Wednesday, April 29, 2009


(Photo by Brett Trafford)

Suggested Prompt...Include a sunflower in your writing today in any creative way you are inspired.


Hello my beautiful sunflower
It really is a gorgeous day
And seeing your golden head waving above the garden
Gives me reason to pause and reflect

You are never fussy, never complaining
Seeming to be happy with any amount of food or water I supply
Turning your majestic petals to follow the sun
But never wilting into a bow or curtsy

Standing tall at the entrance to the garden
Some people may seem not to notice
But you call for attention in many subtle ways
Giving surprised growth with each passing day

And when your time has finally come
To fade into the autumn
You continue to give happiness as well as nourishment
For the happy song birds of fall

One-Minute Writer - Better or Worse

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Better or worse

Is life getting better or worse as you get older?

Interesting questions ... I guess I have a mixed answer for this question.

I think my life is better because I'm older and wiser - I may not know all the answers, but I'm better prepared for finding the answers than I was when I was younger. My children are grown and they are 3 beautiful, healthy girls. My relationship with my wonderful hubby is even better because we have more time for each other. And I have the prospect of grandchildren to look forward to. I am also retired from a job I hated (RN) and I'm now able to write more than ever - this has been a huge improvement for me.

On the other hand, some things in my life are worse. I'm not as fit and healthy as I was in my 20s - health issues seem to creep in every day. The society we live in is much worse over the past 20 years and this have impacted negatively on many aspects of life.

I can say that I love my life! I may not be as active as I once was, but I am now able to pursue my dreaming of writing and this makes me a happy camper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Photo by Cyndy of Cyndy's Photography.

Suggested prompt...Write this from first person... err... first feline...

"Step by step, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen..."
- oops, sorry ... I was channeling LABYRINTH.


Step by step
Inch by inch
Eyes on the prize
Eyes on the prize

Is it a tiny mouse
Or maybe a fat juicy bug
It could be a baby rabbit
Or another delectable delicacy

Easy now, easy does it
You don't see me coming
It's all in your head
Steady now, steady

Don't be afraid
I'm harmless
I won't hurt you
... ... ... much

One-Minute Writing - Run

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Run

What are you running from, or what are you running towards?

For the past 4 years, I have been running from life - running from the grief of my sister's death. Her passing left a huge crater in my heart and it has been difficult to leap over the wide expanse of pain. But this year I am trying harder - trying to pull my life together, trying to enjoy the small things in life, and trying harder with my writing career.

The best thing to ever happen with my writing is when I joined my community writers' group last fall - it has made a huge difference in my attitude on life and it has given me a network of other writers to lean on. For someone who has a severe anxiety disorder and hates being in large groups of people, I have been forcing myself to participate in public readings.

To say these activities scare me to death is an understatement, but I can actually see myself growing as a writing, instead of always hiding in the shadow. I realize that in order to get my work out there so others can read it, I am going to have to put myself out there as well. I'm still struggling, but the baby steps are turning into toddler steps and for the first time in 4 years, I'm catching glimpses of my former self.

After 4 years of self-deprecating pain and grief, I am now running toward a new life with new hopes and dreams.

(Artwork by PJ's Room)


Wedding Bells

“Amber, I am going to try and make you the happiest, healthiest baby alive. I want to make sure I do everything right. I love you so much, I want you to have the best life has to offer. When you’re older, I don’t want you to hesitate to come to me with your problems – I will always be here for you and so will God. He is the one that made it possible for you to be here and he will always have the answers you seek. Amber, you are the most precious little girl alive. You will always be my little angel and I love you with all my heart.”
(Excerpt of a letter by me from the baby book of Amber Dawn Huffman, written September 16, 1982)

The day was rainy, but there was nothing but happiness in my heart. “Tuesday’s child is full of grace” – this verse from the Mother Goose rhyme “Monday’s Child” was making me smile in spite of the rain. My first born child will be a girl full of grace - a child I knew in my heart was a daughter, although I had never had an ultrasound. The date was September 14, 1982 and Amber Dawn Huffman came into this world, screaming at the top of her lungs, at 1:31 in the afternoon – a Tuesday afternoon.

