j-flamingo reflections

Inspired by the grace and beauty of the flamingo, my life reflected by my love of reading, writing and creating.

Ink Notes # 4

In the Midst

In the darkness, the stars sat still amongst the sky. A horse adjusted his footing and breathed out in a whine. Faintly, in the stillness, a warrior had his head buried between his legs. It was dreadfully quiet and he did his best to maintain the soberness although pain seared through his heart. He knew, all too well, that his life had been altered forever. His Captain, oh sweet Captain, had been slain. Never in his life had he been as inspired as much as he had would she would speak. He could hear her strong voice now as thunder rumbling inside his mind. He felt sick. He questioned everything. He trusted no one.

The dust swirled around about him as he looked at the vast open land that shadowed where the war had been. It seemed as if all time stood still now for so many were gone. His delicate eyes had seen too much and distaste filled his mouth as he gazed upon it. He remembered such hard times wishing he could run away from the madness but his loyalty made him stay. He would fight and he did because he triumphed her cause. He knew he had been fashioned into something better for joining the rebellion. He knew her face would linger in his mind for all time. He wished, even dreamt, that the outcome had been different. Couldn't he could have paid the ultimate price instead?

Where would his life lead him now? What would happen to her brilliant army?, he thought. He knew the rules and they wouldn't change them just for peace. Control by the leadership may be regained and the all to real punishments would be carried out to prove their point. He worried incessantly: Couldn't they see how courageous all of his fellow warriors had been in the face of such disgusting cruelty? Who would they follow now and where would it lead them? The fight had needed to be fought but now he anguished that the price had been too high. He believed no one and didn't trust his own thoughts. Even the thoughts he had of her would not stop, even as he tried to forget, and what she did for their world. His soul had changed. He had to remember what others would not. So many had made their decision that she was evil, perhaps, possessed. All of this came about because of a thread of lies, as though their own deception, it had triggered their unbelief. Instead he deeply felt belief, that with what he knew had truly happened in those chaotic final moments it would change the legacy of her destiny and now also his own. He had never wanted this responsibility but he also knew that even without her he couldn't give up. Not now, when the rebellion had seemed to worked as long as it had.

This task, to remember and renew the spirit of her life and bring honor back to her name, lay ahead of him on an uneasy path were his pain would have to tread. He would give his heart for the cause and this momentum gave him strength. He knew it would not bring her back but the memory of her would linger and this brought him a glimpse of peace. Her tale was one that must be told with power and conviction for it would always be vibrant in his mind. It would be one he would pass on and fight for. More than that, he would find a way to tell it undauntingly. For the fact remained, that in the midst of all of this turmoil rattling his very existence, he knew the truth.

What do I WANT NOW? This Wednesday...

I saw this on Bookworm Barista's blog and I thought it was so cute. I decided that I would play along and I hope that it is alright to do so (margo, won't you please let me know if I'm not supposed to). Basically, I tell about a book that I WANT NOW and since that is not hard for me to do I think it will be fun!

Here's what I WANT NOW:

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

I'm sure some may already have it and have read it too. Although, it's not due to come out until Sept. 1st. I'm trying not to look too hard about this book so that I won't read anything to spoil it when I'm able to read it but I can't wait! Even after it comes out, who knows when I'll be able to get it but I'll try. I did read her first book and it was so well done that I'm looking forward to this one! I'd really like to know what happens next and to continue reading about some of my favorite characters from Book #1 "The Hunger Games" so if you haven't read her first book yet you may want to pick it up soon!

