Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

Photo by Anastasiya Vragova on Pexels.com

So far this morning, it’s been sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy, we’ve played catch with Goldie’s favorite rope, and she’s finally decided she’s as tired as Lexie is. Security is on call and the staff is in a meeting. My favorite time of day. Except for when I wake up with Goldie licking my face and I hear the Babe’s voice, “You getting up?” How could I not? The coffee works its magic, and here we are!

That first cup of coffee promises we’ll conquer the world today. And why not? Except for my blog, which is now a daily habit, I feel awkward when I don’t write one. The day is a blank slate after blogging. Well, usually it does. I’m still placing the Babe’s office in order. It won’t be long now. There will be room for Jewell Publishing, LLC company files. How exciting! A proper place of my own. My manuscripts can live there, too, once they’re in final drafts. My business checkbook can live there, too.

I’m planning in my imagination towards the end of the year, when I’ll have my kids’ book ready to publish, and imagine a Book Launch, with Cartney McGuigan by my side. She’s my very talented illustrator, and I’m so excited to see what magic she’ll create for the world my characters live in.

I see Cartney and me autographing our book. Heck, even if just friends and family come to the launch, we’ll have quite a crowd. A lot of work goes into creating this event. Work that is hard to explain, work that just fits into place as we both tell the story of Roxie, a naughty little puppy. She doesn’t mean to be that way. And sometime Gavin can be naughty, too. They just get each other. They have such a bond.

After launching “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” I plan to finish the novel and plan to do a couple more children’s stories. And I have more story ideas percolating. Does anyone remember the old electric coffee pots, the percolators?

My parents had a huge drip coffee pot. It made 18 cups of coffee. 18! And they made it twice a day. I think Mom lived on coffee. Dad was a day sleeper, but then he always had a full cup. And before he went to work, he’d methodically pour the coffee, then the cream, and barely 10 grains of sugar just to take the edge off of the bitter coffee taste. He’s stick a knife down into the thermos and stir. He had his rituals for his coffee. It’s a wonderful memory.

Memories are not living in the past. Living in the past happens when we dwell on all the hurts, the slights, and the bad things. We need to pack them up and leave them. I think I’ve finally done that. Living helps us understand circumstances related to those hurts, slights, and bad things.

I’m excited to think of the future. I’m planning and thinking, but I’m not living there yet. Not until it happens. It may not even resemble my hopes and dreams, but I’ll adjust. I always have. Living this long has taught me to be resilient. I know that makes me strong. A lifetime of accepting what’s in God’s plan for me makes me strong. I have learned to not question Him. Sometimes, I close my eyes and pray. “Ok, God. Where are you taking me now?” Strangely, I feel safe. I put my Faith where the fear tries to take over. Yes, I get scared. Especially with the Babe and his health. But the Faith takes over. Faith in God, Gratitude for our life together, and Trust in our doctors and the miracles they perform. It will be all right. It always is.

These are the only two stock photos I could find for “Tomorrow.” It may be here before I know it. Time speeds by faster the older we are. I am finding more people who ask me “If Not Now, When?” I have the time. I have the money. My kids won’t starve. This is the time. The time of my life for this. It feels so good. Try doing what you’ve always wanted to. The time is NOW.

How about you? Are you ready to change your life? Just do it! Take the Art Class. Learn to write. Draw the landscape. Join the group of people with your interests. There is so much to do in the world! Take the first step. After that, the rest are easier! Tell me what you’d love to do.

Thank you for reading today. We’re off to have a beautiful day. I hope you do, too. Grab life by the horns and enjoy the ride! I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe, Kind, Generous, and Aware of life around you. Make it a better world. We can all use one.

Imagination Monday

Look again at today’s header photo. It’s the pepper shaker from one of Pioneer Woman’s collections. I love her dishes, they’re so pretty. For the first time in a long time, I looked closer at it. Check out the look on the bigger yellow dog. What would you call it? Use your imagination!

I’m going to pretend it’s a male. Oh, I know! He’s the Dad, the smaller one is the Mom. They may have just had “words,” (or woofs) over one of the adolescent pups. Or maybe Dad let the pup go out howling all night. Mom doesn’t approve. Or maybe Dad knows Mom’s right, but he hates to admit it. Kind of like human parents.

