It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Mary Catherine Volk


Believe in Forever

 

Mary Catherine Volk is an author, spiritual medium, and inspirational speaker. Her book, Believe In Forever: How to Recognize Signs from Departed Loved Ones, is based on firsthand experiences and details the specific ways that contact with the other side occurs. Our loved ones send us signs to let us know they are at peace and that we will see each other again. This book teaches the reader how to navigate this new method of communication. The numerous stories in this book will give you chills as they touch your heart; teaching you to trust your own intuitive ability. Believe In Forever is a perfect book for anyone grieving a loss or curious about life after death. A personalized autographed copy of the book makes a wonderful holiday gift and is available on her website. www.marycatherinevolk.com

Mary Catherine Volk was given the gift of knowing that death is just a transition after experiencing a Near Death Experience at age six where she was greeted by her deceased grandfather, who told her that she would be all right and returned her to her hospital room. Mary has spent her life teaching and reassuring others that the signs they are receiving are indeed real messages of love. She is always delighted to see the shining light in people’s eyes when they receive confirmation of their unique signs. Once you acknowledge them, you will receive more. Ask and you shall receive!

Mary Catherine Volk

Mary Catherine lives by the sea in Narragansett, Rhode Island, where she enjoys the beach, writing, acting, learning, community and social activities and spending time with her daughters and two new grandchildren. She is founder and owner of www.insigniagems.com a jewelry company specializing in American flag jewelry. She is currently working on two new books: a sequel to Believe In Forever and a children’s book to teach parents how to answer their children’s questions about seeing departed loved ones or angels.

The book is available through Stillwater River Publicationsthe author’s website, on Amazon , and through local bookstores.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of Believe In Forever to one lucky recipient. All you have to do is leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Yvette Nachmias-Baeu


Yvette Front Cover_smaller version

I did not begin to write seriously until 2009. Having said that, I have always found writing to be the way I am able to best express myself. Words and the way they are put together intrigued me and stringing them together to create a narrative has become my greatest joy.

My first book was prompted by the death of my husband.  The notion of life and what it means, death and how it affects us, became a meditation on loss and what life actually is.

A Reluctant Life (a memoir), my first published book, was a winner at the New England Book Festival: Honorable Mention in 2012. It is at once a guide to grief, a vibrant memoir, and a lucid meditation on the purpose of life and death. It stands easily alongside Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Joyce Carol Oates’ A Widow’s Story.  Read reviews of the book here

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Clara at Sixty (a novel) is the portrait of a woman who, after losing her husband at an age when life begins to contract, returns to the world of fumbling, emotionally-confused relationships. The series of mismatches are sometimes passionate and exciting adventures, sometimes funny, but ultimately sad. Still grieving and searching for her identity, marginalized by a society that views women past their prime as invisible, she knows she must come to terms with the loss of her husband, the death of too many friends, and the new reality of “being an older woman.” Her search to find meaning for the last chapter of her life is the universal struggle that begins at birth and changes over time and circumstance. Clara, in the end, discovers her way forward. Read reviews of this book here

Yvette other cover

Best Friends (non-fiction). This book of letters tells the story of two aspiring young women, Beth and Yvette, whose correspondence spans a period of twenty-seven years—from San Francisco to the return to their roots in New York City at the beginning of the sixties, where they’re part of the Downtown art scene of the time and their circle includes friends who will later become famous, to the end of the eighties when their lives have spun off into widely divergent paths, one of them tragic.

Best Friends is scheduled to be published next month.

Yvette

Yvette Nachmias-Baeu has been a psychiatric nurse, a professional actress, an advertising producer at a major New York agency, a farmer, and a creative entrepreneur. Her first book, A Reluctant Life, a memoir about the death of her husband and the process of grief, won honorable mention at the New England Book Festival. Clara at Sixty is the fictionalized sequel. Learn more about Yvette at her website.

Books are available as paperback and ebook at all outlets and through her website.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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The Year of Living Minimally – Week Fifteen


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But what about all the mental clutter???

This week, I took a break from hauling stuff out of our house. After a month of doing just that at my father-in-law’s, I needed a respite from dealing with what now seems like not-so-much here. Still, I have places to tackle in the upcoming weeks (the garage, my office area, the extra room upstairs that has become a repository for everything).

But this week I also needed to clear up and organize all the mental stuff that’s accumulated on my virtual plate. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to requests. I enjoy editing and proofreading, especially now that my book is finished and going through its own proofing – plus it pays well. I’ve offered to host Rhode Island authors on this blog during the month of November, as I have for the past couple of years. The dates are filled, and I’ve asked the authors to write their own posts – all I have to do is upload the post (after proofing!) and add links and photos. But each blog post takes time to get it right. And the authors, well, some of them submit early, and some of them don’t realize how much it helps me. I’ve decided that, after two notifications, I will not chase anyone down. I’m happy to feature them, but I’m not going to stress out if they don’t submit a blog post to me. Then there’s all the paperwork involved with the death of someone. I handle this stuff better than my husband, so I’m making calls, writing letters, filling out forms, following up. There’s money involved (getting and paying), so it’s important to follow through.