At 20 years old, my dream of being a mother had finally come true. After a short labor and extremely easy delivery, my first bundle of joy – all 5 pounds and 14 ounces – was placed in my arms and I knew I was the happiest woman on earth. Even though she was three weeks overdue, she was tinier than I had expected, especially after gaining 20 pounds. I guess most of the weight was due to the plain M&Ms I consumed on a weekly basis.

(Amber sitting on Granny Sallee's lap - age 5 months)

I was so scared the day we brought her home from the hospital. Her father worked nights, so I was going to be home all alone with a newborn. What if I couldn’t quiet her when she cried? What if I didn’t have enough breast milk to feed her? What if she got sick? What if, what if? I was so nervous I think I called my own mother three or four times before the night was over, and this was before speed dial and cell phones.

By the time Amber was one month old, she had doubled her birth weight – three cheers for mother’s milk. No longer a skinny newborn, my beautiful daughter now had little ham hocks for legs. And she was no longer bald because tiny wisps of blond hair were starting to peek through.

For her first Christmas, Amber was three months old and she was smiling and kicking her legs whenever she was awake. She was such a happy baby and she loved for family to carry her around - and carry her around they did. She turned into a typical first child who demanded to be carried whenever she was awake. She received a high chair from her maternal grandparents on Christmas Eve and within months she was able up and start on solid foods.

(Learning to walk - age 1)

Before I could blink my eyes, I was planning Amber’s first birthday party. Where did the time go? We had a house full of family and friends to help us celebrate the day. Amber was taking her first tentative solo steps and she enjoyed tip-toeing from one person to another. When she stuck her entire face into the birthday cake I baked for her, I caught myself crying and wishing she would never grew up.

(Dressed as Rainbow Brite - age 3)

For her second Halloween I dressed Amber up as Raggedy Ann. By her third birthday she was in love with all things Rainbow Brite and she had a younger sister, Carolyn Marie. When she was four years old she joined the Mission Friends group at church and sang in the preschool choir. The years were flying by at warp speed.

(My family at my nursing school graduation; from right to left: Amber, Marie, Mom, Dad, and Granny Sallee - May 12, 1990)

When it was time for Amber to start school, we both started at the same time – she in kindergarten and me in nursing school. Those three years of my nursing school career were the hardest times of my life. I was a single mother with two small children, but we all managed to survive healthy and whole, and we are stronger for it. Of course, I never would have made it through the tough times if it weren’t for my wonderful children – they were the reason for everything I did.

(3rd grade - 1990)

Elementary school flew by in a haze – PTO, teacher meetings, parent volunteer days and even though I was working the night shift, I always made time to attend all of Amber’s activities. Middle school brought her first dance and a whole new set of worries. Hormones and acne, boundaries and groundings, like most young teenagers she gave me a run for my money. But she was never in any serious trouble and always kept up with her school work.

(Age 16)

Soon she was moving on to high school, with an unpleasant surprise. Chicken pox at the age of 15 was a hard pill to swallow and we both learned that home schooling was not something we enjoyed. High school graduation was a blur of smiles and tears – graduating with honors, I could not have been more proud of my oldest daughter. Intelligent, beautiful and self-assured, Amber was ready to make her mark on the world. No longer a child, this young adult was now full of hopes and dreams of her own.

(Age 17 - senior picture)

My baby is now 26 years old and beginning the next phase of her life. She has found the man of her dreams – Jason Wilham – and they will be married in just a few weeks on June 20th. I am so happy for the love my daughter has found and I am confident her future will be bright.

(Amber and Jason - Christmas 2007)

So as I stress and worry about the upcoming wedding, one thing is clear in my head – I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son. And although I’m not rushing things, I feel I’m one step closer to beginning the next chapter in my life with bundles of grandchildren.

Congratulations Amber Dawn Huffman and Jason Wilham!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Meadow Soul


His eyes were watching - looking at everything in the tiny meadow. Silent whispers gently blow on the cool morning air as mist rose from the dew-kissed ground. Another beautiful day is dawning and the forest creatures are starting to stir, inching out of burrows and holes and brambles looking for an early morning meal.

