A Delightful Anthem by Amanda Gorman

This book is a work of art.

Recently, a generous patron read one of my blog posts and responded to my plea that people purchase children’s books from my Clark Lake Park Little Free Library Wish List, so that the children in my neighborhood would be exposed to a wide variety of cultures and concepts.

When the box arrived, I was excited to see, in particular, the book Change Sings by Amanda Gorman. Ever since I heard Ms. Gorman read her poem at President Biden’s Inauguration, I have been so impressed by this young lady. I have this dream that she and Malala Yousafzai team up to rule the world, and it therefore becomes a much more beautiful, peaceful, inclusive, and loving place. But I digress.

Change Sings is a gorgeously written anthem that gives me hope that the children of today will perhaps do better by this world than my generation has done. It’s a book about making positive changes by using your special abilities. It encourages us to join our voices together, and if we do so anything is possible. Reading this book leaves you with a powerful feeling of hope and potential.

And the illustrations by Loren Long are amazing. He’s the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, and he deserves it. This book is a work of art. If I had a child, I’d buy several copies of this book and wallpaper their room with the pages.

I encourage you to check out the Amazon page for this book and click on the “look inside” feature to see more of the artwork. After that, head over here to hear Ms. Gorman recite part of the book in her beautiful voice. Then, see the interview she did about this book on the Today show. If after all that you can resist buying a copy of the book yourself, you have much more willpower than I do.

Now that I’ve written this blog post about it, it’s time to leave this literary gem in my little free library. It’s going to be extremely hard for me to let this one go. I hope whoever takes it enjoys it as much as I have.

And while you’re over at Amazon, look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Help Broaden a Child’s Horizons: A Diverse Book List

Scroll down for the highlighted book list!

I know this to be true: Children with access to a broad range of perspectives, those who understand that one must look at history through a variety of lenses and consider the motivations of the historians who came before them, will grow up to be educated, open-minded individuals who have a much better chance of having a positive impact on the world.

It is imperative that we teach our children critical thinking skills as well as the ability to be humble. If they don’t discover that “our way” is not the only way, they will be incapable of thinking outside the box to create the solutions that their generation will surely need for their survival. If they don’t learn about the many choices in this world, they will not be capable of making informed decisions in their own lives.

There is a trend in our schools to cut off access to any knowledge that might offend closed-minded adults, and we allow this to happen at our peril. I want our future leaders to know some things without question:

  • Other cultures have other perspectives.
  • Evolution is real.
  • People with special needs deserve kindness, too.
  • Christianity is not the only religion in the world.
  • Some people choose not to believe in any religion at all.
  • Women have made a positive impact on this planet, as have people of color.
  • Science is real, and it evolves over time as we continue to explore new paths of inquiry.
  • Getting to know people who do not look like you is a very good thing.
  • We live amongst people who have different sexual orientations and/or gender identifications than we do, and that fact should not be considered a threat.
  • Diversity is beautiful and provides the broader perspective that we need to effectively solve problems.

It becomes increasingly evident that if we want children to have a well-rounded education, we will have to take matters into our own hands. For many years I struggled to find a way to assist in this effort. Then I realized that I may not be able to change the world, but I can certainly make a difference in my little corner of it.

Since I genuinely believe that that access to books that might not be found in our increasingly-censored schools is imperative if we want our children to have a global perspective, I decided to start a little free library in front of my home. This library contains books for adults as well, and it has become increasingly popular over time.

The fascinating thing about this library is that the adult books often come back so that other people might enjoy them, but the children’s books almost never do. That’s perfectly fine. Kids love to read books over and over again.

Unfortunately, that means that it’s very difficult to keep enough children’s books in stock to meet the demand. People are kind enough to donate books occasionally, but they’re rarely as diverse as I would like them to be. For example, I have dozens of books about Christmas, but no books at all about Kwanzaa, Eid, Diwali, Hanukah, or Ramadan. I can’t afford to purchase all these books myself.

The other night I was thinking about this problem, and finally accepting the fact that putting out pleas on the Facebook pages for my community was yielding nothing, and I began to daydream about the kind of books I’ll like to have for the library. A wish list of sorts.

Then I remembered that Amazon allows you to make wish lists. So I hopped over to their website and started making one. It’s a work in progress, and will definitely expand over time.

