The Christmas Village: Return to Canterbury

Melissa Goodwin’s sequel to the Christmas Village is getting ready to be unveiled in early December! Here’s Melissa’s blog blurb on her latest adventure:

Story Summary for RETURN TO CANTERBURY, Sequel to THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE!

Hello Friends,

Well, I am on track to release RETURN TO CANTERBURY, the much-anticipated sequel to THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE, in early December! We’ll have a Cover Reveal in a few weeks, but right now it’s time to tease you with the Back Cover Blurb!

So, if we could have a bit of a drum roll please!

RETURN TO CANTERBURY
by Melissa Ann Goodwin
Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But, as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.
Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!
Stay tuned for the Cover Reveal, a bit of a Blog Tour, Reviews and Buy Links – all coming soon!
You can check out Melissa’s Blog Here
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Voices in the Garden

Floating midway down the pit cave, my feet dangled into the abyss. There was barely enough space for my sitting bones on the ledge before it broke away into nothingness. A familiar flush of fear crashed over me yet was instantaneously transmuted into the kind of thrill I get while looking over the edge of the great Cliff’s of Mohr, or the railing on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.

Scary and yet, so compelling. I really do understand how people can be overcome by sensation, to lose their minds enough to jump. There might be a lot of freedom in that feeling.

Excitement softened into pleasure as the tingling sensations moved upward under my skin through my body, into my heart, down my arms and eventually exiting, no pouring, out the palms of my hands.

I might have mistaken it for sweat.

All that curiosity and joy was pushed aside because I couldn’t stop my mind from telling it’s own story. Instead, I recoiled, pressing my back into the stone wall behind me, looking down my own nose into the void suspiciously.

I saw absolutely nothing in that midnight milieu, though a creepy feeling began to move like a dense coastal fog into my legs, from way down there. It was like the cold waking breath of a dragon streaming through my body. Each time he exhaled, I inhaled. And as I sucked his breath in, I turned to a resistant stone; on the exhale I lost my constitution, becoming completely drained of life force.

I allowed that dragon to breathe through me for some time. In between breaths I could hear the woman calling from below, “Micaela, Micaela,” she said it again and again.

——————————————————————

I’d been hearing her voice all day now; it was soft and coaxing, like a zephyr dancing along the beach. At the first sound, I ran through the gate past the great Oak tree into the garden, skipping, like a small girl.

Where I normally stop to wade in the stream of healing iron water from the Red Spring, today I ran past making a beeline to the Yew trees and sat on the bench waiting, for something.

When her voice whispered again, I looked into in the thicket between the trees. A dark oval opened and gently pulled me inward. Once inside, I stood at ground level looking down at the roots of one of the ancient Yews.

That’s when I heard the clarity in her voice, this time it was less wispy, much clearer. I walked down the root system following her call. So preoccupied with the tones, I walked and then fell into a void, landing on the stone precipice where I now sit, a ledge barely big enough to cradle my bottom.

My toes are numb, my heart races, I am cold to bone.

Suddenly there’s a tug on my right foot. Something is pulling me into the unknown and I am still strong enough, at least, to resist, once again. “Stop!” I cannot stand on the ledge, though my knees jerk toward my chest and I balance on my sitting bones, leaning back into that stone wall.

She calls again, this woman. Now I hear her sweetness, her softness, as she cries out from her heart, “Micaela, come in!”

No matter what I hear, I trust not because my mind is busy making more stories. Mostly it reminds me that I do not trust myself to take the right turn, here, and I go no further. In no time, the absence of will bounces me back to the surface where I lay, happily relieved, on the bench between the two Yew trees, safe once again.

As I reflected on my adventure, I realize what I’d just done. I actually had made a decision. I’d chosen safety and knowingness over awareness and expansion.

Another World

Dateline: Santa Fe, New Mexico, approximately 3:30 am, Tuesday, February 21.

Nineteen hours into the future, in Christchurch New Zealand, on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 21, a 6.3-measured earthquake had just roared through the south island of that little island nation.

At that time in the US, most of us were fast asleep. In my bed, I imagined I was high on a hilltop; the waves of golden grains and grasses rolling by in the breeze as I looked out at the landscape and beyond.

It must have been summer time in the California coastal foothills. The sky was a burnt-yellow haze.

