Guest Blogger – Bird Cole on ‘The Bright Side’ and Bullies

Sometimes you encounter people online that in real life you would not have met for the simple reason you live in a different hemisphere, or you travel in different circles. The beauty of internet and the Book of Faces is that you find friends that have a beauty inside of them you just want the world to know about. Bird Cole is one of those people whom I’m proud to count among my friends. I asked him to write a guest post because I felt he has things to say that are just too sensible not to be heard.

Bird, ‘the stage’ is yours.

First thing I want to do is thank Lucy for even considering me, let alone inviting me, to share my thoughts, opinions,  messages, and loves. She doesn’t know this, but I felt a lot of pressure to come up with “something good”. Not because of anything she said…..it’s just….nobody has ever requested that I write something for them (unless my Aunt counts). So, I’ve had to rattle my brain to even come up with ideas. After that failed I decided to start writing this and, maybe, share a few thoughts along the way. After all……quite a bit goes on inside the mind of a guy named Bird!

By now you may have heard, my name is Bird. I’m just a guy with a cool name that likes to make shit rhyme…….sometimes. If there was anything special about me I would have to say that it’s my ability to find the “bright side” to any situation. That ability has given me a life full of true happiness and a smile that drives the ladies wild. People ask me all the time, “Bird, why are you so happy?” “Bird, you can’t be that positive all of the time. Is this some kind of a front?” So, let me tell you all, just a few things about me to clear stuff up. I come from a long line of drug dealers & abusers. Alcoholics, woman beaters, murderers, and child molesters! In the 33 years that I have been alive, and the HUGE family I come from, I can’t name one person that society would accept…..nope, not one. That is because, the few that didn’t follow the path set before us, distanced themselves far from us. I lost count as to how many times the police have kicked in my Mom’s door over the years. Just thinking about how my baby Brother had a gun to his head (before he was even potty trained) quickly brings me to tears! Men beating my Mother in the street and her chasing men out the house with bats and chainsaws were the norm to me. I was an honor roll student but dropped out of school and told everyone I did it so I could sell weed. Everyone thought I quit school “to be cool”, but really, I was arrested for the brutal double murder of two old people and was afraid to be seen! I have done a lot of bad stuff in my life and hurt a lot of good people. But, anyone that knows me knows I can’t kill an animal, let alone, people. I tried to have the “perfect” family once and fucked that up. There came a time when I had nowhere to go and was sitting on a curb, next to a dumpster, at midnight, in the rain, and about to give up…..when an angel came and rescued me. Picked me up and took me away from all the darkness and pain. Showed me a world I did not know and made me smile again. It was Ashley’s love that saved me but it was the life I lived that made me! So, no…I don’t have any reason to put on a front. I have seen the worst life has to offer and decided to rise up. But instead of running away from those I left behind, I want to show them they too can get out, and that is why I am happy all of the time! Society has built a wall to separate the good from the bad. Well, I am here to knock that bitch down and tell them, “no need to be sad,” then let this light of happiness shine in on the ones left in the darkness!

Well, now that I have introduced myself, let’s get to why I am here. At first, I was not really sure what to write about. I then realized school is just starting again, here in the U.S., and a big topic these days is bullies. Everybody seems to agree that “bullies” are bad and for good reasons.  It’s easy to relate to the victims and their pain easily touches the heart.  My beautiful Wife, Ashley, wrote something from the perspective of a victim that I would love to share:

ONE DAY

~ She sits alone watching the others play.

She thinks to herself, “I will have friends too, one day.”

Why do they not like me?

What is it that they see?

Is it because my hair is not the same as theirs?

Are my clothes not as expensive as theirs?

My weight is way more than theirs?

If only they would take the time to get to know me.

Then, they would see, it’s not the outside…personality is the key.

Why, oh why, do they judge me when they don’t even know me?

One day, yes, one day…..they will see.

The day their hair is as thin as can be.

Their clothes old and worn with holes,

they’re so fat they would sell their souls,

and they’re all alone….no one but them.

On that day, I will be there for them.

