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The Moon.

The card we are using as a prompt today is The Moon.  The moon casts shadows in the darkness, creating an illusion of fear.  We set upon our new path often when we are in the midst of our darkest hour, but we need not fear the unknown, we ought to embrace it and make it our own path, unique to us.  For this is when we create a beautiful life, full of awe and wonder, this is when we accept our fate and live our life regardless of what obstacles are scattered before us.

The moon casts shadows before us, but we need not fear those shadows, we can embrace the shadowy path before us as one that will be full of wonder and delight when the morning comes.  This card is full of hope, maybe things are not as they seem right now, but with a little patience and courage we will be once more on our way towards the wonderful life we seek.

Made To Last.

Made To Last is Melissa Tagg’s debut novel.  Not a bad effort at all.  The only complaint I have is that for me, the middle part of the story is a wee bit too long.  This is just my personal take on it and I do believe many other people have found it a fantastic story.

Miranda Woodruffe is the star of a home improvement TV show called From The Ground Up.  She appears to have it all, a successful career in TV, a wonderful husband who inspires her talent in home improvements and a fantastic home.  The truth on the other hand is so different.  Her talent is real, yes, but her home is only half-finished and her wonderfully inspiring husband is no-existent.  The lie about her having this wonderful husband stems from her audition for the position on the show.  She told the director all about the man she was involved with at the time, the man who she expected to marry and who had taught her everything she knew about home improvements.  She didn’t think there was any harm in the little white lie that she told at the time, after all, she and Robbie were going to be married soon anyway.  But shortly after she began filming the TV show Robbie walked out on her, leaving her broken-hearted and living a lie.

Three years on and fans of the show still believe she is married.  The only people who know the truth are her best friends and the show’s producer.  With the show in danger of being axed her producer decides it’s high time the public get a glimpse into Miranda’s very private personal life.  The only snag is, she doesn’t have a husband!  The plan is to hire a fake one for a while. The producer also thinks it’s great idea to have a journalist shadow Miranda and blog about her life.  There is a fantastic twist in the tale towards the end, I think the reader kind of expects this to happen though.

Great read, if a little on the long side.

Recommended.  4 stars ****

Writing Challenge.

Life has done that thing it does, muscled itself in the way of my creative pursuits, meaning I have missed three gays of this challenge.  I am going to attempt to write one post using the last three days prompts and today’s.

What I have found absolutely interesting throughout this challenge is how each card seems to relate back to the very first card and blog post.  That very first blog post in this challenge – my big revelation about my life –  really opened the door for me and really did propel me forward.  And because I haven’t been able to write this week on the challenge I have made notes about each card/each day’s challenge and have found that the four cards are still a continuation, the theme is continuing from that very first post/card.

The first card that I want to talk about is Temperance.  Temperance brings us balance and when we allow balance into our lives we are able to let life flow.  Ever since I started to make changes in my life I have noticed just how I am able to let life flow.  I am a self confessed control freak and this stems from that one incident way back in 1987.  But by letting go of the hold that incident has had on my life I have felt less of a need to control everything around me, which has resulted in life just flowing.  That is balance.

The next card was the Devil.  The message coming through from this card is telling us to face our shadows and set ourselves free.  Yes, I believe that is what I have indeed done for myself.  I believe I have set myself free from a negative hold on me.  I have said time and again ever since I revealed this secret that any positive action that resulted because of it and any positive action I take is only about me.  If I say something or post something that suggests my letting go of past hurt and pain then that is directed at myself, nobody else.  I do not purport to speak on behalf of anyone else, I speak only for myself.  I have lived in the shadow of this incident for far too long and I have chosen to set myself free of it.  I am only speaking about my own experiences and how those experiences have shaped and molded me, that includes the new, freer me.  I have stepped out from the shadows.  I write/talk about my experiences and choices, not those of anyone else.  I choose to free myself from negative situations and experiences.  This does not mean that negativity from my past is all gone, it certainly isn’t.  It means I am choosing not to let any negativity cloud my present.  That does not mean I think everyone should do that, it means I am doing that for me, nobody else.  If you can’t let go of your own negative influences then I understand, but I am not implying my choices should be your choices, they are mine and mine alone.  I have reached this point, the point I am at today because I have stepped out of the shadows in my life – again, my life, not anyone else’s life.

The next two cards have me stumped, so to speak. The Tower is all about things falling apart, tumbling down, but us seeing this as a blessing in disguise.  There is one incident in my life – no, not that one! – where I brought my personal life crashing down.  It was a train wreck, people were hurt, badly, I got hurt, but it forced me back into therapy and I was able to bring control to parts of my life that were still spiraling out of control.  It also allowed me to appreciate the one person I had really hurt, bringing us closer together then ever before, strengthening our bond.

