Heaven Help the Children…

Hi all. I am posting to my WP blog today because many of you that follow me have difficulty commenting or connecting with me over on Blogger. I am so grateful to all who have hung in there with me for over ten years since I started blogging on my tropicalaffair site.

Today’s post is presented as part of https://lindaghill.com/2022/10/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-22-2022/ for Linda Hill and her #SoCS prompt. Today’s prompt is ‘bowl’.
Any of you who follow Dan Antion over at https://nofacilities.com/2022/10/22/reading-and-writing-socs/#comment-286663 may have read his post today where he was kind enough to mention the book I have been working on for the past 10+ yrs. Working, raising kids and living life makes book writing a real challenge. I did most of the work during our ‘first retirement’ attempt in 2012 in the beach jungle town of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. There was true inspiration there. Fast forward to retirement number 2 almost two years ago now to Panama and I am finally nearing completion. Dan has been a true friend in helping me with this story, from reading book chapters to now being a Beta reader. I can never thank him enough for his valuable honest input and encouragement.
So, today I want to share an excerpt from one of the chapters without giving away too much of the story. Anyone who has raised small children will appreciate the tension in this excerpt. If you like what you read please leave me a comment. I love hearing from you.

PS. If you can find the ‘bowl’ in the piece let me know in the comments. 🙂

ForeverNever/Dawn of the Dream

copyright 2022 Cheryl Pennington


“Saol, it’s time.”  His hot breath tickled her ear and the agitation in his voice nudged her awake.  Agean was kneeling beside her bed, his fingers squeezing the soft flesh of her forearm. “C’mon, now. Hurry so we don’t wake her.” 
Saol looked at her mother, still sleeping soundly and gasped softly.  Agean pressed his hand across her mouth just in time to stifle a squeal.  Her heart thumped madly when she looked into his eyes.  They begged her to be silent, to be brave… and to get moving!  He nodded over her shoulder towards the window. Saol turned and saw a faint glow filtering through the trees but the sky above them was black as soot.  She pulled his hand from her mouth and sighed softly.  Dreaming.  She’d only dreamed her Father was calling to her.  Saol shook her head to clear away the haunting apparitions and pushed back the covers.  She could see Agean was already dressed and ready to leave, and his things lay in a shadowy lump by the door.
“We have to hurry,” he mouthed. The boy leaned in so close that their noses bumped and they fought the urge to giggle, as children are wont to do. She nodded, swung her feet over the edge of the bed and leaned down for her leathers, but Agean had them in hand and began quietly slipping them onto her feet.  He laced one and she worked with the other.  He handed her the clothes from the end of the bed and stared at her expectantly but she scrunched up her nose, frowning.  Agean shrugged and held up his hands, confused. The boy had seen his Na naked many times and this was no time to be shy.  She stubbornly refused to remove her night shirt and motioned for him to turn around.  He rolled his eyes and obliged, tiptoeing to the door where he kept his face to the wall and waited. 
After she dressed, Saol looked around her safe haven, soaking up its warmth and comfort.  Something gleamed in the darkness and she tiptoed to the tiny table where her few treasures lay beside a cold oil lamp.  Among these was a tiny cloth doll on a leather cord, a gift from her father at the last celebration of her life. But what it rested in was the most treasured thing Saol now owned, although she never dared tell Mama Ella.  She didn’t want to hurt her feelings.  After a brief moment of indecision, she slipped the doll necklace over her head and tucked it inside her dress.  She slowly ran her fingers over the inside of the bowl, lovingly tracing every dip and rise of the clay.  Saol had no memory of her mother but she loved her just the same. Eagna died the night she was born and that made her mysteriously perfect in Saol’s heart.  Her father never spoke of this but her Mama Ella told her how close they all were when they worked together for the good of Domhan.  She took the bowl from the table and nestled it between the folds of her clothes in the bag.  Naofa cared so much for Eagna and Saol realized just how special her gift had been. With a last look around she was ready.
She wanted to kiss Ella on the cheek but didn’t dare go near her bed.  Instead she watched her sleep, wondering what her dreams might be.  She softly whispered, “I love you and I promise to bring him back.”  When the lump rose in her throat, the young girl turned and crept to the door where Agean waited.  Hand in hand they slipped out into the chilly dawn of adventure.  Saol shivered and put her arm around Agean’s shoulders protectively.  
“I’m ok, Saol,” he whispered adamantly, pulling away.  He wouldn’t admit he felt the chill for she might think him weak.  Yet her warmth was comforting and he doubted he would have had the courage to go alone.  He grabbed her hand and they slipped behind the hut to gather their pilfered goods, being careful not to rattle the wood in the bin or bump into the house. After they filled their bags and hung them across their backs, the children were ready to leave the village, laden like work horses.  The bow and quiver slung across Agean’s back was half the size of his body.  Only one challenge remained and they took a deep breath as they headed toward the path leading to freedom.  
