Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

In Honor of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

01/16/2012

(The following article first appeared in a column I wrote for the Purcellville Gazette Newspaper in 2006)

Today, January 16th, is Martin Luther King Day, a day of remembrance for a man who gave his life for his country. One who had the courage to stand up for his beliefs, to demand change where change was needed and to stand tall in the face of fear.

“I don’t want to die,” he said. “But if anyone must die, let it be me.”

How many among us could make such a clear and undeniable statement of belief? I’m not sure I could. But I’m forever grateful that some men can.

All across the metro area and rippling through the country are events organized in tribute to him.  His “I Have a Dream” speech rings throughout the land, and prayers are being said that the work he started will continue to bear fruit.

In the morning papers I see listings for prayer breakfasts, marches and readings. Mr. Ezra Hill Sr., a member of the Tuskegee Airman will deliver a keynote address in Reston. In Rockville, Clara L. Adams-Ender, a retired brigadier general and the author of “My Rise to the Stars: How a Sharecroppers Daughter Became an Army General” is the featured speaker at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater. In the District, a National Day of Service is observed in commemoration of theMontgomerybus boycott. These events and so many more are held each year to remind us of how far we have come and prod us into recognizing how far we have to go.

This space usually features local people who move through our community living the same quiet uncelebrated lives full of personal adventure and private adversity as the rest of us. In the last year there have been stories about moms, kids, black walnut crackers and bull riders, to list a few.

Why then do I choose to feature such a celebrated man today?

Because he is indeed a part of our community, because he loved his wife, his family and his church.  Because on the front page of the Washington Post is picture of him with his arm around his wife, smiling with joy and pride as she plants a kiss on his cheek. Because when I look at it I see him momentarily at peace with the world, happy to know he is admired by the woman he loves. It could be a picture of any man, anywhere having a good day.  And it is in that moment the true meaning of his story shines through. We are not different. We are all in this world together striving to make our dreams come true.

“I don’t want to die,” he said. “But if anyone must die, let it be me.”

Let us resolve once more to make sure he did not die in vain. Join hands to make tomorrow a better day. Join hearts to assure that the dream continues.

If you have a dream, a special wish to make the world a better place, please share it here by commenting on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Workshop Part 1

05/13/2011

Today I’m teaching part one of my two-part course for writers, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Learn how to evoke real emotion in memoir or personal essays. Participants are encouraged to bring an assortment of candid photos taken at significant moments in their life to use as inspiration in this interactive workshop. Part I will be mostly instructional/writing. In Part II (Sun @ 9:15), participants can share what they wrote in Part I and get helpful feedback

Checkout this link to see the other informative workshops available today. http://www.pennwriters.org/prod/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=255

For Betty on Mother’s Day

05/08/2011

Monday, September 9, 2002
The following is the eulogy I wrote and presented for my mother. On this Mother’s Day and all the ones to come I think of her and miss her more than I can say. I hope she understands my desire to share this with you today. It’s important that she live on and this one way I can help to make that happen.
********************
September 9, 2002
Good Morning,

For those of you who don’t know who I am, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Bobbi, the second of Betty’s six children.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I started to write what I hope will be a fitting tribute to my mother.

How do you define a life in a span of words? …..I can only try.

At first I tried to honor her life with high praise and lofty words. I struggled and wrote and discarded page after page until finally it hit me, (or was that you, Mom?) that the only way to celebrate her life is to tell it like it is. She wouldn’t want it any other way.

So first, let’s go back in time and see her through her sister’s eyes – Two little girls tussling on the bed when one of Mom’s shoes comes off and flies through the open window and hits their Grandpa Hogan smack on the head. First puzzled, then angry he goes into the house and up to their room only to find them giggling, arms wrapped around one another, hiding under the covers. …… Love and laughter, two sisters clinging to one another.

See her growing up, becoming a beautiful young woman. One who loves to flirt loves to dance, driving the young men wild.

Picture her as a young war bride, alone and waiting for her allotment check. It was always a struggle to make ends meet but she always took a portion of the money to buy something nice for her sister. …… Love and giving, watching out for family, that’s our Mom.

See her as a young mother, cradling her first-born, looking at this miracle with no hint of the future tragedy that will take her beautiful daughter from her.

Watch as she works and struggles to raise six kids. Three girls, three boys, children who will be loved but not coddled as my brother Ed so clearly stated it only a few days ago.

