Sunday, August 11, 2019

One of America's Distinctive Destinations



Autumn in the Ozarks is incredibly beautiful. 

Oct.10-12 would be a perfect time to take a trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, an amazing historic town about five hours drive from St. Louis, MO.

The Victorian homes are a sight to behold. The center of town with storefronts built into a mountainside, along wending streets (with no traffic lights) is not to be missed.

Lodging is affordable. Home cooking will fill your tummy, and you are sure to meet folks with southern charm and hospitality who will warm your heart.

I will be presenting two workshops at the Ozarks Creative Writer's Conference https://bit.ly/2GO2vS9

Laughter is the best medicine, is not just a cliche`. I will speak about writing humor on Friday, and on Saturday I will discuss how to write and publish inspirational materials. 

Click on https://bit.ly/2GO2vS9  then go to "Scheduled Speakers" to view the key note speakers, the facilitators, and their schedules and topics.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing my experiences.

The contest deadline is coming up soon, submit now.
Eureka Springs is a city in Carroll CountyArkansas, United States, and one of two county seats for the county.[4] It is located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,073.[2]
The entire city is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka Springs Historic District. Eureka Springs has been selected as one of America's Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Eureka Springs was originally called "The Magic City" and later the "Stair step Town" because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.
It is a tourist destination for its unique character as a Victorian resort village. The city has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages and manors. The historic commercial downtown of the city has an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone, built along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle; there are no traffic lights.
(Info courtesy of Wikipedia)
Readers, even if you do not plan to attend this writer's conference, do check out the amazing history of Eureka Springs.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Give yourself permission to make a word mess.


What do you do when what you've been doing isn't doing it for you? You try something new.




Charlie, who just turned one, has been teething and slobbering without much success. His two bottom teeth erupted a few weeks ago, but since then, no matter what teething ring or toy he chewed on, he could not cut those top teeth, and he's been miserable.

Sometimes the unconventional is the answer. I peeled a fat carrot, rubbed syrup (yes I did) on the end, and Charlie gnawed on that thing off and on all day, seeking that sweet taste. Today he has a new bottom tooth and a brand new top pearly white is shining.

If you are stuck on your writing, try a new approach. Use only key words and write an incomplete sentence. Add another sentence, and another and then read that paragraph, as is. Now take a look and see how you can develop it.  

Fat gnarly crunchy carrot gnaw gripe quit do it again.

Sometimes making a word mess can lead to success. 

Charlie is as chubby as the carrot he's been gnawing on. Generally he's as sweet as the syrup I just dipped it in. He griped when that hard veggie hit his sore gums, he yanked it out of his mouth and quit! But he put it back in and sucked, seeking that syrup. Many times he gave up and tossed that chunk onto the floor. Many times I lightly reloaded the tip. By nightfall, Charlie cut two new teeth, one top and one on the bottom. Success at last. 

Wishing you much success in your writing today and also in whatever you do.


































  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

As we grow we learn


Introducing Beau, the most placid seven week old puppy ever. He is not a squirmer. He loves his chicken stuffed with crinkly material. He likes lazing around on the farm where he will be the official farm dog. Beau looks huge, but everything is relative.

Grandson Kyle and his fiance` Abby bought an 80 acre farm, their dream come true. They have cattle and horses and now a puppy. They both work an hour away, so commuting is tiresome, but they are as content as Beau. He loves Kyle, lays beside his booted feet, naps next to him on the porch, (even though he has a plush dog bed) and rides the four wheeler with Kyle. He does not like the cows, because one licked him with her giant tongue, but otherwise, this puppy is so low key. He trails Abby's heels and loves snuggles. He goes to work with Kyle (who owns his own business) each day, rides well in the truck and as we all know, Beau will be spoiled rotten.


If that wasn't enough cuteness for you, here is a recent snapshot of always happy and always hungry Charlie who turned one year old. This little guy is so done with baby food. He wants table food. He has two bottom teeth and is getting three more, two on top. He loves teething on pickles. At the rate he's going, he will soon be gnawing bones. 