OR

Maybe they just had a hard day on the Drummond Ranch, helping with the Cattle in the pasture. They’re tired, but boy did they eat good. They earn their keep as working animals. They get to sleep in the house if they want, and they get along with the other family dogs who do their share as well. They’re discussing the giant dogs (horses) and how they get special treatment. And they’re glad THEY don’t have to wear saddles and bridles. Where do those ranchers get their ideas?

Maybe he’s listening patiently while the Mrs. goes on and on about everything and anything. She listens for him as well. That’s what excellent partners and friends do for each other. Venting is normal for everyone!

As the other photos show, there are quite a few details on this set of salt and pepper shakers. There is Charlie the Ranch Dog, (a Basset Hound who has his own series of books. The obligatory rain barrel on one side and the hay on another. These are adorable books if you have little children to read to.

The quilt I displayed them on is a small wall quilt I made when I was just beginning my quest to learn to quilt. I learned an important lesson about color value. I should have remembered about that from high school art class, that you need light, medium, and dark together to make things pop. This one did not have a pop to it, but I love the sunflower boarder and the hand quilting I did. Even though the criteria for value failed, there are still parts about this quilt that are right and rest well with me. And it’s an important lesson in how much I’ve learned since then. The star in the middle needs variations in the colors, not all of them to be the same. I won’t do this mistake again. Value matters a lot.

One reason I started blogging was how much I enjoyed three other blogs; Pioneer Woman’s, Quilt Along With Pat Sloan, and Quiltville by Bonnie Hunter. I’m a self-taught quilter. I started watching an old Alex Anderson quilting show on HGTV over twenty years ago. I bought books (too many), patterns, joined two guilds, and practiced. It’s like writing. It takes years to be experienced at it, and you still can improve. I subscribed to magazines and learned from all the greats. There were always new things to learn. It does wonders for my creative mind. I love to conquer the hard things.

And now, I’m a blogger and author. I had this crazy idea this morning about the story behind these two dogs. And we had fun with it, I believe. I’m always looking at things or people of animals and wondering about their stories. We all have them. What’s yours? Mine is developing. Yes. So is yours. If you’re not happy with your own, you have permission to change it. You need to put in the work; you need to be responsible for yourself, and fulfill any obligations you have raising children, preparing them for the world, then handing the baton over to them. It’s not yours to hold forever. Let them fly. Encourage them to. And encourage yourself as well.

Thanks for going on a creative journey with me today. Do you have any photo, your own or a stock photo you’d like me to write a brief story about? Or a topic you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to your ideas. We can have some fun with that. Let’s enjoy this beautiful day and get outside! See you tomorrow.

Preach it, Sistah! (Or Don’t!)

I remember growing up, Mom would often go on tirades about different things. She still does. By now, we all know she hates the telephone. She hates interruptions. She hates Telemarketers. She hates anyone interrupting her day. She hates the answering machine. She hates the “money mongers” on PBS. She hates reruns of Julia Child. She hates old people. She hates old men. She hates asking for help. She hates not having help. She believes in her heart it’s venting. Oh Mom. No. It’s bitching. What’s happening that’s good?

God, please help me to not do that. It’s such a blessing when you visit with another human who can tell you what they love. Especially when you repeat it multiple times a year. No, she won’t change. My brothers and I have to cope with the negativity. Now, if something is truly wrong, we respond quickly. It’s hard to decipher actual issues from complaining. We all know plenty of people who are negative. Usually negativity comes from fear. Fear of what could happen. But it hasn’t yet. Too much time in your own head can make a lot of fear and negativity surface. Old habits die hard. Fear makes us hold on to them. Just because we’ve always done it “this way.”

How is that? Like our elders? All politicians are crooks. Insurance companies are all scammers. No one can touch my remote control. I don’t even use it. You’ll mess up the tv. Leave it alone. I’ll wait until someone comes over to ask about the dripping faucet. “You never would let me hold you when you were a baby.” Sorry, Mom. I have no explanation for you about that. I was a baby!