"Good morning my pretties; another gorgeous day is upon you," whispered the old soul as he looked at his creations.

The pond water rippled with fish stirred waves and dragonfly kisses. Momma birds chirped merrily as they waited for Papa birds to bring the fat red worms to the masses in the nest.

A doe inched out from the forest with a trembly legged fawn close in step, crunching the fresh meadow grass. Rabbits were hopping with tentative hops and stopping to much on dainty pink clover blossoms. A small red fox with his bushy tail straight in the air, pauses to drink from the crystal clear pond.

"This is good," sighed the soul, deep in contemplation of the bounty of nature's beauty.

The sun begins to break the horizon, sending multi-colored sunbursts through the clouds and fog. For one brief moment the tiny meadow and pond are a kaleidoscope of dancing colors.

Then the mist seeps away and the fog begins to lift. The soul again looks on the peacefulness of the surroundings.

"This is good," he whispers one last time before ascending away with the fog.

Musing Monday

Today's Musing Monday prompt:

Do you read non-fiction regularly? Do you read it in a different way or place than you read fiction? (question courtesy of Diane)

Although I don't read as much non-fiction as I do fiction, it is still a regular part of my reading diet.

I do read non-fiction in a different way because it is easier to skip around and read chapters out of order. Half of the non-fiction I read consists of gardening books and I'm usually looking for something in particular. The rest of the non-fiction I read is usually research for a story or essay I may be writing.

Probably the best non-fiction I've read lately is Team of Rivals by Doris Kerns Goodwin. This was not just another book on Abraham Lincoln – this book focuses on Lincoln’s leadership style and his insightful understanding of human behavior and motivation. Very interesting.

Typically whenever I read non-fiction, I've always got a pen and notebook handy because I'm notorious for taking notes and writing down quotations. I also tend to read them at home in my chair, whereas fiction books I can take outside or in the car.

One-Minute Writer - Name

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Name

You've decided you want a new name--one that will reflect who you are. What is your new name?

I really wouldn't change my name - I have been Bobbi Dawn all my life and it suits my personality just fine. Even though I did shorten my name to just Bobbi when I was going through my divorce, I find it comforting when people from my past continue to call me Bobbi Dawn.

As a matter of fact, the way most people say my name it is like one long name: BobbiDawn. Bobbi Dawn refects who I am - I'm from Kentucky and most Southerners have two names. Plus, I was named after my Daddy, Bobby Gene.

Of course, I also like my porn name: V.V. Riverside. Classy, right??!!

The Barnyard Goddess and Flying Monkeys

Continuing on with the theme I started on Friday, the Kentucky Writers’ Celebration spilled over into the weekend. It has definitely been a busy weekend for Kentucky writers.

On Saturday a few people from my writing group attended the celebration at Penn’s Store in Gravel Switch. Penn's Store is the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family. This is the same store that is famous for the Great Outhouse Blowout in the fall.

Although I have been a writer most of my life, I am still terrified to read in public. I have been pushing myself more and more because everyone says it will get easier – let me tell you, it doesn’t get easier! This weekend I was in good company, because two of my friends are as scared of public readings as I am, but my friend Tammy found a coping mechanism to help her.

Enter the Barnyard Goddess, stage left …

Tammy thought dressing as someone other than herself would help her get through her readings and she was absolutely right! Dressed in her blue jean overalls complete with gold glitter sprayed boots and a barnyard tiara, Tammy did a wonderful job of reading her great story “Ponies on the Patio” and two poems. She won the crowd over instantly and we were all so proud of her! You can check out some of Tammy's writing in her Advocate Messenger bi-monthly column, Hillybilly Zen.

Of course, the funniest thing of the whole day was when the “tornado” blew through the holler. The emcee of the event was Herschel, also a member of our writing group, and although he had been talking to the crowd all day, he waited to read his poems with our group. There had been a gentle breeze all afternoon, but just as Herschel stepped up on the stage to begin his reading, the wind started to blow like there was no tomorrow! I swear I saw an old woman on a bike with a little dog in a basket and I told someone, “If we see flying monkeys, I’m outta here!” The wind blew the microphones over, as well as the big umbrella shading the speakers.

