Holly & Ava Need Your Help

I’ve set up a fundraiser to help my little sister, Holly Wanlin, and if you can find it in your heart to donate, I’d be forever grateful.

There’s never a good time to be faced with mounting vet bills, while also dealing with the emotional trauma that comes with a severely ill pet, but the financial hit has been particularly hard on Holly right now. Like so many people, Covid 19 has had a serious impact on Holly’s business, her sole source of income. She’s had to close her store for months, due to the pandemic shutdown, and has only recently been able to reopen.

You can find all the details about Holly and Ava’s situation at this Go-Fund-Me link.

Thank you so much for your kindness.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

 

Wishing all my fellow Canadians, especially family and friends, a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you find joy and gratitude in your lives. Here are some of my joys, for which I’m so grateful:

Our two puppies. Georgie, who came to us in March (thanks go to our youngest son for driving her out here from the coast) and Bella, who joined us in June. I’m grateful my hubby set aside his misgivings to welcome these precious little ones into our family.

Hubby had his knee replacement in May, and is working hard on a complete recovery.

May was a good month, as we also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. And the best gift of all that month was the birth of our adorable granddaughter. I’m beyond grateful for our miracle baby. Take my word for it, she’s beautiful and perfect in every way.

I’m grateful my oldest son and his family came to visit twice last summer. A quick trip in June to meet our new little princess. And again in August, to celebrate my oldest grandson’s birthday and have some fun in the Okanagan sun.

We usually try to go to Alberta for Thanksgiving, which coincides with my son and daughter-in-law’s birthdays. This year we opted to go in September to celebrate my younger grandson’s birthday. It’s the first time in five years we were able to do so, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m also very thankful that we made it safely back home the day before a huge snowfall caused all sorts of havoc in Alberta and on the highways headed west. I’ll post photos and stories of our trip in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ll gratefully enjoy turkey dinner tonight.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it.

The tree is trimmed, the house is decorated, now I’m waiting for the spirit of Christmas to arrive. I don’t care about presents, I just want to be with my family and am looking forward to having our youngest son at home. And hoping we can spend some cyber time with our eldest son and his family. We’ll be going to our brown-eyed boy’s new house for dinner to celebrate with him and our daughter-in-law, along with some of her family.

This will be our first Christmas without Mom, and her absence will be felt by so many. We still miss her every day, but during the holidays her loss is more poignant. She’ll be with us in our hearts and in our thoughts.

As I look towards the New Year, I wish all the best for everyone. May it be a great year, full of love, and laughter, and good health. I don’t want to be greedy, so I won’t say “May all our wishes come true”, but how about – most of our wishes. I’m confident a few of mine will! Happy New Year!

Off To Enjoy Summer…

As I did last year, I’m putting my blog on summer hiatus until September.

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If I have anything exciting to share regarding my writing, I’ll pop in with an update. And if I’m feeling really energetic, I might post the occasional Sunday Funday photo.

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Have a wonderful, safe and happy summer. Wear sunscreen and hug your loved ones every chance you get.

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Let’s Make It A Happy and Loving New Year!

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As 2015 comes to a close, I find myself filled with equal parts hope and disillusionment. It’s sad to admit I’m not really liking our world right now. So much hate, intolerance. Violence. And I’m not just talking about the terrorists. I worry things will only get worse before, or even if, they get better. That leaves me disillusioned and disappointed.

But there’s also a part of me that my dad used to call a ‘bleeding heart’, and this bleeding heart has hope. Hope that there are more good people in the world than bad people. That love can and will triumph over hate. I continue to hold firmly to my faith in humanity with two tightly clenched fists.

So, how about in 2016 we all try a little harder? To be more tolerant, less easily offended. More patient and giving and loving. To look for the good in others, even if they don’t share our beliefs. Let’s be kinder! Just imagine the possibilities.

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To quote the lyrics of the legendary John Lennon:

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people, living life in peace… You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.

