Showing posts with label compassion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label compassion. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Honey Bus - Book Review

Read an Excerpt
Honey has long been known as the elixir of life.  For Meredith May, a young child whose life had been turned upside down and inside out by parental discord, the miraculous powers of honey, bees, and her beekeeper grandfather would be a vital lifeline.  To read Meredith's memoir, The Honey Bus, is to be mesmerized by how honeybees took the raw material of a confused girl and turned her into something golden.

At five years of age, May found herself uprooted from everything familiar.  Due to the divorce of her parents, Meredith and her brother were suddenly moved cross-country to live with their grandfather in California.  This was an incredibly upsetting, and confusing, turn of events.  For May, things no longer made sense, as no one had explained what was happening.  To make matters worse, her mother barricaded herself behind a bedroom door, and entered a seemingly endless season of child abandonment.

Sensing the need for connection, nurturing, and something to fill the deep hole in his granddaughter's psyche, Franklin Peace began to introduce Meredith to the wonders of beekeeping.  That journey began with a flurry of bee stings—which would terrorize most children.  Counter to what one might expect, the temporary pain of that surprise attack by swarming bees built up a kind of immunity to the deeper sting of feeling alone in the world.

Like a bee drawn to honey, May's curiosity about the rusty old Army bus in her grandfather's back yard was not to be denied.  The ramshackle honey bus was the object of Meredith's great desire.  She longed to be granted entry into that portal, for she knew that magical things happened inside her grandfather's top secret laboratory.  On the day when she was finally deemed old enough for a membership into the honey bus's secret society, May's joy knew no bounds.

As her grandfather's beekeeping apprentice, Meredith not only entered into the fantastical world of honeybees, but more importantly, she found her forever family.
Bees need the warmth of family.  Alone, a single bee isn't likely to make it through the night.  A beehive revolves around one principle—the family.  I knew that gnawing need for a family.
May's sage, quietly unassuming grandfather used the language of bees to reveal the ancient ways that were relevant to learning how to persevere through collective strength.  As she fed off of this Way of the Bees, Meredith learned all that she could not learn from her birth parents.  It was the bees that were, in essence, raising her.  From them, the author gained insight into compassion and how to thrive by caring for others. 



In following Meredith through the mystical portal into honeybee society, we find ourselves joining in the dance of the bees.  You will revel in the poetry of what it is to be in the presence of sacred creatures that exist for the greater good.  The artistry of Meredith May's writing was, to this reader, the sweetest of nectars.

Just as honeybees make themselves essential through their generosity, this book is essential reading in that it gives us what we need to enter into the bee's state of grace.  Bees give far more than they ever take.  Spending time in The Honey Bus has given me the desire to be more of what someone else might need right now.  And, perhaps, that is the true elixir of life.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, January 30, 2020

An Invisible Thread - Book Review

"An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break."  ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

Read an Excerpt
It began, for both the author and me, in much the same way.  We were two busy professional women, rushing past panhandlers, only to feel yanked back by an invisible thread.  Something we knew nothing about at the time, Laura Schroff in bustling Manhattan, and me in sleepy, rural Colorado, drew us to connect with individuals whose circles and lives were so far removed from our normal daily existence.

Was it destiny?  Perhaps.  All I know is that one instant of pausing to really see the person behind the sign became a moment of recognition.  For some reason, both Schroff and I were to have an awakening that came at the hands of destitution.

You never really see that coming—a whole new purpose born of paying attention, of listening, and of being drawn into the stories of those who have so little... those who are stereotyped as takers rather than givers.  This book review, of An Invisible Thread, is really the story within a story of how all of our lives are intertwined.

It seemed like any other ordinary day when Laura Scroff's life was profoundly, and forever, changed.  She had no intention of meeting up with a disadvantaged street child, but things that are meant to be tend to override executive sales agendas.

After initially passing up eleven-year-old Maurice, who asked Scroff for spare change because he was hungry, she found herself looking back over her shoulder at him, and then backpedaling to take Maurice to McDonald's for lunch.  This seemingly unassuming, one-time act of kindness then took on a life of its own.  Over Big Macs and fries, Laura and Maurice launched what would become a lifelong friendship.  Through months, and then years, of weekly meal dates and life-enriching experiences, these two became chosen family.

As one who had grown up with abuse, Schroff could empathize, and feel great compassion for this young boy who was attempting to survive the most extreme poverty—a poverty that extended well beyond that of hunger and lack of safe shelter.  Surrounded by drug-addled adults who were emotionally unavailable to nurture him, and living by his wits alone, Maurice's poverty went soul deep.

Though her friends and colleagues warned her off, thinking Schroff's outreach to Maurice was too risky, Laura's commitment to, and bond with him would not, and could not, be broken.  This would not turn out to be a one-way charity case.  It became a mutually beneficial friendship that transformed and healed both individuals.

He Shared His Story With Me Over a Subway Sandwich
Those who follow my Facebook postings know that I interact with homeless individuals on a daily basis.  It isn't something I would ever have thought would become a mission for me.  I just felt compelled one day to stop and listen to the personal story of the man behind one of those panhandling signs.

