Beyond the Door/Conversations With a Six Year Old

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Such was the life of a Mom with four young sons, all of whom could be busy for hours with no thought of where I was or what I was doing-until I tried to make a phone call or spend a few quiet moments alone. If my door was closed it became an alert to my oldest to wonder, to prod and to seek me out. God, how I miss that. 

Was it maddening to a young mother? Of course. Did I feel guilty for insisting on some “me” time? Absolutely. Did I want to teach my sons that we all need to be alone sometimes and have consideration for those we love? More than anything else. Did I succeed?

The great news is every one of them is just such a person. And our conversations have evolved over all the years. But sometimes…we still have simple, silly, honest exchanges that remind of those little boys that still live in their souls and in my heart.

Today is the author of this note’s birthday. 19 hours of labor to coax him out that marked a legacy of clinging that lasted until he headed off to school. And how I miss those tiny arms latching themselves around my legs every time we were reunited after nursery school or kindergarten.

Happy Birthday my young man. You will ever be my precious Dumbo. I cherish your choosing me for your Mom in this life. 

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Stay wonderful! I love you! Oh, and I’ll be out in a minute….

The Landing/Photography

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking.  We ask that you please remain in your seats and keep your seats belts fastened until we arrive at the terminal gate….

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and as always, we know you have a choice and thank you for flying Bright Wing Airlines. You may now resume cellphone use.”

How To Choose/The Cherished Blogfest

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This post is dedicated to a very special group of friends I was fortunate to have been brought together with by the same person who dreamed up this blogfest.  I would like to thank Damyanti at Dailywrites for her dedication to bringing together like minded people and helping us to tap into our creativity and share it with the world. Thank you for creating the Cherished Blogfest idea, my friend. And to my other friends who have hosted this event, I am sorry I was not able to join in that part but am trying here to at least join in. You have all done a wonderful job as the creative, wonderful souls that you are. So thank you also to Dan Antion of No Facilities,Sharukh at India Destinations, Peter at Demigorgon’s Fiction and Paul from Echoes of the Pen. Congratulations on a job well done!

For me, this is a very daunting task, not because I cannot find that which I cherish, but rather that I cannot choose what I would cherish above anything else.  I truly cherish each moment that I am blessed to live in this life, even the painful ones; for they provide the greatest growth and understanding in the end.  BUT….narrowing it down to an object has made this task a much easier one and one that might seem fairly obvious to those who know me well.  For this object affords me the gift of keeping all my cherished moments, objects and feelings for revisiting and sharing with others.  Have you guessed it yet, my friends?  My cherished object may seem a bit frivolous; but to me it is companion, teacher, magician, historian, painter and friend.  My cherished object for a long while now has been…..

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Meet my friend, Mr. Nikon

Vision

My camera is my closest friend

from morning with me till day’s end.

The world in all its glory, light

from brilliant dawn to darkest night

and fullest moon.

My family ever close to me

as with my friend, together we

freeze the moments, smiles and tears

that tend to fade throughout the years

of time passing.

When I am sad, the world too mean,

there is joy and comfort to be seen,

as hand in hand we turn our gaze

to wonders present in all the days

that never cease.

A tiny bud, a perfect bloom

the brightest faces in a room.

Sunrise, moonbeams, sandy beach

elusive damselfly, just out of reach

cannot escape our eye.

Soon I forget the pain and sorrow

as I hunger for a new tomorrow.

For therein lies another chance

to sing, to laugh and wildly dance

through puddles in the rain.

These moments, precious, fleeting rare

are gifts too fleeting not to share.

And thusly bring some cheer, a smile-

a chance of pleasure for awhile

to another seeking comfort.

Here, now find, a bit of time

without any reason, order, rhyme.

Of days gone now from memory,

but still so fresh when’er I see

the images my friend has kept for me.

I would like to share with you some of my favorite treasures from the looking glass of my camera.  Just click on the video below.  What is it that you cherish?  I’d love to know!

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Juntos/Forever Never/Excitement Grows

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Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
copyright words and images 2015
In the lands of Espera and Jinetes, excitement grows and preparations move forward for the long awaited ceremony. Hearts and spirits are are light, shadowed only by the tinge of the unknown-the slight unknowable that is inevitable on their world…
Juntos/Part One
Morning found the air of Espera charged with an energy that was palpable, intoxicating and completely distracting for its inhabitants; for by the setting of the sun would arrive the moment they had prayed, waited and prepared for.  The ceremony of calling which had already taken place had only fueled the females’ anticipation and desire.  As the laughing sun crept slowly across the blue sky, marking the mid-way, the cheerful chatter of early morning transformed into giddy banter as final preparations were made for the night. This ceremony marked the final choosing; when the males of Jinetes will call to their chosen ones again with music while each female, in turn, will respond.  This moment of recognition and acceptance shall seal their joining. Of course there was speculation among the females about the identity of their mates, and high hopes were only mildly tainted by the shadow of uncertainty. Most had their eye on a particular male from the village of Jinetes; having turned a keen eye on them since they came to exist in their world together. As with things that were destined to be in the perfect age of Spirit, none of the females had set her eye on the same companion as another. On the previous night, as they raised their voice in answer to the call of the males, each lonely heart held the face of her desire within in her mind-hoping…praying…the response would come from that most intended.

