Friday, May 30, 2014

My favorite sound in the world

Laughter is one of the greatest sounds in the world. The deep laugh that causes your muscles to ache. It can help lighten moods and break the tension. Laughter can make all your troubles disappear even for a moment. After a good laugh, you forget your bills, your worries and the troubles of the world. Laughter is universal. It is a mechanism that every culture in the world has. Laughter helps increase blood flow, reduce stress hormones, release endorphins and help relieve physical pain. It has been discovered as truly the best medicine. Even the some of the darkest movies have moments of laughter.

My most favorite sound in the world is laughter. I love my daughter’s laughter. I wish I could record it and post it. She has so many different laughs and each one brings a smile to my face. She has a laugh when she cracks up. You know the one where you throw yourself back and then forward, slapping your knee. She does that! Especially when we’ve figured out what she’s trying to say. She has a laugh when she knows that she’s about to get in trouble and she laughs hopeful to divert your anger and you’ll forget her punishment. It’s moments like that that I have a hard time keeping a straight face. Even through my darkest moments, my daughter’s laughter can help me smile through my tears. It’s like she can almost read my mood and know that mommy needs a pick me up.

I love hearing people laugh. Laughter helps make the world right even if it’s just for a few moments. My best childhood memories are family gathered around a table or a campfire laughing at family stories. Laughter has help me through my darkest moments. When I’m feeling depressed or upset, I just put on my favorite comedy shows. “Friends” or “The Big Bang Theory” works great for me, even though I’ve seen the episodes countless times.

What are your favorite sounds? What sounds can lift your spirits and help you feel like you don’t have a care in the world? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman: a story of a life-altering choice

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is a heartbreaking story in which no one comes out the winner. It is a story of choices and consequences. The book is told in three parts. The story opens on April 27, 1926, when Tom Sherbourne, the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, makes a horrifying discovering. A boat has washed ashore with a dead body and a crying infant.
Tom Sherbourne is a World War I vet, a decorated hero who would rather forget the events that occurred in Europe. He makes his way to Point Partageuse where he has signed on as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. There in town, he meets Isabel “Izzy” Graysmark. They marry and begin a life on the rock. Life quickly becomes harsh when Izzy suffers two miscarriages and delivers a stillborn son. The next day, Tom makes his discovery. Izzy desperate for a child, begs Tom not to record the event in the lighthouse log book and they would raise the child as their own. Seeing how happy she is and against his better judgment he agrees. They present the child as their own. Together they live as a family for two years when they return to town on their annual leave. There they learn the identity of the man who died and the events that led him into the boat. They also discover that the baby’s mother is still alive. Hannah Roennfeldt is a desperate woman who spends her days wandering around the shore, searching for her husband and daughter who disappeared on ANZAC Day. Tom wants to confess what has been done but Izzy believes it’s too late. After four years, their secret is out. The questions start. Who is right? Who takes the blame? Who is this child’s mother?
This book was recommended to me by my Aunt Sharon. I was curious about this story. A story that reminded me of the King Solomon story from the Bible where two women fight over a surviving child. As a woman who had lost two babies, I understand Izzy’s desperation and thinking that the baby’s arrival at the lighthouse was a gift from God. On the other hand, as a mother of a daughter, I understand Hannah’s desperation, the fight to keep her only child and the desire to punish the people who took her from her. In this story, there are no clear winners, no clear happy ending. No matter the choice, one woman will be hurt and the course of a child’s life is altered forever.
I highly recommend this book. It is a great story in an amazing backdrop, the western coast of Australia. My only complaint is that the author never explain what ANZAC day was. It is mentioned several times in the story that I had to look it up. ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates its citizens who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations observed on April 25. It was originally organized as a day to honor the members of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in World War I. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remember our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is treated at the start of summer. Vacations, barbecues, picnics and parades.

The origins of Memorial Day are much more solemn than that. It began as local communities would honor the men who died in Civil War battles. In May 1866, Major General John A. Logan declared there should be a decoration day when all the graves of the Civil War would be decorated with flowers in their honor. He chose May 30 as a Decoration Day, according a theory, because the flowers would be in bloom around the country. The first observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery. The official birthplace of Memorial Day was declared by Congress and President Johnson in 1966 as the town of Waterloo, New York, where the entire community would close down and decorated the graves of the soldiers on May 30. It was not until after World War I, that all men and women who died in American wars were included in the observances. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially made a national holiday and moved to the last Monday in May.

