Giving Thanks

I thought about what I could say to honor the Thanksgiving Day we celebrate, but everything I thought of sounded cheesy and redundant. I could give thanks for my family, my breath, my life, my history, my friends, my music family, my literary family, the roof over my head and the list could go on and on.

Instead, I’ll just say that I hope each of you experience a deep true gratitude for all you have, and if you have more than enough, share with a neighbor who doesn’t.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Comments are disabled as I’m spending time with my daughters and grandchildren. I truly appreciate each of you!

Thankful

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I reflect on all I have to be thankful for, I am astounded that there is so much! We tend to go through our days without stopping to really take a look around us and truly appreciate what we have. We are always chasing a carrot just out of reach. But, today, I pause to give thanks for all that I am blessed with.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my amazing two daughters. They are strong young women raising families while still managing careers. I couldn’t be more proud.

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I am thankful for five unique and awesome grandchildren! And, I’m thankful I live close enough that I get to see them often (sometimes too often.) 🙂

I am thankful that I have created an entirely new career for myself…one I could never have imagined!

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I am thankful for the writing organizations that have enhanced, supported, taught and uplifted me along this journey.

 

The beautiful friendships that I have formed around the world are cherished!

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I am thankful for my apartment. I know that may sound silly, but I truly am thankful for my sanctuary. It is quiet, unassuming and has everything I need to be comfortable.

I am thankful for the music and the awesome people who make the music that feeds my soul!

I am thankful for my sister who patiently mentors and encourages me. We talk every Sunday morning over a cup of coffee, by phone, and solve all the problems in our stories and the world. 🙂

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I am thankful for my best friend of over 35 years. We have been through lots together!

As Rick told the Baptist preacher, I am thankful for the breath that sustains life. I’m thankful for faith and hope that are my constant companions.

I am thankful for the beautiful angels that watch over, protect and help when they can.

I am thankful for all of you who follow my blog and leave comments when something interests you. I appreciate the encouragement you give when I post stories.

I am a most blessed person!

Happy-Thanksgiving-Images

 

Sedona, Arizona Re-cap

Yep! You knew it was coming, didn’t you?. 🙂 I’ll re-cap the Sedona, Arizona adventures in pictures because they are worth a thousand words.

If you’ve never visited this magical place, perhaps these pictures will suffice to pique your interest.

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Our Airbnb – We called it our Hobbit House!

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Just one of the beautiful Red Rock Formations

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One of our hiking excursions

Another day of hiking in the Red Rocks and discovering some old ruins.

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Absolutely amazing how they built this church into the rocks!

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My girls arrived and this is inside the Airbnb

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Beautiful ladies!

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At the Grand Canyon – my best friend, Kay. We’ve been friends for over 38 years!

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Happy to be at the 7th Wonder of the World! The Grand Canyon.

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My girls at the Grand Canyon!

I hiked with them down into the canyon almost two miles. It was an incredible experience, but I struggled to make it back up the steep incline in the mid-day Arizona heat. It was a lesson to acknowledge and respect my limits. 🙂

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This guy posed for us as we left the canyon.

We made it to the Airport Vortex to watch the sunset the next day.

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All dressed up for a fabulous dinner at the Enchantment Resort nestled between two vortexes.

The last morning. We hired a guide to take us on a hike that included a yoga and meditation session.

 

After taking the girls to get their Aura photos taken, we headed home. Sedona, Arizona is a special place on our planet and I will visit it again!

I hope you enjoyed the pictorial tour!

 

Trip Around The Sun

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Birthdays are such significant days. Not because we get cards and gifts but because it completes another cycle of life for us. And, I look at the day following my birthday as a clean slate to start the next cycle around the sun.

This year has been mixed with family, friends, plans that didn’t work out and culminated with hundreds of birthday wishes on social media and a birthday dinner with immediate family.

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My daughters and son-in-law had planned a hot air balloon ride to celebrate my birthday, but the weather didn’t cooperate. We’ll do it at some point. It’s been on my bucket list for a while.

