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.

A Change of Plans

Yes, tonight we had tickets for our Christmas tradition since 2014, to see Billy McGuigan and his brothers in “Yesterday and Today.” The forecast changed as we were about to leave the door. We live about 25 miles from the venue, and we started having freezing drizzle just as we were about to leave the house. We knew we could get there safely, but just weren’t sure about getting home several hours later. I found out we could exchange our tickets, so we’ll just do that. Since I fell on the ice 10 years ago and broke my ankle in three places, I’m a little freaky about going out when it can become icy. Caution first!

It’s funny, as we were talking a few days ago about establishing our own traditions, I totally spaced the fact we have a tradition already! Sorry, guys! Luckily, there are a few shows left for this year, so we shouldn’t have to miss a year.

We did some errands today; I had an emergency dental appointment, did my errands, and the Babe did his. We’re putting a lot of thought into downsizing to only one car once the lease is up on the Ridgeline Truck, in a year. It would save a lot of money, and we may not need 2 cars at once anymore. The weather causes change of plans, and life changes cause changes in life. hall,

We need to be aware of this and ready for when they happen. Very few people love change; fewer embrace it. Knowing it happens more than we’d like. All of us to be aware of the signs it’s happening. Yes, we can adjust when we are aware it happens. It becomes easier.

I met my good friend, fellow Nebraska author Tammy Marshall today, in the parking lot at Barnes & Noble. She has published another book, “Trouble on Tybee.” We visited in the car for a bit; and talked about Christmas. She was in town to pick up her daughter coming home for Christmas. We visited about how it’s just not the same. It’s so comforting to know there are others. We were both single moms at one time. Those were hard years, raising kids alone, and being the provider, too. I think we might miss the challenges, the independence of it all, and the sheer excitement of life back then. It was terrifying, challenging, and exciting. People who are married to the other parent of their children are hard to explain this to. It’s an entirely different life. Someday, it will occur to me how to explain it, and that will be a book all on its own.

Today may be challenging, with the temperatures, the howling winds, and blowing snow. Let’s all make the most of it. I hope you’re safe, warm, and hunkered in. Let’s plan to see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Sunday; PTSD & Mental Health

Today was an informative event at the VFW Post 2503, thanks to the generosity of Kim Erickson and Tammy Marshall, Donna Wolff, and Silouan Green. Mr. Green is an author and speaker on PTSD, and does training for many types of organizations, military, law enforcement, and others. He was an incredible and informative speaker on the subject of PTSD.

It is a subject people don’t want to talk about. Mental health is just as part of your health as your gall bladder, your heart, and muscles. Anyone can have PTSD. It can be from a direct event that happened to you, or can be something you hear about that causes you great distress. It’s amazing. I wish you had all been there. We learned so much.

I learned a lot I didn’t know, and am disappointed Donna didn’t do her presentation on Talk Saves Lives. I was looking forward to it, but it wasn’t to be. Silouan ran over, and Ms. Wolff needed to drive back to where she lives near western Nebraska.

It was my last formal involvement in a VFW Post activity; I’ve made it known I need to spend more time pursuing my passions. Writing, Quilting, and learning new things are tops on the list. I want to take art lessons as well. This will allow me much more time. It’s time. Time to make time for myself and what I wish to do for myself. It’s all part of being well-rounded. I’ve loved my time volunteering with Veterans outreach, and we’ve made friends to cherish from these years. My life is very good, and I’m proud of what’s been accomplished. Time to step back.

I remember when I was a kid, a great aunt on Dad’s side of the family was hospitalized with mental health issues. I was about 10 or so, I think. We went to visit her at the mental hospital near the regular hospital. Mom threatened us with an untimely demise if we told anyone where we went to visit her, such was the scourge of mental illness. I remember the poor lady was troubled with depression, and she could have been bi-polar, I don’t know. There was no shame in it at all. But Mom thought so, as did many folks during those years. I overheard she had shock-treatments. I didn’t know what those were, but they sounded awful.

If you talked to a “head doctor,” you carried a stigma. The feeling was strong in the families, and society back then. Our aunt was unmarried, so according to the protocol of the times, she lived with her sister (our Grandma) and her family. It was totally normal for us. Like having two grandmothers. She was such a sweet woman, always dressed in her own classic style, and a lady through and through.

Aunt Anna always talked about having class. That was a phrase that meant you had manners, style, were appropriate in any situation, and could carry on a decent conversation. After she passed away, I tried on a dress that reminded me of something she would buy. I heard her, in my mind’s eye say, “Kid, you’ve got class in that.” Even after over 40 years, I miss her. She had such an influence in my life. When I’d stay at their house, I’d get to go downtown on the bus with her on Saturday to go shopping. It was such a wonderful time.

