A Tribute to Prague and The Roman by Sylvain Reynard

Reflecting on what brings you happiness

is important
As 2018
begins
I’m taking the time for gratitude

 

G’day everyone,

Welcome to Kez’s bookshelf for the first time in 2018.

The start of each New Year brings the time for reflection, self evaluation, resetting of goals and priorities for many people.  I recently sat down with my daughter and embarked on such a conversation, the result was enlightening. Over breakfast one morning, we discussed what’s important to each of us not only for 2018 but also for the years to come. This conversation also saw us reflecting on previous years of our lives. While my compassionate and intelligent daughter acknowledged the happy times and the struggles (some years more difficult than others) she also indentified what’s most important. Her words were… “Mum in your life time you have experienced married life, had a family, owned two homes and been to a number of countries overseas, there is much there to be grateful for.” She is right! I thanked her for reminding me of what is essential here… gratitude!  My daughter is without doubt my most precious blessing.

As you set your goals for 2018 take a moment to be grateful for your own achievements and experiences. Especially if life has taken unexpected turns or perhaps you’re facing unwanted challenges. Looking for the light where you least expect it is often the pinnacle moment for turning life events around. Taking time for gratitude will also put into perspective what’s truly important to you.

The memories of my overseas adventures are very dear to me and I’m very grateful I have been fortunate to experience them. One of my favourite overseas ventures took me to Prague. Formerly a part of Czechoslovakia, Prague became a democratic society in 1989 and I was surprised just how well preserved and maintained this Gothic City is. It’s a true reflection on how much the people of Prague appreciate and respect their historical home.

When reading “The Roman” by the incredibly talented Sylvain Reynard (the author is another favourite of mine) I was delighted that the heroine of the story spent time in Prague.  The chapter devoted to this beautiful city invigorated my wonderful holiday memories. Today I wanted to include a review of chapter 58 from “The Roman” (the final instalment to The Florentine Series) as well as some of my own experiences as a mark of thanks for two things that has given me great enjoyment and helped to bring colour to my world. I do this in the hope that you may reflect on what you’re thankful for, what’s important to you, so that you may see clearer what brings colour to your world….

Beautiful Prague

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Everything about this place is enchanting, the people, the culture, the architecture, the atmosphere; upon my return home I would experience goose bumps every time I relived my stay in Prague. As we discuss this section from “The Roman” today, you’ll start to see why.

Chapter 58 begins with Raven Wood sitting at an outdoor table of one of the many quaint little cafes in old town square, she was situated across from Prague’s magnificent Astronomical clock. With her love for historical art and gothic architecture, I am sure Raven appreciated the vision that stood across from her. To help you see in your own mind’s eye – The Astronomical clock was first built in 1410 and has three main components – an astronomical dial that reflects the position of the sun and the moon, a calendar dial representing each month and a clock that depicts time with an hourly display of the twelve apostles, as well as other figurines.

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The Astronomical clock is housed on the southern side of the old town hall tower. When I visited Prague, I was extremely fortunate to have found accommodation in an apartment that was situated on the northern side of the tower still in old town square. Let me tell you, it was a wonderful experience to hear the trumpeter stationed in the tower almost every hour, announcing the coming arrival of the twelve apostles  – according to Wikipedia this is also known as “The Walk of the Apostles”. Close your ears people (and your eyes Mum), I can hear Professor Emerson (the hero from Sylvain Reynard’s incredible “Gabriel’s Inferno” series) mumbling….”Wikifuckers!!”

 

Our views from the apartment window

 

As Raven sat across from this gothic masterpiece she contemplated what had transpired since her departure from Florence two months ago.  She was escorted to Austria with her driver and two other females, departing with one of her travelling companions in Innsbruck where they also stopped at a safe house. It was here that Raven underwent another identity change and she was given a Canadian Passport. Switching cars, the driver then transported her to Prague where she was given a new life. She now held a position with St Vitus Cathedral writing and editing material in English. Although Raven no longer practiced in the art restoration I’m sure she would have appreciated being around such breathtaking artefacts that are housed in St Vitus Cathedral.

