Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Award

     Evangeline at An Odd Blog nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you! This is also my second time receiving this nomination : )

What do you think are the 3 best things about yourself?
     - I'm a good writer, I'm good with children and I enjoy getting to know people.

Who are the 5 people that have influenced you the most (good or bad)?
     - My parents, my great-grandmother, Brigitte Gabriel and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 

How would you describe yourself (personality or appearance)?
     - Quiet, small, creative, dark brown almond shaped eyes and perfect teeth.

How would a family member or friend describe you? 
     - sensible, literal, curious

What's your favorite childhood book?
     - The Elsie Dinsmore series

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
     - Emilia Clarke 

If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?
     - Izzy

What TV show or movie feels like a favorite old sweater (you know what I mean. It's all cozy and familier. You get a happy little smile whenever you wear it)?
     - The Road to Avonlea. I love that show!!! Lots of great memories!

Night-owl or Morning-Human?
     - Night-owl

Which of the seven dwarves do you most relate to (this is the most important question of them all)?
     - Bashful : )

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Kennedys and After Camelot

     My fascination in the Kennedy family started sometime between 2006 and 2007. My family had been watching a movie about Jackie, Ethel and Joan Kennedy that was based on a book. I became interested in the book and got it from the library. From that time on I became a lover of the Kennedy family. Because I'm also a royalist, I really did see (and still believe) that the Kennedys' were the royalty of America. They were the paragon of the American Dream. They were wealthy, beautiful, plagued with scandal and heartbreak, but also bound together by intense family loyalty and love. Definitely sounds like most royal families. 

     JFK's presidency was considered a new golden age of America commonly referred to as Camelot. They who came from nothing and changed the world through strength, deceit, power and at times God himself. It was a small and brief period of time, but it was a time between the end of the innocent 50's and the beginning of the savage 60's that brought peace, prosperity and pride to America.

~ ~ ~

The Kennedys (2011)

     Starting on election day in 1960, the very large and always lively Kennedy family are on pins and needles at the prospect of getting John F. Kennedy into the white house. He would be the youngest president in history as well as the first Roman Catholic. Joseph P. Kennedy Senior the ambitious and power hungry patriarch has complete confidence in his son's victory, but will leave nothing up to chance. Joe has been grooming John (or Jack as everyone calls him) for the presidency since his older brother was killed in WWII. Now, Jack must take on the political mantel that his father had originally created for his brother and is unsure if he has the capability to do what needs to be done.

     Jack and Jackie Kennedy: While Jack and Jackie are in love, their relationship is shaken with Jack's consistent philandering and affairs. This lifestyle is not unusual in the Kennedy family (or in the Roman Catholic church) and Jackie is simply told to turn a blind eye. She gave up a promising photo journalist career to marry Jack but she truly didn't know what she was getting herself into. And life becomes even more difficult when she becomes First Lady of the United States.

     Jack adores his wife as well as his two small children, but the duties as President begins to wear on him quickly. Whether it's Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement, a cabinet the questions his every move, a vice president who despises him and a father he can never seem to please. Every moment of Jack's life is under constant scrutiny and criticism. 

     However, in the midst of all the political turmoil, his wife Jackie remains ever by his side in the darkest moments of his presidency. She does her duty as a good Catholic wife and the noble First Lady, but in her heart she stays because she still loves him even with all of his faults and flaws. Jackie still sees a man capable of leadership and will not stand by as the world tries to tell him otherwise. 

    Bobby and Ethel Kennedy: Robert F. Kennedy who is known as Bobby is a brilliant, but outspoken lawyer, a faithful husband and a loving father to an ever growing brood of children. His wife, Ethel, is ambitious with possible future dreams of the White House, but now contents herself with her husband as the attorney general, a position Bobby did not want. Bobby and Ethel's marriage is the polar opposite of Jack and Jackie's. There is genuine faith and commitment that binds them together. However, the White House can cast a wide shadow and both find themselves lost in the political warfare, family secrets and enemy fire. 

     Joe and Rose Kennedy: Two very different people whose only similar interest is in their love for their nine children. Joe Kennedy is one of the wealthiest men in America as well as a man with a natural taste for infidelity, His long-suffering but iron willed wife, Rose, has born her husband's indiscretions through raising her children and her devotion to God, Yet, Joe's desire for power and position comes at many heavy costs. One cost so painful that Rose is unable to speak of the tragedy to anyone, but has faith that one day her husband would come to pay for the sins of his selfishness and greed.

~ ~ ~

The Kennedys: After Camelot (2017)

     Jackie Kennedy has had enough of death and pain. First her husband who was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963 and then her brother-in-law Bobby who was shot in 1968 and died shortly afterwards. She wants to take her children and raise them in safety and privacy. Jackie gets that opportunity when she meets Aristotle Onassis, a Greek tycoon who can provide her a life of safety and wealth with no fears from the outside world. Jackie agrees to marry him, but still her heart is with the Kennedy's' and no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape them.

