Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 10th – 16th October 2021 – Crows, Robins, Diana Ross, Relationships, Stories, Reviews, Health and Humour

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed on Smorgasbord this week.

I hope all is well with you. Quite a bit going on around here with spare parts for the wood burner, tiles to replace cracked ones and other bits and pieces arriving daily. We are still waiting on those who will be installing topsoil, lawn, fixing said wood burner and chimney sweeping but early days yet… no fixed day or week was mentioned in negotiations! When we can ‘fit you in’ seems to be the common phrase you wait patiently.  David will be fixing the tiles himself during the redecoration process so no mystery there.

An earlier photo of Charlie

We believe that Charlie has been back in the garden. We noticed a crow, slightly bigger which is to be expected, but with the same mottled grey markings foraging under the bird feeder, accompanied by a friend. He still has trouble flying but managed to clear the hedge and perch on a telephone line. What made us think it was Charlie was that he wiped his beak from side to side on the line. Because his beak was damaged he did that after eating so we are hoping it was him.

Other than that I am making progress on the writing front and you can read an example in the post that Jane Risdon kindly shared this week…with an excerpt from the next collection.

I was the guest of author Jane Risdon who shared my short story, Miss Lloyd’s Robin, from the new collection due out at the end of the year… I hope you will head over to read.. Thanks to Jane for also showcasing Life is Like a Mosaic…

Guest of author Jane Risdon with a short story

This week William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp contributed their expertise in the form of music, relationships and humour… they are amazing. Thanks to you for dropping in and the support during the week.. it keeps me motivated.

On with the show

Chart Hits 1980 Part One – Christopher Cross, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Queen

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – October 2021 – No Contact – The Breaking Point

Walter – Lost and Alone by Sally Cronin

What’s in a Name? – Xenia – Beloved by Sally Cronin

#TankaProse – The Hunter’s Moon by Sally Cronin Posted

New Review #Fantasy #Adventure – The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D.Wallace Peach

Memories, Music and Movies – 1966 – Manfred Mann, kittens and Georgy Girl

Podcast – Turning Back the Clock – The Hormone Factor Part Two – by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health – The Heart and Stress by Sally Cronin

Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Two – Vitamin C to K2 by Sally Cronin

#Finance – Absolutely Necessary Expenses by Sharon Marchisello

#FlashFiction The Last Ride of the Night by D.L. Finn

Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged? Hugh W. Roberts

#Offer Marcia Meara, #Teaching Pete Springer, #Writers D.G. Kaye, #RoundUp Carol Taylor, #Halloween John Howell.

Thursday October 14th 2021 – #Humour Joy Lennick, #Interview Terry Tyler, #Booklaunch Mae Clair with Joan Hall.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – Book Review – Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 6: Dragana Helps a Fairy by Janice Spina

New Author on the Shelves – #Portugal – #Memoir – Another Day in Paradise by Karen Telling

New Book on the Shelves – #Paranormal, #UrbanFantasy, #Shortstories -Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair

#Reviews – #Menopause D.G. Kaye, #Mennonite Marian Longenecker Beaman, #Comingofage Bette A. Stevens

#History #NorthernIreland Jane Buckley, #Mystery James J. Cudney, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton

#History #JewishFiction Eva Hnizdo, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, #Poetry Balroop Singh

October 12th 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Funny Bone and Famous Last Words

October 14th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Recovery Time and Lost in Translation


Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed the week… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Rewind – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy

As many of you already know that D.G. Kaye’s husband passed away on April 7th and our thoughts are with her during this sad time. Debby was happy for me to reshare her relationship posts from last year for the benefit of new readers and hopes to be back with a new column later in May.

If you have not already read Debby’s moving tribute and thoughts on the last week’s of ‘G’s life you can follow this link: Obituary – The Send Off and Love, Loss and Grief

Realms of Relationships – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy

Welcome to the June edition of the Realms of Relationships. Today, I’m writing off course about a different kind of communication – through energy. Perhaps it’s these crazy times we’re all living in, but for people who are Highly Sensitive Persons, also known as HSPs, and for those of us who are empaths with similar traits, I’ve found these last few months, and in particular these last few weeks of world-wide protests for justice, weighing me down with a heavier than usual load to carry, emotionally.

For us sensitives, we are uber sensitive to the energies emitted when the hurt in the world becomes insurmountable. For empaths and HSPs, we don’t necessarily have to be directly in front of one person to pick up energies. We can also take in the collective. And I can tell you, absorbing too much of the negativity going on in the world can be very affecting.

Empaths are ultra-compassionate people, and it’s no surprise that we are feeling way too much in this time of the world.

You may be thinking I’ve gone off the beaten path here, talking about empaths today, but I tagged this column Realms of Relationships because in order for any relationship to flourish and thrive, there must be good communication. And when it comes to communication, an empath – receiver of messages through alternate methods of communication, has good experience understanding communication.

The question has often been asked – what is an empath, and what makes empathy different from sympathy? So today I’m going to break it down.

Empaths can literally feel the emotions of another. An inner-knowing through a feeling of invisibly transmitted energy, is how I’d explain it. I suspect every empath has their own unique abilities how they receive messages, just as many sensitive people, including psychics and mediums, feel spirit with one particular sense.

For example, I can sense when spirits are around me by a sudden drop in my body temperature to downright shivering, no matter the degrees it is in the room. I also sense spirit by scent. I don’t see or hear ghosts, but I sense their presence when the room I’m in suddenly begins to feel very chilly to the point that my teeth chatter as the rest of me shivers. I can smell a distinct odor of Export A cigarette smoke just as I always did when my father entered a room and when he now visits me from ‘the other side’. I get the same feeling when a mysterious waft of a certain sweet scent of perfume fills the air when my Aunty Sherry pays me a visit. Not surprisingly, I’m the only one who can smell these visitors if I’m not alone.

But I digress, I was talking about receiving empathic messages before I got lost on the ghostly messages, lol. My superpower? I like to say, I read souls. I can read and feel emotions – yes, goodness, anger, sadness, evil and every emotion in between. It’s not always a good thing, that’s for sure, but it does come in handy for sizing up situations. How to explain?

How does an empath absorb the emotions of others? I can only speak from my own experience, and the best way I can explain it is – In person, it only takes a few minutes for me to sense emotions from looking through the eyes – beyond the eyes, into the soul, so to speak. Body language and words also transmit energy. Certainly, we’ve all heard some of the old clichés like – ‘the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife’. That example of thickened air is a good indicator of what an empath picks up on whenever encountering negative energy. Empaths can feel the emotions given off by others. Like I previously mentioned, I would describe it as an energy transmission – communication through absorbed energy.

I am like a sponge or a Bounty paper towel, and have therefore, learned through the years, where to keep myself away from to avoid absorbing certain energies from attracting to me. Again, hard to explain, but I’m sure almost everyone has had a superstitious moment in life where we’re convinced there is a black cloud hanging over us, or have once felt that someone has cast an evil spell on us or maybe we just plain feel like bad luck is surrounding us. These examples are what an empath feels when we pick up negative energies about a person. And that person doesn’t have to be physically in our presence for energies to bounce off us. And not to mislead anyone, empaths pick up both good and bad energies – no discrimination. It’s just that attracting the negative energies are harder to repel. And it’s no surprise when an empath is accused of being ‘moody’ that an energy can certainly have us changing our minds like the wind – just ask my husband!

A good example of picking up collective energies is when we’re watching the news. There really is no good news on the news and by watching too much sadness, our energies become ‘empathetic’ to the pain and sadness of others. My heart gets heavy and my concentration is shot as my heart prefers to lead my mood. Just as when we’re around a celebration and our hearts are full, we’re going to feel joyful because that is what surrounds us. And those good energies are like refueling from being drained from other bad energies. It’s a cycle for an empath, but there are ways to help deter attracting those energies by learning how to shield.

Empathy is different from sympathy in that having sympathy is more of an offering of condolence as we may feel sorry for someone because of their loss, but we do not feel that person’s actual grief as an empath can by taking in the griever’s actual feelings and emotions. Our own bodies can feel the pain of others – walking precisely in their shoes.
Some may think it must be so cool to have this ability, but honestly, I’d rather not have it. Being an empath isn’t something we typically train to become, but rather, it’s an inherent or unconscious developed trait. Psychics, spiritualists, witches, and earth angels are more notoriously known for having empathic abilities, but one doesn’t have to be any one of these in order to be an empath.