As we grow, we learn. Are you hungry for something new in your writing life? Time to attempt a new writing genre? You might want to try prose poetry. Reduce one of your essays to a minimal word count. Instead of paragraphs, write in four or five stanzas. Poetry not your thing? I thought so, too until I gave it a try and received accolades and $. Why not give it a try, and keep it for your eyes only as you tinker with it? I'd be glad to take a look if you wish to share your work with me here, or privately. My email is listed on my header. 

Please come back! I will be sharing news about a fall writer's conference. I will be presenting two workshops, one on inspirational writing, and one on humor writing. I know I can tickle a funny bone, and I hope I have inspired you in some way. Have a great day.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Freeman frees the bees

I just finished a wonderful book, Queen Bee (2019) by Dorothea Benton Frank. The setting is  the low country of Sullivan's Island and takes the reader on a side jaunt to Vegas. Immediately I was drawn to the beach scenes. Queen Bee is a matriarch and the story unfolds in a timely manner with so much drama, and fun, and romance. The book is infused with characters so real I felt I knew them. Queen Bee's added bonus contains fascinating  facts about how important honey bees are.

I taught school age children in summer day camp at public school many years ago. My students ate lunch picnic-style on the sidewalks and lawn. On the days we had honey ham sandwiches, I would show the children how if they placed a tiny piece of ham on their open palm and waited, a honey bee would come along and take a nibble and fly away. The kids were amazed and learned not to fear honey bees.

Sad that honey bee populations are waning. But delighted to hear about Morgan Freeman's efforts to maintain their population.  Devastated that the current administration has removed protections for bees.

THANK YOU MORGAN FREEMAN for donating your 134 acre farm to the bees. In an interview Freeman talked about the motivation as to why he began beekeeping. "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation..."
Freeman imported 26 bee hives from Arkansas to his ranch in Mississippi. There, Freeman works to feed the bees sugar and water and has help planting bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender, clover, etc.
Freeman added that he never wears a bee suit or a bee hat and they haven't stung him yet. He only feeds them and has no intention of harvesting honey or disrupting the beehives.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Plant word seeds and watch them grow.

Words are like seeds. When they take hold they grow into poems and prose. 

Are you a helper like Liam? Do you help your fellow writers? Offer a comment, provide a place to submit? We need to help one another grow so we can all reach our potential. 


 I asked Liam to feed his baby brother Charlie for a moment while I fixed his bottle. His first response was, "Oh Nana, I don't think I can. I've never done that before."

I assured him it would only be a moment and I knew he COULD do it! I believed in him. He believed in himself. And believe me, Charlie stopped screaming. We were all winners.

Even if you have never tackled something before, a new genre, a new market, whatever it is, tell your self, "I can TRY." You will  be as pleasantly surprised as Liam that you succeeded in your attempt. I never thought  for a moment I could convert a long essay into a poem, but I tried, and I did it!

Alex is a helper. He picked Paw Paw's GREEN tomatoes. He thought they were apples. He was so proud of himself. We smiled and praised him. BUT THEN...
 He reached his little hands through the neighbors fence and picked a pepper, and figured out how to walk it up the chain link fence using both hands. He then proudly presented it to me.

Ever wonder what happens when someone takes your stuff? Well if it is an idea, you are out of luck. Ideas can not be copyrighted. But if someone paligiarizes your work, you should protest.
The world needs more helpers. Let me offer a market to you. Trish Hopkinson.com has
lots of call outs and good info. I hope you have a productive week.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Unusually speaking


Sometimes when we eat at fast food restaurants the clientele, well... if I make eye contact or observe for a while, it seems as though I could be in the rec room of a mental health facility. I am a magnet for these people.

Today we saw a woman with a bag of ice on the inner bend of her elbow talking away to herself. I did not make eye contact, but kept a close eye on her. She left her cell phone and charger outside on the trash can and kept telling everyone. Smile and nod. 

A man about fifty stumbled through the door panting, gasping. I thought he was going to pass out from the heat. He was 100 pounds overweight and carried 75 of those pounds in his midsection. He had what my dad called Dunlap. His belly done lapped over his belt. His shirt was threadbare and dirty. He had a jolly full face. When he walked by and looked directly at me, I smiled. He burst out laughing.