All I can say is this. Rather than complaining about everything under the sun that’s ever happened, try kindness, instead. We all respond more to kindness than we do to barrages of constant complaints, warranted or not. We can direct the conversation in a more positive direction. We can all try that. If I ask you how you are, it sets a better mood to say, “I’m grateful to have woke up today,” rather than, “Well, I’m still here.” We could preach to the other person. Or we could respond with our own positivity instead. If they insist on doom and gloom, we have to let them be. When it affects us, we can withdraw from the conversation. Steer it elsewhere. For your sake. If they persist, cut your visit short. Don’t carry their gloom with you. Pray for them. It’s the gracious thing to do.

As a kid, I thought I was responsible for cheering Mom up. It did no good. I didn’t realize I thought this way until I felt so sorry for her when no one but me and my family were present for holiday dinners. She’d always dreamed we’d all have spouses and tons of kids. She had the perfect dining room, table, and chairs for it. It never happened. My presence didn’t matter. It was her ideal to handle, not mine.

During the “lean years” I was a single mom, I started consciously finding something to be glad about, especially if the car broke down, the water main broke in the dead of winter, the dryer stopped working, you know what I mean. You live through those things. It’s not convenient, but you make it through somehow. Every unfamiliar noise in an old car, you can bet will turn into something. Luckily, Dad taught me to listen to the noises, try to figure out where they came from, and to describe them to the mechanic. In later years, I had a great garage to go to. West Center Automotive, on 90 & Center, before HyVee built there. Jim was his name. The kids had older cars, too. Sometimes, it’d be an expensive repair. I’d call to see if the car was ready.

Jim would ask, “Are you sitting down?”

I’d say, “Is there a comma in the amount?”

He’d laugh and tell me the amount.

I’d always say, “That’s not as bad as it could be.”

He knew my situation, and I had a lot of trust in him and his sons, who worked for him. A pleasant exchange with another person lightened my load. Had it been otherwise, I would have feared everything that “might” happen. I just don’t want to live that way. It’s not to say I don’t expect some things. I do. I just don’t let it ruin my day. Things happen. To everyone. Not just us.

If, through all the negativity we hear all day, you have had enough, it’s time to do the one thing we all can do. That’s to display a live-and-let-live attitude. You’ll feel calmer, centered, more positive, and people will enjoy your company. Most things are none of our business. I want the loudest sermons to be how we live our lives at the Home Office, here in Gretna, Nebraska. I’ll pray we all get there. Join me.

Thanks for reading today. We’ll see you again tomorrow, and we’ll be grateful to God for waking us up again. Life is so full of wonderful things! Let’s focus on what goes on around us. Approach life with gratitude, kindness, humility, and calmness. You’ll see a tremendous change in everything. Be Safe out there!

Monday Morning

What a beautiful sight outside! I still love fluffy snow. It looks wonderful, magical, and almost romantic. The wonders of nature amaze me every day. Every day I live, I try to find something that is wondrous, beautiful, and majestic. My God is that way.

Later today, we’re going to our daughter’s home for dinner with family. Our son from DC will be in town, it’ll be nice to see him. It’s been over a year since we saw him and his family. They will remain home, quarantining and distance learning. President Trump will do a stopover at the airport tomorrow, so they must prepare things for him. He won’t stay long, just speak and leave. That’s fine. Unsure if Blake will leave tomorrow or Wednesday. Family is everything, and we make the most of the times like these. Sending hugs to those who couldn’t be here.

I’m really dug into reading Kaye Gibbons’ book, Emma Foster. It’s a sad but very good story. A young girl overcomes terrible circumstances to rise above her plight in life. Her father, a terrible alcoholic, her mother dies, the estranged grandmother interferes every way she can, and the little girl, Emma, matter-of-factly handles everything. She is brutally honest. It is amazing how mature she is. She has to be. It speaks to how people can rise above their circumstances. Something told this little girl how to stay safe from her father. He was a beast. She often wished him dead. She thought of killing him, as if that were her only way out of this terrible situation. It resolved itself, thanks to her teachers noticing how Emma came to school after her mother’s death. She had bruises on her, and she told exactly how they happened. She hid from her father often and had little to eat.