Not least among these earnest dreamers was Ella, the perfect beauty who now found it difficult to keep her mind focused on the task at hand. When she allowed her thoughts to stray, her mind could see only the strong, dark face of Laoch before her. He haunted her soul as sh  traced the sun worn lines in his brow and followed the shape of his nose down to the square set of his jaw and always-always-she would then see his full lips part in a half grin, just for her; but if she allowed herself to venture below his broad shoulders, she couldn’t bear the power of her stirring. What if it was not he who had called out to her last night? The very possibility would be more than she could bear and she gasped.

“Ella! What are you doing?!” A loud clatter and sharp pain in her foot ended her reverie as she realized she dropped the jars of herbal mixes she was sorting for the night’s ceremony.  It was a miracle that nothing had been broken, least of all her delicate foot. She hoped it wouldn’t bruise.  Quickly and quietly, Ella stooped to pick up the scattered herbs and return them to their designated jars.  Her heart pounding, she suddenly felt exposed, as though all of her thoughts were strewn across the dirt along with the dried flowers and leaves.

It was Servia who knelt beside Ella, helping to retrieve the remnants of her pride along with the spilled goods. Always it was she that appeared to offer aid, assistance and comfort to her female companions-never questioning, never berating, only quietly stepping in to fill a need-or a cup-whichever was most urgent in the moment.

“Thank you dear, Servia.” Ella whispered.  “I do not know what I was thinking when..” her words fell, broken, as Servia touched her hand gently, letting her know there was no need to explain. Ella gazed at the female who seemed so wise and yet so innocent as she carefully sorted the scattered herbs. Not as tall as Ella, she was also lovely and yet not as exquisitely proportioned. Her chin was a bit too round and her hair had a sort of wild wavy texture that kept it at odds with her body, so that she always appeared to have just come from some manic sprint in the woods. Her skin was smooth and dark just as Ella’s; and as she looked up to smile at her friend, Ella realized anew just how handsome she truly was and that this rich beauty came from somewhere deep within.  When the female’s smile spread across her face, she became a vision of total loveliness difficult to express once the smile had faded from it.

“There,” said Servia gently, “not a lost blossom. I needed a way to rest my legs after standing so long there at the tables.”

She nodded towards the long wooden planks that were being prepared for their feast and ceremony. So many fruits, so many meats-and the flowers! Looking at it, Ella could not fathom where so many lovely blossoms had been found; for it seemed in that moment as though all of the flowers on Domhan must surely be lying upon their tables! Servia was in the party of females chosen to gather blooms for the ceremony; and although there were several who went for this purpose, Ella was wise enough to know that it was mainly Servia who gathered the majority of them while the others chatted about the ceremony and the joining as they stopped to munch berries or dip their toes in the river water; and of course Servia didn’t mind. Ella had not heard her utter a word of complaint in all of their cycles on Domhan. She seemed to have arrived with the understanding that work was to be her joy and that the act of giving comfort and assistance to others would be her purpose. It shamed some of the other less inspired females to be in her presence; and at times Ella would hear them criticize her in their fear of being thought less productive. In these moments, the Huntress would  step forward to help Servia and thank her for the gifts she offered to all of Espera, shaming the others for their idle jealousy.  Then, the chattering would cease as they realized the folly of their careless words.

And yet again Ella was grateful to her dear friend for this kind, generous nature. They stood and returned the jars to the table as they surveyed the fruits of their labors. Both felt somehow apart from the commotion as the others continued to busy themselves with food preparations and more chatter about the coming blood moon and their future lives with the Jinetes. Ella reached her free arm to place it around Servia’s shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “It is beautiful, is it not? I know how carefully you chose the blossoms and arranged them here- for their fragrance, their delicate beauty and their living essence. None here could have done the task with more perfection. Truly it is your gift, Servia.” Servia glanced at the table and then back at Ella. A slight flush crept up her neck and flooded her face as she smiled at the female she admired so much. She never did anything to be praised; and it made her a bit uncomfortable to receive such compliments, even though she knew it was meant in appreciation. This she humbly accepted with a grateful heart. Ella’s arm fell from Servia’s shoulder and they returned to their work, chatting quietly about the coming ceremony.