Being an empath is sometimes referred to as ‘a gift’, but it’s not always a gift. Many people are empathic. And many more may be but are not aware of their ‘gift’, and some are often hindered by it.

It’s been asked many times, does one just become an empath? Is it inherited? Is it learned? Well, I’ve heard various takes on the subject, but one thought of interest stuck out to me: Some empaths don’t realize that their desire to help others sometimes stems from a lack of nurturing as a child, resulting in an unconscious need to help others. I think that’s just one possible method of how a person can be transformed into an empath subconsciously, and despite there being a ‘how to’ for almost anything available, my personal feeling is that teaching someone to be empathic would be like trying to teach someone to become a psychic. We can read all we want about the subject and watch Youtube videos, and gain lots of insight from doing so, but one cannot simply just ‘become’ an empath or a psychic. Dr. Judith Orloff, Psychiatrist at explains how genetics and trauma can aid in playng a part in becoming an empath, in her article where she explains this a little further

What’s it like being an empath? Well, let’s say you’re watching a depressing movie or reading a sad part of a book and your feelings are touched by what you’re reading and/or watching. You may be feeling anger, disgust, elation or any other emotion from that movie or book. The writer of the story has done a great job of painting a story and bringing the characters to life when they can evoke these emotions and the reader is drawn in and can almost feel what the character is experiencing. For an empath, we don’t require someone to narrate their feelings to us, we sense and feel the emotion. Sure, if someone shares something affecting that happened to them, I can immediately take in how they’re feeling as a result of that incident, often no words are required. It’s a vibe and energy someone gives off and that energy is transmitted into their personal space. An empath only has to look into someone’s eyes to pick up on emotion – unspoken emotions. There is definitely more than meets the eye, to quote an old cliché – ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’, because they definitely are.

An empath is a receptor for the energy. Someone not as sensitive to these energies wouldn’t be an empath, and subsequently, wouldn’t even be able to take notice of someone around them with a hidden emotional issue unless they were informed. And sadly, it’s sometimes difficult for an empath to shield or shutdown so as not to absorb these energies. Shielding is a protective measure that is learned, it’s the virtual putting up of an invisible wall to repel the energies to keep them from penetrating into us. With that I’ll add that one doesn’t have to be an empath to learn how to shield themselves.

Empaths are usually open targets for energy vampires (suckers) because we take in other people’s energies. Our compassion can sometimes exhaust us when we encounter too much needy energy at one time. Needy doesn’t necessarily always mean the vampire is intentionally reaching out to us, but, because we are susceptible to other people’s energies and feelings – means we can sense the needy energies. We receive the feelings through energy. This is the reason I refer to these types of people as vampires – because they suck out and overwhelm our own energies as we begin feeling their pain or sadness.

Don’t forget, an empath can experience happy emotions too, not just the bad and the sad, but experiencing happy and good emotions do not drain us. In fact, they can be quite uplifting. That’s why happy people are so good for the soul. And negative people drain our souls.

There are good parts of being an empath – despite an empath’s ability to attract others’ negative energy, sometimes having that uncanny ability of reading a person’s soul through looking into their eyes, can also come in handy for staying safe and sensing oncoming trouble ahead.

Just as a fine- tuned intuition will save us from making many wrong moves, an ability to be able to learn people’s intentions through looking in their eyes can help us avoid – or at least, prepare us to avoid danger. My internal alert system flashes before me if I’m in close proximity to something scary. If I’m out in public and find myself in a situation among undesirable people, or feeling a little too close for comfort, I have an early chance of escape.

I’ll observe people when they aren’t watching and look into their eyes at an opportune moment. If there’s an exchange of words, I’ll check if a smile is genuine (an empath knows). Eyes speak, so does an ominous silence – like a smile without matching smiling eyes. But I would have to say my finest tuned skill as an empath is attracting people’s sadness. My empathy is my Achille’s Heel. It may not be that someone is intentionally in my energy space, but my radar picks up on those energies. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t have to actually be in a room with someone to pick up the energy, just as we could be watching something on TV that transmits those same energies. For a seasoned empath, we can also read energies from the written word – some things like a commonly used phrase – reading between the lines, reading ‘behind’ the words that emit the true emotion behind the words.

I’d like to share an example of an experience I had that never leaves me, to demonstrate how the energy thing works with me.

The Medium and the broken-hearted woman and my book.

About 10 years ago now, I was invited to a private gathering at my naturopath’s office by my friend Charlene, the then office manager at the clinic. Charlene invited a well-known Medium to come to the clinic to perform readings by picking up energies in the room and afterwards, the group could ask the Medium questions.

The room was dimly lit as a candle burned at the center of a big round table. The Medium would announce a spirit who came to her and ask out loud who the spirit was calling on and what was their message from the beyond. I was curious to watch more than anything, and typically prefer not to call up spirits, yet, nonetheless, I was fascinated to be invited.

Charlene told me the room would be set up in a circle, but that she too didn’t want any readings and would sit at a desk across the room from the group of about a dozen. I told her I was happily going to sit with her during the ‘session’ as I preferred not be part of the circle.

When I got to the clinic, Charlene and I went downstairs together in the room where the event took place. The Medium still hadn’t arrived yet, and people were mingling as most of them were patients who knew each other from having IV treatments together in the lounge.

Charlene and I stood by the entrance and were chatting as a sudden drift of profound sadness shot through me from nowhere and my body temperature went cold as ice. My eyes quickly cast upon one of the women at the table. I didn’t know her, she wasn’t familiar. She was merely sitting in a chair around the circle waiting for the event to begin. She displayed no outstanding emotion through body language or otherwise, but when I looked across the room, into her eyes, I felt her heart breaking. After that enormous wave of emotion transpired, I turned to Charlene with tears rolling down my cheeks and asked her who that woman was because she didn’t look familiar as I continued to tell her what I was experiencing. I told Charlene when I looked at that woman, I felt a profound sadness within. Charlene informed me the woman’s husband died a week prior and came hoping for a final goodbye message from her deceased husband, transmitted through the Medium.

I will always remember that story, just as I will always remember what happened after the session when the Medium came up to us to thank Charlene for hosting the event. But before she walked away, the tall, dark, and Bohemian- dressed Medium gazed into my eyes, leaned in and told me – “You need to write that book.” True story! It was her commandment that inspired me to write my first book – which I planned to be my only book. LOL.

~ ~ ~

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Realms of Relationships. I would have to guess there are quite a few of us empaths in our writing community here. If any of you would like to own up and share something of your own experience as an empath, please do. Conversation is music to my ears. 😊

I’ll leave you with this fun fact post which lists some of the most well-known personalities you may not have known were empaths. I’m also including some links you may want to checkout to see if you are an HSP or empath and what to look for.

Fun Facts: Five Highest Ranking Famous Empaths a wonderful post on what made these famed 5 (One is George Orwell) at the top of the compassionate list.

The difference between HSP, empaths and introverts : Empaths, Highly Sensitive People, Introverts

Checklist. Are you an empath or HSP?Highly Sensitive Person Signs

You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

©D.G.Kaye 2020

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for Conflicted Hearts

Jan 25, 2021 D.L. Finn rated it Five Stars it was amazing

“Conflicted Hearts” is a wonderful insight of a girl growing up with an unavailable mother and father lost in that world. I could easily relate to the role of caretaker being thrust on a young girl and the guilt she carried. The blame her paternal grandparents had toward her because her father had to marry her mother was heavy, as was her parents’ on and off living arrangements and mother’s self-absorption toward her children. The guilt followed Ms. Kaye into adulthood, as she always tried to do the right thing. I appreciated how mistakes made had given her the lessons needed. One situation that made me cringe was during a trip to Greece and a broken foot. But people came into her life just when they were needed. I found that very heartening. It was hard to read about the abusive relationship she ended up in, and I was relieved when they parted ways. I loved watching the author make her way to her happily ever after. I found this an inspiring journey of how Ms. Kaye navigated her home life and then left it behind to find herself and love. I highly recommend this memoir 

If you have not discovered the non-fiction books by D.G. Kaye: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster


My thanks to Debby for taking on the challenge of exploring the complexity of relationships, and sharing strategies to improve the way we manage those important to us. As always your feedback is very welcome and Debby will respond to you comments when she can. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up -8th -14th November 2020 – 40th Celebrations, Brad Mehldau, Relationships, Vichyssoise, Aromatherapy, Reviews and Funnies

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope you are staying safe wherever you are. Hurricanes, Covid, Civil Unrest and Political upheavals have been the focus of the headlines this week and in the global scope of events, the celebration of our 40th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow pales into insignificance.

