I’m excited to announce a virtual Writer’s Conference for you! #RRBC #Writers’ #Conference & #Book #Expo – #WCBE20! @RRBC_Org

Wow! It’s almost time for this fabulous Writers’ Conference to kickoff and it promises to be one for the books! Literally! 

What better way to enhance your writing skills, interact with other authors, find new books to read, play games, win prizes and all from the comfort of your home!! 

Five years ago, when Nonnie Jules, created this conference. there were few, if any, virtual conferences taking place. We were all still enjoying getting out and attending physical events. But now, in the midst of this pandemic, virtual conferences are the new normal. I say this just to demonstrate the innovative thinking of our fearless leader! 

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is an international book club dedicated to reading and giving honest reviews. But it is SO much more. It is a community of writers who develop friendships, encourage each other, uplift each other, and support each other in so many ways. 

This conference is one of the highlights of the year for this community! 

Take a Peek at our 2020 Sessions and Workshops! 

  1. Amazon Author Central:  What It Is and How It Can Help You Sell More Books
  2. Anatomy of an (Almost) Perfect Book Review
  3. Anatomy of a Blog Post / Your Content Is King 
  4. Are You Failing As an Author?  The Reasons Why and How To Start Soaring
  5. Book Marketing Without A Plan: ‘Know Where’ You’re Going Before You End Up ‘Nowhere’
  6. Creating A Writer’s Platform That Will Get You Noticed
  7. How To Blog an Entire Book in 30 Days
  8. How To Build An Audience and Sell More Books
  9. How To Turn Your Blog Into A Hot Spot!  Keep Readers Coming Back For More
  10. STOP Marketing Your Books! How To Get Others To Do It For You
  11. The Basics of Spelling & Grammar: What You May Have Slept Through In School That’s Now Hurting Your Writing
  12. The Easiest Way To Format Your Paperback via Word Doc
  13. The Elements of a Short Story
  14. Powerful Keywords and How They Can Increase Your Blog’s Traffic
  15. The Simplification of “SHOW DON’T TELL”
  16. The Skinny on Social Media – Using It The Right Way So You’re Not Just Spinning Your Wheels
  17. TRELLO – A Step-by-Step Guide to Using it Effectively to Organize and Write Your Next Book
  18. What It Takes To Become A More Productive Writer
  19. Writing Dialog That Feels Like Realistic Conversation
  20. YOU the Reviewer Are Ruining YOU the Writer. Why Your Book Reviews Are Turning Off Potential Readers and How You Can Turn It Around
  21. FREE BONUS SESSION
  22. Filter Words and How To Avoid Them In Your Writing
  23. What RWISA-Ready Looks Like

Want to know the benefits of attending this conference? I can’t say it any better than Nonnie. 

You’re a writer.  You realize that there is a lot for you to learn to become a great writer…heck, even a good writer.  You’ve heard about writers’ conferences but you’ve no time to attend, you’ve no money to spare, and most of them are just too darned far.  You’ve heard that they are wonderful, though, and you’d really like to see what they’re all about, so, what do you do?

Well, there is such a thing as a virtual writing conference, and below I’m going to share with you some of the benefits of attending an RRBC writers’ conference & book expo.

*A virtual conference allows you to attend from the comfort of any place of your choosing (living room, bedroom, bathroom, your car trunk, Starbucks, etc…).  Writers’ conferences and book expos come a dime a dozen as we say down South.  I mean…just like churches and liquor stores, there’s practically one on every corner.  But, with the busy lives that we lead, we often find it difficult to get away to visit or participate in one, so the next best thing is to find one online.  No need to worry about the cost of travel fare (car, bus or plane), no need to worry about hotel accommodations (you get to sleep at home), or, the cost of eating away from home…you get all that you need, when you need it, right where you are. #BENEFIT

*Resources you will use forever.  When you attend a virtual writers’ conference, you have the ability to revisit much of the information that is shared because it is all online.  The sessions and workshops presented at an RRBC writers’ conference, are all created with the purpose of educating attendees.   Our sessions and workshops are on carefully selected topics that we know authors need in order to grow in their writing careers.  The handouts that you receive (virtually), are invaluable along your journey as a writer.  No matter the format utilized to present these sessions, attendees leave our sessions and workshops enlightened and with a renewed sense of having learned something that will make them a better writer and stronger marketer for their books. #BENEFIT

*Payment Plans.  Have you priced writers’ conferences and book expos lately?  Well, I have and who can afford them without skipping a mortgage payment?  Geez!  There again lies the beauty of a virtual conference (at least an RRBC one).  Not only are the prices lower than any others we’ve found, but, we also have payment plans to make it easier to afford an author booth to promote your books, a vendor booth to introduce and sell your wares, and all the sessions and workshops your amazing brain can handle! #BENEFIT

*Community.  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB popped onto the scene over 7 years ago and has offered to writers something never heard of before:  a community of support that truly cares about the success of its members, and a community of like-minded individuals who care about the success of their fellow members just as much as they care about their own.  There’s no competition here.  We’re all trying to get to the same place, and we’re gladly sharing the load so that we all get there quicker!   This community (or family as we like to call it), is there through the good times and the bad;  there to lift you up when you’re feeling low and need the encouragement to write another page; there with advice on how to handle certain situations involving your writing, tips on how you should write, what literary services you should utilize, and so much more.  We purchase, read and review each other’s books, we give our honest opinions on those books, we promote one another via our blogs and social media forums, and during the conference, we all get to commune to further our careers and friendships even more. #BENEFIT

