Archive for December, 2013

A WISH FOR HAPPINESS…

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

I want to wish all of you good health, happiness and inner peace during this holiday season and into the New Year. Jesus told us that happiness is being aware of our spiritual need. If we have a relationship with our Creator that is growing stronger every day, then we can overcome any problem or challenge that may come our way.

Yes, life is unfair. People leave this planet far too soon, and many suffer from untold diseases and conditions. There is war, crime and inhumanity all around us, but “this, too, shall pass.” The Bible promises us, not only a better world, but a paradise that will be brought on by Armageddon in the future. The dead will be resurrected, and old age will be no more. We will live forever in the freshness of our youth. It is all in the Bible. Biblically, we are living deep in the end of this system of things. It will not be that long before these wonderful things come to pass.

Right now, when you are lonely, join your friends and relatives. Pray to God. He hears all our prayers and helps us. Study the Bible and have faith.

If you have few friends and little family, make it your goal for 2014 to make new friends. Join organizations, take courses and become more a part of things. Get help if you feel you need it in studying the Bible. I know I needed help in order to understand the Bible as I read it. It is the best seller of all time, but it is difficult to understand sometimes.

Remember that hope reigns triumphant all over this planet. Also, know that you are never alone. God is all around us, as are the angels…millions or more of them. Jesus is our King. All this is supported by the Bible.

Also, love yourself and others because “God is love.” (1 John 4:8).

Find happiness in each day, regardless of your situation. God is in nature, in the eyes of children, in the love of your parents, other family members, friends, those who would proverbially take the shirt off their backs to help you because they love humanity. Look for the positive in life, and you will find it. Seek the light and reject the darkness. If you do all these things, you will exult in living even in this imperfect system of things, and you will find incredible joy in anticipating the world to come that God has promised us.

My very best wishes for a season of joy and a very happy and healthy 2014!

Cheryl

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM “THE WACKY WORLD OF WINNIE AND WILLIE”

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

I genuinely love this book, probably because it is so autobiographical. It elicits wonderful memories of my family, friends and me during the summertime in the magnificent 1950’s when I was a sweet and innocent little girl in my favorite place of all: Rockaway Beach, Queens, (where I was a block away from the beach and went swimming every day that was deemed a beach day by my mom.)

Of course, there are sad moments, too, in the novel since life is filled with ups and downs. Only when you are not even a teen-ager yet, you seem to adjust better to the challenges, perhaps because you don’t really know the seriousness of what is happening to you. At least, I didn’t. I was kind of na├»ve, but then again I was a child, and a lot of serious stuff rolled off my back.

Let’s take a look at the rooming house as it was back in the 1950s, the setting of the novel. In my memory it was a colossal building, huge and resplendent, but I have a feeling it was much smaller in actuality than it is in my memory. I can’t go back to compare because the building was demolished in the 1960’s as part of an urban redevelopment program of sorts. Watch how I describe it in the novel.

“The most distinguished rooming house on Beach 63rd Street was home to my extended family and me every July and August. It was a huge white building with three stories and an unfinished basement. Two white columns up front gave the building a regal look, but I’m convinced that Grandma Essie’s vibrant geraniums, which grew out of circular flower pots on each side of the porch, made this house our home.”

I know that there is a great deal of love in the above description, but still, the old house did have a dignity and majesty of its own, even if some of my memories are rose-colored.

At the beginning of the novel, I describe how the protagonist, Winnie Scharf, got lost on the beach at the age of three. Yes, as you must have guessed, I, too, suffered the same fate. The way I described Winnie’s frightening adventure is pretty much the way I remember the real story of my leaving my father, (who was supposed to be watching me carefully), and exploring the beach and people around me.

“One of the first things I remember is a Wednesday morning in August of 1947 when, at three years of age, I went to the beach with my dad. Dad had taken a vacation day because of the hot weather. Mom was cleaning the room, washing the breakfast dishes and doing the laundry while Gloria was going to the movies with Susie, the granddaughter of the owner of the rooming house across the street, and Susie’s mom, Mrs. Weiss. So it was just Dad, me, and, of course, his newspaper, turned to the sports section.

“…On that particular sunny August morning, I was restless and wanted to be entertained. On the other hand, Dad pretty much wanted to be left alone to his reading. We had reached an impasse.

