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Making Beer Turned Into Sharing Life Stories

November 20, 2020 by in category A Bit of Magic by Meriam Wilhelm tagged as , , ,

Several years ago, my husband and sons started making their own beer. Over time the process has grown from a Saturday afternoon event into a bit of an adventure.

It started out as a shared experiment between father and sons; a time to get together, to try out something new and to share stories the way only men who are more alike than different can do. And recently our son-in-law and soon to be daughters-in-law have joined in the brewing team too.

These new characters have made the experience that much richer for everyone. New beer recipes have been created, a few stolen from the experts, and others borrowed from the prescriptions of long ago. In short, they’re all working together to make memories, stories to tell their children and recollections to hold dear to their hearts when life moves on.

Oh, and they are also brewing some pretty fabulous and tasty beer along the way. Gathering around boiling pots of barley, hops, water, yeast and other “secret” ingredients, the team works together to create some pretty memorable ale. It’s a judgment free zone where everyone is encouraged to just be themselves. And once the beer has been created, it rests for a while in tubs in our garage while the creators develop unique labels to proudly paste on each capped bottle at just the right time.

And me? I am the proud recorder of all that happens in this tight circle of love. I get to watch, to admire, and to share our life stories as another brew is born while I’m enjoying a glass of wine. Here’s hoping they’ll learn how to make that next!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Life and Writing

April 6, 2020 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

Life has changed. For everyone. At least for now.

Covid-19, the Corona virus, is out there. Hopefully none of you reading this has caught the virus, and neither have your family members or friends. But even so, it has affected you.

For one thing, I’m in California, where we’ve been directed to stay at home except for important outings such as buying food. Most states have given the same directive to their residents. As a writer, I’m used to staying home. But it still feels different when I don’t have an option, even for good reason.

So, no visits to exercise classes.  My dogs are happy enough about that since my husband and I are taking them on more walks.  Everyone else in my neighborhood seems to be doing the same thing, dogs or not, so we cross the street often to stay away from one another.

And writing? Well, I’m in the middle of an important edit, and that’s what I’m concentrating on. I’ve more writing to come, too. But I’m wondering how I’ll refer to the pandemic in future stories, when hopefully this is all behind us. Will I mention it? Will I ignore it? Will I take on writing a fiction story that is based on what is currently happening? 

Not sure.

Even my reading now has been affected.  When I read about a major gathering in a story, for example, my mind leaps out of the book and I scold all those people for getting together till I realize where I am and what I’m doing. Or even as I’m editing, I think about whether the people in my story need to be together at their workplaces, then slough that off as being today’s reality, not the fiction I’m writing.

So how long will this last? The experts vary in their estimates but in any case it’ll still be going on tomorrow and the next day and most likely several weeks, or months. It feels weird. It feels scary. And as a fiction writer having to deal with reality—it’s definitely difficult.

So… hang in there. I will.


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The Hereafter by Neetu

May 26, 2019 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , , ,


The Hereafter


They say there are
two sides of the grave

one where grass grows green
trees bloom and decay, leaves fall
winter winds blow, then
life renews again

and you can walk and breathe
watch the sky and the streets
touch and be touched

the other side, I’m told, is evergreen
peaceful and sedate

is it the dead below the ground
that whisper such tales? Or is it
the living who search for grace

in their lush imagination
of a fertile eternity?

© Neetu

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Poems by Sal–and more.

September 13, 2018 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

New Life | Sally Paradysz | A Slice of Orange


I always feel a little sad each month when the 13th rolls around, and I realize that Sal is no longer with us.

But this time I have good news. First, A Slice of Orange is pleased to publish two of Sal’s poems. Next, members of the Bethlehem Writers Group have volunteered to write columns for the 13th.

Here is the schedule so far:

October: Diane Sismour

November: A. E. Decker 

December: Carol L. Wright

January: Jodi Bogert

February: Christopher D. Ochs

March: DT Krippene

Sal was one of the founding members of Bethlehem Writers Group, and I think she would be over the moon that her fellow members are filling her spot.


Poems by Sal



Sally Paradysz

Next, I heard some named penance an ancient tradition.  A struggle between senses and sense.

Lash marks bled on bare backs.  Knees on scarred hardwood, calloused and worn, bent until they screamed for relief.

Men seek to give lessons, but silence was the teacher.  Then, we are swept clean and told to go forward in purity.

Penitent, but longing still.





Sally Paradysz


In this world where personal

commitment, with all of its

delicate forms, seems

to be shattering apart,


And unconditional and

undying love has become

nothing more than a

matter of convenience,

There are some of us still,

who find the intelligence

and passion born of living…

In some who approach their

life without analysis,

which can destroy the Whole,

There is some magic in this life,

you know, where if

you only consistently

look at the pieces,

They will just as surely

blow away in the wind

and demolish the All…

Are we becoming obsolete

within a world of

organization, rules, regulations,

in “Bud” we trust,

to borrow a phrase…

Will this magic disappear

with stick-on name tags and

clothes that make us

all look alike…

It is with this passion and

controlled arrow-like intensity,

mixed with warmth,

That I will approach the time

of day when white months

are on the wing,

And in the heat of that

summer’s evening, will let

myself be taken away,

To transcend and merge in

the Light, where such certainty

comes only once, no matter how

many lifetimes you live…

In this dance with the

universe, my eagerness gives way

to shaman-like silence,

Discarding all sense of

anything linear and spiraling toward

millions of candles,

Where my constant companion

of loneliness disappears for

the last time,

And I become consumed and out

of a world that seems

to be God-abandoned…

Never again will I live with dust

on my heart, or feel

trapped by foggy mornings,

Instead I am forever grateful

for the four billion years

Of love,

Which will help me with my

systems of balance and order

in the lifetime I have left…

I have ceased being separate

and now feel free to continue

the dance of integration…



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Paths by Sally Paradysz @A_SliceofOrange

October 13, 2017 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Writing tagged as , , ,

New Life | Sally Paradysz | A Slice of Orange




I love paths. We have one that goes to the field for our tractor, but the best ones are those I’ve made to my writing/meditation cabin, and the one I use to walk to the field. These two I’ve lined with rocks and as I stroll by I’m always amazed by the large roots that grow above ground. Different and yet so eye catching. It took a long while to clear the brush away, find and place the stones alongside, and then try to keep them clear enough to follow over the years.


Special attention paid to the little things on my land makes a huge difference to me. These are the points of life that mark my growth as I go forward. Time spent in nature with love and opportunity all encompassed into this one small three-acre-place that I call home.

God has given us a world full of hope for everything and everyone. We are all unfinished people, moving forward at the rate of speed we are meant to travel. And as we wander on our different paths, finding and following our own heart’s desires, let us take time to be thankful for what we have right now. It can all change in a moment, and then this opportunity will be behind us….



Sally Paradysz | A Slice of Orange


Sally Paradysz writes from a book-lined cabin in the woods beside the home she built from scratch. She is an ordained minister of the Assembly of the Word, founded in 1975. For two decades, she has provided spiritual counseling and ministerial assistance. Sally has completed undergraduate and graduate courses in business and journalism. She took courses at NOVA, and served as a hotline, hospital, and police interview volunteer in Bucks County, PA. She is definitely owned by her two Maine Coon cats, Kiva and Kodi.

You can like Sal on Facebook, or read her monthly column, From a Cabin in the Woods, here on A Slice of Orange, or on her personal blog, Sally Paradysz.

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