Going to the Fair

As a kid going to the fair always meant the East Dalhousie Fair where you could enter exhibits and win prizes, buy an ice cream cone, dunk your neighbour in a tank of water and watch the parade. While I didn’t see anyone getting dunked today, and there weren’t any ice cream cones circulating, there were plenty of books and authors at the book fair in the Kingstec Campus in Kentville to celebrate children’s literacy.

I love taking part in book events, meeting people and chatting with fellow authors. Jan Coates and I shared a table. We seem to do that a lot. I made sure to get a photo of the two of us together since, in all the years we’ve been friends and have gone to different events, I didn’t have one.

Jan’s new picture book Sky Pig is hot off the presses and she’ll be launching her book on May 7th at the Box of Delights. Love, love, love this one so much I had to get my very own copy. I know, I know, I’ll get the grandkids their own copy later cause some things you just can’t share even with grandkids.

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So who else was at the fair?

Bet you know this gal from her Live at Five days. Starr Dobson‘s second book in the Gertrude Series came out a few years back. You might remember a few years back when I attended her signing at the Dempsey Corner Farm. You can read the post here if you  missed it first time around. For any of you wondering, she’s friendly and SO down to earth. And even though she’s no longer on Live at Five, she’ll always be a celebrity to Maritimers.

DSC07282Carolyn Mallory was there with her book Painted Skies. I’ve read this one and you should too. It’s really a delight. It’s about the Northern Lights. I mean, who isn’t fascinated by the Northern Lights? I love the art work. Carolyn is also an artist and her work is just wonderful!

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Jackie Halsey was at the fair. Explosion Newsie is her latest book.  Lovely illustrations and, as an added bonus, it’s about the Halifax Explosion. I did read it to my oldest grandson over Christmas. He’s just two and I didn’t have my glasses on that night but I was able to improvise and Levi seemed pleased.

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Lila Hope-Simpson and I traded books which is something I’ve done a time or two in the past with various authors. I’m really looking forward to reading her book Stepping Out. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of Lila. Sometimes my brain is on pause. It happened a second time today when I picked up Fox Talk by Lindsey Carmicheal for Miss Charlotte. She quite enjoys non-fiction and I’m sure she’ll enjoy this one.

I met Meghan Marentette who brought along her book The Stowaways. She seems quite lovely. Hopefully, I’ll get to know a bit more about her in the future.

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We popped by Melanie Mosher’s table to chat a bit…Again no photo (That makes three brain pauses).

So this is who I saw at the fair. There were other author’s there but I didn’t get around to everyone’s table. We also had a visit from blogger Lynn Davidson. It’s always lovely to see Lynn. I think she’d agree with me that it was a very productive day for her! She found a few goodies to take home in her bag.

If you ever get a chance to go to a book fair I urge you to do so. It’s a great way to find out about books and to meet and chat with some of your favourite authors. We’re an interesting bunch if I do say so myself!

And now, I have some reading to get caught up on!

Don’t Die With Your Story Still in You

Many years ago I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on my mum who had an appointment to have her eyes checked. There was an older gentleman there, a retired teacher, who struck up a conversation with me. He asked where I was from and I told him. From there he asked what it was I did in East Dalhousie. I replied that I was a writer. He admitted to me that he’d always wanted to write, that his stories were “up here,” he said, tapping his forehead. I encouraged him to take the plunge and start writing his stories out. What did he have to lose?

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. When you do this, you’re also tapping into another face of intention: love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. Whenever I read it, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t to DSC00753prove I could do it or to rack up a bunch of publishing credits that I could wave like a victory flag. I started writing as a matter of survival, that little voice that one day reminded me of how important writing had been to me in my younger years. Back then I didn’t care about publication, I only cared about writing a story and expressing whatever it was inside me what needed to be said. Growing up as a middle child sometimes left me feeling stifled. It was difficult for me to communicate my feelings verbally. I was often shushed. But the written word offered me a safe place to fall, a way to communicate without making too much noise. Plus it felt right.

My mother bought me a diary when I was nine. I hadn’t a clue what to write and I’m sure I didn’t update it with any regularity. I was young, words hadn’t yet found their way to me in the way they do a writer today. That would come a bit later. Yet, I was the only one in family who ever had a diary. Perhaps my mother saw something, or sensed something in me even then. I’ll admit I did love to write stories. I wrote plays in elementary school at an early age. My friends indulged me by playing along. We did it because it was fun. As the years went by, I discovered a great sense of contentment upon the page and writing stories felt so right, so natural, so good—like music to my soul. But what if I had resisted that urge to write? What if I had said, I don’t have anything important to say,  I won’t be good enough, or  People will only laugh at me?

