Saturday, December 13, 2008

Purple Buddleia

November 17 was my Mom’s ninety-fifth birthday.
I had the privilege of talking to her on the phone that day.
Communication is difficult.
And although I believe God may still heal her further, the stroke has left her speech impaired, and many of her memories (it seems ) have been tragically lost.
So, just to hear her say, "I love you," is enough to spread a rainbow over my day.

My Mom, has always been my greatest living example of patience, faith and unconditional love.
Back in the 70’s, while I was studying for my music diploma, my teacher entered me for an advanced piano competition. I diligently practised for many months. Then finally, 30 minutes before I was due to leave for the great event, I stood up, closed the piano on Hayden, Mozart and Bela Bartok and declared the mission aborted! "It’s hopeless - forget the competition!" There had been music teachers’ strike for the past couple of months. So I had been, basically, teaching myself, and in my excitement, I think I had over practised.

But my indefatigable Mom optimistically climbed the stairs, got dressed and called a taxi, in the hope that I just might change my mind. The taxi whisked us off to the gray building on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. I nervously posed myself in front of the magnificent grand piano, so resplendent I could almost see my apprehensive face trembling in time to the music! But with God’s help, I had made it! The beginning of a dream ...
And to my surprise I was awarded second place in the competition!
I would never have had this experience only for my Mom’s persistent loving encouragement.

She has always had the kind of faith that prays for the impossible.
In September 1990, my family and I landed at Tinker Air Force Base , Oklahoma, eager to move right into a house assigned to us by the Air Force. But we were shocked to discover that there was no house for us, and no sign of a house . The waiting list was eleven months long, and we only has a ten month assignment. For specific reasons, not least of which was the fact that we had four young children and only one car, it was very important that we live on Base. In my next long distance phone conversation, I told my Mom the predicament, and her immediate reply was "Well, I’m going to pray for a house on the Base anyway!"
Now, that is faith - "Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."(Hebrews 11:1)

But needless to say, our faith was not as strong as my Mom’s. So we started searching for a house in the local area. Well, a couple of weeks later, just as we were about to sign the papers for a small house outside the Base (one that would never have never have worked out for us) ,we got a phone call, informing us that there was a house with our name on it on the Air Force Base! And not just any old house, but a spacious two-storey house, with schools, church, commissary, BX and swimming pool all "right on our doorstep!"
This was God, once again, "doing exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."(Ephesians 3:20)

As a child, my Mom taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature and everyday things -
Butterflies on the purple Buddleia;
The sound of the Silverbirch leaves rustling in the wind;
Wild flowers rambling between the rocks along the coast road;
The value of walking on the sunny side of the street;
A cat curled up in the sun.

"I thank my God every time I remember you... "(Phil.1:3)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Literary Treasures from Dublin, Ireland

I recently arrived back from a working vacation on the Emerald Isle, where, as I mentioned before, my Mom - by the grace of God - is valiantly recovering from a stroke.

But I did manage to squeeze in a fun and info-packed morning at the wonderful Dublin Writers’ Museum, which is housed in an awesome eighteenth century Georgian house, decorated with stained glass windows. I braved the pouring rain, but it was worth every drop, to experience a wealth of treasures in Irish literature.

The atmosphere beckons you to tiptoe back in time, and read about the legacy of talent left by Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Nobel prize winners - George Bernard Shaw and W.B.Yeats, James Joyce, J.M. Synge, Brahm Stoker, Brendan Behan etc. I saw with my own smiling Irish eyes, a signed copy of James Joyce’s "Ulysses" and also his piano, (I guess James and I have something in common); a first edition of Brahm Stoker’s Dracula; the actual typewriter which Brendan Behan threw out the window of a pub (presumably due to frustration in his writing efforts); some original programmes from the earliest plays in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, which Yeats and Synge were instrumental in establishing. The Abbey opened in 1904, and remains active to the present day. The story of its evolution is very interesting.

Much later, but still too soon for me, as I emerged into the continuously pelting rain, I began planning the itinerary for my return trip! It definitely must include a visit to the Victorian house, which is the birthplace of G.B. Shaw, and also the1804 Martello Tower in Sandycove, where James Joyce had a brief but dramatic stay. The tower is famous as the setting for the opening of "Ulysses", and is now a museum devoted to Joyce’s life and works.

And hopefully, someday, I’ll have a PERSONAL reason to enter the building next door to the Writers’ Museum - the Irish Writers’Centre, which handles the business and promotion of contemporary Irish writers!
Such a long and illustrious list of authors has emanated from my homeland - "the Island of Saints and Scholars" - that I guess there’s no excuse for me...
So stay tuned - I ’m on a roll ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Welcome to Cora’s Column

Welcome to Cora’s Column.
I am a writer and part-time music teacher, but mainly I am a "transatlantic wife, mom, sister and daughter!" Born in Dublin , Ireland, I married an amazing U.S. Air Force guy, emigrated to the U.S, and now have four wonderful almost grown up children, and a twenty-nine year old marriage. Lately I have been traveling between Ireland and the U.S., helping my sisters in the round-the-clock care of my ninety-four year old Mom, who recently suffered a stroke.

I have loved writing since childhood. About a year ago, my mother was sorting through some memory boxes when she came across one of my earliest illustrated stories - graphic novel style - written as a ten year old!

Once we got married and God blessed us with our first precious baby, I assumed my writing days were over, since I was determined to be a 24/7 stay-at-home Mom. But, God still kept pouring ideas into my mind and poetry into my heart. Even with three or four children under my wing, I often sensed God inspiring me with words, really late at night, as I mopped the floor alone in the kitchen.

My family and I have had a very eventful life, so far, traveling military style, as far north as Marquette, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Superior, and as far East as Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, where our only baby girl was born. We have now settled like the dust, in the desert of Arizona.

I have written some romantic stories, but mostly I write non fiction, including poetry, devotionals and memoirs. I recently had an devotional published on the Internet (check out: and also have a contribution to a book. I am now working towards writing my own book. About four years ago, I joined a writers critiquing group here in the Valley of the Sun, which I have found extremely encouraging and inspiring.

And now that we have sent our youngest child off to College, I feel more compelled to write more than ever. I am convinced that God has given me this time...
I write because of I Thessalonians 5:11. - "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."