I am blessed abundantly with a loving family and an incredible circle of friends. I have no complaints.

A huge thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes! Here’s to another year!

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And, as I promised, I have chosen a winner from my last post to receive a copy of “Hemingway.” Annette Rochelle Aben, I truly hope you enjoy it!

Annette, please email me at rijan21@gmail.com with a good email address to receive your gift.

 

 

Mama’s House

Happy Mother’s Day!

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My mother was born in 1917. She was a young woman just married and starting a family during the Great Depression. The things she endured were beyond comprehension. But, she grew to be the strongest, most determined woman I ever knew. Born in May, she was a Taurus. No task was too big for her to tackle. I have a distinct memory, as a very young child, of Mom climbing up a ladder and putting a new roof on our house because Daddy was working too many long hours to do it himself. I like to think I get some of my grit from her.

She could make the best peach cobbler on the face of the earth and was most at home in the kitchen.

When she passed away, I wanted to create some sort of deserving tribute. I was driving down the highway between Coleman and Brady, Texas one day and this song came to me all at once and clear as a bell. I pulled over on the side of the road and wrote it. I hope you enjoy it and the photos that accompany it.

My tribute to Marian Edith Clark Smith.

Thank you for listening.

So Far Behind

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I just know I’m not the only one that ever feels this way. I have loaded myself down with more than any person can possibly do in a 24 hour time period. As a result, anytime something comes along that upsets the old apple cart, so to speak…

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Well, it gets overwhelming.

I have two amazing, beautiful, smart and talented daughters. (I have to brag just a little.)

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Well, this is me and them many, many years ago. 🙂

So, the youngest daughter (yes, that little one above on the left) is a corporate attorney. While she has a very demanding and high-paying job, she also has two beautiful little girls of her own.
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They are my sunshine.

My daughter had to travel to Milwaukee this week on business and needed me to step in and take care of these two little ones. “No worries,” I told her and myself. Sydney is in first grade, so she’ll be in school all day and the little one goes to a daycare. I can do this easy-peasey.

BUT…little one got sick right before my daughter had to leave. She was running a fever of 102. SO….need I say that I did not take her to daycare this entire week? Instead, we had two doctor visits and lots of cuddling and praying that she’d get better.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am SO far behind on everything that I normally keep up with…your blogs,  my blog, your emails, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Texas Authors, the North Texas Book Festival, Buddy Magazine, The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Magazine AND my book that I’m trying to write.

But…know what? I wouldn’t trade one minute of rocking that sweet baby, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or even bribing her with sweet Robin Eggs to take her horrible tasting medicine. Life is short. Babies quickly grow up to be adults and we just get older.

Forgive me if I haven’t responded. I will get to everything eventually.

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Sweet Faces

My daughter and son-in-law took a much needed short vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico.

So, I am taking care of my granddaughters, Sydney, age 6 and Samantha age 2. 🙂

I seem to need a lot more energy than I have to keep up with them. BUT, that being said, we had an art project that went well…

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EXCEPT, we got a little paint on the bean bag chair. OOPS! And, I cannot figure for the life of me how to unzip the cover to throw it into the washer. So, I scrubbed it the best I could.

Then we went to a Candy Canes for Kids event designed to raise money for the Collin County Advocacy Center for children. And, that was fun. Cold and windy, but fun nevertheless.

Another sign of my age – When we got into the van to come back home, I buckled them both in safely, got in and drove away, leaving the stroller sitting in the parking lot. Yikes!! Thankfully, my older daughter was there with her family and she went and rescued it.

So, now today, after gymnastics, I have promised that we will play beauty shop.

If I miss your blogs, fail to return emails or other such important matters, I promise I’ll catch up. But, I am going to remain totally immersed in the moment with these two because I know how precious this time is.

Can they be ornery?? Heck yes. But, it usually passes pretty quickly. 🙂

Happy Sunday, everyone. Hug someone today.

