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Where Have I Been?

I’ve been MIA on my blog and if you looked around my house, you would think I’ve been MIA there, too!

INTO THE DEEP went to the editor this week!!!!

Hallelujah!!

Art request form is off to my cover artist! Can I get an ‘amen’?

I felt guilty not being here. But every time I thought, ‘I need to write a post for my blog’ I would feel guilty because I wasn’t working on ‘The Book’. And yes, Into The Deep is going down in the Annals of Anita as ‘The Book’. By the time I was in the full swing of edits, my hair fell out.

Really. That happened.

I have fine hair, but a lot of it, thank God, because one sweep of my hand through my mop and I’d end up with twenty of them between my fingers. (Yes, I counted!) On my pillow. Plugging the shower drain. Falling on my keyboard. Drifting onto my dinner plate! It was hug-me-at-church-then-brush-yourself-off falling out. I didn’t freak out (much). I was more annoyed and embarrassed that I was leaving a trail everywhere I went.

By the time I visited my dermatologist, I had a new business all figured out in my head. An on-line store named Here’s Your Hat. If I was going to have no hair, I would have some fun hats to wear. I kept tugging on my eyebrows, trying to decide if I’d have to have them tattooed on, but thankfully they stayed put.

Photo Credit: Diply.com

Photo Credit: Diply.com

After all was said at the dermatologist’s and done at the lab, it came down to this: Telogen Effluvium  This malady wasn’t because Jack and Lucinda were giving me fits as I edited Into The Deep. There was a shock to my system that shut down hair follicles and sent my hair into the rest stage. A few months later, all that hair began to shed. What was the shock to my system? A norovirus. One of those ‘cruise ship’ viruses. Though I was spending time (in my head) on a tropical island with Jack and Lu, I didn’t have the fun of cruising to get there. I never became bald, but my hair is thin. I usually have so much, though, it isn’t noticeable to any one but me. I’m waiting to see how much grows back in. On the upside – it doesn’t take long to dry, now.

I have a new empathy for anyone who has been through a rapid hair loss for whatever reason – be it illness or meds to treat an illness, such as cancer. You folks are my heroes and heroines. And though I won’t be opening a hat shop, here is a place with some pretty soft hats: http://www.softhats.com.

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A Season of Thanksgiving 2013

You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Psalm 118:28

Abundant Harvest

Abundant Harvest

Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to make a list of things for which I am thankful. Studies have proven thankful people are happier and healthier people. Who doesn’t want either of those in abundance?

The top of the list: I’m thankful for my Creator and His patience with His creation.

I’m thankful for family. A husband and son who inspire me when I’m writing the mysterious and sometimes maddening male point of view.
Eighty-eight year old parents who still give the best hugs. Sisters and a brother that bring laughter into my life. All the extended family,  in-laws and out-laws and even the old dog that completes my family.

I’m thankful for my church family and good friends. For all of you – the folks reading my blog and reading my book, waiting patiently for the next one and holding me and my writing up in prayer. How blessed I am to have all of you in my life.

This list could go on and on. I’m grateful for this past year. For the struggles and victories and the lessons learned. God is good. His love and mercy rain down every day. I’m thankful for the year ahead knowing that what God has ordained will come to pass. And He will walk with me, never leaving me or forsaking me.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

Mums and PumpkinsMay your Thanksgiving be a day filled with blessings and love.

 

Christmas Story Blog Hop

Christian Indie Blog Hop$100 Amazon Gift Certificate Grand Prize!

BLOG HOP STARTS DECEMBER 13TH 8:00 AM CENTRAL TIME

For More information go to: Christian Indie Novelists Blog Hops

I will be giving a way a digital copy of my Inspirational Romantic Adventure: OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, as well as a small moleskin notebook with an embroidered cover created by Bonnie Paper Works (Etsy).

(If you received a post this morning that was password protected – I’ve never used Rafflecopter before and need a fellow blogger to check I have my links done correctly. The password protection will be removed in time for tomorrow.)

PLEASE COME BACK AND JOIN THE FUN!

Happy Birthday, Elmo!

Photo source credit: Sodahead.com

If you’d like to wish the little red dynamo a Happy Birthday, hop on over to Facebook! He’s very excited about this special day.

Today’s quote: “Elmo loves you!” Elmo of Sesame Street

Thanksgiving Traditions

My family celebrates Thanksgiving with a feast that has a traditional New England flavor. The menu includes root vegetables and thick skinned ‘winter’ squash that, in days of old, would have been stored in a cool root cellar.

Turkey with gravy
Bread stuffing
Mashed potato
Butternut squash
Creamed onions
Turnip
Cranberry sauce
Pickles
Rolls and butter

With family members marrying, moving away or returning home, the mix of people may not be the same every year. Occasionally the venue changes, and appetizers are now served before hand. But the main meal menu remains the same. It’s traditional. This is the holiday my family gathers for fellowship and feasting.

After the turkey, we feel like this:

A nice long walk is the cure.


If someone wants to gather greens for Christmas wreaths, we’ll walk in the forest crisscrossed with old stone walls and a tumbling stream.

Other years we’ll walk on the beach. The waves boom as they come ashore and the blustery wind tugs at our clothes. We’ll come home with bits of sea glass, pretty rocks, and sand in our pockets.

All the walking helps settle that large noontime dinner. So once we’re back indoors, it’s time for a turkey sandwich and pie. Actually, I just go for the pie! Half slices of several different kinds, because they are all favorites and I love homemade pie.

I love Thanksgiving.
Family, Fellowship and Food.
I have so much for which to be thankful.

