Family memories and secrets #RachelleAyala @Mimisgang1 #mgtab

Have you ever been amazed at family get togethers on how a single event you vividly remember is entirely different in another family member’s memory? Or how stories are not the way you remembered? Or even that you’ve reinterpreted some happening now with the distance of wisdom and experience?

These questions are ever present for me as I am now a grandmother and asked to write down memories in a book for my granddaughter. I most certainly want to present her with as much “truth” as I know or am aware of, but I’m afraid I cannot capture everything outside of my perspective. I recently read a memoir of an author who was shocked that the stories her parents told her were not what she uncovered in their paperwork, and I realized the fragility of childhood memories when research showed that many more people during world war II reported unexploded bombs dropped into their homes, even in regions with no aerial bombing.

Is it because we are suggestable people? Especially as children where we’ve heard a story and then believe it to have happened to ourselves? I know that’s the case in our family where our children to this day claim things that happened to them but we “know” were things that happended to us when we were kids and we told about them. Could it be that “dog bite” story was actually transmitted from great-grandfather to grandfather to father to son, and none of them had actually been bitten? This question has haunted me as I recall my mom’s wartime stories and witness my children thinking certain things happened to them exactly like described in a time and place they didn’t exist.

As a writer, these mismatched family memories are fertile grounds for stories, especially those in which a child was lied to their entire life. In my latest book, Going to Find Love, Penny Barnes has a big shock when she finds out her religious parents lied to her by omitting her adoption and then denying it. What are they covering up? Compelled to find the truth, Penny leaves everything behind, including her high school sweetheart, to find the answers long denied her.

I know how she feels because I know real life people who have had a similar shock [too close for me to reveal who] of finding out they weren’t who they thought they were. I hope these musings will encourage you to dig into your memories, old pictures, and documents to make a sense of your past to reexamine and preserve what you hope is closest to the truth.

Going to Find Love by Rachelle Ayala

Penny Barnes has never left home. She’s a pastor’s daughter, has a long time boyfriend, and is a hometown sweetheart. Her fairytale life is upended when she discovers she’s adopted.

Excited by the discovery of a genetic match, Penny is lured to a distant town with secrets of its own. She meets another lonely young woman who has more questions than answers. Her adoptive parents disappear. She runs into roadblocks and dead-ends, and someone powerful is determined to stop her from finding the truth.

Mike drops everything to find Penny as she digs through old secrets. When disaster strikes, will Penny leave everyone she loves behind—including her hometown sweetheart or find love on her own terms? [Pre-order Going to Find Love for 99c]

Old Age

I read this and laughed. You may enjoy it too even if you’re not that old.

“I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later. I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month. I have my own pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a driver’s license and my own car. The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant and I don’t have acne. Life is great. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now.
  Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.

I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row. I decided to stop calling the bathroom “John” and renamed it the “Jim”. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

When I was a child I thought “nap time” was a punishment. Now it feels like a small vacation.
The biggest lie I tell myself is… ” I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember it”.
I don’t have gray hair… I have “wisdom highlights”! I’m just very wise.
If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees.

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet.
Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just going to transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?

Of course, I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice. Old age is coming at a really bad time.
At my age “Getting Lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

I have more friends I should send this to, but right now I can’t remember their names.
Now, I’m wondering… did I send this to you, or did you send it to me?”

Join New Cranky Old Women if you love to laugh.” 

Relax with a sweet and sassy romance novel: SAILING AWAY PLANS

“A great love story and a second chance at a new life. It is a very good read and I definitely recommend it.”

A contemporary romance, realistic, sexy, and emotional.
Widower, empty-nester, and successful surgeon, Dr. Steve Winston is fed up with his routine work and announces he’s quitting his Cincinnati clinic, moving to live on a boat, and starting a new health center on a Caribbean island.
Dedicated to her patients, Nurse Lillian Haynes never stops doing odd jobs for Dr. Winston. His decision to resign breaks her heart. No amount of money will convince her to take care of his pets anymore, but when he invites her out to dinner, she agrees and polishes her appearance in hopes of being noticed by the man she’s secretly loved for ages.
Delighted to discover what a stunning woman she becomes once she’s shed her boring uniform, Steve shares his dreams with Lillian and tries to convince her to accompany him to his island—until her son and his children rush into town to protect their father from his own craziness.
Sailing Away Plans is book 1 of the Love Plans Series.

Watching your child become an adult

Like many of you, I marvel at how quickly time passes. It moves every quicker when you watch your child grow. Once sweet innocent babies, they grow into nosy toddlers almost overnight. Then on to being energetic and curious children, before moody adolescents desperately trying to find themselves and become young adults. It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye instead of years.

I have two children, and I had my first one when I was twenty-one. My second came thirteen years later. My oldest, a boy, has two children of his own. I often wonder when he became old enough to have a career, wife, children, and a home? I watch and listen from the sidelines as my son and his family go through stages of life that I can fondly remember doing myself with him.

My daughter just finished her first year of college, and as I listen to her stories, watch her movements, and her reactions, I am reminded that my little girl is no longer a baby, but a beautiful young lady, on the verge of being a full-blown woman. To some, she might already be a woman, but I still see tiny bits and pieces of her innocence of youth. I still hear the curiosity to understand simple things in life that tells me she still has much to learn. Not that we ever stop, but you get what I mean.

