Hosting a mini writer’s retreat can bring to the surface dreams of the past. This retreat was small–me and another writer/editor Jennifer Vander Klipp at my house. We were comparing when we knew we wanted to write and I remembered I had two of my first books hidden away.
Check out that amazing binding I used. Reading through them would give any editor a headache because there is so much repetition and the grammar-oh my!
If You Wish Upon a Star was about bumping into a movie star and having him over for dinner. I was dreaming big time.
Tragedy Strikes is equally painful in the unfolding of love and death.
I’m not sure why I saved these but I’m glad that I did. I can see how my younger self truly wanted to write books, not just short stories–evident because they’re more than two pages long and bound.
After these two came many more written pages, then typed on a Royal typewriter my mother found somewhere, but I no longer have the stories or the typewriter.
Along the way, I learned how to use punctuation, how to write dialogue, and pull readers into the story. I’m still learning something new as writing for publication often changes.
Looking back, I had a dream. I didn’t know then how it would be realized, that I would be blessed with contracts with traditional publishers, that I’d get to hold a book not bound with rickrack in my hand.
I have to thank you–my readers, for helping me achieve this dream. You’ve been a big part of this journey. I write and you pick up the stories and leave reviews. Thank you!
If you have a little one writing please save their work for them so they too can look back and see how far they have come some day.
And if you’re considering writing a book check out these books.
Sometimes, no make that most nights I have no idea what I’m going to cook for dinner. It’s not a lack of planning a menu but forgetting to take a major ingredient out of the freezer to thaw.
One night, I was in control of the remote ( a very rare occurrence) and discovered the food channel. For once, they were speaking my language.
Chopped on foodnetwork was the name of the show. The contestants are given a basket of ingredients some of which most home cooks, chefs, or those of sound mind would never put together to make a dish. Bacon candy was one ingredient. Fascinating for me as I’m often flinging open cabinets searching for anything that will work and count as a real meal though I’ve never found bacon candy to use.
The more I watched I became convinced I could do this kind of cooking. Then it hit me.
Then it hit me. I would be chopped out of my kitchen (meaning I’d have to leave like a chef who didn’t do well on the show) because I don’t live in a chef’s world.
There isn’t fresh produce, cream, fresh herbs, fruit and spices to pick from in my house and no bacon candy. No wonder they can make magic out of strange foods.
My conclusion? Anyone can be a great chef if you have access to a fully stocked fridge and pantry just a few feet away. I’ll never be that kind of chef but I can whip up a grilled cheese sandwich or bacon and eggs in mere minutes.
I’m going back to my tried and true cookbook. One Pot Cookbook even though it isn’t a gluten-free specific most of the meals, like the one above are easily adapted for my consumption.
I almost always have the ingredients or can substitute from the pantry, plus the food tastes great. Clean up is fast too.
Last year slipped away from me. When Christmas arrived it was almost a surprise. I missed spring and summer. How did that happen? It used to be easy to know when to switch out holiday decor because I had little ones telling me. Now that I’m an empty nester I don’t decorate for every holiday.
Is time passing by too fast for you?
Do you suppose this happens because the retail stores are muddling with our internal calendar? Before Holloween is over, Christmas trees are displayed and on January 2nd this year, my store had Valentine’s Day decor to purchase.
This year I am stopping time! You can too!
Decorate for each season. I don’t mean full-out window gels and wreaths on the door. I don’t have the time or money to purchase and make decorations that will also need to be stored.
Find one place in your home that you pass by every day. It might be a shelf, a small spot on the kitchen counter or like me the fireplace mantle.
Yes, I have one. No, it doesn’t get changed except for Christmas.
I refuse to go through another year of catching up to the seasons. I have this stunning mantle. It is part of a log cabin from my home state of Missouri. This old log has seen a lot of seasons!
Winter decorating can be a challenge because it’s right after Christmas and the house looks so dull.
I wanted to have some sparkle to reflect the snow and ice of winter. I spray painted a few pinecones from our tree, let them dry, and then put them in this small vase. The rest of the decor on the mantle didn’t change. By adding this one piece, I know at a glance what season it is.
Next month I’ll be taking away this piece and adding something red for Valentine’s Day.
So tell me in the comments, “Do you decorate for the seasons and holidays?”
Books and TV have been facing off since the first black and white set made it’s appearance.
The appeal of stories playing out in front of you in color, black and white, or 3D have the ability to pull you in creating an experience you don’t get with a book.
Or do you? Books themselves are 3D. The covers are full of color unless you are reading on a Kindle Paperwhite, then they are black and white.
Books have story lines that can run through several books just like the TV show you must catch every week.
Do you need those commercial breaks to make popcorn? No problem, books have chapters where you can stop and run to the kitchen or even *gasp* take the book with you and read while the popcorn pops.
Both have value if used correctly. There are great shows on TV if you can find them. Recently, we watched a documentary about how brick making impacted St. Louis in the 1800s. I like Elementry even though there is violence, the characters are intriguing and there is a mystery to be solved, watching for clues is a good mental exercise. And what about all those awesome HGTV shows? My husband would prefer I not watch that channel!
Still do I need to watch all of them? Probably not, that’s why I’m choosing to read more at night. I’ve become jaded when it comes to TV. I’m tired of violence that doesn’t have a reason or the good guy doesn’t stand out as a grand example. I’m over TV shows that try to shock with nudity, language and gender issues.
That leaves little to watch. Blackish, Last Man Standing , old movies and reruns of TV shows from earlier days. This summer we watched a lot of baseball, now hockey will fill the screen several times a week.