Unlock Your Creativity – Step 2

Last week we explored the first step in Vivian Banta’s article titled: Unlocking Your Creativity. The article, posted on the Creativity For Life! website. Have you taken that first step and decided what creativity will look for you? Good. The second step is an action step.

Expand Your Horizons    

What do you envision when you read this phrase? Traveling to a faraway place? Daring to ditch the day job and follow your dream? Facing a fear? These certainly qualify as a way to expand your horizon. If you have the wherewithal and the desire, go for it and God bless! But if you’re like me – comfortable in your routine – there are smaller changes that can expose us to new environments and change the way we see the familiar.

The simplest way to begin is do the opposite of what you normally do. If the drive-through window is the first stop of your day, tomorrow pull into a parking spot, go inside the shop and stand face to face with the person waiting on you. See the person behind the voice-in-the-box. Look around at the people sitting at the tables. If you have time, be one of them and sit down. What do you see, smell, hear?

Do you live in the city? Plan a day at an agricultural fair. Instead of pizza on Friday night, go with Chinese cuisine. Drive a different way to work. If you’re an artist, switch to a different medium. Give yourself permission to play and create something that is less than perfect.

If  going away for vacation doesn’t fit into your budget, become a tourist in your own town. We get so wrapped up in our busy lives, we often miss what brings the out-of-towners to our neck of the woods. Take a hike in a nearby state park. Visit a small museum or historic house where docents and volunteers are happy to share their knowledge. Attend a concert given by the town band. You may discover that your mailman plays the trombone.

Stagnation can be the enemy of imagination. Exposing ourselves to experiences outside our regular routine will spark a fresh perspective and new ideas. What one thing will you do differently today?

Sunflowers and a Sunflower Card

I love sunflowers and so do a lot of other folks. A quick search on line brings up loads of sites related to the cheerful sunflower. On-line stores, blogs, guides – you name it – all centered around one flower – the sunflower.

For me, this flower says, Autumn! That’s when the flowers are heavy with seeds that the birds will feast on if you don’t rescue them first. I didn’t know this flower originated in North America with the Plains Indians until I found www.sunflowerguide.com.

At the Tonic website, today’s blog is titled: Sunflower Power: How a Cancer Survivor Inspired Her Community. Be sure and stop over to read about Nancy Siegler of Sacrament, California and how she ‘combined the happiness of the sunflower with the awareness of breast cancer into an event to raise money for breast cancer research’. What she’s accomplished is truly an inspiration.

We made this sunflower card at Stamp Camp. The Sunflower stamp, by Stampin’ Up is big and bold. For this card, we used Versamark ink to stamp the image then shaded it with chalk. On a scrap of paper, we stamped the image a second time and punched out the center. This was mounted with Dimensionals on the center of the first image. An additional accent was added to the center using a ‘button’ from the Sweet Buttons Embosslits Die. I look forward to sending this card to someone who needs their spirits lifted.

The Tonic blog post closed with the following thought that has resonated with me.

“Imagine how you could turn your passion into compassion.”

Imagine! Then plant the first seed.

Reflecting on 9/11

9/11

Up until the year 2001, this date was just another day on the calendar. But ten years ago, on September 11th, a tragedy of great magnitude struck our nation. Change often begins one person at a time. In the case of 9/11, thousands of individuals experienced the change en masse. This changed the world.

“Where were you?” “What were you doing?” We want to know each others stories because that’s the way we continue to process and remember the enormity of what took place on that beautiful September day in 2001. A day like any other. A day we began expecting to follow the same routine as the day before. Just an ordinary day….

I was at work managing the inventory department of a national mail order catalog. Busy ‘playing with numbers’ as I looked into the future and tried to project what we would need to fulfill Christmas orders.

A co-worker came into our small group of cubicles (Dilbert would have felt at home), her eyes wide. “I just heard on the radio (while driving to work) that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” Her words brought another co-worker out of his cubicle.

The three of us gathered round my computer as I got on-line. Together, we watched events unfold. There was no Twitter (can you imagine if there had been?). I kept hitting the refresh button, waiting for the next update to come through. Two of our buyers were in New York City on a buying trip. We were worried.

News filtered in. Others in the building came by sharing what they’d seen on-line or heard from loved ones watching television at home. That was how we heard about The Pentagon and then Pennsylvania. An ordinary day that had started like any other – coffee and muffin, kids off to school and a to-do list beckoning – disintegrated with each shocking revelation of what was happening less than two hundred miles from home.

Where was God that day?

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken. Isaiah 54:10

God was there. Walking through the horror with His children. He never promised life would be easy or without tragedy. But He did promise to walk with us through the difficult, heart-rending circumstances.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

That’s a promise.

Welcoming Fall

The start of school. Cooler nights. The first orange/gold maple leaf, a harbinger of fall resting on the green grass of summer.

For me, September feels more like of a new beginning than New Year’s Day. The change of season. A new routine. There’s an excitement in the air that isn’t present in the cold, dark days of January. Orange pumpkins, yellow sunflowers, red apples and the gold, yellow, red and orange of the trees. The explosion of color that accompanies Autumn in New England makes this my favorite time of year. Soon I’ll put away the summer weight dresses and capri pants. A nip in the air will make me bring out the sweaters and knit hats.

All summer I’ve enjoyed fresh salads, watermelon and grilling on the deck. But I’m ready to switch to heartier meals. This past weekend, we enjoyed a green bean casserole. The warmth from the oven felt wonderful as I worked around the kitchen on a rainy afternoon.

How do you welcome the change of season?

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.

 John Muir

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