Saturday, December 14, 2019

Through the eyes of a child

At this holiday season, enjoy the little things, listen to the music, and laugh.

Charlie is 16 months old, and he is delighted with Christmas, especially the musical snowmen. He babbles endlessly and tries to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. When I ask him what Santa says, he replies, "Ha-Ha-Ha."

Create something. Use your noggin. If you are a writer, put a few words on a page. It is difficult during the holidays to make time for yourself. Start a story, an article, a blog post, a project.
Alex is 2 1/4 years old and  a very busy boy, talkative and interested in learning. Here he is clipping holiday clothespins to the rim of a plastic cup. He thinks he's playing, but he is doing busy work, strengthening his fingers for when he has to hold a writing instrument. 

Think out of the box, or take a box and make something out of it. Be creative. Let your child figure out how to color INSIDE of a box. 
When I needed a few minutes to myself to clean the kitchen, I gave them markers and let them decorate their high chair trays. Alex had a blast. Charlie chomped the blue marker, and that was the end of that.

Cooperate, be nice, everyone has a struggle. Share your time and talents. Peace be with you and yours.
Usually these two are battling brothers, but they played together for a change and actually got along.

I don't have a photo of Liam to share, but wish you could see him steal the show at his kindergarten holiday performance when he spied his parents in the audience and threw each of them a big kiss.

Share the love!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Guys do it and girls do, too.

My daughter hosted a holiday party/cookie exchange at her home last weekend. I crashed the party, and I am proud of it. Tee hee.

                        Jenni, Phyllis, Denise, Karen, Tracey in front, Carla, absent out of town.

I've known the two in the middle for forty-three and forty-six years. I watched them grow up, go through their stages from childhood through the difficult teen years, into adulthood. It is hard to believe some are grandmas.

As these girls grew up and found themselves, they lost touch temporarily, reconnected periodically, but over the decades they did keep in touch, through the good times and bad.

Every Christmas my girl decorates her house to the nines, and everyone brings goodies, toasts to the past, present, and future, and are on a natural high (okay it could be the wine and cookies) for an entire day.

The new friends fit right in to the group of gigglers. Look at them taking a Charlie's Angel's pose. In my opinion they are all my angels.

Before I knocked on the door, their raucous laughter pealed, and I smiled inwardly knowing how much women need female friends to lift one another up, listen to each other complain, and bellow at raunchy word/card games.

I so enjoyed myself and relived parts of my youth, as I watched them and reminisced about old friends and old times.

Did YOU ever attend Home Interior or Tupperware parties? Remember the feeling of temporary freedom? No husband, or kids, or phone ringing. Remember the guilty pleasure of eating deserts? Laughing and sharing with other women?

Got me to thinking about a television commercial for State Farm Insurance. As Sheryl's she-shed is burning, she looks at her bewildered husband and vows to rebuild a she-ier she-shed.

I think we all need a great escape, some place to unwind, to be ourselves, to not be interrupted by noise or requests.

Guys have had their garages, man caves, camp outs and hunting trips. Girls just wanna have fun, too.


Monday, December 2, 2019

In recovery mode

I wish I could tell you we had a lovely Thanksgiving. We  both ended up with a 48 hour stomach virus, although I still say it was the ham sandwich we ate the day before that gave us food poisoning.

Bill's best friend was very concerned, and kneaded his dad's stomach often in an attempt to wake him. Saturday we were feasting on leftovers, and did so all weekend. 

I finally got enough energy to put up the tree.

This is about how much energy I had for two days. Charlie Brown tree was going to be IT. Then...
I woke with a burst of energy Sunday. I got the tree in its box stuck on a stop shelf in the closet. I finally finagled it down and erected the tree. It isn't fancy, and the ornaments are precious and priceless but not costly. Some are almost fifty years old and most are hand made by our children and grandchildren. Each has significance and is meaningful. I love it when the kids come over and find their old art work and decorations. The stories are the same year after year, but it is fun to remember.

These baby footprints are reminders of the growth each great-grandson has experienced to date and the steps they will continue to take toward growing up, and having big old stinky man feet. Alex is sightly built, but look! He had the biggest baby feet.

For now I can still kiss and count their toes and massage their little feet. When I hang all the homemade ornaments, I count my blessings one by one. Each has a name attached.