To hold their hand and to comfort them,

Because……you see……one day they will know what it feels like to be me! ~

 ***

Beautiful, if you ask me. And, very powerful in a narrow minded way.  See, I like to rock the boat once in a while……just to see who belongs in it. We, as a society, have forgotten that these “bullies” are just children. We point our fingers, cast the blame, and talk bad about them. Adults treating children like this and we wonder why they do the same. Parents are quick to say, “Stay away……that kid is a bully!” But, if they took the time to see what weighs on the kid’s mind, they might hear something like this:

~ She is very pretty as she walks down the hall.

He is so cool because he plays football.

The smart kids are playing chess & doing math.

The teachers have their pets & slackers are skipping class!

I am the bully that trips the little kid & tells the lies.

 I will do all kinds of thing to impress you guys.

I don’t care about feelings, everybody laughs when I make you cry.

Teachers can’t talk to me, I YELL IN THE FACE OF AUTHORITY, & will hit you if I need to.

But, have you ever tried……to say, “Hi?”

What you don’t know is

I have no real friends. Just a bunch of kids

that do not know any better because they don’t know (at home) I get tripped & hit.

My dad yells all the time!

My mom hides when she cries and they fight because they, “don’t make a dime!”

 It’s O’K because I get to act out.

They label me a bully and I get kicked out!

But, all I ever wanted was a hug & some love…..

Maybe I’m not a “bully” at all…….

Maybe I’m a victim with HIS back slammed to the wall! ~

  ***

As a proud parent, of 5 wonderful children, I think it’s time we point the finger back at us and take the blame that is rightfully ours.  As a parent, I think we should teach all children the power of love. As a parent, I think it’s important for all children to know the power of a smile. Before I go, I would like to share one more thing with you all. It’s a short story I wrote for my family to help them learn to simply smile, and say, “How are you doing?”

~ A sad man, standing on the side of the street.

Tired and hungry ’cause he hasn’t had anything to eat!

He has been broke since they fired him, and alone since she left. WET ‘CAUSE OF THIS DAMN RAIN

AND NO HOUSE ‘CAUSE THE RENT……..can’t get paid!

Been beggin’ for this change for 400 days.

Finally got enough saved.

Going to buy a gun to put an END TO THESE DAYS AND AN END TO THIS PAIN

WHEN IS THIS LIGHT EVER GONNA CHANGE!

Before he could cross that street, walk that mile, and finally rest awhile.

There was a man that had stood next to him. He looked at the sky and back to him with a smile

and said, “I think it’s going to be a beautiful day, don’t you?”

TEN YEARS GO BY AND IT SEEMS………..he was right?

Now, he is a happy man, sitting in his Lazyboy chair watching the kids play with his wife.

Just goes to show………your smile could save a life! ~

 ***

I hope you have enjoyed reading Birdz Words. I also hope I have opened your minds just a little. If not, fuck it…..what do I know? I’m just a guy named Bird!

~ SMILE MORE, LAUGH OFTEN, & LOVE CONSTANT ~

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book Two

Casa de Naomi Book Two - Jacket SM

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

After reading the first book in this series by Paula Rose Michelson the choice to read the second book was easily made. It suffices to say, I made the right choice. This book, like its predecessor did not disappoint. In fact it was hard to put down.

But let’s not spoil your fun by posting my review. Instead I’ll give you a short blurb to entice, but I must stress the fact the full pleasure of reading this book can only come upon you by actually submerging yourself in the world Paula has created.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book Two

Naomi wants Chaz’s love. Chaz loves Naomi, but will not forgive his wife’s lying to him. The attorney wants Naomi’s estate. The Padre wants the couple to reconcile. Nicco wants to marry Lucinda. Lucinda wants to marry Nicco. Neither will wed until Chaz and Naomi are standing with them when they say their wedding vows. Who will get what they want? Find out when you read the second volume of Paula Rose Michelson’s saga, Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing.

Take a look at the trailer, which I enjoyed watching, and tell me what you think of it.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book One by Paula Rose Michelson

When Paula Rose Michaelson asked me to read and review her books I was hesitant at first, knowing these are books with their feet firmly planted in faith. However I was very pleasantly surprised by how she manages to make me feel for the characters and draws me deep into the story. At one point I was so engrossed I just had to read on to know what happened to Naomi. Which is quite a feat for a book about faith–I’m not a Christian, in fact I don’t ‘do’ religion at all–yet this book made me forget it’s theme and had me focus on the story of the young woman. A true heroine, one who one cannot help but care for.