However, for us it is an important milestone, and despite best laid plans of a wonderful villa and pool in Malta with my two sisters, and a weekend away when that was cancelled, we are going to celebrate in style at home with just the two of us.  Which is okay, in fact more than okay.

On our trip to Ireland to meet David’s Family November 1st 1980

A few days before the wedding

Our whirlwind romance

  • September 16th 1980 David arrived as a guest at the hotel I was assistant manager of in Mid-Wales. I did arrange some meeting rooms for him but other than that he was Mr. Cronin until the night of his departure 27th September when he booked himself in for an extra night and asked if I would like to go out to lunch the next day.
  • On September 28th he took me out on my day off and we walked on Harlech Beach and then ate Chinese takeaway on the floor of my small living room as I didn’t have a table.
  • The next day September 29th he was returning to Liverpool and he arrived at my flat at 9.00 to say goodbye, or so I thought, but he proposed instead.
  • On October the 2nd when the hotel shut for the season David came back down from Liverpool and drove me to Portsmouth so he could meet my parents.
  • On October 5th we moved into a holiday flat in Dolgellau.
  • November 1st we caught the ferry from Liverpool to Dublin to meet his family with gale force winds and 12 metre waves.
  • On November 15th we married in Dolgellau registry office with both sets of parents and my best friend Joan Nicholson. With pouring rain and gale force winds.

Here are some of the surviving photographs from the day, most taken by my father-in-law Geoff Cronin which is why he is not in them…

These new fangled cameras…..

The weather here is gale force winds and driving rain, as it was forty years ago which is fitting!. As both our parents and my friend Joan have passed away, it is up to us to celebrate what was an amazing day, just the two of us which is perfect. We have already made a start with cards and roses, and the fridge is stocked, a couple of bottles of Champagne are chilling, and we have created a menu of all our favourite foods, many from the places we have lived and worked around the world.

We are very lucky.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week and as always a huge thank you to William Price King, D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor, Silvia Todesco and Robbie Cheadle for their amazing contributions this week.

Next week the Christmas Book Fairs begin for both the main Cafe and Bookstore and the Children’s Cafe. I will be including every author on the shelves so I need to get started to make sure I feature everyone. I hope it will give you some ideas for gifts for all the family.

William Price King with Grammy Award winning jazz pianist Brad Mehldau

November 2020 – People Pleasers. Do you know one? Are you one?

‘V’ for Vacherin, Vanilla, Veal, Vegetable Spaghetti and Vichyssoise


#Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco – Beef, ham, and lava cheese roll (involtini)

Houston – January 1986 – Birthdays and Plans

Guest Writer – Robbie Cheadle – Inca child sacrifices and the origin of my short story

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford 1950s – Achill Island and Keem Bay Shark by Geoff Cronin

David – In Remembrance by Sally Cronin

Posts from my Archives – Guest Interviews – Open House 2018 with Author Joy Lennick

#Murder #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

Past Book Reviews 2019 – #Shortstories More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

Past Book Reviews – 2019 – Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events-compiled by Stevie Turner

Past Book Reviews -2018 – Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires by Frank Prem

Share your Children’s book reviews – Jemima Pett reviews Casey Grimes: The Mostly Invisible Boy by AJ Vanderhorst

#Release #Bears Sue Wickstead, #Reviews #Horses Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

New Author on the Shelves – #Contemporary – Sweet Erin by Sian Turner

-New Book – #Meditation Sue Vincent, Reviews – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Suspense Stevie Turner

#Reviews – #Crime Sue Coletta, #Pilgrims Noelle Granger, #Collie Sally Cronin

#Fantasy Fiona Tarr, New Books #Design Valentina Cirasola, #Shortstories Leon Stevens

#Frankincense – Immune, reproductive systems, Anti-aging, Antiseptic

November 10th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Shopping wear and Butlers

November 12th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Plastic bags and one liners

Image may contain: text that says "Might as well stay and have one more. Wife is going to tobite bite my head off anyway."

November 13th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp


Thank you so much for dropping by and I hope you have an amazing weekend… I know we will.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Marriage – After You Say “I Do” by Cheryl Oreglia

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post from Cheryl Oreglia and it is a wonderful walk down the aisle of her long marriage, the ups and downs, losses and wonderful moments of welcoming others into the family.  I am sure that many of you will relate to the post and enjoy as much as I did.

After You Say “I Do”

We were married less then a year when Larry walked through the door of our small apartment in Beaverton, Oregon and announced, “we’re moving back to California, I quit my job, start packing.”

“Shouldn’t we discuss this first?”

Oh the hell with it, I wasn’t sure what I thought about the pool freezing over in our complex, or the nonstop rain, and I was sort of homesick. I started folding, wrapping, and stacking our life in cardboard boxes. That’s when all our belongings fit in a U-Haul trailer and our need for stability was minimal.

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday.” Nicholas Sparks

It was the second anniversary when we realized we cared for each other even more than last year.

Three years in we gave birth to our first child, a mini me, and she became our world. Larry presented me with a beautiful Lladro figurine, something he would repeat with the births of our successive children, and those figurines still live on the mantle in the family room, sparking joy in my heart whenever I pass. #MarieKondoThing

I think it was the fourth year, right after we moved to Kansas, when our beloved child split her chin open on the edge of the bathtub. We were in the recovery room when I realized I was wearing a nightshirt covered in blood, no bra, and bright pink sweats, but more importantly we learned how unified we could be when our child was in distress. We cried, we held her, we spoke words of comfort, and we no longer cared if she slept with us for the rest of our lives.

Six months later we welcomed our second beautiful baby into the world, there’s two things we know for sure, they were sent here from heaven, and they’re Daddy’s little girls (Bob Carlisle adapted). We decided being a parent was so damn hard, except for the butterfly kisses, morning snuggles, and the patter of little feet on the hardwood floor. My prayers were completely redirected, all I could feel was enormous gratitude, and sheer exhaustion, but God had my back.

Year seven we moved back to California, I was eight months pregnant, and four weeks after moving half way across the country we welcomed our third child into the family, our hearts were on fire, and although outnumbered we learned to multitask. At this point in time I’d been pregnant or nursing for six years, hadn’t slept though the night in ages, and really had no business driving.

We didn’t get the seven year itch, we got promoted, Larry moved from medical into high tech, and suddenly our lives were immeasurably easier. We installed a car phone, put up a play set in the backyard, and discovered fine wine. Our house and hearts may have been in full bloom but every now and then the weeds took over. You know what I mean? Bad seeds get mixed in with the good. It happens.

Larry doused that shit with roundup.

I think it was the ten year mark when I realized I could not change the dude I married, it was the same month all of our children came down with the chicken pox, and suddenly his travel schedule was unusually packed?

Hallmark does not make a card for this type of occasion.

I called my Mom, “S.O.S., I’m sinking, send in the fu*king coast guard.” She was on the next flight and walked in the door just as I was throwing a shoe at the traveler for no reason. She caught it midair. Damn handy woman.

It’s not a moment I’m proud of but I tell you this because I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help. As most of you know I would rather pull my fingernails out one at a time then admit defeat, but as if a card game, you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run screaming to your Mama.

We took our first vacation without the children during our tenth year. Mom flew in to guard the nest. I wrote out a complex daily schedule, loaded the refrigerator with food, and left the insurance cards on the counter. When we returned everyone was alive. A taxi was waiting in the driveway?

She couldn’t get on that return flight faster.

It was year twelve, let’s call these the difficult years, when I realized I could survive just about anything but not on my own. Our fourth child arrived, traveler dropped me off on the curb, with the child still in the car seat, a sign on the front lawn welcomed the baby home, and he headed to the airport for a week long business trip. I was trippin.