The final card, today’s card, is The Star.  The message is all about writing about why we deserve a star, like an award of recognition.  I am loathe to blow my own trumpet; 27 years of self loathing don’t just evaporate over night.  All of the positive steps I have recently taken have been brilliant, they have had a massive impact on my life, but I cannot just say I deserve anything in this way.  There are people who do braver things than me and they truly deserve awards.  So with that in mind I will say this; I am awarding myself the Sue Park award for being the best version of myself that I can be.  It is a bit tongue in cheek, but I am patting myself on the back and telling myself well done for being me.  I am not being pretentious, I am congratulating myself from myself.  I don’t think the world owes me anything, I think I owe it to myself to be my true self, that is all.

The Story Guy

This was a lovely read, a tale of courage, sacrifice and love.  Carrie West stumbles across an online dating add that piques her interest.  The add says “I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park.  Kissing only.”

Carrie messages the poster, who has included a personal photo of himself.  Carrie is struck by the sheer beauty of the man in the photograph.  Before too long the anonymous poster messages her back and they begin to chat, agreeing to meet the following Wednesday.  Carrie turns up at Celebration Park, not sure what or who to expect, but when a male bicycle rider approaches her she recognises the man from the photograph online.  He tells her of his rules and then they start kissing; kissing which thrills Carrie so much that she wants to take things further.  As the story progresses the reader gets caught up in the angst that Brian Newborough portrays.  Carrie knows Brian has a secret, a secret that fills his life and keeps him from committing to anyone, but she wants to share his burden and very gradually he lets her in, bit by bit.

My first thought was that Brian had a severely disabled wife whom he had to care and provide for and that was why he could not commit to anything other than the Wednesday kissing dates.  But then I sussed out what was going on and felt myself hoping he would let Carrie in, which he does eventually.

I found this to be a lovely read, some have said not so hot on the sex, but I think explosive, steamy sex scenes would detract from the message the author is trying to get out.

Recommended.

5 stars *****

Writing Challenge Day 14.

This card is feared when it appears in a reading.  It’s a natural response, death represents ending and to some people it means their physical death, or that of a loved one.  Writing about death, the card, the lesson it brings us can indeed be about a physical death, but it can also represent change – the death of a situation, a change in circumstances etc – and this is what our challenge is about today.

I feel that all of the writing I have done in the past couple of weeks has led up to this point; the death of a way of life, a way of thinking, a circumstance that needed to end.  I welcome this card today, it gives me a chance to rethink what I have done recently, choices I have made, it gives me a chance to take stock of all I have achieved these past couple of weeks, a chance to pause for reflection and check my direction.

This card alerts me to the changes in my life, changes for the best, changes that will make my life a lot happier.

The Hanged Man.

The final challenge of this week brings us face to face with the hanged man.

My point of view on this is this.

Life has led me down many paths and for some reason I have chosen to retain bits from every experience I have ever had.  I have felt, at times, weighed down and world weary.  But this writing challenge, along with a ritual performed at the full moon, plus a book I read earlier in the year, have shaken me up and metaphorically speaking, hung me upside down!

The hurt and anger from the past has slipped away from me.  Negativity has been banished.  Blame and shame and fear and loathing have fallen by the wayside.  Momentarily I felt emptiness, it was strange, not having all of those burdens within me anymore.  The places in my soul that they had filled up soon filled up with different feelings.  Hope, happiness, joy, bliss, love, peace.

I haven’t felt this peaceful in a long time and I have to say it is awesome!

I definitely feel liberated and I love it!!!

Justice

This week I have blogged an awful lot of hidden truths about myself, shared stuff on social media and had a fantastic amount of good wishes and support from people who both knew the truth, and those who had no idea.  Talking with my husband yesterday I admitted I had written a blog post about the whole ordeal; it’s long, it’s harrowing and I haven’t had the courage to post it yet.  It is sitting on my dashboard as a draft.  Writing it almost made me throw up, the remembered ordeal, the getting down of facts onto the document.  I haven’t read it back and when I go onto my blog’s dashboard I ignore it like the plague.  My husband said that the best thing I can do is take this next stage of my recovery one day at a time.  Yes, that is what it is, a recovery.

With the writing challenge in mind I am thinking about what does my soul want in terms of this “thing” in my life?

Justice was served, sort of – the sentence was reduced as I wasn’t actually killed!!!

That always sat wrong with me.  The fact that an 18 year sentence was reduced to 12, with 8 years served, always made me feel that justice was not properly served.  The crime was not only committed against me, there were other victims too, but only myself and another woman got justice.