“Ella, do you think that all will be as prophesied under the blood moon tonight?” When her friend remained silent, Servia continued nervously. “What I mean is, will we really…each of us in Espera…be finally joined with the companion of our heart from the village of Jinetes?” Ella sensed the hesitation in Servia’s voice, an uncertainty that seemed uncommon for her. But then they had not had many intimate conversations because she was forever busy tending to matters that, well, needed tending to.

Ella had to admit that the same question was lingering somewhere deep within her own soul where it had lain, unrecognized and unspoken for fear the answer would prove more discouraging than the uncertainty had been. But when it came to Ella’s friends, she could always find the words of truth that lay deep within. This had been the reason Mother Palabra took her in as the helper she needed in the way of Spirit. Ella only knew that she sometimes felt unworthy of such an honor. Quietly, she continued sorting the herbs, searching her soul for guidance in answering Servia.

“I believe the prophecy is surely a guideline for the events that should-and will-unfold upon our world, Sister.  I understand that we were given free will at the time of our births, so that we would be able to care for ourselves and one another in this dream walk. I know that Great Spirit desires only the best life for each of Its creations and thusly has blessed us with the gifts that we enjoy with each rising sun, for it is by this joy that we are returned to Its own bosom as Love.  I think that whatever each of us holds within our hearts and minds as our greatest desire can manifest within our world, for such is the greatness of the gift of creation. So, to answer your question simply, “YES. Spirit’s prophecy will be realized this night as each of us will know our heart’s truest desire…as long as there is honorable intent behind it.”

There. Now she had made them both feel better; for in her effort to comfort and uplift Servia, Ella had also revealed to herself the truth she held within her soul but that somehow seemed often elusive to her own questioning mind. Both females stopped talking as their minds became filled with rich images of the future lives they would have on Domhan with their companions. As they continued to work, they began to hum softly, soon affecting the entire group as every female joined in their gentle music, each adding her voice to the soft melody until soon it became a chorus-a lilting sound that rose above their heads and danced on the breeze blowing over the dense woods and into the village of Jinetes.

Guia, who had been speaking with Eolas about the new scrolls they made for recording the words of Spirit and the events of their world, suddenly stopped. Cocking his head slightly to the side, he waited. Eolas recognized his movement, for as a hunter he himself had stopped many times to listen for the sound of approaching wild animals, rainstorms and other humans. There was always something in the the air that changed, an unseen energy like a vibration that arrived before any true sound ever did. He held his breath and waited as well. Across the field the others continued their conversations, comfortable in this new cycle, knowing by its end that they would no longer walk alone. Most of the talk was focused on the females in Espera, of course. Yet it was not focused on the obvious-the physical joining of their union.  More important to them was how these changes through union would affect their known life. Most were concerned with their abilities to provide, to hold the attention of their mates, and the burden of now knowing they would be responsible for something other than themselves. All agreed, however, that it was what they so longed for and that it would fulfill their sense of purpose.

Eolas watched Laoch among the others, seated in the center of the Riders like a true leader and, more importantly, like a long missing tribesman. He couldn’t recall ever seeing his friend laughing so heartily or looking so strong. He was telling some tale now, for all gathered about him were watching intently, his face animated and arms spread in a gesture. Suddenly the Warrior also stopped, hands frozen in the air, and cocked his head to the side, his arms falling. He held up a bronzed hand calling for silence from his companions. In that moment a smile played at the corners of Guia’s mouth as the sound followed vibration into their midst.  Laoch’s eyes grew wide with wonder and he gazed upward, seeking the source of the magic.  Drifting from above, as though sung by the Goddess herself, floated the sound of mesmerizing female voice. The melody was fluid but not organized in any particular way and it began to hypnotize each warrior and huntsman as it fell on their ears.  There was total silence over all of Jinetes. Only the burning fires crackled in defiance of the melodic intrusion.

From across the field, Eolas stepped forward, lifting his arms to the bright early skies and shouted to the heavens.

“Spiorad Mor!”  He shouted the name of Great Spirit.  Guia joined him in the call to Mor, followed by Laoch. Each of the others followed in turn until all held arms upraised, tools and spears, bows and arrows, all pointing to the heavens above. They shouted the name of their Creator in appreciation for the gifts of Domhan. Over and again they called until their cries became a joyous roar that shook the trees at the edge of the woods and rose into the wind where it joined the melody of Espera. The  sound drifted upon the clouds, rising higher until it reached the Essence of Eternity where Inion knew complete love in its Vibration.

“Thank you, my Leanai” came the thought of Mor.

to be continued…..
All comments and thoughts are welcome. As always, I thank you for reading…
Love and Light,
Cheryl

Today’s Rose/Photography

Today’s Rose

bees and roses at sunrise 180.NEF

The wisdom of today’s rose-

lovely, bright,

face towards the light

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is to seek your bliss,

bees and roses at sunrise 116.NEF

and

rise above the abyss

of illusion.