But Mom was there waiting for me. She had the older children dressed in the matching sibling shirts and the kitchen floor was recently swept. For some reason this made me inordinately happy and I sat down in the living room and cried.

That night without a single word Mom heard my silent anguish, walked into the room, took the cranky baby out of my arms, and put me to bed. Then she crawled in next to me, rubbed my back, while she rocked the baby in her other arm, put us both to sleep. I would one day do this for my own child, but this is how I learned, her hand on my back, her heart holding my son.

One evening around year thirteen traveler called from a swanky bar in downtown Boston, he said, “what did you do today?” I thought he was kidding, we have four kids, a dog, a cat, and high maintenance fish. They all need to be fed, clothed, taxied all over town (except the fish) and he wants to know WHAT I DID TODAY? Yeah, I hung up on him.

No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. Madeleine L’Engle

I decided it was time to go on strike (I may have overreacted a tad) but there is nothing worse then a women on a diet, premenstrual, and perimenopausal. The combination can be lethal, especially for husbands, poor guy had no idea what sort of storm was brewing at home.

I did absolutely nothing for four days and could hardly wait for him to walk in the door. When he did I was ready, a beer in hand (I never drink beer but it was the perfect prop), Magnum P.I. on the television, children running amuck, with no surface in the house visible. In fact we had to create a path in order to get around.

He stepped carefully over all the rubble, leaned in to give me a kiss, and without a word rolled up his sleeves, and started cleaning. Thirty minutes in I asked for a cold beer and if he could hold off vacuuming until the commercial break? He was ever so accommodating.

I married a good one.

By year thirteen we expanded the house. It was as if I could breath again. This was a good year.

During years fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen, we had the time of our lives, sporting events dominated the calendar, our neighbor Brighton was officially adopted, the teens took over the house, messaging became a thing, the front yard looked like a used car lot, we needed more chaperons, because preaching abstinence seemed futile, and as everyone was learning to master their own lives, I was learning to let go. It hurt like hell.

We survived, we thrived, we maybe even matured.

One evening I glanced around the patio, gathered at our ample table were some of our closest friends, sipping wine, laughing, singing along with the Eagles. It was a cool evening after a warm summer day, when Larry was turning on the patio heater, I remember catching his eye and smiling, because we both knew the rarity of true friends. It was these who picked us up when life won the round and they did it with such grace we hardly noticed.

“Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question– ‘Is this all?Betty Friedan

I applied to graduate school somewhere around year twenty, got accepted, even graduated, but more importantly I developed my critical thinking skills, and landed a day job with a paycheck. When we looked at each other from across the almost empty nest and we deemed it as good. I think we started dating again. (Update: my sister just called, she wanted to know who the hell I was dating? Hello, each other!)

Our first trip to Europe with those same good friends marked our twenty-fifth year and we got bit hard by the travel bug. Italy rocks, I decided I didn’t want to change him after all, and we both became frequent flyers.

Year twenty-seven we lost my Dad to an array of health issues, I had to learn to live with a gaping hole in my heart, I felt rudderless, so I just gave into the waves of misery, and we learned how grief ebbs and flows, but more importantly how to value the rapidly dwindling years.

Before long daughter number one married the love of her life, we gained an incredible new son, the morning of their wedding Larry handed me a gift with my coffee. I said, “what in the world is this?” It was a Lladro, something to mark this momentous occasion, just like he did after the births of all our children. I sat in bed with this little boy figurine in my hand and cried. He so gets me.

By year twenty-eight we bought a lake house in a desperate attempt to bring the family into one zip code. A place we could call our own, a way to stack up memories as if logs on a fire, and hope those embers would keep us warm in the winter of our life.

By the way, we’re toasty.

Was it year thirty when one of our children decided to move to Australia? He took a piece of my heart with him, I had to stop myself from chasing his taxi down the street, I hate good-byes. There, I said it.

I’m still waiting for him to come home, but slowly learning home is where he makes it, I’ve had to let go of the idea that home was exclusively my place. Tissue please.

Less than a year later we welcomed our first grandchild into the family and our hearts grew three sizes that day. She lit up our world as if the fourth of July. We looked at each other with new eyes, we saw how love inflates, stretches, and repurposes everything we know to be rare and true.

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous,” says Elizabeth Gilbert.

Somewhere during year thirty-two twin grand daughters came into our lives. It is not possible to understand how they doubled our joy, and just when I was learning to tell them apart, my beloved Mother went off to be with Dad. Did I mention I hate good-byes?

Larry was my rock, but the pain of severing the umbilical cord from mother to child is indescribable, Nancy (my beloved sister) and I clung to each other as if our lives depended on it. As it turns out it did.

And we clung even tighter when her husband lost his battle with diabetes, left us in the middle of the night, and suddenly my sister became a widow. There are no words at a time like this, just presence, tears, and love. The family flooded in as did friends and neighbors, a beautiful tribute to the way David loved the people in his life.

He would have said, “It’s all good,” because early on he learned to trust in something much bigger than himself.

Life, ever a mixture of devastation and delight, we set off in celebration of daughter number two who said yes to the ring last February, and Tim finally joined the family slack channel. We looked at each other on our second flight out to Boston in one week, my foot still in a boot, and deemed us ever so lucky, my soon to be son-in-law pulled everything off without a hitch. Love is in the air…

I think it was year thirty-six when we bought each other cards and forgot to give them to each other. It’s the thought that counts.

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.Dave Meurer

The things we have collected over the years no longer fit in a U-haul but the things that matter do not take space, money, or go on strike. I’ve learned that real love forces you to weed out the rubbish, and embrace the good in each other, because as we know love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres as if figurines on a mantel, sparking joy in the lives of our beloved. (adapted 1 Corinthians)

I still love watching him walk into a room, I love when he pulls me into a warm embrace, and when he kisses me slow. As Kahlil Gibran notes to love is to melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”

I end with these wise words from Shannon Alder who says, “When you find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stand in front of you when other’s cast stones, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who will hold your hand when your sick, who thinks your pretty without makeup, the one who turns to his friends and say, ‘that’s her’, the one that would bear your rejection because losing you means losing his will to live, who kisses you when you screw up, watches the stars and names one for you and will hold and rock that baby for hours so you can sleep… marry him all over again.”

This is what happens after you say, “I do.”

©Cheryl Oreglia 2019

About Cheryl Oreglia

Living in the Gap is a lifestyle blog which appears randomly as I corral the time to write and reflect on the mundane. I do have a life outside of my head and it squeezes between me and my keyboard like a frightened child. What can you do? On the surface my life is common, I’m married with children, a high school teacher who lives for weekends at the lake, but just below the surface is a unique voice, one that I hope will resonate with you. Living in the Gap, customized, over the hill, gritty, complicated life. Wouldn’t have it any other way

Connect with Cheryl

Blog: Cheryl Oreglia
Twitter: @CherylOreglia
Facebook: Chery Oreglia

My thanks to Cheryl for sharing this with us and please head over to her blog to enjoy browsing through her archives.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#Family – Why I Married At 23…Sometimes We Do Make Wrong Decisions! by Balroop Singh

Delighted to share the third of Balroop Singh’s posts from her archives and this week she takes a look at arranged marriages, including her own which has been incredibly happy, but others are not so fortunate… Balroop explores how this tradition is still maintained in the present day.

Why I Married At 23…Sometimes We Do Make Wrong Decisions!

Our decisions cling to us, we have to live with some of them all our life. We might live in the shadow of regret because we didn’t have the maturity to ponder. We didn’t have the guts to speak up, to express our resentment, to rise against what appeared to be a wrong decision.

What if a parent or sibling makes those life-changing decisions?

What if they were made under societal pressures or moral bindings?

What if they are seen to be quite right by everybody around us?

All these questions didn’t crop up when I married at 23 (actually 22+) and it happened to be a happy marriage.

Thankfully, I have lived by that decision without any regrets.

I am not alone!

I know many girls marry at this age, out of choice. But the million-dollar question is: Are they enlightened enough to gather the import of such a decision?

When there is an unwritten decree that you have to marry when you are asked to just because it is convenient for the people around you, when the society values your muteness at such decisions, when you are expected to concur with what your near and dear ones decide for you, when you don’t want to displease them…do you have any choice?