So with all of this in mind, what does my soul want?

I have found that my soul just wants me to let the real me out.  The me who was full of life and vibrancy.  The real me who got shoved back inside because the injured me didn’t want anyone looking at me.  Didn’t want anyone to compliment me, or really engage with me.  I asked my husband if there was ever a time I was different when we were first getting to know one another.  He told me when I was drinking I was always a happy, carefree person, willing to have fun and not afraid to smile and shine.

That was the old me, the me before the attack.  It dawned on me that I could only be myself when I was inebriated.  That was a pretty uncomfortable admission.  Of course, I had to give up drinking alcohol many moons ago.  I cannot take NSAID type medication as I am allergic to it, so my fibro and arthritis are managed by pain meds alone.  And pain meds and alcohol just don’t mix, so the choice was medication or a drink?  The pain was too much to ignore, so the meds won out.  I had other addictions that had emerged because of the attack – solvent abuse and  bulimia – but they were eventually conquered in the early 2000’s.

The realisation that when I was first with my husband I was only my true self when I was drunk kind of stung a little.  Of course I am my real self with him now, I have been for many years, our relationship is solid and he knows me better than anyone else.  He knows things – fears, worries, happy moments – that no other person alive knows about.  He gets to see the real me, the me that nobody else gets to see.  But his admission that I could not be this person when we first met, unless I was under the influence, really stung.  And I knew why, all of those fears of being seen, really being seen and being hurt and the need to hide away, they prevented me being my true self.  I was afraid to shine because I had been hurt by a monster and I didn’t want other monsters to see me, for fear they may attack too.  When monsters attack you get a warped view of your own life and the world around you and crazy stuff makes so much sense to you, but not to anyone else around you, so you hide out more for fear that your craziness will attract more monsters.

And thinking about all of that made me think “what would that version of me want in terms of justice?”

I meditated upon this and what sprung forth really surprised me.

To be that happy, carefree, joyous person is the best justice.  It shows I was not beaten.  It shows I am alive and thriving and doing fantastically well.  He didn’t break me, not really.  His crime against me was all about power and dominance, but I rose from the ashes and am stronger than ever, he did not defeat me.

That is my justice, the justice that my soul seeks.

After The Kiss.

Julie Greene is a writer for a very popular magazine, Sex, Love and Stiletto.  Her latest assignment is to write about falling in love, not her usual gig.  Julie is all about first dates, wonderfully, sexy first kisses and getting out before things get too serious.  But now her editor wants a different angle from her and rather than allow a work rival to fill her shoes on this particular assignment, Julie agrees to write the article.  Cue the start of Julie’s research into “how to fall in love” and her mission to find a man for her experiment.

Mitchell Forbes, recently single after ditching his long term girlfriend, is also on the lookout for a woman to help with his own experiment.  Mitchell and a friend wage a bet that Mitchell cannot get involved with a woman without falling in love with her.  Mitchell works on Wall Street and is quite staid when it comes to life and living it.  But can he have a casual fling, and if so, who with?

Julie and Mitchell are set up by their respective friends, neither mentioning their own personal reasons for wanting to hook up.  They hit it off immediately and the chemistry between them is fabulous.  They begin dating and neither wants to admit to themselves that they are falling for one another.  Eventually they both decide to come clean to one another about their reasons for getting involved in the first place, which ends in disaster, leaving Julie’s journalistic career in the balance.  Can Julie’s career be saved?  Can Mitchell ever forgive Julie for what she did?

I loved this book.  It is was a fun read and not as predictable as I thought it would have been.

Recommended for lovers of this genre.

5 stars *****

Review Of The Storycatcher.

Wow!!!

This book was just brilliant.  I was captivated by the story and the characters right from the very first page.

The story tells the tale of Shelley Parker, her mother and brother, Faith Dobbins and her mother and father, who is the Pastor at the church.  There are also a couple of other characters that are vital to the story.  Shelley can see ghosts, as can one or two other characters in the book, and she is being haunted by the ghost of a young girl who is insisting Shelley reads her diary – she even tells her where to find it.

Pastor Dobbins is one of the central characters in this book and he is as rotten as they come.  Shelley, her mother and Faith and her mother, along with a handful of ghosts are trying to bring an end to Pastor Dobbins reign of terror.  The story weaves in and out of each other integral characters lives throughout the book, building the suspense and anticipation to a fever pitch, until the point of no return is reached for each of the characters.

A very well written, gripping tale of love and betrayal and the building and destroying of friendships.  The author really captivates the reader right from the off and keeps you hooked right until the end.  Clever and brilliantly written.  Cannot recommend highly enough.

5 stars *****

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!