Without spoilers it is hard to write a review for this book and give you the full scope of its lure, but I tried anyway. You can read it here. There is so much going on and yet it never it reads ‘stuffed’ or cluttered. Paula’s style of writing is one which is pleasant to read and easy to remember. Without a doubt the second book in this series will captivate me as this one did, but to know if that is true you will have to come back and read my view on part two which I will post tomorrow.

For now I shall leave you with the blurb from book one and the links where to get this surprising book on faith and Naomi’s transition from teenager to adulthood.

Casa de Naomi - Book One - Jacket[1]

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book One

Fifteen-year-old Naomi wants to practice her faith in public, find her uncle, and help him raise enough money to bring their family to America. To accomplish this she agrees to companion a blind, old woman whose family plans to tour Europe and settle in the United States. Her plans are thwarted when the woman passes away aboard ship, and Naomi is handed over to immigration. While she awaits her interview, an old Tía comes to Naomi’s rescue and offers to take her in. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Naomi agrees and unwittingly enters the country illegally.

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress with a mission and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders. Along the way, she contends with piercing memories, hurtful loss, jealous opponents, a devious lawyer, and a curious priest. Through each step of this journey, she guards two secrets she dare not share with anyone, not even Chaz, the man she has married. Will she keep his love when he discovers who she really is? Find out in the first book of Paula Rose Michelson’s saga, The House of Blessing

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessings, Book One

Trailer 

How To Be Happy

“What notion of love and friendship is still among humans?”

shrug_rashidajones

Watching people and seeing their empty eyes Lucy muses, “How is that humans have all but forgotten to love, not only each other, but themselves too. And when one does not love oneself, how can any human then love another? Oh, to give love without the expectation of love in return. Just to give, to share that feeling of being whole. Another ideal to achieve. What if …”

“Why?” Lucy asked the woman with the painted face and dyed hair. The empty woman voiced her fear of not being loved if her appearance no longer matched the expectations of her man.

Then Lucy thinks about Friedrich Salomon Perls. Did he not say once, “I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.”

Aren’t expectations and the failure to live up to those often the fuel for anger? What if humanity would be more aware of its surroundings, less focussed on the individual? What if humans would let go of their need for instant gratification? Learn to live without expectations, or the need to live up to what is expected from them. Would they not be free? Happy? Able to express themselves in a way that fits the moment, not force themselves in the mold that has been prepared for each individual from conception to grave.

“Ah,” muses Lucy, “but that would be an ideal world. If humans could just be and not expect.”

flaws

Wouldn’t that bring true happiness to all humans, a sense of peace and content? “Ah, happiness,” whispers Lucy. “isn’t that what comes from within? Why do humans expect it to be given to them? How come there are so many humans so profoundly unhappy? When are they ever happy? When they have the most hits on their social media? That network of friends, which creates so much anti-social behaviour?”

Look around and no doubt you will see a man, his friend ready to have fun with a friend. But he has no eyes for him, for he is too busy typing with a message on his smartphone. No time for happiness up close. Why is it that what is near, is ever far? And drifts even further out of reach with every stroke of a key?

Isn’t it time to get rid of the rift causing technology and start talking again?

throw away phone

Featured Author – Paula Rose Michelson

A while ago I came across a remarkable author on Twitter. Luckily she was willing to join me on my blog and today I feature her once again.

Let’s not delay ay further but let me introduce to you, Paula Rose Michelson, a true wordsmith.

Casa Series 001-1

Welcome Paula. I’m honoured to be able to host you and hope you’ll like me grilling you. 🙂 But first tell us a bit about the woman behind the author, or the woman inside the author.

I am the founder of LAMB Ministries, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of scripture, and prayer. Besides that I lead a monthly writers group at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California, and together with my husband, Ron, serve with Chosen People Ministries.

We are the proud parents two married daughters, and grandparents of seven grandchildren. When not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use scripture, you will find me researching my next book or meeting with friends.

That is a nice, short introduction which gives us a glimpse of who you are. 

I do however have some questions for you, just to satisfy my curiosity and shed some light on your inner being.

When did you first get the idea of founding your own Ministry?

Good question! I didn’t know and had never thought about founding anything!