My first R.I.P. IV Reading Challenge

I've decided to sign up, as a first timer, for the R.eadersI.mbibing.P.eril IV reading challenge hosted by Carl V. It's a two month challenge running through Sept 1, 2009 - Oct 31, 2009, just in time for Halloween. Ooooo-oooo. Hear that? Can you feel it? I can feel it in the air now as it brings the presence of fall which is basically non-existent in TX so we have to really live it up with the holidays. I'm going to sign up for Peril the Third. I know, I know that it isn't much of a risk because I'll only be commiting myself to reading just One book of any length in any of these categories:

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Supernatural

It's sounds so intriguing that I just can't help it. Plus, the button exemplifies the mysterious beauty that I find so appealing in Art. Kudos to the sponsored artist, Jennifer Gordon. Love your hauntingly beautiful style! I'm feeling at my wit's end a little bit with back to school going on's, not only for my four school children but for my husband who is dying to be a dentist now. I'm taking care of all of those end of the rope things in our lives at the present, in my humble reality, I'm hoping this challenge will keep me from losing my head. So, as I'm hunting for peace in my life, I'm joining in on the fun! Plus, looking forward, as always, to reading some of my titles on my TBR list that I think may fit these categories.

Here's my first choice I'd like to start with if I can find a copy of it somewhere:

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

Here's my reading pool full of thrilling choices:

The Witches of Worm
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer by Harold Schechter
by Harold Schechter
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
The Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins
The City of Falling Angels
by John Berendt
The Spider and the Fly
by Mary Howitt, Tony DiTerlizzi

Now, that should keep my heart-racing! I'm sure I won't get to all of these now but they'll be in my TBR pool for future reference and looking forward to next year.

I'd like to give a sincere thanks to Amanda for encouraging me to sign up for R.I.P IV in tweets!

Time for Teaser Tuesdays

Owwh, I almost forget it's time for Teaser Tuesdays!

Introduced to me by Bookworm Barista and Happy 100th post to you!
Hosted by Should be reading - Thanks!

Here's how Teaser Tuesdays work:
Grab what you're currently reading. Open to a random page. Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from anywhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (be sure that what you share doesn't give to much away, you don't want to ruin the book for others.) Share the title & author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR (to be read list).

Here's my teaser:

In the picture, Clare is about eight years old, her hands are lifted to chin-level and open in a way that meant they'd just been cupped, and she's staring upward as though amazed, and her mother is next to her, looking not upward, but at Clare's face and, striking as Viviana is, her expression is the really beautiful thing in the picture. It's that loving.

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, pg. 163

Stamptacular Sunday Challenge (3) #20

This week's challenge is: "BEARY Special" - create a project that includes a bear.

In honor of 'back to school' time, I decided to create a card which may also be used as a mini-album out of a brown paper bag. My scan doesn't let you see that so well but my family thought it was cute. I wish my children all the best as they return to school on Monday.

Supplies ~
brown paper bag: Wal-Mart
black cardstock: American Crafts
speckled cream cardstock: Stampin' Up
textured red cardstock: Bazzill (Textured Red Devil)
handcut heart: by Nessa
green speckled paper: Wallies
bear stamp: PSX designs (Personal Stamp Xchange)
Hello! Stamp Set: Stampin' Up
watercolor pencils: Stampin' Up
inks: ColorBox gold pigment, Stampin' Up black craft, Tim Holtz Distress Ink - Tea Dye, VersaColor ink pad cube evergreen
ribbon: Garden Ridge Holiday Trimmings
red brads: unknown from a brad soup
basic round hole punch: Fiskars

This was a very fun project!

Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright

This book follows a few months in the life of Luke Millward who finds himself thrust into the wake of post-Katrina New Orleans in an effort to find his father, Charles. You do find out more about Luke and his relationship with his father through a series of flashbacks. The overall feeling that I had while reading this book was a humbling yet tragically deep sense of sadness. It does make you powerfully think about redemption and second chances.
Although, I felt sad I did feel intrigued to continue reading even from the beginning. It's hard for me describe exactly why because I didn't especially care for the main character, Luke, at first. He makes a bit of a transition throughout the novel that helps you understand him in the end but he's still not as likable as you would expect from a main character. I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing because I don't believe that all main characters have to be liked. In fact, that may have been why I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened with all the things that Luke was facing. I did feel that the characters, even minor ones, that were portrayed in this book were fairly well-developed, natural and honest, maybe even a bit too much as in Luke's case. I didn't always like how Luke perceived things and I'm sure it was done to characterize Luke but that's why I think I didn't like him so much. Like I said, it is most likely a matter of personal taste but it just didn't settle right with me. Here's an example of what I mean:

If Jessica Alba had a better-looking sister, it could be Bela. As I appreciated her striking good looks, I predicted one of her parents was Latino and the other Caucasian.
One of the character's that stood out for me was Jordan. She was very kind and a good friend to Luke. I felt so bad for her in so many ways becuase you could tell that Luke didn't have the same emotional feelings about her that she did for him. In the end, she shows an amazing amount of grace that is very endearing. I would love to read a sequel about Jordan and get to know her story better.
I also really liked Luke's father, Charles, even with all of his imperfection and addiction. I liked that he was a musician and the idea that we can write a "second verse" to our lives. So, the incorporation of his song into the book was really neat and adds to the way the book felt. If you'd like to read the lyrics or listen to his song, it is found here. I do wish that it was sung by a woman like the character Bela did in the book though.
I also think the way that post-Katrina New Orleans was presented and described was accurate and well-researched. These grim details could have been a minor part of the story but were poignant and insightful instead.
Overall, I had a lot to think about after I read this.

288 pages, September 2008, My rating: 3 stars

*Repost from 5-squared for Summer Reading Thing

Teaser Tuesdays

Last week, I noticed this on Bookworm Barista's blog and it looked fun. So, when I noticed it today I thought I'd like to play along since anyone can. It is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here's how Teaser Tuesdays work:
1.Grab what you're currently reading.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from anywhere on that page.
(be sure that what you share doesn't give to much away, you don't want to ruin the book for
5. Share the title & author so other TT participants can add the book
to their TBR (to be read list).

Here's mine:

I open my eyes. My head feels heavy on the pillow.
(pg 129)

From: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Ink Notes # 3

The Bird Cage

Feathers quickly ruffled and a bell lightly rung inside the white bird cage. Doreen couldn't help but turn her head to look at her mint green parakeet perched on its swing. She smiled happily awaiting the arrival of Maggie. Today was Maggie's day to clean out the bird cage and do a few other things around the small house for Doreen. Her house didn't seem much now but it had served her and her family well. For a minute, she closed her eyes and remembered moving in all those years ago. She could feel the energy and excitement that day had brought to her and her family. A new house, their very own house, she imagined and could almost hear the back door slam again as her two boys, so small at that time, ran out into the backyard giggling. A carefree moment for them that at that time hadn't seemed so fleeting.
Now, her legs ached and cramped each day and it was hard to get around as much as she used to. It was all part of the process for an old woman but she didn't feel that way on the inside. If her body would allow her to do as she felt than she would be as energetic as ever but that's not how it goes. As the clock chimed in, interrupting her thoughts, Doreen glanced up noticing that it was now 3 o'clock. She knew school hours were up and she counted on the fact that it wouldn't be long now for Maggie to arrive. It was a bright spot in her week and something to look forward to. She wondered briefly how Maggie felt about coming but then decided that it might not matter. It was enjoyable to Doreen and hopefully that would be enough. Although, there were times she wished that she could take care of things around her own house she was wise enough to realize that her independence was slowly vanishing. She was grateful that she could at least live on her own for the most part and she wanted to reside here for as long as she could. It would be harder to leave her tiny home, she thought.

"Hi, Mrs. Oliver, Maggie said as she quietly entered in the front door to Doreen's home. "How are you today? I'm pleasantly at your service."

Doreen fought back a smile and looked up at Maggie mischievously as she handed her a handwritten note.

Maggie took it and started to read what she'd be up to for the next couple of hours.

"Alrighty then, Mrs. Oliver, I'll get started cleaning out Minty's cage first."