     Time and again Jackie is brought back to deal with multiple family issues. Primarily Ted Kennedy's scandal involving the death of a young girl that became known as the Chappaquiddick Incident. Happening only months after Bobby's death, a scandal from the youngest Kennedy (and last brother) is the last thing the family needs. However, being a Kennedy can cover a multitude of sins and the family shamelessly manages to manipulate the church and the media to clear Ted's name. 

     No one has had it worse with Ted then his own wife, Joan. Beautiful, but shy and withdrawn, Joan finds herself lost within the Kennedy family and her heart broken over and over because of Ted's extramarital affairs. Drinking is the only thing Joan has control over and eventually becomes her only weapon in dealing with the harsh and brutal Kennedy world. Like with Jackie, pain and loss follow Joan to no end. A miscarriage and a child dealing with bone cancer sends her spiraling, but not completely lost due to Jackie's constant support and kindness.

     Meanwhile, Jackie has her own problems dealing with her son, John Jr. who is struggling to forge his own life outside of his father's shadow and apart from the Kennedy legacy. While not rebellious, John's independent nature clashes with his mother who simply wants to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. As John grows older he begins to appreciate his mother's sacrifices to raise him and his sister in safety. He starts to mature from the insecure and angry boy to a confident and successful man; first as a lawyer and then as a magazine editor, living up to the title of America's Prince. 

     After Jackie is diagnosed with cancer she and her son share a special moment when she reveals to him the truth behind 'Camelot' and asks her son that he simply live his life the way he wants to. Not the Kennedy way or the world's way, but however he see fits, whether it's a life in publishing or politics. And John does just that. He marries the love of his life, Carolyn Bessette, creates a pop-culture political magazine and soon begins to gravitate toward the political arena in whatever capacity he feels like he can serve in. John created his own personal Camelot for himself and his family, but like his father's it ended before he could share it with the world. 

~ ~ ~

     Both of these mini-series are absolutely stunning and compelling. There is great accuracy in the stories that they chose to tell and the actors were spot on with their performances. Whether you love or loathe the Kennedy family, there is no denying that they shaped America. While they were rich and powerful, they were still a family that loved football and picnics. Flawed men forged strong women who could survive in the world long after their men were gone. Children followed in their parents footsteps while creating their own paths. And a generation remembered them as their own royal family that for a time made America a land of proud patriots and hopeful dreamers.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Can No One Hear Russia?

Originally posted from Facebook

posted by Aliya Mustafina

Russia's beautiful city, St. Petersburg is attacked there are no tears, shouts of rage, Facebook sympathies, or lights turned on for these people. Are they really expendable? The one country in the world that dared to take on the Muslim extremists is ignored and its people on their own to grieve.

Russia has its issues, but it has centuries of history that has gone through victories, losses, times of turmoil and times of peace, stomped upon by Napoleon, invaded by Hitler, demoralized by Communism and has endured decades of scrutiny and disdain from the West.

And not to mention that their beloved royal family, whom the country still bear guilt and shame for their deaths, have been consistently misinterpreted by Western media for years and are now only recognized by most Americans in a horribly inaccurate cartoon.

Yet through all that, Russia remains unfaltering and unbroken. This country doesn't need America or the West, but America could still have the decency to extend a merciful hand of help and words of kindness as well as learn a few lessons of how a divided country can be made whole again.

---Aliya's translated comment is "How much can you...mourn..."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Phoenix - Chapter Seven

Chapter One-Six. Here

Chapter Seven.

“Her name is what?”

“Cendrella, Papa. That’s all she would tell me. Well, she did say that her brother gave her the name, not her father, so one could say that it is a nickname.”

     Lord Leon smiled at his son. It did his heart good to finally see his boy back safe and unharmed from the war. Unlike his brother...well, he tried not to dwell on his oldest. Rather he rejoiced in the homecoming of his beloved Lucien or Luc as he was fondly known.

“This Cendrella, my boy, seems to have quite the effect on you.”

     Luc looked apprehensive, “I suppose so. It’s just...she was so kind in the morning time and then when I saw her take on Reynard, something I have never witnessed before, I was struck even more by her courage to help those...” He stopped there. Unable to go on.

“People?” finished Leon, “They may be lepers, but they are still of human mind, body and spirit.

“Yes, Father, but they are lepers because of this war. These Crusades have torn countries apart, turned religion against religion and what do we bring back for our victory? Sickness and death that is inevitable.”

     Luc’s mind went back to Jerusalem. The war, the fear, bloodshed, grief. He remembered the Lazar houses outside the streets. Beggars covered with white bandages begging for alms. They were kicked and cursed, treated like animals. The unbearable heat caused these poor creatures to collapse on the roadside only to be pummeled by Crusaders horses and left for dead. And when death mercifully took them not even the vultures bothered to pick their remains. There were hardly any remains left.