There so many names which to be recognized and honor. There is one name which is very dear to me and the Bedard family. 

His name is Corporal John M. Corcoran, USMC. He served in the 1St Battalion, 24th Marines, Able Company on Iwo Jima where he would die on 23 February 1945. He grew up with my grandfather, Ken, in Boston, Massachusetts. After joining the Marines, he would meet my grandmother, Ruby, in Los Angeles, California. He was my grandfather’s best friend and my grandmother’s boyfriend. The news of his death prompted my grandfather to give the news to my grandmother while on liberty in California. Without his death, my grandparents may never have met and I probably would not be here today. In more ways than one, one man had to die so that so many others could live. 

Today, I honor Corporal Corcoran for his sacrifice as I honor the many other men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We may never know all of your names and what you did for this country but your sacrifice will never be forgotten by me or my family. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Return to Zero: a movie about life's journey after a stillbirth

Return to Zero starring Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein which aired in the U.S. on May 17th. It is based on the real journey of the director, writer and producer, Sean Hanish and his wife, Kiley, after the stillbirth of their first child.

It opens with the childbirth class that Aaron and Maggie Royal are taking. They joke with each other and are obviously excited about the coming of their first child. Then they have the baby shower where they reveal the gender with the cutting of the cake. It’s a boy! All the men congratulate Aaron on “getting it right the first time.” At the doctor’s office, the nurse and the doctor can’t find the heartbeat. This is where the doctor gives her the devastating news, the baby has died. The couple soon meets with the doctor and a grief counselor and make decisions on how to proceed. They name the baby Arthur. At the memorial service, they release balloons in honor of Arthur. Maggie and Aaron are left to pick up the pieces. Their marriage is at the point of breaking when Maggie discovers she’s pregnant again.

Return to Zero portrays a story that many people do not want to talk about or even think about. Stillbirths occur about 1 out of 160 pregnancies. Sometimes there is a reason why but most often, there isn’t. I have very mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, I am happy that someone is willing to talk about a topic that many people wish to ignore. I have met many women who have lost a child through stillbirth and they are desperate to have their children acknowledge and their pain recognized. I liked that the loss of a child either it be through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, the pain is the same. “It’s the loss of the possibility of what might have been” as one character describes the situation.

There are many reasons why I have mixed feelings about this movie. What I disliked is the reason why I can’t love this movie. First, at one point of the movie, Aaron is talking with his co-worker and he talks about how his sex life is nonexistent since the death of his child. He refers to his penis as Geddy Lee (who is the lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group, Rush). I know that some men name their penises but it wasn’t necessary for the story and actually caused me to dislike Aaron. Second, Maggie begins to feel sick and runs to the bathroom to vomit. I didn’t need to see her actually vomit. It wasn’t necessary to actually see her vomit. The noises from outside the bathroom would have done the trick. Third, Maggie takes the pregnant test and the audience actually sees her take down her pants and hears her pee. I didn’t need to see her take the test. I didn’t need to see Maggie sitting on the toilet. I think a scene of her staring at the positive test would have had the same effect.

I commend the movie for speaking up for a taboo subject but I found both Maggie and Aaron unlikable. There is so much more I can tell you why I disliked this movie but I think you get the picture. If you want a glimpse into one story of a stillbirth and the journey of recovery, I would recommend this movie as there aren’t many to choose from. Return to Zero is a typical Lifetime movie which portrays a real life story that has stale acting and stereotypical characters. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"The Shape of Mercy" by Susan Meissner: a great book about appearances and judgments

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner is about three women connected through time by a diary. Each woman had to face a choice, a choice that could alter her life forever. Each woman must face the standards and expectations of her time and make a life-altering decision. A decision that could bring great happiness or great sorrow.

The story opens with Lauren Dorough, a young college student at University of California, San Barbara. She grew up in a life of privilege that she is desperately trying to leave behind and prove that she can make it without the family money. She takes a job for Abigail Boyles, an 83-year old retired librarian. Abigail wants Lauren to transcribe the 17th century diary of her relative, Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem Witch Trials.