*Friendships.  Many RRBC members are surprised at the bonds of friendship they form once they immerse themselves within the club.  The World Wide Web is known to be a cesspool of ‘crazies’, stalkers and any other negative label that you can attach to someone who you should be wary of on the net.  But, not so in RRBC.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some that I’m sure you should be leery of, but, I can assure you they are not within the realm of our core members…the professionals who work hard to protect and maintain their reputations as authors.  We are a global organization with members around the world, which means, when you find those to call ‘friend’, you’re never without a place to rest your head along your travels. #BENEFIT

*Find great new books.  Since the inception of RRBC, we hear on a daily basis how readers were introduced to amazing books they might never have found had it not been for RRBC.  The traditionally published have their work plastered all over the place, and sometimes, our Indie awesomeness is a little hidden…you have to dig deep to find it.  That’s not the case within RRBC.  We have amazing talent in our midst and their books speak for them.  If you’re looking for great reads, look no further than our catalog.  The conference & expo is THE place for our members to introduce their latest work and you don’t want to miss out on any of it! #BENEFIT

***

So, there you have it…  the most important benefits of attending a virtual writers’ conference & book expo hosted by RRBC.  What you will walk away with will far outweigh the pennies you will spend to take part in it.  And, because 2020 is our year of being judged on the skill with which we write, we hope that all our members care enough about their writing and their reputations as writers, to take part in this awesome event, which can only serve to further their writing growth.

Last year’s event was amazing and it was our 4th year putting it on.  With the past few years under our belt, can you imagine the things that we’re going to do this year?  I don’t think you can!

Everything about this event is geared towards your success.  If you haven’t registered yet, we invite you to do so today.  Don’t be the lone wolf standing on the sidelines of this wonderful event, wishing after the fact that you had been part of it.  Jump right on board our rocket to the stars.   We certainly have enough room for ya!

See you at the conference!

*JOIN RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

There you have it! There’s still time to jump in and participate in any of the workshops that interest you! 

Welcome to Day 12 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 12 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! Today is the final day and author, Nonnie Jules, has written a thought-provoking piece showing the other side of the Coronavirus scare. Be aware that people are hurting in many ways, and be vigilant and kind. Share hope that this, too, shall pass.

by Nonnie Jules

By Friday, I doubted that I would even be part of this event.  I’m sure many of you noticed that I kept moving others ahead of me and ahead of me, until I ran out of members to move – as I struggled with finding the time in my schedule to write something.  As of this morning, I had finally decided that I just wasn’t going to be able to participate, as again, I saw no opening in my schedule that would allow it. 

Then, I got a phone call at 7:37 this evening from a friend, sharing that her relative had just attempted suicide due to his personal struggles since the arrival of COVID19.  He had lost his job, had received an eviction notice, and saw no clear path to anything remotely close to “better” while the Coronavirus lingered.  That conversation forced me to sit down at my desk just as soon as I hung up the phone.  What you will find below may not be that great, but it’s what my heart rolled out in the final hour. 

***

And So, I Believed

We are living through what is possibly the most trying time in many of our lives.  We are a world on lock-down, and though there are those of us who are living a bit more comfortably than others during this pandemic, many in the world are suffering.

Some of us are not concerned with how our mortgages and car notes will get paid.  Some of us aren’t concerned with where our next meal will come from, or, if we’ll have to suffer through another night filled with tears streaming down the faces of our hungry children, along with our own tears of helplessness.

For those who suffer with mental illness, their situations are creating a new wave of crisis, as many who see no way out, are, out of fear and desperation, turning to suicide.

My heart breaks for these innocents in this war.

***

It’s quiet. 
I’m afraid​. ​
I’ve been locked up inside for so long, I don’t know my nights from my days.

It’s lonely.  
I’m scared.
There’s no place to hide, ​and ​no other place to go​, ​because it’s everywhere.

I need to make a run
​…​just out to the store
…but, I’m not even sure
…it’s safe to open my door.

It’s in the air ​we breathe​
​…​on everything that we touch
I never realized ​until now​
​…​I needed people so much​. ​

I’ve no medical insurance
…so, I mustn’t get sick​. ​
My stomach is growling​​​ 
​…​but, it will soon quit​. ​

I’ll just stay inside for now.

I do need my meds 
…to kill the voices in my head.
They’ve never been this loud before.
A little knock at the door 
…would really help right now.

It’s ​too ​quiet.
I’m ​so ​afraid.
I open my wallet and remember…
I haven’t even gotten paid.

What will I do?
​How will I survive?
I don’t even know if it’s worth staying alive.
And, what will I eat?
What about the heat?

I know that it’s summer
…and it’s supposed to be hot
…but​, ​this thing has me terrified
…all tied up in knots.
​So, I strangely shiver as if it is cold.
While parts of the world move, my life is on hold. ​

Under the covers
…the only place I feel safe.
Oh, how I wish
…to feel the sun on my face.

How will I ​cover​
…the rent that is due?
My landlord’s expecting 
…to be paid at two.

Some understand 
…but others not
My luck ran out
…with the landlord I got.

“I’ve got a family to feed – you’ve only got you.” 
He does not ​see​ that only me has to eat, too.

I don’t have the rent, dear Lord. 
What will I do?
Where will I go?
I need a sign
…because I just don’t know.

How long will this crisis last?
No one knows for sure.
I’m afraid​ of my thoughts​.
How much more can I endure?

I just don’t know.

My mind is racing
…it just won’t stop.
Please slow it down, Lord
…these thoughts are just not – to your liking.

I cover my mouth
A cough escapes.
​I d​rift over to the window
…and pull back the drapes.
Unlocking the locks
…one by one
I can hear the calling ​
​…​not a voice​, ​but a gun.

​No, too noisy, I think.

