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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Look To The Past ...Life In The Present and Hope For The Future

I often find myself enjoying old photos I have taken many years ago.  I look at the faces that were so young and realize how much time has passed.

I look in the mirror and am amazed at what I see.  There are times no matter what the face looks like that gazes back from that mirror appears to be in age, there is a child still in there looking out too.

The train rolls on and so does time.  Many years ago we went on a family vacation.  One of  the things I enjoyed was riding on as real old time steam engine.  There is a place in northern Ark where you can ride the train that is now used to give tourist the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and feelings from the past and occasionally when they make certain movies.  I believe the old steam engine is now retired and they have another train to take you on a ride to the past with sights and sounds of beauty riding through the beautiful hills.  I think this is the place

My parents had given me a camera and as a child and explained to only take special pictures and make each one the best that you can.  I understand now it is to help prevent me from taking every and any picture I could click and later they pay to develop pictures of floors and other strange things.

The years had passed, but I still had the little camera and used it to take many memorable pictures for me and my family.  This trip was filled with wonderful moments shared with not only my children but parents and Grandfather.  He was an amazing man of heart, soul, and a gift of sharing with others.  Riding on an old fashioned steam engine train brought back memories for him and he began to share the tales from the past.  They had a man who told interesting facts about many things including the train. 

The shock and amazement on his face would have made a fantastic picture but I was shocked at the same time.  He slid his hand down touching the ornate bracket on the seat, asked me to stand for a moment and like magic the seat back rotated to face the opposite direction.  I thought he had broken the antique seat as did the tour narrator judging by the expression on his face.

Grandpa laughed and explained that many of the runs went from town to town and back in those days.  They did not want to try to turn every car around for the return trip and the people would not want to all ride facing backwards.  Many runs when to the end of their run and then at a train yard and the engine was moved to the other end of the train.  It was ready to go the opposite direction.  The hinged seats were the answer.  He went on to explain about many things he remembered as a very young child.  Everyone in the passenger car listened and was smiling as he shared the memories of the past.  You could almost see the little boy who had gone with his father who was the conductor.  He not only knew of those times so long ago but had lived some of them and heard others from his father.

It was a day filled with wonder and shared memories.  Of all the pictures this is one that I would like to share.  At one point I went to the back of the train and stood on the little area at the back of the caboose.  I took my picture as the track faded into the distance.  I could almost hear and feel the time fade into the past and heard the echoes of the stories I had heard from my grandfather and great-grandfather.  At that moment I felt as if I could look into the past as I was carried to the future.

We learn as we live.  We learn many things even when we do not realize and memories are made to be recalled if possible as needed or desired.  There are those special moments shared with loved ones such as a magic moment on the beach or the sight of a sunset that lights the evening sky ablaze with colors.  We see the laughter and smiles of family and friends. 

We have challenging moments as we learn new things or attempt new projects.  Children often think they learn when they go to school but every day we live is a learning experience.  It is what we do with what we have learned that can make such a difference.  I am trying to make a difference.  I do not know if my simple words or books will find their way to reach out or what others will think of them, but I am trying.  I am trying to learn everyday many new things and treasure each day as a gift.

I do not really want to forget the past.  There have been wonderful times and times that made me cry.  There have been times of great hope and wonder and times of fear and depression.  There have been times when life seemed so bright and unending and times I feared if I would see the new day dawn.  There were times in my life. I want to have the courage to stand up and not just be alive but really live my life and reach out to others.  I have said I would not give up...not today.  I want to continue that thought. 

I wrote a book with the same words in the title.     This is not a book I wanted to write.  This is the paperback

This is my painting I used to make the cover for the paperback and the ebook.

