LET’S GO!

Hey! Wait for me, 2023!

While I was still singing Auld Lang Syne, January 2023 started its journey toward December!

Hey, wait up, I call out to the New Year! I didn’t figure out my goals, plans, and dreams, yet, for the next 12 months. 

2023 isn’t listening.
2023 is almost stepping into February.
How did that happen? 

This 2023 is a tricky fellow, I mumble.
I snatch up my creative self, 

As my thoughts swivel to 2022’s unfinished “to do” list.

I reflect, 2022 had some rocky stretches. 

Last year’s paths weren’t always flourishing! 

I ran into some dead ends! 

And my creative babies weren’t always beautiful. 

2023 ignored my whining, deliberately advancing.

Finally, I shouted in frustration, “2023, you just keep going!”

Did I note a flicker of hesitation in the new year’s step? Was that a wink I detected in the twinkle of new year’s eye?

Aha! I get it!
I remember, now!
How many times must I relearn this lesson? It’s impossible to go forward if I’m always looking back! 

2023 offers me a daily invitation:
JUST START! 


So, with toes to the line and setting eyes forward, 

Go!

Meet a DEAD END?

Don’t stop.
Don’t bother to despair.

Look for the DETOUR,


and keep moving forward.

Thanks, 2023, you’ve got the right idea.
Keep… moving… forward…

What exciting possibilities await, if I dare to accept 2023’s challenge?

So, Let’s Go!

Wishing you a delightfully adventurous journey through 2023!
JUST START!

Jingle All the Way!

I usually hear these bells only in December, but at their first jingle I am transported to
my childhood.


I “jingle all the way” back to the days of my Christmas caroling on horseback.

The annual Christmas party at Knack’s stable was always held on the Saturday before Christmas. It was a small gathering of “horse crazy” girls consisting of: two high school barn workers, two lucky teenagers that owned their own horses, and a couple of preteen, self-appointed apprentices.
(My friend Lucy and I fit the last category.)

Lucy and I were so “horse crazy” that frigid temperatures were nothing compared to the one-on-one time we had with a barn full of horses. We learned everything about horse care by spending every Saturday, dawn to dusk, working in the barn.


The winter months were the best!
We even got to exercise the horses!
For free!

On the Saturday of the Christmas party we arrived at daybreak and rushed through the morning chores: hay, grain, water, and clean the stalls.


We took a quick break at noon to warm our frozen toes and gulp down a sandwich before racing back to the barn to prepare our mounts for caroling.
(We apprentices were thrilled to be allowed to ride one of the stable mounts. For free!)


Rushing to our assigned horse, we threw the heavy horse blanket over the stall boards, brushed, and tacked our horse with lightning speed.
Then the decorating began.

Garland, bows, ribbons, and yes, lots of jingle bells were woven, draped, and braided into manes, tails, and bridles. Peals of laughter erupted from the stalls all over the barn as each rider shouted out their brilliant fashion ideas, trying to outdo one another.

Decorations completed, we bumped about in front of the barn until everyone was mounted. Our usually sedate horses demonstrated the high spirits of the occasion. They twisted and turned, tossed their heads, stomped their hooves, and clouded the air with streams of vapor from their nostrils. With each movement the jingling of bells grew louder until the tumult of sound and joy could wait no longer.

Off pranced the jubilant parade with hooves tapping out an energetic beat on the main street as the DIY pageant streamed forward.
“JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE ALL THE WAY!”
We sang over our horses’ ears.
Bells jingled.

Voices strained.
“HO! HO! HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
Shouted, Becky, our Santa, complete in suit and beard. She brought up the rear on the docile gray mare whose flowing white mane and tail matched the bushy white beard Becky kept adjusting on her face.

Up and down the unpaved side streets we brought our Christmas caroling parade.
The jingle of our bells brought families out to share our joy and Christmas cheer, even when our voices grew faint.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
and
JINGLE ALL THE WAY!

