February 1, 2023

Today is the beginning of the shortest month of the year. A Dad joke exists, that February isn’t the shortest month of the year – they ALL have 28 days. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk. Yep, my dad had a million of them. How about yours?

Yesterday was a blessed day in the grand scheme of things. It was quite nerve-wracking, though. We awoke to news of two Omaha police officers being shot by a burglar at a storage facility; the unit, known to have guns and ammo, was a mark for burglary. Our concern was for the safety of the officers. They are both doing ok, one released, one requiring surgery.

Our concern was our neighbor Rosa. Rosa is an Omaha OPD officer. She is a such a wonderful human and often works the area the crime happened. Thankfully, it wasn’t her, and she is safe. She and her husband are both in law enforcement, and they introduced their children into participating in politics, particularly the last presidential election, and congressional race. I am amazed at this family. We are so lucky to have them for neighbors.

As if all that wasn’t enough, while we were feasting on Nachos for lunch, I saw our Target, which is where we shop a lot, frequently picking up grocery orders or in-store shopping, had an active shooter situation. Oh my gosh. It is too close to home. Too close to home everywhere it happens.

Within six minutes, all law enforcement from the city of Omaha, and nearby towns and counties responded, and the suspect was dead. No one else is injured. I am grateful I was not inside the store, witnessing anything, and especially not being injured or killed. It’s a hard word to say, much less have to think. Killed. Thank God for the response. I am grateful we live in a part of the state where there is a lot of law enforcement, ready to act and keep us safe.

I know there are many corrupt police officers in the country now committing horrible crimes against people. Excessive force is often deadly and not warranted. This is not the case today, in Omaha, Nebraska. And for that, I am grateful. I hope you are all safe in your home, school, and shopping areas. Take care and we’ll see you tomorrow!

New Releases in Books

In the past few years I’ve come to meet many authors through Facebook. I have not met most of them in person. I may read their book, then see they have a Facebook page. I follow or like their page, then comment here and there, just as I’ve done with my sewing and quilting friends. When they release new books, I will buy them.

One author I’ve never met in person but whose writing I love is Joshua Berkov. His books always make me smile, chuckle, and laugh out loud. He writes so well about older Jewish ladies from New York, I can hear their accents as I read the words. They are books I’ll keep to re-read when I need a good laugh. His latest is “The Enlightenment of Iris.” Joshua, you have a gift, and I thank you for sharing it with the world. We love you!

Another author I feel lucky to know is Tammy Marshall. She is a Nebraska author, and such a nice person to know. Tammy has written five books, with her latest being, “Ticker Tape,” “State of Georgia and Other Writings,” “Clearwater House,” “Twinges,” and her latest, “Trouble on Tybee.” Tammy’s books are found in many libraries in cities and towns in Nebraska. I plan on learning how she becomes featured in libraries, it’s inexpensive but a smart thing to do in your home state. Tammy will share her secrets at the Nebraska Writers Guild in the spring. I’m looking forward to it.

There is another book release that most likely garnered the most intention this month, perhaps for the year. “Spare,” by Prince Harry Duke of Essex. How do they alphabetize by his last name? What IS his last name? Does he even HAVE a last name?

On a more serious note, I feel badly for Harry. He had his mother taken from him in a horrible way, his father and other family members were ill equipped to help the youngster deal with the grief he was experiencing. He tried to deal with it publicly all through his late teens, twenties, and early thirties. I’m glad he decided his mental health needed help, which he sought out on his own. I think I would read the book based on this struggle, and his victories in his fight.

Harry is a champion for veterans everywhere. His involvement in the creation of the Invictus Games Foundation has done much good for many wounded warriors. Harry will continue to do good throughout his life because it’s one way he can honor his late mother, Diana.

I do not care about the fights among the royals. The monarchy may be so out of touch with reality it may be time for it to change dramatically. I hope Harry continues to care for his mental health, and he remains vigilant in continued care. It’s critical for his future. He is a brave young man to bring his PTSD out in the open. No longer should it be hidden away.

For the rest of the winter, make sure you have some books on hand to help pass the time. We’ll need it, since February and March can be brutal in Nebraska. You’ll be glad you did. I hope you have a wonderful Thursday. See you tomorrow.

Finally Friday!

In the Midwest, whenever bad weather could develop, the trusty weather guys/gals clog the airways of local channels with many worst-case scenarios. Severe T-Storm warnings beep in every 2 minutes. It’s annoying. The frequency is unnecessary and most of us know to stay inside during a hailstorm, thunderstorm, tornado. We know better than to drive into a blizzard with 75 mph winds. If you just moved here, someone will clue you in.

I’m feeling stuck. Stuck in decluttering. Stuck in writing and life. Why? I’m finding a little tug when the thought of my birthday coming up. I’m feeling a little ancient, and a little not so much. It’s silly, really. All people go through it. I’m grateful to be reaching the age of 70 on the 22nd, and hope for a great birthday cake. I’m here for the cake!