Writing takes your mind on many trips down memory lane. Yesterday, it was about the brownies from three wars; today, it was mental illness, family secrets, and having class. I appreciate you listening and reading and coming back every day as you do. We have #975 followers, which is awesome! I’d like to see us add #25 more, and get to #1000followers since we passed #1000blogs a little while ago. Help a girl out? It’s be fun!

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a beautiful evening and a great Monday morning. It’s going to be a wonderful week. Eight days until our 24th Wedding Anniversary. Some days it feels like yesterday, others it seems like a long time ago. Blissful all the way. See you tomorrow!

Memorial Day/Tuesday Thoughts

A lot of things happened between Sunday night and today.

We had a Memorial Day Ceremony at the VFW Post 2503 Monday at 1 p.m. It was a Memorial for our members lost since last year. We read the names of both Post and Auxiliary members who passed between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. These dates represent the Honor Guard Year. We had many funerals delayed because of COVID, and the restrictions in place.

A beautiful day revealed itself as we had our ceremony. Our Congressman, Don Bacon, spoke and so did the Marine Corps League Commandant. We had a windy but beautiful day (no, not from the speakers). We were blessed with Tammy Marshall, Nebraska Author and member of American Legion Riders, Bloomfield Post 249. Tammy read her poem, “I Stood a Flag Line Today.” It was written as a tribute to her boyfriend’s son. He was a soldier who committed suicide. It was an honor to meet his father, Kim Erickson. Tammy & Kim are both Legion riders and attend many funerals for Veterans. What an honor, and what a blessing they are. Her poem is the back of her book, Ticker Tape. You can find more information on Tammy at :

https: //tammymarshallauthor.wordpress.com

I have told Tammy her poem needs to be a song, it would be beautiful. I’m going to share it with someone we know who may be able to set it to music. You know who you are!

Trevor Erickson shall not be forgotten, and deserves all the honors we would give any soldier who dies in battle. This battlefield happened to be vast and dark, it was with his mind. The wounds caused are the hardest to heal, and perhaps easiest to conceal. We need to work hard, bringing mental health issues out of the dark and into the light where they are discussed, dealt with, and normalized. We all experience some mental health challenges from time to time. There is no shame in it.

Remember Trevor Erickson. Remember the good he accomplished in his lifetime. Remember his family. Remember all those we have lost to battles that are seen and unseen. Be grateful for their sacrifices.

We will publish a photo chronicle on Facebook of the day from putting the flags up, Linda Humphrey feeding the volunteers breakfast, and the Honor Guard at their last duty of the day; firing at the Post Ceremony. These men put up flags, participated in three ceremonies besides our own, and finished by taking the flags down before the winds increased. They are very serious about demonstrating honor and respect.

Remember our fallen and their sacrifices well beyond Memorial Day. Once the speeches are over, the flags retired, and the uniforms hung back in the closet; empty chairs are still at the dinner tables, broken hearts still visit graves, and memories remain in minds afraid their soldier will be forgotten. We cannot let that happen. We need to remain a grateful nation, now more than ever. God Bless them all, and their families.

I Formed My Habits; and My Habits Formed My Future. – j.t.

Wow! That must make me accountable for what I’ve done! Well, I guess we all are. Aren’t we? Yes, even before we knew better and learned what NOT to do. The sooner we accept that, the better outcomes we’ll have. After all, our habits, good or bad, are learned in our environment.

When we’re kids, we’re at our parent’s mercy. Really, we are. They can only do as well as they know how to do. And it goes on and on, until someone realizes the habits aren’t healthy and they need something different in their lives. The one who raises issue with “how it’s always been” is usually criticized unmercifully. But then again, they’re kind of used to it. Put downs sting, but you don’t let on people hurt you. You have a quick wit to answer all sorts of accusations. But inside, you’re dying. And it’s your family who can hurt the most. After all, they have the best ammunition to use. Old habits die hard.

Fifty-one years ago, I got married for the first time. He had a low draft number (bad reason to get married!), and it seemed likely he’d go to Vietnam, like every boy from high school who didn’t go to college. Of course, Mom was against it, but we knew better, as every 18 and 19 year old can tell you. Mom was 19 when she married Dad, and he was 25. If she could have explained why “you just shouldn’t,” I may have listened. Or not. She said if I was getting married, she would plan it or it wouldn’t happen. She planned everything. She is a person who must be in control, so she was in her glory.