The sun was warm, not hot, though the air felt like the singeing yawn of an oven door opening as it moved through my nostrils. Dry and incredibly still outside, everything was quiet with that hovering, heavy feeling we left coasters call Earthquake weather. It was almost one of those days when time stood still.

I was alone.

For a while all I could see were the hills as they swept down toward the ocean, someplace far below me and a little further West. Scanning the horizon, there was nothing to see, really, yet my gaze went beyond the limits of my eyes; I was intent on finding what I felt was soon arriving, from someplace way out there.

Not too surprisingly, a large, sand-colored sphere appeared in front of me, floating in that murky haze, right where the sea must have flooded out from the edge of the world I knew.

I stood up from a squat and almost fell immediately back onto my butt into the itchy grasses as the great marbled mass bumped into Earths’ aura. Before I stood up again, the monster ball had nudged the atmosphere two more times.

Strange how I was still calm; even stranger that nothing serious had happened, yet. It took a little while before my mind finally groked that this giant brownish-tan sphere was actually another planet and I was watching the collision point between it and my Earth, all in excruciatingly slow, slow motion.

Almost as though the two behemoths had locked horns, they’d pressed on each other a few more times before I realized the hills were caving in on themselves and debris was falling down from the sky above. Chunks of the Earth that had first flown upward were landing now, like a thousand mines all exploding simultaneously in front of me.

I started to run when I finally awakened to the severe reality of this event only moments later. I ran down the rounded golden bellies of grain, kind of sliding, kind of flying. I focused and listened to the clearly directive, inner conversation that told me over and over “to hurry and warn everyone about the earthquake before it happened.”

Then my body woke up.

Journey Inward: Swan Dive

Quietly, like a maiden sneaking through the woods to meet her lover, I lifted my skirts to Tree Goddesstip toe over twigs and stones following an unmarked path. I gingerly jumped over brooks and streams to stay mostly dry. Coming to the edge of my forest again, I was suddenly disoriented and high above my usual perch, looking out over the familiar pool of crystal clear turquoise water.

“How did I get up here?” I wondered, looking down a bit nervously as somewhere inside me I knew I’d come here to dive and this height was way beyond my comfort zone. Then his voice sliced easily through my memory, its tone and the words he spoke, seeping into my head. “No thinking; no projecting.”

“Okay.” I said, “okay, I hear you.”

Swan flyingAnd without hesitation, I dove, like a swan face upward toward the heavens, arms spread, breast bone pulling the rest of my body out into the middle of space above the pool.

In no time at all, I glided out to a place where I tilted my wings and rolled my body slightly left. Naturally, automatically, my feathers folded and lay along side this body; the velocity increased, parting the surface waters with every nearing inch. I spiraled head first into the pool, and once under the protection of the water and cradled in its warmth, I was a dolphin undulating and weaving between the rays of sunshine that penetrated its depths.Dolphin fantasy

Upward again to the surface, nose first, standing on my tail, I launched into the air. I wanted to flip, yet my fins became arms as I reached for the sky and I floated untethered for a while.

Still no time passed as I hung in the ethers, my fingertips feeling for raindrops inside the clouds. The white gown I wore fluttered in the wind like a sail in mid tack. I was light and full simultaneously, consumed by amazement and joy. My eyes had softened and relaxed, deepening back into my brain. I floated there, just trusting, looking at the edges of the rocky beach surrounding the turquoise pool. There were hundreds of people there circling the rim, applauding my dance!

In a breath, I was walking down a tree-lined path with my Indian friend. He held my elbow as though I needed a crutch and I kept looking over my shoulder to see where I’d come from.

“Was it real? Did I really dance in the water, fly through the air? Was I there, or not; and was I truly so free?” I wondered this all to myself, though my Indian friend answered.

“You’ve been a Queen,” he said, “yet here, you feel the energetic weight and the awkward, crumbling bones of a crone. Never forget though, you can soar inside your soul anytime you like, becoming the maiden once more, or forever, if that’s what you desire.”

“How trite,” I thought, feeling really gypped. “He’s mumbling inanities.” Unable to contain my sudden frustration, the truth of my disappointment leaked out and I shriveled down, ever more helplessly overwhelmed by the sudden onset of old age. I felt like a china doll crashing to the floor, dropped by a careless child.