And then the wind calmed back down just like nothing had ever happened. I know it wasn’t Herschel’s reading because this man has such a great voice – hell, I could listen to him reading the phone book and be enthralled!

We made it through the rest of the day – and yes, I did get up and read, although I read two poems instead of the longer story I had planned. I didn’t want to take any chances on the wind blowing me to Oz.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Penn Store Writers

Continuing the theme of Kentucky Writers, my writing group - The Community of Mercer County Writers - will be participating in the KENTUCKY WRITERS DAY CELEBRATION at Penn Store this afternoon at 2:30.

Penn Store is the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family. It has been in the Penn family since 1850. Nestled in the central region of Kentucky, Penn's Store has become a popular site for visitors seeking living history in an ever changing, modern world.

The Kentucky Writers Day Celebration was started to honor, preserve, and encourage the UNBRIDLED SPIRIT of the written word. Writers, authors, poets, journalists, songwriters from all over Kentucky will be reading and performing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kentucky's New Poet Laureate

April 24, 2009 was Kentucky Writers’ Day in Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky Writers’ Day is celebrated on April 24th of each year to honor the birth date of Kentucky author and poet Robert Penn Warren, the nation’s first Poet Laureate.

But this was not only a time to celebrate Kentucky writers, but we got to usher in Kentucky’s new Poet Laureate. Gurney Norman was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to serve as Kentucky Poet Laureate for the 2009-2010 term. As Poet Laureate, Norman will be promoting the arts and leading the state in many literary events.

Norman grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in journalism. In 1980, he became writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky. His fiction work includes: Book One From Crazy Quilt: A Novel in Progress, Divine Right's Trip: A Folk-Tale, and Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories. His non-fiction works include: An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature and Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes: Back Talk from an American Region. Several of his short stories have been turned into short films and documentaries.

Norman was formally inducted at a public ceremony and reception Friday in the Capitol Rotunda. Also in attendance were performances by the Kentucky winner and runner-up of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. There were also readings by past Poet Laureates - Jane Gentry Vance, Sena Jeter Naslund, James Baker Hall, Richard Taylor and Joe Survant.

Several members of my writing group, The Mercer County Community of Writers - or Nomadic Ink - attended the ceremony, including myself and my daughter, Christine, who was excused from school for the day. It was an enjoyable event and we got to meet and greet with many Kentucky authors, including: Ed McClanahan, Bobbie Ann Mason, George Ella Lyon, Anne Shelby, Frank X Walker, just to name a few.

For more information about Kentucky Writers’ Day or the Kentucky Arts Council, visit their website at: Kentucky Arts Council.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One-Minute Writer - Smell

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Smell

Write about a memory you have that centers around a particular smell.

Whenever I smell a freshly mowed lawn, especially after a gentle rain shower, I am reminded of my childhood. Every time I mow my one acre yard, it take me back to barefoot days in Riverview, a subdivision next to the Salt River.

Ah, such memories! Even when I'm riding in a car, if we pass a home where someone is mowing, the smell sends me right back to my childhood.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



“Do you have any questions before the transport?” Gill asked Jade.
“No, I’m ready as I’ll ever be.” Jade had been preparing for this mission for two years.
The inhabitants of Jadocon were the historians of the galaxies, surveying and learning about all the different cultures.
Jade was chosen to explore Earth, not because she was interested in Earth, but because she possessed the skill of glamour - the ability to change her appearance at will. To Earthlings – without her glamour – Jade would be seen as tall with pale green skin and large black eyes. But with minimal concentration, Jade could make people see her as petite and blonde, perfect to blend into the southern California coast she would be traveling to.
“I’m ready, Gill,” she said.
Jade stepped onto the transporter platform with one phrase echoing in her brain; “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”


(Art by Lynda Lehmann - she is a part of - World Wide Women Artists)

Suggested prompt...I stood on the shore of the lake...