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Watch #RWISA Write – Author Joan Curtis

     Joan Curtis

 

As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am thrilled to promote outstanding authors who are also members of the exclusive RAVE Writers International Society of Authors through a blog tour that will run the entire month of August.

Today I introduce to you, Joan Curtis!

 

A Gift of Silence

By Joan C. Curtis

The man stood outside the store window, shifting from foot to foot. I’d have probably gone right by him, but as I passed, he looked me straight in the face, sending a chill up my back. Mystified, I found a place in the shadows and watched.

He wore a black golf shirt with a Nike swoosh. His black slacks were neatly pressed, but scuffs covered the toes of his dark shoes. As he paced in front of the store, as if waiting for something or someone, his left foot dragged. Maybe that was where the scuffs came from. A girl passed by him without so much as a glance. She wore flip-flops and short shorts. He turned away from her. Why look me in the face and ignore this young girl with long flowing blond hair?

After an interminable twelve minutes, he entered the store. I crept to the side window to get a closer view. A saleslady approached with a big hopeful smile. He jerked away as if he might flee, but she persisted. Probably learned that in Sales 101.

Peering inside, I could make out the blurry image of the saleslady as she crouched down to retrieve a box. While she bent, the man grabbed an item off the counter. He pocketed it so fast if I’d blinked, I’d have missed it. Gasping in surprise, I nearly collapsed into the window. So neat. So fast.

While I recovered from the shock of having witnessed a theft, the man exited the store. He hurried in the direction of downtown. Hands tucked in his pockets and his head lowered, he wove along the sidewalk, avoiding moms with kids, students with backpacks, and cyclists. I followed. What did he plan to do with his ill-gotten gains?

My friend, Rose, would give me a lecture. Why didn’t you go inside the store and raise the alarm? What were you thinking, watching, witnessing, and doing nothing? No wonder we pay so much money for our trinkets. Thieves get away with it, and it’s all because of people like you. But, I never intended to tell Rose about this. Not if I could help it.

Instead, I hastened to follow the man, avoiding other shoppers and site-seers. My sole purpose was to find out what this strange person was up to. My watch read two-fifteen. I had missed the coffee date with my cousin. She’d forgive me. I’d have to make up an excuse about traffic or something equally lame, but I couldn’t think about her now. I had to see where this man led me. My curious nature would never let me rest otherwise.

Moments later he entered the parking deck. He was going to his car. Darn! Once he got in a car, I’d lose him for sure. My Honda was parked here as well, but on the top level. With my luck, his was probably on the first level. It was impossible to imagine we’d be parked close enough for me to follow him.

He entered the elevator. The light flashed up to level 4. I raced up the stairs like a madwoman. Huffing and puffing, I reached the fourth level just as the elevator doors opened. I caught a glimpse of his black form walking to a red Kia. I made a quick turn and hightailed it up to the fifth floor to retrieve my car. Then I plowed down toward the exit, round and round, hoping, praying. Eureka! The red Kia was just in front of me, waiting to pay. The Universe was on my side.

Mr. Thief drove with caution, obeying all the traffic rules, making it easy for me to keep him in sight. Nonetheless, I stayed one car back, not wanting to risk him seeing me. Maybe he’d remember me from the street! A shiver ran through me. What would he do, this thief? Stop his car, jump out, and murder me? Absurd.

The light changed. We moved down the road. A strange thought filled my head. Had the Universe wanted me to witness this thievery? Everything seemed to be falling into place. “Don’t be stupid.” Rose would say and would add I was being melodramatic.

We turned into the parking lot for the Hermitage Nursing Home. This made no sense. Why not a pawn shop? Didn’t thieves go to shady establishments on busy street corners with flashing neon signs to hock their merchandise? Not to a nursing home. Maybe he worked here? Maybe he was some sort of klepto and couldn’t help himself? Maybe he had no intention of hocking the stolen article? He pulled into a parking place a few steps from the entrance. I chose one farther away. From my rearview mirror, I spied him getting out of the car and entering the building.

