The “Love” Garden

21 Apr

The advice that I would like to share with new gardeners, is to have patience.

A garden is quite  forgiving and gives you multiple chances to find what works best for you and it. Immediate  fulfillment can be found in a beautifully landscaped garden designed and planted by a professional. However, you will find that the truly unique gardens, are created of love and tell the story of a lifetime. The “love” garden cannot be created quickly, however it often speaks the loudest to our hearts.  

When you walk in a “love” garden and hear of the memories…  a plant shared by a friend, a tree  planted when a baby was born, perennials grown from seeds and nurtured over time, or the Easter  lilies given as a gift each year, these things bring life and love to a garden.

When you relax, give  yourself grace, laugh at your mistakes and rejoice in your accomplishments, magic happens. My garden really took off after The Year of the Cicadas. I found healing for my soul, and answers for my heart while digging in the dirt that year. Reconnecting with nature is one of the ways that  God reminds us of the circle of life.

My garden has taught me many things about myself and the  world in which we live. Start slow if you are busy with work, family, sports and other events.  Your garden should be a  place that allows you to relax and reconnect with what matters most to you. Your understanding of  plants, growing environments and propagation will grow along with your garden, allowing you to  mature together. Allow your garden of love to evolve just as your life evolves, one event at a time.  

Enjoy,

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

A Different View Point

24 Jan

Are you having an extremely cold winter? We certainly are. I had the first of two necessary total knee replacements this winter. I have been like a gangly legged new foal these past few months. Walking outside to my car through the ice and snow has been an adventure that I try to do without. My biggest fear at this point is that I will fall on the ice and need to have my new knee replaced. With the memory of the surgery only weeks behind me, I shudder at the thought.

The only time I go outside of my house is for physical therapy. A term from my child hood comes to mind…. shut-in. Our church would do special things for “shut-ins.” My mind would race as a child, what or who were shut-ins? I never imagined that I would for all practical reasons become a shut-in, even if only for a short time. This experience has caused another one-degree shift in my viewpoint.

Having had a brush with a possible knee infection early on and being unable to pin-point what the exact problem is, I have been placed on a wait and pray vigil for months. After several rounds of antibiotics the next step is another surgery. In order to rule things out, I am essentially a shut-in, so I don’t pick up the nasty germs floating around this time of year.

Needless to say, I am looking at the world differently. Without much human interaction and limited abilities I struggle to keep busy. I have time to notice and appreciate the little things. While the snow flies, the wind howls, and the ice freezes, melts, and refreezes on my drive and walkway, I am for the most part watching it happen from the other side of the glass, 150 year old glass to be precise. Many of the windows in our old farmhouse are still the original wavy glass from a by-gone era.

These are not energy efficient windows, but I love them. I can’t stand to part with them. Thick storm windows on the outside offer some protection but the wind howls through them, and the ice forms between the layers. This is a gift left over from a different time. Beautiful ice patterns form on the glass, some small some large, each as individual as a snowflake. They remind me of how individual and diverse each of us as people are.

My ears seem to pick up on every sound. You can hear the pipes and walls creak as they fight against the cold to deliver warm water through the walls. Our ancient boiler is working hard to keep the hot water running through the radiators this winter. So far it has proven up to the task. I appreciate my radiators as they can do double and sometimes triple duty. They make a great place to tuck damp shoes, wet mittens or a jacket to dry quickly. Radiators make a luxurious towel warmer, nothing like the feel of a toasty warm towel, pair of shoes, or jacket.

Sunny days have been far and between, when they happen they are glistening bright, reflecting off of the frozen landscape. On those days I find myself stretched out on the wicker couch on the long indoor porch room (that the mad-woman painted in my book, The Year of the Cicadas) absorbing the sunshine and pretending that I am in sunny Florida. Occasionally I can be found there between the hours of one and three wearing a pair of reading sunglasses while I work away. Aaaah …nothing like using your imagination.

I am unable at this point to lift or bend, making aggressive cleaning impossible. I have exhausted TV and movie watching, reading and Facebook are growing weary. I find myself coming down with a case of cabin fever, as my mother always called it. I believe it is way to early in the season for cabin fever. I still have surgery ahead for my second knee and possibly re-opening my first knee.

I know that my shut-in status is short lived, but it feels like forever. It does bring to mind all of those people who are permanently shut-in. What do they do to keep their minds and bodies sharp? How limited are their lives?