The Salem Witch Trials occurred between February 1692 – May 1693 in Salem Village (present day Danvers, Massachusetts) when a group of girls became ill and began accusing local villagers of witchcraft. In all, over 200 women and men would be accused. 19 men and women would be hanged, 1 man would be crushed to death and an unknown number of others would die in prison awaiting trial and/or execution. The mass hysteria caused by the accusations plays out in Mercy’s diary. The diary begins in January 1692. Mercy is a unique woman for her time. She can read and write. She writes “once upon a time” stories which is seen as unnatural for a woman and she keeps her stories hidden. The entries in the diary are weaved into the happenings of Lauren’s and Abigail’s lives.

There are great number of lessons in this book. Lessons in which the reader forced to confront their own judgments of others with the backdrop of one of America’s worse witch hunts. Mercy is judged a witch because she reads and writes stories. Lauren is judged a snob because she comes from money. Abigail is judged as a bitter old woman. Are these judgments correct? What evidence is there to prove or disprove these judgments? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author took great care to get the details of the witch trials correct while tweaking some for dramatic effect. I enjoyed reading Lauren’s journey through the diary and the events in the diary help her see the faults in her life. Mercy’s story is heartbreaking. As I read, I knew her fate and yet I hope that she would get a happy ending. Unfortunately, like many of the Salem Witch Trial victims, she does not. This is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Meissner. And while the past connection with the present through an object is a theme she has carried on in many of her books. I enjoyed how she weaves the past with the present. How the past can still teach us and show our faults and possibly even offer solutions to repair these faults.

“We use the dumbest things to measure someone’s worth” –Lauren

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happiest and most complete: the simple things

A question posed to me: When do you feel at your happiest and most complete?  I thought about it. I could say when I finished my degrees. I felt happy but complete? Not quite. I could say when I got married. I did feet happy and complete that I had found my husband, the man I had been praying for since I was 16 years old. Close...

On Friday, I took my husband to work, then took my mom to work. I took Abby to the park, we played until we had to go pick up Joe. We did grocery shopping and come home, putting the groceries ahead. I had to clean out the pantry to make room. Gave Abby her bath and picked up mom from work. Bedtime. On Saturday, I drove Joe to work, ran an errand before I dropped him off. Came home and did some laundry. I posted a new book review. Gave Abby her breakfast and got her dressed. Finished the laundry and later I will drop my mom off at work and pick up Joe from work.

Then I realized that I feel happy and most complete when I have accomplished something. It can be big like graduating from college, or getting married or having that special baby. But it can also be in the everyday, monotonous chores. I don’t mind laundry. What I don’t like is walking back and forth to the laundry room, hoping that there are washer and dryers available and that someone has touched your stuff. 

I feel happy and complete when:
  • We do something fun like Disneyland or the park and we come home dirty and tired. After a long, hot shower and nice clean pajamas, you crawl into bed and sigh with contentment. 
  • Laying down my daughter and taking a nap, even though there is plenty to do around the house. Then you wake up energize and ready to tackle those pesky chores.
  • Watching football with my family. Watching Abby jump up and down when something exciting happens and even making the “Touchdown” sign when our team scores!
  • Reading a good book with silence as my daughter naps
  • I realize how blessed I am and how far the Lord has brought me in my life. 

Just think about the simple things that make you feel happy and complete. I think the answer will surprise you. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"A Fall of Marigolds" by Susan Meissner, a story of recovery

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner caught my eye in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and I immediately put in on my list. It caught my attention for two reasons. One, marigolds are October’s birth flower and therefore when I see or hear about them I think of Ziva. Second, the story. It’s about two women separated by time who both suffer through a great loss and their survival is linked to one scarf blooming with marigolds.

The story opens with Taryn who works at a quilting shop in Manhattan in September 2011. The 10 year anniversary of 9/11 is fast approaching and she lost her husband on that tragic day and is fighting the urge to hide until the anniversary memorials are over. She has been searching for a client, material that will match this marigold scarf, the scarf that saved her life. She is struggling to find a way to move on without leaving her husband behind.

The majority of the story is about Clara, a nurse on Ellis Island in 1911. She suffered a loss when the building she worked in burned. On March 25, 1991, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the history of New York City and one of the deadliest disasters until 9/11. It caused the deaths of 146 garment workers (123 women and 23 men) when the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and the exits which was a common practice at the time to prevent theft and unauthorized breaks. Many of the workers could not escape. The victims either died from the fire, smoke inhalation or falling and/or jumping to their deaths from the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Asch Building. Clara retreats to the Ellis Island hospital where incoming immigrants are checked for diseases and treated before sending them on to New York City.