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I wish for you comfort on difficult days,

Smiles when sadness intrudes…

Rainbows to follow clouds,

Laughter to kiss your lips,

Sunsets to warm your heart,

Gentle hugs when spirits sag,

Friendships to brighten your being,

Beauty for eyes to see,

Confidence for when you doubt,

Courage to know yourself,

Patience to accept the truth,

And love to complete your life.

~Unknown author

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Happy New Year to all. May 2016 be the best year ever, full of peace, happiness and good health.

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Christmas Card List

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Christmas Card List

I have a list of folks I know, all written in a book and every year when Christmas comes, I go and take a look.

And that is when I realize that these names are a part not of the book they’re written in, but of my heart.

For each name stands for someone who has crossed my path sometime, and in that meeting they’ve become the rhythm in each rhyme.

And while this sounds fantastic for me to make this claim, I really feel that I’m composed of each remembered name.

And while you may not be aware of any special “link”, just meeting you has changed my life a lot more than you think.

For once I’ve met someone, the years cannot erase the memory of a pleasant word or a friendly face.

So never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routine of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.

For when I send a Christmas card that’s addressed to you, it’s because you’re on the list of folks I’m indebted to.

For I am but the total of the many folks I’ve met, and you happen to be one of those I prefer not to forget.

Whether I have known you for many years or just a few, in some way you have had a part in shaping things I do.

So every year when Christmas comes, I realize anew, the best gifts life can offer is meeting folks like you.

May the Spirit of Christmas that forever endures leave its richest blessings in the hearts of you and yours.

–Author unknown

Like this unknown author, I too still send out Christmas cards. Each year my list gets a little shorter; it’s so much easier to stay in touch on social media. But there’s nothing like a personal note to say, “I’m thinking about you and wish you the best”, especially to those I have no other contact with, so I plan to continue this tradition for years to come.

To all my family and friends, and to everyone who visits my blog throughout the year, have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate the season. And may 2016 be your best year yet.

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Some Monday Musings…

I had a rough day yesterday. My grandson celebrated his fifth birthday, and I wasn’t able to be with him. Again. Never mind that I get to see him in two weeks, I missed him in that moment, and it made me sad. It didn’t help that one of the first things I saw on my Facebook feed was my post from last year, with an adorable picture of him, and me saying how much I wished I could give him a birthday hug in person.

Another thing I saw, soon after, was a post by a young mother explaining how busy she was and therefore wasn’t able to spend time with everyone in her life. I don’t know the story behind her post, but I thought I’d share with her a different perspective, from someone who knows how it feels to be the one wishing for more time with a busy family.

I certainly wasn’t rude or judgemental. I basically said that I too was once a mother of three active boys so I understand how busy she is, but one day she’ll also be a mother of grown sons, and she might wish for more time with them, despite knowing how busy they are. I finished by saying if a relationship is important, a person finds the time to be together. If it isn’t, they don’t. Simple as that.

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Rather than acknowledge my comment, this young woman, who is more than a casual acquaintance, deleted it. My first impulse was to think ‘how rude’, but, hey, it’s her wall, and she was obviously looking for agreement and commiseration, rather than open conversation. I’ll be sure not to give her cause to snub me again.

And this is my blog, so I get explain the point I was trying to make yesterday, without the risk of being deleted.

It’s a simple point, really, but maybe not an easy one, if it’s not what a person wants to hear. Yes, lives are busy. Yes, to save our sanity we must pick and choose what to do with our time. But we must choose wisely. Is it so important, for instance, to surf the internet, spending hours on Pinterest and other such sites? To some people, it might be. However, in so doing, are we neglecting something or someone else because we no longer have spare time or energy?

If the relationship is important enough, you find the time. You find the time! This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn. Time is finite. We all only have so much of it, and none of us know exactly when it’ll run out. So, while it’s easy to say, “I’m too busy”, what you’re actually saying is “my relationship with you is not important enough”. And maybe it isn’t, which is fine. All relationships have varying levels of importance.

But if it’s someone you love, or more importantly, someone who loves you, who loves your kids, you should really find a few minutes in your busy life to call, visit, whatever. Let them know you’re thinking about them and you care, even though you’re busy. Pinterest will still be there tomorrow, but your loved one might not.

