Thursday, November 28, 2013

For Jesse

To Jesse, my son, who this Thanksgiving is serving his country in Afghanistan.  I dedicate this to you.  As a kid, and if he'd admit it even as an adult, Jess loved Snoopy.  Thank you my son for being so brave and so willing fight for your country, even if it means being apart from your family.  We love you! We miss you!  Please stay safe.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

I loved this.  The youngest one there understood the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Is Your Glass Empty or Full?

This speaks more to me than anything else.  I can easily succumb to grumbling and complaining when I should be thankful for my half-full glass.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I'm Thankful For

As we enter this Thanksgiving season I am reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.

**I am thankful for God who loves me in spite of myself.

**I am thankful for my wonderful husband and best friend - you're the other half of me.

**I am thankful for my children - I love you all, more than words can express.

**My friends - each and every one that has walked beside me, taken me through good times and bad, and shared laughter and tears.

**Our country - the land of the free. And for the soldiers that protect us.

**For the policemen and firefighters who risk their lives daily.

**For the dirty house, loads of laundry, and piles of dishes.  It all means I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food to eat.

The list is endless. 

So everyday leading up to Thanksgiving, I will post a picture or a thought about being thankful.  In the meantime, I will be enjoying my time with my family and friends.

God Bless you all.

Your turn:  What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 18, 2013

What my Children will do differently - cameras

My father's hobby was photography. He had Press Camera--the ones you only see in old movies--the big black box that weighed significantly more than the cameras of today.  The lens bellowed out and the flash was a separate attachment where the bulbs had to be screwed in before every picture. 
He was always taking pictures of us, our family and neighbors.  To make a little extra money, he took wedding pictures.  As a young girl, I helped him in the "dark room", a root cellar in our home turned photo shop. 
There he'd pull the paper from the film cartridge and develop the negatives, using a mixture of chemicals.  Then by shining light through the translucent plastic negative we'd create  prints.  The process was a long one, especially when comparing them to the point and shoot digital cameras of today. 
Although I did enjoy the time I spent with my father making the proofs for his customers and later creating larger prints for the newlywed couples, I honestly prefer seeing the pictures instantaneously. 
The kids of today have photos at their fingertips, they appear on Facebook, IM messages, and digital scrapbooks. Most don't even own a camera--it comes with their phone! They also have the ability to delete the horrible shots with one click, whereas, those of us who are older, know how it is to wait for the film to be developed, pay for the pictures, only then to realize they weren't worth a plug nickel.  They were blurred, too dark, or the heads were cutoff because of poor aim. 
Your turn: What do you think your children do differently?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I hate coffee

Yes, I hate coffee--or maybe I should say I hate the smell of coffee.  I have probably just offended more than half of my readers by making that statement.  Sorry, but the smell of coffee turns my stomach.  The only time I remotely like the smell is when I first open the can and inhale the fresh coffee-bean scent. 

But like I said, there are some of you who disagree.  Why is that?  It is because smells invoke memories (good and bad) more than any of our other senses.  Although coffee doesn't bring back bad memories, I do remember always having a pot on the stove, my parents drinking many cups of coffee, and the constant stench of it in my home growing up.

The scents I love?  The smell of fresh cut grass.  For some, the connection is related to the pain of allergies.  I love the scent of fresh-baked bread and chicken noodle soup.  The smell of baby powder or the spicy smell of Monarda (Bee Balm) as I rake out my perennial beds in the spring.

As a writer I need to invoke the use of scents in my work.  What does fear smell like? Or Joy?  They are a valuable tool in the writer’s arsenal.  They are a powerful tool to evoke emotion in the reader.

 Your turn:  What are your favorite smells? Or the ones that invoke less than memorable moments?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Where did you Sleep Last Night?

This is a picture of my son during his first tour of duty in Iraq using his backpack as a pillow and a slab of concrete as his mattress.  He is now on his fourth tour overseas.  I don't know about you, but I slept in a comfortable bed last night, with clean blankets pulled around me because of the veterans that have fought for our freedom.

Although the words seem inadequate, I just want to say . . . thank you to all the men and women who have served our country and given so much of themselves for our freedom.

Your turn:  List the first names of friends and family you know who have served overseas. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Writing a Blog—Where Do you get your topics?

When I first decided to start a blog, I struggled with what to write.  For the longest time, I had decided not to do one for that very reason.  But now as I am working to improve my social networking, I knew I needed to jump in and do it.  But I was still faced with the question of what to write. 
So I went to the internet.  I did searches on “blog topics”.  I found more than enough blogs, articles, and marketing websites that listed possible topics. I copied each list into an excel worksheet.  Then I read it and marked the ones I could use repeatedly, highlighted topics I thought would be fun to write about, and made notes next to others that may be usable if tweaked slightly to resemble my interests.
I keep the running list with me, along with a pad of paper on which I can make notes on when I think of something. I’ve found it’s easier to brainstorm related ideas by using the list as a jumping off point.
Yes, there are always topics that will take precedence over the topics I have, but it beats having to sit down at the keyboard and force out a topic spontaneous post.
Your turn:  Do you have a blog?  How did you come up with your topics?  If you don’t, what do find most frustrating about the topics covered in a person’s blog?

Monday, November 4, 2013

If you could go anywhere--Where would it be?

I love to travel and see different places, meet people, and just experience things I'd never seen before.  Since I started writing I've been to more places.  When I go to a conference, I take a few extra days see the sights and just relax. I've been able to see Washington D.C., San Francisco, Florida, and Colorado to name a few.  I'd always wanted to go to Alaska and was recently able to cross that off my travel list.  (It helps having a son living up there.) 

Mostly I've wanted to travel the United States because of the vast diversity we have here from the rain forests to the desert plains.  From the frigid north to the tropical south.  But if I could really say there was someplace I'd like to go, it would be to Tuscany.  I'd love to ride my bike under the Tuscan sun through the vineyards, past Tuscan Villas, and through a bit of history that dates back hundreds of years. 

Your turn:  If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I love this picture sent to me by my daughter in law.  The shoes you see belong to my son, daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter.  When I look at this picture I see several things.
1) A young family just starting out in life.
2) A pair of army boots belonging to a soldier who goes off to war to protect the ones he loves.
3) A small young life, just taking her first steps.
4) A mother and father who nestle their daughter between them. 
As I start a story, hoping to make it unique, I bring to that fictional world all the things that have influenced my life, good and bad. That's what makes my story special and different from everyone else's.
Your turn:  From your view on life, what do you see when you look at this picture?