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#PoetryReadathon – Meet author and blogger Ritu Bhathal

Poetry readathon

Ritu Blog Pic

Ritu Bhathal is a wonderful blogger and friend. She has christened our blogging community as her blogily which I think is the perfect name for this lovely and supportive group.

Ritu and I have become good friends over the blog. We have a lot in common, we are both working mothers, doing our best to balance our families, work lives and writing aspirations to the best of our abilities.

Ritu has a splendid blog, https://butismileanyway.com/ where she shares all sorts of interesting pieces of information, anecdotes about her children and life as a nursery and reception school teacher, poetry, book reviews and lots of other bits and bobs. Ritu’s lovely heart and great sense of humour shine through in her writing which is why her blog is so popular. Ritu is also labouring away on her first novel and has shared some interesting bits of it along the way.

Michael and I are very pleased to have Ritu over for a visit today.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello there everyone! My name is Ritu and I am quite possibly Jill of all trades, master of none! I am a wife, and mother to a newly turned teen and a tween… (aargh!) I am also a teacher to Early Years children. I never feel comfortable calling myself this, but I blog, I compose poetry and create stories so I guess I am a writer too! On top of that, I like to sing, dance and be merry (without the alcohol!) I an 40-something, living in Kent after getting married. A British born Indian, born to Kenyan born Indian parents, with a brother who lives in Finland, married to a Finnish girl, raising their two gorgeous Finndian boys. A bit of an international bunch are we! I am also mother to my furbaby Sonu Singh, a glorious ginger cat, and my two feathered babies, a pair of parottlets, named Heer and Ranjha. I could go on, but I really don’t want to bore you!

You have a wonderful talent, Ritu, of never being boring!

Who is your favourite poet?

I can’t say I have a specific favourite poet, but someone whose poetry I liken my silly ditties to is Pam Ayres. She is a real life poet who takes inspiration from life around her and puts a poetic spin upon it all!

What is your favourite poem

I have to say that is something really tough to actually pick one poem, from all the amazing poetry I read daily! But I’ll go with a funny one from Pam Ayres!

I Should Have Looked After My Teeth!

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the lollies I licked
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

If I’d known I was paving the way
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin’s,
Injections and drillin’s,
I’d have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lie in the old dentist’s chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine
In these molars of mine.
‘Two amalgam,’ he’ll say, ‘for in there.’

How I laughed at my mother’s false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath.
But now comes the reckonin’
It’s me they are beckonin’
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

A lovely choice of poem, Ritu. It does reflect your writing and sense of humour to a tee.

What do you appreciate most in a poem?

For me, the words flowing, creating an image for me to find building up in my head is always a good thing. Equally, I really appreciate funny poetry, so if someone is able to write verse, limericks etc that make me giggle, then perfect!

It is a great skill, indeed, to make people laugh.

Why do you write poetry?

Poetry and me just fell together one day, to be honest. I liked writing rhyming verse in school, and as I began blogging, I found the weekly challenges very inspiring, but was unsure how to write. I learned various forms slowly, like the Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and recently the Etheree, along with the more traditional forms, and found I had a bit of a talent for using few words to create feelings and images.

I love to write fiction too, but I don’t always have the time to write something with any real meat (It’s taken me 18 years to finally finish my first novel… but that’s another story!) Poetry means I can still be creative, and I find I can pen a verse in minutes! One of my favourite poems, which is the first in my book, was actually written in ten minutes, as I waited for my bath to run one morning, all about the journey to become a mother!

From Twinkle To Reality

Let me take you down that road,

Much traveled through eternity

The journey to become a mum,

From twinkle to reality.

The plans you make at a young age,

Full of gurgles and laughter,

The horror as you realise,

What really does come after!

The fun of trying,

The monthly wait.

The disappointment,

That feeling, you hate…

The years of trying,

Full of hospitals and checks,

The medication taking you over,

You feel like total wrecks…

Then finally, the day comes

That positive is clear

The goal that you were aiming for,

Has suddenly come near.

The months of fascination,

Your changing body grows

The feeling of satisfaction

That only you can know.

Those pain-filled days, or hours

To reach the prize you sought

The feeling of satisfaction

That this little bundle brought.

I gaze at you in wonder

Are you really here?

I’m overwhelmed with happiness

And a tiny bit of fear.

Will I be able to give to you

All you want and need?

As you look at me, wide eyed

Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God

My heart is filled with joy

I will do all I can for you,

My darling baby boy.

And so the cycle continues

The waits and checks again

We’re gifted with a gorgeous girl

After a little more pain.

