Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

"Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, 
Voices whisper in the trees, 'Tonight is Halloween!'
~Dexter Kozen


Cindy La Ferle
______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.




Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ghost stories

"A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently. There is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snub of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man woke in the night." ~J. M. Barrie


Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.




Monday, October 29, 2018

Halloween or Election Season?

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here." 
~William Shakespeare


Vintage-style Halloween decorations / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.



Sunday, October 28, 2018

Glimmers of light in dark times

"Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen yourself -- right now, right down here on Earth." ~Bradley Whitford

Doug and Coco on the trail at Friendship Woods / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Stalking beauty

“You were given life. It is your duty -- and your entitlement as a human being -- to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.”  ~Elizabeth Gilbert


At Meininger Park, Royal Oak / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Nobody wins the blame game


“Blaming others for what's going wrong is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.” Douglas Coupland



"Chaos" / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Best friends

"Things are never quite as scary 
when you've got a best friend." 
~Bill Watterson

Friendship is a refuge in scary times / Cindy La Ferle

________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Empowering words

“Don’t let the negativity in the world disempower you. Instead give to yourself that which empowers you.” ~Les Brown

Bowl of empowering words / Cindy La Ferle 

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Reading Edgar Allan Poe



"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door." 

~Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"




Homage to Poe / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.




Monday, October 22, 2018

Rescue dogs

"My fashion philosophy is, if you're not covered in dog hair, your life is empty." ~Elayne Boosler


Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


In October, the calendar on our kitchen wall is highlighted with several happy anniversaries. Four years ago this month, for instance, we adopted Coco, a German Shepherd mix. Rescuing this beautiful shelter dog has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I'm grateful for every day that she's been part of our family. I'm also happy to report that an essay I wrote about Coco will be published in one of my favorite national magazines next year. I'll keep you posted on where and when to look for it on the newsstands. ~Cindy La Ferle 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Seasonal beauty

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Cindy La Ferle
______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Mystery

"In a world where everyone is overexposed, the coolest thing you can do is maintain your mystery." ~Found on Pinterest, author unknown

Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Nurturing our relationships

"Water it. Give it plenty of sunlight. Nurture it, and the flower of love will outlive you. Neglect it, or keep dissecting it, and its petals will quickly curl up and die." ~Suzy Kassen, Rise Up and Salute the Sun


Autumn bouquet / Cindy La Ferle

________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The art of surprise

"Surprise comes from defying expectations." ~Seth Godin

Fall at the Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph / Cindy La Ferle

________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Avoiding toxic behavior

“All cruel people describe themselves 
as paragons of frankness.” 
~Tennessee Williams

Cindy La Ferle

_________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 




Monday, October 15, 2018

Giving what we deserve

"Be a reflection of what you'd like to see in others. If you want love, give love. If you want honesty, give honesty. If you want respect, give respect. You get in return what you give." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer


Autumn on the St. Joseph River / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Visiting the past

"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins


Gravestones at Royal Oak Township Cemetery / Cindy La Ferle 

_________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 




Cindy La Ferle
Visiting your town's oldest burial ground is a thought-provoking way to get into the spirit of the Halloween season. It's not nearly as macabre as it seems, and you'll be rewarded with several local history lessons. 


Cindy La Ferle
The historic Royal Oak Township Cemetery is just a short drive from our home. The land was donated in 1826 for use as a burial ground, and contains the remains of veterans of several wars, as well as pioneers who settled here two centuries ago. 

Ezra Parker, who served in the American Revolutionary War and died in 1842 is buried here, as is Levi Tootill, who was born in Lancashire, England, in 1809, and was a founder of Royal Oak's Congregational Church, where my son was baptized. I felt a special connection to Levi, having recently learned that my own pilgrim ancestors sailed to America from England in the 1600s -- and were early Congregationalists. 
Cindy La Ferle

A boulder in another section of the cemetery lists the names of township residents who died in the American Civil War and World War I. 

