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Showing posts from 2014

Dancing to Life's Rhythm

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This week my belly dance class reminded me of the importance of dancing to life's rhythm.

I went to dance class after a day that didn't go particularly well. I wasn't in a good mood. Most of my day just hadn't gone to plan and that ended up affecting not only my day but my husband's adding stress to both of our days. I felt guilty for leaving him to clean up my mistake while I went to dance. I also thought I needed to be placing my attention on several other projects that needed work. My day got completely sidetracked by the aforementioned mistake that I tried to fix myself. I ended up almost in tears before asking for my husband's help with it. I was pushing against my life all day long instead of embracing it.
That just created more problems.
I wanted to be "better" than I was being. I wanted to accomplish what I wasn't accomplishing. I wanted my attention on too many things at once...
As I drove to belly dance class, I berated myself for all o…

Soaring Betrayal - My Latest Book Released!!

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My latest book, Soaring Betrayal, details accounts of heart-wrenching betrayal that leaves in its wake broken lives, broken spirits, and futures forever changed. In moments where love goes wrong, hurtful decisions are made, and obsession turns to violence, hope beats in the hearts of men and women who would have good reason to abandon humanity. Inner strength and resolve surface in the harsh realities of deception and loss. The men and women in each of these short stories search for ways to soar above the betrayal that threatens to destroy them.



Click below to download this eBook of short stories!


Dona Nobis Pacem - Words in the Hands of Love

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Words in the hands of love - what a powerful concept. When I read this was this year's Blogblast for Peace theme, I felt a shiver of joy spread through my body. I'm more than a tiny bit in love with the power of words.

We live in a world where it often seems like words have been stolen by the hands of hate. As the vitriol spreads, so does the chaos. Chaos destroys peace.

When we make the effort to put words in the hands of love, peace blooms into beautiful meadows of wildflowers blowing in the wind.

Mimi Lenox, organizer of Blogblast for Peace, asked people to participate in a 60 Days to Peace Challenge in which participants came up with one thing every day that could lead to peace. As I focused on peace each day for a single action toward peace, my thoughts always returned to one thought. Peace begins within.

To cultivate peace in the world, we must first cultivate peace within our own hearts, minds, and lives. When we live lives immersed in chaos, there is no way to see pea…

No one Else Can Play Your/My Part

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This week I stumbled across the site To Write Love on Her Arms which was promoting a project called "No One Else Can Play Your Part" designed to bring awareness to World Suicide Prevention Day September 10th. I wanted to participate, but the early part of my week was too full for me to sit down and write a blog post. The challenge was to explain why no one else could play my part.

This concept haunted me all week. Why can no one else play my part?

No one else can play my part because no one else can be me with all my imperfections and perfections.

That's my pat answer. It's the answer that sums it up and yet it somehow feels incomplete. It has taken me years to get to the point where I believe I am enough. I spent much of my life "trying to be..." in order to be lovable, acceptable, respectable. Yet, as I stand here I remember a time when I didn't care who liked or didn't like me, who stayed and who left, who thought well of me and who thought ill …

T. L. Cooper Reads at Verse of Ages

Phenomenal Compassion

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I've been participating in the latest 21 Day Meditation Experience by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Today the topic was radiating compassion. I was excited about this meditation because I believe compassion is where we find the courage to see ourselves in those we are often encouraged to refer to as the other. As I meditated, my heart ached with a longing to see and feel more compassion in the world around me. I was reminded of compassionate people I've known and times when I've found compassion easy to express and other times when I found compassion almost impossible to find in my heart.

Part of the meditation experience involves answering questions built around the day's topic. Things got interesting as I delved into my thoughts on compassion. Lately, I've been witnessing such a lack of compassion in the world that I have moments when I can't help but wonder who benefits from pitting us against one another. The more others we create, the more discord we o…

T. L. Cooper Reads at Third Thursday Poets

Someday... Revisiting Combs Hall, Eastern Kentucky University

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When I learned in February that Eastern Kentucky University planned to demolish Earle Combs Hall, built in 1962 and named for Baseball Hall of Famer, Earle Bryan Combs, at the end of the Spring semester, I felt an influx of myriad emotions. I felt momentarily overwhelmed. Returning to Combs Hall was something I always intended to do someday. Combs offered mixed memories and emotions for me. In the five semesters I lived in Combs Hall, many, many good things happened along with a few bad things. The reason I had avoided returning to my old room had to do with a life-changing event that happened in that room. I'd always felt like I needed to return there for closure, and I'd always found a reason not to go through with it. I didn't want to face what might surface once I stepped inside the room. So someday was always out there somewhere waiting to come. Suddenly, someday might be gone...