     He remembered looking into the eyes of a young leper girl. Through her heavily veiled face he could almost picture what she might have been. Dark, beautiful, happy. However, her reality was a face that was being eaten away by this accursed disease that made her less human and more monster.

     Lucien still had nightmares from war. Yet, what kept him awake the most were the lepers and their unmerciful treatment from the world. Where was humanity? Where was God? Or was leprosy God’s punishment for being involved in the Crusades?

“I can’t forget them, Father.”


“I can’t forget what I saw in Jerusalem. I have killed in the name of God, but where was God when innocent and sick people were being struck down by Crusaders that claimed to come in his name?”

“Oh, my son,” said Leon taking his shoulder, “I have been to Jerusalem and I fought by King Baldwin’s side. The great leper king who died trying to bring peace back to his country. He was Jerusalem in every measurable way. While his body may have been decaying, his mind certainly was not. The only act you can do is to give to these people what you can. Food and clothing. You can do no more.”

     Part of Luc agreed with his father and part of him wanted to say that was more he could do. But what exactly? War was easy. You plan, you gather and you fight. The victory was whomever God favored on that day. War was easy and human. Humanity was not easy.

“Come,” said Leon, “Enough talk of war. We have your homecoming celebrations to discuss and what a glorious event for the whole of Vezelay!”

     Luc tried not to groan. He knew this would happen, he counted on it, but the idea of celebrating his homecoming, when so many of his own comrades and brothers in arms would never celebrate theirs, seemed somewhat shallow and selfish. Yet, he would let Papa have his glory. He was his father’s only family. Mama died when he was young and Bayard, his older brother, was killed on his way home from war a year before. There was no other family except Theodore, his cousin on his mother’s side and Father’s ward.

     Families were not very large in Vezelay. Every married couple lost at least two children to sickness and disease and many people were fortunate if they lived to see thirty-five. Father was already in his forties and was becoming a legend for his longevity. Luc loved him dearly, so much that once he feared his father’s death more than anything else.

     War was the first time that Luc had been separated from his father. He had just turned eighteen and his once warm and sheltered life became a distant memory the moment he stepped foot in Jerusalem. Now three years later, Luc was no longer that frightened and unsure boy. War had forged him into a warrior. Pain, sorrow and suffering had opened his eyes to the real world. And personal loss and grief had broken his heart and his spirit. More than once he had wanted to throw down his sword, curse God and end his life, but something or someone always stood in the way.

     Actually, there had been several people that had saved Luc from his anguish. Men he had not known a week before who would fight by his side and become closer than any brother of blood. Several of these men had no homes or families to return to. The least Luc could do was bring them back to Vezelay and let them begin new lives away from the East and the war.

“This is a kind thing that you have done for these men,” Leon said as he and his son walked through the gardens.

“I feel like I had to do something,” said Luc simply.

“This man that lost his memory, Olivér, I find him rather intriguing,” Leon remarked.

“And after almost six months he still knows nothing about who he is,” Luc said with a sense of guilt.

     Last year, Luc had been saved by a young soldier but at a heavy cost. The soldier, whom he had never met before, had gotten between him and an enemies sword. However, the soldier had taken a fall and hit his head on a boulder. He was in a coma for several weeks and when he awoke, he had no memory of who he was or where he was from. Luc felt responsible and took the soldier into his care. He had taken the name Olivér after the doctor who treated him. Not many other people knew too much about him. He had kept to himself and was quiet and stayed out of the way.

     Olivér was a mystery to everyone including himself. He was intelligent and courteous with a sense of humility. Yet, he was educated, could read and write and even knew several languages. Which suggested that he must have had a high upbringing. A nobleman or a merchant?

“This man may have a family, wife and children who might think him dead and he doesn’t even know his real name,” said Luc.

“You got him out of Jerusalem and out of danger,” Leon reminded him, “And that is more important.”

At that moment the mystery soldier appeared on the steps.

“Olivér,” Luc said, “I hope your first night here was restful. Well, as restful as a solider is able to have.”

“It was,” said Olivér smiling, “and oddly enough I slept through the night.”

“Fortunate for you,” whispered Luc, who still awoke in the middle of the night with horrors of war and bloodshed before his eyes and the screams of the dying in his ears.

“Actually it’s strange because I had dreams of this place when I was in the hospital after my accident. When we were riding through the forests or over the riverbeds, I would remember them from my dreams. Lord Lucien, I believe I might be from here...from Vezelay.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Header and Update

Celebrating the coming of spring with three of my favorite aesthetics, 
bouquets, books and bluebirds :)  

Due to my new full time housekeeping job that I got back in January, I'm not able to post as frequently as I did in times past. Which is sad seeing as I got a beautiful new computer because of this job, but I hardly ever use it! However, I am going to try and post more, because I miss writing and sometime this weekend get back into writing, "The Phoenix," I have not forgotten and I am anxious to get back to it as well as working on my new story.


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