I stood on the shore of the crystal clear lake,
Thinking and brooding about the start of my day.
Would life be easier for me today,
Or will the problems of yesterday continue to pain?

The water surface is like a looking glass,
Shimmering and reflecting any object within range;
But my features are distorted and don't appear my own
Or is this the way others actually see me?

Rippling waves marr the surface when fish are bursting out
And now the lake's face is a kaleidoscope of colors
Showing me the autumn foliage in fanciful strobes,
Or is it an illusion conjured by my mind?

The mist is slowly rolling off the lake
Causing shadows as the morning sun begins to rise;
It is time to enter the real world with rushing people and worries,
Or can I remain here safe, snug and secure in the glow of the lake?

One-Minute Writer - Jingle

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Jingle

Recall a memorable advertisement or jingle from the past.

..."plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is"...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gurney Norman

The Kentucky Arts Council will have an induction ceremony for


on Kentucky Writer's Day

Friday, April 24th at 11 am

The Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort, Kentucky

There will be a reception at 12 noon

This event is free and open to the public

I encourage everyone to try and attend this wonderful ceremony, whether you are a writer or not.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Musing Monday

Today's Musing Monday prompt:

Coming towards the end of April, we’re a third of the way through the way through the year. What’s the favourite book you’ve read so far in 2009? What about your least favourite? (question courtesy of MizB)

So far, I think my favorite adult book of 2009 is THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE by David Cristofano. For a first time novelist, this was an intriguing concept and a wonderful read. The book is about a young woman who has been in the Witness Protection Program for 20 years of her 26 year life. It was a fast read and extremely enjoyable. I have been recommending it to all my friends.

As for young adult books - which I love almost as much as adult books - I have just finished Brandon Mull's 4th book in the FABLEHAVEN series, THE SECRETS OF THE DRAGON SANCTUARY. These fantasy books are full of Mull's unique imagination and I can't wait for the 5th - and sadly, final - book in this series.

Of course, we are only 1/3 of the way through the year and there are many more books to come: Laurell K. Hamilton's SKIN TRADE (an Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book) and DIVINE MISDEMEANOR (a Merry Gentry book), Kaza Kingley's THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH (an Erec Rex book), and James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER, just to name a few.

I have not actually read any books so far that I didn't like, but the year is still young.

One-Minute Writer - Matters

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Matters

What really matters?

What really matters is family and friends. Love and friendship go a long way in making the world go 'round.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April Showers Bring May Flowers
By Bobbi Rightmyer

May flowers are now pushing up through the moist soil,
Spurred on by generous April rains and the beginning of summer sun,
Delighting the sight and other senses
Capturing a gardener's imagination.

Peonies are the elders, hold-overs from gardens gone by,
Straight red stems lead to the formation of glossy green leaves,
Large sugar ants invade the tightly curled buds
Offering pollination that ends with a cornucopia of colors and textures.

Daylilies wave daintily with the sun-drenched breeze,
Blossoms of yellow, orange, red and pink high above blades of beautiful green foliage.
Although the flowers only bloom for a day,
They offer a dash of color as well as tasty additions to salads.

Iris come in many sizes, textures and shapes.
Repeat bloomers, ruffled edges, Siberian and miniatures ones, not to mention those with encrusted beards.
Practically growing above the ground, this faithful perennial is a staple in many home gardens,
And Iris' make the perfect "pass along plant" to share with family and friends.

Dandelions always receive a bad rap from people who see them as weeds,
But I know the truth of their nutritional value and every day uses.
The leaves contain many good vitamins and make the perfect addition to summer salads,
And the buds can be brewed into tasty oils and vinegars and fermented into dandelion wine.

Although not a flower, there is one May occupant that rows in rampant abundance,
The vivid green grasses supplying the backdrop for all the colorful posies.
From thick lush lawns to ornamental focal points,
It would not be May without this hardworking carpet of green.

Some tulips are still blooming tho` most are now passed peak,
And daffodil leaves are still standing tall, preparing the nourishment for the underground bulbs.
Apple and pear blossoms have all blown away, setting the stage for the fruit to come.
But the snowball bush is preparing to shine as the branches are laden with fluffy while balls.