In 1982, 11 1/2 years later, I told her I was getting a divorce. Her only comment was, “My grandchildren will starve.” I felt surer they wouldn’t. They didn’t. Her habit is controlling, and she reacts with anger when things don’t fall into place. I had one person, my Aunt Carol, who knew why I had to leave. I was becoming an angry person. I didn’t want to be like Mom was. I love her still, and she honed her habits out of survival in the home and environment she grew up in. She can’t help it, and may not want to at this point. I feel sorry for her inasmuch as she holds her anger like a shield, and is constantly in react mode.

The events of the last month have made an impact on her. She is no longer angry and confrontational about using her walker; she sees it as freeing, she can get around better with less physical danger. Finally! Some progress. Her habits can change. And it will impact her future by enabling her to stay in her beloved home longer. How much longer? I’d be foolish to guess, it’s whenever God decides she needs to go somewhere else.

I’ve had a lot of mindsets/habits to change in my life. Equality for women was a big thing I had to recognize and participate in. Luckily, I continued my education while working and entered the I/T field, where you are paid according to your skills. I personally disliked the old wives tale of analysts not being able to communicate effectively, I was able to show our internal customers I could communicate well and participate in problem solving while speaking to them in English, not tech talk.

I raised my kids with encouragement and support. I wanted them to be independent people, they all learned how to clean, do laundry, and cook. They also knew they would be punished if they did things that were wrong. They knew I would trust them until I couldn’t, and that would be on them. I know we were a good family. Now, we’re in three different states and rarely see one another. Sure, I miss them. I also remember I taught them to take care of themselves, and that’s what they’re doing.

What habits do I need to change? Several. We’ll talk about that another day. What habits do you need to change? Are you willing to do the work? It takes consistency towards a new behavior to change a habit. Working out, eating healthy, losing weight, lowering your blood sugar, all take a big effort. You can get there to do anything you decide you can do. Even change your life! I did. I’m so grateful for these last 40 years of not being married to the father of my kids. I would never have made all these good changes with him. He wanted everything to remain exactly the same as it was in 1970. And that just couldn’t be for me.

I’m grateful to those who are in this part of my journey. The Babe is very supportive of my writing. The kids are, too. I’m grateful for that. Yes, everything is going to be ok. I know in my heart it will. Just go to Plan B. I’m going to thrive at this time in life. You can too. Shall we go together? Let’s!

Sharing these books as the ones I want to devour in the next month or so. Women authors, a couple friends, a couple Facebook friends. Supporting each other. I finished Tammy Marshall’s “Ticker Tape,” yesterday. It was great. I’ll go into more detail another day. And I love Rebecca Cooper’s FB shares. So raw. So real. And Carol Gino! She makes me think about things. I love her stories about angels all around us. Joy Johnson Brown’s The BOOB Girls Books! I do believe she may have been my older sister in another life. Go figure! We just need to be aware. Be aware today. Let’s talk about that another day. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Have a beautiful day, see you tomorrow!

My Fall Picks to Read.

Winding Through Wednesday

Today, Mom needs to go to the dentist. If I don’t get this finished before I need to leave, I can finish it in the waiting room. Or I can start reading another book. The book may win, as I have several that sound very interesting. “Ticker Tape,” by Nebraska Author Tammy Marshall is probably the one I will land on. It’s about a Vietnam Veteran returning home and his life after the war. It could be any of the men I encounter daily at the VFW Post we volunteer at. It could be the Babe, or any of our friends. I’m looking forward to reading the story.

It’s kind of amazing, in the last three years, since I started writing, I look at stories completely different now. The stories, the scenes, what happens on camera, what happens off camera. What belongs, what doesn’t. It’s a whole different way of thinking. Not saying it’s better, just different. I’m finally coming to understanding of my craft and I can see my own progress. We’ll keep going!

I am greatly encouraged when I can see my own progress. On a daily basis, we get busy doing and may not realize how far we’ve come. And I’m becoming a better writer every day. I want to be a better story teller all the way around. My stories just happen to be written down with words. Some folks make their stories into songs, some folks make their stories into art.

My friend Rick Tiger and I talked about writing, both in the context of songs vs. stories. He told me we would write a song next year, when he returned to the VFW to sing again. Unfortunately, he came down with COVID after he returned home, and the world lost him September 1. I’m still reeling when I think of this wonderful man, this friend who would help pray you through difficulties and check in with you later, is gone. I’m so sad for his wife and family. His story is not finished, not by a longshot. And I may write a song someday, but I know he will still guide me through it. That’s how it works with friends and family who pass on. They’re still with you. You have to be still and feel them. Spirits are strong.

It appears I forgot to post this on Wednesday, so you get two blogs today. See you later!

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!