“He’s sleeping,” Agean whispered into her ear.  His breath stirred the silken strands of hair around her face, tickling her cheek.  She dared not move for fear of waking Fiel, the hunter who was the flame keeper.  Each night a different Jinetes kept the flame alive, and so kept Juntos alive.  The fire that blazed in the center of the village had been burning long before the Joining, ever since the females of Espera were created.  Before the Jinetes became keepers the women of Espera tended the flame, sharing the sacred charge among themselves. The fire of life had been one of the Realm’s first gifts to them and they revered it.  Fiel’s senses were sharp,  making their exit more difficult.  
The children waited anxiously in the shadows until Agean got an idea.  He crouched on the ground, soundlessly searching until he spotted the perfect stone.  He picked it up and and waited.  The Jinetes taught him that patience always gave the warrior an advantage.  He counted to ten before raising his arm and flinging the stone as hard as he could.  It was a perfect toss, landing beside the fence where the horses were tied for the night.  He was relieved he hadn’t hit one in the head for he only wanted to wake them, giving Fiel a reason to leave his place too near the path.
The stone hit with a thud and one of the horses whinnied and reared, stirring the others.  Soon they were all excited, fearing a predator.  Fiel jumped but didn’t panic.  This happened all the time. Serpents and night stalkers were a horse’s worst enemy, causing panic in the group as they all tried to escape. He pulled out his knife and sprinted to the animals, never looking across the clearing to where the children hunkered in the dusty light of an imminent daybreak.  
The hunter checked every horse, patting them and searching the area for unwanted guests.  He was so preoccupied with his work that he didn’t see the children scurry past the fire pit.  Their silhouettes fell on the soft earth before the flame that pointed its orange finger at them accusingly. He might never have looked in their direction if Saol hadn’t stepped in a rut, twisting her foot.  She slapped her hand to her mouth to stifle the cry of pain and Agean yanked her from the path into the trees.  Once safely hidden, she rubbed her ankle and was relieved she could still move it.  Agean looked at her anxiously, but when she stood on her foot there was no pain.  Their eyes shone in the dark with questions they dared not ask aloud. 
‘Do you think he heard?’‘Is he coming?’‘Is this the end of our journey before it even began?’
The woods were silent but for the sound of their hearts drumming in their ears.  They waited until the biting bugs began making a morning meal of their skin before nodding, both ready to bolt. It was now or never and they were ready to run.  Saol took one step forward but Agean grabbed her arm, pulling her back. He’d seen a moving shadow on the path and his senses told him to stay put.  In the next moment they spotted Fiel walking toward the gate.  
The Keeper was annoyed that he had to go all this way for nothing.  Birds often screeched when they were flushed out by the night hunters.  Still, the cry sounded strange and it was his task to keep the village safe while the others slept.  As he walked past their hiding place he lifted his bow and nocked an arrow, practicing his aim.  Suddenly he turned to face the woods, pointing the arrow directly at the terrified runaways.  
Had he seen them?  Saol squeezed Agean’s hand and they held their breath, not moving a muscle.  His young heart sank at the thought of being discovered, of being denied his chance to help his mother and father… or worse yet,  being shot a second time!  Saol’s heart was heavy, imagining the moment she would stand before Mama Ella and have to explain her deception without having found her father.  
Fiel saw nothing in the dark woods but shadows and heard nothing more than the wind in the trees and the occasional call of the night owl. He lowered his bow and continued on to the gates where he made sure they were latched and nothing was out of order.  The horizon glowed pink and orange and the hunter knew it wouldn’t be long before the noisy women would be crowding his space to begin their work.  He ran all the way back to his bed and, with a last look at the quiet horses, pulled the blanket over his head.  The morning air was chilly, an unpleasant condition that was getting worse with every rising sun. 
Saol tugged Agean along, more determined than ever to get away from the village.  When they reached the gates of Juntos they felt terribly small beneath the towering posts.  They looked longingly to the other side where the mysterious world loomed before them, silently speaking its truth. 
You two will be on your own out here,’ it warned.  ‘Are you sure you don’t want to climb back in your beds and wait for the warm breakfast you could have with your friends and family when the sun smiles?”
Agean tightened the strap on his shoulder and grabbed Saol’s hand.  “Let’s go before anyone else wakes up.” 
The devoted girl had no choice but to follow the son of the Light Ones to the end and what lay between.  Her hand was warm in his as they squeezed between the gate’s wooden slats.  As if to applaud their decision, Grandfather Sun blinked over the horizon, splintering  golden light over the damp grass.  They looked at each other and smiled, all fear fading in the light of hope they shared. 

Thanks for reading!



A bit of photography ‘magic’ and some thoughts over at Dreaming Existence .
I have been working feverishly to complete the book, having all this extra time on my hands. And making jewelry, reading, baking, cooking. I hop outside for a bit of Vitamin D when I can and am watching the little back yard lake slowly drying up….😞

I am still here, am healthy, we have shelter and food. I hope you are all faring well during this most frightening and disruptive moment in our lives. Take care, stay safe, stay in, love one another, and wash those hands!