May flowers give us Mother Nature's finest show,
Sparking the desire to work outdoors.
Planning and plotting to decide what to plant
To add variety for a more beautiful display next year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have such WONDERFUL NEWS !!! My sweet baby received her acceptance letter today from the Governor's School of the Arts !!!


Out of over 1,600 applicants from Kentucky students, she was one of 200 to be accepted into the summer Creative Writing Program.

She will be leaving the day after my oldest daughter's wedding, June 21st and will spend 3 weeks at Transy.

To say her Daddy and I are proud is a total understatement. This is something our entire family has been praying about since just before Christmas. To finally have the acceptance letter in hand is pure excitement.

Symbol of Death

The following poem was written by my 16 year old daughter. It was an assignment for our writing class and I felt it needed to be shared.


By Christine Rightmyer

As my head slipped underwater,
All I could see were the lilies.
They call them the symbol of death…
Wouldn’t you agree?

The symbol of everything I wanted.
Wanting to slip away and never come back
The water closed in around me.
Wrapping its cool fingers over my body…

That was all I wanted, except…
You pulled me up before my time was gone.
Your fingers gripped my shoulders, eyes bearing into me.
The lilies were now gone, but you were here to stay.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


March Cafe Writing: Option Five - Pick Three

Garden writing is often very tame, a real waste when you think how opinionated, inquisitive, irreverent and lascivious gardeners themselves tend to be. Nobody talks much about the muscular limbs, dark, swollen buds, strip-tease trees and unholy beauty that have made us all slaves of the Goddess Flora.
~Ketzel Levine

Pick at least three of the following words, and build a piece of writing around them. The form is up to you: poem, scene, flash-fic, essay, or general blog entry. If you want to be really daring, write a love letter, instead.

beauty, daring, inquisitive, irreverent, limbs, opinionated, strip-tease, unholy, waste


This spring, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have been unable to mow my backyard - the riding mower is on the frits and I am not going to push mow an acre! So my backyard currently looks like a unholy jungle, no kidding. Although I consider my backyard my meadow garden, I usually cut the vegetation down in early spring and I try to keep the pathways mowed to give me easy access in walking through the garden.

I have so many plans for the back 40, but I have limited time and resources. I have several garden beds layed out and for years I have been transplanting divisions from the front yard to the back.

What I have noticed over the past two months is the beauty of the wildflowers, tree seedlings and shrubs which are springing up everywhere. Most people would be horrified at my daring overgrown yard, but I am in natural gardening heaven!

Most gardeners are opinionated when it comes to having the perfect garden, but I'm not looking for the perfect garden - not those manicured, symmetrical gardens where not a leave or limb is out of place. No, give me the native plants, the irreverent step-children of Mother Nature's garden.


My Kitchen Garden

March Cafe Writing: Option Three - Timed Writing

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, from Mosses from an Old Manse

Take fifteen minutes (use all fifteen, but don’t go over), and write on the subject of a picture of your heart. This is a timed exercise and it’s expected that it won’t be perfect. Any format - fiction, essay, verse - is welcome.

(My kitchen garden in 2005)


The ground is broken, the soil is worked
And now it's time to plant
Potatoes and onions always go first
With cabbage, peas and lettuce not far behind
After Derby Day, it is safe to tuck in tomatoes and cukes
But I must wait for the hot days of June to introduce the peppers
By the 4th of July, the corn should be knee-high and the mouth-watering anticipation of a large, juicy ear is almost too much to bear
By August the garden is brimming over with lush green vegetation and color is speckled everywhere, catching my eye in amazement
Red ripe tomatoes, cool green cukes, purple elongated eggplants and bell peppers in green, red and yellow
The zucchini has overtaken one corner and still demands to produce, but the family is tired of this eager squash and neighbors run when it's coming
And the sunflower sentries stand guard at each fence post and between
Warming their faces to the bright glowing sun, bringing smiles to everyone's faces
My garden is home, the place I want to be
It touches my heart and touches my soul
And fills me with joyous satisfaction.