EDITED October 3, 2015: To avoid future overreaction and further negativity, I’d like to clarify that my above comments are not directed at the person who deleted my comment on Facebook. I’m speaking in the broadest of generalities, to all of us who live busy lives and might be inadvertently ignoring loved ones. I thought that was clear in my original post, but if it wasn’t, hopefully it is now.

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Okay, now that that’s off my chest, let’s talk writing.

The 2015 RONE Awards were announced on September 19th, and It’s Complicated, which was nominated in the Sweet Contemporary category, didn’t win or take honourable mention. Naturally I was a little disappointed, especially after the incredible review that set the nomination in motion, but the book isn’t on the market right now, so I couldn’t even have used the award to promote sales. I was very fortunate to have won a RONE with my first book, and I was fortunate to be nominated with my second. Because I only received a three star review with my third book, I won’t be up for an award next year. That’s the way it goes.

I’ve spent the month of September working through both Show No Weakness and It’s Complicated, doing a few cosmetic changes to get them ready to resubmit to a new publisher. Because Show No Weakness is an older book, it didn’t represent my current voice, so hopefully I’ve improved this. I was also able to fix a minor continuity problem between the two books, as well as a couple of pesky typos that drove my perfectionist personality crazy.

Besides the typos, which can slip by even the most careful editing, I was shocked to discover several instances of missing words, especially in It’s Complicated. Usually ‘the’ or ‘at’ or other short, commonly used words. Prior to publication, I read the manuscripts over and over and over. My editor read the manuscripts at least two or three times, then they were read by a proof-reader. How the heck did all those missing words get overlooked? Boggles the mind. I now have a text-to-speech function on my word program, and it’s beyond incredible at finding these occurrences. I can listen to the words being spoken as I read along, which really makes problems jump out at me. Not only missing words, but also repeat phrases and awkward sentence construction. It’s such an invaluable tool, I’ll never send off a manuscript again without putting it through the program first.

Both manuscripts are now finished, and Show No Weakness has been submitted to a new publisher. I have no concrete timeline for when I’ll hear whether or not they’re interested. Meanwhile, I’ve taken my first look at my editor’s notes on Visual Effects, which will be my next book out with The Wild Rose Press, sometime next year. For the most part, they’re the no-brainer type of edits, and I can quickly and easily make the fixes. There are a couple of places where I’ll have to do some thinking first, but I’m confident I’ll come up with an idea or two in short order.

Probably while taking a shower… Or in the middle of the night…

Where Did July Go?

I can’t believe it’s the end of July already. Half the summer is over and I don’t know where it went. My life continues to go at warp-speed, and happily (I think), it’s about to get even busier. The contract hasn’t been officially signed yet, but it appears that my latest submission has been accepted by The Wild Rose Press. Which means I’ll soon be immersed in edits. Yay! Okay, that might’ve been a little tongue-in-cheek, but I seriously am excited that another of my babies will be published. Maybe just not as excited about the editing part.

This was the story that didn’t want to end. It was a massive beast, which I painstakingly shortened by several thousand words. Several thousand words! And it was still too long when, on the request of my editor, I had to go back and add about three hundred more to up the heat level in a certain scene. So now my dear patient editor and I will have to roll up our sleeves and see if there’s any fat we can cut without damaging the storyline. Because I love this storyline. It’s emotional and moving and very dear to my heart. I’m not the sort who out-and-out sobs when I read something touching, but sometimes my eyes leak, and this story does it to me every time. Every single time. I sincerely hope it touches the hearts of my readers as much.

While waiting for the first round of edits, I’ll continue on my hamster’s wheel. My mom recently moved into an independent living centre and I’m spearheading the work on her condo to get it ready for market. My little Roxy needs her daily physio on her mending leg (as I do on my shoulder). I have a short visit with my oldest son and his family coming up (oh happy day!!), and later in August, Hubby and I will finally be taking our much-anticipated, twice cancelled, trip to Vancouver Island. And whenever I can, I’ll squeeze in some writing on my slow-moving wip. Oh, mustn’t forget having some fun. Hubby and I hope to resume Sunday Funday – biking, hiking and kayaking long into the fall.