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Then taste it, sweet,

know joy complete

in its perfection.

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and so, take your fill,

 yet knowing still

it must be shared.

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to be fully appreciated…….

Find your bliss in every moment.

Cheryl Pennington

copyright words and photos

2015

Comfort Food/Recipe

This post is for my good blogging friend Damyanti.. If you haven’t already met her, take a hop over to her blog or check out her Facebook Page. She is so creative and has many engaging projects for writers that you might want to get on board with!  Meanwhile, if you love fried chicken but have given up the greasy, ‘not good for your heart’ variety. (God, how I still love my Raising Cane’s now and then), I have great news for you.  The following recipe is the best thing I have found in its place and actually stands alone in its flavor, simplicity and versatility.  Many of you may be familiar with other forms of German Schnitzel such as veal; but until I found this recipe I had no idea it would work with chicken.  The following recipe was derived from a wonderful little cookbook I found some years back at one of my favorite book stores, either Books a Million or Barnes and Noble.  This is the book where the original recipe can be found on page 91.

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This little book is not really thick but has some of the tastiest recipes I have ever tried. I normally don’t use recipes any longer. I have grown to understand food and combinations so much that I pretty much “wing it”. But these recipes are gathered from around the globe and afforded me an opportunity to create and enjoy tastes from different countries.  While my family liked anything I made from the this book, the number one hit of all has been the Chicken Schnitzels, by far the favorite of each and every member.  My youngest gets the “warm fuzzies” just thinking about it.  So, in that respect we can safely call it one of our family “comfort foods”.  The photo that follows the recipe is the most recent meal which does NOT include one of the “key” ingredients which make it ultimate comfort-the homemade garlic creamed potatoes.  We are all trying to eat lighter and healthier these days and only indulge in that delight occasionally. But the green beans were grown in my garden and steamed with fresh sweet pepper and we enjoyed a Romaine and fresh tomato salad on the side.  One tip.  DO NOT have your heat too high as the crust will become browned too quickly, leaving the chicken undercooked. Your cutlets should be as thin as called for so that you can get this perfect balance of crispy crust and delicately cooked meat. Okay, on to the recipe!

Chicken Schnitzels

Four servings (this is so easily modified and leftovers are great)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Seasoning to taste (recipe calls for salt and pepper but being Southern we also love a nice pinch of cayenne pepper)

I also will add Italian seasoning, either fresh or dried if we are in the mood

3 Tbsp flour (you can add more if you feel the chicken is too wet after coating. I have substituted soy flour at times as well)

1 egg, beaten (I use 2 to be certain I have enough)

1/2 cup (or more if needed) fine, dry breadcrumbs (I add my additional seasonings to these)

About 6 Tbsp canola oil (I have used Olive or vegetable oil also)

Using sheets of parchment paper (recipe originally called for waxed paper, but after a bit of pounding they go to shreds), flatten chicken breasts to about 1/8 in thickness. I find the flat end of a meat mallet works best.

Next, coat the breasts in flour. (I like to use a large ziptop bag and shake them for complete covering.)

Dip each breast in beaten egg, making sure all is coated.  Then coat in seasoned bread crumbs, making sure all surfaces are covered.  This works best for me on a large plate, pressing down each side into the crumbs.

Put on a large plate or small baking sheet and refrigerate-uncovered-for at least 30 minutes.

(leaving the coated chicken uncovered in the fridge is the key to your crispy crust)

Heat oil in nonstick skillet and brown chicken breasts on both sides, about 3-5 min on each side.  The recipe says to use high heat, but unless you get them uber thin I find the crust browns too quickly. I use med-high heat and adjust as needed.  You may add additional oil as needed but remember you are not “frying” these, so less is more, using just enough to moisten and brown the breasts to a crispy crust outside and moist, cooked inside.

I always make a homemade honey-mustard sauce for dipping which I derived from the recipe of a “famous” little Icehouse in San Antonio called Willie’s.  My quickie version calls for my favorite mayo (Blue Plate) blended with mustard, a bit of creole mustard if I have it on hand,  regular French’s mustard, honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  I wish I could give you exact measurements but I am such a ‘taste as you go’ cook, I would be lying if I said I made it to recipe each time. I can tell you I am heavier on the mayo than the mustard and not too much honey.  I like to get the tang of the mustard, an aftertaste of “hot” in my throat without a real burn with an underlying hint of sweet honey.  Feel free to experiment. The best cooks do!!

Ahhhh……I feel comforted already.  I hope you try this out; and if you do, I hope you will let me know how it goes!  When I make it these days I send my son photos so he can remember home-and be a bit green with envy. ;))

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