I averted my eyes and continued on to our booth. That's when I noticed he was watching a sit com on TV. He was happy as could be to be in air conditioning.

I told the counter girl he appeared to need some attention as he was so short winded. She took him a drink of water. He kept looking around at everyone eating their burgers. I told the counter girl there was something not right about the man.

She said, "I'll bet he's hungry. I'll go check on him." He was very grateful when she took him a meal.

I complimented her for having a good heart. I asked her how she got her unusual name. She proceeded to tell me her life story.
 
"I'm 13 of 14 children. Grew up in Oklahoma. Went bad in my 30s, did some stupid things. Got a spiritual awakening last year when my boys said, 'Mama get that junk out of your system. We don't know you no more.' So I moved to St. Louis to stay with my sister. Got clean and have been for 10 months. And my name... Fredella? Well, I think they ran out of selections by the time they got to me and so they combined my dad's and mom's name to make mine."

I said, "You have a great  personality and a good heart. It shows."
She beamed, as happy as could be. 

Bill and I were in a nicer restaurant the other day. I heard a man about 50 talking to his mom and sister at a  table across from us. "I can't wait to see my new tennis shoes. They're getting me a pair of Nikes."

I glanced over and was taken aback. He looked so much like my cousin. The soles of his tennis shoe clad feet were on the seat of his wheel chair. He had no legs, but he had adult sized feet. He seemed as happy as could be.

Made me very thankful. Also made me think of the babies with birth defects from when doctors prescribed Thalidomide to their pregnant mothers years ago. I had a little girl in one of my first classes who had one typical hand and one deformed with no fingers. She was as happy as could be!

The more I thought about all of these people I encountered, the more I realized, life is what you make it. Kindness counts. And a smile goes a long way.
    



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Five dollars worth of fun

If you have the opportunity, stop by The Missouri Botanical Gardens for a lesiurely walk through the flower gardens and wonderful displays. FREE ADMISSION for St. Louis City and County residents on Wednesday mornings.

The Children's Garden is amazing mostly outdoors and partial indoors activity area. Here are some of the things Liam did in the three hours we were there on a very hot summer day. 
$5.00 admission for children over 2 years old. SO MUCH FUN!

ART EVERYWHERE! Chihuly onions floating in a pool at Henry Shaw's Garden.
Walking a balance beam rope several feet off the ground with a net is a daring feat. Liam could could be related to the Wallendas.

This looks like a typical slide, but it is built into a cement hollow tree.  Liam was thrilled everytime he travelled through "a tree." Above was a huge tree house to climb in and out of and run through.

We came upon a splash pad for toddlers. He couldn't resist the action-reaction lily pad. When he jumped on it, the water sprayed.

There was a play area in a narrow stream with plastic boats. He loved being the captain of his own ship.



He loved exploring the cave, and he uncovered a fossil which he was certain was a dinosuar bone.

The old fashioned outdoors General Store had a produce stand. Liam loved being shop keeper and named every fruit and vegetable on the shelves. He amazes me.

There were climbers, slides, and also vines.

 And a replica of a bee hive to go inside and see the honeycombs hanging from above.

What a better way to end our day than to come upon a huge circular walk-through spray, with a twenty foot or better circumference that wrapped around the entire patio. I was almost tempted! It was so hot and this old nana was exhausted after three hours of exploration. The best thing we discovered about the Botanical Gardens is there's also an indoor area to cool off and rest with many hands-on science areas to explore.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

They tore down a church and put up a convenience store

Saw a guy about 50 years old yesterday at a bus stop fall down in the grass. I stopped the car to see if he needed an assist. Thought of PEARL immediately. If you don't know Pearl the Minneapolis bus rider, her blog is a must read!

"Sir, do you need an ambulance? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm okay. I missed the bus and got a little tipsy."

"You sick?" 

"Well, maybe I been drinking a little. I know I shouldn't a been. I missed the 3:40 bus. I'm going to sit right here and wait for the next bus."

"Well you fell pretty hard. Scoot back under that shade tree. It's almost 100 degrees, and you don't need to be sitting in the sun. Otherwise I'm going to call someone." I used my teacher voice.