Touring the historic cemetery on a late October weekend, I found the experience both sobering and reflective. I took dozens of photos of the oldest markers, some of which would qualify as works of art. Each had its own story to tell -- though some of the stone engravings were eroded by weather and time. I was reminded that most of my so-called struggles pale in comparison to those that my pioneering ancestors faced when they settled in what eventually became a quiet bedroom community. ~Cindy La Ferle


Cindy La Ferle

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Real magic

"Real magic is not about gaining power over others. It is about gaining power over yourself." ~Rosemary Guiley


"Night Circus" book club refreshment table / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Cooking for comfort

"At the heart of cooking is the belief that when we give of ourselves to help others, the world becomes a better place. Through cooking we’ve come to understand that the strength of kindness really can heal the world." ~Bill Penzey, Founder of Penzey Spices


Vintage cookbooks / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Halloween masks

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.” ~Francois De La Rochefoucault


Mask collection at Spirit Halloween, Clawson / Cindy La Ferle 

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Haunted house stories

"I don't know if there are haunted houses. I know that there are dark staircases and haunted people." ~Robert Breault


At The Commons, Traverse City, MI / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Decorating for Halloween

"Every day is Halloween, isn't it? For some of us." ~Tim Burton


Time to get ready for my favorite holiday / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Monday, October 8, 2018

The Rochester Writers' Conference

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Cindy La Ferle

______


There's nothing like a day-long conference to recharge a writer's creative batteries. On October 20, I'll be joining a terrific group of Michigan authors, speakers, and educators at the 11th Annual Rochester Writers' Conference at Oakland University, Rochester, MI. 

In my workshop, Freeing Your Personal Mythology, I'll discuss how to identify and release the cultural and family stories that define your life and shape your viewpoints. If you're looking for material for your memoir or new topics for personal essays, this workshop will help you get started.  

Other presentation topics at the one-day conference include: 

*Top 25 publishing trends
*How to prepare for a reading of your own work
*Twitter for writers
*How to determine your genre
*Tips for producing a podcast 
*What to do before you publish your book 
*Literary agent panel
*Magazine editor panel .... and more.


For complete details and to reserve your space, please visit The Rochester Writers' Conference site here. ~Cindy La Ferle 


______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices.



Sunday, October 7, 2018

Throwback Thursday: An October memory

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ~Lucy Maud Montgomery


Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


________
The following essay of mine began as a handwritten journal entry a few months after my father died. Later, it was published in the October 1998 edition of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. It's included in my book, Writing Home.
______________

October Memories

Lately I've been thinking of these lines from Anne Mary Lawler's poem about the seasons:  October dresses in flame and gold, like a woman afraid of growing old.

This is a potent month for memories. Yesterday I watched while my son and the children next door tumbled like acrobats in the fallen leaves. (Is there a kid in the Midwest who hasn't done this?) Later in the evening, I sniffed the familiar aroma of wood-burning fires, another indisputable sign that winter is on its way.

For me, the smoky scents of October always evoke a favorite memory of my father raking leaves in the small backyard of our first home. That memory is more than three decades old, but it glows as vividly as the logs crackling in the grate tonight.

When I was growing up -- before environmental laws -- everyone in my neighborhood raked leaves into neat brown piles, then burned them near the curb or in backyard bonfires. Dry and brittle, the leaves snapped furiously when introduced to a match. Back then, October weekends seemed to drift in mysterious clouds of gray-blue smoke -- the perfect prelude to Houdini's Halloween.

Like most fathers, mine worked on weekdays, and often spent his weekends doing yard work. Long before the term "quality time" was coined by childcare experts, Dad would enlist my list raking leaves on Sunday after church. I offered very little assistance, preferring to toss his neatly piled leaves back into the air, or to roll in what remained of his handiwork. Regardless, he seemed to enjoy my reckless company -- and I enjoyed the novelty of helping him.

Unlike my mom, who would have seized the opportunity for girl talk, my dad didn't always communicate with words. On those late autumn afternoons, with the sun glinting through bare branches of oak and maple, it was enough for us to be together. He raked, I rolled, and nothing of dire importance was ever said.

Still, young as I was, I felt the ancient ache and pull of October.

By then, I understood that the seasons were cyclical; that the easy days of summer would return as surely as apples had ripened every fall. But I'd also begun to grasp the concept that time trudges ahead in a straight line, ruffling the smooth texture of our days as it marches forward. I couldn't have explained it quite this way then, but suddenly I knew I had to "yield with a grace," as Robert Frost once wrote, "the end of a love or a season."

