Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Stirring Journey into the World of African Refugees

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Title: Walking Home
Author: Arleen Williams
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Formats Available: Mobi, Epub & Pdf
Page # 244
Review Due Date: November 6, 2016

Book Description:

In this stirring journey into the world of African refugees, Arleen Williams creates a story that is both heartwarming and haunting.

Seattle is a long way from the Horn of Africa. Despite escaping his country’s violence, Kidane is never too far from the nightmares and despair of his past. A new country, a new hope, and a new love may not be enough to save him. Only when he is able to face his worst fears can he have any hope of being truly free.

The city of Seattle provides the backdrop for this powerful coming of age tale that, along with the other interconnecting portraits that make up The Alki Trilogy, gives voice to the plight of the immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.

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Review Due Date: November 6, 2016

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wedding Day!

On Sunday, September 4, 2016, our daughter, Erin Williams, married her best friend, Elliot Brasch. My husband and I couldn't be happier for the new couple. They belong together.
Our home filled with family, and friends arrived from near and far.
There are no formal photographs yet, but thanks to friends and family, I have a few to shots to share.
Maid-of-honor Michelle and her husband Blair hosted the rehearsal dinner in their beautiful back yard.
Preparations began at 7 a.m. on wedding day with hair and makeup.

And continued at the wedding venue!
Erin and Elliot exchanged vows.
And after dinner, the dancing began!

The magical day came to a beautiful end ... and it all still feels like a dream.

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Heart Tells Me

It is a cool, overcast Seattle morning. A silent calm fills the neighborhood. I am silent as well. My pen has been silent for too long. I wait in silence for the re-release of my books after the demise of my publisher and the signing with another. I wait in silence for medical updates on a sister's health after the loss of two other beloveds to cancer only months ago. I wait in silence, in a silent home, for the arrival of family to fill these rooms in joyous anticipation of our daughter's wedding.

A summer of waiting, of silence, of holding in tears. The tears of pain and joy so intermixed I find myself teetering, equilibrium at times difficult to maintain. I support the worried and grieving as well as the joyous as best I can, knowing what I offer is never enough. It will never be enough.

The losses will always be felt, but with time and patience the flood waters of hurt will recede. Though there may be glitches in the perfect wedding plans, the bliss will always be cherished, the memories locked away, a balance against future losses.

In the silence of one gray Seattle morning, I reminded myself there will always be losses and new beginnings. My heart told me to put pen to paper once again, knowing life's challenge is learning to negotiate the extremes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Night at Sheep Lake

Eight years ago, my husband and I took a friend backpacking to celebrate her fiftieth birthday. Since that first trip, she has made it her annual birthday tradition to gather a group of friends and head to the mountains in mid-July for a night or two of camping and hiking.
I began backpacking close to my thirtieth birthday. As I age, the pack feels heavier, the ground gets harder and the physical recovery from sore muscles and achy joints takes longer. Still, I never regret the effort. Sitting by a crackling campfire high atop a mountainside with stars overhead centers me. The calm is vast, the beauty a reminder of all that is good in this crazy world.
There's much to be said for annual traditions. They keep us doing something we might otherwise allow to slip away, replaced by the demands of life and work. I'm grateful to my friend for getting us out into the ancient tranquility of the Pacific Northwest mountains in the early summer each year. Now, our backpacks are out of the attic, packed, and ready for the next weekend escape. It doesn't take much - only one night - to shift perspective and refresh the soul.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rehearsal for Retirement

When I woke, I had every intention of cycling with friends in the afternoon. Instead I found myself drawn to Schmitz Park. How could I refuse?
Summer is that way. I set a plan only to find myself altering course throughout the day. Whatever it is that I end up doing tends to be different, but usually equally rewarding.

I am a college instructor, my annual schedule dictated by an academic calendar. As the years pass each summer becomes a rehearsal for retirement.

Most of us spend our working days waking to an alarm, trudging off to work, coming home. A routine set in stone. Weekends are filled with household chores and family obligations. Before we know it the kids are grown, the house is empty, and we find ourselves at retirement age wondering how to manage the shift from days controlled by structure to the absence of all routine.
I wonder how I will construct my own retirement when the time arrives, how tight I will plan in order to convince myself I've accomplished something each day. I hear retired friends complain of being terribly busy but never getting anything done, and I can relate having experienced a touch of this phenomenon during past summer breaks. But still I resist a tightly structured To Do list - for summer break or retirement.

I prefer a daily, weekly, year-round consistent To Do list, a list that includes only four items: write, read, exercise, spend time with loved ones. If I manage to include each of these activities every day, life is rich and full.
When a plan goes sideways, when I take my daughter's dog to Schmitz Park and leave my bike at home, I'm okay. More than okay. I rejoice the flexibility that allows me the joy of being alone in the woods with a happy dog.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail ...

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail 
shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.

Unlike the Pony Express, the West Seattle authors at the Morgan Street Festival did not read through snow, sleet, or hail last Saturday. But the gusts of wind and rain sure made the day interesting. Not what you'd expect at an annual event just two days before the summer solstice. My husband was scheduled to pick me up at 5:30 pm. At 3:37 he texted: "Geez you want me to come now?"

Fifteen local authors came together to share their works and talk about writing. There were hourly free book drawings as well as a grand prize basket with enough reading for the entire summer! Merryweather Books was on hand through sunshine and rain. 
Thank you, West Seattle for a wonderful day, and Alice Kuder for organizing the annual Meet the Authors event.