She taught us all so much!
It is through her example that we learned that books can open up a whole new world and that crossword puzzles can expand more than your vocabulary, that some times the only correct answer is to call out your child’s name.

She saw to it that we received a strong foundation in faith, taught us our prayers and sometimes even mistook one of the boys for Jesus Christ.

By providing us with brothers and sisters she taught us to share, to try to get along, to fight for what we believe in, to define our own place in a wide and diversified world, and most of all to protect one another, even if that means two big brothers rescuing a two-stepping sister by her swinging blond pony tail.

She taught us with love and with her own brand of discipline. If a word or “the look” didn’t take care of a problem a well-aimed backhand would ….. and failing that ….there might even be a coke bottle handy.

Can you see her in your mind’s eye now? I can.

Watch her as throughout her life she creates special bonds with people, gathering them to her as she did with her “other daughter”, her niece and Godchild, Dee Dee. I know that going to see a movie will never be quite the same again but I also know that when you do go she will be right there with you, loving every minute ….

Unless of course she has gone dancing with Margaret. How her eyes would light up when you came into the room and how pleased she was with the very idea of stepping out again. One of these days you and Katie will be out and you will spot a rainbow, When you do, stop and do a little dance and know that she is smiling down on both of you, doing a little twist to her very own melody.

Picture her little house and think of how many of us she has taken in over the years for periods of time both long and short, including you Chris, Tiffany, Colleen and Sean, Ed and Laura, as well as visitors like her Cousin Jim who brought her so much joy.

All of her life she worked on her feet, serving people and she did it with style and sass – she did it with love and laughter. – What an amazing woman she is.

It didn’t matter what you called her, it could be Mom, it most certainly could not be Ma. It might be Sis, Auntie, ‘Lisabeth, Betty, Nana, Miss Lizzie, or her own personal favorite, The Matriarch, the end result was the same. She was there for you to tell it like it is, and if you didn’t like it, well you could just, “Kiss it, Kate”.
Picture that one more time and see her smile once again.

We all love you Mom and we know that one day we all be together again, ….. Until then I can only say –
Goodnight Elizabeth.

Yesterday …Continued

05/05/2011

I didn’t finish everything on my list for yesterday but I did a lot. Posters were delivered to Borders Express and the manager there is very enthusiastic about the upcoming signing. The books have been ordered and she plans to set up a table for me right at the front of the store. “This place is a real mommy magnet,” she said. I hope so. We’ll both find out on June 11th.

I didn’t get to Dog Day Afternoon. I couldn’t find the place but I remain  undeterred. I’ll be heading out again later and won’t head home until my mission is accomplished. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow send out a search party, please.

I did go to the post office but have to go back again today. Another one of the books listed for sale on Amazon to benefit the Young Voices Foundation (not my book) has sold.

I wrote a piece for a new blog column I’ll be collaborating on with my husband and my neighbors. It will debut soon and I’ll post more about that when the time comes. The good news about that venture is the responsiblity for content is shared and the postings will be monthly not daily. It also entails socializing and not having to cook dinner. I like that and look forward to spending time with friends on a regular basis.

I entered an excerpt from my creative nonfiction book to a contest seeking the next big idea in Christian writing. The winner is to be announced in two weeks. There are moments in the book that might be a bit raw for the market but I believe the overall message fits the criteria. We shall see.

Today I will work on my presentation for Pennwriters Conference some more and after that I’ll start putting together the baskets for the silent auction held there. The theme for the Area 7 basket this year is Encourage a Young Reader  – Inspire a Young Writer.  Children’s books from board books to YA will be included in the basket. I am also donating a basket myself.  The theme for that one is relaxation and will include a sleep mask, bubble bath, scented candles and soothing music.  That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

On that note, I have to get to work. What’s your day going to be like?

Anthologies Seeking Submissions

04/29/2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul says:

“We have many Chicken Soup for the Soul® books in development and are adding new titles all of the time. We are always looking for new stories and poems and hope you have some for us to consider. Take a look at the list of our future book topics to see if you have a story or poem on a subject we are looking for and then please submit it to us.

If you have a great story or poem you want to submit but we are not collecting for that topic at this time, please save it and check back with us soon. Our list of Possible Books Topics is added to frequently and hopefully, in the near future, we will add a topic that will be a perfect fit for your story or poem.

