A little bit . . . well quite a bit, actually . . . about Cathleen Briley
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I wrote about daughter #2:
Shy to Shining . . . .
I work in real estate, but it is the Victorian era that diverts my attention. I'm an avid collector of all types of Victorian antiques including shoes, hats, jewelry, and clothing.
I enjoy decorating with antique treasures, and I am awed by Victorian architecture. I love old houses as much as I love 19th century literature with Austen and Dickens being two of my favorites.
My other interests are quite diverse, but history and mysteries are at the top of my list. I love partaking in historical research and I am fascinated by mysteries of any kind. I am liberal, enjoy politics, and I'm a Trekkie (Live long and prosper). I enjoy creating things, particularly out of wood or fabric. I enjoy hunting for bargains in antique shops or at flea markets to add to my décor or my already bulging clothes closet.
I am also always on the hunt for a new pair of cowboy boots or antique jewelry. I miss Irish dancing, but still take the time to enjoy Irish music, and someday I WILL set foot on Irish soil. I am a huge cat lover and I enjoy gardening and "decorating" outdoor spaces.
My motto is to "live and let live" because "live long and prosper" is well, honored by my Trekkie side, but it just doesn't go quite far enough for me. I like to affirm, when I get up on my (antique) soap box, to: "love each other hard, accept each other, and geez, appreciate and embrace our differences!" How boring it would be if we were all the same! Perish the thought. Be real by being yourself. Because of my strong beliefs, diversity is one of my all-time favorite words.
It was after I became involved with Community Theater several years ago that I started writing stage play scripts. Ideas kept erupting in my head as a result of being utterly fascinated by the human condition.
It was then that I realized how therapeutic writing can be! So I kept developing more and more scenarios and characters. The experience was so fulfilling that I felt the need to write more and more until writing became a huge part of my life.
Life's tribulations and a vast interest in all things Victorian inspired me to write The Whitmore House series of novels that are based on a haunted Victorian house (turned Bed & Breakfast) located in fictional Oakwood, Nebraska and the lovingly tenacious woman who falls in love with the home, its history, and its inhabitants (alive and dead). I love my characters, and they are often in my thoughts. Many of my characters are based on people I once knew, and those that I wish I knew! The Whitmore House series is available on this site or on Amazon.com.
I became involved with the Mayhew Cabin with John Brown's Cave Museum in Nebraska City in 2008 and have been a board member since 2009, currently serving as Vice President. The museum interprets the history of the Underground Railroad in Nebraska.
The museum is one of my passions and is a perfect fit for me because I equally value freedom and equality, and both of those things are something the museum continually promotes. My involvement with the museum led to months of research and I wrote the History of the Mayhew and Kagi Families that we sell in the museum's gift shop. Years later, I did several more months of historical research, resulting in not only discovering the names of several of the escaping slaves who took refuge at the Mayhew Cabin back in 1859, but tracing their descendants forward in time until I located a living descendant.
A link to that story is here:
That discovery led to the writing of The Twelve. It is now complete and available on this site or on Amazon.com.
I'm currently writing Book 6 in The Whitmore House romantic novel series and I'm even having cursory thoughts about #7. And of course, there will be happy endings.
In your own way, I hope you are working on your own happy ending, too. Life is too short to settle for less than what you want. If you've found yourself struggling for your little piece of happiness, just remember that yesterday is over, it's history, it can't be changed or altered. Learn from your yesterdays without dwelling on missteps or on what could have been. Use what you've learned from your history as you journey into your future. Keep your thoughts positive, and if you should stumble or face adversity, turn it into a positive. Develop gratitude for what you already have. There is always something to be thankful for. You will see that one positive decision leads to another and then another. Believe in yourself, be true to yourself, and appreciate yourself. Forgive yourself for past mistakes because you've learned from them. Mistakes are a lesson, not a life sentence. Surround yourself with positive people who appreciate you for you. Each new day is a chance for a fresh start, a new beginning. I found this to be apt:
"The past is the beginning of the beginning
and all that is and has been
is but the twilight of the dawn."
- H. G. Wells.
The future (each coming moment, in fact) may be filled with surprises, rewards, wonders to behold, opportunities, people to appreciate, the chance to help someone, the chance to encourage a young person, the chance to make the world a better place, and the chance for discovery! I'm excited by the fact that tomorrow shrouds a mystery because I'm just dying to uncover the vastness that I know my future holds.
History and Mystery
We are not makers of history.
We are made by history.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Those who don't know history are destined to
The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.
History is not a burden on the memory,
but an illumination of the soul.
Study history, study history. In history lies all
secrets of statecraft.
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
History is who we are and why we are the way we are. History is not just the past, history is the present.
Mystery is the basic element of all works of art.
Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand.
It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.
Look at this life - all mystery and magic.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.
Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?
-Charles de Lint
Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life.
Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
Only mystery makes us live. Only mystery.
-Federico Garcia Lorca