It brings to light the handicapped or elderly, and the insurmountable odds they face trying to get out their door to the car, bus, or train. The difficulty they face manipulating a body that doesn’t work to fit into a space designed for a body that does work. For many people this is a way of life. It is exhausting getting from point A to point B, add snow and ice it’s simply overwhelming.

The next time I am waiting for the parking space closest to the door, I will think of the person for whom this walk seems five times as far.

I needed this shift, to see things from a different viewpoint. Thanks for coming along on my journey of changing my world one-degree at a time.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Forgiveness is a complicated subject…

12 Nov

Forgiveness is a complicated subject, one which I heard a great sermon on last Sunday. I have worked hard on forgiveness most of my life.  It does not come easily to me.  I am often asked if writing the book, The Year of the Cicadas was an immediate cleansing for my soul?

The answer is no, actually quite the opposite.  I realized upon reading my first draft that I was both hurt and angry about a lot of things, with a lot of people, and with myself.  Putting all of my emotions down on paper had allowed me to see that I was nowhere near healed from this experience. I now had all of these written emotions staring me right in the face… and the question, what was I to do with them?

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As I shared my manuscript with each relevant family member they requested changes, additions and heaven forbid… deletions. I was forced to make a shift, a small shift in my perspective and see things from a new vantage point. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I discovered that although we disagreed we both needed to consider the other’s viewpoint. Then the rewrites started, thirteen in all. It was during the rewrites that the magic happened.

Often weeks or even months would go by while I walked the bay, through the woods or over the coastal beaches of Maine giving these new viewpoints time to percolate my bubbling emotions.  Over time I began to see the events through their eyes and wrote and rewrote drafts finding a neutral ground that we could all agree upon. As one thorn was removed from my soul, I naturally went on to the next working it out as best I could.

Fortunately I had excellent support from my husband. He did an amazing job of encouraging our children to allow me to write from my viewpoint, to honor my artistic freedom. He supported our family by bringing their emotions to me for consideration.  It was an amazing balancing act performed by him.  He helped us to reach a healthy compromise and sometimes we simply agreed to disagree.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. We are a close family, our relationship with God was strengthened, and my son is healed.  How could I continue to be hurt or angry with results such as these!

By looking at it from the viewpoint of others I was able to find real forgiveness. The angry woman that wrote the book disappeared. I am embarrassed today by some of the things that I did, or didn’t do. I am also content with many of my actions. I will be eternally grateful for all of the hard work that went into the writing of our story, and even more grateful for the unwanted journey that was forced upon me by the rewrites.  After all, forgiveness is a complicated subject, but so worth the extra steps in the end.

Hugs, Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Our Heavenly Father is just a pocket talk away….

4 Nov

Hard times will find us, for some of us sooner rather than later, but eventually hard times will find you.  I believe that it should be our mission in life to turn a negative into a positive. Turning a tragedy into a triumph has been the catalyst for many causes and foundations that help millions.

As a young girl I was the middle child of a second family for both of my parents. My father walked away from his first family, then he walked away from us as well. I was just a baby and we never saw or heard from him again.  This happened in the late 1950’s when Father Knows Best and the Donna Reed show ruled the airways. Things were different then. Parents stayed together.

We were the only family in our school without a father. I was told in Sunday school that we all have two fathers, an earthly father and a heavenly father. I was ecstatic, I had a father…one that I could tuck in my pocket and take around with me.  I talked with him all the time. But then, I grew up.  I married, and had four children. My husband and I started off madly in love; with our busy lives we hardly saw each other. With a travelling husband, four teenagers, sports, work, and all that comes with life…. I didn’t make the time to speak with my heavenly father. I was not satisfied with life.

Although I had turned away from him, he was patiently waiting for my return. I started talking to my heavenly father again, asking for change. You must be careful when praying for change… it rarely comes in the form you expect!

On May 23rd, 2004 we received the phone call that every parent fears.  We were told that our son had fallen 180 feet while camping at the Gorge.  To hurry, he was being airlifted, and the outcome looked grim.  Twelve hours after his fall, our son was airlifted to the trauma center.

The doctors were amazed, they couldn’t understand it. Our sons insides should have been mush, his bones should have been smashed and yet, he had only fractured one of his vertebrae. No one could explain it! They also informed us that he had dissected his carotid artery causing a stroke and that he was paralyzed on one side.

The blow to his head by a rock he hit on the way down had allowed his spinal fluid to leak out of his ear, relieving the pressure on his brain as it swelled throughout the night. This had saved his life.

The real damage they tell us is to his brain.  His brain had been injured in several different ways. This is our introduction to the world of Traumatic Brain Injury. Each brain injury is as unique as the patient and the circumstances.