“That was about the time when I decided to take a walk to explore the beach. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I’d walk over to the boardwalk, look around and come back. Why not? Dad hadn’t looked at me since he put me in my little beach chair and gave me my yellow beach pail.

“Fill it up with sand,” Dad had said, “and later, we’ll go into the water.” Then, he had started to read the paper. When he hadn’t looked at me for a few minutes, I decided it was time to go.”

Do you wonder what happened next? A three-year-old walking alone on a crowded, hot beach in the beginning of August? Tomorrow you will find out. It may surprise you…

Enjoy the rest of the evening. Until the next post,

Cheryl

“The Wacky World of Winnie and Willie”

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

One of my favorite novels is entitled “The Wacky World of Winnie and Willie.” Why “wacky?” Well, today’s world is rather insane, and my father loved to use the word, “wacky.” That makes it a perfect choice for me.

Whatever the reason for the catchy title, the novel captures a great part of my childhood. It may not be an autobiography, but in many ways it is autobiographical.

Some of my most special memories revolve around the summer rooming house, owned by my grandparents in the 1950’s when I was a young girl. Those were the days when I didn’t wake up with anxiety…when the world seemed to be full of only positives and infinite possibilities. Yes, those were the days when my immediate family were all alive and healthy, and my first love was waiting out there in the future for me to grow up, meet him and fall in love. Those were the times when I lived the happiness I only dream about now. Aren’t all of those moments in time wonderful reasons for first remembering and then writing a novel?

Rockaway back then was not a paradise, of course, but everything in life is relative…so, to me, a pre-teen, it was just that. Every day was filled with limitless options and confidence strong enough to believe that there was nothing I could not accomplish if I just tried hard enough. Just remembering the way my heart soared when I awoke and got ready to start a new day fills me with an indefinable joy even now. The memories produce a kind of hope that brings smile to my face on even a dull and disappointing day.

As I share with you the memories that became part of this delightful coming-of-age novel, I know that you will take the time to “suspend all disbelief” and become a part of the past that I describe. If you can do that, you will enjoy the next few posts and understand why I treasure the memories of my youth so much that I modeled a novel after them.

Until the next post,

Cheryl

A WISH FOR ALL OF YOU

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

I want all of you who are affected by the snowstorm that is bombarding a good part of the country to be extra careful when driving and walking until even the secondary roads are shoveled and clear. I have been told that the main roads are adequate, but you have to exercise caution on even the best plowed highways. On the side streets, there will probably be many walkways with ice and sleet underneath the snow. So drive and walk slowly and carefully. The old saying is still true: “The life you save may be your own” or, if I may add, that of someone you love. And certainly, if you are a spiritual person, the life of a complete stranger should be sacred, too.

Also, at this time of the year, many people tend to get depressed and feel alone. People get very sentimental and emotional, remembering loved ones who have died or obsessing about negative things in their lives. Remember that one’s religion should be a source of spiritual comfort. Whatever your religion, remember that God loves us all and has promised us everlasting life in His Kingdom one day. Allow that message to pervade your heart in place of any negative thoughts. Remember that you will see loved ones again in the Resurrection in God’s Kingdom. If possible, think of others who are less fortunate than you and try to help them. There is no greater antidote for depression than reaching out to others who need you and are less fortunate.

Read the Bible every day. There are many Scriptures that can catapult you right out of your depression with their beautiful and very real promises of the Hope of everlasting life. There are many wonderful prophecies that have not yet unfolded, but will soon. Start reading the Bible if you are not yet a regular Bible reader. If it is difficult at first, then begin with the Psalms and Proverbs. The Gospels would be another very clearly-written, yet deep and moving part to begin your reading.

I would also recommend seeing upbuilding movies. One prime example is “It’s A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The main character, George Bailey, is disgusted with his life when everything he has worked for seems to be futile, and he is in danger of losing what he values most. However, when his guardian angel, Clarence, temporarily gives him his wish of never having been born, George learns just how valuable he really is, and how his life has affected so many others in endless ways. The movie hits home a crucial point. We are all unique and very special. Without our being born, there would be a void in the life of those we love and who love us. So remember how important you are when you begin to feel depressed. Learn to value yourself the way God does as well as your friends and relatives.

Finally, remember that there is nothing like the power of prayer. Praying strengthens our faith, and love alleviates all problems. After all, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8).