I emailed the EKU Alumni Office to ask when the building would be demolished. They resp…

Remembering Lessons from Maya Angelou...

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Today, the world lost a voice that often exuded calm strength in the middle of chaos, Dr. Maya Angelou. Thank you Dr. Angelou for inspiring us and for sharing your insights with the world.

I had the great privilege of attending a talk presented by Dr. Maya Angelou in 2010. It was a wonderful evening, and she was a delightful speaker. I wrote about my impressions of her talk the next day.

Here is that blog post. (typos corrected because, well, I just couldn't not, but otherwise it is just as I wrote it on June 4, 2010.)

06/04/10 Lessons from Maya Angelou
Last night I attended a lecture by Maya Angelou.  She spoke at the Elsinore Theatre in Salem, Oregon.  State Senator, Jackie Winters, introduced Dr. Angelou with heartfelt words.

When the curtain rose to reveal Dr. Angelou sitting in a chair on the stage in a long cream colored dress and a beautiful necklace, I was struck by the energy that emanates from her.  She looked frailer than I expected, but at eighty-two she has the …

Mentored by Mentoring

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"Me? Mentor? Can I mentor someone? Am I qualified?" When Kelsie Manley contacted me via email with a request I mentor her for her Senior Class Project at Calvary Chapel Christian High School (now Watersprings), these thoughts battled in my mind with thoughts that it might be fun and interesting, perhaps I could even make a difference in someone's life.

I thought about it for a little while and looked up the school online. Her request seemed simple enough and the requirements seemed reasonable, so I responded in the affirmative.

I signed the "Mentor Agreement" and emailed it to her teacher. Then Kelsie and I planned how to implement the mentoring long distance. We opted for email and Skype. We set our first meeting for just after Thanksgiving, and she emailed me what she'd written to that point.

I had no idea what to expect. She'd sent me what she'd written and her plans for rest of the story. I immediately realized her story line would overflow fro…

PAD Challenge - Wrap Up - Lessons in the Journey

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Last month I participated in the Writer's Digest 2014 April PAD Challenge in my own way, but still I participated. I used their prompts to write poems and posted several of those poems on my blog - a minimum of one per day. I turned the poetry prompt into my own blog every day for a month challenge, and I did it. The poems for the April PAD Challenge can be found under the label Poem-a-Day Challenge.

I've been writing a poem every day for quite a while. The thing I've discovered about writing a poem a day is that some days it's easier than others. Some days what I write is better than others. After a while, writing a poem a day became a part of my day that gives me joy but that I sometimes take for granted or even feel pressured to fulfill. Yet, I'm always glad when I finish a poem even if it's not perfect or even all that good.

As someone who fights perfectionist tendencies, I have found writing a poem a day a way to let good enough be good enough...

And, odd…

PAD Challenge - Day 30 - Crescent Moon Rising

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Today is the last day of the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge, and the prompt is appropriately to write a calling it a day poem. There are lots of ways to look at endings. I'm one of those people who always look for the new beginning waiting behind the ending - well, at least eventually. I thought about endings and clocks and calendars. I thought about the sun and the moon. I thought about life's beginnings and endings - there are many and they often seem never ending as we transition through life. I've come to accept transition in my life as not such a bad thing. It is after all, life itself...