We prefer that you submit your stories only once, but if you believe your story fits in more than one book topic, please indicate which other topics you have submitted it for in the Comments line on the submission form. You can submit your story by going to the link at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Here Are Our Future Topics:

***SELECT YOUR TITLE***

Brides and Weddings
You are engaged! How lucky you are to have found that one person you want to share the rest of your life with. We are looking for stories about this very special experience in your life. From the proposal, to the planning, to actual wedding day events — both touching and hilarious – these stories will capture your heart and your emotions. Stories from the groom or the proud parents would be great too! Please share the memories that were created during this special time in your life. The deadline date for story submissions is April 30, 2011.

Christmas Stories
We are collecting stories for our newest Christmas book. Everyone has special memories and stories to tell about the Christmas season – from inspirational and joyous, to heartwarming and humorous. We want to hear about your special Christmas memories and traditions. Please note: if you have submitted stories to our Christmas books in the past, we have your stories in our database. Please make sure that the stories you are submitting to this book are NEW stories that our editors have not read before. The deadline date for story submissions is June 30, 2011.

Family Caregiver
Do you have a family member who requires constant care? Well, you are not alone. The stories in this book will be written by people caring for a family member who requires their assistance due to a variety of reasons – old age, Alzheimer’s, chronic illness, long-term or permanent physical or mental disabilities. Are you part of the “sandwich” generation – caring for an elderly relative while also raising your children? Or are you the person receiving the care from a family member? We want to hear from you too. These stories will inspire and support family members who are making sacrifices to make sure their loved ones are well cared for, whether in their own homes or elsewhere. The deadline date for story submissions is July 15, 2011.

Find Your Happiness
How have you found happiness in your life? Share your stories about how you found purpose, passion, and joy in your life. Stories can be serious or funny, but definitely inspirational. Attitude adjustments, gratitude, a new way of handling your daily life, major realizations, and other great ideas to inspire readers to find their own paths to happiness would be appropriate. The deadline date for story submissions is May 15, 2011.

Food and Love
There is such a universal connection between food and love – both the romantic kind of love and the comforting kind of love between family members and friends. There is that delectable feeling that certain aromas and tastes stir up in your memory and imagination. We are looking for savory, sweet, sometimes spicy, mouthwatering, succulent, and tasty stories on how food and love together played a flavorful part in your life. You get the idea! These stories will whet your appetite and leave you with a divine aftertaste and a pungent yearning to read more. The deadline date for story submissions is May 15, 2011.

Home Sweet Home
Whether you rent your home or own your home, home is where your heart is. It is your safe place in the world. We are looking for stories about getting your first home, returning to your childhood home, do it yourself repair disasters and successes, downsizing, moving day or any heartwarming or funny stories associated with home. This book will make the perfect housewarming gift. The deadline date for story submissions is August 30, 2011.

Marriage and Married Life
Whether you are newly married or have been married for years and years, the stories in this book will capture your imagination, inspire you, make you laugh and touch your heart. We are looking for stories that will celebrate the commitment two people make when they say their vows. Tell us about your relationship. What makes it work? How did the comfort of your mate guide you through challenging times? What is the most important thing in your relationship? How did you try to change your mate? Did it work?! The deadline date for story submissions is May 30, 2011.

Think Positive for Kids
Where do your children find the inner strength to stay positive in these challenging times? The world today is fast-paced and filled with choices, temptations and challenges. The values that children, ages 7 to 12, learn today will stay with them for the rest of their lives. We are looking for stories that show children how to make good choices… even when no one is looking, respect the needs and feelings of others and focus on hope. The stories will remind kids that each day holds something to be grateful for and show them that they are not alone in dealing with difficult issues. We hope that adults will take the time to read these stories with their children as together you share special times and expand communication. The deadline date for story submissions is December 31, 2011.”

Submit Your Story

Refugee Without Refuge – Book Review

04/14/2011

Buy the Book
By Bobbi Carducci

* Good
** Very Good
*** Recommended
**** Reviewer’s Choice

**** for this excellent book by one of the most intelligent women I know.

Product Details

Author Dixiane Hallaj has done it again. In Refugee Without Refuge she continues the story of the Saleh family introduced in her first novel, Born a Refugee. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling story about the effects of politics and war on the lives of ordinary people.