Doreen grunted or it could have been a slight giggle but Maggie wasn't sure. She had her suspicion that the elderly lady liked her but it was always unclear with Mrs. Oliver. All that she knew for sure was that there was a little list to occupy her time and in the end she was sure it helped her out. For some reason, whether it was getting out of her chores at her own house for a bit or forgetting her troubles in her teenage life, it was a nice little moment of time for Maggie to spend helping Mrs. Oliver. It was enjoyable for Maggie and hopefully that would be enough.

Soon Maggie had all the chores done on the list.

"Will there be anything else for me today, Mrs. Oliver?" asked Maggie.

"Yes, let's sit and play a few rounds of the dice game before your mother arrives." Doreen simply answered.

Maggie retrieved the dice from the kitchen table and she sat on couch in front of the coffee table facing Doreen. They silently played a few rounds of the dice game, Doreen only interjecting a few times to explain the rules or mark down the score in the same little red notepad that was always used for that purpose. Maggie realized it must have now contained a listing of all the dice games that they had ever played.

"Maggie, if you could refill my mug with some ice water, I'd appreciate it."


Maggie obediently refilled the mug than came back to sit down on the couch. She started nervously talking to Doreen about her day at school as she waited for her mother to pick her up. It seemed like a long time but it was only a few short minutes and Maggie heard the familiar honk of her mother's van. Maggie stood up and Doreen held out her hand for a simple handshake. For some reason, after Maggie shook Doreen's hand she couldn't help but give her a slight but warm hug as well. Doreen received it but said nothing.

"Goodbye, Mrs. Oliver. I'll see you next week."

"Goodbye, Maggie."

A few days later, Maggie was studying in her room and her mother came in.

"Maggie, I have something I need to tell you."

"Alright, Mom, what is it?"

Her mother's face fell and her voice grew serious, "Maggie, Mrs. Oliver passed away this afternoon."

Maggie couldn't say anything.

"She left you this note and her son said that after you read it you could call the number within to coordinate with him when you pick up whatever the note says you could have of Mrs. Oliver's. I haven't read it so I don't know what it says."

Her mother handed Maggie the note and then left.

Maggie's hands trembled slightly. She opened the note and read the few words that it contained:

Dear Maggie,

I'd like you to have Minty, my parakeet.
My son has handwritten his telephone number at the bottom so you can call him for pick-up. He'll have a brown paper bag for you as well.

(signed) Mrs. Doreen Oliver

Maggie simply couldn't imagine what Doreen would have in the paper bag. She was surprised enough to inherit the parakeet. She dialed the number on the phone.

A couple of days later, Maggie's mother took her to Doreen's house a day before she usually rode the bus from school to arrive there for her normal time to help her out. Doreen's son was waiting on the front porch holding the bird cage and a brown paper bag which actually looked full of groceries.

Doreen's son greeted them.

"I'm not surprised my mom's giving you this little bird. It always drove me crazy when I came to visit. Here you go."

"Thanks a bunch." Maggie said brightly. "I'll take care of it."

"Okay, you're welcome."

Maggie carried the bird cage to the van and Doreen's son carried the paper bag and placed it down on the van's floor alongside the bird cage then Maggie sat down.

Maggie's mom drove off.

Maggie couldn't wait to be alone in her room and open the brown paper bag. She set Minty carefully on the small table she had prepared for the cage. The white bird cage looked very nice on it. Maggie sat down and opened the up the bag. First of all, it was full of all the things that the parakeet would need but at the very bottom she noticed a tiny black velvet bag. Maggie opened it expectantly with some knowledge that it contained the dice they always used to play the dice game with but there was something she hadn't expected to find as well.

The tiny red notebook.

All the dice games she had ever played with Mrs. Oliver.

Maggie smiled.


Stamptacular Sunday Challenge(3) # 19

The theme for this week's challenge is called:


For this week’s challenge I created a card that uses THREE brads, TWO different pattern papers, and ONE flower.
black cardstock - Memory Lane
pattern papers - Anna Griffin
stamp ink - black, magenta, orange - Stampin' Up
orange paper - Paper Company
Zig .05 black marker for writing
hot pink silk flower from Hobby Lobby
medium pink brads - American Crafts (2 brads are on inside)
black letter stickers/stamps - David Walker designs by Creative Imagination
Thanks for taking a peek!