I enjoyed this story very much. I enjoyed going on Clara’s and Taryn’s journey of recovery with the backdrop of two deadliest disasters in New York City history. I liked how the author described Ellis Island as the in-between place. It was between the old world and America. For Clara, it was in-between the past and her future. The main theme of this story is grief recovery and letting go of what might have been. There is a lot of history and detail about Ellis Island that I was not aware of. I would like to continue to learn more about Ellis Island and its history place in our nation’s history.

“Love is the only constant in a fragile world” -Clara

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Dreams. I’m not talking about dreams of the future or dreams what you might want to do one day. No, I’m talking about dreams that occur in your head while you sleep. Dreams that can so sweet and nice that you don’t want to wake up even though you hear the real world calling you. Then there are the dreams that are so weird and so bizarre, you are asleep thinking “what the hell is going on?” You wake up shaking your head, trying to shake the images out of your mind’s eye. There are the dreams that are based on the physical world around you. For instance, you are dreaming you have to pee and are looking for the bathroom only to wake up and realize you really do have to pee. Then there are the nightmares. The heart pounding, I have to wake up dreams. The dreams that stay with you for days. Every time you close your eyes, you fear the images will come again.

I’ve had all these dreams. Dreams so vivid and so detailed that you don’t know how or why it was playing in your head. Some dreams so vivid that I believe they are there to tell us something, to remind us of something and sometimes even answers to prayers. Dreams of people long gone, hearing their voices clear as day telling you “it’s ok” or “you’ll be fine.”

Dreams sometimes are just images left over in your brain that it’s trying to deal with while you sleep. Some dreams are images that incorporated the sounds around you. Ever dreams that you are listening to a certain only to wake up and it’s on the radio.  Dreams are also your heart’s desire. The things you wish to do or people you wish to see. Just as Cinderella sings:
A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish you, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination:" a story of a journey between two worlds

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken is her memoir about the loss of her first son to stillbirth. This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger. I was eager to read this book. This review has been one of the hardest to write not because I didn't like the book, but because I had some deep soul hitting thoughts come over me while I read it, wrote my review, reviewed my comments and realized that I was wrong.
I was going to write about how I felt a disconnected with her reaction to her son’s death and the life she made after. And I did but I am unhappy with my assessment, I looked back over other women’s grief reactions, I realized that we all grieve differently. I found great hope and comfort in my faith and God’s word while some women refused to hear God’s words or allow others to speak them because they feel betrayed by Him. How could a loving God allow a child to die? There are many answers to that. Some that people wouldn't want to hear. God did not take a child simply because it wasn't loved enough or wanted enough. I cannot speak for Him but I know that He is all-knowing and wise. He saw something that I did not or could not and He made the decision for me.

While reading this book, I came across a few quotes which I felt a connection to:

  • “The love for the first magnifies the love for the second, and vice versa.”

My journey to motherhood has been a rocky one. I love this quote because the losses of AJ and Ziva have made Abigail’s birth and growth all that more precious to me. I enjoy every moment I can. Even the rare temper tantrum and toddler “rebellion,” she’s precious to me. Even though I now had a living child doesn't mean my love and sadness of the loss of my first child is gone. I think some people expected that once a living child is born or still living, the loss of another child is lessened. Ask anyone who has lost a child this simply isn't true.

  • “I will always be a woman whose first child died”

It is true. Abby is my second child. Even when my husband and I have another child, there will be holes in the birth order. I will always have a difficult explanation to the question “How many children do you have?” Always wondering how much detail to give. Do you give the simple answer to save the person the embarrassment of asking such an emotional question? I haven’t had to face this question…yet. But when I do, I know that I will answer honestly and gently as to save the person any embarrassment. 

  • “You move on from it [death], but the death will never disappear from view.”

Although over two years has passed since the loss of AJ and six months have passed since the loss of Ziva, each day gets easier. You learn to live and the loss of your children is never far from your mind. I realize that I have been introduced to wonderful women in my support community who have suffered great loss and while I don’t feel the need to remember my children the way they do, there is nothing wrong with that. I feel, though, that life doesn't stop with death. If my life had stopped with the AJ’s death, I wouldn't have Abby. If my life had stopped with Ziva’s death, I wouldn't have the wonderful memories of the past six months: Abby’s first trip to Disneyland, Abby’s first jump into the pool and into her Dadden’s awaiting arms or finding her asleep as she watched her favorite Disney cartoons. Moments that would be gone, if I refused to live.