The Hummingbird

Today's Picture, Poetry & Prose prompt is the following photo. I'm also using it for this week's Totally Optional Prompt.

(Photo by Jim Pankey "WildSpirit")

Suggested prompt...Offer a poem for this lovely photo.


Little hummingbird, you mean the return of spring to me
Hovering daintily over the honeysuckle vine
Dipping and weaving, soaring and floating
Frontwards or backwards you are full of energy I would love to harness
Seeking out nectar to fuel your course
You help to pollinate nature's beautiful world
Seeking out blossoms of red, orange, and bright pink
But many don't know you find nectar incomplete and supplement your ravenous diet with spiders and insects met along the way
Most people think you fly all day
But little hummingbird, I know the truth,
From watching you linger on the branch of a pine tree, or settled quietly in your nest, you spend far more time relaxing than flitting about
So welcome spring, welcome warmth
And welcome my dainty little hummingbird


One-Minute Writer - Indulge

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Indulge

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

My favorite guilty pleasure is eating a Hostess Ho-Ho - all that chocolaty, ooey, gooey goodness rolled into the perfect chocolate sponge cake ... OMG, I'm drooling on myself!

Since I can't have Ho-Hos every day, or every week, or even every month, I guess my next guilty pleasure would be ALL MY CHILDREN. No, not MY children - the soap opera ALL MY CHILDREN. I have been watching this soap opera since I was in high school, all of 5 years ago - okay, so it's been 30 years since my high school graduation, that will just be between you and me. Every afternoon when I get home from work, I fix a quick lunch and then settle in to catch an hour of my "friends" in Pine Valley.

Now that is a true guilty pleasure.


March Cafe Writing: Option Two - Fiction

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.
~James Douglas, from Down Shoe Lane

Using the above quotation as your inspiration, write a flash-fic, scene, or short story involving being alone in a garden.

(Early summer in my meadow garden, 3 years ago)


The meadow is my favorite place to be alone with my thoughts. Although it is only one acre of land - and positioned in my backyard - you would not think of this as a perfect spot, but to me it is.

From the first green life of early spring to the hot, dry days of spring, on into the golden days of autumn and the frigid cold nights of winter - my meadow is a place of solitude. Like Superman's Fortress of Solitude, I enter my meadow to rummage through my thoughts, take shape of my emotions and figure out my plans for the future.

For the past few years, I've neglected my poor little meadow - grief has overshadowed my every waking hour. But this year I have renewed hope and a renewed spirit for life, so I have grand ideas for a renewed garden.

However, upon closer inspection of my little meadow, I've noticed a curious thing. My meadow has gone on without me. Oh, it may not be as well-kept as when I'm lending a hand, but the plants have thrived and thrown themselves willy-nilly to the wind. What a wonderful surprise to see the daisies have multiplied, the asters are spreading, the sedum has grown large and the trees are persevering.

Maybe my little meadow doesn't need me as much as I need her; like my children, she has grown strong and wise. Maybe all my little meadow needs is a gentle, helping hand to lead her on the right path.

As I lounge under the fragrant blossoms of the apple trees, I marvel at the beauty of this little slice of heaven. Even in the early throes of spring, I can see the delicate architecture of Mother Nature's handiwork.


Saturday, April 11, 2009


March Cafe Writing: Option Four - Seven Things
Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.
~Lindley Karstens

In improvisation, one of our exercises is a game called “Seven Things,” in which we go around in a circle giving each other the challenge, “Give me seven things that [whatever].” We are not going to go around in a circle here, but if you’re drawn to lists, this prompt is for you. Give me seven of your favorite guilty pleasures. You’re not required to explain the items in your list, but it’s more fun for readers if you do.


1.) Playing hooky from work to enjoy my garden.

2.) Watching ALL MY CHILDREN every afternoon when getting home from work - preferably being able to watch it outdoors.

3.) Sitting under the shade tree in my meadow garden and reading a good book.

4.) Watching children play in the park and jotting down notes for a short story.

5.) Hostess Ho-Hos! I only allow myself to have these a few times a year, but OMG, they are heavenly!