"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"  He tried to win me over with a toothless smile. He inched his bony butt backwards, and I left him sprawled there.

I flagged a city bus roaring down our road. The young professional driver squealed to a stop and asked if I needed help.

"No, but there is a man who missed the last bus and fell down. He's sprawled in the grass at your next stop down on the corner. Could you wait for him to come on board?"

"Ma'am, yes ma'am." 

Hmmm... I had NOT used my teacher voice with him. I also did not say the man was three sheets to the wind soaking up sun rays AND Quick Trip 
sold-by-the-single-tall-can beer. 

QT is the gasoline/convenience store built (and recently opened) in the same spot where the huge Lutheran church was located for decades before being demolished last year. 

I'm not implying the church didn't have imbibers; I'm  just wondering what kind of congregants QT will attract.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A ten foot corpse?!

Corn stalks can grow to over ten feet, but at first glance this looked like a gaint 10 ft. EAR of corn. 


Then we read the plaque about this corpse flower on display at Missouri Botanical Garden in our town. On Wednesdays admission is free for senior residents of the city or county. So I took Liam. Be sure to return for my next post to see all the things available for children.

The corpse flower is supposed to open any day. It blooms for one or two days only. We are hoping to return midweek to get a whiff of the worst smell ever. Liam asked how bad it would smell. I replied, "Like garbage and dirty diapers." "EWWW! No way. Will the stink stay on us?" What a mind that boy has. Be sure to come back for a visual tour of fun things to do with kids at the Children's Garden.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Rotting flesh

Hubby had to have a blood test, so I sat in the car and watched people come and go into the medical building. One older gentleman exited a red van in the aisle in front of where we parked. A younger blonde woman helped him toss canvas camping chairs and a bed roll out of the van and onto the pavement in the parking space next to theirs. They left the driver's door wide open.

I was waiting for someone to whip a car into that space, unaware of the camping equipment and open car door. Close calls a couple of times! But fifteen miutes later the old man got out. The gal told him he could leave because someone was on the way. The old guy hobbled off.

When Bill returned I told him half a dozen imagined scenarios. He listened and said, " Hmm, I think she just has a flat tire and is saving that space for the person coming to fix it.

He was right of course! Which ticked me off. I like it when my imagination runs wild.

Many years ago we were camping. A mid-twenties guy set up a tent across from us. For two days I observed him looking sad and somber sitting by the campfire. Then he disappeared, and we didn't see him at all for three days.

A foul odor drifted across the road from his campsite. I told Bill the guy looked deeply depressed, and I was going to go snoop around, and if I got caught I would say I was looking for firewood.
I skittered across the road and spied a scorched letter in the dead embers in the fire ring. I picked it up and read it. It was a Dear John letter. Aha!

I rushed across the way to tell Bill the guy had probably commited suicide and the smell was no doubt the dead man inside the tent. Bill told me to mind my own business. "Nothing is as you think. The guy is fine."

"I'm telling you I smell rotting flesh!" I insisted, flapping the charred letter at him.

That night a pick up truck pulled into the guy's camp site...and he exited the truck with his young son. He unzipped his tent and yelled, "Damn! That raw hamburger's rotten. All the ice melted in the cooler."

I hate it when Bill is right!

  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Happy birthdays




For five years this little boy has brought so much joy to my life. He has such a good heart, and stands up for what he believes in, will confront a bully and tell him he doesn't like his behavior. He has a real sense of social justice. He is assertive and wants things to be fair. Some adults don't even have those qualities. I am proud of my first great-grandson. He told me Friday when I babysat, " Nana, I wish I could just STAY here always with you." He is always in my heart no matter where he is.

I made him a monster truck cake which he loved, and he recieved so many Monster Truck themed gifts. He was so excited! 

Liam used to be smaller, but he's growing taller. His legs are longer, his arms are stronger. He's growing, and growing, and it is showing!

I thank God for him and know he will make a positive difference in this world. He's my boy!


No, we did not dress Charlie in a dress. This is my daughter Tracey, Liam's nana when she was a baby. I remember all the birthday parties I had for her over the years, and now she is about to celebrate her almost big one. A year from now she will be the big 5-0. She is young at heart and full of love for Liam and his brothers.

