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.

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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…