The Wonderful Challenges of November

The eye records the trees waving and relinquishing the last of their brilliant fall foliage.

Squirrels scamper across lawns, vigorously tamping nuts into the earth.

Geese gather under apple trees gobbling up the sweet goodness of unclaimed fruit.

Flocks of red chested robins flit through treetops as they pass through the neighborhood chirping a final farewell on their flight to southern warmth. 

Dropping temperatures hint at advancing winter whiteness. 

From experience we remember. 
A season is closing, another arising.

The eye sees, but the heart must choose. 

I’m accepting two November challenges.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins November 1.

Along with writers all over the world, I accept the personal challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. 
Ridiculous? Yes!
Difficult? Yes!
But a challenge that holds many benefits with its struggles.

November is also National Gratitude Month.  

Thanksgiving Day is November’s most famous day for giving thanks. 
This year, I’m challenging myself to practice thankfulness every day in November.
An interruption before getting busy with “important” things?
Definitely.
A bother to recite the obvious?
Possibly.But choosing to see blessings, whatever size, will bring to profit my heart.

I hope you join with me in the “Thankful Challenge” for November.

It Happened To Me

There I was, sitting pretty at the top of July’s summertime sunshine.  
On top of the world, soaking in the blue skies, relaxing under the warm sunshine. 
Blissfully lost in those lazy summer days.  

With a jolt, down a wild slide I slid. 

Barely recognizing that days, months, seasons were flying by.
With a thump and a bump, I landed back in the present. 

The leaves are no longer green upon the trees? 

Somehow summer has flown right out from under me.

With a smile and sigh I surrender. 
Good-bye, sweet summer. 
Hello, adventurous fall!

It happened to me.
Did it happen to you?

Sterling Heights Local Author Book Sale: A Fun Summer Event For All

I was excited to be one of the authors at the Local Author Book Sale hosted by the Sterling Heights Public Library during the weekend of SterlingFest on July 30, 2022. We had a wonderful time and it was so nice to connect with both readers as well as other local authors.

The Sterling Heights Public Library did a wonderful job of putting the event together. I would like to offer special thanks to Terry Hojnacki, author and volunteer event coordinator for the Local Author Book Sale. She made sure everything went smoothly and that the event was a great success.

Plenty of smiles and engaging conversations occurred on this beautiful summer day as I met with readers of all ages. It was exciting to share my book, Grandma’s Sock Drawer, with people and to sell signed copies.

I also shared pictures of Evert, a character that’s a shrew, from my upcoming book that will be published in 2023. I’m so excited to share this adventure with young readers!

We also had coloring sheets, a word search, candy, and lots of fun items at our table. My husband came along to help set things up and to cheer me on. We both enjoyed meeting people on such a lovely summer day.

Please watch my calendar and sign up for my newsletter for details of upcoming book signings and author visits. In the meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful summer weather and happy reading!

Meet Me at the Local Author Book Sale

Come join the fun! I’m excited to announce that I will have a table at the Sterling Heights Public Library Local Author Book Sale on July 30, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m where I will be selling and signing my debut novel, Grandma’s Sock Drawer. I will be one of over 50 Michigan authors who will be on site at this fun event.

This gathering of authors is a special opportunity for readers of all genres to find the perfect book or two for summer reading. It coincides with the popular Sterling Fest event known to offer a unique combination of arts and crafts, music, food and fun means 3 days of sun-drenched, summertime delight for Sterling Heights families and friends.

The Sterling Heights Public Library is located at 40255 Dodge Park Road, Sterling Heights. Tables will be set up on the covered sidewalk between the library and the police station. 

I will have my novel, Grandma’s Sock Drawer, available for visitors. This book is suitable for middle grade, young adults, and adults . Enjoy reading about a race against time to unravel the mysteries of a puzzling inheritance. Also, I have a word search and teacher resources available on my website that accompanies my book.

