Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Solitary Reaper

A favorite of mine....
The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

........Those last two lines.....

Saturday, September 9, 2017

This Bridge - The Foresthill Bridge


Today I find myself writing about this local bridge.

I am using this picture to draw memories.
What are you writing today? Anything that you'd like to share?

Is there a local bridge, river, landmark or building that you obsess about?
Do you care to share?  Have you written about it?

The Foresthill Bridge

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Writing For Bliss - Diana Raab, Ph.D

A Review by Toni - Writing for Bliss by Diana Raab, Ph.D
Review and giveaway (see end of review for details)

If you are interested in a free give away copy, please leave a comment in the section below.  I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 12th.


     I had no idea that I would love and feel this book so much.  I thought it would be like so many other "how to guides."  I also had no idea of the connections I would find in reading this book.  I have been journaling since I was very young and I have journaled and written stories and poetry all my life.  I will try to write a sensible review and try not to just gush all over the "page."

     My normal way to read and absorb this kind of book is to read slowly and savor each bit of advice and do all the exercises, and in so many cases these kinds of books don't get finished and become neglected because of that process.  Thank goodness the author recommends reading it through and going back to work on the writing prompts, so I was able to read and take the book into my mind and just be with it without having to act right away.  I will confess to having a few side journaling experiences that did distract, but that was wonderful and it ended a three week journaling drought in my life at a time when I needed it so much.  And yes, the book talks about that too!

     In reading the book I truly learned  (am learning) how to "Write for Bliss." I learned what bliss means, and what it is, and what it is like to experience it through writing.  I learned some of the reasons why I write and how to write what I want and not just what I want others to "hear."  I learned to use my journal as a path into the wonders inside my mind, soul and heart.  I learned how to write the good, the bad and ugly.  I learned how to STOP writing when it is too much.  I learned (am learning) to be patient and cherish the unknown parts and that what I don't know now can be lived at a later time.  I don't need to have all the answers today.

     I found comfort that there could be breakdowns in exposing the raw pain onto the page and I felt comfort that it is okay to seek therapy for courage, healing, and emotional support.  I found courage in confirming statements that there is healing in writing and writing is therapy.  

     Diana Raab put in many beautiful insights of wisdom from writers, healers, seekers and teachers such as, Steinbeck, Jung, B. Siegel, Hemingway, Rollo May, Thich Nhat Hanh, Virginia Woolf  and Rumi.  And that is just a scant sample of the hosts she includes in her book.  This makes it more than a "how to book" it is a gift of medicine for living and pure care and love for the writer's heart and soul.

     And not to disappoint, it is all bundled up with the key ways in which we can prepare for writing through grounding, breathing, meditating, knowing your shadow along with many other techniques to help with cohesive healing and blissful writing.  There are sections on self awareness, transpersonal psychology and setting our intentions.  This includes segments on the wounded healers and storytellers and your inner child.  And still yet, even more! The book contains the "how-to" parts of writing poetry, writing about sex, and even sharing your writing, if you are inclined to share.

     Also, I don't want to leave out one of the best parts that helped me to connect.  In writing the book the author shares her story with us.  Throughout the teaching, she shares her own inspirational path and journey.   Her story is beautiful and transforming, brave and humble.  I feel completely enriched by her story and her book.  I connected to her story and her way of teaching and sharing.  What beautiful care and hard work she put into this book to share her writer's soul and a life time of reality and wisdom from with the words from so many enlightened souls.

     I am so truly grateful to have this book in my life.  I felt as though I entered into the souls of many writers and I don't feel on the outside any longer. I feel connected and pulled in and very encouraged beyond words.  But from the experience of this book, I am sure that  someday soon I will be able to find the words and heart to write more of what that means to me and how I feel about that.

     I recommend this book to all writers, all healers, and all humans whether you write or not.  Read the book with gentle compassion for yourself and your journey.  This book revived my heart and soul in just a simple read through.  I am so eager for a second pass and a third pass and to work on the writing prompts. And I feel so hopeful that I will be able to get deep inside me and find the courage to love, heal and share.  All the "feels" and love for this book.

     I have a therapist/mentor that I have been working with for the past year.  I can truly say that through that care and growth that I have been able to connect to this book.  I just don't want to leave that part out as it is through that connection that this connection became so real and possible for me. Each and every week I learn to live in connection and this book helped me make more connections.

     Thank you Serena at Poetic Book Tours for including me in the blog tour.  I received a free copy of the book so I could review it and have a place in the tour.

If you are interested in a free give away copy, please leave a comment in the section below.  I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 12th. (USA residents only)  There is one copy to be "raffled off" by random number selection.   Winner will be posted on September 13th.