I took Mom to the eye doctor for a six-month check again and she’s stable. I’m glad that’s the report for now. We need no more to deal with. She has PT coming in again and has a new lady coming in for help once a week. Hopefully, this will let her get Mom’s house clean and help her feel satisfied. After three years, the other lady didn’t work out. Those things happen sometimes.

I hope you have a great weekend, now that it’s here. The weather should be perfect and we’ll make the most of it for sure. Have a beautiful evening, and see you tomorrow!

Submission Guidelines

I’m getting ready to do a thing. I mentioned earlier the Voices from the Plains Anthology by the Nebraska Writers Guild is accepting submissions for their Fifth Volumes from now until September 11, 2021. I decided to submit the first chapter of my novel this year. I’m excited and almost dreading it at the same time. Why? It’s kind of like being naked at 90th & Dodge Streets at rush hour. On the sidewalk, not in your car. And at the same time, I’m not nervous. Whatever happens will happen, I can guarantee it. It’ll be ok.

The story about my first seeing an anthology happened about three years ago. The Babe and I were driving back from Colorado and stopped at a roadside building. It was an old abandoned Burger King from the look of the building. We really appreciated the nice lady who tended the store. There were books, and of course, I had to look

I’ve always liked getting books out on our travels. I have one about the big fire at Yellowstone National Park in 1988, and I have one about the life of Walt Disney. Both fascinated me. I believe Disney would be disappointed with the amount of money people have to pay to enter each part; I don’t think over $100 per day was in his initial plan.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Among this little former bookstore turned rest stop offerings was a volume of the Anthology published by the Nebraska Writers Guild. It was that book that led me to joining the guild, connecting with people, and getting started on this journey. I love how it started since I deeply believe God gives you nudges throughout life. This was a huge nudge, and I investigated all about writing. Well, not everything. But you get my drift. It’s free to submit poetry, essays, short stories, etc.

I plan to check the chapter a few times with Pro Writing Aid and on my own. I will submit it by September 1, or sooner, if I feel it’s ready. Then we wait. I’m super excited about the process. The book will publish around Deember 1. I’ll keep you in the loop!

In two hours, the Babe and I will go to Nebraska Brewing Company, in LaVista, Nebraska. We will be in the crowd welcoming walkers who walked 50 miles overnight, from Lincoln to Omaha. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness to PTSD, homelessness, and other issues our Veterans deal with on a daily basis. With the terrible events this week in Afghanistan, there is a definite uptick in our Veterans needing help. Triggers are very real for them. They aren’t just drama in a movie. They are real terrors that are triggered and must be dealt with in order to live their lives. They sacrificed for us, and now it’s our turn to sacrifice for them. If you’re in the Omaha area, come on out. Our friends from VFW Post 2503 will be there, too. It’s the least we can do for them.

Meantime, I’m going to edit and re-edit my Chapter. Thank you for reading, I believe by the end of this calendar year great things are going to be happening. Stick around, we’ll go on this journey together. See you tomorrow!

p.s. If you’d like to donate to the 50 Mile Walk benefitting Guitars for Vets and Moving Veterans Forward, go to www.givebutter.com and donate!. At this moment, they have raised their goal, let’s help them go over by a bunch! Thank you, and you’re all the greatest!

Mail Call! (Meant for Thursday)

Another snafoo in publishing. Meant for Thursday, now published Saturday. Something big happened this week that affected my thinking, writing, etc. Sorry for the mix up!

Mail call was exceptional yesterday. I received my shipment from a company that sells artifically sweetened Cold Brew tea. Where has this been all my life? We were busy yesterday with telling our friend farewell ’til next time, so weren’t at home too much. I plan to brew one of these today. Not sure it if’ll be Strawberry Cheesecake, Peach, Blueberry, Mango, Half and Half, Raspberry, Original, Watermelon or Mint.

But wait! There’s more! I also received two new books, one written by Tammy Marshall of Nebraska. I met her when I first joined the Nebraska Writers Guild, and have read one of her two other books, The Clearwater House. The new one, Ticker Tape, is about a Vietnam Veteran. I am eager to read it. More on that later.

The other book I selected is The Last Madam: a life in the New Orleans underworld. I’m curious about the topic. It will occupy a summer afternoon or two, I’m sure. During the time I was without a Smart Phone, I bought nothing from Amazon. Now, frequent shopping is too easy again.

I not only order from Amazon, but also do a bit of impulse buying, usually for unusual jewelry. This is a ring I purchased that goes with some dandelion themed earrings and necklace I have. I think they’re rather fun and go well with a top I have with a silk screened dandelion on it. A statement piece if ever there was one. Here are the jewelry pieces.

The last one was ust a fun thing to buy – a necklace of stacked teacups and a teapot and teacup set of earrings. The ring has a dandelion and seeds on the ends, along with the words, “this too shall pass.” It’s a perfect saying for a lot of situations. The dandelion necklace says “I wished for you.” It’s how I feel about the Babe. I wished upon many stars for him.