We were told there was little chance that our son would live. If he did live he would probably be a vegetable, or low functioning for the rest of his life. We were told that he was not really out of the woods as of yet.

No one could foresee his outcome, nothing to do but to pray and wait.

Our son was a fighter. He fought to stop his descent, he fought to stay conscious to call for help in the canyon, he fought his rescuers, and he was still fighting for his life. Still fighting, he took out his breathing tube, time and time again.  Finally they removed it and he was breathing on his own!

He continued to fight. Fight to learn how to swallow, eat, talk, walk and to remember…whom we were and whom he was. Finally the day came when he was allowed to go home.  He continues to amaze us all.   He was not accepting any limitations from any of us.  He has completely recovered.

God cannot prevent bad things from happening, they will happen but he can show you the way to turn the negative into a positive. By sharing our story we hope to influence others.  Our story has an amazing ending, and I wrote about it in a book entitled: The Year of the Cicadas.

Our heavenly father loves you so much that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you.  He carried my son down to the floor of the canyon; He restored health and vitality to my son; He renewed my marriage; He returned our family to faith; Just be careful when asking for change, it may not come in the form you expect.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Life Lessons from the Garden

3 Oct

So many lessons about life have been learned in my garden.

A perennial to one person is a weed to another. It is simply a matter of taste.   While moving out an extremely invasive plant I remind myself of this quote, “No flower can prosper in your garden without your permission.” This is so true in life as well.

hollyhocksI harvest seeds from my cottage style garden nearest my kitchen window each fall.  I know it is not necessary to do this, but my garden has become thick over the years. Left to it’s own management the landscape from my window would look quite different than it does today.

I have been a gardener for a long, long time. I understand that I could simply let nature take her course. Knowing that the wind would scatter both the seeds of discontent as well as those of my choice.  Allowing these invaders to choke out the flowers that are important to me is not acceptable. It is best to remove the undesired plants before their seeds can scatter and grow.  I move them to their own spot, far away from my cottage garden.  Giving them space to spread and grow within a safety zone.

The view from our kitchen window changes with the seasons, and I am protective of this view.  I am always excited to watch what pops up next, which flower will bloom where, and depending on the rainfall, the warmth of the weather, and many things beyond my control, it is constantly a new and exciting garden. 

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Mother Nature and I have agreed upon a dance, she can move the seedlings around, with the help of a feathered friend, or a gust of wind. I also harvest seeds to deposit them where I hope they will grow and delight both my grandchildren and my heart.  If I am diligent and remove the unwanted plants before they turn to seed, my job will be easier next spring.

Doing nothing is a choice. Over the years I have been responsible for ignoring invasive species by allowing them time to become a full-blown epidemic. Eventually choking out my most beloved blooms by stealing all of the nutrients and light, some are lost forever.  I raised these beauties from seedlings, fed them, watched over them, and have been overjoyed at their masses, and deflated almost to tears when they were unable to find space to come back next spring. 

The cause most of the time is that I have spread myself to thin.  I have many beds within my garden and only one of me.  I also have many other activities that compete for my time, love and attention.  Almost always, I saw these invaders but simply didn’t have the time to deal with them.

garden1It is so easy to see the chaos and the fight in your garden, but so difficult to detect in our own lives. We each only have so much time, when something new comes into our lives something else must either go or suffer. What unwanted invasive plant has entered into your life?  Are you allowing other “weeds” to crowd out your most beloved?  What seeds are you allowing in, or ignoring that are taking over your time?  Will this invader wreak havoc upon your health, spirituality, and emotional wellbeing by sucking out all of the nutrients and light from the things you love?

Harvesting and spreading the seeds of love every once in a while will make your garden of life a beautiful bouquet.  Don’t let invasive plants, ones that perhaps you may have liked at one time, overpower and overtake your life. Choose well, because what is a perennial to one person is a weed to another.  Happy Harvesting.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Life is like riding a bicycle…

26 Sep

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ― Albert Einstein

This is the time of year when so many children are heading out the door, to pre-school, kindergarten, high school or college. It is hard to let them go, yet you must. The job of being a parent is to give your children the wings to fly, and the courage to use those wings. The thing to remember is that each child is an individual and reaches this point when they are ready, not when you are. Timing is everything. It can be difficult as parents to know when they are ready.