I felt compelled to write this book. To explain exactly why I wrote it I would find it difficult to fully explain.  I felt compelled to write it.  I did not feel it would be beneficial or therapeutic to or for me.  I knew before I started how difficult it could be.... would be.  Some of the things I was going to tell about had never had words to tell for many years.  Some things I could not remember at all.....  Oh, I have to tell you....  I remembered when I began to write.  I had memories I did not know were even there flood over me so intense it was as if I was reliving the moment.  I was telling of an especially difficult time in life when I was in a head on collision.  I remembered most of it.  I thought I had, but what happened as I typed still haunts me.

I do not know if you have ever been in a very traumatic situation but we have a way of protecting ourselves from things that are more than we can tolerate at the moment.  When I was in the hospital I complained to the doctor that I could remember so little of what had happened to me.  He told me it was a blessing.  He said it might be better if I never remembered.  I worked and tried and even demanded to see the records hoping my memory would return.  I felt so frustrated that I could not recall my own life.  I remembered bits and pieces and had enough to do to try to live and recover and life does go on.  Can you imagine what it is like to wake up and not even recognize the face in the mirror?  It looked like a monster with my eyes.

Little by little some little thing in every day life would stimulate a memory but it would be brief and fleeting.  The mind is an amazing thing,and I think the good Lord does not give us more than we can stand.  I remembered we were cooking out in the back yard with family and friends.  We needed something at the store and had an accident on the way.  As we came up from a side road the brakes went out and we went out onto a 4 lane highway with traffic.  Trying to turn to avoid it put us head on and I was in the passenger seat.  My daughter was driving and bless her heart, she tried her best...but............

I remember hearing voices.......the paramedic.........they said, "bleed out and may not make it."  I remembered the ER and realizing they were sewing on my face...a lot.  I drifted away.  There was one voice that reach out to the beyond I had gone to.  The voice of my husband telling me, "I love you and I need you.  I know you can hear me.  Don't leave me.  I love you" is the voice I heard.  I could not hear the doctor or others in the room.  I heard his voice calling me back.

I had accepted there were things that I could not remember and maybe should not remember.  They were not necessary to help me go forward in the future.  Why in the world would I ever consider writing a true story of my life or parts of it? My life is not over so the story is not ended.

Well, now that is a question.  I did not want to.  To write what I did,is like opening your heart and soul for the world to not only see,but have the opportunity to express their opinions for good or not.  Everyone has an opinion but this was not just a story I had worked very hard to create or a project I had worked to present.  This really was me.  No matter how hard you try there is always room for improvement.  There are those who view things differently and do not hesitate to voice that opinion or view.  I felt as if I was baring my soul to the unknown.

What intensified this feeling and emotions surrounding what I had written, is the thought that I had suffered this risk and done this work to offer something I had no idea if it would be what I had intended it to be.  How in the world would I ever find words to share feelings, memories, heart, soul and things so intense I could not even talk about them?

I do not know if I accomplished any of that but feel a sense of peace after hearing the emails, messages, and comments and reviews.  I do not use the word accomplishment because what and why I wrote it had nothing to do with writing a book to sell.

I felt compelled to write this book.  The intent I had was to be able to reach out to others with the idea that no matter how difficult life may become, it is precious and we should never give up.  Things may seem to be at their worst with no hope they will ever work out but we do not know the future.  There may be amazing things just ahead for us if we just do not give up...not today.  If we do that every day we have a tomorrow.

I wanted to find a way to find words that could reach out from the page with heart and soul, feelings and emotions.  I felt as if this was not something I wanted to do but was required to do or had to do.  There is a whole story behind that phrase too.  What are we required to do in life?

I knew it would be difficult to write these things but as I began to find words and type something happened to me.  Something so intense and real that tears streamed down my face as I sat here alone typing.  I remembered.  I did not write it all.  I wrote enough.  I remembered my face and head hitting the windshield and smashing through pushing the glass in broken little squares out in a round ball shape.  I remembered the car spinning and hitting it again and again but those time it raked my face over the broken glass.  The doctor was right.  That was something I did not need to remember but I am stronger now.  I still cried like a baby and felt as if I could not breathe.