I wonder sometimes how many of us ignore the nudges we receive for fear that we won’t be good enough. Good enough for what? How good do you have to be to write? All you need is an idea and some words. Now, being good enough to publish—that’s a little different. But we don’t all need to be THAT good. If writing fulfills some longing in you, if it brings you joy, that’s what counts. If in time you decide that your work is good enough to be published take it further. But nothing, nothing, should stand in the way of you writing if that’s what you want. I used to think that everyone who writes should do so for publication, that it would ultimately be the goal for anyone who writes. But I’ve since changed my mind about that. Writing can free us by allowing us to express the things that make us happy, angry or sad. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about a particular thing and can discover new truths about ourselves.

The people I write about might be fictitious but inside each and every one of them comes a sliver of truth, a small piece of someone I know, something I heard, everything I’ve every experienced either directly or indirectly.

Not everyone is a writer, but I’m willing to bet that most of us have something we do, some way of expressing ourselves. I’m sure there are people right now saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m not creative in ANY way.”   You know what I say to that? Fuddle-duddle. Maybe you don’t write or paint, but what about crafting, card-making, sewing, gardening, baking, or twiddling your thumbs? Maybe you’re the best thumb-twiddler on the planet. And if that’s so, that’s wonderful. But seriously, we all have something. Maybe you’re a good listener, someone who volunteers their time, someone who makes time for someone else who’s lonely or in despair. We all have/do something of value.

It doesn’t matter what your story is because maybe your story isn’t a story at all, but something you’ve been called to do yet you chose to ignore. Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with your music still in you” which is really the same as saying don’t die with your story still in you. If, at the end of you life, you had to write an essay about yourself would you end it all by saying you followed your heart, your inner guidance, or would you end the story by saying there was more you would have liked to have done?

I sometimes wonder about that older gentleman in the doctor’s waiting room, if he finally got up the courage to write down all the stories he’d been keeping in his mind for years. I hope, I pray, he did not come to the end of his life still thinking of those stories he wanted to write, that he did not die with his story still in him.

The Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick's Day PostI’m not sure I believe in luck even though it might seem that some people have their fair share of good fortune in life while others seem to go from one pickle to the next. I like to think that we’re all capable of bringing good into our lives and we all do. I guess sometimes we overlook the smaller things, looking, instead, for something truly miraculous to land in our laps. They say good things come in small packages and I think that’s true. Some of the most wondrous things in this world are things that money can’t buy and can be as “small” as a smile from a stranger, a kind word, a cup of coffee, or a sympathetic ear. All good fortune in my book!

Seeing how tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, this idea of luck, and just what it means, has been playing on my mind this evening. I did a little digging to see just where this term, “Luck of the Irish” came from. One source tells me that it doesn’t actually mean good luck, but rather bad luck and is mean ironically as it is used to describe the sad and tragic history of the people of Ireland. According to this, the Irish people were actually unlucky since they had to leave Ireland in order to survive. Another theory is this: The phrase originated in the US and was used by the people of America to describe the Irish emigrants who found their ‘Pot of Gold’ in the Gold and Silver mines. So there you have it, two totally opposite theories which enforces my idea that there are always two sides to every story.

So whether you’re Irish or not, and whether you feel your lucky or unlucky, I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Book—How Long Does It Take?

DSC07192The other day someone asked when I’d last written a book. I quickly replied last year. But that’s not really accurate. Yes, I finished a book last year, but I worked on it for several years before declaring it completed. Even then, I only ever refer to it as a manuscript. (Not a book until it’s published.)  I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion, ones that go back many, many, many years. It’s the nature of writing, I think; the ability to simply pick up and start or stop or even change directions. I don’t wear blinders when I write. Sometimes my eye wonders. I see a potential story some place else and I quickly jot things down—a paragraph, a sentence, a page—for a later date.

I’m not an organized writer. And I have periods when I’m not nearly as productive as others. I get in slumps. I procrastinate and often wonder what’s stopping me from writing more. Exactly why do I procrastinate when writing is something I absolutely love doing, something that’s a part of me? I’ve asked myself that question a time or two. But then I remind myself that creativity isn’t something that can be rushed. It comes in its own good time, the same way a story idea or character suddenly arrives right out of the blue when I’m washing dishes or stirring pots.

I don’t produce outlines or write character sketches. I don’t decide what my characters likes or dislikes are before heading into a story. In fact, it’s more like they tell me. This is the place where some people start looking at me a little strange. Characters tell you things? They might even suggest an evaluation of sorts—just to make sure everything’s okay. They might even pat me on the head. But yes, with every book I’ve written, every short story, I feel a connection to a character who then leads me through their story. Occasionally I have a certain topic I want to write about, even then I have to wait for some character to show up and guide me through to the end.