So, without further ado, check out my list entitled Children’s Books for Clark Lake Park Little Free Library. 

Because this cause is so near and dear to my heart, I encourage you to use this list as a resource to obtain books for the children in your lives. If this list causes people to put even one diverse book in the hands of even one child, the world would be a much better place.

But make no mistake: I would also be thrilled if your generosity extended to my little free library. So, if you’re willing to purchase one of these books for the kids in my corner of the world, I would be almost as thrilled as the child who ultimately receives that book. The wish list contains my shipping information.

Thanks for your consideration. It takes a village!

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Macon Love

“Do Not Attempt To Play Little Richard’s Piano. He Will Know.”

Recently Dear Husband and I took a trip that we are calling “Autumn Back East 2021”. Our goal was to visit friends and family, and I wanted to show DH what autumn leaves really look like in a region that isn’t primarily covered in evergreen trees, and introduce him to our nation’s capital.

We flew to Atlanta, picked up a rental car, then drove to Alabama, North Florida, Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and then drove to Washington DC by way of Virginia. Then we flew back home.

It was an amazing trip which lasted 15 days, and since I’m now only blogging every other day, if I gave you a day to day account like I have on trips past, it would take a month, and you’d be heartily sick of the subject before we even left peach country. So I’ve decided to focus on highlights, which I’ll do my best to keep in order. You can find the first post in the series here, and a link to the next post in the series, when it becomes available, below.

I never thought I would wax nostalgic about anything related to the state of Georgia, but I have to say, Macon has really caught my eye. It could be love. There’s definitely chemistry going on. For a city with a population of only about 157,000, it sure has a big… art, music and historical community. (What did you think I was going to say?)

Not only does it have a gorgeous antebellum historic district, which I wrote about in my last post, but it also has a rich Native American heritage. We visited the Ocmulgee Mounds, which are on the Eastern edge of the city, and it was fascinating to learn that there has been about 17,000 years of continuous human history in the area.

From the Paleoindians to the Archaic, Woodland, and Early Mississippians, right on down to the Lamar Culture and today’s Muscogee (Creek) Nation, each one has left its mark upon this land. Today, you can visit Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park and see many remnants of the various cultures at the visitor center, and if you enjoy a good hike, you can visit a village site, a variety of trenches and mounds, a trading post site from the late 1600’s, and, best of all, an amazing earth lodge that’s right near the visitor center.

Approaching the earth lodge from the parking lot, it looks like a mound with no significant features other than the fact that it is unnaturally mound-like. But when you go around the side, you encounter a doorway. To say that the doorway and the subsequent tunnel are low is putting it mildly. I cracked my head a good one on the way out. But that’s probably because I was already stunned by what I had seen inside.

The clay floor has been carbon dated to the year 1015. It has a bird shaped platform that seats 3 people, and benches along the wall with indentations for 47 more. There is also a ceremonial fire pit.

While the above-mentioned things are the originals, the roof, walls, and tunnel are reconstructions by the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Work Project Administration in the late 1930’s. This earth lodge may have been originally used as a temple or a council house, and the reconstruction makes you feel like you are right there, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Truly, I kept thinking they’d be along any minute.

Also during our wanderings through Macon, we visited several little free libraries and deposited some books that we had mailed ahead of us to Dear Husband’s father’s house, which was one of our very first stops on this journey. I love the idea of the library stewards opening the books and seeing my little free library’s stamp inside. “How did these books make it all the way out here from Washington state?”

There seems to be public art everywhere you look in Macon. That, in my opinion, is the sign of a sophisticated city. Art can be controversial sometimes, but I believe that cities that try to suppress it point blank are hyper-conservative, paranoid, and at a bare minimum, lack a sense of humor. Here’s some of the art I saw around town.

We also checked out the Tubman Museum, which is right near the historic train station that I discussed in the last post. We were expecting it to be a museum about Harriet Tubman. They even use her image on some of their promotional materials. That’s confusing. But it turns out that Harriet Tubman never stepped foot in the state of Georgia. Go figure.

The museum does house a hallway dedicated to Ms. Tubman, with a statue, some letters, and some Tubman-inspired art, but that’s only a small portion of this interesting place. (Incidentally, if you’d like to read what the letter from Frederick Douglass shown below actually says, the text can be found here.) The actual mission of the Tubman Museum is more encompassing. It is to educate people about African American art, history, and culture. And I have to say that they do an excellent job of it.