From our house to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season. Take care of yourself as you rush around taking care of chores, shopping, and others. What do you do for self care and pampering? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Naked?! Oh my!

We went out of town last week. Sassy boy sure did miss his dad. Actually Bill missed his cat.
We had family members come and pet, play with the cat, and tend to his needs. But he yowled and yowled for his dad. I am only his food source, but Bill is his best buddy and masseuse.

I wrote a story about how this cat has been a lifesaver for my big guy, who has suffered unimaginable pain and suffering, due to a senseless horrific incident which happened to his loved one. Our visit made us feel hopeful and happy. I can message you but not post details on line.

I'd tell you more about my cat story, too, but I submitted it already. It made us both cry.

It's amazing how an animal can touch you deep in your soul.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking stories about cats and also dogs for two upcoming books. Do you have a story about a cat or dog you have or once had?


Our bird is in the oven, and tomorrow I will only have to make the side dishes. We have a jump on the chores, and a clean house. Tomorrow our small home will fill with our loved ones. I will be very thankful. I will overeat and smother the pumpkin pie with whipped cream. 

One year when I was teaching preschoolers about the Plains Native Americans, a little girl said, "Teacher, my daddy is a NAKED AMERICAN."
Smile and nod.

Many years ago when I was teaching in a public school, I heard gobbling at the window. Because my classroom was in the basement and underground, the windows were nearly at the ceiling in my classroom, but outdoors they were ground level. I just KNEW it was an older kid gobbling and being funny.

I climbed up the metal fire escape ladder in my room, pushed the window up and
saw... a real turkey on the fence! I rushed my students outside to see our gift.

Be on the lookout for unexpected gifts and surprises and things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for you, my readers.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Yes! ANOTHER heavenly gift...

I wrote a Chicken Soup for the Soul story 20 years ago about a heavenly inspired gift I received, per the pact my late best friend and I made right before she passed away.

Last week the temperature dropped to 11 degrees; we had a hard freeze and frigid wind chills.
All of my flowers wilted, shriveled, and hung limp in their pots. Except this delicate little ONE which is still thriving. I believe it is  this year's gift from Rose. I have received a flower every year in winter.

Read the original story about her promise of an annual gift to me. Tell me what you believe.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A love of language curses through the generations

On Sunday it was sunny, 65 degrees, and then we broke a 100 year record when an early snow and freeze happened Monday.  The temperature dipped to 12 degrees. School closures scrolled the TV screen all day.

Liam, our smart little kindergartener, is recovering from a cold. So we took it easy when he came to spend the day. He loves writing and spelling. We did table work, block building, and he played with toys. 

I popped The Christmas Story video in, and we snuggled under a warm fleece blanket.
He was very interested in the bully, and compared him to Tyrone the Horrible, a character in one of his dinosaur books.  

He liked eight-year-old Ralphie, who had a vivid imagination. He also questioned me about Ralphie's colorful language. "Nana what does son-of-a-bitch mean?"

I gulped and said, "It's a bad word. I'm not sure what it means, just that you aren't supposed to use it." He was satisfied.

And then... Ralphie said the mother of all bad words (it was bleeped) and his mother marched him to the bathroom, sat him on the toilet seat, and put a bar of orange Lifebouy soap in his mouth to hold for a few moments.

Something clicked in Liam's brain. I saw it when he bucked upright and said wide-eyed, "Hey Nana, I KNOW someone who that happened to."

"Who?" I feigned innocence and shock.

He glared at me, and said, "My Nana Tracey." If looks could kill...

"And YOU did THAT to her when she was a kid!"

He was deeply offended and protective of "My Nana" as he calls her when other kids are in her care.

I was wrong, following a norm; cleaning bad words out of the mouth was the discipline technique of fifty years ago. What is the quote? "When you know better, do better." 

What's your bet? Liam will never swear, or he will utter every swear word he can think I did one day when I was five years old toying with bad words. Then it was OVER. LOL

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The language of love

Winter weather is speeding down the jet stream and heading our way soon. I do not like being cold or shivering. I snuggle under my fleece throw, which puts me into sleep mode way too early. When the sun goes down, so do I.  If I sit on the couch to watch TV I stay awake. If I recline, I'm a goner.