I know one author who wrote a book in eighteen days. I’m still in awe of that feat although she told me she wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’m willing to bet she didn’t get a whole lot of sleep during those eighteen days. While I’m not expecting to write a novel in anywhere near that time I’ve learned to never rule anything out because, really, who am I to say what will and won’t happen. I don’t like putting restriction on life. I like to stay open to any possibility. Who knows, a character might show up one day, a character so strong and insistent and impossible to ignore and I’ll be at their mercy to write, write, write. I’m sure this certain author didn’t decide she’d write a novel in a few weeks, it probably just happened. When you’re open to all possibilities anything is possible.

So, how long does it take to write a book? It takes as long as it takes—at least for me.

What kind of writer are you? Do you write with an outline or simply fly by the seat of your pants? How long does it take you to write a book?

Century Old Valentines

I live in what was once the Dale Post Office. Sounds impressive to anyone who enjoys a bit of local history, but what was called the post office was actually just a room in the house. (That room is now my bathroom–a good-sized bathroom as many people make mention.) Having a post office in someone’s house  was common in rural areas. I’m not sure how long the Dale Post Office was in operation but I believe it was still operating in the 1950’s. I love these old fashioned Valentines and the fact that people actually sent them through the mail at one time. I’m not sure how many people are sending valentines these days but what I do know is that these cards from a century ago cannot be duplicated.

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The Valentine post cards that I’m sharing with you came through the Dale Post Office over a century ago, postmarked from 1912 and 1911. I find that kind of neat!

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Happy Valentine’s Day.❤

The Answer to Your Question

In the two and half years since Flying with a Broken Wing was published I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “When’s the sequel coming?” To be honest, some of you have been relentless in you pursuit of an answer, even trying to trick me into telling. (Smile because you know who you are!)

Many of you would agree with me when I say I’ve been a bit annoying vague about it all, dodging the question as best I could, not even willing to let you know how the writing was coming along. I’m not a fast writer. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m not a writer who gets to the end as often as I’d like. I typically have several projects on the go. That was the case when I started writing the sequel to Flying with a Broken Wing.

And then I started another novel.

And then I went back to one I’d started right after Bitter, Sweet was published.

I went back to the sequel again…

You get the idea?

Things went along slowly.

Then I lied. Well, maybe not an out and out lie. Let’s say I withheld certain information from y’all. (Did I just say y’all?) Seriously, writing a story doesn’t necessarily mean that story will see publication. I mean what if the publisher hated it? What if it just wasn’t what they wanted? Doubt sets in.

But now all that doubt is gone. I’m here to confess that the sequel has been finished for some time now. Yay! Do you forgive me for leading you astray? Hope so.

BUT WAIT….

There’s more.

I just signed a contract with Nimbus Publishing for the sequel to “Flying with a Broken Wing.” Yup…signed …sealed and delivered. And I’ve been dying to tell y’all.

For now, the title of the book is “Cammie Takes Flight,” but as I’ve explained before this could end up being changed. I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens.

So, do you think I’m excited at all? You betcha. I can hardly wait!

Speaking of waiting, I assume y’alls next question will when when’s it going to be published?

Well, my sources are saying Spring 2017. That’s just around the corner in the book publishing industry.

So, there you have it. The answer to the question you’ve been asking me for years now. And well, me, I’m just walking around with my head in the clouds.

And if all that isn’t enough Darlene Foster , author of the Amanda Series, posted a lovely review of Flying With a Broken Wing posted on the Children Writer’s Guild. You can read it here. Again, thank you Darlene for your generosity!

 

 

Local Books For Your Winter Reading Pleasure

From time to time I like to give a shout out to some authors and their books. It’s been awhile. Actually, longer than I thought once I got looking back on old posts. Since I do like local (as many of you know) this shout out is for some local books that have recently come onto my radar. I wanted to mention books that I hadn’t previously mentioned on my blog, books that are new to me! From picture books to novels, I really don’t care. A book is a book no matter what age you are. I hope you’ll check some of these books out this winter when you’re curled up by the fire on a cold blustery night.

Explosion Newsie by Jacqueline Halsey.

imagesOn December 6, 1917, two ships collided in the busy wartime harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion was the biggest man-made blast prior to the development of nuclear weapons. It flattened one fifth of the city. Thousands of people were killed that day and thousands more injured or made homeless. One lucky survivor, ten-year-old newsie Macky, has a key job to do — get the news out.

The beautiful and compelling illustrations in this book help tell the story of what it was like to be a working child of ten in the city that day. Macky, an unreliable and fun-loving boy, has to deliver the news to a confused and wrecked city where the only way to know what happened to missing loved ones was to read the local newspaper.