Forever Never/Dream to Nightmares

I am finally ready to draw this tale to an end and so have begun its final walk. Here is an excerpt in my new space. You can read my words Here.

PS. I hope you have a fantastic #free48!

What Dream, This Life..

A blink…


A flash…

a whisper…


A wink.

A breath..


A sigh…


In the twinkle of an eye..



As softly passing by,



Life nods and grins


at the child within



our eager souls.



Of like

and kind

we circle back on all

we thought we learned and knew-

so bound by emotion,

our devotion to the dream

reigns supreme before all


may the odds be

ever in our favor..



as we savor

sweet surrender

to the bonds so

warm and tender-

silken chains,

we are engrossed

in the stories that we write



with blood and tears about

this so called Life.


A scream,

a heartbeat,

a giggle,

a moan

and the flutter of wings

will carry us home…


Cheryl KP

copyright words and images 2019

Nature’s Face/Photography/Poetry

At times I trudge through my life, sometimes with steps as light as air,  yet often as though pulling lead balls chained to my ankles; still,  I find constant comfort in the face of Nature.  We have had a dreary sort of Winter, although the holidays were bright and full. The unrest in the world is palpable, carried on the chilly wind and hanging in the raindrops that seem endless on every weekend that comes around here in Georgia.

Yesterday was a reprieve and I was determined to find solace in the free blessings and gifts of Mother Earth.  The message in her soul is always the same, so clear and encouraging, sometimes more so in those arenas made by humans to showcase her handiwork.



We are here!!!

Each face is as unique as our own, their expression and exuberance so real you can almost hear their voices singing for the change of season.  I believe Nature’s joy in Spring is contagious. Can you hear them?


Spring tiptoes in on velvet slippers,



Peering around dark corners and waiting in the shadows,

lest the jealous heart of Jack Frost linger to nip her nose

or sting her toes…




Would that I could soar and fly

on dragon wings into the sky.

the bees might envy me-

I say…




Excuse me, Sir, are you going my way?




Alas, my human body is bound

upon this thawing, sacred ground

called terra firma.


My dreams can fly!




As I peer into the laughing face of Sunshine, teasing us from moment to moment..


I know my thirst will be quenched

As Nature finds a way

My cup shall run over again

A smile insists that hope exists

And never lonely shall I be




With Nature as my muse, you see?

But vigilance and care must reign

or all was labor thus in vain.


We must not let the forever sun set on the Creator’s gift.



Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for thee and me and we,

but never they…




For Nature always finds a way…….

Today’s images brought to you courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, an ever evolving transformational vista of living beauty, located right in the heart of an enormous, bustling city.  It can be done when we nurture the spirit of life and give her room to blossom!


Happy #Free48 everyone.

Scenes From a Wedding/Day One/#1LinerWeds

Nebraska.  The day before a wedding. Food, family, fun times…..

Eat like no one’s watching

Celebrate beginnings!

Step into the night..

Fly under the light!

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

Whatcha gonna do when your Mom’s with you?

Stay tuned……


No Cherries/#Free48

Well, it turned out to be a productive and fine #Free48 with some good food, a mini adventure, a new business prospect and even tequila shots! Rather than explain it all in boring narrative, why don’t I just share some photos with you? For details, hold your finger on the photo or tap for captions.

After driving around the parking garage for thirty minutes at Ponce City Market I was ready to throw in the towel when suddenly a spot opened up and we were in! Sadly, the market was so crowded that we headed right out to get onto the BeltLine…..buuuut….we couldn’t. There was a wine festival going on at the entrance and we didn’t want to attend. It was crazy. We went back inside the market to find a beer and maybe a bite of food but there was just so much chaos. We agreed to head home and grab something closer to our neck of the woods. The drive was very cool though, allowing me to get some more shots of the city. There is some fantastically original grafitti around Atlanta. These are just a couple of the random murals I saw during our drive.

We agreed on Zama Mexican, one of our favorite local spots and were both ready for a cold one and some food!

I couldn’t resist giving a “tickle” to one of the restaurant’s door sentries. I liked his necklace!


I will someday write about my nightmares  dreams last night but right now they are too fresh.  No more Heradura shots for Cheryl. Have you ever been attacked by a spider riding a cricket!? 😱

Today hubby firmed up the details for our spot in the antique store. Now I am praying my jewelry is recieved well and that the things we put there wll sell. There is a festival coming up in two weeks. Wish me luck! I have been working pretty much non stop getting things ready.

What do you think of the collection? These aren’t all the best possible shots but you can get the idea what I will be presenting. And I am still working.

And the cherry on top of it all? I made homemade strawberry ice cream. It turned out so delicious. But, sadly, there were only strawberries to go on top. 🙊And drizzled chocolate. And whipped cream! The best part about being the cook? I get to scrape the Cuisinart freezer bucket. What a preview.


Let’s get out there and make it a great week. Remember, we can all use a little help from our friends, no matter how little they seem.