I believe parenting is similar to teaching your child to ride a bike. First you discuss the process and spend some time teaching them to pedal. After a while you lower those wobbly training wheels until their confidence is built, eventually raising them so things can become a little uncomfortable. They may tumble a few times, but in the long run you know it’s necessary to help them find their center. Later you run along beside them holding onto the back of the bicycle while encouraging them to find their own balance. The day will come when you release them into the world. Before you know it they are flying along without you.

As your child navigates along the bumpy paths of life there will be bruises and a few set backs. We accept that. Sometimes they come back with more than a bump or bruise. We received the phone call that no parent wants to receive. Our son was being airlifted to a trauma center two hours away. We were told to hurry, the outlook was uncertain. After the long grueling trip we discovered that our son had fallen from a 180 foot cliff receiving a severe traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on one side. The future of our son, our marriage and of our family was hanging in the balance.

How does one receive news like this and find the strength to go on? The ripple effect was put into play that day… our family, our marriage, our spirituality, everything about us changed and will be felt by the generations to come.

Being a care-giver to your injured child can be taxing, yet a deeply fulfilling endeavor. I found it to be a life journey that I would never have chosen. However, it changed not only me, but our entire family for the better. Sometimes in life we are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. It forces us to dig deep within ourselves to find the strength to go on, not only for us, but for our children. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Our story has a happy ending. Our son’s paralysis was caused by a bleed into his brain when his carotid artery was dissected upon impact. The paralysis miraculously disappeared. Although his left side is weaker, today you would never notice, he keeps that to himself. His brain has slowly healed. He needed time to remember who we were, who he was, and to discover the new him.

After months of therapy and hard-work he knew he had one more obstacle to face. The day he decided to return all his Christmas gifts to purchase a rope to rappel the cliff he fell from just eight short months earlier, was the day I discovered my knees.

We do all we can to protect our children. We buy the protective gear, provide good guidance, but in the end we are not in control. I learned that day to give control to a higher power. When your child returns to the nest broken, you nurture and care for them. However, you must give them the wings and courage to fly once again. This is not easy. My son knew he needed to conquer the cliff that took so much away from him. He knew what I didn’t understand at the time…. that the young man at the top of the cliff holding the rappelling rope was not the same young man that landed triumphantly at the bottom.

We all face “cliffs” in our lives. I have found the quote “the only way out is through” to be true. I as well had to face my greatest fear, and discover that I was not in control. The woman writing this is no longer the same woman who raced to the hospital. My marriage, my health, my viewpoint on life has been forever altered. In a heart-beat I discovered what was important, and all that we can do is love them… and perhaps purchase a good helmet.

- Catie

Follow Catie Hartsfield on Twitter 

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Singing poor, poor, pitiful me…

24 Sep

An icon from my childhood, Linda Ronstadt announced this week that she has Parkinson’s disease and has lost her ability to sing.  One of her songs that I was singing for a long time without realizing it was, “Poor, poor, poor, me, poor, poor, pitiful me.” However, she is doing anything but saying, poor me. She is embracing her accomplishments and bringing enlightenment to the world by sharing her journey. It is wonderful that they are recording her voice via interviews for the generations to come, as she will more than likely loose her ability to speak clearly.  I have enjoyed listening to these interviews. She speaks eloquently about her Mexican heritage, growing up in the desert, and how she always carries a recorder with her to “capture the moments” that nudge her.  Linda states that if you learn to open up to the world around you, it will send you little messages or gifts, a flower, a bird, or a glimpse of something that speaks directly to you. That is how all of her lyrics have come about.  I think that is a beautiful sentiment.

As a young girl, I had dreams about being a journalist one day.  I put those dreams away with reality, along with my writing.  I was singing poor, poor, poor me for a long, long time. Once I changed my song, opened myself up to the world and allowed things to flow my way… I continue to be constantly amazed.

People actually notice what I have to say. Yes, I have found my voice….and I like it!  I am ecstatic each week when over 700 followers of The Year of the Cicadas blog read what I have floating around in my head.  If you are reading this blog, thank you.  It really does matter to me.

Last week I was asked to submit a blog for consideration to the Huffington Post. Do you know they have over 43,240,000 readers every month?!  I have no idea if it will be accepted or not, that is not the point.  The point is that I was asked and they wrote me back and said, “Perfect. Thank you so much for doing the work. It was worth it.”  Wow, this is a big moment for me, and for that young girl who one day long ago dreamed about writing an article that would be published.