My next post will be about my young adult novel, “The Wacky World of Winnie and Willie.” I thought that today’s message was more important in light of the snow and the depression that some of us feel during the holidays. Until the next post,

Cheryl

A FEW MORE WORDS ABOUT A VERY SPECIAL NOVEL…

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Caryn goes through many encouraging and strengthening experiences at the phobia clinic. She has her own personal therapist, as mentioned in the last post. She makes gradual progress and begins to connect emotionally more and more with her teacher, Miss Walsh.

Her parents begin to understand the turmoil that Caryn is going through and, for the most part, are a source of encouragement. But the hard work has to be done by Caryn herself if she wants to keep improving.

I am sure that you will be surprised at the twists and turns at the conclusion of the novel. Most of all, you will learn a great deal about agoraphobia and panic attacks, which will enable you to be better able to have compassion and understanding towards others who are afflicted with these problems. Maybe, one day you will be instrumental in directing a person who is suffering from one of these conditions to those who can help him or her.

I believe that you will gain a great deal from reading this novel, and I truly hope that you will buy a copy and embark upon an important journey towards better understanding aspects of yourself and others, for all of us at one time or another have experienced panic and irrational fears.

In the next post I will start to review another favorite novel of mine, “The Wacky World of Winnie and Willie.” Until the next post,

Cheryl

It Has Been A While, Friends…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The song says, “Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow,” but I’m really glad that it finally stopped and the accumulation here in New York city was only about two inches. Being retired, I didn’t have to leave the house, but I was not happy to cancel a chiropractic appointment that I really needed. Oh, well, there is always next week. (I hope there won’t be any big or even little storms next Tuesday.)

I am ready to continue now with my review of my novel, “Counter-Attack.” At this point, Caryn has the green light to proceed with therapy for her agoraphobia. Her father was against it at first, but after Miss Walsh’s eloquent speech, he seems to have caved in.

The question is what kind of therapy would be best for Caryn. We see later in the novel that she has both individual therapy and group therapy at a phobic center on Long Island. Below, I will quote from the novel as I describe for the reader what the first session is like. I will give you a few excerpts from the chapter.

Caryn asks her therapist, Mrs. K., an important question at one of her individual sessions.

“Exactly what will my therapy consist of?” I asked.

“Weekly sessions here with me as long as you need them, and a simultaneous ten-week program at the phobia clinic that I run at the University downtown. Your first session there will be next Tuesday evening. It will be a combination of discussion and lecture. supervised by me, but actually operated by a group of my therapists, one of whom will be working with you personally. Her name is Elise Meyers, and she is a twenty-five year-old graduate student in psychology. She is a former agoraphobic herself.”

“Then some agoraphobics actually get cured?” I asked.

“Some do, Caryn, but there are setbacks, but with great effort, determination and a lot of hard work, I think we can lick this thing. How do you feel about it?”

“I’m going to try.”

Now we are fast-forwarding to the first day that Caryn attends her phobic group.

“The phobic clinic was located on the second floor of the outpatient psychiatric wing of the University. It wasn’t a particularly impressive suite of rooms, I thought. The walls were a baby blue and the wall-to-wall carpeting was a thick blue tweed shag. As you walked in, there was a vestibule with a small closet on the left for the patients’ coats and an umbrella stand on the right. Then there was a narrows hallway also on your right, which led to the waiting room. On the left was a closed door, which I assumed sas the group therapy room.

“Dad had volunteered to take me each week to the phobia clinic since Mom was already driving me to my private therapy sessions. However, he had been quiet all the way over here. I would have felt better if he had been in one of his talkative moods.

“Anyway, once we got into the waiting room and took a seat, he opened up a little. “Try not to be nervous,” he said, giving my arm a squeeze. “It’s going to be a piece of cake.”

In the next blog, you will learn more about the phobia sessions, and you will see some of the progress that Caryn makes.

Until the next post,
Cheryl

Hello Again!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

I am sorry that I haven’t been able to blog during the last week. It has been a really hectic time for me, and I probably won’t get back to my writing schedule for another day or two. So I do ask you to be patient because I do intend to write daily posts again. If I don’t there will certainly be a good reason.

I am planning on reviewing all of my books and providing excerpts of each. That way you will be able to familiarize yourselves with my writing style and my choice of subjects and themes.

I hope that you had an enjoyable weekend and that your bodies and hearts were filled with good food and wonderful companionship.

In the next day or two you will hear from me again as I resume my regular blogging.

Until then, I wish you all the best of everything,

Cheryl