Tag Archives: God

Just Beneath the Surface I and Into the Atmosphere are now available in print!into the atmosphere full

(Although Into the Atmosphere is available, it will not be sold online). For details, feel free to

contact me at ari.r.james at!                                                                                                    

Into the Atmosphere is a book about letting go: releasing our fears, doubts, pain and scars into the atmosphere.

Moving forward means letting go and handing our burdens over to God. Releasing our hurt is much easier said than done; this book is the first step toward identifying, releasing and moving forward.

Just Beneath full

Here are 7  facts about a few of the characters for this 7th day of March:

1. When her mother is distracted, Diamond, one of the main characters, will find herself in a dangerous relationship.

2. The ending has been considered quite suspenseful, and death will come to one of the characters

3. Kendall finds herself questioning the strong-willed woman she once was; she doubts herself as a wife and mother.

4. Diamond’s high school experience becomes very complicated, filled with vicious gossip.

5. Diamond’s younger brother grapples with feelings of hatred toward his sister and resentment toward his parents.

6. Kendall finds that everything she once believed about domestic violence is a myth — it could happen to anyone.

7. Diamond asks: “Is any attention better than no attention at all?”

When Kendall Berkely takes a look in the mirror, she not only desperately wants to run away from the stranger staring back at her; but she also knows that her days are numbered. She can feel it in her bones, and has the bruises to prove it. To make matters worse, Kendall will soon discover that her seventeen year old daughter, Diamond is on a path nearly just as dangerous.

After the demise of the family unit she once knew, a distracted mother, and being forced to accept a new stepfather, Diamond finds herself knee deep in a multitude of mistakes. When Diamond finds herself more lonely than ever before she crosses paths with Bobby Lidell; a teacher’s aide with a dark side. Just as Diamond realizes that she is in over her head, her mother and father have already been notified, and will do everything in their power to protect her.

But what is lurking in the shadows will not stop until a vow has been kept; what is lurking just beneath the surface will come seeking revenge.



Roses From Stones

“Roses From Stones allows the reader to examine surroundings and one’s inner-self. Enjoy a quick and enjoyable read in your leisure!”


I find this poem piercing in a world where confusion and as the poem mentions, burdens, rule everything around us. To see beauty through it all is rough, but its worth it, because all of this suffering is temporary. All of the trivial things are temporary.

The metaphor of the penny, especially, grasped me. Anyone who stops to think of how often we wait on life to happen instead of living, would appreciate the reminder to live – to see beauty.


Won’t Stay Still:

Find yourself drawn into a conundrum of rushing, obsessing, and last but not least, running through life. This is a great reminder to keep reaching for our goals, but to keep our goals in perspective. I believe the key to this is being grateful for every moment — a constant struggle for almost everyone I know.

The Artist:

In this poem, which adorns a Pittsburgh art studio, vibrant colors meet beautiful words. Donesha creates an intricate portrait that any artist — painters, writers, photographers — will enjoy. She has not only captured the brilliance of art, but she has managed to put every detail into words.

“Earth tone yellow and orange, filling my heart; brown and red sifting through the art.

My stainless thoughts wrapped strategically in the swirls …”


Roses from Stones:

This is a poem many readers have found relatable, as it embodies finding one’s way through adversity. From the moment a writer’s pen meets the page, or their fingers meet the keyboard, creativity is unleashed, as we create beauty in a world that can be, at times, so discouraging.

“Fingers to pen, pen to page

She will banish all lies made of empty; she has become bare from chains of rage

Sweet roses from stone, melodies from rain …”


A More Weakened Me:

I often say, we never know by looking around, who is suffering from a broken heart. We never know who is suffering from an illness so devious, that a person would not know that they have been struck, until they have made it safely to higher ground. The illness I am talking about is depression. In “A More Weakened Me,” find a profound poem, touching to anyone who has experienced hard times.

” .. Just as crippling as dark and blinding night

Can’t move two feet ahead without feeling held back

Like a two edged sword piercing the depths of my heart

I am bleeding in large sums of disappointment …”


Buy Roses from Stones

Pleasant One:  ode to Earth

by Donesha Thompson

Radiate me,  oh pleasant One
Nourish me with your gentleness

It gives me such joy to surround myself with what You have sowed

My eyes, they gaze over flats of Dutch Amaryllas, Alpinias and Birds of Paradise

So peaceful they are

For my eyes, You have put them there, why else would they exist?

It is my responsibility to protect them

Everything that surrounds and is bound to them

Without my help, they can wither away; I will be more content if they stay

What can I do to make sure they are never obsolete?

A new concept has risen

I can rally my kind to show appreciation for the pleasant One that nourishes me

To preserve the appendages of the gentle One

Let us then, throw away our trash, and be a little kinder to the Earth which supplies our air for free.


Donesha Thompson


My Dear Earth,

As a child, I was much more aware of you. I was much more in tune with the whispers of your winds. I dropped my umbrella and enjoyed the tickle of your mist. I rushed to the backyard to play in the warmth of your sunshine. Most of all, my favorite thing to do: to bundle up like a marshmallow, and wander about in the quiet of  your snowflakes.

baby steps

As a little one, I learned to turn off the water while brushing my teeth. I was eager to pick up trash,  “stop the litter bugs,” recycle and participate in earth day.

Now,  I wonder why as an adult, I no longer make time to stop and smell your sweet roses and honeysuckle. With my bare feet, I want to feel your grass so soft, so supple and serene.

I want to gaze down at my reflexion in hidden ponds, run my fingers over the ripples of your water. I want to remember the way, while sitting in the shadow of your trees, you made sure and send a breeze that seemed to be just for me. Because now, I am in such a hurry, that I no longer make it a necessity to stop and keep you pure.