Within its walls, you can see the works of contemporary African American artists, as well as an exhibit that shows the works of African American inventors. In particular, I enjoyed the art of “Mr. Imagination” who makes sculptures out of bottle caps. It was all fascinating.

In addition, there’s a large room that highlights Macon’s rich musical heritage. One of this city’s most famous native sons is Little Richard. One of the best things in the entire museum, in my opinion, is a sign on Little Richard’s piano that says, “Do Not Attempt To Play Little Richard’s Piano. He Will Know.” James Brown, Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band also have Macon roots and are represented in this room.

This next section, I should warn you, might be uncomfortable for those who wish to suppress the ugliest parts of our nation’s past. But I found this exhibit very eye-opening. It makes me sad that such things exist in this world, but here they are, and there’s just no denying them.

My overall impression of Macon is that it is a vibrant, creative city that is not afraid to confront its past. It’s a place of good food, better music, and a vibe that I won’t soon forget. It was a pleasure to visit, and I highly recommend that you do so as well.

And can I just say that this is one of my better post titles? Thanks to DH for inspiring it.

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Confessions of a Book Snob

The messages some books send do not appeal to me.

When I was going through puberty, I used to devour romance novels for the titillation factor. But over time I came to realize that a lot of these books were pretty formulaic. Also, I begin to notice that a lot of the messages that they send did not appeal to me.

I did not want it put into my head that the only way to be happy is if you’re coupled up. And since I wasn’t part of a couple, these books often had me crying hormonal teenaged tears and feeling lonely and inadequate. Who needs that?

I also don’t believe that someone who is treating you abominably will automatically be reformed and start loving you properly. Bad boys can rarely be tamed, and no one should get into a relationship under the assumption that the other person will change. If you don’t like what you see now, you’re definitely not going to like what you see 20 years from now. I also don’t believe that some man is going to come along and rescue me and solve all my problems. Women don’t need those messages. They need to learn how to be agents of their own life success, whether they are in a couple or choose to go it alone. And while finding love is wonderful, it doesn’t have to be one’s primary goal in life. It’s OK to have other goals.

And by the way, no one has the right to rip your bodice. No one gets to take possession of you. Healthy relationships should be based on teamwork and equality, not violence and/or domination.

So yeah, I stopped reading romance novels about 40 years ago. Maybe they have gotten better as feminism has taken a tenuous hold, but I doubt it. Why would publishers mess with what seems to be a successful formula? Many of us, it seems, embrace indoctrination.

The only book I’ve read during that time that comes close to that genre is the soft-porn, misguided, erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. I read it to see what all the fuss was about. I quickly realized that this was the most poorly written book on the face of the planet. I’m sorry, but titillation is not worth putting up with crappy writing. There are just too many other stories out there that can ring your bell without insulting your intelligence.

Given my disdain for romance novels, when I started my little free library, I made a firm decision that no romance novels would ever be in it. Full stop. This is not censorship. I’m not telling anyone not to read these books, and heaven knows there are plenty of sources for them to obtain such things. But I am the curator of my library, and I decide what stays and what goes.

And then one day I met one of my patrons. I had seen her stop by frequently, but she rarely took a book. She said to me, wistfully, “I sure wish you had more lady books.”

I apologized to her even as my heart sank, and then I went inside to have a long think. Ultimately, I decided that my main goal was to encourage reading and literacy. There’s no denying that the romance genre is quite popular. I suppose it wouldn’t kill me if the odd romance novel made it into my collection every once in a while.

Make no mistake, I still curate my library. There are some books you will never see in there. If a book promotes hate, it goes straight into the garbage. Likewise, books that give false information, and contradict science, such as those written for the anti-vax crowd, will find no home in my library. There’s plenty of easily obtainable false information on the internet. There is no need for me to perpetuate it. I also tend to avoid books that promote one religion over another.

But now I hold on to about every 10th “lady book” that crosses my path. (The rest go to Goodwill. I’d give them directly to that patron, except she is not on any type of social media, and I don’t feel comfortable exchanging phone numbers with her.) Every now and again I hold my nose and put one of these books in my library, because some people actually enjoy them. I may not agree with the social construct that these books promote, but I’ve found that many readers of these books will read nothing else.

