I'll Tell You When I'm Ready

Mary E. Latela

Newtown Parents Attacked Again

Newtown Parents Hit Again, by Mary E. Latela,  October 15, 2016


All I had were tears!  Underneath, my anger seethed up, too. “State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis granted a motion by Remington Arms to strike the lawsuit by the families of nine children and adults killed and a teacher who survived the Dec. 14, 2012, school attack, in which a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by Remington “(AP).

I remember  so clearly that day, sitting at my computer, when  Breaking News came through.  Children and some of their  teachers had been victims of a bold shooting by a young man from the community. Parents had sent their little ones to school on that mild morning, and had to return to learn whether their precious  child had survived or had died.

The days that followed split between coverage of the many funerals , tributes to the educators, anecdotes about the children who would never reach adulthood, and speculation about the mental status of the gunman, a twenty-something guy who tore into their lives.

Legal precedent has sided with the  gun-makers, who are  not legally responsible for the murders, assaults, deadly force by the owners, who acquire  these weapons in shops, some of them at gun shows.  The lawyer for the families will appeal.

It seems that those parents, grandparents, educators,  and other adults who dedicate themselves to participate in raising  children to be good citizens, good basketball players, scouts,  have lost again. The laughter of children is a balm in our busy world. The crayon drawings on refrigerators are tomorrow’s art shows. Some children become part of the law enforcement team, or the medical professionals, who see life and death pass by, and bad choices lead to bad endings..

Just one thing could save a generation of children.  But our lawmakers will not take that step.  Some who  brag, “I believe in my second amendment rights,” may not know the content or the spirit  of any other Amendments. They may not be aware that children were not so important in the legal portrait of our  early colonists. Now, should we not know better?

Finally, the face of law enforcement should be serious, but seriously  just and compassionate and  protective.


AP. Officer demonstrating the weapon used in Newtown.

Holly Jacobs is Radiant in Hold Her Heart

Hold Her Heart by Holly Jacobs.
Review by Mary E. Latela, October 12, 2016

In each of Holly Jacobs’ books, we readers are invited into a deeper understanding of the life journey, with its twists and turns, and filled with love, concern, frustration, and truth. In the earlier novel, Carry Her Heart, we came to know Pip, quiet and reclusive teacher and writer, who gave up her sweet baby to strangers. she was too young and she knew she couldn’t take care of a precious child. To get through the separation she begins a journal for her daughter.

In this book, Hold Her Heart, we experience the toll of keeping love alive when your baby is gone, but you want her to know all of life from your perspective as her birth mother. Little Amanda has grown up in a loving family, moved away, and after breaking up with a boyfriend, is wondering what comes next. A knock at her door brings Ned, husband of Pip, with a secret, urgent request for Amanda to “come home” to help a very ill Pip.

Through these magical – sad but true – pages we learn about how Pip has spent her life giving to others, about the red-haired child Fiona, and a returning character, Logan, who is there to support this family. We witness the endearing blossoming of a relationship between birth mother, Piper, and her daughter.

Holly Jacobs goes deeper and writes with more insight in each of her novels, grappling with real-life challenges. Her characters are wonderfully diverse, contradictory, all drawn together by Pip. The path they travel is not easy, but with warmth and courage, we learn how you find your true home and your everlasting family. A sparkling novel which you must read.

This review is from: Hold Her Heart (Words of the Heart) (Kindle Edition)

The Mystery of the Blue Heart

Mary E. Latela @LatelaMary October 10, 2016


When Emily was a kindergarten girl, she was happy when her teacher said that for Mother’s Day, they were each going to make a mosaic. She explained that you could make a pretty design by pasting the tiles anyway you wanted to. The finished project could be used in the kitchen or placed on the desk. The teacher had gathered half inch square tiles of different shades, plenty of brown and pale blues, white, pale green.

Emily nearly forgot to pick out a heart for the center of the four inch square gift. She chose a blue heart, finished her project, and brought her mother a great deal of happiness. You see, Mommy and Daddy were going through divorce. Daddy did not talk to her, thinking she was too young, but she knew that something was wrong. Mommy wasn’t at home, she was afraid to ask why, but she heard her siblings talk. Mom was in a hospital for a while, then home again, then in and out of the hospital.

She’s my daughter and this is the one memento of her childhood, those days and months and years when her father took over the lives of the children, keeping them away from me, planting seeds of distrust, telling the older children that Mom had a mental illness, as if that were a dark and ugly sin. He never talked about depression as a reaction to his continual, cruel abuse.

I kept the paperweight on my desk. Sometimes, I’d brush it against my cheek, sending a kiss to my daughter and to my other children.