In many cases that decision may turn you into a puppet, a slave, a housemaid, a sex symbol, a money-churning machine – who cares? You are seen as respectfully, happily married woman!

Now many such questions stare at me and I realize how simple, how immature and young I was at that time.

I couldn’t even understand that I was abdicating my dream, my aspiration.

I was told that I could still pursue it. I just chose to forget it but that is another story!

I was told that everybody must settle down. I could hardly fathom the depth of those words.

Did I have a choice? I was not expected to question or even see the man I was supposed to marry though I did raise some queries and insisted on meeting him at least once.

It is another matter that I met a kind and understanding man.

All those who are married off like this are not that lucky.

Those were probably primitive times…we didn’t have any Google to ask all those questions. We just had a radio and a gramophone, which sang away to glory and who was interested in the news that women had been granted equal status, that they too could claim their rights!?

Nothing has changed in this technology driven, digital world.

The unwritten diktats of the society follow young, naïve girls to their grave.

Younger brides can be easily molded, that is the belief. They can’t wield much power and will-power, this weakness can be easily exploited.

I didn’t have the power or the authority; they too face the same scenario.

The patriarchal societies are driven by the same age-old traditions of marrying a young girl, demanding (or expecting) dowry and considering the wife as a personal property.

My own niece met with the same fate and I couldn’t do anything! Isn’t it strange? But she chose to divorce!

She could only do so when the choice lay in her own hands and I appreciate her bold step.

I am not shifting any blame.

I could have also made a wrong decision. Many people do so.

I am only trying to understand how much has our society evolved. How much freedom have we attained and who have actually got that freedom?

At the same time, I am awe struck at the wrong decisions made in the western world, where dating at teenage endows them with too much of freedom.

They have all the choices!

We all make wrong decisions but when we make them ourselves, we move on, thinking it was a bad dream, a little mistake, and an aberration.

How long will the societal oppressions keep demanding the sacrifices of young, innocent girls? How long would their ambitions be thwarted by the biased demands of their culture and dogmas?

Thank you for reading this. I am sure you have some thoughts to share. Please do so.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Image adapted from:

©Balroop Singh

Here is Balroop’s  latest release Timeless Echoes, Poetry for young adults and teens.

About Timeless Echoes

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

One of the reviews for the collection

Bette A. Stevens 5.0 out of 5 stars Wise & Wistful October 14, 2018

In “Timeless Echoes,” the author searches within to share the trials and tribulations of life in unique poetic imagery that delves deeply into the human spirit echoing within each of us. Love of nature, love of family, grace and forgiveness are among the themes encompassed in Singh’s timeless collection.

Head over and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads:

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Connect to Balroop Singh.


Thank you for dropping in today and to Balroop for her thought provoking post..We would love to hear from you..

If you would like to share some posts from your archives that deserve to be read again and by a different audience, as well as promote your work.. then this is how…

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Romance, A modern fairy story by Sally Cronin

Last week was Valentine’s Day so I shared a post I wrote for USA Today Bestselling Romance author Jacquie Biggar’s website last year – on the subject of keeping the magic of romance alive every day.

In respect of this series, where I explore some of the key elements of our modern lives, I take a light-hearted look at love and romance. Well partly light-hearted, as there are some elements of this universally sought after state of bliss that can be from the dark side.

I thought I would share my modern fairy story with you and the things I have learnt along the way.

Have you ever wondered why the classic fairy stories that involve a beautiful farmer’s daughter, scullery maid or even a princess, who are swept off their feet by a handsome and rich stranger on a white horse; end with the words ‘And they lived happily ever after’?

It was not just because most were written by men, at a time when a woman was a chattel who cooked, cleaned and bore children. Women believed that was their role and yearned for it! The male writers of the fairy stories of the time were definitely headed off to happy ever after!

That may sound a bit cynical, but I can remember as a child being fed the propaganda. Most commonly via bedtime stories and the ‘Happy Ever After’ films that we were allowed to watch in our teen years. Disney had the whole thing down to a fine art. By the time I was sixteen and listening to the crooners of the day, I was convinced that at some point, a rich and handsome stranger was going to gallop into my life and sweep me off into a love filled paradise just made for two.

By the time I was 19 years old I had kissed a few frogs. I also thought that Prince Charming had ridden in a few times, then discovered that in reality they just as quickly rode off into the sunset. Still that is all part of growing up, but because of the indoctrination of childhood, I mistook one particular prince for the real thing.


Oh the joy in the royal family, that the princess had been chosen by a prince of such standing in the community. A large wedding was planned and executed by the two queens with the kings simply opened the doors to the treasure houses. The invitation lists in both palaces grew by the hour as dignitaries were invited from far and wide. Many of whom the princess and prince had never met. The reception was a masterpiece of just the right location and the food suitably divine. A vaulted arch of the prince’s entourage lined the drive from the grand cathedral; carriages awaited to take the jubilant bridal party to the festivities.


A few glasses of champagne, elegant speeches and a thrown bouquet that was caught by the next lucky bride. Then the prince swept the princess off on his luxurious charger into the sunset to the awaiting bridal chamber.

They call it a day to remember, and certainly as I thought about the celebrations in the weeks and months following, I knew it would be etched on my mind forever; not necessarily for the right reasons. Suddenly the prince was not quite so charming, but still my belief that in the end the magic would prevail, maintained the veil of delusion over my star struck eyes.

However, pretty quickly, what I had believed to be the essence of true romance had vanished, and during the next few years I had some pretty good lessons about the reality of maintaining a one-sided relationship. I was trapped by the web that had been spun around me and I felt it would be impossible to break free without angering so many; particularly at the two royal courts.

But one day, for some reason, the spell lost its power and despite the threat of banishment to a far off land where my shame would not be witnessed by family and friends; I packed up a small bundle of clothes and hit the road.


I spent the next three years wandering and keeping well away from anyone who knew me, ending up in the depths of the Welsh mountains where I flirted and flitted through a number of meaningless relationships. I was not going to be caught up in the fairy tale again. I was very happy to be the wicked witch and to spend my life making spells of my own and being loved by cats. My release papers arrived on April 1st which seemed totally appropriate.

Then, would you believe it… a prince arrived in disguise. Quiet and bespectacled and riding an ancient nag that had seen better days. There were no grand or extravagant gestures, just a gentle wearing down of my defenses. But there was magic involved of that I am certain. I felt myself being drawn in despite the walls that I had built around me. A spell was being woven that ensnared me and despite all my best intentions, after only one dinner date, I found myself saying yes to spending a lifetime together with this softly spoken suitor.

The Queen and King back at the castle were I was born were aghast on hearing that I was betrothed again. And to a foreign prince from afar with as yet unknown credentials, who had the audacity to propose on our first date; the Queen announced that she was about to faint.

My prince was not about to let the grass grow under his steed however and he approached the King and asked for his daughter’s hand. Rather hopefully, the king offered him £5 and a step ladder, and an enquiry as to if  there might be an elopement. Which there was, and within six weeks, very quietly and without undue ceremony, we were married.


This time just both sets of Kings and Queens and one lady in waiting attended! Drenching rain blessed the union in a small office in Wales. After a celebratory lunch we set off on the prince’s ancient steed to a rather dark castle in the mountains, where the bridal suite, decked in red flock wallpaper, vibrated to the noise emanating from the public bar beneath.

Then it was off to the damp and musty rooms, that we managed to find and afford, whilst we worked hard together to build up enough savings to buy our first modest home. That has set the pattern for the last 39 years, where we have both worked together as a team to keep our relationship strong and to achieve a reasonable expectation of ‘Happy Ever After’.


Every fairy story usually has a moral at its heart and for me, that was ‘All that glitters is not gold’ and fancy cars, uniforms, extravagant gestures and empty promises are not worth the paper they are written on.

Thirty-nine years into my second marriage, I have no doubt in my mind that my first disaster was sent to teach me a valuable lesson and to appreciate the real thing when I finally found it.

Considering that statistics show that at least 45% of marriages and civil partnerships end in divorce or separation, at least some of you reading this will have gone through a similar experience with your own modern fairy story!

A few observations I have made along the way.

