Friday, July 25, 2014

Bergamot’s Lavender Essence (The Power of Ideas)

This morning I sip black tea “kissed with bergamot’s lavender essence.” Ahhh...and just what is that essence? Google describes an aromatic oil found in bergamot orange peelings. The Bergamot, an Italian citrus tree, produces this substance used to flavor food and prepare essential oils and skin care products.

The rich floral flavor, also used in Earl Grey teas, boasts a tinge of bitterness. The Bergamot’s pale gold oil gives a fresh citrus scent. In other words, this cup of tea ought to transport me far from Iowa’s frozen tundra outside my window. In one fell swoop. To what location? It really matters not—just away.
The idea of an Italian landscape, straight out of the movies, lush with citrus groves and lavender fields—conveys strength. The idea has power. And those who hail from stringent pasts, where choosing the best was most likely prohibited, breathe in the strength of ideas.
Ideas can transform our attitudes. Not merely this cup of tea, but the very words on the box, may serve as transport to another, brighter place.
Why did I listen to my savvy daughter and paint our dining room walls such a flagrant yellow-gold? (She will tell you it took years for me to accept the introduction of brights into our d├ęcor, but at least I finally did.)
I did it because color makes a difference, like ideas. Stepping into this cheerful room, I feel better. This hue makes me forget that just outside, another ice storm wreaks havoc. It reminds me that somewhere, brightness prevails, and if I allow the process, even color or a mere idea can slip me into another way of looking at things.
Getting out of bed in the morning may be hard enough, much less producing any worthy thing throughout the day. But yellow helps, and so does the lavender essence in my mug. A hand-thrown pottery mug, by the way—a lovely creation by the same daughter who turned dull and uninteresting walls into inspiration.
Now that I think about it, an idea--an assignment in the Oregon Summer Writing Institute ten years ago, led to my memoir. Starting tomorrow (July 24) thru Sunday, Catching Up W/Daylight, is on sale (Kindle) for 99 cents, and I would so appreciate you spreading the word in whatever ways you are able.

After teaching English as a Second Language and expository     writing, Gail Kittleson enjoys her family (married 35 years, two children and two delightful grandchildren) and writing. Her nonfiction (Catching Up With Daylight/WhiteFire Publishing, 2013) and fiction (World War II era) share a consistent theme—empowerment. Visit Gail at her website
Catching up with Daylight can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Polar Bear Prayers

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death (Psalm 13:3)

I pray for really strange things. This morning on our walk Rosie stopped to sniff a worm that was painfully inching its way across the asphalt. I jerked my dog away and breathed a quick prayer: “Dear Lord, please help that worm make it across the road.”

I considered finding a stick to move the creature but decided against it. The worm would make it or not; I had done what I could.

My prayers are many and varied. Of course, I pray for my children and my husband, my friends, my church, and humanity at large; but I’m just as likely to pray for the mother bird I see flying to her nest with a twig or the baby birds that will soon fill that nest.

Before going to a book signing or setting up at a festival, I pray for the people who will buy and read my books.

Okay, now you can say, “Edith, you are weird. Who prays for worms and unborn birds?”

You’re right, it is weird; but I’ve come to terms with the fact that that’s the only way I can function. To borrow from William Wordsworth’s poem, “The world is too much with us; late and soon.”

Somehow these prayers absolve my conscience of the fact that I can’t protect all worms and birds just as I don’t have much control over people’s reaction to what I write or the to world in general.

Am I always successful in turning things over to God? Of course not! Most of the time I’m busy snatching back whatever I’ve put in His hands. It’s only when I am totally exhausted and out of options that I’m able to completely let go.

I love polar bears. I’ve never seen one outside of a zoo, though that’s on my bucket list of things to do. I worry about polar bears. Mentally I imagine a polar bear family huddled together on an ice floe as it visibly shrinks because of global warming.

What can I do to protect that polar bear family? Nothing, beyond joining environmental groups and approaching legislators—which I do.

In reality, my voice is small and I am overwhelmed by the bears’ plight.

That’s when I have to send up one of my weird prayers—so that I don’t sink into a morass of worry about circumstances over which I have little influence.

I’m not responsible for God’s world. I believe He creates and recreates. Maybe my calling is to point out worms struggling across hot asphalt, the polar bear plight, or my neighbor dying of cancer.

I do what I can.

 Please visit Edith at

Edith has written three fiction books and co-authored a collection of short stories. She writes about strong women living action-packed lives and overcoming great obstacles. Her stories are set in her native South and often are historical fiction.

Edith’s latest book will be released in early fall 2014. It is tentatively titled Called to Tell the Truth and is a collection of essays and short stories based on the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “…faith, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.

Friday, July 11, 2014


What the hey? Do-rags and patch-heavy leather vests? Earrings? Keys and bike fobs hanging from belt chains? And many with tattoos, beards, and goatees for gosh sakes. What happened to these lovely people?

Some serious morphing from school principals, cops, lawyers, printing company owners, surgeons, ministers, commercial artists, cigar store owners, brick masons, and on and on into (gasp) bikers doesn't just happen by accident.

No! Bill Harley and his pals, Art and Walter Davidson, must've had twinkles in their eyes when they attached the first pint-sized gasoline engine to a bicycle 110 years ago. But as excited as they may have been in their early marketing success, they couldn't possibly have envisioned the vast network of Harley-Davidson dealers and dealer-sponsored H.O.G. chapters that exist nationally and around the world today.

On any balmy weekend or evening of the year, normal citizens transform themselves into brothers and sisters of the road. And a large number of them are well past the midcentury mark of their lives, some even into their eighties.
Why do they take up this dangerous hobby, many ask. As the patch says: "if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand." Some have been riding most of their lives. Others made it number one on their bucket lists when they retired. Still others like me rode small bikes or scooters to work in our younger years when we had only one family car and dreamed of the day when we could hit the road again on more noble steeds.
Every time we straddle our machines alone or in a group, we get a surge of positive endorphins. It's always fun when our costumed crowd walks into an eating establishment and invokes one of three looks from the patrons: fear, disgust, or envy. I try to fake a thin smile that says I'm nice but watch yourself. When stopped at traffic lights or in gas stations, we often receive a thumbs-up or positive comments from cagers (car drivers) in the lane next to us.
But this is not merely a self-indulgent pastime. Much charitable good is performed regularly by bikers nationwide. The Patriot Guard Riders escort and protect military funerals on a regular basis while seasonal toy runs for children occur in every state. Bikers tend to be very patriotic and charitable as individuals, and we don't suffer the unpatriotic and uncharitable lightly.
In our genre of motorcycle riders, safety and practice leading to skills is a given. Helmets, obedience to traffic laws, and ongoing training is standard. We hold no affection for "sport bike" demons slashing their way through freeway traffic at supersonic speeds, clearing car fenders by inches. Nor do we have any patience with folks texting or engrossed in phone calls while we share the road with them.
When we pass a fellow biker and throw down the deuce, a two-fingered greeting, we have one thought for them that we tell each other when we part ways: "Be safe!"

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day!

....and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh say does that star spangled banner yet waive o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

May your 4th be blessed with time spent with family and friends as we enjoy the freedom bought for us by those who have served over the years, preserving that freedom. Thank you to all who have served and are serving! May your independence day be a grand celebration of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

God bless the USA!