Sassy Boy thinks he runs the show around here. I found him on the bed, grooming himself, licking that fat tummy of his. I asked what he thought he was doing taking a bath on my bed, and he flopped over and laid on my pillow. Obviously we do not speak the same language.

Speaking of language. Michele is doing as well as can be expected. Her brain is healing and she talks and talks. Bill is such a positive and calm man.

He said, "The words are all there. It's like her brain is a library, and all the books have toppled, spilling words everywhere. It's going to take time to upright the shelf and put everything back in place."

I told him he should have been a writer.  I love the way he thinks!

The upside to snoozing early is I'm not munching. I've lost ten pounds and have five to go before December 10th, when my doctor and I will have a heart to heart.

I think the greatest love language is KINDNESS.

And how are you doing?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Playing with fall images

Words are like images; they can be beautiful, playful, stark, shocking. Have you written lately? 

    The ghost watched the squirrel scamper up the old tree
 and chew off a leafy twig.
                                                    She tucked it into the crook of a limb
                                                             padding her nest so big.

                                              When the last leaves turn, drop to the ground,
                                                      cold wind and snowflakes abound,
                                                  ghosts disappear; were they even here?
                                                    Their footprints can never be found.

The scarecrows, though small, have the most fun of all when critters come around at night.
Stray cats go creeping, raccoons sneaking, rabbits trigger our motion light.
They sniff the ghosts, pumpkins, too. Scarecrows chase them away with a great big, "BOO!"

                                     Is it a monster? A person on stilts? A peanut-head circus fright?
                              A long-legged clown walking around, waiting for the darkness of night?

                                            I'll give you a clue. The afternoon sun plays tricks on you.
                                                                 And as you can plainly see...
                                                             it isn't a  monster or wacky clown.
                                                                 It's simply a shadow of ME. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

"Somebody done somebody wrong"'s a song!

Announcing # 30 on my Chicken Soup for the Soul publication list.  

I am not physically hiding in this book, but my story, A Precious Jewel, is included. On sale date is November 5, 2019.  

I have read more than 3/4 of this book, and each story is one that you or someone you know could relate to. I found myself nodding as I read the stories which are not preachy. They describe the many infractions we have all felt or perceived in our lives. And the solutions are life changers. 

Twitter – @ChickenSoupSoul

Book Link -

Hashtag - #CSSTheForgivenessFix

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Into the unknowns

It's human nature to want to know the outcome even when circumstances are out of our control.

One never knows what lies within or beyond the fog. Driving with opaque vision into the uncertainties of life's what-ifs, increases our fear.

This was a lesson made real last weekend as we left Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where I presented two workshops.

Pavement patches, like Band Aids on my worried soul, made me aware that bruises and surface scrapes are minor parts of the whole.

I had no other choice but to trust the girders and pilings that suspend the bridge to support our car as we traversed the span from shore to shore above the unseen flowing waters.

Fog, eerily thick as Halloween spiderweb batting enveloped the bridge, shrouded the river in both directions, and sent a shiver down my spine.

As we encountered traffic in both directions, visibility became more acute the closer we came to other vehicles. My fear lessened when I was able to see beyond the unknown. I breathed a sigh of relief and a silent prayer of thanks when we made it safely across the bridge.

Life has been rough for our family the past few weeks. Bill's daughter received life-threatening brain trauma injuries and is in a rehab hospital out of state. Updates indicate she is making progress. But I want to be able to visit her daily, and that is not possible.

My daughter just tore her rotator cuff and probably will require shoulder surgery. 

Bill has residual leg pain from a previous knee surgery and may require total knee replacement.

Such is life. Into the fog...the unknown. One day at a time. I have to trust God that things will work out. They always do, whether we can see what's ahead, or not. Whether its the way we wish for things to be, or not.

All the what-ifs don't matter, because what will be, will be. Que Sera, Sera.


Friday, October 18, 2019

Opportunities for writers

Don't be a turkey. Share with others. Pass on information to fellow writers. Praise others when they are successful. Come back soon, and I will share my good news with you. Meanwhile, start writing. Check out this link for a list of call outs from Cathy's Comps and Calls.

I get so busy I often forget where I saw a particular call out. This is an extensive list for my writer friends.