Overuse of the ‘L’ word

I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to overusing words that are supposed to be used to express ones devotion to another.  I love, sugar, salt, dogs, writing, reading, movies, music, next door’s cat, Tom Selleck, chocolate, red wine, ice-cream, strictly come dancing, buying clothes, shoes and handbags.

So how special does that make my husband feel when I tell him I love him?

Words are very easy to use and they spill from our mouths with increasing thoughtlessness to their actual meaning. Telling someone you love them all the time and expecting them to do likewise, especially when you also use the same expression for all the other ‘things’ in your life, can dilute its meaning.  It is lovely to hear from time to time, especially when accompanied by an act of love that reinforces it.

It is actions that speaker louder than words and you can show how much you love someone every day without having to vocalise the emotion.

A very good reason for that loss of the bond that keeps a relationship strong is our expectations. However realistic we may think we are, we still believe that life is going to be eternally happy when we have found our prince or princess. In truth once the courting days, when we are on our best behaviour and make an effort to look great are over, we find out that perhaps we are not as suited as we thought.

Expectations for some young people are fuelled by the the constant stream of gossip about celebrities and their million pound weddings, 100k dresses and a centrefold spread in ‘Hello’. And the fact, that they are far more likely to break up within seven years,also brings a normalcy to the temporary nature of relationships. Particularly as it seems that it is okay to have another million pound wedding with a 100k dress and lavish party again and again. Recreating the fairy story and quite frankly tarnishing it.

It is certainly true for some that there is an expectation of instant gratification and when it looks like some hard work is needed to make a relationship work, it is easier to leave and find another short term fix.

My sympathy does lie however, with the children who seem to be dragged through the public spats and repeated matrimonials without any say in the matter; and you can only wonder what it does to their perception of love and romance!

It seems that once the honeymoon is over, there comes the period of adjustment when it it is permissible to change anything and everything about your new spouse, so that they conform to your idea of perfection!

Football or basketball might be more of a priority than previously thought and nights out with the girls once a week and clubbing might be tough to give up.

One of the assumptions that we make is that when we get married we will be joined at the hip and do everything together. This might be fine if you get married at 75 or 80 years old, but if you are in your twenties, you are still growing and developing. Being married should not mean losing your individuality and there should be activities that you continue to pursue, as long as it takes your partner into consideration.. In fact over the years you will find that you begin to share more and more and that you grow more alike.

There are plenty of activities that you will share as a couple, including when children arrive; which is a wonderful but labour intensive part of a relationship. Sleepless nights and eighteen years of car-pooling and soccer practice begin to eat into time that might be set aside for romantic gestures. Certainly cash flow is usually also restricted with mortgages and college funds. Life is going to keep pushing your boundaries and if you do not have a strong bond, then it will succeed in tearing you apart.

Then there are the little things we didn’t really notice when we were in the throes of passion. Prince charming does snore, have smelly socks and breaks wind and so does his princess.

One of the most often used excuses by men for their infidelity is ‘My wife does not understand me.’ Which usually means that a wife and mother is spending all her time keeping food on the table, taking care of the children as well as hold down a job and not paying him enough attention.

The most used excuse for women for infidelity, is that the love and romance has gone out of their marriage, and they just wanted to feel beautiful and desired. Which usually means that a man is out working in a stressful job all day, comes home and just wants to eat his meal in peace, watch the television have a beer and get some sleep.

And just a tip… let him take his coat off, have a meal and relax before you tell him the washing machine is broken.

It takes a huge amount of work to keep the various relationship elements alive and well.  A lot more work than some people are willing to put in.

There is nothing wrong with ‘Contentment’

Happiness is this all encompassing emotion that is a high we all expect to achieve; and of course there are moments in your life of sheer joy. However, it is impossible to sustain that for 60 or 70 years. You would be worn out. To be honest your friends and family will be pretty weary of seeing your perpetual smiling face and happiness.  It will simply be too tough for them to compete with the perfection.

It is much healthier to achieve a state of contentment, where you still make the effort to keep love and romance alive, and are able to sustain it. This is when the small gestures such as making cups of tea, holding hands in the movies, cooking a favourite meal or a date night, really come into their own.

And one of the key elements of a healthy and long relationship is the laughter. Without that glue to keep you together, it is easy for one or both of you to descend into misery.

At the end of the day this is just my views on romance and certainly every couple needs to find the formula that works for them. Hopefully I have given you something to think about and if you feel that the romance in your partnership could use some TLC then now is the time to give the matter some serious thought.

©sally cronin 2019

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome:


Something to Think about – The R’s of Life – Relationships in a Modern World Part Two – Adulthood by Sally Cronin

In the last post I looked at the impact on a child who has not been socialised with other children before going to school, and the growing concern of placing babies as young as six months in childcare.

This week I explore the next phase in a child’s development as they move into puberty, their teen years and into adulthood.

There are millions of children who are well adjusted, coping brilliantly with school, friends and the move into secondary education. Their sights firmly fixed on a career that they are best suited for.

However, like me, I am sure that you remember that it only took one disruptive child in a class to make a difference to all the students. The one who requires the most interaction from the teacher, who never excels but always achieves the maximum attention, who is also usually the bully in the playground.

Unfortunately, they are the ones we all end up hearing about as they rampage through their school years, often absent and finding solidarity with like-minded misfits. They are also the ones who find themselves with their fifteen minutes of fame on the front pages of the newspapers.

Here is a short extract from a recent article on knife crime in London, and I am sure it is reflected in many of our major cities whichever country we live in.

When you speak to gang members and ex-gang members their world is totally different from ours and I think we need to understand that in order to intervene.

“The journeys of some of these young people embroiled in knife crime and gangs are quite similar. Excluded from school, no significant role model in their life, move from place to place, involved in petty crime very early on, come from a household known to social services. All those things, you look at the pattern, it’s all the same. Police have a role, but every profession, every agency has a role to play, so hopefully we intervene in the right places.”

Half of all knife crime offenders in London are teenagers or even younger children, new Met figures have revealed in a stark illustration of the scale of youth violence in the capital.

The police statistics show that 41 per cent of those being caught for knife crimes across London’s boroughs are now aged between 15 and 19.

Another 8 per cent are younger still, ranging in age from ten to 14, in a further sign of how carrying and using blades has become part of life for a minority of troubled young people.


Developing and maintaining relationships into adulthood.

It is tough enough to manage the many diverse relationships with will develop as we move into adulthood, without having been taught how to play well with others as a toddler and then during the early school years.

It can be extremely stressful maintaining relationships across the breadth of our connections. A bit like the performer who spins multiple plates on thin, flexible poles, running frantically around the stage keeping them from falling and smashing on the ground.

It is that stress that erodes the foundations of a relationship and causes so much heartache. Some relationships are very resilient. Especially within a family where children have grown up together and have loved, squabbled and then laughed together. However, there comes a time when we reach an age where our personalities have formed, and we begin to move into different circles of friends and the romantic relationships we discover.

If we have not had a strong sense of belonging within a family, or have had a difficult relationship with either or both of our parents, we can take baggage with us as we form these outside connections. Our expectations of relationships are not high and so it is easy to accept less from interactions than we should.

This inability to form strong and lasting relationships is not just limited to romance but also impacts our job prospects and long-term mental, emotional and physical health.

One of the most important relationships, and often the toughest to maintain is marriage which is embarked on with a view to lasting a lifetime.

Although there has been a steady decrease in the numbers of divorces over the last ten years, last year saw a slight increase for the first time in a decade. This partly down to the inclusion on divorces for same sex marriages which has been legal since 2014.

What is not taken into account is the nearly 4 million families where parents are cohabiting without a formalised agreement, who also have their own statistics with regard to splitting up.

The statistics show that a cohabiting couple is three times more likely to break-up than a marriage. But the more worrying fact of this, is that there are far less legal safeguards for a single parent and their children in these circumstances.

A recent report has identified that Britain has more single parents than almost any country in Europe, and almost one in three of them are unemployed.

“A report has found that of the 1.8million single parent households in Britain, 650,000 of them are not in any sort of work.

This has led to a situation where the average single parent household in the UK claims twice as much in benefit support as the average two-parent household.

The proportion of lone parent households in the UK is the fourth highest in the EU – behind only Estonia, Latvia and Ireland – with 24 per cent of of children being brought up by just one adult”.