The story takes place in the South, and the usual white attitudes exist in her mind about “colored” people. She questions the segregation, as her best friend is a black girl. The girls’ family is kind to her. She wonders why she shouldn’t “mix” with them. They are good people. I hope to finish it this afternoon and start its sequel, “All the Life Around Me, by Ellen Foster.” The writing takes you away. I want to learn how to do that. Excellent advice from Sam, my writing coach.

Only one of my to be read piles

Over the winter, I hope to find some bookcases I like for our family room. I have not unpacked my books from the move four years ago. I will donate many, such as quilt books I’ll never use, novels I doubt I’d read again. Even donating things like these will free up space and make me more settled. We rarely use the boxes of toys for the grandkids. They’re all outgrown.

I have a mat for the floor, which looks like a little town. Kayla will receive that, and I’ll probably send her a few little cars for it. Gavin used to set it on our coffee table, and pay with it. Roxie used to steal a car from it and run. Gavin called her SWIPER. He laughed once he decided he couldn’t get her to stop. She let him have the car. She just wanted a little adventure, I guess.

Yes, time is fleeing too quickly. One personal mission is for me to make more time in the day. I need to find time to get more things accomplished. Most people waste some time. The mindset is, “I can do whatever I want, I’m retired.” True, but will you finish things you want to? Will you explore all the nooks and crannies of the earth you want to see? If not, better get started. I’d hate to have you miss it, too. Let’s move forward, even if we are retired!

Thank you for reading today. There will be more tales tomorrow, and I hope to see you here then. Don’t eat any yellow snow! Just be careful out there. Don’t break anything. Please. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Tactical Tuesday

Good Morning to you from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Tuesday’s are the rare day the Babe is home and not working at the Post. So, of course, we need to do errands today, like most folks do on Saturday. The trick is, it’s not crowded. And we get done in record time, and still get to have lunch before picking up Addison from school. Yes, her Cross Country season is over. She did well for a first timer. Now it’s back to whatever normal used to be for us, before school was called.

My Yesterday and Today “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Merch.

I had to show you the whole photo of the entire piece of art hanging in my studio/office entrance. I had to buy this when I saw it, and every time I enter the room, I can hear my dad tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll get there.” He told me that when he was dying of cancer. I had just told him the only regret I had was I hadn’t graduated from college. At that time, I had a couple associate degrees and certificates.

He died in 1988, and in Summer, 1995, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, Management of Human Resources. We graduated from Bellevue University in January of 1996. It was bittersweet, I had just survived a December 1995 ten hour spine surgery to perforate a cyst on my spinal cord. I was still having home IV treatment for disk infection and nearly full bed rest. The Doc told me I needed to go to the graduation. I could rest before and after. It was great for my mental well being. And God really knows what He’s doing – I met the Babe in March, 1996. Right after I shed my “turtle shell” I had to wear constantly.

Anyway, if you want a cute, fun, sweatshirt for the colder weather, these are only $15. Check them out. I wear an XL. It’s just fun. We all need some fun at this point in time.

This morning is Day 2 of the Confirmation Hearings. I was aghast at some of the questions Diane Feinstein asked. “How do you do it, with your large family and work.” Excusssssssseeeee me? That question is illegal in an everyday job interview. It’s a Federal Law, Diane! How dare you!! Would you have asked a man the same question? If not, you need to issue an apology. Stat.

While I am working on my daily writing, the Babe is working to finish the bench he’s building for the patio next spring. It will be fun to have something new to display and use. I need to get the rest of the plants inside in the next couple days before the cold nights zap them. They did well as long as Goldie couldn’t touch them. She uprooted my Hibiscus plant from it’s pot and played with it before I saw her. The wind knocked the pot off the table, and she figured whatever was on the ground was hers. Silly puppy. Note to self: When it’s windy, check to see if anything fell into dog territory.

How do you like this meme?


Truth!