And what if I miss?  
I’m already afraid to even consider this.

Now, it’s a voice – louder – more clear  
Almost a shout – deep in my ear.
“Come closer to me. 
Look, I’m down here.” 

Five stories below me
Cars rush​ing​ by
​I hear the voice again​
“​C’mon, you can fly.”

I look back over my shoulder
As my landlord knocks
Then I glance at the wall
…it’s straight two o’clock.

“Why are you hesitant? There’s only pain here for you.
There’s nobody to help, so, what will you do?
The world is on lockdown, but you can be free.
Do not wait another second; come and join me!
You see, I am free – down here. 
And don’t forget, you can fly.”

And so, I believed.

***

To everyone reading this who might be struggling with thoughts in their head, that under normal circumstances wouldn’t make sense, yet, they seem to make sense in the moment, what you should always remember is that the devil is alive and well, and sometimes looks and sounds just like you and me. {And of course, he wants you to join him…in hell.} 

Fight those voices that encourage you to harm yourself and others. 

If you were not born a bird or created in the likeness of some type of aircraft, listen to ME – you cannot fly.

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 11 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 11 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Changed Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Peggy Hattendorf, who shares what it means to be a mother, and has a few surprise remarks from people very special to her.

Peggy Hattendorf

“Mother is the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.” Kahlil Gibran

We define, mother or mom, as the female parent, whose responsibilities center around the physical and emotional care of a child, who may or may not be her own biological offspring. In certain circumstances, childcare commitments may be handled by the grandmother, stepmother, foster mother, godmother, or mother-in-law.  All categories of “mothers” who have a hand in nurturing, teaching, and fostering the development of a child, deserve respect and admiration.

The American terms, mother, or mom, adopted from the British English names, mummy or mum, sound remarkably similar or are spelled the same, in many languages around the world. 

Whether we say,  

  • Mother or Mom – American English
  • Mummy or Mum – British English
  • Mother or Mom – Canadian English or Maman – French-speaking province of Quebec
  • Madre – Spanish
  • La Mere – French
  • Moeder – Afrikaans
  • Ma – Hindi (India)
  • Moeder – Dutch
  • Madre or Mamma – Italian
  • Mama – Romanian
  • Matka – Polish
  • Mor or Mamma – Norwegian
  • Mum – Australian English
  • Mum – New Zealand English
  • Mueter – Swiss German
  • Mamma – Swedish
  • Mutter – German
  • Me – Vietnamese

the meaning and the identity of the person referenced is the same – the female parent of a child.

The initial love and affection, devotion, and care, given by our mothers, cultivated our early introduction to life and the universe around us. It provided the initial foundation and perceptionsof the world as a happy, gentle, and kind place or a world to be viewed as hostile, brutal and unkind.  

Without the support, training, guidance, and discipline set by our mothers, we would not have grown into social beings, in the image of God. Mothers help prepare us with knowledge, skills, and abilities to mature and become independent. In so doing, our mothers sacrificed many of their desires and needs for our necessities and demands.

If the virtuous governing principles of life are learned by teaching and examples bestowed by our mothers, then a “world without mothers” would be:

  • A world with significantly less women
  • A world devoid of selflessness and unconditional love
  • A world less disciplined and restrained
  • A world less organized and efficient
  • A world less righteous, decent, and understanding
  • A world less emotional, demonstrative, and affectionate
  • A world with less compassion and empathy
  • A world less patient, kind, and gentle
  • A world with less encouragement and motivation
  • A world less balanced and controlled
  • A world less polite and respectful
  • A world less thoughtful, tender, and considerate
  • A world less merciful and forgiving

Mothers play an indispensable role which is hard to duplicate.  As infants nearly all of our physical needs are attended by our mothers. That physical care prevailed as we started to crawl and then walk, babble, and then talk, and shed our diapers when toilet trained. Our safety, protection and physical well-being remained paramount to our mothers even as we matured and entered adulthood.

For many of us, the emotional care given by our biological mothers originated before we were born. After birth, we were embraced with love and affection. That unconditional love stands as the cornerstone of the mother and child relationship. As our mothers motivated and inspired, encouraged, and supported, they provided the strength necessary for us to grow and mature. As our first instructors, they taught us about love, and hope, faith and spirituality, acceptance and tolerance, courage, and bravery, confidence, and determination, giving, and charity.

And they raised us to let us go and assume independence; all-the-while, we remain in our mothers’ hearts and souls forever. Mothers change the world with every child they raise.

Women are not handed an “instruction kit” as they assume the role of motherhood. No guidebooks, training manuals, or college courses prepare them for the most challenging, yet most fulfilling experience of their lives.

It is hard to envision a world without our best supporter, best listener, and best friend forever. Mothers are the ones who are always happy to hear from us, no matter what we are calling about, or when we are calling. They are the ones that will drive us crazy – but we know will always be there.  And no matter our age, we always need our mothers.  My mother has been gone for twenty-one years, but there is not a day, I do not wish I could pick up the telephone and speak with her.

Below, my grandchildren and daughter have shared their perspectives on what life would be like without mothers.

From my 16-year old granddaughter Anabella:

“I can’t imagine a world without moms, as my mom is my biggest supporter and sometimes my biggest critic. My mom has always been there to laugh at me when I fall, but to also pick me up and wipe my tears. I love my mom; she is always there to help me. She is my best friend. I can come to her with all my problems and she is always there with a witty comment and some friendship knowledge.”

From my 15-year old granddaughter Skylar:

“A world without moms would be dark and unforgiving. There would be no one to love you unconditionally, no one to bring you back up when you are sad and feeling down. You would not have your biggest cheerleader and fiercest defender by your side. You would not have that unconditional love that a mother gives to her child. And you wouldn’t have anyone who utterly understands you like your mother.”

