2020 and Friendship Over the Pond

Wooden Bookshelves Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com at https://images.app.goo.gl/A8p6dC2bFu2yGP9P7

Hello and welcome to a new decade and a new look, a work in progress. Here we are nearly a quarter of the way into this New Year and I’m just making my first appearance. Actually, it’s taken a fellow blogger to draw me out of my seclusion with a happy request to be a guest on my site.

So, in my attempt to get up to speed with a new theme, I’m happy to be back to introduce you to my friend, Diana Jackson, from across the pond with her new book and written contribution for your reading enjoyment.

We first connected back in 2013 when I came across her series of posts she had written about Norman, 103 years old. I was intrigued and enjoyed the stories about this man and their endearing friendship. She even published his memoir , “The Life and Demise of Norman Campbell”.

Diana now lives in Fife, Scotland, and is the author of ‘mystery inspired by history books,’ a fantasy memoir and historical romantic fiction ~ the Riduna series ~ set in 19th and early 20th Century.

We have followed each other ever since and she is a talented and accomplished author with a number of published books, along with her latest, “Missing Past and Present”.

So, without further delay, here is Diana’s story for your reading pleasure.




Author Diana Jackson


Pat and I have followed each other’s blogs for several years now and it does not matter that we have never met and live worlds apart, Pat in the USA and I am in the UK, it is lovely how friendship bonds can grow through blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

It was her blog title which caught my eye first ‘Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom’ and her catch phrase, Kitchen Table Stories to Inspire and Warm your Heart. It was the domesticity and warmth which shone from her posts which grabbed me, as well as her honesty. What qualities and ideas do we both share?

  • We both like to write our own true stories but to share those of others too. Pat is much more proactive than I am about collecting or reposting other tales and memories. Mine are on https:/selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com which I must return to after all the excitement of my book launch on my other blog https://dianamj.wordpress.com/.
  • It is not that it has always been cosy for both of us. No, we have had our fair share of life’s issues to deal with, but I believe it is that we look upon the world in a similar way, trying to see the best in people and situations.
  • We are both moved by a sense of belonging and feel a longing to visit places of our past or family history.
  • We share a sense of family and we experience joy looking at old family photos.
  • I believe that we have a quiet faith which is important to us in everything we do.
  • Pat lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Denver, an area in America I don’t know but it sounds beautiful. I now live in Scotland with only an hour’s drive to the Cairngorms.
  • Pat has family links with Scotland too and maybe one day we will meet either here in Fife or in America.

Why is a blog like Pat’s so important? I believe it is because it helps us all to focus on the positive and to look for the good in people. I nearly had a mis-type ‘the God’ in people, but maybe it is that too!

When I moved to Fife and took a break from my writing life, only just keeping social media going, we lost touch for a while. Pat too had a time when issues at home took over her life and she did not post blogs for a while. I found myself wondering how she and her family were, but I was so pleased to see her posts again and it is good to pick up from where we left off! We now email from time to time and see each other on Facebook ~ that wonderful way of linking people worlds apart.


The Healing Paths of Fife is my own story of how I survived redundancy and relocation three hundred miles from Bedfordshire to Scotland. We made our home in the fellowship of a wonderful community, surrounded by the Scottish countryside and the wee fishing villages of Fife. It tells how I gave up writing for a while to settle into this new life, but was finally stirred to take up the pen once more. The book is written in allegorical form with fantasy talks with folks in history as I walk the beautiful Fife coastal path including Robert Louis Stevenson and St Margaret. Quirky I know! It is currently for sale with all royalties benefiting Kirkcaldy Foodbank.

I can hardly believe though, that it is six years since my last novel Murder, Now and Then was published but the next in my Mystery Inspired by History series, MISSING Past and Present has just been released. Is it really over six years since we were first in contact Pat? I think it was when I was posting about Norman, a very special 103 year old friend, wasn’t it?

On Line Friendships

Neither miles nor continents,

Seas nor countries,

Cities nor villages,

Streets nor homes,

Can break a friendship bound by

Caring and sharing,

Joy and hope,

Good will and kindness,


and above all


By Diana Jackson

Thanks so much Pat!

I’ve just downloaded your book and look forward to it.


I’m thankful to have such thoughtful and caring followers over the internet, like Diana, that have developed into friendships over the years. We are worlds apart; yet, our lives are connected in similar ways living and working through the same daily events . . . loving, laughing, listening and supporting one another.  