  • “It’s a happy life, but someone is missing”

I love this quote because it describes my life after a loss. My husband and I are happy. My daughter is a happy two year old but there are two children missing. They will forever be missed. I wish to remember AJ and Ziva for the life that they were, no matter how brief. I wish to remember my joy to have them in my life for the time that God has allowed.

The book isn't what I expected. I enjoyed Ms. McCracken’s story. It was an easy read (I finished it in one night). I expected more of an emotional response on my part. I expected to read this book through tears. Some readers might, while others, like me, might not. Maybe Ms. McCracken didn't intended for this book to be emotional. I don't know; however, I do recommend this book. Even after I read the book, the title puzzled me. While I put this post together, it clicked. I understand now. And my hope is that you will too. I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost a child either through miscarriage, stillbirth, or any other infant death. I would also recommend it to someone who is trying to understand how to respond and help a person who has suffered a loss. This book can give insights as I have highlighted a few above to those who haven’t suffered such a loss. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to ALL mothers

On this day, we acknowledge the importance of our moms. Mom is very meaningful to us. Mom is our first protector. She is our caregiver and boo-boo fixer. She is our confidante and well of advice. She's the one we ran to when nightmares disturbed our sleep. Most women, like me, have dreamed their entire lives about becoming mothers. We have names picked out before we even have a wedding dress picked out. I realize now that for many women, this dream doesn't come true as planned. 

I am the mother of 3 children. My first child was died in utero in December 2010 when I was 8 weeks pregnant but didn't discover his/her loss until January. I named the baby Aurora Jacob because both names were top on our list and since we didn't know the gender, I normally call him/her “AJ.” This ultrasound picture is the only picture I have of AJ. 

Then one year later, my beautiful daughter, Abigail Hope, was born. She is my rainbow, a child born after a loss, and she has been a great joy in my life. Watching her grow has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I enjoy seeing her try new things and accomplish new goals. I love being her mama.  

A surprise pregnancy last year ended with the saddest ending.Throughout my pregnancy, everything was progressing normally. Until one day, when I went in for an anatomy scan and before I knew it I was being admitted into the hospital and being told that my cervix was opening. Despite the doctors' best efforts, we lost our daughter, Ziva Rae. She was born on October 30, 2013 at 1:10 am and died at 1:44 am.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my angels. I often find myself wondering about what might have been. If AJ was born as planned, he/she would be almost 4. If Ziva had lived, she would be 6 months or had been born full term, she would be 3 months. I know and trust that God has a plan and I know that they are in a better place. I know that statement may hurt some people and other don't like hearing it. But in my heart, I know He does and He will not bring me to a situation and not have a solution for me. I don't know what He knows. I believe He saw something in my angels that made Him call them home. My human heart still wishes they were here and that’s okay. 

This Mother’s Day has a very different meaning for me. Due to my loss of Ziva, I have joined a group of unique and caring women on an online support groups. This women helped me realize that just because you don’t see a child in a woman’s arms doesn't mean she isn't a mother. She could be the mother of an angel. 


I've been very active in these support groups. They are a great place to vent, voice worries and concerns without judgment or criticisms. It is a place to receive encouragement and share in sorrows and in great joys. These women are from all walks of life from all over the world. These women have experienced my pain. They have given me hope and encouragement that has helped that past 6 months or by with hope for the future and future for another rainbow. I wish I could name them all and thank them for the words so precious. The words that calm my fears. I can only hope that I’ve given them the same encouragement and that my words have help calm their fears. 

On this Mother's Day, don’t forget the angel mothers in your life. They could be you daughters, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Know that this day is difficult for them and help them feel loved. There's so much more I want to say but I can't seem to find the right words. Happy Mother's to all mothers. You are loved and remembered for the great women that you are! 

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path” –Agatha Christie

Friday, May 9, 2014

"When I grow up I want to the U.S. Navy!" book review

When I grow up I want to be…in the US Navy by Wigu Publishing is a book in the series which children are introduced to different careers. Wigu Publishing is a collaboration of talented and creative individuals to publish books that are fun yet informational for children.
I have a great respect for the military. Both grandfathers served in World War II, my late father-in-law served in the Korean War, two uncles and a cousin-in-law served in Vietnam. I have cousins who served in the Afghanistan War and I have three cousins who are currently serving in the military. All military branches are represented in my family’s proud service. To say that I was excited to read this book is a little bit of an understatement.