I’m not a big-honkin’-diamond kind of girl; and the Babe isn’t one to buy them. And that works for us. I love to find weird stuff. I once had a necklace made from small circles of copper fit together. The necklace made a loose knot of itself, and was quite flexible. A couple guys I worked with liked it and said it reminded them of plumbing pipes. It sure did. I just like quirky, fun stuff.

Whatever you do today, do it with enthuasiasm and gratitude. I am going to dust the the furniture, it’s something I always save it for last and never seem to get it done. I’m holding myself accountable by telling the world I’m going to do it, and I feel to be credible, I’ll pretty much have to complete the mission. And I will, I’m not a good liar. Never have been. What will you do today? We have Post and Auxiliary meetings tonight, so it’ll be another long day. Be safe out there, and be kind. See you tomorow!

Eventful August, 2021

Does life sometimes happen so fast and furious your head spins? This month has been quite eventful, both in good and bad ways. I feel compelled to examine my goals and replan some things. Life is moving along at a breakneck speed and I am not at the moment. With the loss of our friend last week, it’s kind of got us in a quandry. And we took Saturday and Sunday to get rid of the tree in the yard from last weeks storm and just chill. And that’s good.

A few years ago, on our way from visiting our daughter and family, we stopped just inside the Nebraska State Line to the west. I always look for some small book or trinket to remember where we’ve been. I was drawn to the book shelves, like always. I saw a medium sized book titled, “Voices From the Plains.” Its an anthology for the Nebraska Writers Guild. Until then, I was tinkering in my head with the idea of writing a kids book. I bought the anthology and read about half of it.

Now, three years later, I’ve decided to take the risk of submitting at least one entry for publication in this year’s Voices #5. I will submit the first chapter of my novel for scruitny. There is also a naming contest. Each entry allows a name submission. Cool beans, eh? I’m fortunate to have met some great people and we have befriended each other as time goes by.

My first conference left me feeling like a fish out of water. However, I didn’t give up. I still met a few people; Tammy Marshall, an author from Nebraska is one session I enjoyed. She is now a retired teacher and active writer. She does a newspaper column and has recently published a book, “The Ticker Tape.” I’ve ordered it from Amazon; it’s about a Vietnam Veteran and his experiences after participating in a parade (belated) to welcome Vets home. It is a catalyst that unleashes a series of events. I look forward to reading this story.

The second conference was great! I sat with many women at all different stages of writing. Some experienced, some not, some trying to find their voices. Good people with whom we’ve kept in touch. I look forward to the next one. I prepaid for the last spring conference, which was a zoom conference, and I have not watched the videos. They are no longer available to us, but I just don’t have enough time for it all.

From upper left photo, I’m intrigued by this “Live a Great Story,” company. I am putting a 4″ sticker on my car, and will wear my lapel button proudly. It reminds me to use the good silverware, tablecloths, etc. Don’t save it for tomorrows who may never come.

The middle photo was posted by our friend Joyce Tiger today. Her husband Rick, singer and songwriter is hospitalized with COVID and double pneumonia. Prayers will be appreciated. If you’d be so inclined I’ll share the link to the Go Fund Me page created to help with medical expenses. Thank you!

Mission Roll Call is a group to support Veterans who suffer from PTSD. The whole debacle in Afghanistgan is triggering a lot of feelings. Strong feelings. Feelings like no other a civilian ever felt, most likely. Offer to listen, offer to give them a ride, reach out if they’ll accept it. We cannot be losing any who are on the ledge right now. Offer to be a bridge. Don’t give up on them; don’t let them give up on themselves. I’m sharing like crazy right now on the VFW Post 2503 Facebook page; offering help if it’s needed. We’re checking in on our vets who may not be in a good place right now. Encouraging and supporting. That is one thing we need to do. Have compassion for our fellow citizens and human beings. I have a deep love and respect for you all. Let’s talk, ok?

My to do list and my Ryan High School Reunion mug remind me how quickly life can turn on a dime. No more putting off doing what I’ve always wanted to do. At this point in life, it can all be over before we know it. “Those books ain’t gonna publish themselves! Neither will them blogs!”

The last photo is of my new bands supporting causes I believe in. “22 a Day is 22 Too Many.” Sadly true. It hits home in a million ways. I’m seeing so many people hurting right now. The Vietnam Vets know exactly how these Afghanistan Vets feel. They’ve lived it. Thank goodness there is hope for the younger guys and gals. They won’t be ignored for 40 – 50 years. Help is out there. NOW. Let us help you find it.

So many life-altering things happened in the short first sixteen days of August. I shudder to think what else may occur during the next fifteen days. It’s in God’s hands for sure. Enjoy each and every day for what it is, all on it’s own. You have the power to make them great ones, even in the face of adversity. Let’s do this together. Work on making your story a great one. I am. See you tomorrow! I’ll tell you more about something else we took a risk on then!