There are many people who comment to me about my blog. Yet, they don’t put a “like” on it. And that’s ok. I know they read. And they may even mention one to a friend. And the friend reads it. That’s cool, too. I love it, and I would guess that happens, too. I do this because I love doing it. I’ve always wanted to write. And, a blog counts as being “published,” just as a physical book does. I have to accept more people will probably read my book as an e-book or Kindle edition than who will buy and read a physical copy. That’s ok, too.

When I think how I think it will feel to hold a book that I wrote in my hand, and to read my name as the author, it makes my eyes teary. And as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get there. And I’ll see my dad, off in the background, smiling at me, whether it be at a book signing, a craft fair, or a writers guild conference. We’re getting closer, boys and girls! Let’s keep each other going. Slow gets there, don’t lose hope. You can do it. Just keep doing what you’re doing, too. Thanks. See you tomorrow!

#Three Hundred Fifty!!!!

I am so proud to share with you, this is #350 of the posted blog pages. It is an accomplishment, a routine to establish, a goal met. I write every day, and I have proof. I know some days have been better than others, and that is normal. The days I have a block, I concentrate on beauty around me. The Babe, Our dogs, nature, my flowers, whatever sticks in my mind. For instance, yesterday I did not set out to talk about my history of Presidential Voting. It just flowed there. It seemed to come from the place of my heart that knows arguing will not solve this issue with people. I wasn’t looking to lose readers, friends, or anything. I don’t think that happened. Thank you.

THIS is what yesterday’s post was.

The flooring guys finished up yesterday, and had to come back today for 1/2 hour to finish up setting the toilet in the guest bath upstairs. No big deal. The dogs, bless them, are so worn out from not being able to nap on their respective couch spots, that they will probably sleep until it’s time for us to go to the Post later for Hamburger Night.

We’ve been helping Tracy get Addison to and from school this week since Dad’s out of town for work. Grandpa takes the responsibility seriously. He missed out on school stuff with his kids, so this is an eye opener. Granted, it’s totally different than back in our day, but it’s even so different than when my kids were in school. Addison and Gavin are happy to be back at the school. It’s built just outside their fence. What a great thing! The lot was empty when they moved in, and suddenly, there was a school.

I received my first two chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” back from my writing coach, Sam Tyler, and they’re coming along nicely. I have some homework for today, and we’ll have a conference tomorrow. I am so excited about this whole process. I’m learning, my brain is engaging, and I’m telling a story that’s been on my heart for a lot of years. Yes, it takes a long time, but nothing good is easy. Hard work yields great things. Sam is teaching me how to pull good stuff from myself. It’s amazing.

Yes, It Is!

So my workshop class yesterday was pretty flat. She had us read the first thirty pages of three different “Literary Fiction” novels. One was a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I’m quite open minded. One was total garbage. Almost pornographic. It should have had a warning. Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty accepting of most things. This book was not steamy in a good way, it was full of shock value, nothing of substance. And a third one, I couldn’t take seriously because a gay writer was the narrator about his life and loves, and I pictured this guy talking through the story.

Remember that voice? It’s all I could hear reading the first 30 pages of “Less.”

Ever since I was a kid, I have always pictured the characters in books as a tv or movie star. Or a real person, if I know one who fits the description. The voice always mimics a character I have heard. It’s imagination, at work. And I’ve always had an active one.

As my work on storytelling continues, it is exciting and a little intimidating at the same time. It definitely stretches you as a human, so you notice more things, wonder how to describe situations and people, and search for words you may not have used in an eternity. Sometimes, when writing about an era 50 years ago (after my high school graduation in 1970, for example), it’s a challenge to remember clothing styles, manners of speech, and even what the laws were back then. Some things we take for granted now were not possible in the 1960s and early 1970. Equality for women. Establishing credit in a woman’s own name. Having a bank account if you’re a female. Seriously, it was that bad. This is what feminists really did for us as women. Basic rights, equality in the eyes of the law.

As you ponder that fact, just remember how fortunate we are, as women and men, to be free to live as we do. It is a precious commodity. Let’s protect it. Let’s revere it. Let’s remember how it came to be. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it a lot. Be safe out there. Be cautious, courteous, and caring. Wash Up, Mask Up, Let’s get rid of the COVID-19 Blues. See you again tomorrow.