The story begins with Noah and his sister, Marina are going with their Veteran grandfather to visit an aircraft carrier. The book gives a little history about the formation of the US Navy and the famous naval ship, the U.S.S. Constitution aka Old Ironsides. As the carrier explore the aircraft carrier, the different areas are discussed about what the space is called, used for and who uses the space. The importance of each job on the aircraft carrier is discussed from the pilots to the cooks, everyone is important to the function of the ship. At the end of the book, the different ships in use in the U.S. Navy are pictured.

I love the wealth of information in this book. Real pictures of the carrier and its crew are used with the cartoon characters inserted into the picture. It helps visualize the aircraft carrier. I also love that the book opens with the Sailor’s Creed as well as an anonymous quote about the American Sailor. This book and other titles in the When I Grow Up I want to Be… series are available on and other online retailers for $12.95. I would recommend this book to parents and teachers who want to introduce children to the different careers that are available. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My favorite comic book characters

I love comic book characters. Granted, I didn't read the comic books as a kid or even now. But I watched the cartoons and I've seen the movies. It also helps that I married a man who is a fan of comic books. There are many reasons why comic books are so loved and have endured as literature. Fan boys and fan girls have lively debates about their favorite characters, comic and even comic company. The DC verses Marvel debate can get pretty heated online. My husband will often commit “Oh he’s a DC fan, no wonder he hates it.”

Why are comic books so popular? If you were ask comic book readers, you'll get thousands of different answers but I think it boils down to three reasons. First, the fantastical adventures. Who doesn't want to go into battle with the X-Men and fight the Brotherhood? Or join Superman in his unending fight with Lex Luthor. Second, who wouldn't want superhuman abilities like flight like Superman or psychic abilities like Professor X? How about cool gadgets like Batman and Iron Man? Third, the comic book stories will display real human emotions and real human consequences to the actions of its heroes. For instance, Spiderman must live with the guilt over Uncle Ben’s death. Or the X-Men must learn to live in a world that doesn't accept their differences. Batman must deal psychological effects of seeing his parents killed before his eyes. 

I grew up a Superman fan. I've seen all the movies and I've enjoying watching the Lois and Clark and Smallville TV shows and have all the DVDs. Who didn't grow up pretending to be Superman? Flying around with a towel or sheet tied around their neck like a cape? Everyone knows Superman aka Clark Kent aka the Man of Steel. He has been a beloved character since his introduction in 1938. Even the men who portrayed him have become legends themselves, namely George Reeves who played him on TV in the 1950s and Christopher Reeve who played him in the 1970s movies. However, many people don’t know that I am a fan of a few more characters.

Gambit aka Remy Etienne LeBeau who has the power to tap into the potential energy of any object and use it as a weapon. He has the hypnotic charm in order to persuade people and superhuman agility and dexterity. He is often seen using playing cards as weapons and carries a telescopic bo staff. He has burning red eyes that glow brighter as he uses his powers. I’m not sure why I enjoy this character so much. Maybe because he’s French Cajun or maybe because all his life he was used for evil means and he has struggled in his life to use his abilities for good when he joins the X-Men. Of course, it doesn't work that way.

Hawkeye aka Clint Barton. I was first introduced to this character in the Thor Movie and again in The Avengers. I enjoy a character who uses archery as his weapon of choice. I want to learn more about him and look forward to seeing him in future movies. 

Another archer, the Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen. This archer, martial artist and wealthy man had to fight his way back to civilization after being shipwrecked. He is seen as the modern day Robin Hood who fights for justice and protects those who cannot protect themselves.

The first Saturday in May every year is known as “Free Comic Book Day” and our local comic book shops are flooded with fans. And don’t assume that comic books are only for kids. In a recent poll, 75% of men and 25% of women are comic book readers and it’s about 50/50 between single (not in a relationship, engaged or in a relationship) and married. The average age of comic books are 18-45 year old!! The comic book companies are actually trying to find ways to bring in younger readers, i.e. a digital comic book for iPads and other eReaders. Overall, comic book characters are as complex as characters found in traditional book literature. They have their strengths, their flaws, their good deeds and their mistakes. They go on adventures that the reader can only dream of.