If YOU were the person who signed in on my blog yesterday as UNKNOWN, thank you for the comment, but who ARE you?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bad news AND good news

Some of you know our family experienced a tragedy three weeks ago. I was unable to update my readers because of the investigation.

My stepdaughter Michele has a dynamic personality and is forever joking and laughing. She is  a friend to many, the best mom and grandma ever. She received critical and life threatening traumatic brain injuries when a shoplifter struck her with a car.

We have been at the hospital daily and simply lost track of time. Our lives were on hold as we sat at Michele's bedside praying and weeping. God answers prayers. Thank you to those who prayed. Please continue.

Michele was air lifted to Craig Rehabilitation Center in Colorado yesterday, where she will receive intensive treatment. They specialize in brain and spinal injuries and have served four police officers in our town who suffered critical injuries in the past.

P.M. me if you have further questions.

This is a clip from our local TV station.

Now, for some good news. I presented two workshops at The Ozark Creative Writer's Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas last weekend. One on inspirational writing, and the other on humor writing. My classes were well received and well attended. I met so many nice people. Pictured here is Bonnie K. Tesh from Joplin, MO Writer's Guild. Claudia Mundell, my late friend, and possibly yours, was the president of the Joplin guild. Linda Lowe Apple is president of Ozark Creative Writers.

Imagine my delight when my friend Becky and I took the trolley into town. We were waiting at the trolley stop. A young couple arrived to wait with us. I asked where they were from, as Eureka Springs is a resort town.The young man said, "Joplin." I asked if he knew Claudia Mundell. He replied, "Oh my gosh, she was my English teacher."

Deep in my heart, I felt a connection to Claudia, as if she were among her friends again.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Humbling tumbling bee

We have had hardy plants called sedum  growing in our yard for years. The plants are flowering now. But the insects are mostly small butterflies, a few honey bees, and flies. Until this year, those plants were covered in bumble bees, monarch butterflies and every winged insect imaginable.

I was delighted to discover this happy little bee when I took the boys on a walk the other day.
 Its body was like velcro for the pollen.

It made Alex and me laugh out loud when the little bee started rolling around and tumbling inside the flower collecting pollen and nectar. MADE MY DAY!

This activity made Alex's day. He hammered golf tees inserted into foam leaves, with letters printed on them, into his pumpkin. When he arrived at our house and saw the pumpkin in the living room, he lifted it and carried it around, so happy, and he kept saying, "My punkin."

Total cost, $4.00: Dollar Store items, $2.00, (golf tees and leaves) a pumpkin $2.00.

Benefits: hand-eye coordination, new vocabulary words and conversation, as he hammered with his toy hammer, and pride from a job well done. He is only being introduced to letters and his name.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Have you ever been misled?

As a writer, have you ever been sorely mistaken? One thing I have learned is always be sure to read contributor's guidelines carefully, especially the fine print.

Once I submitted to a contest in which the prize was a free book. I followed the guidelines for word count and content, and I was hopeful I would win. I didn't. 

I had failed to read the small print that stated eligible contestants would be selected from a specific geographic area of the country, which I did not live in. I should have never even entered the contest.    

Last week the little dudes and I stopped for tomatoes at Stuckmeyer's Farm.

Charlie kicked and flailed with excitement, anticipating being placed in the pumpkin patch display. EWW! Once there, he wanted no part of the straw, and Alex wasn't that fond of it either.

 Before long Charlie was back in his preferred environment playing in his comfort zone.

It's that way with me, too. I'm soon over it and moving on to the next thing. How about you?

Sunday, September 8, 2019

When a bird eats from your hand

My facial expression looks just like Alex's when I receive an acceptance on my writing for publication. I have received four rejections out of 16 submissions last month. Part of the writing game. Yes it is painful, but I will continue to write and submit.

I took one-year-old Charlie and two-year-old Alex to Grant's Farm on a very hot day. But it was worth it to see their excitement and enjoyment as they interacted with the birds and animals and took a (choo-choo) tram ride through the acreage where large animals crossed the road and meandered. 
Alex loved feeding the birds inside the large birdcage. He giggled when the birds ate off his stick.