Without planning to, I tend to study the ways seemingly random events in life intersect, and develop meaning, and even aid in healing. Not only did I have my little girl’s paperweight in my very own hands. I found meaning in this special gift, because of the blue heart, which matched my own blue mood. I asked her why she chose a blue heart, and she said that they had run out of red hearts. Perfect!


Do you have a special object which reminds you of someone dear, or a special time in your life? Share if you like. .



Mother’s Voice



Mother’s Voice

Reflection by Mary E. Latela, 10/08/2016

Many of us who have given birth have a feeling that baby knows us, knows the sound of our voice, before birth. As a corollary, we find that we can discern the difference in our baby’s cry from a crowd of babies.  If we are paying attention – and what solicitous mother is not? – we can tell whether baby is crying for food, for comfort, for discomfort from a wet diaper.

Now that science has taken an enthusiastic jump into neurons and how the brain works,  we look for experts to add to our intuition with hard results.

According to Kate Fehlhaber, editor-in- chief of Knowing Neurons, a mother’s voice is recognized by infants even in a sea of mothering people.   She claims as well that a mother’s voice shapes her baby’s developing brain (  What is surprising is that the impact is shown, not in the “thinking/analytical” part of the brain, but in the emotional centers.  Neurobiologist David Abrams claims this emotional connection may be seen as a neural “fingerprint”, where a mother’s voice triggers specific activity in her child’s brain.

This ability to recognize one’s mother is there in middle school years, and we will see I’m sure whether that voice remains into adulthood. It’s fascinating stuff. I am always happy when science catches up to intuition, showing the science and the “spiritual” aspects are not in conflict.

This leads me to wonder how my communication with my kids, grandkids and with others in my “corner of the world” impacts the state of the world.  This is my responsibility, because I have a choice about whether to be a voice for compassion and hospitality, or judgment and anger. Good vibrations, positive energy, or whatever you call the atmosphere of the time are dependent on that ability which can be recognized by babes in the womb.

There’s also the opposite end of the situation. When mothers and other caregivers are angry, sad, detached from the daily ups and downs of life, does the babe insider feel that? After birth, it’s also pretty clear – assuming that we pay more attention to the baby’s needs than our own frustrations – that our sons and daughters absorb our moods. Without making the mistake of blaming every problem on the mother, it needs to be said that those who give care to babies, children, and others cannot hide their inner reactions. So as the larger world is arguing about politics, religion, education, and other concerns, we might remember that our “neural fingerprint” is powerful enough to manifest peace or war, compassion or neglect.

One kind act today has the potential to change everything. We are that powerful.




By Mary E. Latela, October 1, 2016

In the pop psychology of contemporary society, the enabler is the victim who stays in an abusive relationship. She may not say anything about the betrayal of having a partner who steps out on her. What can you say which will get through to him, and which will help you to find healing as well? Nothing, really! When there is a breach of trust, when integrity is left out of the picture, when lying and cheating become too easy, what can the victim do?

Sure, the person who feels special when in the company of this type of betrayer, has some “self-esteem” issues. Certain words take on new and powerful meanings: “love” “forever” “not go back” “not really having sex” “I need you.” “She doesn’t listen anymore.” “I am so lonely.” “Don’t ever leave me.”

Lest we jump to conclusions about the “other woman,” it makes sense that she/he is not getting satisfaction elsewhere, that she is so lonely, that she is clingy, that the slightest look sends her into “another world,” not the real world. She may even be convinced that she will be married to him soon.

The betrayed wife (or husband) may try to collect information about others who have cooperated with her partner. She may write to them, send a Tweet, take out a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times. Yet these seem to be very civil responses compared to a heart-breaking discovery. Some people take marriage seriously. Those vows were said in absolute faith and trust: “I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” The vows preclude going outside the marriage for intimacy, for vanity, for a cure, for one’s blaming his “other” for lack of contentment, or simply, because he/she is a jerk.


I hear that mind-numbing, empty-headed politicians may use their “diagnosis” as a  failure as a wife to disqualify her from winning public office. There is no causal relationship between his actions a decade ago and her ability NOW – after much growth, after building her self-confidence as a fringe benefit of serving the people.

We now know that some of “heroes” in the public domain, whether politics, or sports, or entertainment, have been unfaithful. How often do we call them “enabler” because they enjoy using their fame to gain more attention, albeit from the shady side of the street.

Ann Garvin Shines with On Maggie’s Watch

On Maggie’s Watch reviewed by Mary E. Latela, September 22, 2016

On Maggie’s Watch, Ann Garvin’s new novel, explores how a young woman who has lost her first baby tries to move on. She moves back to her home town, re-connects with her best friend, quits her  stressful work to stay at home and slow down

At first I wondered how Maggie could run along  so many detours, dangerous  encounters, and not realize or want to admit that she has developed full-blown anxiety as a way of coping.  Then I saw that she is a contemporary young woman, who doesn’t want to appear needy, even to her mother.