Memories can be wonderful and comforting.  Memories can be things we learn from.  Memories can be a pain that takes all the effort we have to face and endure let alone grow and be stronger having survived.  Memories are amazing things.  Memories are many things to many people.

This book is filled with more than just the bad or traumatic times in life.  I tried to write real life.  There is no way I can tell you in this one little blog what it took 130 pages to tell.  I wanted to write a book that might be able to do more than entertain.  I wanted to make a difference and risked what ever might come from it.

I had written Journey Home.  It is a novel filled with mystery, suspense, romance, intrigue and so much more.  I worked not for a time but for years to make it the best that it could be.  I was not satisfied.  I thought it need more than I could give it so I went to school.  I was the only grandma in class but taking advanced writing classes at ASU.  I did not care if I passed or failed if I could learn.  I should not tell you this because it sounds so much like blowing my own horn,but I worked so hard to learn so many new things.  I was not even a freshman with other students (some already had degrees) on the deans list in many instances and some already published authors.  I felt so outclassed.  Who was I to think I could work in class with them?  I was just me and would do my best.  Maybe I should not tell you that I got a 4.0 in that class and the next that was the highest level of study they had at the time.  My name at that time was Linda Brown.

Journey Home was 550 or more pages.  I think it was closer to 600 to start.  I totally rewrote the book.  It is now 480 pages that I am very proud of and think would make a great movie.  Now that is something I bet you have never heard.  I think every author believes their book would make a great movie and many of them really would.

When it came time to publish the book I did not have the money for professional help so I needed to learn new things and do new things.  I needed a cover.  I started painting pictures.  The one I chose for the book was one that I had done years before for my father inlaw before he passed.  It was a painting many people had loved through the years as they visited and saw it on his wall.  Each thought different things about the path and where it would lead.  It is not a complicated painting.  If you look at it, where do you feel it would take you?  Every book has an exact print of my painting as well as a story I hope you will not soon forget.  It has an ending that so far no one has claimed to see coming.  you can get a copy from createspace too at

I did a free book promotion and hoped others would find and read it.  I read the 5 star reviews and it almost brought tears of joy.  By now you may think I am really a weepy person but I am not.  The reviews and the thought that others took the time to read and then write reviews touched me so much.

Then came the 1 star review.  I could not believe how vicious it was saying it was so bad they could not even finish it.  There were no redeeming factors and such poorly written and edited....and so on.

Everyone has an opinion.  The world would read that one as they posted it everywhere.  I never claimed to be an expert or perfect.  I have stated that I could not afford professional help but I still believe in the other reviewers and my own thoughts.  So far no one has seen the ending coming.  I have read books that I did really enjoy but knew who, what, and where the end would work around to.  I wanted to take the reader with the characters to be there, see there, feel and hear and go right to the end with the story to carry them through.

I Will Not Give Up... Not Today... Life Is A Journey is different in many ways from my fiction.  I did not even try to edit the book.  I did not want to edit it and work to develop and create and present it for the reader to be entertained.  I wanted it to be real.  I wanted it to be straight from the heart and soul.  I have not even reread it since it has been published.  It is.  It is real.  It is me.  I know there are grammatical and punctuation errors but there were times as I typed there was no way to punctuate and create a proper sentence.  It is not a sentence.  It is a feeling, memory, or even emotion and was written directly into the book and is the book. 

I talk about the books in a blog about memories.  We write from what we know, have learned or experienced.  What we write may be fiction and purely a figment of the imagination but there may have been times in our lives that we have learned or experienced things that provide the information or ability to develop and tell a story.

One of the short stories in A Tale To Tell is an old woman.  Watch What You Wish For is a story of an old woman who once wished she was dead.  What is it like for your heart to stop and you have an experience that takes you to another place?  If you die and come back...could you find the words to tell?  It is a fictional story.  There is no little old lady feeding the birds in the park.  How did I think of such a story?  I know how she feels.  I remember that too.  I want my stories to be real in many ways even if they are only fiction they should be the best fiction I can write.  I want to take you there too.