More importantly a huge burden of parenting the children in these failed relationships, falls onto the shoulders of just one person, usually the mother.

There is no doubt that most single parents do their very best to ensure their children grow up with a balanced view of relationships. But I do believe that some parents do not appreciate the impact that is made on a child’s future by their actions in their own interactions with others.

Parents are role models, and the way they interact with each other, their own family members, friends and casual contacts, is under scrutiny by a child from a very early age. They learn from their mother’s and father’s knee and will take those lessons with them for their entire lives.

If approximately 42% of marriages end in divorce and a larger number of cohabiting relationships end, how does that impact the views of the children concerned about relationships?

How does a child, who sees a mother struggling to manage to bring them up alone, often with other siblings, see the role of a father, and therefore their future role. How has the lead up to the split, which is likely to have been acrimonious impact them?

It is not likely that it will prepare them adequately for their own relationships in the future.

And it is not only the young whose lives are fractured when a partnership ends. Although many men and women go on to remarry and have long and happy relationships, those whose marriages end in their middle years, find getting back into the dating game very tough and often spend the rest of their lives alone.

Modern relationships are complex.

The world is becoming more integrated and relationships are becoming more complex, not simpler, with the development of technology. Our concept of friendship is changing as we form more relationships online. Many are also turning to technology to find romantic attachments based on a computer algorithm. Six million British men and women look to dating sites to find their perfect match each year. In some countries such as Japan, romantic simulations are becoming increasingly popular, as men and women form virtual relationships that take the place of human interaction.

The dynamics of romantic relationships has changed along with the technology as we have access to the rest of the world, particularly to the pseudo-celebrities.

We are now in the era of the celebrity culture, where fashion, serial relationships and what should be private, is public property. The days of the Hollywood stars misbehaving has been overtaken by the pseudo-celebrities who do little more than remove clothing, have butt lifts and make a fortune selling their ‘brand’ to the media, as they move from fleeting public romance to the next. Having children, it would seem often, as an accessory, or to ensure that they will be taken care of for life, at the almost certain demise of their latest pseudo-relationship . And make fortunes they do, fuelled by the need of the young in particular, to have this glittering lifestyle, all without going out and working 9-5 in some boring dead end job.

It sounds harsh doesn’t it. And as I said at the beginning of this post, there are millions of wonderful young men and women entering marriage and long-term stable relationships, who will go on to be amazing parents.

But they are nowhere to be seen in the headlines. They are not the role models that the media present to the increasing percentage of young people who are desperate to find something to belong to, follow and be a part of. They have nothing to judge these wannabees against.

There are two people in a relationship but it can influence the lives of several more.

A relationship is a two way interaction between individuals and also groups of people. It requires time, patience and tolerance. Great beginnings, particularly in romantic relationships, need to be built on so that the initial chemistry is combined with trust, respect and loyalty. It needs to become a partnership in every sense of the word; there is no room for inflated egos or dominance if it is to succeed.

This applies in friendships, as well as within teams or groups of people that we work with. As in the playground, those who do not know how to communicate, share and support are soon excluded, and I have seen many such individuals, drift from job to job over many years.

Developing healthy relationships is not based on a computer algorithm, but a deep-rooted need to belong that has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. A clan provided safety from other humans and also animals, provided more effective food gathering and hunting, and made better use of individuals specific skills. The individual hearths did not only provide heat, light and the ability to cook food, but also the basis of the first families, where men and women shared the care of children by forming strong and stable relationships.

The impact of relationships on physical, mental and emotional health.

Over the years of working with men and women who have come to me looking to improve their health, it is clear that relationship issues play a huge role in in a number of key areas in our lives. This included weight loss and gain, depression and other stress related physical and mental illnesses. Most women and quite a few men that I have counselled with difficulty losing weight have very low esteem and many have projected the cause of that onto their partners.

In fact low self-esteem in this particular instance, is a combination of long-term relationship issues with both the people in our lives going back to childhood, and also the attachments we have formed to food as a source of comfort.

Our desire to change our partners into who we think they should be!

A massive influence on the strength of a relationship is acceptance. One of the major stumbling blocks in any connection we make romantically, within a friendship or a group, is the need to change the other person or people to a version that we feel more comfortable with.

There is an old joke about the woman who searched for twenty-five years for the perfect man only to find him and discover he was looking for the perfect woman!

We all have faults and are less than perfect. It is easy to say. ‘This is who I am, love me or leave me.’ However, this is where the second major influence in relationships comes in.

Compromise is not a sign of weakness, but a willingness to meet someone else half-way, combine positive traits, work on negative issues and still maintain our individual characters within the relationship.

Which brings me to the third ingredient of a good relationship which is patience.

You cannot force someone to change to suit your expectation of what they should be. If you value their individuality then you need to remember that this is one of the main elements that attracted you to them in the first place. Adaptation may happen naturally over time as you live and work together, but it is likely to take years not weeks or even months. Learning everything there is to know about an individual takes a great deal of time and effort and if you are lucky you will still be finding out new things after 30 years in a relationship.

Happiness is a much sought after commodity but unfortunately we tend to place the burden of providing that onto others in our lives. We expect others to make us happy; which is simply not acceptable. Happiness is not an emotion but an expectation that is instilled in us from childhood by our parents, fairy stories, outside influences such as the media in print, film and music. We quickly forget all the simple things that made us feel good in childhood such as playing in the sand, a day at the beach, opening our birthday presents.

As we get older we crave that feel good reaction from everything that we do including at work, in friendships and in relationships. We forget that happiness comes from within; is very individual to us and if a situation is not providing us with it, then we need to examine what we are bringing to the table.

How many times have you stated that ‘ I will be happy when… I have lost two stone, bought a house in the sun or won a million’?

If you explore where you are in your life right now and the relationships that you already have, you might feel that some areas are not as good as they might be, but most already give you every reason to be happy.

It is an interesting exercise to imagine what it would be like if those people, experiences or events were not in your life at all. I think most of us would be devastated to be without them.

Many people associate happiness with what they are given, be it in the form of gifts, friendship or emotions. They fail to realise that we are far more likely to experience that sense of happiness when we are the ones that are giving and not taking. Our happiness is intensified when it is reflected in the face of others in our lives, both personally and in a work environment. The most successful relationships are those where there is a mutual giving of time, love, friendship, support and loyalty.

However, it is very important to recognise that there are times when a relationship of any kind becomes toxic and will never offer you the chance of happiness, however much you give and keep giving. The relationship becomes totally one-sided and without extreme intervention is not going to survive. I know from previous experience how easy it is to hang onto the belief that you can change the situation, but there comes a time when you do have to accept that it can no longer be sustained and that you may have to leave it behind.

Relationships are precious and need nurturing and developing if they are to survive. That applies just as much online as it does with the people in our immediate circle of family and friends. The world is changing and certainly it will be interesting in another 25 years of Internet access, to discover just how much our ability to form relationships will impacted.

©Sally Cronin 2019

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome:


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Family Dinners: Keeping the Spark Alive by Marian Beaman

It is time to welcome another new contributor the series with the first post from her archives, here is Marian Beaman. In this post Marian shares some of her own family dinners across the generations and illustrates how important this bringing together of family members is so important.

Family Dinners: Keeping the Spark Alive by Marian Beaman

Are family dinners important? What about empty nesters? Families of one? Do family dinners protect against the effects of teen drug use and cyberbullying? Writer Melodie Miller Davis in her recent blog post “How do you keep family dinner?” got me thinking about recent research on the topic.

In her post, she refers to Columbia Casa Family Day, a national initiative to remind parents that they have the “power to help keep their kids substance free.” Cornell University researchers also have discovered that shared meals may help prevent eating disorders. An article in Time asserts that teens benefit from interaction with their families and find security in the shared, predictable ritual of family mealtime possibly preventing early drug use and the effects of cyber-bullying. However, there is also research that claims such effects are overstated or not verifiable.

Whatever the case may be, the faster the pace of our lives and the more insane world events become, the more I long for the sweet spaces of serenity that sharing family meals can provide.

The Longeneckers and the Metzlers, two strands of my family line were oblivious of any such research but carried on the ritual of family meal time together. Here is a post from the Metzler gatherings, often picnic style.

