Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Life After Love

Life after love, what is life like after experiencing the loss of the love of your life? Have you noticed how others carry out their new lives? I had a chance to talk with award winning country poet Vera Long about life after love. She answers my questions with her inspiring poems. This is what she had to say:

Jewel: Hi Vera! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat about your life after love with me. Have you noticed how others have carried out their lives after losing the love of their life?

Vera: I wrote this poem Never Knowing, after reading an obituary in the newspaper.


Never Knowing

She starts early getting home fires glowing
And spends her day cleaning, cooking, sewing.
The family's gone their way. She hums love songs all
day.
If that's not love she'll die never knowing.

Soon the family starts gathering back home.
Suppertime's a time she's never alone.
Her heart skips a beat as they enjoy their treat.
She wonders what they'll do when she is gone.

Midnight hours find her family fast asleep.
She prays the Lord their souls to safely keep.
This gracious lady's face sends sunshine every place.
Her heart hides all the tears that she must weep.

Now it's their turn to be patient, sweet, kind.
She leaves some precious memories behind.
The news said another loving wife and mother
Left this life, but she still lives in each mind.

Printed by permission: Vera Long
© 1990


Jewel: Indeed the memories of our loved ones do live within each of us. Tell me about how you and your husband met.

Vera: We met during the summer of 1941, through mutual friends, at the Lost Bridge Skating Rink, Lawton, OK. We became best friends, later dated and married on December 22, 1943.

Othadell was a farmer from a long line of farmers, and when a city girl marries a farmer, she has a lot to learn. We owned and operated a Grade A dairy west of Lawton for 23 years. We sold to a housing development and moved, lock, stock and barrel, to Murray County, OK, NW of Sulphur, on a ranch of 1020 acres, raised cattle for thirty years. When Othadell's health became an issue, we bought 160 acres in Payne County, OK, Oct. 12, 1995 and moved there, where I still live, near my two children, Verda Ryden and Darwin Long.


Jewel: Illness at times does turn our thoughts toward possible upcoming events. What one thing stands out in your mind about preparing to live a life after love?

Vera: After my husband’s illness set in, my thoughts turned to the road of the future and I wrote, One More River to Cross. My late husband, Othadell Long, died Aug 22, 2000. When he died, the funeral director used this poem for the leaflet of the service.


One More River to Cross

We climbed each mountain that stood in our way.
We followed every road to its end.
We weathered the storms and waiting for sunshine.
We've come the full circle chasing the wind.

We gathered roses for friends here and gone
And rang bells of mercy while singing our songs.
We reached for the skies to touch the rainbows
And bent over backwards to right the wrongs.

We'll go down fighting and we'll never fret.
There's one more battle we haven't lost.
Thank heavens for blessings that came our way.
And now there's just one more river to cross.
Printed by permission: Vera Long
© 1985


Jewel: Your descriptive words speak eloquently of a strong life long commitment to each other. What best describes your life after love?

Vera: The young minister came to our home to talk before Othadell’s service. Since I had not met him, he wanted to know something about our lives. I gave him some poems and he chose this one and another to read, but based his talk on this one. He said, "Yes, Vera. There is life after love. I had written the poem after Othadell's parents died and several close neighbors, and I began to think about our life, 57 years farming and the words just fell into place.


Life After Love

We share our work and play and secrets we're fond of
We share so many things, the greatest being love.
Our triumphs and downfalls, disappointments and dreams
Are all shared equally. We share each other's schemes.

We listen to birdcalls, wish upon the first star.
We marvel at rainbows. Together we've come far.
We find hidden beauty in wildflowers and green leaves,
In landscapes and seascapes: all things nature weaves.

We spare not forgiveness. Loneliness we've not known
And when storm clouds threaten, together we hang on.
With vibes of poetry, good rhythm and sweet rhyme
We record memories of our love and our time.

We found our miracle. We sipped our cup of tea.
Life's a bowl of cherries, a treat to you and me.
Sometimes on darkest shores, we await morning sun,
Just caring and sharing since God joined us as one.

The world can't break us up; distance can't come
between.
We're living life our way as seasons switch each
scene.
One thing has me worried. Perhaps it crossed your
mind.
Soon it will be over. An answer we must find.