From my 10-year old grandson Erik:

“What a world without moms? No, that cannot be, because it means everything in the world to me to have a mom. She takes care of me when I am sick.”

From my daughter Rebecca, the mother of Anabella and Erik:

“Strong women raise strong girls and you are the strongest woman I know. I can’t imagine the world without you and all the other strong wonderful moms.”

It would be a decisively different and fragmented world without the love, hugs, and the comforting touches of mothers.

In a world without moms, we would lose our navigational compass, our emotional barometer, and our positioning in the world-order. We would be set adrift in an ocean of ever-changing conditions and unknown dangers. Thankfully, we have mothers and live on a planet fondly called “Mother Nature” or “Mother Earth” from the Greco-Roman personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of a mother.

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 10 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 10 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Change Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Maura Beth Brennan, who shares a moving story about her quirky Mom.

Maura Beth Brennan

MEMORIES OF MOM by Maura Beth Brennan

I miss my Mom’s quirks. Her superstitions, for instance.

“Don’t you dare put your shoes on that table,” she would say. She wasn’t talking about putting shoe-clad feet on the coffee table. She didn’t want anyone putting a shoebox containing new shoes on a table—any table. Such an action could have dire consequences. That box must be placed on the floor. Period.

No one in our house would have dared leave a wet umbrella open to dry inside the house. That would have, according to Mom, invited disaster. And if you left the house by the front door, you had better return that way. If not, who knew what tragedy might befall you?

Now, when I walk my dog through the woods and take a shortcut home, I double around the house to reenter through the same door. I can still hear her voice, warning me. I leave that dripping umbrella on the porch. I place that shoebox on the floor. Because my mother—she’s a deep, tenacious part of me.

I miss so many things about her—her funny remarks, her kindnesses, her soft voice. I say things to my daughter and think, there is my mother talking. She blurted the funniest things sometimes, and Dad, my brothers, and I sometimes teased her about it. One source of our amusement was her habit of mixing up common clichés. “Sit down, let’s chew the breeze,” my mom would say. Or, “It’s six of one, a dozen of the other.” When we’d laugh, she’d look confused until she realized what she had said. Then, she’d laugh along. She was the inspiration for the mother in two of my short stories, where the mother’s sayings always came out wrong.

I miss having Mom to lean on. One difficult year, I had to take a leave of absence from work. A new house, a demanding job, a young daughter, night school to earn a degree—it was suddenly all too much for me, and I couldn’t seem to stop crying. One morning, as I sat feeling sorry for myself, I heard a knock at my door. There was Mom, smiling, bearing homemade muffins for us to share. She settled me at the kitchen table. “Now, don’t you cry anymore,” she said. “It will all work out.” She made me a cup of tea and brought it to me. “This is nice,” she said. “Isn’t it? Just us girls.”

What I would give to have a cup of tea with her now. To let her know how much that meant to me.

Mom was a shy and quiet woman, but she had courage and a steely spine when it came to her family. Her courage showed when, during World War II, she packed a suitcase and took her baby daughter (me) three-thousand miles across the country, by train and bus, to be with my father while he was stationed on the west coast. She stayed there, making a home for us until the war was over.

She showed that courage when she won her first battle with cancer. She never told either of my recently married brothers how ill she was, not wanting to worry them. She told them she had “a little procedure.” When her health returned, it was as if it never happened. She never spoke of it.

But cancer struck again, a different one this time, more deadly.

And this is the memory that breaks my heart. She was in the hospital after exploratory surgery and a terrible prognosis. I went to visit, pulling my chair close to her bed to hear her quiet voice. Her eyes stretched wide and she grasped my hand in hers. 

“I’m so scared,” she said.

She died nine months later. That January, the doctors had “given” her three months to live. But she was determined to live until her fortieth wedding anniversary on September 20th.

The afternoon she died, my father, my brothers and I were gathered around her bedside. She asked my father, “Bud, is today our anniversary?” She was suffering and my father couldn’t bear to watch it go on. It was September 19th, a day too early.

He pulled her close and embraced her for the last time. He knew what he had to do.

“Yes, sweetheart,” he said. “It is.”

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 9 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 9 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Change Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Heather Kindt.

Heather Kindt

LOSING MOM

By: Heather Kindt

Have you ever lost someone? The pain is unimaginable, ripping through you like an express train. But what if you lost that person again and again? The agony of the loss knocks you off your feet until you’re numb. That’s what it’s like when you lose someone to dementia.

My mom was my best friend.

She was my shoulder to cry on, and I told her everything. On summer mornings, she’d lie in bed thinking, so I’d hop in next to her and we’d talk about everything or nothing at all. She was there to hold me when I lost my first love and to celebrate with me when I found my last. We spent an entire summer planning my wedding and finding ways to keep the costs within my measly teacher salary. Rummaging through bargain bins at the Christmas Tree Shop, we found the perfect, gold-trimmed ribbon to don the pews at the church.

After I was married, I moved to Colorado and being two thousand miles apart put a dent in both of our souls. But, she was there when my babies were born, helping me figure out the tasks of new mother for the few weeks she was able to be away from home. She was always there, even if it had to be over the telephone wires.

Until she wasn’t.

It started off slowly—spoiled milk in the refrigerator, aluminum foil in the microwave, and accusing my uncle of leaving tiny, recording devices under her couch. She’s getting forgetful with age…paranoid. That’s what I told myself.

But then things weren’t so small. When my mom and dad finally moved to Colorado, she and my brother took separate cars to church one night. Matt followed my mom back to their house but instead of turning down their road, my mom went straight. I received the phone call from Matt frantic, explaining the situation.