I look at Liam and wonder where the years have gone. I look at Tracey and awe at how time flies. She has been a blessing. She's good hearted, tender hearted, an animal lover, always doing for others. She's my girl!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Advice from the kitchen sink, or do not abandon your baby

 A kitchen sink baby bubble bath may be old fashioned, but it was a delight for both of us. Charlie had the best time laughing and splashing. 

I received a letter yesterday, an old fashioned HAND WRITTEN letter from a dear friend. It reminded me of the hundreds of letters my best friend Sheila (who lived out of town) and I exchanged over four decades. Those letters connected us through our words and handwriting.

Do you still hand write correspondence, or do you consider it old fashioned and prefer to use the computer?

When writing a story, remembering a fact, or doing research you have to tighten your focus as Liam is doing. FIVE year old Liam. How did that happen? 

 Alex thrills at new discoveries. He enjoyed playing in a small waterfall at the park. He observed others playing in the sand. Sometimes it helps to observe first, take in information, investigate.
Do what works for YOU! 

I witnessed a mother with a baby about 18 momths old in a deep sand hole with water in it. She said, "I said NO to everything with my firstborn. This one is our fifth, and I've learned to let him go at his own pace. He's a go getter!"

 Give your friend and fellow writer an assist. Never quit, even when things get rough. NEVER say NEVER! Alex pushed Charlie in his walker. When he bumped into the patio carpet, he threw up his hands and said, "Oh NO! STUCK!" and he abandoned his baby brother.
If you are a writer, and you are stuck on a project, bogged down, dealing with rejection, or fighting the good fight against negativity, don't quit. I encourgae you to grab a pen and put your thoughts on paper. HAND WRITE yourself a message. Give yourself a pep talk. List three reasons why you should continue to pursue your writing goals. Now add two more! Take a break if you must, but do not abandon your baby.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Time to park it!

 I celebrated my milestone birthday a few days ago. I never thought I'd be 70. I lost my three best friends, Rose, Sheila, and Millie when they were in their 50's and 60's, two from cancer and one from a heart attack. I have lots of acquaintances, but some days I really miss my longtime besties.  I am fortunate to have a fun and funny hubby who I regard as my best friend.

I am grateful for every single day I get to spend with my great grandbabies. I treasure our moments and try to do something fun with them. Lately it's been discovering parks around town.

Charlie is a delight at ten months old. He is learning all about how to get what he wants, which is usually to be held. He complains; it is not a cry, just whining, moaning and groaning. He is so happy when someone responds to his wishes. He is imitating utterances and sounds. He's a smart one like his older brothers. I am so blessed to have the stamina to handle them.

Alex will be two soon, and he eats less than a bird. But he growls like a big dinosaur and scares PawPaw, then he belly laughs. Liam will be five next week, and he has such leadership ability and good ideas. He thinks he's the boss of everything and everyone. He's a good helper and so good hearted. He is the best big brother!

Are you finding balance in your life? Swinging high, reaching for the stars? Zooming, or plodding along? Keeping busy? Making discoveries? Looking at life with wide-eyed wonder? Making the most of every single day with which you you are blessed?

These little bodies, always on the go, keep my big body active two days a week.

Someone once said, the days are long, but the years are short. True. Seems yesterday their mommy and grandma, and uncle, and great uncle and their cousins were my babies, and here I am seventy years old.

Time flies when you're having fun! 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Blooming, hatching, and shining

We personally have not been affected by the flooding in Missouri. There are some road closings due to water creeping onto the roads. We live far enough away from the rivers, but just miles away from us levees are breaking and being breached. People are being evacuated and their homes are underwater. It is a sad situation. 

Last evening (my favorite part of the day) I sat outside and observed simple things for which I am thankful. 

I love my new little solar garden light with sweet cherub statue. It makes me happy. It frustrates the yard care crew though, who used to roll their wide industrial mower right over this spot. Now they have to weave their way across the carport to the back yard. 


 Miss Froggy was a gift from my late friend Sheila. This little jointed cutie wintered outside. Her dress is a bit faded, but she's otherwise okay. Her expression makes me smile.