I asked friends of mine would they rather read or watch TV in the evening. All of them said they read, but often the TV is on in the background because family members are watching and they want to be with them. That happens at my house too. When commercials come on I stop reading and talk to my husband.
Tell me in the comments are you a reader, watcher or both?
I’m over the moon with excitement that Mind of Her Own made the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) Bestseller List for November.
Many experts would recommend when your plans change, plan to adapt. Some would suggest to forage ahead because something life changing is about to occur.
Most of us do swerve when events are canceled, family members fall ill, or when finances insist so why doesn’t government adapt? Do they always feel a life change will occur and everyone will be pleased?
In my small town, we have railroad tracks that separates a large chunk of residential areas from the city. When I moved here I knew to take a book or pen and paper in the car because I would often be stuck waiting for the train to move, unless I wanted to drive miles out of the way. Many times I did try to ‘beat the train’ to the next crossing. After awhile I quit, it was impossible. I couldn’t get there before the gates would come down.
The trains would be there for quite some time on the side track waiting for another train to pass by. My kids knew if I was late picking them up from school not to worry as I was probably stuck at the tracks.
Several years ago my little piece of country began to be taken over by subdivisions, traffic increased, a sports park took the place of a corn field across from my driveway and it became more important to someone that a bridge be build over the tracks. Cost—over 6 million dollars.
It’s a nice bridge.
So what’s the problem?
It wasn’t needed. Before it was even completed the tracks were cut in two places. (Federal Law requires unused tracks to be disconnected) I have no answer to why the city was unaware that the tracks were going to be discontinued for use. Did someone not check with the railroad before beginning the project? Or was it because the money was already assigned and it must be used? I suspect the later.
Now we have a bridge that is more like a mountain in these parts. This winter will be interesting as cars slide down in the ice and snow. Or maybe the city can adapt and close the bridge after snow storms so the kids can use it for sledding?
Thinking about myself (this is where you get to think about yourself) how many times to we have a plan that we are positive is the right one? What do we do when we discover it isn’t? For me, I don’t go to the government for the answer. I go to God with my dilemma then I wait for an answer. Sometimes it takes to long to get one and I build a bridge I don’t need.
Girlfriends keep me sane, keep me from making serious mistakes, and love me almost unconditionally. That can be dangerous for all of us. I’m taking a scary and shaky step here but I think it’s time to admit we need to be honest with our friends who aren’t taking care of themselves and they need to be honest and encouraging right back at us.
Now, I’m not saying you should tell them mean things like: wow, never thought I’d see you buy that size, or think you should eat that–as I myself open another snack pack of M&Ms, good thing I write where no one can see me.
What I am saying is this:
I love my girlfriends and I want to have them in my life for a long time. When my kids were my responsibility I did the hard things, like taking them to the doctor for checkups and shots. Yet, when it comes to myself I find excuses to skip mammogram, update vaccinations and blood pressure . Why does that matter as long as my clothes fit?
But all of those things matter. Friends get breast cancer, have strokes, and without updated vaccinations can get sick and make their grandchildren ill.
So let’s all take the girlfriend pledge.
Encourage each other to make steps for a healthy life because if we don’t we will be one less on that shopping trip, cruise or email list.
You can use this infographic below from Oscar Health Insurance as a guideline to ensure your checking off every appointment.
Happy 4th of July weekend to my American friends and family. How odd it is to write that sentence. I live in America and never thought growing up I’d be in contact with anyone who didn’t live here. Times have changed so much since then.
If you are a reader I hope you’ve connected to GoodReads. It’s an amazing way to learn about new books and readers rule on that site. If you like please follow me and you’ll see the reviews I write. Diana Lesire Brandmeyer on GoodReads.
This morning there was a familiar but not recognizable smell in our home and it wasn’t from last night’s dinner. This smell triggered happiness and youth, but I couldn’t figure out what it was or where it came from.
Then I noticed the curtains dancing in front of an open window. A memory clicked into place.
Summer mornings waking up to white sheers billowing over my bed. A summer breeze was the best, notes of fresh grass, moisture from the dew and possibly, could it be hoped for? A cooler day?
Our house didn’t boast central air, not even a window unit graced our home. We had fans and soaked washrags in cold water to cool ourselves. A summer breeze offered refreshment that couldn’t be obtained anywhere in my neighborhood.
Now we have air conditioning all summer long–or at least we did. Ours in now waiting to be repaired which is why the window was open, and today I’m glad.
Every year we go from heat to air conditioning because of allergies. We’ve become insulated from some gifts that God brings us in the morning. Today, I was reminded of a time when summer breezes woke me with a curtain kiss. I closed my eyes and breathed in the sweet air and remembered when the house was quiet, brother was asleep, and if I was quiet I could sneak past his room and have cherished time with my mom.
This song was a hit when I was a teenager and it makes me think of summer too.
What’s your best summer memory? Please share in the comments.
She’s right it looks terrifying. The girl in the photo looks to be about the age my mom would have been.
So I’ve learned wavy hair doesn’t come easy if you don’t have it. I do and all I had to do was learn how to take care of it. It’s not as easy as it seems. I had to buy a book! This one:
Turns out I was doing everything wrong to get my waves to behave. I had to give up my flat iron and learn to leave conditioner in my hair. Someday I’ll post a photo. Not yet though because my hair hasn’t quite recovered from smashing it between the hot plates of the flat iron.
And just for fun here’s a short clip from a movie where the 1930s Friedrich perm machine is used.
And if you think this looks more like fun than scary I read that it is coming back in the form of a digital perm. Send me a photo if you have one done.