I had become a believer in Messiah while completing my training to become a Chemical Dependency/Lifestyle Disorder Councilor in a dually diagnosed psychiatric unit at Woodview Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital. On the very day, I was offered full time employment, my husband told me he’d been promoted and we were moving to the San Francisco bay area, which was nine hours from the San Fernando Valley.

We didn’t know a soul and since we agreed to let the family whose home we were buying rent back we were living in an apartment.

I met a lady who invited me to church. On that first Sunday a woman shared about her friend who was sober but fearful, a white knuckle alcoholic, and had been living like that for many years. I mentioned my background and the books that might help once I’d unpacked them. She asked for my phone number, which I gave. The same afternoon she called to tell me that she and her friend had prayed and felt I should meet with this woman. I agreed and within a month that one woman had become ten.

Though none of the others were in recovery for an addition, each one had the same issue, a fear that the trauma they experienced would continue to be repeated, if not by others, by them. Having dealt with my own stuff, and worked in the system, then discovering that God’s word is affective and will accomplish his purpose, I began teaching these women what I had learned.

When our friends who were missionaries on furlough from YWAM realized what God was doing, they asked me to contact our pastor. I met with him and was appointed the head of Women’s Lay Counseling. While in Freemont, CA, I interfaced with Stanford’s Chemical Dependency staff and worked for the Rubicon Center as a house parent for six teenage girls, which the state had removed from their homes because of abuse, drugs, child endangerment, and other issues to numerous to delineate.

Do you ever doubt?

When I am doing things in my own strength, I feel dread, not doubt, and that tells me that I am not listening to or reading Gods Word.

At the writers group do you write any genre?

The writers group I lead had to disband because our congregation moved to another location, and many programs were eliminated due to lack of space. However, while the group existed I encouraged each writer to follow their hearts leading.

What genre, besides scripture, do you like to read?

I love almost anything that would be classified as “P” or “PG” writing and doesn’t use a lot of swearing and gets to the point without taking Gods name in vain. Because my fiction, which many have labeled “Romance” requires a great deal of research, I’m a passionate reader of history, but love all well written books whether mysteries, historical, biographies … the list goes on and on!

Why did you write the books you did?

Again, I must confess that writing six books about my Sephardic heroine, Naomi was never a goal! I was writing a book about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Ruth was a lot like me so it was easy to write her character sketch.

Scout was a pastor’s kid and having known many writing her character was fun!

Naomi was the third, and least important character, or so I thought! She was difficult to sketch because I had never known a Spanish Jew. Every time I tried to write her sketch, I ended up researching and writing about the trail, minor characters, anything but this illusive …

Finally I told a few friends that I needed help, and was surprised to discover that three of them, Correne, Betty, and Janice were Sephardic, and my friend Trish had married a man who did not know about his hidden heritage until she told him. My friends lent books. After I devoured them, I ordered many more and began researching what happened to the Spanish Jews hundreds of years before the Spanish Inquisition as well as its little known Mexican counterpart.

I had spoken about the book with my publisher friend who had been asking me to write for ten years. She was interested in publishing the work. After months of waiting she asked what I was doing. I told her I was writing a character sketch for Naomi. As requested, I sent her my dailies. Forty days later she told me I had begun to write a different, and she believed, better book, and suggested I go back three days and begin reading! And that is how the two Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, and the four volume Naomi Chronicles were written. But, since I’m telling all, I believe it important to mention that if Naomi had not begun to tell me her story, after asking her mamá’s permission and receiving it, none of these books would exist!

What a wonderful journey to an incredible end result. But let’s not get ahead of things. I have more questions about the who and why of you.

Did you have any trouble coming up with the titles?

After writing what became books one and two, I met with my friend who publishes and discovered that not having a book or chapter titles happens.

Hahaha, Tell me about it. You would be surprised how many authors change the titles of their WIP’s not once but often before publishing. Shoot! Linda Rae Blair even changed it after publication first time. I’m sorry for interrupting, go on.

During our meeting we settled on Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, which should have been the title of the saga for the first two books. If I had it to do over again, I might have chosen separate titles for those books. Since I like to move forward and cannot do that well if I drag around regrets for things that could have been better, that lesson taught me what I need to know, so I’ve given each of the four Naomi Chronicle Books their own unique title and cover!