Charlie was so fascinated with the birds, especially when a blue one landed on my hand. He reached for it, and I said, "No-no." He drew his hand back and watched the bird fly to the ceiling.

Sometimes NO is the final answer, but that doesn't mean my work is sub par. It most likely means my work doesn't fit editorial needs at the moment. Don't let a rejection stop you.
After naps, I gave the boys a homemade game I devised with a cardboard, lunch box-type container. I made a slit in the top so they could deposit the chips. Charlie was so thrilled when Alex allowed him to play, too. He jabbered and babbled at him. He couldn't believe Alex wasn't shouting, "No! Mine!"
Arms and legs were kicking and flailing when I unlatched the clasp and dumped the entire container of chips all over the floor. Alex was so excited he let them rain down on his head, then he picked up a handful and tossed them at Paw paw Bill, who joined in the fun.

Young children have to experience all of something before they can part with some of it. Writers get possessive, too. They keep ideas or markets close at heart. But sharing is nice and makes you a winner, even if your friend gets an acceptance and you don't. That's life!

As you go about your week, remember to throw your hands up and shout thanks to someone (other  than me) who has provided you with a writer's tip, a kind word, or some other kind of inspiration. Smiles are contagious pass one on.

Here is a link for women who may be interested in writing a personal essay for Quiet Mountain.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Have you ever been stuck in a writing rut?

Two-year-old Alex frequently uses the word "stuck." He shouts it when he wants to get out of his car seat or his mealtime booster chair. Recently he yelled, "STUCK!"  at The Magic House Children's Museum. 

A family member sent him down the spiral slide from the second story. Half way between the two floors he spread eagle and refused to move. No matter how I coaxed him, he insisted he was STUCK. And he was, even though it was of his own volition. I had to go in for the rescue. It wasn't a pretty sight, and I was afraid I'd get STUCK too, for real!
I touched his foot and convinced him I had him. He turned loose and sped past me, almost knocking me off my feet. Relieved he laughed, and I hugged him.

Have you ever gotten stuck in your writing? Completely stuck? Every time I try to write short fiction, I get to a point where I cannot figure out what to write next. Happens all the time. So, I place my story in a folder labeled STUCK, and I wait. Sometimes a day, a week, a month, or longer.

Has anyone ever given you a helping hand? Liam and Alex wanted to join hands with the sculpture kids for a pretend game of Ring Around the Rosie. 

I'm grateful other writers have helped me, therefore I help others. Some times you might just need a new person to view your work. Somebody to point out the good, and then gently critique or offer a positive suggestion. Or to offer a suitable market for your work.

Ring around the Rosie... we ALL fall down at sometime in our writing life. Maybe you just need to rest, a time to recoup, but don't you QUIT.

Take a peek at old files and see if you can tweak them into something that makes you WANT to write today.  Click Here for a list of possible publishing opportunities.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Writers beware, or watch your hiney!

Hello my readers and writer friends. Here are a few tips.
Surprise your reader with something completely unexpected. Liam had fun at the pretend laundromat at the Magic House Children's Museum. He spun the washer and peered inside at all the green-hued clothing. He was surprised and laughed when he discovered a green pickle and cucumber inside.

Animal abuse in a book is a no-no, and likely to be rejected by an editor/agent according to an agent at a conference I attended. An animal in your manuscript can be a stinker, a rescuer, a link between two people.

Most people cannot resist puppies and kittens. Liam and Alex assumed the role of veterinarians. 

Babies soften the hardest heart.  Describe a baby: pudgy? Skinny? Lanky? Prune faced? Head shaped like a ....? 

Alex played doctor in the newborn nursery. He took temperatures with a nasal aspirator, weighed babies on an infant scale.... and then weighed himself and laughed. He took hats off and begged ME to get them back on.  Provide your reader facts or details about something unusual related to your topic. 

 When you pass on information, it can end up like a bad game of TELEPHONE. Do not gossip to or about other writers, and do not reveal too much, too soon in your manuscript. Let your reader make discoveries. Alex babbled into the pay phone (for kids to play with) and kept saying, "Hehwwo!" He finally shouted, "NO!" and hung up, disgusted with his one-way conversation.

Do not linger longer than need be. If you can say it with two sentences, don't write it in two paragraphs. You don't want the reader to hang up on you.