I recall watching my handsome young father in his plaid flannel shirt while he whistled and tended his banks of smoldering leaves, their acrid smoke filling my nostrils and forcing tears. I remember wishing that everything could stay the same -- that I wouldn't have to grow up or grow old; that autumn afternoons wouldn't bleed to winter. It was as if I had glimpsed the distant future and seen my father's empty chair at our Thanksgiving table.

Of course, Dad had no idea that I'd stumbled on a vast, disturbing truth and was forever changed by it. He worked contentedly, pausing only to watch me or to loosen dried leaves from the long teeth of his rake.

And that is the way I like to remember him: arrested in time on that mellow October afternoon, living in the moment, always whistling. ~Cindy La Ferle

This essay is excerpted from my essay collection, Writing Home. For more info about the book, please click here.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Relationships

“We are responsible for our own relationships -- their successes, their failures, the good times, the bad times. Take responsibility for creating the relationships that you desire.” ~Sam Owen


Unity in variety / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 



Friday, October 5, 2018

Reading to escape

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” ~W. Somerset Maugham, Books and You


Beam me up with a good book / Cindy La Ferle

________

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


While staying informed is always important to me, our country's nonstop political turmoil has taken a measurable toll on my blood pressure as well as my emotional wellbeing. 

I know that pulling the covers over my head -- or otherwise dodging the current reality -- isn't healthy, either. Still, I find that limiting my exposure to national news -- as well as oppositional or combative people -- really helps. 

And so does reading. Lately I've been revisiting the work of my favorite authors, or driving to the bookstore just to look around. Even the scent of printer's ink on paper has a calming effect on me. Whether I escape between the covers of a novel, a biography, or a self-help guide, I feel lifted, validated, recharged, and renewed. My peace of mind is restored -- as long as I can tune out the news. ~Cindy La Ferle

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Honesty

“To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.” ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet 


Doug at Silver Beach / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The truth about secrets

“A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.” ~Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n, The Shadow of the Wind



"Box of Secrets," altered art by Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Making room


"Simplicity is discerning the essential from the unessential. Simplicity is having room for the unexpected. It is savoring life. Most of all, simplicity is freedom: It's freedom to choose what you want in your life because you're not letting in everything that shows up." ~Victoria Moran, Shelter for the Spirit



At Tandem Ciders, Suttons Bay / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 


Monday, October 1, 2018

All things October

"October is the month for painted leaves....As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight." ~ Henry David Thoreau, "Autumnal Tints"


At the Hunter Community Center, Clawson / Cindy La Ferle

______

Please visit the home page for additional content and social media sharing options.  

Parts of this blog do not show on digital devices. 




October tops my list of things that make me happy. I'm energized by the month's crisp, cool weather -- which always calls for beautiful boots and cozy sweaters. I love heirloom pumpkins, fires in the evening, harvest festivals, spicy pumpkin pies, and the rich, changing colors of the landscape. I love how October rekindles our nurturing instincts, sending us back to the warmth of the kitchen to simmer a comforting one-pot meal or kettle of soup. 

October's grand finale is Halloween, my favorite holiday. People who don't know me well are often surprised when I tell them I enjoy scary movies and horror films (slasher films being the exception) in the fall. In the weeks ahead, I'll be pulling old favorites from the shelf -- The Haunting of Hill House, Practical Magic, The Witches of Eastwick, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Exorcist, The Addams Family, and, of course, John Carpenter's Halloween
Cindy La Ferle

So, why do some of us like scary movies? Psychologists have several theories. The way I see it, horror films provide harmless thrills -- a jolt for the senses -- and typically offer a catharsis at the end. When "victims" in the films regain their power over ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural entities, we feel validated and relieved. Or, as Stephen King aptly put it: "We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones." 

This month, I'll be posting a couple of previously published magazine essays I've written about October. In addition you'll be seeing plenty of quotes celebrating mystery, magic, and the riches of the harvest season -- plus a few spooky photos from my collection. Don't say I didn't warn you. ~Cindy La Ferle