We just helped my daughter buy her first car, and to witness her signing the paperwork, was a sight to see. I asked her how she felt afterward, and she said that it made her feel important, and she felt the weight of it as she signed the document and then sat back, going wow, I just did that. Proud but scary at the same time. I can relate. Remember your first car? What about your mortgage? It is scary.

This summer, our family will probably enjoy one of our last family vacations. Now that my daughter is growing up, she has plans for herself. She has people to see and places to be. We are lucky that she still feels we are important enough to spend quality time with us. Or perhaps it’s just the lure of a beach. Either way, I will take it and enjoy every moment I can before she is off living her own life with a career, home, and family.

Then the nest really will be empty, and I’ll sit back and wonder where the time went. Actually, no, I won’t. I’ll be too busy writing happy stories about people growing up, finding love, and starting their lives—just like my children.

Want to read about siblings growing up and finding love? Make sure to check out my Loving a Young Series on Amazon.

Travel with Mona to Beijing, China

We left home on Friday, at 4:00 am to reach a 6:00 am flight, the first flight of a very long trip, two hours to Philadelphia with a forty-minute transit and a flight to Chicago, two hours transit and then the thirteen hours, yes THIRTEEN hours, long flight to Beijing. I was blissfully tired and lucky enough to sleep during most of the trip. We arrived in Beijing on Saturday, at 5:00 pm. There is a twelve hours difference in time between Florida and Beijing.

Of course, we lost our luggage. While we ran down the Philadelphia airport to catch our connection to Chicago, our suitcases procrastinated and missed the connection. We met a couple from Seattle who were in the same predicament. Very nice people, so friendly, they couldn’t wait to start their vacation and enjoy it. Unfortunately, their dream cruise ended in a horrible way as the man had a heart attack at the end of the cruise on his way home.

For our first day in Beijing, my husband had booked a private tour with an adorable guide very . Our guide was a lovely young woman, fluent in English, answered my unending questions. She explained, the government was still communist but more open to the West. Years ago, she was living in a small apartment with her father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunt and a cousin in a two-bedroom apartment. Notice one child per family. They all shared one kitchen and one bathroom with the rest of the building and they all had to dress the same way. Now she is engaged. Competition is encouraged. She and her fiancé worked hard and saved money to buy a one-bedroom apartment.

The 2008 Olympic Nest
One of many high rises in Beijing.
Notice the TV screen.

She showed us the Olympic Nest, downtown Beijing and the Summer Palace. We had a delicious lunch in the adjacent restaurant.

The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace
An imperial boat on the lake
In the Summer Palace gardens

I was agreeably surprised to discover that Beijing is a clean, modern metropolitan capital with more high-rises than Manhattan. I am not kidding. Not at all the idea I previously had of China.

For our second day in Beijing we joined the official cruise tour. We visited the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The square is a huge place overcrowded with a million tourists every day. To cross the large avenue and reach Tiananmen Square, we had to go through a tunnel. It was here that one of the tourists in our group panicked and said she couldn’t find her mother. The poor old woman was separated from our group. We spent half an hour looking for her, while taking pictures and then the group had to continue. Two hours later, both women finally joined us.

We spent three hours touring the courtyards, pavilions, and palaces of the forbidden city. Each of the emperor and empress had their own palaces. There were pavilions for the guests, for the officials, for the empress’s family…The yellow color was reserved to the imperial family. No one else could use it in China. The various servants serving in the Forbidden City were carefully chosen. It was an honor to serve the imperial family. But once chosen, the servants could never leave the Forbidden City and the parents could not visit.

On our third day in Beijing, we went to the Great Wall of China built in the 3rd century BC. I was surprised to find out that the Wall is formed by stone stairs framed by two walls interrupted by towers. I walked up to the first tower. It was almost like climbing three stories. The steps were at least one-foot high and irregular. My husband felt challenged and kept going to the second tower as high as eight stories. Apparently, the view is breathtaking from there.

As you can see it was cold on the Great Wall. This picture is taken from the first tower. The third tower visible from far.

People rarely walk beyond the third tower, although the Great Wall completely surrounds China and is the only man-made artifact visible from the surface of the Moon.

The statues of soldiers from the Ming Tombs.
And here, a picture at the Cloisonné factory where they manufacture gorgeous vases and plates.

MOTHER’S DAY BABIES https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C4Z7MM8/

Relax with a Sweet Romance

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Widowed for seven years, Barbara Ramsay lives and breathes for her five grownup daughters and their babies. She’s also used to chatting over the phone with her good friend, Lou, and soothing his stress. But why has he invited her to come to Paris with his TV Network crew? Powerful News Director, Lou Roland is certainly not marriage material, yet he has suddenly decided he wants Barbara in his arms. Not an easy task when his pretty confidante from Kentucky proves so difficult to date–unless he follows her rules. Can the over-fifty confirmed bachelor and the widow loyal to her husband’s memory find true love and share a future?

Holiday Babies Series:
With high moral values and a strong sense of unity, the Ramsay family counts five daughters—Madelyn, Roxanne, Heather, Claire, Tiffany, and their mother Barbara. Later, stepdaughter Monica Roland joins the clan.

Holiday Babies Series:

Holly Jolly Christmas: Prequel to the series.

Christmas Babies: A sweet and powerful Christmas Story.

Valentine Babies: Can he love a woman expecting another man’s baby?

Mother’s Day Babies: Never too late to find love and happiness.

Wedding Surprise: Is it the worst or best wedding surprise?

Christmas Papa: Who’s my Papa, Mommy?

On Christmas Eve: We want a mommy for Christmas.