Brighten Your Day

Look. I know. It’s been extremely rough within the past few weeks, especially for those of us who are quarantined and or sheltered-in-place.

Wait!

That should be everyone by now, or at the very least, most of us. Also, if you must leave your home, social distancing matters and is working to help keep us from being so vulnerable to the virus.

Turmoil, in the span of many days, turned our lives upside down. Better days are ahead of us. I believe that.

I hope all of you are doing well, and making the best of conditions living this different way for a short time. It isn’t something any of us wanted or ever dreamed would happen.

Remaining healthy must be our priority, and when…when…we get back to normal, that will be a blessing.

The stakes are high, so keeping your hands clean, and social distancing makes sense.

Still looking for something to fill your days? Pull out one of those dusty cookbooks, maybe it’s your mom’s or Grandma’s handwritten recipes.

Bake cookies. Bake several loaves of bread. Try a new recipe. Bring your children, and or, your husband into the kitchen with you. Have fun.

Interact with your children. So many of you are homeschooling and I applaud you for that! Now is an important time to spend quality time with your loved ones…in your home, that is.

Reading is a proven way to relieve stress. If you love to read, online bookstores are a lifesaver! Without leaving home you can fill your reader with ebooks or order print books, whichever you prefer.

As my gift to you, Christmas Blessing (Book 4) is NOW FREE until March 28, 2020 at 11:59 PM Pacific time.

Please download FREE from Amazon and enjoy. https://tinyurl.com/vwd2hfg

Christmas Blessings (small)

My heart and thoughts are with you and I certainly share your concerns. I pray this reading finds you and yours well.

Tell someone you love them.

By working together, and with God’s grace, we will rise above this tragedy.

Wash your hands. Stay safe and stay healthy.

May God keep you all.

Until next time…I wish you Music, Butterflies 087d7f0069385dd543178c4c2fca3430--blue-butterfly-butterfly-wings and most of all…I wish you Love

 

Collection of drabbles

I decided to take a step back and share a few poems and a little short to help us get our minds off things.

The Stars

We hold the Stars within our hand
deep inside, like a lover’s command
No one knows the battles they fight
to keep us on a path that’s true and right
Shining brightly within our hand
each as tiny as a grain of sand
Cup your hands, cup them tight
and hold within the true darkness of Night
For within each Star there comes a passing
of all our wishes ever lasting

Balance

We balance upon a blade , never knowing what choice should be made
Be wary and follow your heart, together we are strong and weak when apart
Balance is the key, two “sisters” locked eternally
Without one there can’t be no other, as close as a brother
One is dark the other light, even close they always fight
So close your eyes and comprehend, no one may loose so no one can win.

Paper World

In this book I hold inside wonders from different worlds and time.
Just a peak, just a glimpse, and you will see dancing nymphs.
Hobgoblins, ghosts and ghouls, moons that are being howled at by wolves.
With each page I turn and flip I take the most wondrous trip.
So open your mind, shut out the noise and enter this world with me girls and boys.

Forbidden

It’s always there, a sweet taste upon my tongue. This yearning for more even though I know the cloying taste will curse me. Still I reach out for you, touching my fingertips across your skin.
All I can manage is the ghost of a caress as we circle each other, this never ending spiral having no other outcome but destruction if we get any closer.
In my dreams we touch, we kiss. Your skin against mine is more than I can take and I wake in a fevered pitch as my body cries in silent agony.
Why you, I have wondered. I have asked. Still the answer is unknown to me, yet I seek out this folly of a love. This growing obsession to have you. Twice I have forced my hand back to my side. And thrice I have almost swayed.
Do you not notice my stares? My bitter acceptance?
If I were to kiss you would it be the truth of Legends and the meaning of life intertwined? Or would the world shatter to reveal a darkness I have never known as I plunged into the madness below?

From a Whisper to a Scream

As I sat there pondering the world, I realized I wanted to make a change. I wanted to make everything better. And yet, no matter how loud I was, all that came out was the smallest whisper. So I whispered and whispered until I was hoarse and then, as if by a miracle, another whisper joined in. then another and another, until our whispers became a voice, and even louder we became as our voice turned into a shout. And the shout rose into a scream that covered the world. A scream of whispers started by one.