If it’s a choice between romance or not reading at all, then I guess I’ll choose romance. Reluctantly. And I have to admit that they do fly off the shelves.

Before any of you fire off an indignant response to this post that defends romance novels, attempts to change my mind about them, or expresses how insulted you feel by my judgment, please know that I genuinely believe you can read anything you want. The fact that these books are not my cup of tea, and probably never will be again, is not an indictment of your taste. To each his or her own. I know perfectly well that I’m a snob on this particular subject. Hence the title of this post. Namaste.

Seriously? C’mon…

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How to Fight a Book Ban

Make sharing these books your mission.

Yesterday I received a package that has me feeling very emotional, indeed. It was a box of books from Amazon, purchased by Lyn, a friend I haven’t met face to face. I met her through my blog, and she often leaves such well thought out comments, full of insight and advice and encouragement and life experience, that I genuinely wish she’d write a blog herself. But yesterday she did something even better.

Let me start at the beginning. Recently, Lyn shared an article with me entitled, “Students fight back against a book ban that has a Pennsylvania community divided”.

This article was extremely upsetting. It is about a school board in York, Pennsylvania that has banned a list of books for an entire year, simply because there has been such a backlash against Critical Race Theory, which isn’t even taught in the K-12 curriculum in the first place. The only thing these books have in common are the fact that they are all by or about people of color.

It seems that some parents are supportive of this all-White school board’s decision because they don’t want their white children to grow up feeling guilty that they’re white. Therefore, they are thrilled that any books that remind children that there are other races, or that racism exists, are no longer obtainable in their schools.

This is outrageous and absurd. Those kids in York have a right to be exposed to the real, diverse, multicultural world in which we all live. And all the children, not just the white ones, should be allowed to be proud of who they are.

It is frustrating when a school board can’t even bother to be educated itself. I hope the community votes in a much different set of people at their earliest opportunity. If I had a child, I certainly wouldn’t want them in that school district, where they’re only taught a whitewashed version of the truth. I’d want them to learn all across the color spectrum.

Lyn and I shared our frustration and anger over this situation, and our feelings of helplessness about changing it. I genuinely assumed it would end there. I’d fire off yet another rant of a blog post about it, and that would be that. We are only two individuals, after all. How on earth could we make a difference?

But then Lyn thought of my little free library, with its purpose of getting books into the hands of people who need them and don’t otherwise have access to them. And right then and there she decided that she would buy some of these banned books and send them to me for my library.

I don’t live in York. I don’t even live in Pennsylvania. But this ignorance is spreading throughout the world. My mother used to say that the best way to fight against a book ban was to get that book any way you can and read it, and then share it with others. Any time she heard about a book being banned, I could count on a copy of that book making its way to me. My mother would make that her mission.

So I opened this package from Lyn yesterday, and I got tears in my eyes. I read all of the books today except the amazing Baldwin essays, which I have already read. And now I’m proud to say that these books are sitting in my little free library, just waiting for someone to come along and claim them. And when they do, they’ll include a copy of this blog post, so they’ll understand just how special and important these books are.

Sometimes activism can be very, very subtle, but it still makes a difference. This whole event, and the way Lyn chose to deal with her frustration, makes me very, very proud of her. And I’m also proud of me for being able to facilitate it.

Thanks Lyn! I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the banned books, I Am Enough by Grace Byers: “I know that I may sometimes cry, but even then, I’m here to try.”

If you would like to participate in our subtle activism, buy these books, print out this blog post, slip it inside the front cover, and then leave these books in the little free library nearest you. You can find a map of these libraries here.

*****Update***** This particular book ban is rescinded! More details here. But don’t get complacent. Books get banned all the time, all over the world.

The Book in the Bushes

It made me really sad.

The other day I was walking down the sidewalk by my house (something I rarely do), and I just happened to look to the side and saw one of the books from my little free library was lying in the bushes. It was a paperback version of “Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul: Stories of Canine Companionship, Comedy and Courage.”

It was soaked through. Swollen. Warped. Completely beyond rescue.

