged and their self-worth diminished. What happens to the arrogant person later on when they have managed to alienate others? It cannot have a positive outcome socially, mentally, or spiritually for the arrogant person.

Feeling pride in yourself and feeling pride in another person’s accomplishments is a good thing. Pride is uplifting. Pride motivates you to want to do more, to want to reach for the stars, to share your talents and to live your best life possible. A proud person often shines and can motivate others to move forward with their hopes and dreams.

As I said, I am not sure how the radio minister ended his sermon, however it is my hope that other people will seriously consider the sharp difference between pride and arrogance.

I am proud of my accomplishments. It is my hope that my words can uplift others and encourage them to think deeply about words and how words matter.

 

Inspiration to Keep Moving Forward

WIN_20190416_14_49_27_Pro (2)_LI

One of my favorite quotes is from Pope John XXIII. He said: “Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

Hopes and dreams. Unfulfilled potential. Possibilities.

Each day, I begin with reminding myself of the beauty of this life. I remind myself of my potential to share my words and my art with others and possibly to give joy to others through my words and my art. I prefer looking forward rather than looking back. In my drawing here, the person is walking forward and not looking back. (I love Van Gogh and this is my rough sketch based on his 1889 Sower (after Millet)).  In this sketch, I interpreted my own meaning to the artistic work, as well as using my own color scheme. Of course, art and its interpretation are in the eyes of the beholder. Therein lies the beauty and complexity of art. All these years later, Van Gogh’s art still brings the world joy. I couldn’t imagine that my art or my writing could ever have that sort of lasting impact. But, who knows?

Potential. Possibilities. Hopes and Dreams.

The future is so full of potential, so full of possibilities.

Never look back. Look forward with hope and your eyes firmly focused on your dreams.

Dealing With Rejection

I am a poet, novelist, short story writer, photographer, and artist. These are my passion; these are what gives my creative soul the outlet to express my deepest feelings. I have occasionally been published in a few online literary magazines, such as Southern New Hampshire University’s the penmen review.  I have self-published my poetry book Life at the End of the Rainbow which is available on Amazon/Kindle.

My poetry and short stories have also been rejected on occasion. I think it is vital to remind myself that it is not me that is being rejected, but rather the editor or publisher has a different vision of what he or she wants to publish.

I will not let someone else’s opinion diminish my creative passion. Life is too short to let others define who I am and who I know myself to be. Sure, I would like to be selected for the Poet Laureate of the Known World or the best novelist since Miguel Cervantes put pen to paper and wrote Don Quixote. I write because I love the beauty of words, of ideas, of rhythm, of juxtaposition, of ambiguity, of capturing life and its complexity in my own interpretation.

Truth is, I write as much for myself as I do for others. I am currently writing a collection of short stories and poetry. I plan to have it completed by the end of this month. I will self-publish it, as well. I am also compiling my own art book. I plan to include my photography in my art book. I realize I am not Claude Monet nor could I ever aspire to that level of greatness, but I enjoy what I do. A completed drawing with vibrant colors that I have created makes me smile; my art makes me happy. It gives me joy. A sunset I have captured with my camera gives me joy when I think that I have managed to freeze that moment in time.

Creativity gives me joy; another person’s rejection will never take my joy away.

Life is far too short. Life is fragile and precious. I am thankful for the passion that I feel and can freely express through my poetry, short stories, art and photography.

WIN_20190418_13_07_45_Pro (4)

Book Review: Charles Heath’s One Last Look

A few months ago, I bought and read Charles Heath’s novel One Last Look on Amazon/Kindle. I have enjoyed reading Charles’ blogs and have found that his novel is equally as engaging as his blog.

His novel One Last Look has a suspenseful plot, strong character development, and crisp dialogue that is effective in moving the plot forward. Protagonists, Ben and his wife Charlotte, are haunted by secret pasts neither can fully escape. The unraveling of these secrets is what Charles has masterfully revealed with perfect literary timing.

I highly recommend this novel to any reader who enjoys a crime novel that explores a deeper understanding of what it means to be haunted by past actions and repercussions of those actions. Ben and Charlotte are believable characters whom a reader will long remember.

As writers, it is so important for us all to support each other’s creative endeavors.  I am glad I read Charles’ novel and I intend to read more of his writing. I would actually like to see a sequel to One Last Look.  I am very curious as to what else Ben and Charlotte might be hiding. . . . . . .