The flowers are blooming in the center of the patio table where my honey and I play Rummy Q most evenings and often eat meals in summer. The impatience are showing off.

I came upon these beauties in the yard. Found a little patch of what looks like wild strawberries along the fence. Proabably a little birdie sat on the fence and dropped a seed.

Might have been this guy who whistled, cheeped, sang, and entertained us for quite sometime.
 

But to my delight, this was the sweetest. It's a mother sparrow, (we call them chippies) and baby. 
I watched them for two days. Baby would sit percehd on the edge of the shed roof, and mama would get a seed and fly up to put it in her baby's mouth. Now the baby is sitting on the feeder with mama. 


Isn't that just like life? We fear the unknown, feel unsure, need support and assurance. Once we try, we discover we CAN do it on our own. Self confidence starts with one step toward your goal. Have you taken the first step?  Care to share any of your goals? Does your light shine?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

When and where you least expect it

This is not an ice cream or frozen custard story. Please read to discover what happened here this weekend that made me bow my head.

Ted Drewes has been an icon in St. Louis. MO for 90 years. Ted is a famous tennis pro who traveled to Florida with The Royal American Circus one summer, where he sold ice cream. He returned to St. Louis and opened his own frozen custard shops. 

This is the most frequented location, on Old Route 66  also known as Chippewa Street. This old building has about a dozen walk up windows. The frozen custard is delicious; the secret ingredient is honey. They make concretes (you can hold the filled cup of custard upside down and it won't spill) and the varieties are endless. My favorites: Hot fudge sundae, The Punmpkin Crete (with a piece of pumpkin pie mixed in) or The Big Apple (slice of apple crumb pie mixed in) but  there are so many choices!  
 This is how popular Ted Drewes is. And this is a nightly occurence on any summer night. They need police presence to direct traffic.
 
 Even in winter, people stop in to buy what locals refer to as "Ted Drewes", although I'm sure the old man is not really for sale. His granddaughter and her husband now own the business. See the heated area?
It is not uncommon to see wedding parties here, the bride in her gown, and all the attendants devouring custard. People bring their dogs for a cold treat, too. You never know what to expect. To think, when I was young I never went there, fearing frozen custard was like the custard pie my parents made me eat. LOL

This Monday we went to Ted Drewes with my daughter and her husband. The woman in front of us had her head poked into the open window and was begging the young attendant for more dry ice. The manager came to the window and told her he could only sell her 30 pounds. "I promise I talked to  a man here who told me I could purchase the entire 45 pounds." 

Customers often ask to have their custard orders packed in dry ice for travel. People in line asked in amazement how much custard they were transporting. Her husband said, "None."

The wife said, "It's for my chemo treatments. I have four helmets that have to be packed in dry ice and roatated every twenty minutes so I don't lose my hair when I receive chemo on Tuesday. With this being a holiday, I couldn't get my supply from my provider, a welding company, because they're closed."

At a place where people go for comfort food, to cheat on diets, to meet and mingle, to people watch, I bowed my head and said a prayer for this woman. The manager, called to her as she wrangled the box out the window, "Wait! We will sell you the other 15 pounds."

Sweet!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Is that who I think it is?


When I placed my order, I recognized her voice, her smile, her dancing eyes. 

But recently a clerk returned my I.D. and said, "Here you go Ms. Linda."
Thrilled, I asked, "Were you one of my students?"  She looked at me like I was crazy.
So I hesitated to ask another person.

As I stood in line waiting for my order, I kept staring at her, and she at me. I walked to a table and asked her coworker what this young woman's name was because her name tag was turned around. When her coworker told me, I walked right back up to the counter. "Come give me a hug!" I said and we embraced as though all the years had never passed. "Ms. Linda! I thought that was you!"  She snuggled like the little girl she used to be.
Her dad, a journalist and activist, who had a positive impact in our town, recently passed away. I had taught all of Shaqaunda's siblings. I hoped to attend her dad's memorial, but had to attend a grandchild's event that afternoon. I felt terrible missing her dad's service.