As I approached this poem I thought not only about this being the end of the Writer's Digest, but also the end of my challenge to share my experience with the Writer's Digest PAD Challenge on my blog every day. I actually thought it would be harder than it has been... But, we shall now call the day on this project. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Here is my poem for the calling i…

PAD Challenge - Day 29 - Love for My Love

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It's Two for Tuesday over on the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge, so we've got two prompts to inspire our poetic musings for Day 29... The two prompts are to write a realism poem and a magical poem...
An interesting thing happened this morning as I began to think about these two prompts. I got the song I'll Fight For You by Foreigner stuck in my head, which reminded me of the last time I heard that song. It angered me. I used to love this song, but, man, did it strike a nerve the other day... I wanted to shout at it "Don't fight for me, love for me." I've come to believe that if you have to fight for someone to be in your life, you're better off without them. I want people in my life who are willing to love for me - love when things get tough, love when there's news to celebrate, love when we feel like we're drifting apart, love when life is mundane.... If we have to fight to love or if we force someone to fight to love us, we set up an adversari…

PAD Challenge - Day 28 - Rose Petal Stones

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The prompt for WD 2014 April PAD Challenge Day 28 is to write a settled poem. I like to read the prompt early in the morning and then go about my business while I let the prompt settle into my thoughts, find a place to resonate, and then bring forth something I can write. Today, I felt slightly unsettled by this prompt because nothing started churning for awhile. Then it hit me. I wrote a poem, but I wasn't happy with it. I pushed it to the background on my screen and worked on some other projects. Then a power failure occurred, and the poem was lost. I had to start over. The initial thoughts I had about roses and stones was still there, so I went with it. So, in reality, I wrote two poems for this prompt though one of this has disappeared forever...

Here's my settled poem...

Rose Petal Stones
You scattered your love on my heart Like rose petals on flowing water Where it settled into the sediment Like stones skipped across a creek Your love found residence in the creek bed Of …

PAD Challenge - Day 27 - Monsters Meet

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For Day 27 of the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge, the prompt is to write a monster poem... I immediately knew I wanted to write about inner monsters, and started thinking about how our inner monsters can destroy what we want in life. I began to think about the havoc any "supernatural" being an wreak given proper motivation but also how sometimes there's a thin line between facing the truth and creating drama... Anyway, here's the result...

Hope you enjoy!

Monsters Meet

Love me Like my vampire teeth never drained blood from your veins Like my wendigo jaw never ripped out your heart Like my werewolf howl never pierced your spirit Like the ghost of my past never possessed your soul Like my zombie stupor never infected your mind Like my demon fire never burned all your dreams for us to ashes Like my medusa revenge never turned you to stone Like my mermaid song never seduced your passion Like my witch divination never revealed your deception Like my goddess ire never storme…

PAD Challenge - Day 26 - Water Safe

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We've reached Day 26 of the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge! Today's prompt was to write a water poem... Confession time: water appears in my poetry often in it's various forms - water, ice, the sea, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls, storms, rain, snow...I love the symbolism water offers and the inspiration of water itself.


So, here's my latest water poem...



Water Safe
Silent water Still water Secret water Safe water You drank my secrets Like you were dying of thirst Absorbing them through your surface With a gluttony unmatched While I fed you ever more Until you contained more of me than I I stared into your silence I searched your stillness I sought your secrecy I needed your safety Perhaps the secrets you drank evaporated To be rained down on some foreign land To feed souls in need of the nourishment Cultivated in the secrets you so quietly gulped For a secret can’t be locked away forever in Silent, still, secret, safe water

PAD Challenge - Day 25 - Last Straw First

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It's hard to believe we're already on Day 25 of the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge. When I read this morning's prompt, write a last straw poem, my first thought was "You took the last straw first" which on its face confused me, but the thought stuck with me all day. Finally I decided to just go with it.



Here's the resulting poem...
Last Straw First
You took the last straw first My heart ached because Your greed made you jump To the end Before we even began I lamented your decision as you Chewed the straw trying to release All the moments that should have come before You tried to convince me One straw was same as the next But the reality is we both know When you take the last straw first You cheat yourself out of the joy Of all the straws leading to the climax Held within the final straw So maybe next time you’ll Leave the last straw until last…

PAD Challenge - Day 24 - Tell It to the Heart

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Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge poetry prompt, Tell It to the..., intrigued me. Again, there were so many ways I could go with this one, but, to be honest, an idea jelled pretty soon after I read the prompt this morning. It's funny how some days the prompt just takes me for a nice gentle stroll, other days it smacks me down, and some days I pull on its leash while it refuses to take a single step forward until I finally give the leash some slack. This was a gentle stroll day through a meadow kind of day... :-)

Here's my Tell It to the... poem...
Tell It to the Heart
My brain hears your words But my heart can’t make sense of them They resonate on a wavelength my heart can’t find Riding a storm of promise Through the sunshine of doubt On a broken branch of logic Leaving me like a hayfield waving in the wind I long for your words to be cut and dried To feed this aching heart the sustenance it desires Next time you wish to appeal your crime Tell it to the heart The brain n…

PAD Challenge - Day 23 - Different Seas

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Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was location... And we all know just how important location is...

