SHATTERED DREAMS

It has all been a bit hectic lately and so I have not had much time for writing, blogging or visiting my favourite blogs. I intend to rectify that over the coming week – in between Sports Day, Concerts and GAA Blitzs. In the meantime here is a very little short story for your amusement. So grab a cuppa, take a seat at the kitchen table and enjoy!

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I stood up, smoothed my hair and crossed the bedroom to answer the phone. I made a mental note to get on to Tom again about moving the bloody phone over to the bedside table. As usual he was already fast asleep. Lying on his back, mouth wide open, snoring softly, his grey haired chest rising and falling, the picture of blissed out middle age. I caught sight of my reflection as I passed the wardrobe mirror. My soft and saggy nakedness shocked me. Was that really me? I was caught, mesmerised by the picture captured in the framed mirror. Behind my creased self, was the crumpled bed and my husband of twenty years, oblivious in the dying light of a summer evening. Through the open window, riding on the smell of freshly cut grass came the suburban evening concert of birdsong and the hum of neighbourhood lawnmowers.

I have been here before I thought. On another soft summer evening, I stood framed in a crooked wall mirror and wrapped in the same soft aroma generated by the Trinity College groundsman on his ride on lawnmover. My body was long, lightly tanned and voluptuous. I celebrated my beauty and nakedness by dancing as my lover watched from the bed. Through the mirror I kept contact with his startling blue eyes which were full of the promise of further ecstasy. I danced sensually and slowly, enjoying the sight of his body reacting as he lay sprawled on my single bed. His strong arms held his head up so he could appreciate my teasing. I danced on until he rose up and grabbed me roughly, pulling me back down onto the bed. I gave myself up to his athletic, nut brown body, burying my face in his chest. We devoured each other, noisily, greedily. Outside the day died as we exhausted our appetite for each other. Then we lay, our bodies wrapped around each other as we spoke softly to each other of the big colourful dreams that lay ahead. Futures full of fun, laughter, excitement and languid afternoons spent making love.

It had gone silent. The snoring had stopped and the outside noise had ceased. The quiet was broken by Tom, who muttered “are you going to answer the bloody phone or stare at yourself all evening?” I smoothed my hair, sucked in my stomach, and tippy toed over my broken dreams to answer the phone.

BOOK REVIEW – UNCUT DIAMONDS

Some weeks back I told you that I was the lucky winner of a book (the very best kind of prize) on Karen Jones Gowen’s blog. The book is called Uncut Diamonds – her second novel.

I have often found myself having to defend the kind of books I like best. I don’t like thrillers, crime fiction, historical fiction or anything that has violence. I like a book to wrap myself up in. A book that allows me to immerse myself in another life where I can watch characters grow and change as they cope with whatever life is throwing at them. I love books strong on character. For me, plot is secondary to that.

Uncut Diamonds is just that kind of book – a wander around the life of Marcie and Shawn McGill and their expanding brood of kids in smalltown USA (set in Illinois). The story charts some turbulent years in the life of this young, growing family who are challenged with the recession of the 70’s which causes Shawn to lose work and ultimately they lose their house.

I just loved the central character, Marcie. She was a young mother, trying to do her best for her family but who often was overwhelmed by life – like the rest of us. I loved the spirituality that was an integral part of this Mormon family’s life. It was a book that certainly resonated with me and had many similarities to Ireland in the 70’s when the church played a huge role in family life.

Ultimately this is a story full of light and redemption as the family find help in all kinds of unexpected places. It highlights the love that binds families together even when on the surface there may be arguments and tensions.

For an uplifting read, you could do worse than read Uncut Diamonds! Check out its author’s blog at www.karengowenjones.blogspot.com

Living Your Best Life – 2 –

First of all, thanks to all who left a comment on my previous post on the subject of Living Your Best Life. Having had a week to mull this over and the inspiration provided by your thoughts, here is some of what I think.

Know who you are: I know this sounds maybe a little like psychobabble but I really think it is important to know yourself. We all wear masks and play parts much of the time, trying to be a great daughter, mother, sister or friend. Trying to be capable and strong or perhaps shy and retiring and put upon. But it is vital to spend some time really searching within, in order to find out who we are. Take away all the labels and masks and think of yourself by your first name. I am Barbara – but who is that? Who are you? Who is the real you? What are your passions? What really makes you tick?

Slow down. We can often live our lives at breakneck speed. Charging through our days in a very task orientated way. Perhaps we think we are really good at multi tasking and getting lots done. And that is good but not if it is at the expense of noticing beauty and joy all around us. I really think we all need to slow down. We need to develop the habit of taking time each day to just be! And the problem is that when we do stop, we feel guilty. We need to realise that by caring for ourselves, we are practicing self love and that so good for all the parts of yourself. Minding yourself will improve your physical, emotional and psychological health.

Live in the moment. Be in the Now. Be conscious of when your energy flies off in all directions. We spend endless hours worrying about the future and fretting about the past. We need to develop the habit of checking ourselves regularly. Where is your energy now? Drop the worry habit. It serves no purpose. It achieves nothing but ill health for yourself and it poisons the world around you. A great way to do this is to hand your worries/concerns to God or the Angels or Allah or the Universe or whatever. Hand them over and then hold your energy in the now.

Choose every day to be joyful, happy and positive. We choose our emotions. Learn to regularly take your emotional temperature. How am I feeling? If you are in some negative mood, make a conscious effort to bring your focus back to all that is good and positive. And smile a lot!

Remember that life is mainly a bit of a laugh. All of us have traumatic events in our lives, but never lose your sense of humour. See the ridiculous as often as you can. Live life lightly.

So yes, life is about chasing your dreams, fulfilling your wishes and ‘a daring adventure’. Perhaps some of the points I have raised might help a little along the way.

What say you?

NEWS FLASH

I was very thrilled and flattered to have been asked to ‘Guest Blog’ on one of my favourite blogs – ‘Writer on the way Home’ – a blog written by Niamh Griffin. Niamh spent many years living abroad and so her blog is all about moving to Ireland – whether you are returning to your homeland or making a new home here. It’s usually great reading and often gives us another way look at ourselves in Ireland.

Anyway, my post ‘GAA is the way to go’ has just appeared. Check it out at www.writeronthewayhome.blogspot.com.