 Was it a coincidence I was in the right place at the right time? Hmmm. I was able to express my condolences in person. I caught up on what she and all of her siblings were doing. I asked her to express my sympathy to her mom. Serendipity.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Breaking News

Nicole spent two years in my preschool class. She was an outstanding student. She loved reporting the news of the day. Here's her big news: Nicole graduated elementary and is going into middle school. We are so proud of her.

No matter the size of  YOUR accomplishments, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Never say I CAN'T. Say I CAN TRY!

Liam graduated preschool and received an award for the Best Dancer. You should see him boogie!
Be confident and proud of yourself. Let your little light shine!

Alex is on the road to many discoveries. His big brother is a big helper.

Always lend a helping hand. 
Never lose your sense of wonder. Spend some time in nature.

Don't be afraid to try new things.

Express yourself.  Charlie did when he saw a semi truck going by.

Commencement: a beginning. Every single day you get a new beginning, so make the most of each day.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Happy Mother's Day to my mother in heaven. She was a tiny little thing with a big heart and deep abiding love for her family, especially her grandchildren.  She taught us about God and demonstrated her faith every day. Her laughter still resonates in my heart and makes me feel joyous. I miss her. I had a "visit" from her early this morning, and my heart is filled with love and gratitude as a result.

I am grateful for all the women in my life, from teachers, to aunts, to friends who mothered me.
 I am grateful for my daughter, daughter-in-law, stepdaughters and granddaughter for their loving care and dedication to my grands and great grands.

Motherhood is tiresome, and the rewards aren't immediately seen because we are so focused on the moments of chaos, and we are always looking forward to the next stage, the next thing!

Looking back, I wish I had been more patient and less rushing.  Softer spoken and more tender. My kids survived despite my shortcomings.  Here is a link to my story about my mom printed in, and posted at Sasee Magazine. http://sasee.com/2019/05/01/moms-mantra/

Here is a link to Chicken Soup for the Soul Mom Knows Best

Happy Mother's Day to allof you and thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Message from the boss

Mom is making a name for me...err herself. She wrote about how I found her and Dad on a cold winter day and sweet talked them into adopting me. Okay, so maybe I yowled, but these days I merely meow softly. Our story is in Chicken Soup for the Soul Life Lessons From the Cat

She read Dad and me the story, and I sat and listened to every single word. I like hearing about how they resuced me. 

 She won a photo contest last year in our local paper: Pets who love their people.

Yeah they think they own me. Ha ha. You can bet it's the other way around.
 I have them trained. I do not answer to any of the names they call me, not even the name my first owner gave me. I do answer when Mom says in a high pitched voice, "You want to eeeeeat?" I can be sound asleep and when she sweet talks me like that, I whip my head around to see if she's teasing.

As you can see, she ususally isn't. I may have gained a couple pounds in six months. I'm chubby and lazy, err, I mean realxed these days. It's difficult to leave the loving arms of my Dad who tells me, "You may have started out life as a tough guy, but you are becoming kittenfied." I am almost five years old! We are best buds, in case you can't tell. We're good for one another.

Mom calls me Sassy Boy. But I have toned down my yowling, and I don't sass as much. I don't even make a sound or resist when she trims my nails or wipes my eyes. She says I should be doing my own grooming. But why?

At bedtime, I galump down the hallway, pounce onto their bed, creep up and look into each of their faces and softly meow. They think I am saying goodnight, but I am really saying THANK YOU.

Then I snuggle by their feet and snooze until ahhh, somehwere between 5:30 and 6:00. I used to caterwaul, but now I walk all over them and mewl like when I was a kitten, until someone gets up and serves me breakfast.

I am even getting used to their three little rug rats who visit twice a week. They slip me food and treats, even though that middle kid keeps dumping some of my treats in my water bowl. Mom keeps saying, "Bend down closer and put it in the plate." He's learning. I'm adapting.

Dad has the magic touch. He massages me just right. Mom is too tender. I like how Dad rubs my sides and neck and belly. Yeah, my belly! PURRRRRRRRRRRfect....
Mom's latest Chicken Soup for the Soul story (her 29th book)  will be released on May 14th. Check it out. I'll bet there's a cat lover in your life who would appreciate reading my story.