“Why didn’t you follow her?” I thought it was a reasonable question.

“I don’t know?”

I lived an hour and a half away, and it was eight o’clock at night. Pulling on my coat, I waited by the phone. There was no way I’d be able to find my mom in a city at night, though I’d search all night if I had to. Before leaving out the door, I called Matt one last time. Why wasn’t he searching?

A pair of headlights turned up our driveway. Impossible. We lived in a housing development in the country littered with dirt roads and deer. I rushed down the stairs to greet my mother. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her whole body shook as she melted into my arms.

“He left me,” she sobbed. “I found a road that I recognized that went to your house, and I kept going.”

I wrapped her in a blanket and lay next to her on the bed in the spare room, her body heaving as she fell asleep.

As time went on, the incidents became more frequent. My parents moved back to New Hampshire because Dad couldn’t handle the altitude. My sister insisted they live in a retirement community. My mom didn’t like the price tag, so six months later she found an apartment in the town I grew up in. I was their telephone caregiver, calling every day on my way to work.

That summer when we visited, it was becoming more and more apparent that Mom couldn’t care for Dad, who was eighteen years her senior. He fell a couple of times, and she called the ambulance because she couldn’t lift him. Being there, I learned it was because he was malnourished and dehydrated. A local independent living facility provided them with at least two meals a day, and they could make friends. It worked for a while. Mom accused the maids of stealing her things, but it was her paranoia setting in again.

But then Dad got sick.

My mom insisted on coming to live with us. It was always how I imagined things would be. When Dad passed away, Mom would come live with us and help me with my children. But Dad wasn’t gone yet.

She insisted.

We moved her out to Colorado, and she lived with us. Frequent plane trips to New Hampshire drained my bank account. She missed him and in less than a year she wanted to move back. Things were different now. We hid her car keys, we arranged for her to go to a local senior center while we were at work, and she became severely combative.

For three years, my mother lived with us as I lost her day after day. At times, it felt like she ripped my heart out and stomped on it. I lashed out at her in my own frustration one day when she helped me clean out a closet. I missed our conversations, our comradeship and the love we’d always shared. It was as if someone reached down to Earth, snatched my mother and replaced her with a stranger. After three years, my husband and I made the decision to place her in a nursing home on a memory care unit.

I lost her again.

It was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire life, but I had to do it for her safety. Mom would get angry with me for no reason at all and storm out of the house. My husband followed her in the car until he could coax her inside. Her leaving also saved our marriage. The strain and stress it put on us those three years isn’t something I would want anyone to go through.

Have you ever lost someone? I lose my mom everyday, but it’s not as painful now. When you lose someone to dementia, at least for me, it’s like you’re going through the pain of losing someone suddenly again and again over many years. At some point, the pain numbs because it has to, or the stress will eat you alive. I love my mother, but the disease has stolen precious years of her life. It’s in the small glimmers of her spirit—a smile, an mischievous eye aimed at my husband, a hug from recognition—that I find hope that someday we can be together fully again.

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 8 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 8 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! Today’s author is a teacher, a friend, and the author of a wonderful Teen/YA Paranormal Fantasy series I have read and loved! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Change Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Yvette Calleiro.

Yvette Calleiro

SIGHTS by Yvette M. Calleiro

What if,
In our hustle and bustle,
In our go go go,
We made it a point
To slow down and meditate –
Tune in to the now,
The beauty of each moment?

If only we had slowed our lives down
To enjoy the present moment,
We’d have less people living with anxiety,
Fewer suicides and more survivors,
More productivity in our workplace
With fewer hours at the job.

What if we chose
To care about the foods we eat,
To focus on nutrients from our earth
Without pesticides or genetic modifications?

If only we had stayed away
From GMO-products and processed foods,
We’d have fewer loved ones suffering
From obesity and digestive issues
And autoimmune disorders.

What if we cared
About our fellow man and woman and child
Enough to help them find shelter
And food
And employment?

If only we had cared more about
The community as one
Instead of individualism,
We would have risen up
To find solutions for homelessness,
To help rehabilitate the hopelessness
And leave no human hungry.

What if mothers and fathers
Could spend quality time with their children,
Laughing and playing,
Nurturing and comforting,
Molding them into loving human beings?

If only we had valued the family unit,
There would be fewer broken families,
Children would grow into
Caring and confident adults,
Valuing love and laughter.

What if we chose
To heal the mind, body, and spirit
As one,
With natural remedies,
Focused on healing and curing
Instead of masking and prolonging?

If only we had focused on healing
Instead of profiting on illness,
Our immune systems would be strong,
Able to fight harder against viruses and diseases,
Our minds would be calm and serene,
Our spirit would be at peace and
In harmony with the world.

What if we cared about our planet,
Sharing the earth with
Its other living inhabitants,
Making small sacrifices
So our planet can grow and prosper
Alongside us?

If only we had not been so selfish in our ways
And had made the necessary changes
To allow our planet to heal,
Our forests would flourish
And shelter our animals,
Our oceans would provide life and enjoyment,
And our air would be clear and breathable.

What if we changed our ways?

If only we could do something
To stop this downward spiral of catastrophes
That we have created.

We can.
We should.
We must.

When RWISA asked its members to consider the new world we are now living in, they wanted us to consider what we would have done differently to better the situation we are currently in. This led me to think about foresight and hindsight. We all have the ability to pause and wonder what the world could be if we choose to make the hard choices and work toward a better world. Similarly, once the catastrophe has happened, we can look back and realize what we did wrong.