This is going to be so much FUN and I look forward to seeing you there!

National Day of Joy

When I heard June had a National Day of Joy, my thoughts sprang immediately to summertime fun of childhood.

Endless hours playing outside with friends. 

Favorite sweet treats. 

Tranquil times, lost in nature and a good book.

Music of my own making.

Fancy feet flying to the rhythm of my heart.

Roasting marshmallows at night by the glimmer of fireflies over dimming campfire embers.

But the Comfort Keepers had something more in mind when they created this day in 2019. These dedicated caregivers for seniors encouraged all to experience the simple joys that are present, even in hard times, if we take the time to look. Like a ready smile,

that turns easily into contagious laughter.

The Comfort Keepers urge us to see and love the family that surrounds us every day.

On this National Day of Joy, let’s remember that a simple kindness may mean more than we will ever know.

Marvelous May

During my many years as a student, then continuing throughout my teaching career,
the end of May has always triggered an excitement within me.

Michigan cold is finally being shaken loose. 
Summertime warmth is taking its place.

Memorial Day, especially, marked the countdown to the anticipated freedom from school.

Freedom from routine, homework, tests, and all other mental gymnastics required to prove a year of academic success.

Memorial Day was the holiday that opened the door to glimpse the approach of a much needed vacation.

It was a celebration of the arrival of summer and another school year’s completion.

It was the springboard to dive into summer fun.

It promised time with family and friends in the lazy days of summer.

But Memorial Day is much more than these. 

Memorial Day is a time to remember those from the past, that made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms I enjoy today.

A day to remember and be thankful. 

Though I say it to ears that no longer hear.

Thank you.

April Slips Into May

Good bye, April, thanks for all the fun!  

Your raindrops made great puddles.
Perfect for cooling off, running through, and splashing in. 

Even though your rain made for a bad-feather day, I liked it just the same. 

Once you take the plunge, wet is best from head to toe.

Perhaps my swinging life was put on hold,

But inside a book I soared to places new to explore.

Truly, your April showers will bring many May flowers,

And soon I’ll trade my rain umbrella for one in the sun.

Where Students Shine and Learning is Fun!

      On Friday, March 25, 2022, it was my privilege to visit an elementary school for March Is Reading Month. It was a day for me to share the joy of reading and writing books. It was also a chance to share the wonder and power of books to take us on adventures. 

     Using my books Grandma’s Sock Drawer and A Home For Evert as examples, the classes and I explored the steps of the writing process together.

Learning is Fun!

     Students from kindergarten through the fifth grade were the shining stars of each presentation, sharing with me their attentiveness, energy, and enthusiasm. 

     We embarked on the adventure of writing beginning with the hunt for an idea, looking far and near to discover ideas that are all around us and within. 

Time to put on the Idea Hat!

     Once we found our Best, Most Exciting, Fabulous Idea in the World we were ready to write it down and then share it with friends and teachers. It was after this sharing that we discovered that our Most Fabulous, Best Idea in the World needed some work. 
     “Should we throw our story away?” I asked when we found out it wasn’t perfect. 

     “NO!” agreed every class.

     So, we put on our working hardhat and erased and changed our stories until they were the best they could be. 

Time to figure things out with our Working Hardhat.

     “How many times do we fix our story?” I’d ask. “Once? Twice?”
     “Until it’s right!” the children encouraged me.

     We talked about the differences between Fiction and Nonfiction. We discovered that a writer could use facts, even in their fiction story, just like I did with my shrew, Evert.

Talking about writing fiction and nonfiction.

     After reading scenes from my published book Grandma’s Sock Drawer and A Home for Evert, my newest story in the process of revision, we celebrated with applause for the wonders of words and their ability to whisk us away to new and exciting worlds. 

      My elementary friends and I parted with renewed interest in books and the writing process that creates them. 

     We all agreed that learning can be fun.

Reading Grandma’s Sock Drawer to the students.