Death will surely part us through no fault of our own;
Can one of us survive with the other one gone?
A vapor in thin air blends with the skies above.
What happens to lovers? Is there life after love?

Printed by permission: Vera Long
© 1985


Jewel: Your inspirational poems portray love is what keeps two people together through “thick and thin” yet, “Death will surely part us through no fault of our own.” Life after love does lend it’s self to knowing moments of loneliness. What has helped you get through the lonely times?

Vera: Although my daughter and her son live with me in my home, I spend a lot of time alone, so I read, sew, cook, clean, use the computer, and just stay busy, with never enough minutes to do all the things, I want or need to do. The thing I missed the most was not being able to talk to Othadell. We lived a close and sheltered, private life, and it was like half of me, died too. Stay busy, be interested in life and problems people face, and give help when I can, such as "washing a load of dirty clothes for someone who is ill or unable to do their own washing, etc. I also bake a cake or pan of cornbread for someone.


Jewel: Staying busy is an important part to getting use to the necessary changes that take place after the loss of a loved one. Thank you so much, Vera for sharing with us about your life after love.

Vera: I really appreciate sharing information about my life with you. Few people have such a chance, for in a busy world, who has time to listen? Thank you.

As Vera so eloquently states in her poems, death will surely separate one from the love of their life. Each loved one leaves precious memories to cling to, as one gets use to the “new” life after love. The choices are there for the choosing as to how one decides to embark on a life after love. No matter, one thing for sure, there are replays of memories of the “love of their life,” in the mind of the one left behind continues with time. Memories, God, and family are what give strength to live life after love until the time comes to cross over one more river.

Partial list of Vera Long’s Award winning accomplishments

CONTESTS AND AWARDS, VERA LONG'S COUNTRY POETRY.

2007 "Auction Day", Nobel House Anthology.
2006 First Place in Anderbo.com
On-line literary magazine, ($300)
2006 First Place, "Grandpa the D.J. Poetry Society of Oklahoma
HM's (Certificate) "My Grandma" & "A pair of Pear Trees.

PUBLISHED AND/OR IN ANTHOLOGIES.

1984-1992 30 or more poems (Certificates) in books of "World of Poetry Press."
2000-2007 35 on Poetry.com and 35 in Archives International Library of Poetry.

Life After Love written by Jewel Sample © 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Reality Entertainment: "Maggie Come Lately" by Michelle Buckman



~Jewel's Reading Excellence Review ~

Maggie Come Lately
By Michelle Buckman
ISBN: 10:160006082X, 2007
Fiction: Young Adult, Friendship, Christian life, Single Parent Family, Sexual Issues, Grief and Loss
Contact Reviewer: jmsample@aol.com
Publisher: NavPress; $12.99
Publisher site: http://www.thinkbooks.com/


Michelle Buckman’s Christian fictional novel immediately places the reader side by side with the main character, Maggie in the prologue when she briefly describes Maggie’s first significant loss in her life. This significant loss seems to leave her feeling deeply grieved, abandoned and influences Maggie’s teen life as events unfold. Maggie struggles to find her own self-identity while forming significant relationships with her peers, discovering choices about sexuality, personal religious values, and accepting the changes within her own family.

What makes Buckman’s wholesome creative work exceptional is the reality based entertainment presents emotionally charged slices of current adolescent problems faced by some single parent families along with other life issues, such as teen rape with good decision-making and coping skills modeled by her characters. Books that show teen characters working through uncontrollable life events demonstrating appropriate choices and behaviors, as well as how to get help if the reader finds themselves in a similar situation places this reviewer at ease about adolescents above the age of sixteen reading this sensitive topic material.

Professionals who work with teens will find this book a great educational tool to use to discuss significant real life issues that teens face today.

Reviewer recommends Maggie Come Lately for teens above the age of sixteen, Educators, Pastors, and Mental Health professionals.

Reviewed by Jewel Sample, MS
Award-winning author of Flying Hugs and Kisses (2006), Besos y abrazos al aire (Spanish edition, 2006) and Flying Hugs and Kisses Activity Book (2007)