I Felt Compelled to Stop and Let Kindness Connect Us
I don't even like the word panhandler because of its negative connotation.  Doesn't it spark labels of beggar, or for some people, even something as ugly as loser?  I've seen and heard those drive-by insults when standing on a corner checking up on one of my homeless friends.  You know... the guy who rolls down his window and shouts, "Get a job, loser!"

Perhaps We Are All Living on a Prayer
What Laura and I found, when really getting to know the person holding that piece of cardboard in his hands, was a whole new way of living... a whole new way of perceiving those willing to bare their vulnerable souls to a public that isn't always very welcoming to them.  We both discovered, and opened up, the gifts of these beautiful souls.  We became the recipients of change that is not spare.

I highly recommend An Invisible Thread, not because it has been a New York Times bestseller, but because of its focus on kindness and goodness.  Do I believe there is an invisible thread?  Oh, yes... absolutely... and I am so thankful for those on the other end of my thread.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Dad that Doesn't Cost a Dime

It's Corny. It's Cliché. But if You Can Give it, It's the Best Gift.

The best gift you can give Dad, is your time.

If you're one of the fortunate with a living father, and a father you enjoy a good relationship with, then it's a certainty that your voice or your company ranks highest on his list of wants.

This suggestion is not meant to sound preachy, it merely comes from the heart of a person whose father has passed on.

My dad loved when we visited, he often said to me, "Barb, I love it when you're here". That's exactly how we feel when our children are home as well.

Dad gave us the greatest gift, the gift of love, and we're passing that down from generation to generation. It doesn't get any better than that: Love, compassion and family.

When He Hears Your Voice, I'll Bet Your Father Lights Up

There isn't anything your father wants more than to be with you or to at least talk with you on Father's Day.

When he thinks about you I'll bet dollars to donuts that he reflects upon every aspect of your growing up. I say that because, when I speak to my sons, I see every age and almost every moment of their life in that moment. 

With social media and personal devices, our habit of texting, emailing or posting our sentiment crosses over into expressing ourselves on special occasions. That's OK too. There's nothing wrong with posting a song for dad, or texting a personal note of love to him, but if you're able to, a phone call or a visit ranks at the top.

Although you can get dad a gift, and I'm sure he'll appreciate whatever you choose, when he looks around his kitchen table at his family sharing memories and laughing, that's the gift that beats them all. His heart is your heart.

Written for My Dad in Heaven - He Blessed Us With Love






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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

3 Outstanding Picture Book Stories to Win Little Hearts

Three Outstanding Picture Books to Win Little Hearts (A Review)

Today we will look at three books written by Pat Furstenberg


Everyone knows that children love Pictures and Picture books with lots of interesting words and sounds.  Part of every childs' development comes from those times when they are snuggled up with mom or dad, Grammie or Grandpa listening to the words and looking at the pictures.  It's also a wonderful time to bond with our children and grandchildren in a way that will bring fond memories back to them one day.


From my own experience, there is nothing quite like the quiet time spent with my little ones telling a story, listening to them describe how they see the pictures and teaching them some great life lessons all at the same time.  Books and the words they contain are stepping stones that children love to learn and hear.  So when you come across some books that you know children will love, it's only fair to share what you have found.


Rhyming and word-play are an important part of every child's verbal development.  There are word rhymes that are still taught to children today that go back at least 60 to 70 years and we are still teaching these same rhymes with their sing song rythms.  The kids just love them all.



These three books by Pat Furstenberg are all written in this way.  The pictures are delightful and the stories themselves are ones that will resonate with big and  little hearts.  Children will enjoy the stories of unlikely friends, while parents and grandparents can tell little side stories too. 


The Cheetah and the Dog are an unlikely pair, yet they become and remain good friends even though no on thought this was possible.  Too many differences don't matter when your hearts are in the same place.  How many times does that happen in real life?  Do you have a friendship that is still as strong as the Cheetah's and the Dog's? 



The Elephant and the Sheep is an endearing story too!  How often we make friends but don't think beyond what we see right in front of us.  Each of our lives are different, but, the one thing we all need is a friend.  A friend that can see beyond our hardships and differences. Only when we try really hard do we sometimes find out the truth.  Little sheep learns a valuable lesson about friendship,  love, and family.  Elephant learns something too,  family can be much more than living with other elephants.  Family can be living with those who love us!


The Lion and the Dog is another story about our differences and how they really don't matter.  What matters is how we care and treat each other.  Lion is so sad, yet the little dog Milo doesn't give up on Leo, even when he is less than friendly.  Milo knows what every good dog knows,  everyone needs a friend!  


If you have children, reading them stories about friendship and caring for others is a great way to encourage empathy at a young age.  The world needs more of that!  Word play and stories with great illustrations makes it easy for parents and grandparents to instill little life lessons in a very heart-warming way.  

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can get these books and so many more by Patricia and other authors as well, delivered right to your Kindle device and some are free with Prime Membership.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
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