Sunflowers I will plant sunflowers in the hollows we have dug with a rusty spade it is time to pull old roots rotten with dead habit in this neglected garden long-choked by winter’s breath it is time to till the soil let it soak in fresh April rain steam in this year’s sun and exhale pungent fumes until its pores are free to seed new grass and soft beds for my flowers. © Neetu Malik
to a sprouting of spring—
will you pin it in my hair?
as the starry white blossoms
flutter in the cool morning breeze
that they will blush
to the touch of warm sunny days
still to come
a promise of tomorrow
as it rises from winter’s long sleep.
© Neetu Malik
Happy Spring! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe the first quarter of the year is done. It’s even more shocking for me, because my birthday is in the first couple of weeks of spring. I always ask myself the same thing, “I can’t believe it’s April…why is time moving so quickly? And how am I suppose to get things done, with time moving so quickly?” Then I finish it by saying, “Yeah, thank God for another birthday.”
I’m the person that likes to do everything myself. Let me rephrase that. Being a small business owner, I’ve learned that if funds are tight and it’s not possible to hire someone, I need to do the task myself. The other side of that coin is, I need to know how to do it, so when I can afford to farm it out, I know how to effectively shop for the best person. As well as how to do it, if time doesn’t permit for outsourcing.
When I released my last book, DESPERATE DESIRE, I wanted to do a video. I studied television production in college, but that was a while back. Technology has changed greatly…for the better. Hiring a production facility to create a promotional video for me wasn’t an option for several reason: cost and time. I got this brilliant idea, a few days before release day. So I looked at what I could do.
I went to YouTube for answers. Turns out, I had a major tool at my disposal…Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud gives you access to every piece of software Adobe provides for $49.99 per month. I like it because it’s a month to month subscription and I don’t have to worry about buying new software. [There are a few rules to adhere to.] I simply install the updates when available. In addition to Photoshop and InDesign [is InDesign to format my print books]. They recently added TypeKit…a sea of amazing fonts. Until recently, I used Muse to create my website [the reason I changed websites is a post for another day]. The possibilities with the Adobe Creative Cloud are endless.
As I was saying. I wanted to do a video for my book. Armed with an few hours on YouTube and help from my godbrother, I was able to do my first video. I’m still learning how to do these trailers, but I’m pretty excited about my first try. I found the music on a free YouTube download and added my cover image and one from another book for the eye candy. It’s a simple process with a little learning curve. I encourage you to try it at least once.
If you have a problem viewing it, go to my Instagram page www.instragram.com/readtracyreed and view it.
See you next month.
Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday to Me.
When I was young, I lived in western Massachusetts. To earn money for a new bike, I picked blueberries at the large blueberry farm in our town. The owner, Blueberry Joe!, let me pick every day that I could get there as it was miles away, and it became something wonderful for me in those years before I turned sixteen and could get a real job. It took a very long time until I could make enough money for my bike, but the fault was mine as I ate more berries than I picked for sale.
I think the love of all berries, but especially blueberries, has stayed with me all these years. I have bushes of my own now in the field, and it is yet another one of the miracles of nature for me. We are having many bees pollinating this year, so the crop should be a good one. My uncle had bee hives in his back yard so I was able to watch the process of beekeeping and the honey that I still love.
As a child, I loved listening to the bees, and watching them fly free. At times, they were not even looking for a flower and it seemed to me that they were flying just for the feel of it. The wind on their body, the noise of the humming, the high-pitched zzzzzzzzz, all turning my heart into a love of mixed emotions much like the walls of honey-combs in my uncle’s white bee hives.
Lilacs are one of my favorite spring fragrances. I love to stop by a bush and inhale my deepest breath, wishing it would last all year round. Its time is short for flowers so one must do this as often as possible. My other favorite is viburnum. Mix these two together in a bouquet, and you almost cannot take the powerful aroma it gives. I then carry it forever in my mind, and I think the flowers know that.
Flowers are akin to kindness my heart says. If I didn’t have them now in my life a part of me would dissolve, I fear, and all I counted on for spring might be lost. For it is kindness that makes the most sense anymore, and it follows me like a shadow once I recognize that piece. It is tender and yet unbearable if you don’t receive it.
Like the sprout that is hidden within the seed, all of us struggle in our life to be seen and heard, and listened to. If we have this kindness in our life our sense of failure fades away, and we again trust ourselves to see things as we perceive them to be…and then rest.
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.
Read more about Sally’s life in her memoir FROM SCRATCH; available in paperback and ebook.
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