I believe I’m correct in stating that most American’s don’t understand the dynamics of living in a region constantly in strife or how a simple act by a young girl can have such devastating consequences.

Politics are much more in the forefront of this book and that may be a plus for this vastly underappreciated author. If her books get into the hands of the right reviewer, one with an audience large enough and a voice loud enough, perhaps politicians will begin to see that “they” are no different than “us” and that the time has come for the insanity of war to come to an end.

Do Small Things With Great Love

04/09/2011
Mother Teresa 1985 cropped

Image via Wikipedia

I am a great admirer of Mother Teresa and try to live by the words attributed to her. “Do small things with great love.”

Today the first small thing I will do is teach the first in a series of  classes to a group of young writers. I had hoped  for at least eight students. Four signed up. Four kids between the ages of seven and twelve described as, “very seriously interested in writing.”  I couldn’t turn them away.

I’d have a hard time saying no to any writer seeking to improve their craft. But four young people who appear to love the written word as much as  I do?  There’s no way I’d tell them I no.  And I will definitely approach the opportunity to mentor these creative minds in the spirit of great love.

In the afternoon the small thing I have planned is more personal. In my mother’s name I will set my rather inflated vanity aside and have my hair shaved off in support of research into the causes and cure of children’s cancer. I will ask my husband hold my hand as my hair falls to the floor knowing that no matter how my look is changed his love for me will not be diminished,  and that he truly understands that for me losing my hair is a small thing done in the name of great love. That of a parent for  child. 

I’ll let you know how both of these events turn out.

A Prayer for Japan and Her People

03/23/2011

I don’t usually pass on viral messages from my email in box but this one deserves our attention. Let us pray.

LORD OUR GOD,

WE COME TO YOU, STANDING TOGETHER, ASKING FOR LEGIONS OF ANGELS TO ATTEND THE REACTOR IN JAPAN , AND TO ALLOW THE CORE TO BE COOLED BY SEAWATER.WE BESEECH YOU, O LORD, AS WE KNOW YOU ARE SOVEREIGN, AND THAT YOUR WORD SAYS THAT WHEN TWO OR MORE OF YOUR PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AND ASK ANYTHING, IN THE NAME OF YOUR SON JESUS CHRIST, YOU WILL HEAR THEIR CRIES, AND WILL GIVE THEM THAT WHICH THEY ASK. WE COME TO YOU IN DESPERATION O LORD, PLEASE HEAR OUR PRAYERS AND RUSH LEGIONS OF ANGELS TO JAPAN TO STOP THE CATASTROPHE AT THE NUCLEAR PLANT — AND TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN
AS THEY CONTEND WITH SUCH HORRENDOUS DEVASTATION. PLEASE COMFORT THEM, CRADLE THEM IN YOUR LOVING ARMS, AND SEND THE HELP THAT THEY NEED. PLEASE TELL THEM WHAT TO DO. WE ASK THESE THINGS IN THE NAME OF YOUR SON. AMEN

Please pass this on, to all praying people.

Save the Date

03/09/2011

Mark your calendar for my next writing workshop, How to Tell Your Story, at the Ashburn Library on April 4th at 7:00 PM. With a focus on memoir and creative nonfiction the class will include segments titled:
How to Get This Party Started
Tooling Along Life’s Highway
Yikes, There Are Ghosts in the Attic!
A Very Happy Ending (for the book –  even if you are still waiting to see how things turn out)

Everyone has a story to tell. Isn’t it time you started recording yours?

Ashburn Library
43316 Hay Road
Ashburn, VA 20147
703-737-8159

Recommended Reads for Memoir Lovers:
Confessions of a Not So Good Catholic Girl by Deanna R. Adams
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Heat:An Amateur’s Adventures as a Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker and Apprentice to a Dante -Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford

My Horoscope

03/03/2011

TAURUS (April 20 –  May 20)

Be compassionate, especially toward yourself. You are probably feeling uncharacteristically fragile. You tell others to take it easy on themselves, and now you need to do the same.

When contemplating a blog entry, I sometimes go to the horoscope page of  the Washington Post for inspiration. Today I find the advice spot on and will do my best to carry the message with me throughout the day.   I hope you will too.

Note: Blogs appearing tomorrow through Sunday have been prepared in advance and scheduled to appear on the selected date. I look forward to reading your messages when I return.