Friday, December 19, 2014

December Blessings

Typically, December brings a real sense of satisfaction and appreciation into my life. Last week, I canned close to 28 quarts of homemade sauerkraut. I’ve been asked why I bother canning when I can buy it right off the shelves at any grocery store. Yet the answer is always the same—for the pure joy of producing something with my own hands and satisfaction of looking at the filled jars.

Sauerkraut is not the only produce I can. The season begins with pickles in the spring followed by strawberries, pickled peppers and beets, peaches and butter-cream corn in the summer. Early fall brings green beans, raspberries, applesauce, sweet pumpkins (for pies), and the very end of the season, cabbage, after the first frost for kraut.

But maybe there’s little more to the story. My mother was canner and her mother before that. Am I trying to pass down a tradition to my children? A remnant of who I was that may live on after I’m gone. Is there something you'd like to pass down to your children?

Appreciation for the life I lead with my husband and the family and friends that are in my life is very strong during the Christmas holidays. Earlier in the month, I was invited to present my published book, “Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime,” at the first-ever Author Fair at the Jack Russell
Memorial Library in my hometown of Hartford. My dear friend, Sharon, accompanied me on the 45-mile trip there and back. While I addressed the audience, she controlled the Power Point presentation I had prepared for the group. She’s one of those dear friends who has been there in the great times of my life and the dark moments filled despair. We all need people like Sharon in our lives, dear friends to celebrate the special moments of our lives and hold us up when darkness ebbs in. I'm lucky to have her in mine.

I hope you are as blessed with such a friend and the sense of appreciation for the lives we blessed to live.

Until next time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Writing Convention Day

My writing colleagues: Andrea, me, Sandy, Joann, Brenda
Back row: Denise and Katie

If you're like me, you love to learn. It never gets old.

I had the privilege of attending the launch of Mount Mary College's Publishing Institute located in Milwaukee today. I met my writing colleagues at the event, and we enjoyed a full day of lectures along with a question and answer periods which proved to enlighten us on how to tackle query letter, marketing, and how to handle our first book deal. 

For those of us brave enough, an opportunity to book an appointment with a literary agent was also available. During the meeting, we pitched our work in progress looking for any sign of interest. I jumped at the chance to talk about my new novella, The Ticket, and was pleased to learn that the agent was interested. She gave me some great advice and direction for the next step in the publishing journey.

There's something to be said about spending the day with like-minded people. Walking the halls with published authors and literary agents filled me with a feeling of privilege and appreciation but also hope that I have what it takes to make it.

Have you challenged yourself recently? Have you sought out others who possess a passion for something like yourself? If the answer is no, I highly suggest you do. It's a very gratifying and exhilarating experience. One that will fuel you forward on whatever quest you embrace.

Until next time, enjoy the life we are blessed to live.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ten Things I Love About Summer

I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of summer. I realize by saying this, I place myself in a minority. Instead, I’m a lover of all seasons, including Wisconsin winters, but autumn is my absolute. As we begin our journey through summer, I realized, I do appreciate what the season brings so my outlook is softening.

Waking to the sound of the birds signing and listening to the chatter of crickets at night.

Throwing a pizza on the grill for supper because the grill has become the main heating source for all cooking.

Eating ice cream without an ounce of guilt just because it’s a hot day.

Listening to the sound of the wind rustling through the trees in the forest that outlines our backyard.

Drinking an ice cold beer while sitting in a big yellow lawn chair.

Skinny dipping and feeling 14 all over again.

The first bite into a homegrown tomato grown in our own yard.

Feeling the wind against my cheeks while riding a bike.

Strolling through a farmer’s market on a Saturday morning with my best girlfriend.

Walking around the fairs and eating all the food I would normally never touch.
Maybe I'm a fan of summer after all. What is it about summer that you enjoy most?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Little Bit of Christmas

Are you like I am allowing just a little bit of Christmas to remain throughout the year? Like most people, I love decorating for Christmas, and it seems that I get started earlier and earlier every year. 

This year was especially nice because I finally purchased a flocked Christmas tree that I wanted for so long. I just knew it would be welcomed among the older generation of decorations. I wasn’t disappointed. It shined in the center of attention.

To enhance the scene, I topped my bookcases with lit evergreen boughs that created a lovely ambiance to the room. Everything blended beautifully together. When the room was dark with only the lights on, I could imagine the stars in the sky on the night Jesus was born.

When the holidays ended as they always do and the decorations packed away, I pretended not to notice the lit swag high on the bookcase and allowed it to remain behind. After all, I argued, wouldn’t it make a lovely night light to welcome us back home after an evening out? Without a doubt the answer was yes. 

Do you have a little Christmas remaining in your home? An angel? A tablecloth? A candle? Or, maybe a hidden lit evergreen swag high upon a bookcase? If so, you are not alone. Let's continue to enjoy a little bit of Christmas all year long and remember what we learn each year during the Christmas season. Until next time, enjoy the life we are blessed to live.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Seasons of Our Lives

Has anyone noticed the light is staying with us longer in the day? I have. Each fall, as we head into the holidays, I notice the dark seeping in earlier and earlier, and honestly, I don’t mind it at all. I’m blessed not having an attraction to the sun. Oh, don’t mistake me, I enjoy the sunshine like everyone else, but I don’t need it to have a good day. During those early fall evenings, it doesn’t take me long to whip out my recipes for rich beef stew, chicken and dumplings, and roast beef with mashed potatoes and golden carrots. 

My dog, Rudy, and I adjust our walking times to the shorter or longer light. We adapt with nature’s cycles heading out for our daily hikes a little earlier or later depending where we fall on the calendar. We take it in stride, step for step, as we walk our route. The sounds of nature surround us and that changes with the seasons too.

As Wisconsin residents, I suspect many of us take for granted the four distinct seasons. All it takes is a job transfer to the south to realize just how much we depend on the change to enjoy winter, spring, summer and fall. Yes, I know, we are in for more frigid below zero temps followed by more snow. But it is winter and we have chosen to live here. Let’s enjoy the seasons of our lives.

Contract Signed for new book: "A Perfect Fit"

It was a great day today because I signed and mailed the contract back to the publisher for my fourth book, "A Perfect Fit "...