Reach for your goals and vow to attain them. Invest in you and your writing, even if you only have a  few minutes to jot down an idea. Be brave, go out on a limb, and climb high! 

Liam liked Jack's two story high bean stalk. Be as tenacious as Liam.

When you are tired, rest. Add a dash of humor to your stories.
Liam sat on the colorful steps. I rested on a colorful bench named Musical Chairs. The string instrumental music was driving me crazy. Another lady sat down and pounding drums added to my headache. Then another person sat on the four seat bench and percussion instruments added to the symphony of sounds. The fourth occupant activated the woodwinds. 

I got up and the strings stopped. The woman next to me stood and the drums silenced. Yes, our behinds were activating the symphony. We all had a good laugh.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Paranormal? Abnormal? This is not normal.

I would label myself a skeptic, but also a believer in things I cannot explain. My dearest prefers to ignore those things he cannot explain. He says I'm off the deep end trying to find a supernatural reason for things I should forget about. Or he comes up with his own preposterous explanations.

For many years we would hear something that sounded like a giant book thud to the floor in the kitchen, or a tinkling of pots and pans in a cabinet, or clanking in the hall closet. We finally quit getting up to see what it was, when there was nothing to see.

"That thud is a refrigerator noise," he exclaimed.

"The pots and pans?" I asked.

"Your imagination." (Then it was his, too because he heard it.)

The activity is becoming physical. The boys have an emergency vehicles (ambulance, firetruck, police car etc.) wooden puzzle with contacts that activate sounds when the pieces are put in. The other night I placed all of the pieces in the empty puzzle, turned off the light and closed the playroom door. The puzzle went crazy with siren sounds when I left the room. That was odd.

I waited outside the darkened room. Quietly I opened the door. Nothing! When I turned on the light, the sirens wailed.

I waited for them to stop. Then I turned OFF the light. They wailed again. I showed Bill.

He said, "Oh some of your hebbie-jeebie stuff? It's a puzzle. Nothing more."

The next day the boys were coming over. I went to get the puzzle. The firetruck was missing. GONE!

I showed Bill how turning the light on and off activated the puzzle noises. Which never happened before.

"Ahh, forget about it!"

"Where is the firetruck?" I asked.

"Who knows? Doesn't matter. Okay so maybe your ghoooost took it." He teased me.

That evening after the kids were gone, we were watching TV in the living room with the cat on a chair nearby, when the puzzle went off in the darkened playroom.

"Did you hear that?" I asked.

"I heard it. And it doesn't matter." He went to the kitchen, whipped around in the doorway and shouted, "That was not funny! Now you got me wet. Where is the squirt gun? I felt you do it."

I looked at him like HE was crazy. "I've been sitting here looking at my phone. I haven't moved! Look! I have nothing. It's my cell phone."

"Then the cat ran by with a wet tail and flicked me on the back of my leg!"

I stared at him. "The cat is still asleep in the chair right here."

He barked, "One of you is messing with me! I felt the squirt gun. I know it was you!"

I got up and walked over to him and  felt the bottom of his shorts. The right leg was WET! As though it had been squirted. Not dripping but wet!

Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I asked him to take off his shorts. "It's not urine. It's colorless, odorless, but wet. I think it IS water."

He looked at me and said, "Really? You think I pee backwards? Where is the squirt gun? I know you did it."


He refuses to discuss it. Paranormal? Abnormal?  Something is going on.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Another one bites the dust!

I was going to talk about how persistence pays off and how I've submitted fifteen pieces so far this month, but this takes the cake. So read all about it!

Entering kindergarten head first!
 Liam decided to jump off the top of the playground equipment and face planted. He's told us half a dozen stories about the meanest kid in kindergarten pushing him, to "Yeah, I might have jumped."  These are not stitches according to Liam. It's only a string holding his skin together.  His injury did not stop him from participating in wet and wild fun on Saturday.

Alex had a pool party for his 2nd birthday, so I made him a pool cake.

 He and Charlie had fun splashing in the pool with his over-sized car. Also a big pool with slide.

Alex loved the multi-function, battery operated Big Foot monster truck we got him. His mom is hoping the batteries wear out sooner than later.

 Charlie was happy eating anything and everything in sight, especially birthday cake.

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

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  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.