 

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This magnificent cathedral is situated in the grounds of Prague Castle and is the biggest and most significant cathedral in the City. Taking almost 600 years to complete, it was founded in 1344. SR discusses in chapter 58 how it is also home to St Wenceslas Chapel which houses incredible frescoes of the passion of Christ and the life of St Wenceslas. The chapel is also home to several holy relics.

 

St Vitus Cathedral

While Raven sat across from the Astronomical clock waiting for the next appearance of the twelve apostles, she absentmindedly touched her own relic that was given to her. As she did so, she thought of William and what had recently taken place in Florence. I found it quite poignant that Raven sat across from the Astronomical clock pondering William, that magnificent apparatus represents the very essences of time, very apt indeed.  Sipping her Saturday morning coffee, Raven suddenly noticed a man skirting the crowd congregated around the front of the clock, he was dressed all in black with fair hair – he looked like William.

She deserted her breakfast and she began to walk as fast as she was able towards the man who was now walking away from the crowd.  Suddenly the man stopped and turned around as the clock’s bell began to ring. Raven stopped and raised her hand in order to shade against the sun and make out his features, but it wasn’t William.

That evening as Raven lay awake in her apartment, she watched the light and shadows dance across the ceiling and walls of her bedroom.

She whispered and I quote from chapter 58…

 “You were the shadow on my wall”, pain piercing her chest.

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The shadow didn’t reply.

 

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If you haven’t experienced Sylvain Reynard’s impeccable writing. You can find all his stories from his own Amazon page here:-

 

Sylvain Reynard Amazon

 

If the first thing you do for 2018 is to read a book written by Sylvain Reynard, you’d be doing yourself a huge favour!!

Good luck as you set your own goals for 2018 and beyond, may you find what truly brings happiness and fulfillment to your life.

Until next time

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

“In a gentle way, we can shake the world” Ghandi

As we embark on each New Year, it should be a time of optimism that brings hope for the year ahead. An opportunity to create a prosperous community in which we live and build a promising, sustainable future for our children.

But as we draw to the end of April 2017, it is evident with each new day, that we are living in increasingly uncertain and dangerous times.

With many influencing factors such as:-

  • The change of governing style in a number of different countries.
  • The displacement of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and refugees throughout the world.
  • Ongoing threats of terrorism and violence against race and religions.

You may think these problematic issues are too great for you and I to make a difference. But there is hope. Let’s take a step back for a moment. No matter what race or religion we are, what is one thing we all have in common…

Humanity – the state of being human. (Oxford Dictionary)

 

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Ironically yesterday was Earth Day. All of us share this planet, if we are  to make a difference in caring for our earth, surely we also need to take care of mankind.

I want to share this video that was part of a movie made in 1940 called ‘The Great Dictator’. Charlie Chaplin played the part of a Jewish Barber who happened to look like the identical twin of the ruthless dictator. He takes to the stand under the pretense of that dictator and made the following remarkable speech….

Don’t you think it’s quite poignant that after 77 years the words spoken are just as apt today? So I ask you, how can we ensure we make a difference?

The Oxford Dictionary describes humanity as:-

compassion, brotherly love, fellow feeling, humaneness, kindness, kind-heartedness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, goodness, good-heartedness, gentleness, leniency, mercy, mercifulness, pity, tenderness, benevolence, charity, generosity, magnanimity

I believe all those qualities are essential factors for humanity and building better, stronger communities. For me there is one important quality missing from this list:-

 selflessness.

  • being concerned more for the needs of others than yourself.
  • Putting those needs of others before yourself
  • Doing for others and expecting nothing in return

What does humanity mean to you?

Collectively, if we each put our differences aside and made human kindness a priority, we can make a difference. It’s up to us to change people’s mindsets and  ultimately our actions towards one another and our communities.

In the words of Gandhi:-

You must not lose faith in humanity.

Humanity is an ocean;

if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Let’s begin to shake the world in a gentle way!

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

A Dedication to all writers

Let The Pen Flow Freely…

G’day Everyone,

Let the pen flow freely is a phrase I often use to encourage those I know who are writing. Little did I know, this little phrase would inspire my own little seed of thought to grow. The outcome of this inspiration I wish to dedicate to all the writers out there, in particular to the special guest authors I have hosted on this blog so far – Georgina Guthrie, Jenn & Morgan Locklear and Sylvain Reynard.