Can you see any character in your books turn away from faith?

My characters are written as they present themselves. Given the reality that many in the faith have issues there are characters within the books that lust, are raped, consider abortion, and yes there is even a member of the clergy that tries to run away from his sin nature. Personally I think writing about a person who turns away from their faith and the effects it has on them and others would be amazing but so far that’s not the story I’ve been hearing! Perhaps someday I will.

Do you ever speak to your characters? When you do, do you discuss, or lay down the rules on how they should behave?

I don’t remember speaking to the characters, but have been told by readers and read reviews of the books when readers were so upset that they worried about or talked to the characters! One reviewer mentioned staying up all night trying to figure out how she could help Naomi. Another reader was so upset that while speaking to Naomi, she woke her husband out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night!

That is amazing and a sure signs you are able to pull the reader into the book and have them solidly relate to your characters. Well done!

If you would have to change anything in your books what would it be and why?

I have at times written something that made no sense, gone to bed, thought I should fix it, begun to get up and heard God say, “Do not edit me!” Hearing those affirming words reminded me that though the world calls me an author, he called me to write. Therefore, I am a scribe for Messiah.

Do you ever write alternative endings?

No, I haven’t written alternative endings. It’s enough just making sure that I keep tract of each character, local, and situation so at the end of each book as well as the end of the saga the reader’s not only happy but knows where each of these people are and that they are all right. This is very important to me because there are at least three more series or sagas that I’m researching, and some the minor characters in this saga will be featured in those stories where readers might also find out what’s happening with Chaz, Naomi and the others.

Okay, the serious part is over. Let’s move on to the fun. 🙂

What do you like to secretly do to unwind?

Unwinding is so very important! If I have the time, I like to take off with my husband, who also writes, and go to Big Bear’s Best Western Chalet, a deluxe getaway that looks like a castle! Both of us love to hike the woods, eat great food, walk around the town, and write! If I’m local, meeting with my girlfriends for a gab fest. I love talking with my writer friends in Wales, Australia and other far flung places and planning what island we will meet on for a month and who we’ll invite to join us once we’ve time and money.

There’s a great plan if I ever heard one!

Now, you know I like a scoop, so tell me something that will be fun for us to know about you.

I can’t tell a joke without laughing and my laughter is so infectious that everyone starts laughing. By the time I’ve stopped laughing and can tell the joke, I’ve forgotten what it is and usually while admitting that I’ll start to laugh and where all off to the race’s again!

Paula, you do sound like a fun woman to know! Great, because the fact you have an infectious laugh means you know how to enjoy life and those people bring joy to others.

Now, do you have a craving for sweet or salty snacks? And when does it hit you?

I love food period! If I’m up, if I’m down, I love food! Since I lived next door to my grandparents and my grandfather owned and was a Jewish baker, I love anything sweet! My husband introduced me to salt. After years of experimenting, I can testify that life lived with a little sweet and a little salt helped me understand that everything has a reason for being even if I currently don’t know why!

That is a wisdom not many people realise is important to keep in mind.
But tell me, what is the song that got stuck in your head the most while you wanted it out?

Since I love music, I don’t remember wanting to get a song out of my head. I do smile each time I hear Johnny Mathis sing The Twelfth of Never because that was one of the songs I listened to when I was writing the Casa Saga books.

What movie awakened something basal in you? And what emotion was it?

The movie Charly staring Cliff Robertson based of the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes was, by far, the most terrifying possibility I’ve ever seen depicted on screen because it shows how a drug can transform a very developmentally disadvantaged adult into a genius from whom scientist are learning while the one they are learning from discovers that he will become as he once was.

And finally tell us a secret, one that colours your cheeks just thinking back on it. Or just tell us something fun to know about you.

I’ve learned that we can only see in others what we have perceived in ourselves so whether others rave or morn, it’s not about me, and knowing that allows me to be me free to be me!

That is a most wonderful statement to end this interview with. Thank you Paula for so freely sharing these snippets of your life with me and my readers.

Now tell me where can we find you on the internet?

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Writings by Paula Rose Blog

Paula’s own site

And finally, I am proud to announce Paula will be back tomorrow with more. Do come back and don’t miss out on a wonderful revealing of the book.