Cards I've made lately

Here's a few photo's of the cards I've made recently just for fun with my cousin, Jen. Jen let me use her patterns, paper, stamps and embellies so I don't have a list of supplies for them right now, I may add that later. The cardstock is a brown or gray kraft type. I know some of the glittery flower stickers are from K&Company. The styles of these cards include wedding, children's and baby cards. I'm still new at using my scanner so I realize that they are not the best quality but I hope you can at least get an idea.
The wedding cake card idea came from two of the (Design Team) DT's, Paula and Nikki, at the Stamptacular Sunday Challenge blog. Nikki gives the specifics of how to make it on her blog and she made the wedding cake card too. Simply Beautiful! Paula used it for a birthday card and her design is very cute! I really liked it with that cute mouse on top!
Thanks for looking!

Summer Reading Thing - Book #1: Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

I hadn't known what to expect when I started reading Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery, Lemon Tart, or that it would actually be fun to read a mystery. Even now, writing the word fun down, it seems an ironic word to describe this book. It could be a recipe for disaster as many of the story's ingredients were quite dark, after all , a young mother is murdered, a baby is missing, and a man struggles with adultery.
Right away you become aware of the resident baker, Sadie Hoffmiller, who has designated herself as a neighborhood spy because these two detectives, who are completely opposite and troubled as they work together, couldn't possibly solve this case better than Sadie herself. For these are people that she cares about and she can't turn a blind eye without helping by finding any situation where she might gather information whether or not it helps or hinders the investigation. Sadie is merely harmless and downright hilarious too. Even though she is a busybody, she is well intentioned and likable. I partly expected her to show up anytime at my own doorstep with goodies in hand.
Since it is a culinary mystery, there were plenty of descriptions about food to make your mouth water. So, for people who love food this is a book you may enjoy. I did make the brownies from the story and they turned out really good. Besides Sadie's personality, perhaps it is the food that makes this book feel fun after all.
It was an easy read and well paced. I have to admit that I thought this book was fairly predictable until the very end and I was wrong. So, you had me there, Josi, that was an unexpected surprise.
This is a book that seemed finished and can stand on its own so I'm interested to read the next installment, English Trifle, to see how Josi is going to make a series out of these. I know three ingredients to look forward to and that is Sadie, her recipes and the mystery, of course.

361 pages, March 2009, My rating: 3 stars

*Repost from 5-squared for Summer Reading Thing

Stamptacular Sunday Challenge (2) #18

This is my second time doing the Stamptacular Sunday Challenge. I'm sure I'll do better with time and practice. So, this time the theme is "Child's Play" and I decided to do a birthday card for a child. I made one earlier for a birthday party that my son went to for his friend who was turning 7. Since the card was well received there, I improved upon it and thought I'd post it here for this challenge. I'm glad to participate!


cream, blue, light green, white and yellow cardstock - unknown source from my scrap pile

Classic Alphabet Stamps - Stampin' Up

Line Design Stamp - Close to My Heart

Watercolor pencils - Stampin' Up

circlular punchie - Fiskars

Stamp Ink - ColorBox tangerine, scarlet and VersaColor indigo

Light Pink shine - Pearl X brush pigment

One toothpick - helps the wick to stand up on its own

Adhesive - Scotch tape, Elmer's school glue

About this blog

Welcome Readers~to my blog! A tiny extension of myself and my life. Here, I'll share this journey through my top passions in my life - reading, writing, and creating. You can expect to read poetry, view my papercrafts and read design related posts. Every once in a while, I hope you'll grasp an honest feel of my heart. If you haven't noticed, I love flamingos! I think they are beautiful birds. *Thanks for your attention.*
She is pure Alice in Wonderland, and her appearance and demeanor are a nicely judged mix of the Red Queen and a flamingo.
~Truman Capote

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