I’ve unsubscribed to countless mailing lists (sorry if you were one of the ones I chopped) – I don’t have time for all of them, and/or I was never reading them anyway. For the blogs I follow, I’ve set delivery of the posts to Saturday morning, when I have an hour in the morning to peruse them.  I’ve stopped following many of the news channel posts on social media – it’s depressing, even if I agree with the writer! I skim the headlines and read what I want, but if I feel that bad news is intruding into my life, it’s time to rethink those subscriptions. The nightly news? First 5-10 minutes only, then my husband and I watch a movie or a documentary on Netflix, usually about food or travel. Then there are the people who thrive on negativity, are heartless in their opinions, or just enjoy stirring the pot. They’re not for me.

I’m walking toward simplicity. Cleaning up the other clutter is a big step in that direction.

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Fourteen



Yes, there’s stuff – a ceramic dog, a broken chair, a heavy glass ashtray. We filled the St. Vincent de Paul donation bin, and we filled the dumpster, too. We’ve hauled bags and boxes to the curb, where ‘pickers’ have picked and taken their share. We had walls painted and carpet installed.

I’m writing this post on Wednesday morning (10/18). Four weeks since my father-in-law died unexpectedly. Nearly four weeks since we began this massive clear-out. The house is almost ready. We’ve been so busy, every day. 

We’ve reduced Ray’s house to a shell. 45 years of living, making memories, gone. Ready for someone else to breathe life into it.


Our footsteps echo throughout the empty rooms. On Thursday, we contacted our realtor and locked the door behind us. 


Now, I turn back to our own home. Next week’s post will focus on whatever I can manage to accomplish. One thing I am sure of – living minimally is the way to go.

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Thirteen



A quarter of the way through this year-long project. The focus is still on ‘the other house.’ But what a lot of work has been done in just a few weeks’ time! Seven rooms, an attic, a basement, and a garage. Donations and discarding. Discarding isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.

Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists posted this (excerpt): “Initially, I didn’t want to let go of anything. If you’ve ever lost a parent, a loved one, or been through a similarly emotional time, then you understand exactly how hard it was for me to let go of any of those possessions. So instead of letting go, I wanted to cram every trinket, figurine, and piece of oversized furniture into that storage locker in Ohio, floor to ceiling. That way I knew that Mom’s stuff was there if I ever wanted it, if I ever needed access to it for some incomprehensible reason. I even planned to put a few pieces of Mom’s furniture in my home as subtle reminders of her.”

We felt the same way – Jim had the emotional ties, I was being practical (don’t toss it if it can be used). But the clothes, the coats, the hangers, the photographs, the curios, each item held a small memory for my husband. The memories would remain, even without all the stuff.

We are not defined by what we own. Not by the car we drive, or the square footage of our house or apartment. We’re not measured by our possessions. There is joy in knowing some things will be put to use by others.

In California, some folks have literally minutes to evacuate their homes. Minutes! What do you grab? (My external hard drive – it holds my books and my wannabe books).

As Joshua noted, he didn’t need his mom’s stuff to remind him of her. We don’t need Ray’s houseful of stuff to fuel our memories. 

I began this project by tackling little things – a couple of drawers in the bathroom, the kitchen. I donated some books, some clothes. Larger projects await me in my own house (the garage, my writing space), but I’m ready.

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Twelve



Collectibles.  Are you a collector? Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Young people, more mobile, tend not to collect things. Folks our age inherited our mothers’ (or grandmothers’) china, tea sets, cake plates, etc. I know, we have a china cabinet full of these things. Nobody wants them. I’m not sure what to do with them. I cannot throw them out. 

I am not a collector.  This is the extent of my collection, and these little pieces were gifts from my husband in the early years of our marriage.
They’re tiny, and they’re housed in a little display case. It’s enough!

The work continues at my father-in-law’s house. It’s okay – our condo is in great shape, comparatively speaking. But a house occupied by the same person since 1972 had a whole lotta stuff in it.


This is on a wall in the basement! Jim’s dad and my father would have gotten along well.

We’ve dropped off clothes, lugged furniture and mattresses to the curb, hauled countless broken and non-working items to the dumpster. We’ll bring the electronics to the recycling place. We’re getting there. And balancing the arduous work with moments of gratitude. We grieve, we cry, we curse the collectibles! We smile, we laugh. We’re okay. 💚💚💚

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Eleven


The focus shifted, rightfully, away from us this week. We honored my husband’s father (above) with the military funeral he deserved, and I know that he’s now at peace, after years of living with a cruel disease.

Apart from the viewing, the Mass, and the burial, there was work to do at his house. And that work continues. He clung to his independence, living alone in the same house he’d lived in since 1972. There were memories in that house. And lots of stuff.

Look, it happens. It would have upset him more if we’d started cleaning out the excess while he was still alive. So we have our work cut out for us. Clothes, shoes, blankets, linens. Books, DVDs, CDs. Food. Furniture. And so many photos. Donate, keep, or discard. I’m mindful that there’s a lot of emotion right now, so if my husband insists on carting a few things back into our house, I’m keeping my mouth shut. ❤️