Thank you for reading and have as good of a day as possible.

How Are You Doing?

As I write this, there are five confirmed cases of COIVD-19 in Ottawa, where I live. The city has pretty much shut down. March Break begins today for school kids, but museums, libraries, pools, camps, etc., are closed. Schools will be closed for an additional two weeks (at least). The worst part of all this, at the moment, is that people are hoarding food and household essentials like it’s the apocalypse. Some grocery store shelves are bare. Toilet paper is scarce. Lineups are insane. I’m sure it’s a similar story wherever you live.

It’s disheartening to realize how selfish people can be in a crisis. Instead of looking out for those who are most vulnerable, we grab what we can for ourselves. There’s a special place in hell for those who bought up mass quantities of hand sanitizer to resell them to desperate people at four times the price, and people who are stealing face masks from hospitals, where they are most needed.

We will get through this. We have to stick together (but not too close), follow the recommendations of health authorities, and ride this out as best we can. Check in on your elderly neighbours to make sure they are okay. With any luck, in a few weeks, things will start to go back to normal.

Travel Concerns and the Coronavirus

Anyone else considering postponing travel plans? We have flights booked to Spain and Greece in early May and we’re wondering if we’re safer staying home. In April, my daughter is graduating from Brigham Young University. Will they still hold commencement? In Washington State, where much of my family lives, gatherings of more than 50 people are discouraged, so this seems a reasonable question. My daughter is planning on a Study Abroad program in Israel April through August–will that be canceled?

I’m a planner. I don’t like having my plans rearranged once they’re on my calendar. But in this climate, it seems like the safest way to travel is arm-chair traveling. I love a good destination romance. Growing up, I loved Mary Stewart’s novels. They are a charming blend of mystery and romance and were often set in a far-away country. Today, I love books by Marc Levy and Jules Wake.

How about you? Are you an armchair traveler? Would you like a trip to Ireland?

Irish Wishes

Gillian thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable job working at her local library, good friends, and a sweet gig as the choir accompanist for her church. But her orderly life is turned upside down on her 25th birthday when she inherits the contents of a safety deposit box that will send her on a trip to Ireland.
Workaholic Pete has always done his billionaire-father’s bidding, so when his dad sends him to Ireland to fetch his little stepsister, he can’t refuse.
But billionaire JW has a few tricks up his sleeve and the journey he’s planned takes Gillian and Pete on a trip they’ll never forget. Castles, boating on the River Liffey, the haunted ruins of the Hellfire Club, and the breathtaking beauty of the Irish countryside—this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…

Get your copy here

 

On Top of Old Smoky

How does a mountain draw you into its magic? Straddled between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains are known for their beauty and animal life.

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We grew up not far from those mountains and sadly took them for granted as we, many times on a whim, visited more times than I care to count. They captured my soul, but none so much as when I grew older, and enough, to really appreciate their ancient nostalgia.

Any season is perfect to visit, but my favorite is during the Fall. Donning a coat, hat, gloves and boots, we would walk the scenic trails and settle down beside a mystical waterfall for our brown-bagged lunch. Yes. I said a brown-bagged lunch. So good having lunch in the wild. Sometimes one of the falls would produce a deafening roar, others not so much. Whichever, each one was a sight to behold.

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Cades Cove inside the National Park is a must visit. The drive through could sometimes take hours, depending what season you go, but it’s worth every minute of the wait. Log cabins, old churches and a grist mill takes you back in time when our forefathers worked hard for a living. Tours are available. You can camp, hike, go fishing, horseback riding, or settle in for a picnic. Don’t miss a chance to visit when you can.

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One of the most beautiful sights is Clingman’s Dome. When you think you’ve reached the top of the mountain, at an overlook, you haven’t. It is quite a drive up to Clingman’s Dome, but the breathtaking view is astounding. Once you arrive at the parking lot, there is an extremely steep trail to walk. I believe it’s around a half mile up, but they offer sitting areas when you need a rest. When you reach the top, some days you could possibly be in the clouds, other days you could possibly see as far as one-hundred miles away. That’s pretty awesome.