My life is here with me right now

Some twinkles from my eyes.

But I’ll never forget those twinkles

That now, do grace the skies…

Dedicated to my wonderful children, recognising the struggles to have them, and remembering my 2 angels lighting the sky at night.

By Ritu Bhathal

Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem with us, Ritu.

As Ritu mentioned above she has a lovely book of poetry called Poetic RITUals, which I read and reviewed a while ago.

My review

This is a delightful book of poetry with a lot of variety in the tone and content of the poems. They are all written from a very human perspective and cover the day-to-day life of a Mother of two, wife and employee with a lovely twist of humour. As all of these things myself, I found the verses to be very relatable. The book is divided into four sections which each deal with different aspects of life, namely, Family RITUals, Life rituals, Rituals of the heart and Rituals to make you smile.

Who could not enjoy such words as the following:

“Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God

My heart is filled with joy”

This took me right back to those first days as a Mother and the closeness of cuddling your new-born and breastfeeding.

“A cough or sniffle, fever, rash

You wish you could

make them well

but other than love, and Calpol

It’s a parent’s

Form of Hell”

As a Mother of a child with a chronic illness, this verse had me nodding my head in agreement and feeling Ritu’s anguish.

I would recommend this book which is a keeper. A book to delve into for a smile when life gets heavy going.

Purchase Poetic RITUals

Follow Ritu

Social Media Profiles

Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhantomGiggler

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phantom_giggler/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal

Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/@Phantom_Giggler

Mix: https://mix.com/butismileanyway

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritu-bhathal-48941648/

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

 

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#A fun weekend and a recipe for Avocado cake

Considering that I have more or less been on leave for a week, I still seem to be incredibly busy and have achieved only a few items on my to-do list. I only worked a couple of hours a day last week (as I am on leave) which should have left me loads of time to do lots of things. It didn’t. On Monday and Friday my sisters came with their children. We baked vanilla biscuits on Monday and two Christmas cakes on Friday. I intervened with the Christmas cake recipe and added 500 grams of apricots in place of 500 grams of raisins. I also left out the lemon zest as apricots can be a bit sour sometimes. The mixture tasted delicious and the cakes looked great.

On Wednesday inspiration struck Michael and I and we wrote an entire new Sir Chocolate story called Sir Chocolate and the graffiti artist story and cookbook. We then proceeded to make a stage out of chocolate to feature Miss Christmas Cracker as the singing diva she is. Making the stage proved to be difficult as it is so hot the chocolate bars were bending. Determination and perseverance won and I got the stage assembled and photographed.

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On Thursday I took my mom shopping and we got some of the Christmas presents. I still need to get presents for my Dad, Terence, my mom-in-law and our great-granny. That will be this week’s shopping task. Thank goodness the boys both sent me a Santa What’s App [if you are still sending letters it is time to get with the programme, modern kids What’s App their wish lists to their parents to pass on to Santa] setting out, in order of importance, their choices of computer games and books for Christmas 2018.

On Saturday I attended a book fair with my lovely South African Indie author group including Jann Weeratunga, Kim Hunter and Evadeen Brickwood. What a great bunch they are. It was a short one, only three hours and we had a lot of fun, inter alia, chatting and catching up on books, news and the general state of affairs in the world [as authors and bloggers do].

Today, my nieces arrived at 10am to help put up the Christmas decorations and prepare for tea this afternoon with our family.

The girls had a ball playing with the tinsel, decking out the tree and listening to carols. The boys came slinking in at the end of it all and hung up their “special” Christmas decorations.

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Michael looks a bit worse for wear as he had a sleep over at my sister, Hayley’s, house last night. The kids didn’t get to bed particularly early and he didn’t brush his hair due to his tiredness!

The girls and I made avocado cake for tea.

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Adapted from the original recipe created by Woolworths Magazine

Ingredients:

2 large avocados (mashed)

zest of one medium sized lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

125 ml vegetable oil

60 ml double thick yogurt

210 grams cake flour

200 grams sticky brown sugar

5 ml bicarbonate of soda

2.5 ml salt

Method

Mash avocados in a bowl. Add yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla essence, lemon zest and eggs and beat. Add cake flour, sugar, salt and bicarb and mix until smooth. Bake in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees Celsius) for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Slice and serve with a spreading of butter.

#PoetryReadathon – Meet poetry blogger Brad Volz

Poetry readathon

musebrad's profile picture

Michael and I are delighted to welcome blogger and writer, Brad Volz, to robbiesinspiration today

Brad Volz has a most interesting blog called Writing to Freedom. He writes a variety of lovely poems, including haikus, and he also has a series entitled Awesome Stories where he shares all sorts of amazing accomplishments by various people in the area of saving Earth from negative human interventions.