I hope you enjoy…

Let the pen flow freely,

Let your mind take flight,

Take that tiny seed of thought,

And allow imagination to ignite.

 

Let the pen flow freely,

Let your mind take flight,

Allow the essence of your story,

To build, to enlighten and excite.

 

Let the pen flow freely,

Let your mind take flight,

Soon the magic of your words,

Will captivate, inspire and delight.

 

Let the pen flow freely,

Let your mind take flight,

Take us on your marvellous journey,

And share with us your wondrous insight.

 

Let the pen flow freely,

Let your mind take flight,

May your words always be immortalized,

A whisper upon reader’s lips as they recite.

Let the pen flow freely…

written by kez

 

May this little poem inspire your own little seed of thought to foster and grow.

 

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

 

 

Love Everlasting

Love Everlasting….

 

Hi everyone,

It’s winter time here in Perth, Western Australia and the weather is cold and rainy. Please, come in and take a seat by the fire, make yourself comfortable.

Today I wish to reflect on a very personal and delicate matter…love and loss! In this world each and every one of us are destined to experience both. One does not exist without the other. Both love and loss can be painful and change our lives immensely. Sometimes the grief of loss can seem all too consuming and too delicate a topic to discuss. To everyone out there who has experienced loss…I am so sorry.

With the loss of my dearly loved father, this is a journey I’ve recently embarked on myself. What a surprise it was to find that by listening to music I knew he enjoyed would bring me comfort.  By doing so, I was filled with a sense of peace and closeness. One song in particular inspired me to write a poem I titled ‘Love Everlasting’.

I hope that by sharing this, it may lighten the load for others who may be taking the same journey as I…

 

‘Love Everlasting’

Love doesn’t have to be expressed in words,

it can be conveyed just as powerfully in what we do.

And sometimes even more profoundly in what we don’t do.

 

Perhaps it’s the sharing of quiet moments,

silently taking comfort in one another and

merely appreciating one’s presence.

Such silent admiration can be just as tender

and meaningful as whispers of sweet nothings.

 

Remember with joy in your heart,

time stands still for no one.

Some day God’s gentle breeze shall blow and call each of us home.

 

As a glowing light you’ve loved, relied upon,

taken comfort from and admired,

grows weak or is gone.

Rejoice…rejoice in the moments shared,

words spoken or unspoken, a glance, a smile or a tender embrace.

Allow your senses to experience the familiarity such thoughts posses,

let joy uplift you, embrace the sense of peace and grace as love surrounds you.

 

If you permit such sentiments into your heart and mind,

you will sense a closeness to that light and feel their love once again.

Love is after all…everlasting!

written by Kez

 

This poem (dedicated to my Dad) was inspired by Andrea Bocelli’s “Your Love” and a dear friend who, through a gift, reminded me that love is everlasting.

 

 

Thank you for reading and listening.

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

Famous movie lines…what’s your favourite?

G’day from sunny Perth in WA,

Thank you for stopping by, it’s lovely to see you all.

It’s been some time since my last post. The busyness of life at times can become all too consuming. I am happy to say that it’s now time to take a breather, and boy, do I have a wonderful surprise for you all. It’s coming soon, so please stay tuned.

To build the anticipation and create the atmosphere, I have selected a few famous lines from movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’m sure you recognise most of these; why not comment and share your favourite movies, I’d love to see them.

Ok, here we go….

Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.” 
Mrs Gump/Sally Field in Forrest Gump (1994)

 

Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
John Keating/Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)

 

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” 
Rhett Butler/Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind (1939)

 

“We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.”
A Jewish Barber/Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)

 

“Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.”
Mr. Miyagi/Pat Morita in The Karate Kid (1984)

 

“May the Force be with you.” 
Han Solo/Harrison Ford in Star Wars (1977)

 

What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” George Bailey in It’s a wonderful life (1946)

 

 

Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” 
Charlotte Vale/Bette Davis in Now, Voyager (1942)

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my selection and please I encourage you to share yours.

Stay tuned…a big surprise is coming your way! There shall be special guests and a red carpet affair, bring you cameras and autograph books.

Until then…

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

 

The Smith Family Organisation

G’day,

Welcome to today’s reflection. It’s such a beautiful warm sunny day; let’s enjoy afternoon tea on the back porch. Please, follow me. Tom is waiting to serve tea & coffee with lamingtons (a traditional Australian sponge cake).