I am an author of a book that at this time has eighty-six reviews on Amazon, and a lot more via Facebook and our website, www.TheYearoftheCicadas.com. Most of these reviews are positive, some are not, and that’s okay.  A reader commented that I was really a b*#@* some of the time, during our story.  The answer is yes, that is where I was at the time.  That fortunately is not who I am anymore. It has taken a lot of work for me to go from victim of my own life, singing poor, poor, poor, me…  poor, poor, pitiful me to opening myself up to the possibilities of life. My advice:  Open your heart, follow your dreams, and look for the gifts that the world gives back to you…. People do care what you have to say, and maybe you need to change the song you are singing.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

The Bus, the Rowboat, the Helicopter and Seven Million Books

11 Sep

There is an old parable, okay maybe a new parable and it goes like this:

A man is in his home and a flood is coming.  This man is devout and he knows in his heart that God is going to save him.  He prays to God for salvation, and he waits.  Along comes a bus, it stops at his house.  Please get in they say, a flood is coming, you need to evacuate.  I have been praying answers the man, and God is going to save me.

The water starts to rise and the man moves to the second floor, along comes a rowboat.  Please get in they say, the flood is here, you need to evacuate.  I have been praying says the man, and God is going to save me. 

The water gets deeper and the man climbs onto the roof, along comes a helicopter.  Climb the ladder they say, this is your last chance you need to evacuate.  I have been praying says the man, and God is going to save me.

The water gets deeper and the man drowns.

When he arrives in heaven he looks at God and asks, “Why didn’t you save me?”  God answers, “I sent a bus, a rowboat and a helicopter, what more did you want?” 

Sometimes our angels/guides here on earth are hard to recognize.  When something is sent to me in threes or more I always try to look at it as a message.  Perhaps they are my bus, rowboat and helicopter, but how do you recognize your angels and guides amid all of the noise and chaos of everyday life?

I have been sought out by what I have become to think of as three messengers, in the past month, each one a parent that has been knocked to their knees by a tragedy regarding their child. As a result all three of these parents have independently risen to the challenge and started foundations that are doing a lot of good in the world.  For each of them it has become their full time commitment. I have been humbled by their presence.  It started me thinking, “Am I not doing enough?”

I went to dinner the other night with a dear friend, she advised me that my tag line, one book, one person at a time was not big enough.  The universe she says, gives you back what you ask for. Do I really only want one book, one person at a time to read The Year of the Cicadas? Hmmm that got me thinking, am I not thinking big enough?

The next day Steve and I were doing our “local author brownbag Friday” event at the Portland Public Library. It was an honor to be invited and to have The Year of the Cicadas shelved at this library. It was a laid back intimate gathering, a few good friends and a couple of new ones. After listening to us for a few minutes a retired college teacher, turned community activist, breaks in.  (I think this is fair to say since he had bumper stickers cut out and stuck to his shoes so that he could be a walking sandwich board for his causes). He rambles on in an aggressive tone, shouting that we are not doing enough, that we are not thinking big enough! We all look at each other, each one realizing that he is a radical, but perhaps he has a valid point: “Are we all doing enough, are we thinking big enough?”

We shrugged it off and went about our way, a few days later we met with a member of one of the indigenous tribes of Maine, a well-respected story-teller of his people’s history.  He spoke with us and in his quiet gentle tone, told us:  There are so many more people that you need to reach with your story, your message.  The number is 7,000,000.  You need to put that number out there into the universe, put 7,000,000 books sold on your refrigerator.  “We were not thinking big enough!”

I don’t want to pass up any busses, rowboats, or helicopters Sometimes the world seems really simple, but oftentimes it is a bit more complicated.  Seven million seems like a lot of books to me, but I’m heading home to put that  number on my refrigerator.  Wow, seven million, we are going to need a bigger bus, boat and a helicopter too, for the continuation of our “Most Excellent Book Tour Adventure.”  We are going to need a lot of angels to reach that number, please tell a friend or two, or three about our story.   Please help us to spread the word, just maybe you can be the angel/guide that helps your friend, or two or three out of a flood.

Catie

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Man’s Best Friend – Bonds with Animals

3 Sep

Sometimes animals come into our lives for a moment, and sometimes they are with us for a life-time, our lives are always enriched because of it.  The connection that bonds us to our furry, feathery and sometimes scaley friends is remarkable.

mans best friend - the year of the cicadasThis year saw the passing of two dear friends.  If you have read The Year of the Cicadas you understand the intricacies of my relationship with Ali the pit-bull. He became my un-wanted burden and then later my comfort and trusted companion.  Sadie his sister-in-love bounded around our house, in and out during the turmoil of the summer of the cicadas. I can still see the happiness on each of their faces, tongues hanging out of their mouths, as they bounded around the house over couches, and under tables chasing each other in glee.  Ooooh the exuberance of youth!