So, I created this poem. Choose to read it line by line or read the left side in its entirety and then go back and read the right side. Either way works! 😊

So often, our leaders look back and say, “Oops!” and then just keep trudging along without righting their wrongs. We, as citizens, do the same. We have become quite comfortable in our spoiled lives. We, as a society, focus on individualism instead of community. We live in a bubble that is only concerned with how enjoyable our own little world is, forgetting that we do not live in isolation. We ignore the pleas of others to help the planet/hungry/homeless/poor because that would mean putting effort or perhaps making sacrifices, and who wants to give up the luxuries that they have become accustomed to?

And so it goes. Our current path is not sustainable. If we are to survive and thrive, we must put the planet and all who encompass it as our priority. We need to make changes/sacrifices to flourish. Just look at what the past month or two of stay-at-home orders has done for our planet. Endangered turtles are being born and surviving. The peaks of the Himalayan mountains can be seen in India for the first time in decades. Pollution levels have shown a decrease in nitrogen dioxide over China. The waterways in Venice are crystal-clear and fish can be seen swimming in the canals. The signs are everywhere.

Can anyone still doubt that humans and our ways have hurt our environment and will continue to hurt our planet unless we make serious changes to our ways of life? How many businesses are realizing that their workers can actually do their jobs from home? That one change can cut back on car emissions, stress, and other pollutions. I don’t have all the solutions, but maybe it’s time that we, as a society, start to use our foresight to change our world for the better.

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Change Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Wendy J. Scott.

Wendy Scott

FOLLOW THE LEADER by Wendy Scott

Darkness swallowed dormitory B49. The lights had been extinguished an hour before at 8 pm. Stevie listened for the rhythmic breathing from the cots, aligned with military precision, one metre apart. Twenty beds, divided into two rows, sat on opposite sides of a red painted aisle. Identical grey bedding topped each hard mattress. The sheets were starched so stiff they were difficult to tuck under the corners, and the pillow was as unyielding as set concrete, but its worst feature was the coarseness of the blanket’s weave that threatened splinters.

Controlling his breathing into an even flow, he opened his thoughts to the ones forbidden by the masters. Silently, he recited his litany of self, as he had every night for the past five years.

“I am more than the number B49-17.

My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

My father’s name is Mark.

My mother’s name is Katie.

My sister’s name is Jenny.

My family existed.

I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

Tears gathered, but he was careful not to snuffle aloud. The cameras and microphones embedded in the walls monitored any transgressions every minute of every day.

Further, up the row, bed springs creaked as B49-3 tossed in his sleep, deep in the throes of another recurring nightmare. The silence shattered. His roommate screeched into the blackness, “Mama!”

Heart palpitating, Stevie squeezed his eyes closed, stilled his body, and faked sleep. Moments later, boots thundered into the dormitory, followed by scuffling sounds as the offending boy was dragged out his bed and marched away. The doors crashed shut, muffling the boy’s protests. Stevie had witnessed numerous night raids, so he knew to remain frozen.

A torch button snapped on, then measured boot steps resonated on the wooden floor boards. Three paces. A pause. Stevie imagined the torchlight scanning over the statue-like faces. A few paces at a time the master inspected the dormitory until he halted by Stevie’s cot. The smell of leather polish ripened the air. Stevie focused on breathing. In and out. In and out. No twitches. Feigning sleep. Early into his captivity he’d learned the harsh consequences of non-conformity.

Finally, the boots trod away. Before he exited the master intoned, “The Leader watches over you all.”

***

Clad in identical uniforms, the boys from B49 trooped into the instruction room, their orderly line pausing as each boy bowed before saluting the oversized portrait of the Leader. A shadow of crew cut hair, a creased forehead, lips thinned into a disapproving line, and demon eyes bored out of the frame as if tracking each boy’s movements. The identical image dominated the boys’ access zones: the dormitory, the canteen, the corridors, and the ablution’s block. The Leader’s face had become more familiar than Stevie’s own. It had been five years since he’d seen his reflection in a mirror.

Without a murmur the boys filed to their designated desk and stood beside their seat. Stevie glanced at the empty space allotted to B49-3. A sickly sensation puckered in his stomach but it wasn’t due to the beige mash the servers had dished up for breakfast. Years ago, his taste buds had withered away as he learned to chew the gluey texture for its sustenance value. Refusal to eat resulted in ejection, and reassignment to the intensive reprogramming wing. For boys who cried out in the night, the punishment was the same. None ever returned, and within days a different boy would be slotted into their place, and assigned their numerical identification. The Leader’s message clearly delivered. They were expendable cogs in the Leader’s war machine, merely insignificant numbers. Individuals didn’t exist.

Head straight, eyes forward, Stevie snapped to attention as the master strode into the room. “Be seated.”

Chairs scraped across the floor boards in synchronised motion. The master’s laser gaze scanned above the boys’ heads. “It seems a reminder is necessary. Our lesson will focus on our basic principles until the Leader is satisfied that B49 understands their function.”

Lies. Propaganda. Brain-washing. A turmoil of thoughts swirled through Stevie’s brain, but he kept his expression bland and his body language submissive.

Do. Not. Attract. Attention.

The master picked up a cane and whacked it against a board, directing the group’s focus to the three sentences printed in regulation white chalk.

“Recite together.” He traced the written words with the tip of his cane.

Obedience—Leader knows best.

Conformity—Leader made everyone equal.

Conception—Leader created each of us for his divine purpose.

The taps acted as a metronome commanding repetition until their voices sounded like they’d gargled gravel.

“Halt.” The master consulted the clock on the back wall. “Proceed outside for drill instruction. Convene back here in one hour. The Leader watches over you all.”