Thank you, Diana, you helped bring me back stirring the juices to reboot up my site and begin writing again.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

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10 Years of Blogging and My Next Chapter

Writing, Arts, Communications by MSN Clipart

Writing, Arts, Communications by MSN Clipart

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since I published my first post, on my old blogger’s site in 2007. I had very little experience in writing and less knowledge on the internet. Back then, I had only been out of the corporate world several years, exploring waned attempts to launch my business with talking-stick workshops, before moving on to try my hand in learning the mortgage industry. What in the world was I doing?

But, crazy as it seems, I still felt the need to talk and get my stories out, if only it was to put them down in words in a blog rather than share them face-to-face. I’ve always believed in a need to connect with one another in some way. I think it would make a difference and go a long way in learning how to work through things in our lives, if we understood each other and felt validated.

So, I began, as I’ve done in many other situations, when I’m not sure what I’m doing. I pick at it, a little at a time, learning as I go. In the end, I’m more dangerous, with the little I know, than knowing nothing at all, especially when it comes to technology. It’s crazy how a laptop and keyboard, with electric current charging through it, can throw me into a panic when systems freeze and don’t talk to each other. I get claustrophobic, almost to a point of hyperventilating. Hubby can tell you ― it’s not pretty. But, when I calm down, I’m able to pick it up again and don’t seem so bad.

Somehow, I’ve managed over these 10 years to create a blog(s) and publish 275 posts, make videos, produce an e-book, and connect with loving, fellow bloggers all over the world. I also started a small internet business selling pine cones with my followers and social media. It’s more involvement in technology than my brain can handle sometimes.

I haven’t written much lately feeling stuck, like I’ve run out of things to say. After all, 10 years of rambling on with my stories, I began wondering if maybe it’s all been said. But, what I’m discovering is that I’m on a plateau, taking deep breaths and getting ready for what’s next . . . a new chapter.

I’m sensing what I’ve been doing, all along, has only been preparing me for this change in my life ― adopting all the things I’ve learned and experienced. Given how things are shaping up in the world these days. It’s getting real and, I feel, we no longer have the luxury to just simply go about our business. I’m sensing an urgent need to connect in personal, authentic ways, where we feel comfortable and trust. It’s about change and there has to be a way to do that from all over the world, touching each other’s lives and hearts privately, where we feel safe to tell our story and interact in our own space.

I’m only one voice but together I see possibilities for a movement where love and harmony can come through bringing us together. Underlying all the pain and suffering, humanity has been hungry for relief and the cry for help has been silently simmering for a long time.

I was reminded of this, when I saw a PBS interview by Tavis Smiley last week with Arlo Guthrie and remembered the same familiar stirrings in my heart. Arlo is well-known for his popular song 50 years ago, “Alice’s Restaurant”, and is the son of famed Woody Guthrie. He talked about music back in the ’60’s, a change in consciousness and how it still exists today. Something happens and something shifts ― a change in the critical mass. It doesn’t come from the top down but from the bottom up. And he continued by saying:

“There’s not a majority, there is not most, there’s enough and, if everybody who feels that enoughness, is willing to get out there and say, “Me too. I’m in this”, it will change faster than anybody can imagine.”

In the podcast interview with Tavis (around time stop 17:47), Arlo talks about going down the street in New York City, after a show late one night with Pete Seeger, and they saw a group of kids gathered. They were singing songs but didn’t know them very well. Pete (then in his early ‘90’s) wanted to go over and join them and was able to ignite the energy by adding more words and music to their singing.

I remembered the feeling, as Arlo talked about what happened, in the collective spontaneous energy and spirit that unfolded. It struck a chord with me and helped me realize that the magic is still there and is something I’ve experienced. You can’t prepare for it or plan it. It takes on a life of its own and is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. It’s moments that are beautiful and magnetic and, if any of you have had the opportunity to experience it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

For me, one of the experiences I remembered this happening was many years ago at a 4-H weekend gathering. It was similar and electric, like Arlo talks about, that also involved music. I was a chaperone and it was one of my daughter’s first 4-H retreats for kids ages 11-13.

Everyone gathered on Friday night, dropped off by their parents to be picked up late Sunday morning. We went through the introductions and schedule for the weekend and settled in for the night looking forward to kicking off the next day’s events.