Another short story in that book in paperback and also at is The Midnight Hour.  It is a ghost story as are all of the stories in this book but it also deals with the issues of peer pressure.  As we get older we may forget memories of such a thing and now important it seemed at the time.  What if you felt compelled to do something you did not want to do and you believed was wrong but it was the only way to fit in and be accepted?  Would you do it?  If it was at The Midnight Hour in a cemetery that was to be might need to think again.
This is the painting I used that I had done for that books cover.

I know I have talked at length about my books and things that I write but those things are important to me.  They really are more than just a story in a book or a tale to tell.  They are each and everyone special to me.  Memories help to inspire and give me a realistic presentation in the stories.

I can sit and think back.  My little grandson can not imagine me as a young woman let alone a small child.  I had my day too though.  I could run and play and laugh and was filled with life.

As I grew older I went to school and the years passed.  Now I look back and it seems as if time is moving faster and faster.  That was a life time ago and then again it was only a blink of the eye.

I could walk, run, play, and even dance and felt the strength of youth or at least younger years.

Health issues and immobility, steroids and other things not only kept me alive but accelerated extreme weight gain.

I know we should love ourselves but I do not.  I hate the body I am trapped in.  I hate the appearance I have to others.  Here I am, a fat, old lady that walks funny.  (when I can walk) 

A time of choices.  I can feel sorry that life has brought me to this point or rejoice that I am alive.  There are so many things that I can do and will do.  There are many forms of prejudices.  When people meet a person who is extremely obese they do not always think of what may have contributed to this condition.  They may not and often do not care.  All they see is a fat looser who is lazy and worthless.  That may sound harsh but it is real.  Not all people are like that, thank goodness.  The bottom line is everyone has their own thoughts and I will not limit my life to people with small minds.

It still is intimidating to go out into the public view and stand strong or sit.... and hold my head what I have in my heart to do...not give up and BE Me.

I am.  I am here.  I am not giving up and more than that, I want to help others to discover they can do more than they ever dreamed if they are willing to work really hard and not give up.

I started a writers group that I have already written about in another blog.  It explains the name of the group and what all it took to make this a reality.  It has been a wonderful experience.  It is not a large group.  You do not have to pay money, sign up or make a commitment.  All you have to do is have an interest in writing, publishing or any other thing related to books and be willing to help others.

We have had fun and learned so much.  I now have 5 books out in print and 4 ebooks.  To hold one of my books, let alone all of them in my hands, still gives me a thrill.  I hope others can make their dreams come true no matter what they are.  Every one of my books is a piece of my art with my writing.  Paintings, pastels, and a photo create the covers for the books within.

I have talked about some really traumatic memories and painful but there are others there too.  There are memories I have that warm the heart and make me smile.  There are memories of love and compassion, nature, special times, family and friends and heart.

All of these things work together to allow and enable me to write as I do and what I do.  All of these things help to make me who and what I am.  I am not giving up...not today.  I will close for now.  I may not write often but when I do I am sharing from the heart.  I want to say one last thing.  I wish you all a fantastic day and may you best and brightest hopes and dreams come true.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dance Me Home By Carol Dabney

I knew when I started to read Dance Me Home, I would want to write a review and maybe even a blog.  When I finished reading Dance Me Home by Carol Dabney, I found a rare occurrence of having no words.  From the first page of the book I was swept into a story filled with the passions of life, told in such a beautiful and flowing manner allowing the author to share not only a story, but allow the reader to know and feel and see what things were like for so many people so many years ago.  This book is so much more than a simple memoir or biography.  This is a book that does more than tell history of times and people as it gives an in depth and intimate glimpse of life from different times in history and places near and far. 

It is the story of her father and the times of his life and the lives around him.  It is more than that as it reveals the many issues, and not just the consequences good and bad, but the intense emotions as exhibits insight to reveals heart and soul of the people and times.  She does not tell the history as the story develops.  She reveals it and it too is part of the story as the times of our lives are a part of our own story of life.

