Irish Roots

My Maternal Grandparents, Maria Nolan and Thomas Hughes

If you are a fan of Death on Clare Island‘s Star O’Brien, you know she is in County Mayo searching for her mother, who disappeared when Star was six years old. In Death at Ashford Castle, Star’s search continues with a visit to the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin. (Note: Ashford Castle should be out sometime in May; I will keep you posted).

In the meanwhile, for Star O’Brien fans who are interested in their Irish roots, check out the Irish government web site: https://www.irishgenealogy.ie. I count among the many blessings in my life, the opportunities I’ve had to get to know and spend time with my mother’s family (her siblings). Unfortunately, I never got to meet my grandparents (picture above). Maria was from Turlough and Thomas was from Carramore.

Keep the luv going, Martha

My Leadership Test

From one of my walks in the woods at Cong, Mayo, Ireland

Here we are after another week of keeping physical distance and staying at home (cocooning as it is called in Ireland). My heart goes out to everyone who is on the front lines, fighting to save lives, to keep people alive, to keep each of us alive.

Our behavior makes a difference is my mantra whenever I speak to friends and family. A reminder that our commitment to staying at home is our part to do in this time of the virus. I don’t know if you saw the Prime Minister of Ireland’s speech on St. Patrick’s Day. The Prime Minister paraphrased Winston Churchill saying, “never will so many ask so much of so few.”

When our lives turned upside down several weeks ago, my first response was to treat the time at home as an extended snow day. You know, get in plenty of exercise, get some much needed rest, write as much as possible. But as the devastation of what is happening in the world, our country, our cities, and our families unfolded each day, the thoughts of self improvement turned to consideration of what each of us can do not just during the “stay at home” time but after. What are we going to do after? Each of us is being called upon to show leadership in our homes and our communities. This time of the virus will end and then I offer this definition of leadership from Robert Greenleaf for consideration. I am asking myself this question each day?

DO THOSE SERVED GROW AS PERSONS? DO THEY, WHILE BEING SERVED, BECOME HEALTHIER, WISER, FREER, MORE AUTONOMOUS, MORE LIKELY THEMSELVES TO BECOME SERVANTS? AND, WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON THE LEAST PRIVILEGED IN SOCIETY? WILL THEY BENEFIT OR AT LEAST NOT BE FURTHER DEPRIVED?

Robert Greenleaf

Our behavior makes a difference. Stay home, stay safe. In the meanwhile, keep the love going. Martha

Social Awareness While We are Social Distancing

Purple Heather – Beauty, Solitude, and Protection

I’m thrilled to see all the post likes and shares about my first book in the Star O’Brien series and the redesigned cover. Thank you all so much. As a new author, your comments and feedback mean so much to me.

I want to give a shout out to the talented designer, Robin Vuchnich, who has also created the cover for the second book in the series. You will love it as much as I do! The second book is still in the editing stage. I will be providing updates as we go along.

So, what are you all doing with your time at home? I’m working on the third book in the series with a goal of writing 500 words a day. Although I have more free time than usual on my hands, I’m using most of the time, talking or texting with friends and relatives. I’m using lists to keep a normal schedule. I talk to my Mom at least three times a day. She lives alone and doesn’t drive. We’ve been figuring out how to get food to her, especially all those staples like milk, bread, and eggs. I’m trying to go for a walk every morning for about an hour with my puppy before I make breakfast for Bill and myself.

Last week I blogged about emotional intelligence and the importance of listening, compassion, and empathy. In this time of the virus, we have to keep our socializing to a minimum but we can ramp up our social awareness. Listening, deep, deep listening is so critical right now to picking up on understanding and responding to our loved ones as we face this virus. Positive actions, words, and ideas are contagious…and we need that kind of contagion as we join together as one to fight this virus.

In the words Star O’Brien, let’s get this done. Stay safe everyone. And, in the meanwhile, keep the love going.

Martha

What the world needs now…

We all yearn to be more human, more connected, and more in tune with each other than we already are. So…now in our time of social distancing or cocooning or self-imposed quarantining, being human to each other may be tougher than usual.

If you are like me, you’ve been taking care of the family, the pets, looking for a book to read, or a movie to watch or a game to play. Maybe you’ve been able to go for a walk or like me cleaned out a closet or two. A good part of the day is spent on the phone talking with friends and family members.

And still, I wonder about what else I can and should be doing. Sure, I’m writing 500 new words each day for the first draft of the third book in the Star O’Brien series. Of course, the television, although muted, is on in the background. With all of this, I really thought about what to write on my blog today. I thought about what can I do to get myself and family through this difficult time. I keep hearing about the whole America response to getting through this reality. All of this brought me to think about a leadership book that I published in 2008. Why? Because each of us must be a leader now. So I dug the book out of my closet and read through the pages, looking for inspiration. The chapter on Emotional Intelligence (EI) is what I settled on.

I’ll post some of the EI ideas in the form of questions: How well am I listening? Am I demonstrating compassion and empathy when I communicate with others? (This has been difficult today when the puppy ate part of the carpet in the living room.) When I’m ready to lose it because we’ve all been cooped up in the house, do I have a way to regain my center?

I don’t know if any of this helpful. I know I just want to help. And keep everyone around me feeling well and thinking positive. So…I’ll be listening more while communicating compassion and empathy…even with the puppy.

In the meanwhile, keep the love going. Stay safe and good. Martha

Love, Loyalty, and Friendship

Today, I’m using my web site page to write about something else other than my writing life. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and I typically take out all my Royal Tara and Belleek china to put around the house. I also wear various pieces of my claddagh jewelry for a few days. Many years ago during a trip to Ireland, I made a visit to the mother of our New Jersey parish priest. She gave me the claddagh brooch pictured below (on the left) as a symbol of her gratitude for the visit.

The brooch on the left was a gift from our parish priest’s mother. I’m wearing today.

This year I’m going to begin wearing the claddagh (which symbolizes love, loyalty, and friendship) until the pandemic we all face subsides. I want to remind myself everyday that it will take love, friendship, and loyalty to get through whatever is coming. My heart goes out to everyone in the world who is worried about their parents and children. And, especially those who are separated from each other because of the virus.

I send my love to all of you who follow me on my web site and Facebook. We may not be able to shake hands but we can put our hands on our heart and use our words to send love to all.

Keep the love going, Martha