Family dinners can be very large as seen here in Grandma and Aunt Ruthie’s house with twenty, mostly Bossler Mennonite Church friends, gathered around their huge dining table.

Whether large or small, indoors or out, dinners require preparation. My sister Jean and her family provide some of the “raw material” from a shared meal at Mother’s house.

Years ago if we didn’t visit Pennsylvania, I shared holiday meal making with my sister Janice, who lives just 2 ½ miles from us.


And then the over-flow table with the kids . . .

Any excuse for a party! Besides birthdays, Fourth of July can be a cause for celebration too.

One of us, who loved everything about entertaining from meal preparation to talking and eating around the table, will be missing this holiday season and every meal in between, our Mother Ruth Longenecker, hostess extraordinaire.

How have family dinners marked your family history?

My thanks to Marian for sharing her family memories in these photos.. I have not included all of them and you can see more at her original post:

©Marian Beaman 2014

About Marian Beaman

At one point as a teacher at Lancaster Mennonite School, I was addressed as Sister Longenecker. Then I turned fancy and became Beaman after marrying a blue-eyed, blonde-haired German boy from Washington State. His original artwork often appears on my pages. I wrote about our unlikely meeting here.

My love of books, along with a connection to students and colleagues, has made my years in education pure joy. I have spent more than 40 years teaching, finishing my career with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville.

Writing dovetails with reading and teaching. My academic writing includes a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: Not King Lear in a Cornfield” for the American Popular Culture Association and “It’s Not Easy Being Green, Wal-Mart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.

Former Mennonite with a Writing Habit

A dream came true when I presented and published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in magical Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks published “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.

Now in my Third Act, I’ve embraced creative non-fiction with “Gutsy In Ukraine,” published in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Anthology (2014), Volume 2. In September 2016, my story “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker” was published in The Mennonite magazine.

Since beginning my blog in 2013, I’ve uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from my two Longenecker homes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of which are featured here on my blog.

I publish my blog Plain and Fancy Girl on Wednesdays. Whether you are a commenter or reader only, I appreciate your noticing. Scroll down and subscribe to my weekly blog.

My work in progress is tentatively titled Tomato Girl, a memoir that reveals family secrets. I don’t think the title quite fits my story. You can contact me to make a better suggestion or offer a comment.

Connect to Marian

Facebook   (All my weekly blogposts are published publicly on Facebook.)
Rifflebooks  (I have published 111 book reviews on this site.)

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Mid-Life Joyride: Love in the Single Lane by J. Hope Suis

Welcome to a new author to the bookstore with a brand new release published on 24th October…Mid-Life Joyride: Love in the Single Lane by J. Hope Suis

About the Book

Mid-Life Joyride is the ultimate user’s manual for mid-life relationships. Being single in mid-life is not usually where many SIMs (Single In Mid-Life) expected to wind up. In Mid-Life Joyride, J. Hope Suis takes SIMs on an incredible and often humorous journey from how they ended up here (widowed, divorced, or never married) to learning to love again. With a lighthearted yet meaningful collection of stories, advice, and encouragement from both personal and anecdotal experiences, she provides insightful navigational tools for every SIM including:

* Entering the dating cyber highway, creating your profile, and recognizing red flags
* Dating etiquette as a SIM (who now pays for the date and what not to wear.)
* Developing and maintaining new relationships and when to walk away
* Learning and discovering how to love yourself FIRST
* Sexcapades of today’s boomers

Mid-Life Joyride is a manual for SIMs as they discover (and own) their current situation and explore the possibility of new roads to travel and paths to pursue. With a personal RPS – Relationship Positioning System – Suis guides hearts towards personal happiness in a relationship whether it be a long term-term monogamous commitment, marriage or even being content staying single. Buckle up and laugh your way through an adventure to being the best version of YOU.

An excerpt from the Prequel

Excerpt from Prologue: As a society, we have become obsessed with directions and never getting lost. Every Smartphone we buy and almost every new car on the market has a built-in GPS. There are apps that talk to you, map your route, pick out your food stops, rest stops, and even sightseeing stops. You can plug in any destination throughout most of the world and immediately know your arrival time (by plane, train, or automobile) if you left right now! We have an abundance of navigational tools at our disposal to get us from point A to point B. What many of us are sorely lacking in, however, is instruction on how to navigate the personal relationships in our lives, our love lives in particular.

Before I go any further, I want to make one thing VERY clear. It is not my goal, nor is it my suggestion, that to be happy we must be in a marriage/dating relationship. Far from it. I think finding love is a beautiful thing, and if it happens to you (or me), I’m all in favor, but please know the most important relationship you will ever be in is the one with YOURSELF! By the time the last page is read, I want you to walk away believing you are capable of giving and receiving love, but also with the full knowledge that you are an amazing, strong, worthy and complete person just the way you are, with a precious heart and a beautiful future. We only have this one life and it goes by so quickly. We should all do our best to make it a wonderful JOYride!

An early review for the book

Excellent writing! on October 24, 2017

Loved this book! The author is easy to follow, sharing great insight, tips and advice for “mature” singles like me. Her use of analogies is delightful and dead on! You will find yourself chuckling at her humor and shaking your head in agreement, with the trials, tribulations and adventures of a SIM! I definitely recommend this book!

Head over and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

About J. Hope Suis

J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer and relationship expert with over 20 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, with a phrase she coined as “Solitary Refinement”, which is simply a season of being single to grow and develop as an individual. Her new book, Mid-Life Joyride, is a light-hearted yet meaningful collection of stories, advice and encouragement from her experiences.

Her passion in life is Hope Boulevard, which is a blog and website focused on uplifting and challenging her readers to live their best life now. She is a strong advocate for mid-life issues and committed to the idea of sharing ‘hope’. In addition to her blog, she also wrote a weekly newspaper column entitled; “A Single Thought”. J. Hope currently writes for,, has a platform on and has been cited in national magazines including the Chicago Tribune and Reader’s Digest. She believes it is never too late to pursue a dream or achieve a goal and always encourages her followers to Hope With Abandon.

Connect to J.Hope Suis


If you would like to know more about J. Hope Suis, she will be sharing some of her expertise with posts from her Archives from next Monday 13th of November.

Please spread the word about her new book.. thanks very much Sally


Smorgasbord Poetry – Time on my Own – by Sally Cronin

Life is not one never ending fairy tale. Not many people sail through their years without encountering obstacles to their happiness and most of us, being human, contribute to the problem.

I was only twenty when I fell for an older and charasmatic man. I was told I was playing with fire but knew better. Four years later the charm offensive had just turned offensive, and I left with a couple of suitcases.

At first I thought a distance of 100 miles was sufficient but a few late night calls from friends persuaded me that I needed to put even more miles behind me and I headed to  Snowdonia in Wales to work in a hotel. Forty years ago, without the Internet you could disappear quite effectively. It eventually took me three years to disentangle myself legally and my divorce was finalised on April Fools Day 1980!.

They say that our lives are mapped out for us. I find it ironic and slightly spooky that if I had not run off to Wales I would not have met David six months after my divorce.. and that would have been the bigger tragedy.

I wrote a lot of song lyrics back then (never seen the light of day). They are good old fashioned country with plenty of angst.. But those original lyrics have formed the basis for later poetry and this is a poem about what was a short but impactful period in my life.

Time on my Own

I came to these green hills in search of peace
Away from the betrayal and blame
Hoping the distance would make nightmares cease
help me banish the feelings of shame

Some told me that it was mainly my fault
That our marriage was doomed from the start
Filling my wounds with their pinches of salt
Ignorant of what caused us to part.

Some of the truths I will take to my grave
There are others I need to let go
It is frightening but I must be brave
Learn to breathe and to go with the flow

I doubt that I will completely forget
The emotional scars of those years
And my decision I do not regret
refusing to shed any more tears.

I am young and despite all this drama
I will not let its pain mar my life
I just need time to patch up my armour
And forget I was ever your wife.

Life is taking me along a new path
Winding around and not very clear
I hope to a safe place where I can laugh
Throwing away these feelings of fear.

Will I love again I really don’t know
For now I just need space of my own
But it is time to get on with the show
To stop my heart from turning to stone.