I got to know the kids, as the weekend progressed, and I observed how they interacted with each other, having never met before, working through challenges and experiencing new emotions with their peers. One particular boy stood out, named Porter, and I noticed him when his parents came with him to drop him off for the retreat. It would be his first time without them and they were a bit apprehensive leaving him. You could tell ― for he was blind.

But, there was fervor in Porter and you could tell it was something he was definitely ready and eager to do. He just wanted to be like other kids his age doing what they do. After his folks left and we completed registrations, I noticed how the kids mingled with each other while some gathered around him, asking questions and getting comfortable with him. He just acted like he was one of them and soon you wouldn’t have known he was blind the way they laughed and joked interacting with one another.

As the weekend advanced, I continued to watch to see how it would play out and sensed something was happening. The kids had workshops to attend and different events they signed up for depending on what their interests were. There was one big event of the weekend on Saturday they all had to prepare for and participate in, where they broke up into teams ― a play doing a series of skits.

That’s when I noticed Porter’s talent for music and how his team performed together with him in their skit. They were a hit along with all the other teams and energies were flying high for the rest of the day. I could tell something magical was stirring. I was caught up in it and humbled to be a part of such love and harmony expressed in these kids. They were teaching me something, first hand, and it came so natural to them.

Sunday rolled around and it was the last day of the retreat and we had one final gathering before the kids left with their folks. We all met in what was similar to a band room and packed ourselves in, filling the seats and lining the walls: kids, instructors, chaperones and parents alike. They each had a chance to talk and share what their experience was for the weekend and, then, it came time for Porter to talk.

But, instead of talking, his parents said he had composed a song he wanted to sing and play on the piano, as his expression of what the weekend meant to him. As he began, I felt an immediate hush and, as he sang and played, the magic stirred and the energy was electric. It was some invisible force bringing us together in such heightened love and harmony, such as some have never seen before. After that, no one wanted to leave and some cried when it came time to go home. Hearts were touched that day and real connections were made.

The moment was the same, as what Arlo talked about, and in what was captured in a small clip in the interview with Pete Seeger singing with those kids in the street of New York City. I remember it well and stays with me along with other moments such as these.

 It may have taken 10 years of blogging and almost 70 years of living to finally understand what I want to do: bring people together and allow space for special moments like these. Something happens inside when you have an experience like this and it changes you. Maybe, I still had a little tweaking to do within me before I could arrive at this place. But, if I do my part, then the invitation alone and spirit of love will take care of the rest. That’s when magic happens and change will begin. I believe the world is in dire need and more than poised and ready.

(You can read more about Porter and the kids in a post I wrote called, “Today’s Kids — I Love Them”)

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

Happy New Year And A Look Back

Happy New Year by Thanasis Anastasiou

Happy New Year by Thanasis Anastasiou

The New Year 2015 is upon us and, as 2014 pauses to say good-bye, I hope it was a good one for you as it was for me. I can’t say I’m one for making resolutions for the New Year or have accomplished all that I wanted in the past year. I’m having enough trouble learning how to be present with what’s now.

But, if I were to reflect, I would be happy with what I undertook and achieved. With this writing, I will have posted 40 stories for the year. I know it’s not a lot compared to most but with what I’ve shared in my life and what has inspired me, I hope it has mattered.

Here’s a little taste of 2014 and what I did around my kitchen table at “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom”: Continue reading

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Acknowledgements: "Happy New Year" Photo by
Thanasis more...

Guest Post on Finding Our Way Now

Grandpop and Grandmom

Personal Photo – Grandpop and Grandmom © Pat Ruppel

Hi everyone — sending a quick note letting you know I’m honored to be Susan Cooper’s guest over on “Finding Our Way Now” with contributing the following story.

Happy Happy Happy: #Story

I hope you’ll drop by Susan’s site, leave a comment and share the love.

Thank You!

Pat at the ol’ kitchen table

Why Do I Make This So Hard?

Writer's Block II

Writer’s Block Photo © by Drew Coffman — Courtesy PhotoDropper

Ughh — I’m making this way too hard. (Sorry, I’m venting.) Is this what they call ‘writer’s block’? I want to write something but not just anything. I’ve had ideas but then the mood shifts or the time just isn’t right.

Then, I think, do you really want to read random thoughts about me finally planting flowers, or the weather (Lord, we’ve had a ton of that)? (I know this is turning out to be random.) Have you ever felt like this?  Continue reading