I realize that this book is not Shakespeare, nor is it ever destined to be on the Times bestseller list, but it was a book. It was a book that someone might have enjoyed. It may have gotten a non-reading dog-lover to actually read. It could have planted a reading seed. But instead, some fool took this book and threw it in the bushes like so much garbage. It made me really sad.

On the Little Free Library Stewards group on Facebook, I hear about vandalism and destruction on a daily basis. Little free libraries that are cleaned out of all their books by one person who will probably sell them on Amazon. Books that are thrown in the snow. Library boxes stolen, or maybe even destroyed. Some libraries have been burned on Halloween or blown up on the 4th of July. So I know I’ve gotten off easy so far.

The thing is (and yes, there’s always a thing), all of these little free libraries have been put there for positive reasons. Their stewards are trying to promote literacy and get books in the hands of people who may not be able to obtain them otherwise. They are a positive force in this world. And I’d like to think that there are more people who benefit from them than there are people who want to vandalize them. But it can be awfully discouraging to know that there are so many destructive forces out there.

I realize that most of these vandals are probably males from the ages of 13 to 25 and that eventually they’ll grow up and mature and stop being so idiotic. But it’s kind of unsettling to walk down the street and look at the adult males and think that a certain percentage of them were once these little hooligans who got away with it and are now just living their lives, and not really making any effort to make the world a better place.

Your boss at work may have once keyed cars for fun. Someone you dated briefly may have destroyed all the beautiful murals in his town on one fateful drunken night. Your family doctor may have enjoyed leaving flaming bags of sh** on peoples doorsteps in his adolescence.

We’ll never know. And for society to function, I suppose it needs to remain unspoken. If we’ve learned nothing else in the past five or six years, we have certainly learned that a great many of us have a cruel, hostile, selfish and destructive streak running through our core. And one of those sub-humans crossed paths with my little free library the other day. Stuff happens.

I did retrieve the book, dry out the pages that hadn’t already been reduced to pulp as best I could, and put those pages in the recycle bin. And I’ll keep adding books to the library for those who actually want to read them. Because the only thing those of us who are responsible can do to counter these fools is to keep on trying to be a force for good.

Please support the little free libraries in your neighborhood, or consider starting one yourself. Namaste.

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Celadon Books: Three Reviews

Three amazing books given to my little free library. Check ’em out!

I knew my little free library would pay back in emotional dividends, but I never thought I’d get to experience brand new authors because of it as well! A while back, Celadon Books asked little free library stewards if they would like to receive free books for their patrons, and of course I jumped up and down, waving my hand. Me! Me!

Since then, I’ve gotten several really amazing books from them, which I’ve had the privilege of reading first and then sharing in the library. I’ve got to say, I’m very impressed with this publisher. It’s a division of Macmillan Publishers, and it focuses on new voices. Here are three of the most recent titles they’ve given me.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I read this book within 48 hours. That’s something I used to do all the time, but these days it’s a very rare treat. It’s classified as a psychological thriller, but I also consider it a gripping mystery. It seems that a woman shot her husband in the face five times. Immediately afterward she completely stopped talking, and is institutionalized. Her therapist becomes obsessed with trying to get her to talk so he can find out what really happened. There are many twists and turns along the road to finding the solution to this conundrum. Many people in the book seem to have knack for getting deep inside each other’s heads. It’s really quite fascinating, and it’s a quick read if you enjoy this genre (which I do). I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t turn into a movie at some point.

The Genome Odyssey by Euan Angus Ashley. If you love science and learning about medical breakthroughs, then you’ll really enjoy this book. The author is a doctor who specializes in genetics, and has many stories to tell in this nonfiction book about how analyzing people’s genomes has helped him diagnose some very rare health problems. This book about battling diseases as well as predicting them and therefore preventing them really gives me hope for the future. This is not your mother’s diagnostic world, or even the medical world of our childhoods. Things are moving very quickly, and it’s amazing how lives can be changed for the better when you take genetics seriously. I found this book inspiring, entertaining, and educating by turns.

Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett. I have a fascination with cults and what causes people to get sucked into them in the first place. So this memoir was right up my alley. The author grew up in the Synanon cult, which his parents had joined. It was interesting to see him navigate the emotional abuse that such an upbringing can cause, and to have him break free with his mother and brother while he was still relatively young. He then had to learn to live in the “real” world, which for him was peppered with poverty, addiction, and dysfunction. It’s a book about love and loyalty and finding oneself and also letting go. It’s a very emotional and powerful read.