They were both cherished parts of both of my son’s families, first companions of unmarried men,  eachadjusting mans best friend - the year of the cicadasthrough years of dating, marriage and children.  Each dog showed patience and love while learning their new roles in the family. Years have come and gone, their joints stiffened and health concerns mounted and sadly both of our dear friends, Sadie and Ali, separated from each other by life and miles have passed on.  Not only do they live on in our minds and photos but in the hearts of our readers as well.

mans best friend - the year of the cicadasMy mind has wandered over the relationships of “pet-parents” and that of causal encounters. My question is, “who adopts who?” An elderly gentlemen’s health had been failing.  He was no longer able to leave the house much and needed around the clock care.  A small dove fell out of its nest and took to this small frail man. Each recognizing a need in the other, the bond was set. He fed the dove, talked to him and the hours and days flew by.  Each was dependent upon the other for companionship and comfort.

Leaving the sliding door open the small youngster would fly inside the house and sleep on his pillow right nextwild bird sitting in a boys hand to his “adopted” pet-parent.  Time went by and quickly this dove turned into an adult.  He flew off to have a life, as all wild animals should. It was sad to watch as the aged eyes looked around for his small friend. He continued to put food out daily watching carefully for his feathered child, and then one day he came back.  The winged friend had developed a life of his own, but comes back daily to eat.  After that the old man encountered an extended period in the hospital with little hope of his recovery, all he talked about was returning home to see his dove.  Was it this bond with his feathery friend that helped him to recover?  I think so.

Another story of a small bird that flew into the hearts of a mother and son for just a few moments touched my heart.  The bird landed hard and was stunned.  He rested in the palm of  both her and her son’s hands until he recovered and then flew away.

After years of living on a farmette, with dogs, cats, horses, goats and assorted animals that my children brought home and cared for, I find I am now without a “pet-family.” Time has moved on, the children grew up, the pets passed on, and there is a new-found freedom with that.  Grandchildren replace the children in our lives and hearts.

catie harts field with grandchildren and catA stray cat has been finding his way into my world for the past three years.  I have been feeding and talking to him. He comes and goes by his own leave.  He is spending time in my garden with me while loving on my grandchildren, finally I realize that this cat has adopted me and I him.  Each giving what we both need at this point in our lives, a little freedom, a little solitude and sometimes a cuddle.

The bond that forms between people and animals is amazing. I am grateful for all of the memories, love and affection that has come and gone over the years.  Good-bye Sadie, sweet dreams Ali, I hope you are both running around together you’re your tongues hanging out, young again in spirit and body.

 

Catie

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

The Totem of the Cicada

26 Aug

I am often asked what the significance is of the title of my book: The Year of the Cicadas. I am astounded when someone asks me this question. My first thought is, “Did they read the book?” Often it is an interviewer and of course the answer is, “no they did not read the book.” That leaves me with a really hard question to answer in a short amount of time. How do you explain to someone the significance of the Cicada in our story? If it is an interviewer, I only have a five to eight minute slice of time to motivate someone who has never heard of our book, The Year of the Cicadas, to go out and purchase it right now while it is fresh on their minds. I usually answer something like this: “Well, it was the year of the seventeen-year Cicada emergence. They are woven throughout our story, signifying vulnerability and discovering your own voice, life/death and learning to sing your own song. Then I move on to talk about our story.”

A friend found this under animal totems. How perfect that the Cicadas were speaking to my heart, soul and mind throughout our struggles. She sent this to me and I think it speaks for itself. This is uncanny, strange, mystical and wonderful all at the same time. I hope this clears it all up.

Cicada Totem:
Cicadas aid in your emergence of You and understanding who you are by uncovering hidden truths and secrets that have been long forgotten. Usually this knowledge is just below the surface so listen to Cicada for he will teach where and how to look. Cicadas will help in the phase of birth, death and rebirth. Which part of the 13-17 year phase are you in? Cicadas will also teach the art of the communication using song or the written word. He will aid in transforming your own voice into an amplification of your heart and your desires to sing your own light. Are you living each moment in the “Now”? Are you to ready emerge from the illusion into the light of truth and understanding? Cicada will teach much if you are patient.

Once again, thank you to my creative, beautiful, thoughtful and amazing readers. You continue to help me grow in my understanding of both myself and of the world.

Catie

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

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