***

Under the direction of another master, the boys marched around the quadrangle in orderly lines under an overcast sky. Beneath his cap, Stevie swept his gaze around his surroundings. Windowless concrete high-risers towered around the compound, each one housing identical dormitories. Electrified barbed wire fences and fortified watchtowers incarcerated the thousands of boys within the indoctrination camp. Overhead, a drone buzzed, surveying the sea of uniforms for any sign of non-conformity.

A mine field separated a squat building from the rest of the compound. It accommodated the reprogramming centre. The only entrance was via a rusty metal door. Stevie’s nostrils twitched, the air tainted by the black smoke belching out of the stack of soot-stained chimneys on its roof. The air stunk like burnt barbecued ribs. The boys’ route included parading past the centre’s outside gallows platform. Relief flooded Stevie when he spied the empty nooses. A brief respite as today, they wouldn’t be forced to stop and stand to attention, witnessing the distorted faces of those who broke the Leader’s rules.

For years, he’d shared a room with B49-3. They’d eaten, washed, and marched to the same regimented routine day-in and day-out. He shuddered to think of what the other boy was suffering inside the bowels of the centre. Trained sadists, the masters displayed no capacity for compassion.

Behind him, a voice whispered, “His name is Tom.”

Heart thumping, Stevie’s foot fumbled the next step. He didn’t dare turn his head and acknowledge B49-18’s forbidden comment.

From the front of the line the master roared. “Keep in time.” The cane whacked on the concrete. “Left, right, left.”

The path turned sharply by the outer fence. A flash of purple and yellow caught Stevie’s attention. A lone pansy grew between the cracks in the pavement. He risked peeking at the master before stooping down and plucking up the flower. Careful not to crush its petals he tucked his stolen prize up his jacket sleeve. A tidal wave of adrenaline coursed through his veins; he hardly believed he had dared to jeopardize his life for a pansy.

No outcry ensued and he concentrated on keeping the rhythm. Sometimes the authorities planted informants among the dormitories. Boys who traded secrets for extra rations. He could not afford to slacken his guard.

***

The clock hand ticked over to 8 pm, and the dormitory plunged into darkness. Stevie waited ages before rolling onto his stomach. He extracted the flower from his pillow case and brushed the petals across his nose. The floral bouquet reminded him of the tubs of pansies his mom had grown on their porch. After gardening, the pansy fragrance lingered on her skin.

Memories cascaded like a broken dam. Blowing candles out on a chocolate frosted banana cake. Giggling with his younger sister as their dad spun them around in circles on the back lawn. Wet kisses from his puppy, Sparky. Rainbow lights flashing on the Christmas tree. His mom reading him a bedtime story before pressing a goodnight kiss on his forehead. “Sweet dreams, son.”

He smothered a sigh with the pillow. Silently, he recited the words that kept him sane.

“I am more than the number B49-17.

My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

My father’s name is Mark.

My mother’s name is Katie.

My sister’s name is Jenny.

My family existed.