If you love reading as much as I do, I highly recommend Celadon Books. And I’m very grateful to them for allowing me to add some of their titles to my little free library. I’m always excited when an additional package arrives and I get to go on another unique adventure!

#TheSilentPatient #HollywoodPark #GenomeOdyssey #CeladonReads #LittleFreeLibrary @CeladonBooks @LittleFreeLibrary

And while you’re at it, look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

My Second Little Free Librariversary

This little library looms so large in my life now.

Two years ago today, Dear Husband helped me install a little free library in front of our house. He built it, and I painted it. It was something I had been wanting to do for many years.

I remember how excited I was when I filled it with books for the first time. Reading and travel are my two favorite pastimes. I knew I’d enjoy encouraging literacy in my neighborhood, and allowing people to travel in their minds.

What I didn’t realize is how much more it would become for me. I wasn’t expecting how connected I would feel to my community. I had no idea I’d make so many friends. I had no freakin’ clue how much of my garage would be taken over by the book backlog. (Sorry DH.)

And the library seems to have taken on a life of its own. It has a Facebook group. I now also give away rubber duckies, plastic toys, painted rocks, bookmarks, and the occasional school supply. On sunny days, I wheel out a book wagon full of additional books, and lock it to the library’s post.

I love all the amazing comments people put in my log book. I did have to chain it to the library, though, as the first book disappeared. We also installed a hook for people to use for their dogs’ leashes. I had a water bowl out there for the pups, but that vanished almost immediately. I’ll have to look for a bowl with a handle that I can attach to the post. Pity, that.

My library has a living roof, and the succulents and the pansies have taken over. And we put twinkling lights on the post for Christmas, and decided that we liked them so much that they’re still there. In addition, we have a little free library flag, and people liked the license plates that we put on the telephone pole behind it so much that they’ve taken to donating plates to us, too.

I enjoy doing chalk art on the sidewalk in front on sunny days, and we’re talking about painting concrete blocks to look like famous book titles, and embedding them beside the walkway. Someday we may even get around to installing a bench and a solar light. And an even bigger box. (Please?)

We have also taken to carrying a box of books in the trunk of our car. When we happen upon another little library, We’ll stop, take pictures, and leave some books. Occasionally we even seek them out. It’s a great way to see neighborhoods you wouldn’t normally visit, and get ideas for your own library. In addition, I recently started to stock the little library at our local YMCA.

This little free library looms so large in my life now. I can’t imagine a day going by without me peeking inside to see what has been borrowed. The joy it gives me is bigger than my neighborhood. I’m grateful for everyone who visits it, and I hope they spread the word.

I’d love to inspire you to start a little free library of your own, dear reader. At the very least, support the one nearest you. Keep on reading, everyone.

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A Redirected Maternal Instinct

There are many ways to love and nurture.

I never wanted children. Ever. And so I never had any, despite the thousands of people who have told me over the years that I’d change my mind. Well, I’m 56 now, am still childfree and have zero regrets.

Rest assured, I have never tried to talk people out of their desire to have children. I say go for it, if the spirit moves you. Even though I don’t feel the same way they do, I don’t view them as broken in any way. I wish they didn’t act as if I were broken in return. “I find it strange that you have no maternal instinct,” I’ve been told multiple times.

But I don’t see myself as missing any vital thing. In fact, I do believe I have a maternal instinct. It’s just not directed toward having children. There are many other ways to be loving and nurturing and maternal.

For example, I love dogs. I’ve always gotten my dogs from animal rescue, because there are so many pets out there in desperate need of a home. I view it as a win/win. A mutual rescue. And I tend to go for the full-grown dogs. Puppies are cute, but they’re a trial.

I also love my little free library. When I look out the window and see someone, young or old, excitedly choosing a book, it makes my heart swell. I enjoy promoting literacy in my community, because I think it makes for better, more well-rounded people.

And when I see someone hurting, I naturally want to comfort that person. I don’t care what the reason is. I just know that I want comfort when I hurt, so I want to give comfort when the tables are turned. Compassion is an organic reaction for many of us.

