THURSDAY SPARKS: IGNITING OUR CONNECTIONS…AND MEMORIES

Our connections in life ignite us and help us get through our days.  The symbol of my connections (above) has been my One Word for the past two years.

And the people in my life…cement the connections.

Today I’m sharing a few of those people.  My No. 2 Son, below, loves connecting with his three kids over favorite sports.

Or he loved spending time in Europe with his daughter, when she enjoyed a semester in Prague.

Here is my No. 1 Son with Aubrey, in Prague…wrapped in a snow globe.

Back home…here is a photo of my daughter…and youngest grandson (in his ROTC uniform).

 

A holiday party:  Heather, far left, and her coworkers…

Here is Noah, several years ago.  I love this one!

 

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Two years ago, my granddaughter Fiona and I went far north to the beach, and spent time with my youngest son.  Here she is, walking the beach with him.

And (below), here is a blast from the past:  Me, Christmas in 1970, in Sacramento, CA.

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Life’s moments, past and present, are best enjoyed with our special connections.

What ignites you?  What moments are memorable?

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Linking to A Web of Stories.

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SUNDAY SPARKS: SHOWCASING CONNECTIONS…

Happy Sunday!  Today I am celebrating my new look, here on the blog.  The blog I started on Blogger years ago (2010), featuring my two granddaughters in the snow, shown above…and connections, which formed the expanded version here on Word Press.

When I moved to Word Press, I kept the idea of “connections” going, and changed the name of the blog to Snow Sparks. 

Family and social connections are still the heart of this site, so finding a new way to feature those precious granddaughters, while also celebrating all kinds of connections…and snow (a play on my name), kept me trying.

Those two girls are now almost 21.  Their birthdays, only days apart, are in February.

Aubrey spent her last college semester in Prague (and surrounding areas), sharing many wonderful photos on Facebook.  Here is one of my favorites, “Overlooking Zurich”:

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Meanwhile, back in the states, Fiona attended a training program for a year and worked in Yosemite during the summer.  Now she has a job in the city, but she is still searching for her true passion.  She loves music and writing about music.  In this photo, I think she is dreaming about new lyrics:

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I know that it took me a few years to find my true passion, and even when I settled into a career that would span thirty years, I didn’t find my true passion until after retirement.  Writing and blogging now literally consume my days.  Check my website for the books I have written and published.  Books I-III; and Books IV-VI.

My blogs page will show the six where I regularly create about my bookish love…and my family connections.

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At the beginning of the year, as with two previous years, I chose a One Word (check what I wrote about my 2018 word):

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Since CONNECT is my One Word for 2018, it seems appropriate to spotlight it here.

Do you enjoy sharing your connections?  Do you share them on a blog, or on Facebook?

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BRIEFLY SPARKING THE CONNECTIONS IN LIFE’S JOURNEY — A REVIEW

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Set in Fulton, NC, Life After Life: A Novel explores the precarious lines between life and death. The reader follows the interior journey of various characters, with each chapter narrated by someone different.

Joanna is a hospice volunteer, but her own life has been quirky and free-spirited. Described as someone who has been married numerous times, we also see that there is much more to this woman than what is on the surface. At a time when she almost took her own life, she met Luke. Someone she credits with her new lease on life and her new purpose. When she goes home to Fulton, as her father is dying, she begins her hospice work and shares the experiences of the dying, as well as those who are living in the higher level of care at the facility. She practices a concept passed to her from Luke that he called “unpacking the heart.” A process of closing one’s eyes and setting aside everything taking up space in the heart—grievances, relationships, and projects—and putting them out on a make-believe lawn, leaving the heart free and clean.

Another philosophical mantra for Joanna is that “the longest and most expensive journey you will ever take is the one to yourself.”

In some of the narrative entries, we travel with the characters that include Sadie, Rachel, C. J., Stanley, and others…while they traverse the journey that formed their individual lives at a time when there is more of their life behind them than ahead of them. I could connect to these characters, to the losses, the regrets, and the hopes and dreams that remain.

Also among the characters is a child called Abby, whose father is an old friend of Joanna’s. This child is a frequent visitor to Sadie, the woman who believes in reframing one’s life by cutting out the parts of reality that don’t work for us. She seems like a mentor for the child. In many ways, though, the child did not seem to fit among the other characters. Perhaps her purpose was to show the life continuum, from young to old.

Disjointed at times, the story was also hard to follow in the beginning, as only tidbits were revealed about each character. It took awhile to see the connections between them. The narratives of Joanna and Rachel were the most meaningful to me and made the story better. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy posing philosophical questions and pondering life and death issues. For me this book earned 3.5 stars.

“SNOW” STORIES — FEB. 24

This month, my two granddaughters (above and in the header) celebrated their fifteenth birthdays.

This photo shows them as snow bunnies (at age seven).

To find out more about this snow story, visit HERE.

Enjoying family moments in special places is what the “cabin in the woods” was all about.

Nowadays, we’ve moved on and the cabin is no longer “our place.”  But we still enjoy traditions, like our family get-togethers that inspire photos like these.

What special family moments do you enjoy?  Do you have special traditions?

CONNECTING IN LIFE & IN YOGA — A REVIEW

Finding a balance in their lives is a common theme for the four women in Balancing Acts: A Novel.

They met years before in college, and at a reunion, they reconnect and decide to join a basic yoga class for six weeks on Saturday mornings.

A Brooklyn neighborhood is at the centerpiece of this story, and sets the stage for the lifestyle action that follows. I could relate to the women, even though I’ve never lived in New York; and enjoyed reading about their journey toward finding their balance. Work, relationships, family—they each must address issues in these categories. Even though only one is a mother at the beginning, there is definitely the possibility for the issue of children to enter all of their lives.

Told from the perspectives of each of the women, I especially could relate to Naomi, the single mom, since I’ve also experienced that journey. For Bess and Sabine, the writers in the group, their career choices resonated with me as well. With Charlie, as the former Wall Street executive and current yoga studio owner, I connected the least. However, I found her experiences intriguing.

Balancing our lives and balancing on the yoga mat were intriguing analogies throughout this story, which I recommend for anyone who enjoys stories about women, friendship, and the balancing acts in life. The story was also a familiar one, like many stories of New York women finding their way: therefore, four stars.

A QUEST FOR OLD CONNECTIONS — A REVIEW

In this sequel to Life After Forty, Christine is approaching her forty-fourth birthday. Her career is going well: she works for a publishing company and has several regular columns for magazines. She enjoys her life in Hamburg, with amiable friendships.

But in a conversation with one of these friends, Dorothea, she seems a bit jaded about friendships lasting.

From this discussion, Dorothea has an idea and enlists the help of Christine’s sister and a few other friends to put together a surprise birthday party for Christine that will include friendships of Christine’s from the distant past.

The quest is lengthy and described in detail; there are questionnaires to include with letters to the individuals.

From this point on, we are shown glimpses of some of the friends in their current lives, with occasional peeks into Christine’s life, and her tedious relationship with Richard.

I liked the premise of the story, but as it continued, I thought it soon lost its luster. Or maybe something was lost in translation. At any rate, the story plodded along and I no longer connected with any of the characters. In fact, sometimes I got confused, as many of them had similar names. I felt like a passenger adrift in the sea, and just wanted to get to shore. The most I can give Inseparable is three stars.