I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

Stevie swallowed the flower, destroying the incriminating evidence. He added to his mantra. “The Leader watches us, but I’m watching back. In my heart, I will never follow the Leader.”

~~~~~

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 6 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp

Welcome to Day 6 of the 2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! A different author will be featured each day of this tour, with a piece they’ve written that focuses on one of these themes: A World Without Mom and/or How Living in This New World Has Change Me. Help me welcome today’s author, Joy Nwosu-Lo-Bamijoko.

Joy Nwosu-Lo-Bamijoko


WATCH AND PRAY

Indeed, these are difficult times. A time for soul-searching. A time to take notice of just how fragile we humans are, and, a time to look to God for solutions.

There is a plague ravaging the whole world, and what are we doing? We are running helter-skelter, trying one remedy after another by trial and error. Each day we are thrown deeper into a pile of confusion with all the false and misleading information we are being given. And still, there is no solution in sight.

We are a people who have built huge cities, shuttled to the Moon, and created structures mightier than our imaginations.  We have accomplished so much greatness, that now we have begun to believe that we are gods – that we have all the answers and solutions to everything. The human looks around and sees the great things God has given him … the knowledge and skills to achieve, and now, he believes he can challenge God. Because of these reckless beliefs, man goes into laboratories to play God – looking for ways to surpass God’s greatness.

The result is what we are experiencing today. God created order; man creates dis-order. God sits and watches us, like He did with us during the time of the Tower of Babel, with man trying to prove that we are gods. With His little finger, He muddled the waters to show us that only He is God, and He is the only one in control. Now, we have gone ahead and messed up the order of things again, and He continues to watch us. What amusement it must be for Him to see us wreaking havoc in the world, and then trying to clean it up without much success. 

I don’t believe that God will allow the whole human race to perish because of this. Those who believe in Him are praying, and those who do not, are still clueless. Eventually, God will relent, and again, with His little finger, redirect things in His own good time. He will inspire a human to come up with a solution to end the pandemic; a human who will probably take the credit for doing so. It will not matter at all. God knows His creatures more than we know ourselves. He will understand. Those who know the ways of God will thank Him for the end of the pandemic because they will be able to see the hand of God at work in it.

Will the end of this pandemic stop the non-believers from trying to one-up God?  Never! That is not the nature of the evil one. He never stops trying to prove to his followers that he is more powerful than God – that whatever God can do, he can do better.

All I know and pray for is that whoever inflicted this pandemic on the world is going to be in great trouble at the end of it all. They will pay! This will come back to haunt them, person per person, death per death, economy per economy, for all they have done. So, help me God!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR, DAY 5, P.T.L. Perrin, @ptlperrin #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARiseUp

P.T.L. Perrin

WHEN THE WORLD WAS FORCED TO A STOP

…it immediately created a toilet paper shortage. No restrictions had yet been put into place the day I went shopping at Walmart. As always, the items I needed were available. I loaded my cart and headed for the paper aisle. Wait! What the heck happened? A single pack of toilet paper sat on the otherwise empty shelves, left there, most likely, because of a tear in the packaging. I grabbed it. The paper wouldn’t spoil because the package was ripped.

Two women, one elderly and one a younger version of her, stopped in shock, just like I did. I couldn’t help myself. Tears filled the older woman’s eyes, and I had to do something. I handed her daughter the pack, fully expecting to find one somewhere else. Besides, we were okay for a while. How could Walmart, of all places, be out of TOILET PAPER? And why THAT item and no others?

In the coming weeks, when nary a roll was to be found anywhere, I fantasized about the hoarders having to eat it. Roasted TP. Grilled TP. TP Soup. TP pie. I hoped they choked; until I realized that some of them might be families with kids, and they’d be up the creek without a paddle if they hadn’t bought it all up that first week. I began to wish them well and decided to order some online. The next available delivery date was sometime in June, in two months, but it wasn’t guaranteed. A friend suggested I search Amazon for a bidet.

Having lived in Italy in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, I was familiar with bidets, simple low basins separate from the toilet with shower nozzles that sprayed upward. Back then, they were a place to float toy boats, complete with a fountain in the middle. I did not know their true purpose until I was much older and no longer living there. We had plenty of toilet paper back then.

The bidets I found online ranged from a hand-held sprayer, which can double as a cloth diaper cleaner (for those with babies who still use cloth diapers), to a seat attachment that requires no aiming. It appears that the sprayer might take some practice in order to avoid a wet bathroom. But then, if you turn on the no-aiming-required spray without your rear end covering the inside opening of the toilet seat, you could give your ceiling a wash. At least you could with the Italian ones. Amazingly, the guaranteed delivery date was in three days. I clicked the button, quite satisfied with myself.

Neighbors drive to a local farm, where a box of fresh veggies is placed in their trunk, and they drop some off at our front porch. Other neighbors are busy sewing facemasks for a local nursing home. I gave them some colorful fabric and a treasure trove of elastic left over from my long-ago sewing days. Kids ride their bikes in the quiet streets, six feet apart from each other most of the time. Couples walk holding hands (come on…they live together!) and greet other walkers, keeping their distance and using their ‘outside’ voices. Everyone asks everyone else, “How are you doing? Need anything?”

The air smells fresher, the office is gradually getting cleaned out, and my tennis-pro husband burns off energy doing yard work and cutting the hedge shorter and shorter. By the time this is over, it’ll be six inches tall. We’re finally using up the canned goods in the pantry, at least those whose expiration dates are newer than July 2015.

The worst part of this for most people is the loss of jobs and income, although we’re all hoping it’s temporary. We hope to scrounge enough to pay the mortgage for the next couple months, until the tennis courts open and people take lessons again. Younger people with families at home are worried, including our children with their families. Some can work from home, others cannot.

The systems that should facilitate what the government has done to ease the burden are broken and scrambling to find fixes. When this happens again, hopefully in the far distant future, they should be prepared, and the process should run smoother. The same goes for medical supplies and personal protection equipment. There were no stockpiles when this virus shut us down. After this, there will be.

We pray for the sick, that they will recover, and for those who’ve lost loved ones. We pray for those who are feeling the pain of lost income, especially those with young children. We pray for the teachers who have poured themselves into making lessons their students can do from home, and we pray for the parents of those students. We pray for the homeless and the prisoners who have little choice in anything. We pray for Bill’s mom in a nursing home, and for all those who live and work there. We pray for doctors, nurses, hospital staff, first responders…everyone helping others though this.

We were both sick in January, and so were some of our kids and grandkids. Could it have been this virus, this invisible scourge, that made us miserable for a while and then left us to recover? Perhaps. Perhaps many people have had it unknowingly and are now immune, with antibodies that can help someone who is seriously ill to recover. In time, we may all be tested, and then we’ll know for sure.

For now, we practice social distancing. We stay home and catch up on things we’d been meaning to do for the last twenty years, and thank the good Lord we have a home to shelter in. We follow the rules, not to protect ourselves, but to protect the people around us, known and not known, just in case. We are witnessing the spirit of the people who live here, who, when faced with calamity, reach out and help their neighbors. We have never been prouder to be Americans than we are right now.

The bidet arrived right on time. It looks nice in its box, which will remain closed until we run out of toilet paper, an unlikely issue with our kids and neighbors watching out for us. Neighbors, if you run out, we have some to share. I want to try that bidet.

Now about those toilet paper hoarders…

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR, DAY 4, ROBERT FEAR, @fredsdiary1981 #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARiseUp

Spring happens despite the lockdown. Beautiful post, with some gorgeous photos, by Robert Fear.

RWISA: RAVE WRITERS - INT'L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS

2020 RWISA RISE UP TOUR BANNER

MOTIVATING OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

If anyone had told me at the start of the year what was going to happen in 2020, I would have thought they were crazy.

Over the past few weeks, I have learned to cope with this new reality. The initial feelings of anxiety and fear subsided, and my views changed as I became more sensitive to others and aware of how fragile our society is.

We are among the lucky ones. Although work from my day job has evaporated, my wife and I live in a comfortable house, our three cats keep us company, and we have enough money to last through this crisis. As a bonus, the weather has been warm and sunny for the daily exercise walks we are allowed to take.

When the lockdown was implemented, my thoughts turned to those less fortunate. Older people unable to leave home, those suffering…

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