Here's my location poem.





Different Seas
We tried to convince ourselves Staring at different seas didn’t matter The love in our hearts would overcome The mountains and valleys between us We spoke words of togetherness Yet turned away when faced with inconvenience Promises of reaching out tomorrow Turned into silence As you stood in your place and I in mine Staring at different seas Dreaming of letting the current connect us While we refused to make a move Each tied to a boulder we pulled in opposite directions Until we both dropped the rope and whispered “Someday, we’ll find ourselves in the same place at the same time Until then you’ll remain in my heart…”

PAD Challenge - Day 22 - Optimistic Distance and Tried On

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Today was a Two for Tuesday on the WD 2014 April PAD Challenge. The prompts were to write an optimistic poem and a pessimistic poem. I thought about tackling my feeling that optimism and pessimism are rarely as cut and dry as seeing a glass as either half-full or half-empty, but in the end I decided to go another direction. I've also decided to share both poems this time rather than just one.


Here is my optimistic poem...


Optimistic Distance
In my fantasies The distance between us Enhances the possibility of our love Seduces me into seeing you through A mesmerizing lens Where your future and mine intertwine  When we meet where we once stood Under the falling Autumn leaves As we now stand under distant blooming trees My dreams coerce optimism into A heart where doubt resides
Since we walked in different directions

Here is my pessimistic poem...
Tried On
I tried on pessimism once It never quite fit The short hemline exposed vulnerability The tight waistline squeezed out hope The baggy shirt dropped …

PAD Challenge - Day 21 - Chaotic Simplicity

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Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write a back to basics poem. I rather liked the idea. I've been on a quest to simplify my life for a while now. I've discovered I need much less than I once thought I did not only to survive but to be happy. The boundaries between simple and complex have a tendency to blur...

Here's my back to basics poem...
Chaotic Simplicity
I wanted more Always more More wasn’t enough Filled the empty spaces Overflowed the filled places Stuffed more in to the excess Until chaos ensued Numbing the voids within With stuff I forgot I had Looking for more and more Buying every opportunity offered Trying to find something that mattered Fooled myself into thinking I needed more Every time I gave away unneeded item after item Packed up a house full of material things Purged the unnecessary yet again Convinced myself I lived simply Only buying exactly what I needed and nothing more Throwing away outdated food from the pantry Giving away boxe…

PAD Challenge - Day 20 - Became Family

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I had a plethora of reactions when I read today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt to write a family poem. I've probably written enough family poems to fill a book.

My mind first went to one of favorite poems, Maya Angelou's Human Family where she tells us "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." - the perfect family poem, in my opinion. Then my mind went to Sister Sledge singing "We are family/I got all my sisters and me."  in their song We Are Family, and, finally, Lisa Marie Presley singing "They are my chosen family." in her song Important. As I thought about why these were my first thoughts, I began to hone in on what I wanted to say about family today.

Family means many different things to people. I've expanded my definition of family over my lifetime, and I'm glad I have because sometimes family chooses us rather than us being born into it...

Here's my family poem...


Became Family
I took your hands in mine I l…

PAD Challenge - Day 19 - Orange

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Bet you thought I wasn't going to make it today... Well, I haven't missed a day yet, and I'm not ready to miss one. We might be down to the last few minutes of Day 19, but I'm here with a poem...

Today's WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write a color poem. I read the prompt this morning, and, as is typical, had several ideas. My mind became focused on orange for some reason...

So here is my color poem hot off the press, sts...

Orange
Magnificent swirls of Red and yellow make love Orgasm into shades of orange Light and dark across the canvas Showing us how when we combine We create a whole new essence Taking us on a journey From the deepest wells to the shallowest pools Teasing us from ancient wells of rainbows Stretching across our lives Enhancing the beauty entwined in the spectrum Light bouncing off light to invigorate each Coupling of color My eyes follow yellow and red swirls To the center of orange