Once he disappeared, I made my way inside and approached the information desk where a girl of about twenty had her head buried in a People magazine. When she finally looked my way, her eyes filled with wonder, as if I’d dropped from the sky, “Can I help you?” she said.

“The man who just came in. He dropped a five-dollar bill in the parking lot. I ran after him, but I missed him. Do you know where he might be?”

“Oh, that’s Jerome. He’s visiting his mom. Comes every day at least once. Want me to give it to him?”

I hesitated. She blinked. “Well… I guess it won’t hurt for you to go down to room 212. It’s the last room on the right, down that corridor.” She pointed the direction.

I moseyed away as if I had all the time in the world. Once out of her view, I picked up my pace. Conversation came from room 212. Mr. Thief was talking very loudly. Apparently his mom had hearing issues.

At the door, I peered inside where Mr. Thief perched on the edge of the bed near an attractive woman with cottony white hair.

“You shouldn’t have, Jerome. I know how much this place is costing you,” the woman said.

“But, Mom, it’s your birthday. I wanted to give you a little something.”

“Just having you here is enough. But, I do like bracelets. You know how I like bracelets. Remember when your dad gave me a diamond bracelet—of course, I didn’t know it wasn’t diamonds then. It wasn’t till later. Remember? After he died and left nothing but bills and debts, I tried to sell the bracelet and found out it was worthless. I flushed it down the commode.”

“I remember, Mom. You told me that story. I wanted you to have a real diamond bracelet before… well, you know.”

She hugged him. “This is the best gift ever.”

I backed away from the room, my heart racing.

Back in my car I didn’t wait for Mr. Thief, a.k.a. Mr. Nice Son, to come out of the building.  I started the engine and drove home.

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author.

Joan Curtis’ #RWISA Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family – Broken pieces

We all have issues within the makeup of our families that don’t always play out the way we’d like. This seems especially true with adult children and spouses.

No family is perfect

But, in the story I’m writing, my character, at the age of twenty-six, discovers the man who raised him and whom he believed to be his father, isn’t. He meets his real father for the first time at a rock concert. His real father is a rock star.

So, here are the emotions he deals with.

First off, SHOCK!

Second, disappointment, hurt and anger that his mother would withhold something that important from him. She’s raised him to be an honest and forthright person, and to keep his karma clear. So, she loses his trust with this shattering revelation.

How do they move on from here?

My character has to find a way to forgive his mother. But, will things ever be the same between them? Probably not. (At least it wouldn’t in real life). And, what are the underlying issues?

Family wounds

Then, he has to begin to build a relationship with this stranger, his real father. He’s admired the man and his music his entire life. But, things look different on this personal level. Where do they start?

First off – they have a common ground – a love and talent for music.

Second, they share a love for his mother.

It’s a place to start. And in real life, isn’t that all we can look for to repair a relationship or build a new one? A place to start.

Quote_Baldwin I love this quote from James Baldwin!

I’d love to hear your thoughts – your own experiences with family situations and how you moved forward from them. You might help give me deeper insight into my story. 🙂

 

Lesson in letting go!

I recently took a trip with my daughters and my best friend to a resort in the Texas Hill Country.

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That was us at the airport, all excited and looking forward to some relaxing girl time!

But, what I was not prepared for was to be totally cut off from the outside world. NO cell service and EXTREMELY limited internet. There was one bench situated by the office that if you sat on it, you could pick up spotty internet service. Wow!

I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become on staying connected. I have to admit I freaked out a little. I had an online board meeting I’d miss with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and I had blogs to keep up with and emails to answer, not to even mention Facebook and Twitter.

But, what could I do? We had paid our money and we were there in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Isolated, cut off and yet pampered. It took an entire day for me to finally get over the panic and let go. After all, what could I do?

So, by the second day, I was resigned to the situation and began to relax. Of course the massage and facials helped. 🙂

For me, it was a HUGE lesson in letting go and being in the moment. It is something I don’t do well, so THANK YOU, Escondida Resort for the lesson.  The time spent with my beautiful girls and my friend was time I’ll never get back again.

And, I have NO regrets!