 

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It’s a delightful view from here, don’t you think? The perfect location to reflect on life, the communities we nurture and the contributions we make to help others less fortunate.

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Pressures of everyday life can become a real challenge for many families in society. For most people, to provide a stable and prosperous home requires both parents to work (at times more than one job). This in itself can lead to pressures, sometimes with devastating outcomes. One could argue this type of pressure can be a catalyst to the growing number of single parent families in society. While many of these family units are fortunate to receive support from extended relatives, there are many more that do not. For these families it soon becomes a matter of making ends meet to merely survive. Add to this equation unemployment, abuse, illness and disabilities; suddenly what should be a happy experience that fosters love, hope and confidence, becomes a time of suffering, despair and apprehension.

I recently saw the tale of one young Australian woman whose childhood was a difficult one to say the least. I was touched by her story because some aspects I could associate with. While I was fortunate that my childhood was a happy experience, I have certainly worked through enough adversity in my adult life, to understand the importance of helping others and making a difference in society.

Let’s take a moment to ponder these thoughts as Jess explains her story….

It’s fair to say that children of disadvantaged families suffer the most. So in today’s refection, I wish to showcase a local charity….

The Smith Family is an Australian organisation that recognises not all children get an equal start in life. It is dedicated to supporting child education and providing a brighter future for those less fortunate.

Facts and statistics:

(extracted from The Smith Family Website)

Today, one in 10 Australian children are living in jobless families1, where even life’s basics are hard to come by.

When families are experiencing financial disadvantage children can fall behind with their learning, leaving them more vulnerable to experiencing hardship themselves later in the life.

Research shows children and young people living in disadvantage have access to fewer books and learning materials in the home. Access to support and resources forms the foundation for learning. In many cases, the parents of disadvantaged children may not have the skills or experience to support their child’s education. As these children get older, they have fewer role models, and access to mentors and networks that are critical for creating educational opportunities to help them build their aspirations and be motivated to learn.

As part of my own contributions, I have felt the need to support children from disadvantaged families for some time. To be more specific, it has been my wish to convey the message of hope and reassurance, that all is not lost, through encouraging tales in storybooks. I’m thrilled the Smith Family organisation has provided one avenue that I can accomplish this (link provided below). In fact yesterday I made my first of many intended donations.

Give Toys or Books

To Australian readers out there, this is a wonderful organisation to support, after all:-

 Our children are our Country’s future leaders.

There are other ways to assist this organisation, including sponsoring a child. You can find out more here…

https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/

If you are in the position to do so, I ask that you give your support.

 

 

While this charity organisation is focused on supporting Australian children, I think it’s fair to say these common adversities are a real challenge for many families worldwide. With this in consideration, below is a link to other similar organisations that also provide support for child education. If you are an overseas reader I hope this story inspires you to make a difference in your own communities, or perhaps support an organisation listed below.

United States / Canada:

The Annie E.Casey Foundation    http://www.aecf.org/

Big Brother Big Sister of America  http://www.bbbs.org/

Boys and Girls Club of America  http://www.bgca.org/

World Literacy Canada http://www.worldlit.ca/

 

Worldwide:

UNICEF:  http://www.unicef.org/education/

 

 

I am a strong believer that as citizens, it is our role to help build an affluent society. Giving back within our local communities is our own small contribution to a better future for us all.

One individual cannot change the world but many can.

In conclusion, I wish to thank Jess and The Smith Family for sharing her story as part of the ‘Tales of the One in Ten’ initiative. It’s a story of adversity with a wonderful outcome. Jess, you and your mum are an inspiration to others and I wish you much success and happiness.

Readers, I leave you with one last thought…

Every child deserves the same start in life, an opportunity to grow with confidence and experience a life full of hope…

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…why not help to make this happen for one small individual.

 

Pax Vobiscum

Kez

 

 

 

 

Sailor’s Favourite Sonnet

G’day,

As we’re nearing the final review of Georgina Guthrie’s Word series with The Record of my Heart, let’s take a look at:

 

Daniel (aka Sailor)’s favourite Sonnet…

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

                                         William Shakespeare Sonnet 116

 

Pax Vobiscum

Kez