Maggie becomes immersed in the newly resurrected Neighborhood Watch, and becomes obsessed with safety and security, which translates into ever more dangerous risk-taking.  I understand a little about uncertainty, and I wanted to  tell Maggie to STOP, but she must find her own way. Ann Garvin weaves a masterfully crafted journey in which we hope Maggie will be transformed.

This is a must read for all women and it is warm, genuine,  and a little dangerous. Perfect!

Immigrants, Refugees, History

History , Refugees, History

By Mary E. Latela, September 19, 2016

Nicholas Kristoff, Pulitzer prize- winning journalist wrote “Would You Hide a Jew from the Nazis?” [Published the New York Times (Nicholas Kristof SEPT. 17, 2016] Ken Burns, who has created and produced quite a few miniseries about social issues – from World War II  to The History of Baseball, was guided by Artemis Joukowsky, grandson of Martha Sharp. This woman from Massachusetts, with her husband, helped Jews to escape the Nazis, by hiding them, providing shelter, by keeping them safe. This was their life-long call – helping  those who needed it most.

You don’t have to be a hero to reflect on Kristoff’s  essay. As I was thinking about the courage to hide someone who is in danger, I realized that the most important result of living in a democracy is the willingness to welcome the stranger, to honor those who through some terrible, senseless war, were living in an earthly hell. Their leaders were tyrants, despicable followers, murderers, people who had chosen evil and domination as their weapons.

My grandparents all came here in the early 20th century, which was recently described (by a member of Congress) as the worst thing this country has done, namely “letting foreigners in”. Except for the Native peoples who were here for a very long time, we are a nation of immigrants, of refugees, and a few heroic people and groups who take in the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

When I was transitioning between working in churches back to education, I taught at a great community college in Hartford. Students were usually self-paying so they attended every class and handed in every assignment. Some were kids, who a year of high school graduation with no job, had decided to get into one of the technical schools and needed English comp skills. Others had learned through their life experiences, many through hardship.

One day after class, one of the gentlemen came and asked to talk. He was dressed in a long black coat; his hair was dark as were his eyes. He looked very sad. He said, “I am a refugee. I do not have the money for the textbook. Is there a way I could borrow the book?”

“Of course,” I replied. “I can get a book for you. Will you come with me? “I knew exactly what to do. My friend, the Dean of Students, took care of emergency needs. We went to her office, I introduced her to my student, and explained. The Dean placed some cash into an envelope, handed it to a very grateful man, and invited him to return if he needed anything else, and she would try to help.

I asked my student, a very serious, sad man, a little about where he was from. He told me he was from one of those places no one liked to talk about. He had escaped from Croatia with his wife, their two children, and her mother, during the devastating war and bloodshed there.

They came with nothing. He knew he had to go to school to perfect his English, which was already very good. He had a job driving a delivery truck, and he had been a professional in his homeland. A refugee.. an immigrant…

Emma Lazarus was that American poet, born in New York City, who wrote “The New Colossus”, a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty installed in 1903, a decade and a half after Lazarus’s death. Think about her words, if you like, and make a comment.

The New Colossus

                Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

                 (Emma Lazarus)





I’ll Tell You When I’m Ready

Mary Ellen Latela, @LatelaMary,, blog

I write because I can’t turn off the thinking, dreaming, writing button. Success with small press non-fiction starting in the 1980s. Formerly called “inspirational” my work is focused on reflection and self-empowerment.


Life improved dramatically when I stopped waiting for rescue,

and started speaking and writing the truth,

practicing self-care, teaching, and sharing.

I can show you how! Some little steps, some huge, but you can do it!

 Mary Ellen


The Brightness Index

A Glowing Collection in The Brightness Index, September 5, 2016

reviewed by Mary E. Latela
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Brightness Index (Kindle Edition)
Grace Mattioli’s stories gently move about highlighting the lives of ordinary, yet special folks. This collection of short stories is a gem. Stacie, the down-and-out waitress, chases down a robber, becomes a friend, and they connect over lunch each day. An elderly woman moves to the SW, and rediscovers plue, a color of the sunset which binds her to her dear mother, who died when Eloise was a child. Each story is simply wonderful as Ms. Mattioli shows us the importance of paying attention to details, of allowing the characters to come alive each in her own way. I highly recommend The Brightness Index; once you acknowledge the magic in ordinary people, your life may brighten as well!

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