So caught up in the shock of it all, I barely noticed when he lifted this old bag of bones up to his heart. I felt like a babe when he kissed my forehead and threw me out as though returning a bird of prey to the airwaves, freeing my mind yet again. I flapped once and then flew. Wind washed my face and the sun’s warmth penetrated the spaces between the bones of my feathers.

Quickly passing familiar landmarks, staring down at the crystal clear turquoise pool, I Earthnoticed how tiny even my dream world seemed from here. Ranging higher and further, rising fast on an endless thermal, the Earth’s whole blue-green body came into view and then faded away. It was a black dot, then a pinpoint, soon disappearing completely as I caught my next ride on the pulsing currents of the galactic waves.

Journey Inward: At the Edge of the Forest

Life is a sacred journey; we need only go within. This is the first in a series of inner world, shamanic journeys.

The Pathway In

The Pathway In

At the Edge of the Forest

“Who do you want to be–you or some accommodated version of another person’s projection you believe is a true reflection of you?”

I sat on my stump at the edge of the forested path, contemplating his question, looking out at the rounded landscape embroidered with the last vestiges of Spring’s wildflowers. They were almost impressionistic, maybe like the surreality of Monet’s inner world.

Trying to make it all feel less like a dream, and avoiding my own inner world, I searched for the sea beyond the fog. As always, in the Summer months, it was there, just beyond my vision, at the edge of the hills behind a fluffy yet formidable white wall. If I touched the fog in my dream, it would dissipate and I would find my answers lying out there lifting with the swells in one moment and lost in the troughs the next. Right now though, I wasn’t ready to see.

He was standing nearby, one foot on his own stump, breathing down on me like the wind and towering above me like a giant tree god. His skin was the same rusty color as the local redwood bark, his hair polished, long and black. Almost like the searing and burnished charcoal wounds inside the remains of a fire-gutted trunk, I’m certain lightening had struck his foliage many times too. Even his gaze matched the lifelong scars of courage and resilience on those gigantic trunks, his formidable stature was powerfully duplicated in each of his subtle bodies.

As age rings on a tree claim another year of growth and wisdom, each layer of his energy was individuated and clear. The golden threads of connection sewing the memories together synergistically, and like the volunteers growing from dismembered stumps into a circular fortress of new growth, he was also immortal. When he glanced down at me, his eyes contradicted this mystery. One blue, one green, each reflected a picture window to all souls. In them, I could view the history of the Universe, if I chose to see it.

“Are you searching for acceptance?” He prodded me again.

“Yes,” I said. “From myself.” Then I became whiny. “Why do people feel so put off by me…as if I have an expectation of them?”

“Because you carry pictures in your field as you work through the old energy,” he was still standing on one foot, gazing into the forest in the opposite direction of my outward view. “As it is scraped from the marrow of your bones, its dust covered gumminess begins to surface. Eventually the rain washes it away. Because you don’t hide it, you expose it. Because they don’t want to deal with their own lack of acceptance, you light them up in ways they don’t want to acknowledge…ways they feel they are superior to you. Just by doing your own housecleaning they are shown the dirty corners of their lives they believe they’ve already cleared. You show them their lies,” he sounded as though this all came from a place higher than the tree tops.

“Maybe they’ve already completed those lessons and they have no tolerance for someone like me who is just now getting to that sticky stuff,” I was so willing to dismiss myself and my progress.

He stood there for a moment, the precise triangular corners of his eyes looked at me with one eyebrow lifted, seemingly debating whether or not to give me any more input. I could tell he wondered why, in these moments, he even wasted his time. It was his usual response when I disrespected myself, yet this time he showed me some mercy. “No. They are projecting onto you so you not only do your work, you also hold their secrets. Why would you want to carry all that?” This was a constant question. Why would I want to carry all that?

“If you believe you aren’t equal to them, if you give them your power and recoil, you also allow them to lord their illusion over you like an invisible ceiling.” I turned away from my fog bank to look up at him. He’d definitely used the right words. I was suddenly and totally present.

“Unconsciously they want you to believe you are the cause of the upset inside them. What you expose in yourself uncovers and mirrors the secrets they try desperately to hold in place. If you anchor your truth in your belly and your feet on the ground, their lies will ultimately be revealed to their own consciousness and they will no longer stomach the energy as it rushes upward giving them a big nauseating headache. One day they will spontaneously throw-up when you aren’t around, projecting this delusion onto themselves. That’s when they’ll know.”