Brad has recently started a series called Soulful Sunday the purpose of which is to share poems, musing and thoughts that feed our souls.

I am sharing the following poem by Brad today:

A season of love

lush petals dripping

awakening hungry senses

a convoy of enticing aromas

wafting through my body

the goddess of romance beckons

with trepidation, I heed the siren call

venturing forth in a season of love

Brad’s beautiful poems are always accompanied by the most outstanding floral photographs.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a man who has never really found his direction in life. I live a simple life of work, time in nature, friends, food, reading, and writing.  I blog as a venue for inspiring and connecting with others. My passions are being in nature, heartfelt communication, and photography. I write because it’s a way to share the feelings I have in nature and I’ve grown to love the connections with people around the world.

It sounds like you do have direction, Brad, and have elected your chosen path in life. I must say it does sound like you made a good choice.

Who is your favourite poet?

I love Rumi and Mary Oliver. Rumi clearly had an estatic relationship with life and spirit, and Mary’s poetry often touches deep feelings of awe, wonder, and love for nature.

What is your favourite poem? Here is one I love from Mary Oliver called Morning Poem.
Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it
the thorn
that is heavier than lead—
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted—
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
and one I love from Rumi called Some Kiss We Want
There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
 
spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.
 
And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At
 
night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
 
face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language- door and
 
open the love window. The moon
won’t use the door, only the window.
Two different and extraordinary poems, Brad. Both are great choices.

What do you appreciate the most in a poem?

I like poems that evoke deep feelings, especially ones that uplift or help bring me back to my true nature.

I like that type of poetry too, Brad.

Why do you write poetry?

Why do you write poetry. I write poetry in an attempt to uplift others, and share my essential nature and love for nature.

Wanting to uplift others is a great reason to write, Brad.

Find Brad Volz

My blog Writing to Freedom; https://writingtofreedom.com/

#Poetryreadathon #Bookreview – Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry readathon

Colleen M. Chesebro

I purchased and reviewed Fairies, Myths & Magic by Colleen M. Chesebro as part of the Poetry Readathon and Poetry Blog Promotion series I am currently hosting.

I follow the author’s blog and find her poetry to be beautifully written, diverse and intriguing. My enjoyment of the author’s blog led me to purchase her poetry book, released earlier this year.

Colleen runs a weekly poetry challenge where poets are encouraged to express themselves using different poetry forms such as haikus, tankas and cinquains. Colleen proves so excellent instruction on how to writes these poetic variations. You can experience Colleen’s blog here: https://colleenchesebro.com/

What Amazon says

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

My review

This book includes a delightful array of short stories and poems with fairies, myths and magic as the central themes that link them all. The author provides an interesting introduction to fairies and shares her own personal thoughts and ideas about this subject. There is also an intriguing overview of myths and how they originated.

The poetry takes numerous shapes and forms and there are tankas, haibuns, double tankas, cinquains and freestyle poems all of which contribute into making this book an interesting reading adventure.

My favourite story was The Leaving – A Story of Supernatural Magic which features the elderly Miss Pensie Taylor as the main character. Miss Pensie has lived in her house in the same town all her life and is a well know character to the older residents. Her house overlooks a swamp and a graveyard and she has an intimate knowledge of the inmates of the graveyard as her father was the caretaker when she was a child. Miss Pensie is a brave soul with a gift that enables her to see the spirits of those long dead.

One evening, during a heavy thunderstorm, Miss Pensie notices something unusual about the graveyard and goes out to investigate after the rain has abated. She has an interesting experience alone in the darkness.

My favourite poem in this collection is titled The magical Tree and my favourite stanza is the following:

In Autumn –

the Lady shows us her splendor

whose bright orange leaves herald

the darkness of another winter slumber.

If you enjoy poetry and have an interest in myths, magic and fairies, you will love this beautiful collection. I rated it five out of five stars on Amazon.

Purchase Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration

Other books by Colleen M. Chesebro

The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairies

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal Guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, and Blake, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

You can read my review of this lovely book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1SKYWJRXW8RHW/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01MU69MXT

You can purchase The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy here:

#PoetryReadathon – Meet poetry blogger Penny Wilson

Poetry readathon

Penny Wilson

First of all, I would like to thank Robbie for allowing me to join in on her #Poetryreadathon! I am honored and delighted to participate! Below are Robbie’s questions and my answers for them.

