Sunday, June 3, 2018

Can you go home again?

 People say you can't go home again... But I went back to Meppershall, England.

It'd been forty-four years and thanks to Facebook I reconnected with my childhood friend Sheree. It gave me the courage to go back.

This was the last house I truly remember living in. It was a two up two down house with no inside toilet or bath. We did have water in the kitchen. It had seriously steep stairs to the upstairs. My brilliant 97 year old grandad knocked on the door and asked if I could come in. He explained I lived there about 44 years ago. The gracious young man let me go up to my old bedroom. My heart was full of joy! My shelves in the wall were still there. The room and the view matched my memories (other than people having put up fences in the garden).

My heart was full rather than pained when I saw the shed attached to the side of the house that we had an outside portable toilet in that we could use at night. During the day we used a privy at the end of the garden. I survived my childhood and some uncomfortable situations and now have some good stories to tell.

This was in front of the house. There is a small stream in the overgrowth. Sheree and I used to play there. My grandad and the knowledge of having a visit with my friend allowed me to find joy in the memories.

When I went to school we went on an exciting field trip to a bakery and we each were able to make a loaf of braided bread. I wasn't sure if this was a real memory or an invented one. Turns out if was true and the school still goes to the bakery every Harvest Season and the kids still get to make a loaf of bread.

It was lovely to find this was a real memory.

Sheree and Grandad gave me a bigger gift than they will ever know...

The school secretary gave us a tour of the school. It felt very much the same.

I shared my gymnasium trauma with the secretary. And she healed me... When you forgot your gym kit you had to do PE in your britches and undershirt. It had always hurt me that I had been given such an awful punishment. The secretary said the same thing happened to her when she was in school. So, I wasn't the only one this happened to. It took a great weight off my shoulders.

The ride was long, but the benefits it gave to me were huge... I found peace.

We came home with a giant loaf of bread from the bakery and we had enough to share with Stanley. Grandad's adopted pet.

I dealt with some ghost from the past and overcame them. I am at peace.

I wish you peace, too.

Have a wonderful summer!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Life, Growth, and Change...

 Often my life feels like I'm moving at a turtles pace. Never getting too far ahead, but then having to remind myself that publishing is an industry that operates at a slow speed.

When things get too slow it's time to push yourself to the next level.

As a writer, I can tell you the more you practice your craft, the more you study, the better your writing will be. Investing in yourself is important. Whether it is doing an online class, going to a local workshop at the library, going to an SCBWI conference or attending a Highlight's Foundation workshop it will move your writing and your confidence forward.

 Pushing yourself to change the way you do something can be the turning point for your writing and your dreams.

What have you done so far this year to push yourself? 

I went to an SCBWI Agent day!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Follow Your Own Path...

Everyone's writing journey will be different. It's so important to not compare your journey to someone else's. 

Your journey may take you down a different path than your friends.

You will encounter different obstacles than your writing partners.

But in the end your journey should be enjoyed. In our business you get used to rejection, but I challenge you to not think of rejections in a negative way...Think of them as a step to finding your lighthouse in the foggy world of publishing.

Friday, January 19, 2018

How's Your Winter Going?

How's your winter going so far? Mine has been full of revisions, queries, and weights (and waits). We've had a little snow, which is a rarity in Missouri. Have you had any snow? Are you a fan? I miss the snowy winters of Iowa (pictured above). I miss the snow hiking and snowshoeing adventures my friend Sunny and I had.

Do you have big plans for 2018? My biggest plan is to be persistent in my querying and start writing a YA that I've kind of started. My other big plan for 2018 is to be healthier. I've had a good start so far. I'm using the My Fitness app to track my calories and I'm tracking my workouts on my Fitbit. I try to hit 10,000 steps a day. I don't hit it every day, but my goal is to hit it five days a week.  There is a great conversion chart here. I use it when I lift weights or do other exercise. It's really handy.

I hope you have a wonderful 2018, filled with love,  good health and success in whatever you are working on.  :)

Friday, December 15, 2017

What Is Your Favorite Family Tradition?

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Season's Greetings to all!

This time of year is full of traditions, no matter what religion you are. For me, learning about other people's traditions and faith give me the opportunity to grow as a person. 

This can be a joyful time of year or a really tough time of year and it's important to recognize the differences for people who are struggling. So as you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season please remember to be kind to the grumpy man or lady that you run into on your joyful path. Sometimes just remembering to hold the door open for a stranger can brighten up their day.

Now for a few of my favorite traditions...

We put up our artificial Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. We have an artificial tree because we needed to stop the annual "when are we going to get a tree" fight. LOL Now I can put the tree up as soon as I want and not worry about pine needles dropping everywhere. This year I found these pine scented sticks that you can hang in your tree. They actually do work. You can smell the pine when you walk in the house.

The first ornament that goes on the tree is my daughter's first Christmas. It gets a prime spot.

Then comes our beloved Macy ornament. For those of you who don't know we lost Macy in March. This will be our first Christmas without her in eleven years. Believe it or not, she loved Christmas. She could hardly wait (and sometimes didn't) to open her presents on Christmas morning.

I've always heard it's good luck to have a bird in your tree. My Secret Santa (nurse Lu) gave this one to me many many years ago. I now have quite a few birds in our tree...

Another tradition for us is Christmas Eve pajamas. Every year for as long as I can remember I've gotten a new pair of pajamas or a night dress. So when we had our daughter we continued the tradition.

On Christmas Eve we go to a late movie so it will be time to go to bed when we get home. Santa comes after everyone has gone to bed... and in the morning we discover what he has left us in out stockings.

One of my favorite traditions is that Santa always brings us a box of cereal. When I moved to America (age 8), I remember being shocked by the abundance of different cereals in the grocery store. In England we pretty much had two kinds of cereals...shredded wheat and weetabix. I don't know if that is how the tradition started but to this day, Santa leaves a box of sugary cereal for each of us.

The last tradition I'm going to share is Christmas Crackers.... If you don't know what they are, Google them. They are so much fun. We did them in England when I was little and in the past twenty years I have been able to find them here. We pop them open after our Christmas dinner. Then we tell the joke and wear the paper crowns.

So...What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Have a blessed Happy Christmas and Hanukkah.