We have been blessed with you; yet we do not always take the time to reciprocate your graciousness. With your subtle and not so subtle cries, I am slow to take heed, but as I imagine life without the simple pleasures and great wonders, I finally hear you.

If a stranger came into my home, and threw his garbage on my floor, what would I do?

If my own child dropped her trash on the floor, what would I say?

If the water in my faucet were filled with empty bottles or waste, what would my reaction be?

As I gauge my reaction to the pollution of the home I have been blessed with, I could do better about my reaction to the pollution of the world I call home.

I wish I could promise you an immediate change. I wish I could tell you I am ready to give you one hundred percent. I will not lie; I am ready to do my part, but I only know how to take baby steps.

I have to start somewhere, therefore, I vow, Earth, to take baby steps.
Here are some simple tips (many of them are from an awesome site called :

  • Make time to spend more time outdoors, whether exercising, meditating, listening to music, visiting with friends, writing in your journal

This may become a positive habit and something that we look forward to, causing us to become more aware of the peace fresh air brings.

  • back to basics: think of the simple things we learned as children.

Things like turning of the water while brushing our teeth (using less water in general whenever possible)

  • Recycling
  • How about a reusable water bottle, instead of expensive plastic water bottles
  • turn your computer (completely) off at night
  • stop unsolicited mail
  • pay your bills online
  • Plant trees!!!

The visual:


go green go

For GREAT money saving tips:

If anyone has made huge strides toward protecting our Earth and has tips to share with those of us who are making babysteps, please share. If anyone is new to making conscious efforts toward protecting Earth, please share your ideas as well!

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

26“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29

So peaceful…

 So beautiful…

 I can envision myself, feel and smell the slices of heaven below…

But lately, I realize I do not appreciate what I have beyond my daydreams and admiration from afar…


This month, Donesha and I will take a moment to reflect, appreciate and love this beautiful Earth we have been blessed with …

Here is an excerpt from Donesha’s poem, which we will post Monday morning:


Radiate me oh pleasant One
Nourish me with your gentleness

It gives me such joy to surround myself with what you have sowed

My eyes, they gaze over flats of Dutch Amaryllas, Alpinias and Birds of Paradise

So peaceful they are

For my eyes, you have put them there, why else would they exist?

Take a look and imagine our lives without this: 

 more nature



Scriptures on love:
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20

Scriptures on materialism and pride:
You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 5:15

Scripture on friendship:
Forsake not an old friend; for the new is not comparable to him: a new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Have you ever watched an interview, and instantly felt as though you had a person all figured out?

“By early 1997, a visible decline in Farley’s health was frequently noted in the press. Following his final guest appearance on SNL on October 25, 1997,[24] his hoarse voice, continual perspiration and flushed skin were the subject of public scrutiny.[25][26] In the final years of his life, Farley had sought treatment for obesity and drug abuse on seventeen separate occasions.[27] On December 18, 1997, Farley was found dead by his younger brother John in his apartment in the John Hancock Center in Chicago.[28] An autopsy later revealed that Farley had died of a drug overdose (morphine and cocaine) early that morning.[29] Advanced atherosclerosis was cited as a “significant contributing factor”.[22] His death is often compared to that of another Saturday Night Live and The Second City member named John Belushi, who also died at 33 of an accidental drug overdose of morphine and cocaine.”

Or maybe you see celebrities and roll your eyes. After all, they are only human, and far too much emphasis is placed on fame these days (I will admit to being curious about what is beyond the many facades).

“On August 26, 2007, Wilson was taken to St. John’s Health Center amid reports of a suicide attempt. He was later transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[14] His lawyer later confirmed that he had been undergoing treatment for depression.[15] A few days later, Wilson withdrew from starring in Tropic Thunder, produced by and starring his friend and frequent collaborator Ben Stiller.[16] Following the suicide attempt, Wilson had participated in limited publicity and promotion for his films.[17]”

I wonder how often our perceptions are wrong. I think of the people we cross paths with, and would never know what they are hiding. Imagine that someone around you; someone in your office, classroom, home/family is masking things. Behind their silence or smiles, there is a brokenness; an emptiness that will probably remain hidden. Possibly until it is too late.

As I observe the confusion following the sad news about an actor in a romantic comedy, I wonder about our reactions toward one another. Then I remember; more often than not, depression and self destructive feelings are buried until it is too late. I wonder…how many of us would be shocked to find out that the people we least expect are unhappy? A step away from ending it.

What if the long winded woman at the grocery store checkout line went on and on and made you late for your appointment because she was lonely? What if that was the only true interaction she had had in weeks or months? What if everything she ever wanted to say, she kept inside, because she felt as though no one cared? Until she saw you, and you listened, and you somehow gave her hope.

What if the looney neighbor who always seems to show up and make you laugh right on time makes you laugh just to see you smile because smiling is nearly impossible in his every day life? Maybe his family has banned him from barbecues and cookouts because several years ago he was a raging alcoholic who caused nothing but heartache. But now he has changed. He is ten years clean. But no one can seem to see anything more than the addiction that he is trying to put behind him. Until he saw you, and you laughed, and smiled and you somehow gave him hope.

‘Empty’  has so many shapes, sizes, colors and reasons for taking hold. When I think of the celebrities who are hurting and empty, I am not only sorry, but am reminded that our troubles and voids can always follow us no matter who we are. That no money or fame could take away pain or depression.

I hope that when we look around, we realize that ’empty’ can be buried so deep, that no one could detect it from the outside. I hope that in our prayers, we remember the woman at the grocery store and the neighbor; even those who appear to have it all.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.