Michael and I are delighted to have you over for a visit today, Penny. You write beautiful and inspiring poetry.

Penny’s poem

Picking Up the Pieces—

Angels

gather pieces

carefully

 

As the edges

tend to wound

 

The sight of blood

no longer offends

 

the celestial beings

 

Just another

Shard

 

Uniting

the Pieces of

 

broken hearts

 

only the Divine

have mastered

 

Copyright © 2018 Penny Wilson

Thank you, Penny, for sharing this beautiful piece of your soul.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a single working woman living in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Metroplex. I live with my best friend; my Chihuahua, Rocket. I’ve lived all over the U.S., but will most likely retire in Texas. My life has been wildly varied. I know what it’s like to have a “humble beginning”. I’ve lived in tents, shacks, and lovely houses while growing up. This background, I believe, gives me a wealth of material from which to write about. I came to my love of writing and poetry late in life. Although I’ve written in some form or another all my life, I didn’t take it seriously until less than 10 years ago. At that time, it became a passion. Now I write almost every day. If you would like to see some of my work, you can find my blog at https://pennywilsonwrites.com/ or you can follow me on Twitter @pennywilson123.

I am currently working on self-publishing a book of poetry. This will be my first published book and I’m very excited about it. The self-publishing process is quite the learning experience, but I am having a wonderful time with it. I am hoping to have my book available for purchase by spring of 2019.

That is wonderful news, Penny. I have recently self published my first poetry book and it has been a great experience. Michael and I wish you all the best with this exciting new undertaking.

Who is your favourite poet?

This is like trying to choose a favorite child; an incredibly difficult task!  As a child, I read anything I could get my hands on.  I would go through stacks of books at a time.  In the summer, I would average reading about one book a day!  With all of that reading, I devoured a great deal of the classics, such as Poe and Shakespeare.  I was drawn to the macabre air with which Poe compromised much of his writing.  The story The Pit and the Pendulum was a favorite and so was the famous poem The Raven.  After coming to WordPress and blogging, I was exposed to a wider variety of writing styles.  Because of these influences, my own style of writing poetry has evolved quite a bit.  Paul Lenzi, who sadly passed away this past year, became an incredible inspiration to me.  You can still find his blog on WordPress if you look for it.  Paul’s writing opened up a whole new world for me.  Free Form poetry.  I would often seek out Paul’s poetry during my time on WordPress.  So, for now, my favorite poet is the late, great, Paul Lenzi.

I am also a great fan of both Poe and Shakespeare. So much so that I bought the junior versions of both of these authors for my sons which they read from age nine years old. Lovely choices, Penny!

What is your favourite poem?

I came across my favorite poem quite by accident.  One day I was thumbing through a family bible, which was a gift from my mother before she passed.  I came across a small piece of paper that had been clipped from a magazine years before.  The paper was yellow with age.  It was a poem that my mother had cut out from a magazine and saved among the pages of this bible.  At the bottom of the poem, in my mother’s handwriting were the words “to Penny”.  The poem is Ordinary Miracles by Erica Jong.

Spring, rainbows,
ordinary miracles
about which
nothing new can be said.

The stars on a clear night
of a New England winter;
the soft air of the islands
along the old
Spanish Main;
pirate gold shining
in the palm;
the odor of roses
to the lover’s nose. . .

There is no more poetry
to be written
of these things.
The rainbow’s sudden revelation–
behold!
The cliché is true!
What can one say
but that?

So too
with you, little heart,
little miracle,

but you are
no less miracle

for being ordinary.

This tender, sweet act by my mother took me by such surprise, I wept.  It was as if she was speaking to me.  So, this, of course, is my favorite poem.

This is the most beautiful story, Penny. Such a lovely thing for your mother to have done.

What do you appreciate the most in a poem?

I appreciate something that will evoke strong emotions within me.  Some poetry just takes my breath away!  If it’s some thing that makes me pause and contemplate what was said, I appreciate that.

I can certainly understand that, Penny. Some poetry has a most incredible impact on the reader.

Why do you write poetry?

I write poetry mostly, to express myself but it’s also become therapeutic.  Being able to give voice the ups and downs of one’s life is a hugely satisfying thing to do.  I can rant, vent, cry, cheer or laugh though my poetry.  I can love or hate.  The whole process is especially freeing.

I think this is a wonderful reason to write poetry. I am sure this concept is shared by a lot of poets.

Thank you, Penny, for joining Michael and I for our Poetry Readathon. I has been wonderful having you over.