All the other lovely book details below:
Blog Tour Schedule: 

Aug. 18: Modern Creative Life (Poem)

Sept. 5: Soapy Violinist (Review)

Sept. 5: Modern Creative Life (Guest Essay)

Sept. 15: Mia Sutton (Review)

Sept. 20: Diary of an Eccentric (Book Spotlight/Giveaway)

Oct. 3: Katherine & Books (Book Spotlight/Review)

Oct. 6: Life’s a Stage (Book Spotlight)

Oct. 10: The Reader’s Handbook (Review)

Oct. 13: Life’s a Stage (Review)

About the Book:

A personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss, Diana Raab, Ph.D., examines how life-changing experiences can inspire you to write a compelling narrative of your life. A how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss will take you on a unique journey of self-discovery, and guide you to your own personal bliss.

Geared for the emerging writer, the seasoned writer, and those in academia, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques; and offers ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.

Those who can benefit from writing a life narrative may have been exposed to early-life trauma, loss, or addiction. Writing your story is a way to reclaim your voice, reveal a family secret, or simply share your story with others. Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to work through your feelings and “direct your rage to the page.”

With the help of this indispensable guide to therapeutic writing, you’ll understand yourself better and be able to deal with various challenges in your life, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, loss of loved ones, diseases, and life transitions.

Offering step-by- step practical exercises for journaling your thoughts, emotions, and memories, along with techniques to jump-start your writing, Writing for Bliss will help you achieve the therapeutic results of writing for healing, and provides essential information for using this technique to transform your life in a meaningful way.

Available on Amazon:


Advance Praise:

 “Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab’s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need ‘permission to take... a voyage of self-discovery.’ The book’s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to ‘read like a writer,’ on practicing mindfulness meditation, and on addressing readers as if ‘seated across the table from [your] best friend.’ Raab covers big topics such as the ‘art and power of storytelling’ and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of ‘finding your form’” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Writing for Bliss brims with the truths of Raab's life, as well as that of other established and beloved authors and philosophers. Writing for Bliss is far more than a "how-to-manual"; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure. Bravo to Bliss!’ —LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton and Bespotted: My Family's Love Affair With Thirty-Eight Dalmatians

About the Author:

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, thought leader, and award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She holds a PhD in psychology—with a concentration in transpersonal psychology—and her research focus is on the healing and transformative powers of personal writing. Her educational background also encompasses health administration, nursing, and creative writing.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Raab has published thousands of articles and poems and is the editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge. Her two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She has also written four collections of poetry, her latest collection is called, Lust. As an advocate of personal writing, Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self. Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Easy Cheesey Fettucini Sauce by Toni

Simple easy dinner. Its just a bowl of pasta.  Ok..this is not diet.  But so good.

As usual I don't have a recipe....but I did try to get some adequate measurements.  The red utensil is a 1/3 cup measure.

Start boiling the water in the sauce pan.  When the water is boiling add 1/2 package of fettucini noodles. (Salt water if desired)

Then in a meduium sized skillet, add about 3 tblspoons of butter, melt and sautée with four cloves garlic and about 1/8 cup finely chopped onion.

Cook about 3 minutes, careful not to burn the butter or the garlic.

Add a few tablespoons of flour and mix well and then add about 1/3 cup of half and half. I was cooking lightly over medium or low  gas flame.

Stir in a heaping 1/3 cup of sour cream...(uh huh.... so now you know how good it will be).

Add salt and pepper as desired and 2 tablespoons of parsley.  Fresh is THE best but I was out and this was a no trip to the store meal.

Add a handful of cheddar cheese.  Mine was about 1/2 cup.. (Tillamook cheddar) I have big hands, so maybe more.

Stir in about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese.  Again fresh is best, I only had the Kraft stuff. Even more parmesan would work... cheese y'know!

Add in about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water to thin and let cook simmer about 10 minutes. (Broth would be tastier...I had none)

When the noodles are ready, per package instructions, or how you like it best, strain and put back in the pan and add about 1 cup of the sauce...There will be an extra half a cup of sauce or so....
Go ahead and add it if you want.

Enjoy...then blog about it.  (Simple ingrediate list after the pics)

3 tbls butter, 4 cloves garlic, 1/8 finely chopped onion, 2-3 tbls of flour, 1/3 cup half and half, 1/3 cup sour cream, 2 tbls parsley, salt, pepper, handful cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2-3/4 cup water..(broth would be better)

Sunday, August 20, 2017


There was this time .. a few weeks ago... I wanted cheesecake....

It turned out great.  I made extra  crust....   There was caramel topping and whipped cream involved.

Recipe. Cheesecake

soapy news

The lastest soap to come out of the soap kitchen is pumpkin spice.. it's a light scent with tumeric for coloring and ground oats for scrub.

The blend has 5 ounces coconut oil for lathery moisture. 

I love homemade soap.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

People writing songs that voices never share

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains

Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you"

But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

~ Paul Simon