The struggle a man faces with post traumatic stress and alcoholism becomes a challenge that could have destroyed his life and the family.  His unending love for his wife and family give him the strength to find recovery and renewed enthusiasm sharing love and making memories with his family after his discovery of his Christian faith.

This story was such a delight to read as it not only holds the readers interest, it carries you to times and places and people sharing heart.  This is a beautiful story told in an honest and sincere manner presenting not only the joys and successes experienced but also the difficult, painful, and hurtful times and how they did more than survive in life.  They shared the love of family and grew together leaving behind something special to remember and share.  It shows a love that did not end. Carol's father fell in love with Wanda and wanted to dance and hold her in his arms.  During the most difficult times in the war this young man dreamed of that dance and it was what helped to carry him through until he could go home... Dance Me Home.  They had their dance in life and one day will dance together again.

The song she wrote for this has a story of it's own. 

There are mystery and suspence stories filled with intrigue that hold the reader to the edge of their seat wanting to read more.  There are stories filled with page after page of drama and violence or other topics to have impact.  This is a story so different from any I have read before as it gives a depth and sincerity to so many issues and circumstances written in a way that carries the reader to the people, places, and times.   You don't just read this story, you feel this story.  It carries you with it and lets you become a part of it.  I will not go into the actual story line because I know as I write this I could never present the story in Dance Me Home to equal the actual story.  This is one book you will not want to miss and will not want to put down.

From the very first page to the last word on the last page, I felt such pleasure and interest I could not put this book down.  As I read the last of the book emotion filled me as with a tear I could visualize Dance Me Home. 

I would like to share some information about the author. 

The photos in this album show an amazing adventure a young woman has made with her music and those she met along the way.     and

Carol Dabney is an author, musical composer, vocalist and artist from Arkansas and a mother of five.

Carol studied Italian Opera at age 16 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and was “Miss Arkansas Teen” during the Bicentennial year, winning the National talent Award.

Carol recorded her first 45 lp record in Nashville Tenn at age 17. Carol has such talent and a voice that can carry more than a tune as the emotion of her music carries to all who hear.

She was invited to sing the National Anthem at the White House and sang for President Bill Clinton when he was running for Govenor of Arkansas.

 Carol lived in Hawaii for 15 years and recorded with Paradise Records in Honolulu. Carol was a disc jockey for KFSH Christian Radio Station in Hilo Hawaii. She has been a choir director and resource teacher.   and

Carol shares the story about her daughter Lieutenant Melissa Dabney and her grandson Noah on her book Military Mommy.  She accompanied her daughter and grandson to their first duty station at Schofield Army Barracks and learned first hand about Army life.  She made a pictorial journal which became the inspiration for the book.  It is a wonderful book written from the point of view of the child and deals with such issues as separation, relocation and feelings our little ones may have.    Picture of You" music copyright by Carol Dabney, words and music
Dedicated to the Military men and women serving America

Carol now shares her children’s book around the country having traveled from Memphis, Tennesse to the Hawaiian Islands. She speaks and sings with her ukulele at schools, libraries and civic clubs. Carol continues to write music and various articles, stories and poems.

Carol has a collection of paintings she has done as well and us illustrating another of her children's books.

Carol is a woman of such talent, ability, versatility and an enthusiasm for life.  She is a person who excels in so many ways.  Carol is a person who reaches out to others with compassion, care and sincerity.  You can feel these things in her music, writing, art and with each of the many lives she touches. 

Carol is a member of the Linda Nance NEA Writers Group in Jonesboro, Ar.  Her inspiration and insight have helped so many.  There is something special in Carol and she shares it with all around her.

This is only some of the wonderful art she creates...


Share her photo album and see some special events and a way to know Carol a little better.

These are only a few of the sites where you can find more info and things available from Carol

books and music on Amazon

News articles

song b
Before You Go
music on amazon

Frans goodreads review of military mommy