Recently, I rented mason bees (and blogged about it here). I love to quietly visit the bees and see them poking their fuzzy little heads out of their little holes. They’re so cute! I just want to hug them. But of course I don’t want to hurt them. I also love watching them fly over to my blossoming cherry tree to belly flop their way into the pollen. And I know that they wouldn’t be at that very place, enhancing that particular bit of nature, if it weren’t for my putting them there. Yay for nature! Double yay for those who nurture nature!

And speaking of nature, I love seeing the flowers and vegetables in my garden thrive. I love watering them on dry days, and I even talk to them just as I do with the bees and the dogs. I enjoy making delicious food from the harvest, and also adding beauty to the world.

In addition, I am very protective of the friends and family whom I love. Don’t mess with my peeps! I will turn into a lion!

So I don’t see myself as lacking a maternal instinct. I just see it as my putting that instinct to a different use. I hope it makes a difference. I know it makes me happy.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear reader. This day should also celebrate those nurturing souls out there who don’t have children. And I’m blowing a kiss skyward to my own mother, may she rest in peace.

My mason bees, peeking out to say hello!

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

A Small-Town War in West Yorkshire

Everybody needs to take a deep cleansing breath.

Little Free Libraries are one of my many passions, so when I saw this photograph of a sign that was placed in one in West Yorkshire, I had a bit of a giggle.

It says, and I quote with its many errors, “NOTICE- WHOEVER IS PLACING THE COPYS OF PORNOGRAPHIC LITERATURE IN HERE, STOP! CORNHOLME IS A GOOD GOD FEARING CHRISTIAN VILLAGE. IF THIS FILTH IS TO YOUR LIKING MAY WE SUGGEST THAT YOU MOVE TO THECESS PIT THAT IS HEBDEN BRIDGE”

When I read that I thought, “Wow, judge much?”

But on the other hand, I could just imagine how upset I would be if someone filled my library with, for example, Hustler magazines. I mean, children frequent this library. And I want them to read, not just look at the pictures. So yeah, while the author of that note overreacted just a tad, I could understand the irritation.

Then I read somewhere that what had been put in the library was some copies of 50 Shades of Grey. As one of my fellow stewards commented, “This is especially funny because I’ve found in my own experience that if these two sides can agree on anything, it’s that 50 Shades is objectively crap.”

Amen, sister. That book is supposed to be titillating, but instead I found it really annoying because the writing was so horrible that I’m amazed any publisher was willing to back it. It is the worst book I’ve ever read in my entire life.

The note made me curious about Hebden Bridge, though. And from what I can see online, it appears to be a delightful little town. Very artsy. Very liberal. Gay friendly. Book shops. You know the kind of place I’m talking about. I’d move there tomorrow if given the chance.  So I was rather proud of them when they posted their own note in reply.

Again, I’ll quote it with its many errors. “NOTICE- WHOEVER IS PLACING RELIGIOUS MATERIAL IN OUR COMMUNITY REVOLUTIONARY, DRUG CULLTIVATION, DEVIL WORSHIPPING, NATURALIST, PORNOGRAPGHY AND KNITTING LIBRARY, STOP! HEBDEN BRIDGE IS GOOD FREE THINKING TOWN. IF THIS FILTH IS TO YOUR LIKING MAY WE SUGGEST YOU MOVE TO THE GOD BOTHERING UP TIGHT HOLIER THAN THOU VILLAGE OF CORNHOLME.”

And then someone else in Hebdon Bridge put up a flyer that was a spoof on the old classic movie The Wicker Man.

It, too, is full of errors, but here goes: “Good People Of Cornholme your invited to our FREE BARBECUE. MAKE FRIENDS AND MEAT YOUR NEIGHBOURS. SUNDAY TWELVTY O’CLOCK AT THE STONE CIRCLE. “THE CESS PIT THAT IS HEBDEN BRIDGE”

Good on them, I say. And I bet they get an uptick in tourism, too, because I for one am dying to go there now. I’d love to “meat” them. It would be fun.

The bottom line is that these two small towns are 7 miles apart. I would think that would be enough distance so that if they wanted to avoid each other, they could. But the world is getting awfully small these days, isn’t it?

I think everybody just needs to take a deep, cleansing breath. In through the Cornholme, out through the Hebden Bridge.

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An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5