My eyes were closed through the last bit; I wanted to envision this part of the story. Then I swiveled around, slowly lifting my lids to the wild flowers looking through my eyelashes at the golden hills. And turning the rest of the way around, I looked out wide-eyed at the ocean. It was calm and flat, like glass, the still pool of true reflection.

The Christmas Village

When Jamie Reynolds comes to his grandparents’ Vermont home for Christmas, he just wants things to go back to the way they were before his dad disappeared. Time and again he is drawn to Grandma’s miniature Christmas village, where he imagines that life is perfect.

Christmas VillageLate one night, the village comes to life before Jamie’s eyes, and his fantasy of escaping into it becomes very real indeed. He discovers that the village is called Canterbury, where the year is 1932. Jamie becomes fast friends with Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, and is taken in by Ida, who runs the local boarding house. But he also makes a dangerous enemy of the mysterious and menacing Jim Gordon, whose return to town is nothing but trouble.

As Jamie desperately races against time to find his way back home, he is suddenly faced with a terrifying choice: to go ahead with his plan to leave, or to stay and help his friends, at the risk of never going home again. The Christmas Village is an adventure the whole family will love, filled with suspense, secrets and surprises to the very last page.

The Christmas Village is available at Amazon in Kindle edition or hard copy. Enjoy the suspense as town hero, Jamie Reynolds finds his way through his own life challenges by helping others.

Christmas VillageMuch of this review is was taken from the Amazon book description.

Pick-Up Sticks: Parables from Many Dimensions

Paraphrased From the Bible:

A teacher is walking through the desert, his students all around him. Suddenly, a horse jumps  gallantly off a nearby outcropping onto the path in front of the group. The man sitting astride is enthusiastic to find the teacher. “You must come teacher. Your friend is dying!” The teacher keeps walking. “Teacher, the family said you are a friend and their brother needs help. He is dying!” The teacher looks up at the man on the horse with gratitude for the information. His students are baffled by his non-challance, gossiping amongst themselves, yet the teacher continues to walk in the same direction away from his friend. Later, about three days later to be almost exact, the teacher arrives at his friend’s tomb and begins to invoke the divine, bringing him back to life in front of a large group of people.

Paraphrased From “She, Understanding Feminine Psychology,” part of the triad: “He,” “She” & “We,” by Robert A. Johnson.

A woman on her last legs to enlightenment crosses paths with a bent and tired old man carrying a bundle of wood on his back. She watches as the man loses his balance, all the wood falling to the ground. It’s her choice, her final test, whether to stay and help him pick up the wood or to walk on.

Taken From Life:

A mentor asks a student to live in her studio while they train together. The student uses all the mentor’s supplies and resources, though she has enough of her own untapped resources to share with the mentor. The student doesn’t know that she and her mentor are actually equals in this way, though the mentor sees the truth. This is the only real difference between the student and the mentor.

One day, after the student’s resources were as fully cultivated in this environment as they ever would be, the mentor asks the student to leave, giving the student very short notice. The student can’t believe it. “I love it here,” she cries out. “I don’t want to leave; this is my home now!” The mentor has no sympathy and pretends not to care. “You aren’t the right person to continue here. I am looking for someone who can be truly present in this place,” the mentor replies. Of course this angers the student and she stomps off, never to look back; well almost never. The student becomes very successful and soon surpasses the mentor, though she is grateful and humble.

Taken From Life:

A student was happily living her life after a trip to see family for one month. One day after she’d returned to her home, she received a call about her father being ill in the hospital. She was in communication with each member of her family, every day. No matter how many times she contacted them about the status of her father, no one returned her calls.

Extended family and long-time family friends started calling to ask her what was going on and why she wasn’t “home” with her father.  In fact, two of the women in her brother’s family, who lived down the street from her parents, called ranting about a lack of communication and wanted the student to make it better for them. 

One of the women raged at the student, “It’s your job! You should be here to take care of your mother while your father is ill. Your brother is stressed and now I have to handle all this for you!”

“What can I possibly do,” the student asked. “I can’t get any more information than you and I live 1500 miles away.”

Fear and guilt immediately pulsed through her body and her mind started roiling. Reactively she wondered, “should I go back and do my job?” This was her typical response and normally she would have fallen into the obligation she’d carried her whole life.

This time, she did not act. Instead, she waited for the emotions to pass, eventually sending a message to the two women. ”I no longer pick up sticks!”