6.) Laying under the stars with my honey on a warm summer night and searching for the constellations.

7.) Chasing fireflies (lightning bugs) through my meadow garden - on a warm night, their lights blink faster.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Evening With the Mountain Keepers

(Edited to add: this piece was published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday, April 13, 2009)

I posted this on my "Rants" blog, but it was such an important program, I wanted to share with as many people as possible.

After almost backing out due to anxiety (and all those of you with social anxiety know what I mean), my daughter and I attended UK's presentation of "An Evening With the Mountain Keepers." I had really been looking forward to this program, mainly, at first, because of Silas House, but after the program I left with an awareness and passion for the elimination of mountaintop removal.

(Photo by Vivian Stockman - is a picture of Kayford Mountain located 35 miles from Charleston, West Virginia, the State Capitol.)

This program was to bring awareness of the destruction - not only to mountains and property, but to personal lives and families - of coal retrival by mountaintop removal. Growing up in the Bluegrass region, I've read many books, essays and papers on the problems facing Appalachia, but I've always thought of it as a problem for others to worry about. I could not have been more wrong!

Erik Reece was the MC for the evening and he began by reading a brief passage from Lost Mountain, a book showing a year in the vanishing wilderness of radical strip mining the the devastation left in Appalachia. He highlighted ways engaged citizen writers have worked for decades to make disturbing environmental and social justice a forefront to the public eye.

Frank X Walker - founder and editor of Pluck! the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, a magazine whose mission is to continue extolling the Affrilachian aesthetic, “making the invisible visible” - read one of his poems, touching the true heart of Appalachia. Judy Sizemore read her original poem, "The Badlands of Kentucky" and George Ella Lyon (another favorite of mine) and Anne Shelby both read some of their original poetry.

(Photo from The Mountaintop Removal Road Show )

Dave Cooper brought us his Mountaintop Removal Road Show - a slide show highlighting the impacts of mountaintop removal on coalfield residents, communities and the environment, and features traditional Appalachian mountain music and shocking aerial photos of decapitated Appalachian mountains.

Public Outcry! - an anti-Mountaintop Removal acoustical artistic collaboration bringing together music, words and images to educate people about this extreme coal mining method - performed several songs.

(Photo by Herschel McKinley)

This group includes: Silas House, Jason Howard, Jessie Lynn Keltner, Kate Larken, George Ella Lyon and Anne Shelby. The name of there group was taken from a phrase by a congressional supporter of mountaintop removal, after killing a "Stream Killer Bill" for several years in a row. To paraphrase what this Congressman said, "This is not an important topic; there is no public outcry."

Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal is a wonderful new educational book by Silas House and Jason Howard, and they both read excerpts from the books, with Silas being the last speaker of the night.

(Photo by Herschel McKinley)

I bought this book before the program started, mainly because of Silas House, but after hearing these men speak, I was moved to tears. I read three chapters before nodding off to sleep last night.

There were several special moments of the night for me: meeting Silas House and Jason Howard (and having them sign my book), meeting Frank X Walker, Anne Shelby, and George Ella Lyon, and having Gurney Norman (KY's new Poet Laureate) sit right in front of me!

But the highlight of the night for me was a man I knew nothing about before last night. Larry Gibson is a West Virginia activist who has been fighting coal and mountaintop removal for the majority of his life.

(Photo by Herschel McKinley)

He has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and People Magazine and he travels all over the United States trying to educate people about the devastation coal removal brings to communities, lives, nature and wildlife. Keeper of the Mountains Foundation was created to help fund Larry's efforts to preserve and foster the values of mountain culture. I could have listened to this man talk all night, he was that powerful. I was moved to laughter and I was moved to tears, but most importantly I was moved to action.

Do you still think the "little people" don't have a voice concerning mountaintop removal? These folk are here to provide otherwise. Call your congressmen and women, call your legislators, call the governors of Appalachia, call President Obama. As a point of reference, since taking office in January 2009, the Obama administration has already launched a crackdown on mountaintop removal by moving to delay or block mining permits damaging Appalachian communities and ecosystems.