After having the company of some fellow authors these past several weeks, Monday Musings will go back on hiatus for the month of August. I wish everyone a happy, productive and safe remainder of the summer. See you all in September with lots of beautiful photos to share from our Vancouver Island trip.

Some of This, Some of That…

It’s been a few weeks, so I thought I’d pop in today and do a little Monday musing.

First, belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and step-dads and dads-to-be. I hope you all had a great day of family fun.

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Belated happy first day of summer too. This one always leaves me conflicted. As much as I love summer, in the back of my mind I know that as of June 21st, the days start inching shorter. As a person who can’t drive in the dark, I cherish these long days. Anyhow, here’s wishing everyone a fun summer filled with whatever makes you happy.

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Last weekend people came from near and far to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday. On the Saturday we had an open-house and the place overflowed with neighbours, friends, and family wishing Mom a Happy Birthday. She’s touched so many lives over the years and it was heart-warming to see how many people wanted to honour her on such a milestone birthday.

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Almost sixty people attended dinner that night, all family. There were Mom’s eight children, ten of her grandchildren and twenty of her great-grandchildren, along with many Significant Others. Several cousins also traveled from out of province to be there. It was a blessing to see them all. I wish I had more time to spend with each of them. Truth be told, I was so busy, I didn’t get a chance for much more than hugs in many cases. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t about me, it was about Mom, and she was inundated with love.

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There was a barbeque and other activities on Sunday, but I had to miss them all, which broke my heart. Several times on Saturday, I’d noticed a slight sore throat, but I didn’t think much more than maybe I’d been talking too much. Then I woke up during the night with a massive headache. I’m talking epic pain, worse even than any migraine. By morning I could barely lift my head and I realized I’d have to stay home. A part of me was in terror, because I’d just had close contact with upwards of a hundred people.

The next day, I accepted that I needed medical attention. Rather than a flu or infection, my doctor said it was blocked sinuses. I’d likely had a massive reaction to all the perfume, hair products, cigarette smoke and such, which usually causes a mild sore throat, stuffy nose and sinus pain. Because my sinuses couldn’t drain, the intense pain developed. Absolutely amazing how something so seemingly minor could make a person so very, very sick and cause such a huge amount of pain. Thankfully, a couple of days using a nasal rinse completely cleared away the pain.

Since doing my brain retraining, I haven’t had a single bad reaction to chemical stimulants. In fact, I’d gotten so used to not reacting, it didn’t even occur to me that I might have had one that day. So while it came as a great relief to know I hadn’t passed the plague onto anyone, it was also a disappointment to have had such a serious reaction. I’m sure being overtired, busy, stressed and excited all played a part. And having the sinuses refuse to drain certainly didn’t help. But I’m now aware that I must do more and consistent retraining.

I realized the other day that I’ve lost ten pounds since January. Ten pounds! I thought on a person of my small frame, a ten pound loss would be really noticeable, but not so much. I still have that dratted midlife muffin-top. Weight loss wasn’t my objective when I started watching what I ate and riding the recumbent bike every day. All I wanted to do was improve my cardio and fitness levels to better keep up with Hubby while we’re off being weekend warriors. I’ll never attain his level of fitness, but as we get more active throughout the summer, we’ll see if I’ve made any improvements.

And I’ll end with an update on my little Roxy. She was so good the few days I had to spend in bed, nary a complaint out of her. But as soon as I felt well enough to be up and about, she got extra demanding. I spent two days with the little princess in my arms or glued to my lap. I guess she wanted to make up for lost time.

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She has two weeks left with her cast on and then she gets x-rayed. I have my fingers tightly crossed that her old bones have healed. Unfortunately, she’s also lost a few more ounces. For a dog as small as her, those ounces count, so we have her on a high calorie diet and hopefully she’ll put some weight back on. I’m sure once the cast is off she’ll improve even more.

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