Summer News

IMG_3629It’s been awhile since I posted an update, so thought I ‘d share what’s been going on with me. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be whizzing through summer. It just gets faster and faster each year.

I went on vacation to Florida in June. We rented a house with some of my family across the street from the water. It was lovely and I took many sunset photos. My daughter and I got really burned the first day out – and yes – we applied sunscreen! That put us off the beach for a few days exploring the area, hitting several book stores. On the days when I did get to the beach, I was in my happy zen place emotionally and inspired to write. Hmm… I wonder if I can write that off this year, eh? A working holiday…oxymoron. You’ll be sure to see my beach inspired poems if you stay tuned.

For my birthday, my husband gave me more nights in a hotel for writing. It was amazing. I finished my first Christian Tompta book (Gnome on a Mission) and have sent it out to beta readers. I also started revisions for book 2 (The Journey Home) and wrote my first query letter. The weekend was quite the success, though I think in the future I’ll stick to two nights rather than three as I was pretty stiff walking out of the hotel. Several days in a confined space do not do a body well!

In July met friends in Cleveland to see the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. We ate dinner at the Great Lakes Brewing Company and stopped by to see the house from “A Christmas Story.”

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This month we are reaping the benefits of my hubby’s garden and our counters are overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes. He has already  canned  peaches, green beans and cherries (my favorite). I made pickles and we are looking forward to canning squash and tomato sauces and soup. Yum! I’ll have garden fresh flavors in the midst of winter.

This is my daughter’s senior year of high school, and that will cause me great sadness. I love her so much and am excited to see the choices she makes for her own life, but my family will be entering a new change soon, so I am going to live in these moments with her as much as I can.

This month will bring more family and fun to our home. I’m very grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed upon me. I hope you all are feeling the blessings too ,and enjoying your summers.

Peace!

The Quickening of Time

Have you noticed how fast time moves as you get older? Things that seemed to take forever as a kid now happen in a snap of the fingers.

For instance, my child is about to be grown. She will soon be able to do what she wants without my input. I hope she will still want it, but legally, she’ll be on her own. I’m looking forward to seeing how her life pans out, but her adulthood sure crept up on me. She was a babe and now she’s an adult – it happened in a blink.

What’s really weird is how much time that will free up for my husband and me. What shall we do with it? Then, just as soon as we get that free time, someone gets diagnosed with something that’s going to slow them down. We just can’t win with time, can we? When we are young and energetic, we don’t have the wisdom and when we are older and wise, we don’t have the energy.

So what can be done?

We must engage in each and every moment as much as possible. Put down our devices and spend time with each other. Look our lover, mother, daughter and friend in the eye to have a conversation. Visit grandma. Take in a museum. Compliment a stranger. Try a new food. Stomp some grapes. Paint something wonderful. Make introductions to the neighbors. Take a trip that’s been put off. Why has it been put off?

We must appreciate this life we’ve been given before it’s taken away. We must praise and pray to God who gave it to us. We must engage in it to our fullest capacity, rather than let it pass us by in a sleepy passive way. We must not waste a single minute.

Peace…

Retreat 2016

I just got back from a wonderful long and refreshing weekend with my writing buddy!

Our journey began when I picked her up at the airport and we headed off to Amish country, stopping to see three giant baskets along the way. The first was not actually a basket, but the Longaberger Corporate Offices, built in the shape of one of their classic baskets. Next, we stopped and saw a large apple basket at their homestead. Lights were on and a man was standing in the windows of one building so my friend ran and dipped through the bushes to capture a photo while I kept the car running. Finally, in Dresden, Ohio, stands the World’s Largest Basket. The pictures show the light fading, so I moved the car into various positions to try to get the best light, but it was difficult.

Giant Baskets

We stopped for dinner and finally made it to the hotel at about 8 pm. She brought a “Writer’s Toolbox” game/set and I brought wine and snacks, so we got busy working on timed prompts. We wrote, talked and laughed until past 1 am. I have now decided that writing games are the best games, and nobody loses.

The next morning we slept in a bit (only til 8ish) and then headed out to the Warther’s Museum where we saw amazing carvings. Mooney Warther carved only for hobby, but worked his way up from throw-away wood and beef bones to creating with ebony and ivory. He even used a bit of gold for a train spike! He discovered a way to make 32 cuts iinto a piece of wood to create a wooden pliers – no pins or screws or anything! The giant W made from three pliers connected was made by his son David, but Mooney made a sculpture of 511 pliers all together, creating a tree that folds up into what appears to be a church steeple. The guide advised us that the math and image just came to him one day in a vision. He went on to make knives as a business to support his family and they have an excellent reputation.

Warther_Museum

Though it was terribly cold outside, we also visited “The Button House” and the Warthers’ home. Mooney’s wife made mosaic pictures from buttons and as a creative person, I hold much respect. It was indeed interesting to see her work space. After our tours, we went back to the hotel for more writing exercises, this time taking our laptops downstairs to sit in front of the fireplace.

The next morning we woke up earlier and though the temperature said 5 degrees with a -1 windchill, we were off to investigate Amish country. Both of us were surprised at the commercialism of the area, but enjoyed the journey anyway. Besides the World’s Largest Basket, we also saw the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. We shopped and toured an Amish quilt shop, a Christmas shop, an Amish grocer and a giant craft mall.

Amish Country

With so much to see, we kept busy until late afternoon when on our way back to the hotel, we veered off course to investigate a pretty multicolored building. It turned out to be a winery where we tested  local wines and bought some to share and some to bring home before we went back to the hotel to rest and write.

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On our last morning, we again awoke early and headed out for the three hour drive back to my house. On the way we stopped at Cottrill’s Sidewalk of Sculptures. Even though we were fogging up the windows in the car because the temps were so low, the art drew us from the car for an episode of photo-taking.

Cottrills_Sidewalk

Our last evening together, we spent chatting and planning a collaborative project. It was so sweet to see my good friend and writing buddy as it brought back memories of slumber parties, cozy nights by a fire, childhood reading, a crafting convention we attended together, good food and fun while also drawing out poetry and ideas for future stories.

Next up for me will be the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop this spring. Many good things are happening as I continue this crazy journey. I can hardly believe it’s already January of 2016!

I wish you the ability to keep warm, to cozy up with a good book and to have a peaceful winter…