We saw deer on top. They allowed my nephew to walk within a few yards from them. He was thrilled!

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If you contemplate visiting Clingman’s Dome, be sure to wear a coat, hat, gloves, and comfortable shoes. It’s cold at the top, no matter the season. Make sure all participants are physically able to make the trip.

I could go on and on bragging about the mountain and its area. Sightseeing possibilities are endless in the Smokies. You’ll need many, many days or several trips to see all the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

Enjoy!

My second book, A Smoky Mountain Christmas is set in the Smoky Mountains. It’s available at Amazon. http://tinyurl.com/6p3f2n6

Tell someone you love them.

May your 2020 be filled with good health and lots of love.

Until next time…I wish you Music, Butterflies  087d7f0069385dd543178c4c2fca3430--blue-butterfly-butterfly-wings  and most of all…I wish you Love 

 

 

Cynical Romance

Being a romantic in today’s world can be difficult, with several claiming that ‘romance is dead’ and others waiting for ‘Prince Charming’ to save them from something or another. As a romantic, I can understand both sides even though I disagree. Prince Charming isn’t on his way, and there’s no reason you can’t save yourself.

Also, it’s not that romance is dead, it’s just that people have a formed opinion on what qualifies as romantic. Long walks on a beach, midnight picnics, flowers, poetry, champagne with strawberries, the list goes on.

Most beaches are hot, crowded, and the sand gets everywhere. Midnight picnics include a lovely swarm of insects (most of which bite.) Flowers are pretty but wilt or can cause allergic reactions if you don’t check before buying them. Not many people are decent poets and others choose a cut and paste poem found online. As for champagne, does anyone actually like champagne?

A part of me blames books and movies for the perceived romanticism in these acts. I myself have fantasized partaking in all of them as well as a few others. My all-time favorite is standing in the rain as you share your first kiss. (Oh, this swoon worthy scene shall eventually appear in a future book.)

Before you misunderstand and think I’m hating on romance, I’m not. I LOVE romance but I prefer unorthodox examples.

A few years ago, I went on a date where we checked into a nice hotel. He ordered champagne and strawberries for the room and after having a small glass we sat down at a fancy restaurant where the menu had no prices (I’m sure I don’t need to explain why that’s important.) We had a lovely time, the meal was three courses and we shared a bottle of wine.

During another date, we got takeout and just sat together talking for hours. Can you guess which date makes me smile more?

Romance is what you make it. As children (ages 7 and 10), me and my sister decided that the Tramp had it right. The most romantic date was sharing a large plate of spaghetti and drinking milk from wine glasses. When my sister was in highschool, her boyfriend took her to dinner where they got spaghetti with milk. They are now married for over ten years with four boys. Was it the spaghetti? Probably not, but that attention to detail is romantic in itself.

The point of this blog is to tell you to look at what you have. On the surface it might not appear perfect or romantic but if you look deeper you might find that what you have is better than what you wished for.

Motherhood

I’m starting to write again, in earnest, as another chapter in my life – one I’ve been holding on to for too long – is coming to a close.

th (1)My son has two feet out the door on the path to his own life. I am happy and excited for him. He’s wanted a wife since he proclaimed exactly that, quietly, emphatically, at age two. When I asked why, he answered “because I want someone to love and snuggle with”.

Okay.

BEST REASON TO BE MARRIED, EVER……………FROM A TWO-YEAR-OLD. (And yes – I’ve put this in a book).

This beautiful human is about to turn twenty-one. He is in a master’s program for criminal justice at UWM. I’m incredibly proud of him.

And yet, I’ve put my life on hold to try to be a mother who cares, a mother who is present, a mother – who unlike the mother I love who has now passed on – cares to spend time with her children.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how we prioritize, no matter how frequently or deeply we engage with our children, we need to let go. We, and by “we” I mean “I”, need to move up on, or just care about what I’m doing more than I care about making up for the perceived – AND I DO MEAN PERCEIVED – losses in my own life.

silhouette-mother-walking-hand-child-vector-87964024It’s well past time I acknowledge that not only am I a good mother, I am the best mother I can be.

Now it’s time to be the best ME I can be.

Happy writing,

Leigh