Red Coat Brigade by Vernon Oickleimages (1)

On a warm, beautiful sunny day in June 1782, the women and young children of the village of Chester come together to defend their still-fledgling settlement against the invading and much more well-armed Americans. Armed only with their cunning and imagination, this rag-tag group of settlers pushed back the marauding intruders without the loss of a single life. In this fictional account of those events, veteran author Vernon Oickle weaves facts and legend to tell a story that has become part of Nova Scotia’s heritage and folklore.

 

These Good Hands by Carol Bruneau

downloadSet in the early autumn of 1943, the These Good Hands interweaves the biography of French sculptor Camille Claudel and the story of the nurse who cares for her during the final days of her thirty-year incarceration in France’s Montdevergues Asylum. Biographers have suggested that Claudel survived her long internment by writing letters, few of which left the asylum because of her strict sequestration; in Bruneau’s novel, these letters are reimagined in a series, penned to her younger self, the sculptor, popularly known as Rodin’s tragic mistress. They trace the trajectory of her career in Belle Époque Paris and her descent into the stigmatizing illness that destroyed it. The nurse’s story is revealed in her journal, which describes her labours and the ethical dilemma she eventually confronts. Through her letters, Camille relives the limits of her perseverance, and through her journal, Nurse confronts the limits of hers; these limits include the faith these women have in themselves, in the then-current advances in psychiatric medicine, and in a God whose existence is challenged by the war raging outside the enclosed world of the asylum. In her dying days, Camille teaches the nurse lessons in compassion and, ultimately, in what it means to endure.

Lonely Angels by Heather D. Veinotte

As a medium, Kelsey Gordon has had to deal with people’s distain of her gifts for most of her life. 51RqiF2VF7L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Through her firm, “Gordon’s Agency” she’s been hired by the Mayor’s Task Force of the city of Bridgeview to help find three little girls that have vanished without a trace. As soon as she’s introduced to the very handsome Lieutenant Jake Carson, she feels his contempt for what she stands for and realizes that this assignment will not be an easy one. The murderer must be found, but she knows if she and Jake work together, her heart will be lost to a man who detests what she is. Lieutenant Jake Carson is stunned to learn that his uncle has hired a medium to work on the task force when he knew what his nephew thought of so called psychics. Anyone who declares that they have psychic powers are the lowest life form on the planet, but Jake has no choice but to work with her. To make matters worse, he can’t keep his eyes off of this beautiful, but phony Kelsey Gordon. Time is running out. Kelsey’s life is threatened by the murderer and to complicate the situation they’re fighting the sexual cord that’s pulling them closer.

Random Acts By Valerie Sherrard

download (1)In the haze of a food-induced stupor, Zoey Dalton and her best friends Bean and Jenna make a pledge to begin performing random acts of kindness—anonymously. Their previous track record for altruism is pretty much a flat line, so anything they do to help others is bound to be an improvement.

Or is it?

What if the random acts of kindness are unwanted and misunderstood? What if, instead of spreading joy and good will, the trio’s actions stir up trouble, wreak havoc and maybe even cause bodily harm? That, of course, would be a different story.

This story, in fact.

Scotia Sinker by Alison Delory

download (2)Cameron and Erin take a new adventure in their cardboard box — this time, to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean! In Lunar Lifter, the first story in their adventure-packed series, they used magic markers to transform their box into a spaceship that took them to the moon. Now, when they find their damaged Lunar Lifter on the beach, they use their remaining pens to repair and transform it into a small submarine called Scotia Sinker. Their new adventure pulls them far from home, deep into the ocean’s wild waters where many thrills and threats await. Here, Cameron and Erin need all their bravery, wits and the help of some interesting aquatic friends to outrun a fearsome predator.

 

Just Beneath My Skin by Darren Greer

download (3)In the small town of North River, every day that goes by bleeds into the next. Poverty begets hopelessness, hopelessness breeds violence, violence causes despair. The only way to change fate, a minister tells his son, is to leave. The minister’s son, Jake MacNeil, chooses to ignore his father’s advice. Only when he realizes what has become of his life – working a grueling dead-end job, living with a drunk, friends with a murderer – does he decide to make something of himself. But nothing comes without a cost: in choosing freedom, Jake abandons his own son, Nathan, to the care of the boy’s abusive mother. Years later, a reformed Jake comes back for Nathan, to finally set things right. But in North River, everything comes around again; and when a dangerous figure from the past becomes hell-bent on dragging the new Jake “back down where he belongs”, three generations of MacNeil men must come together to pay the full price of hope. Gritty, unrelenting, yet peppered with Darren Greer’s trademark mix of wit and poignance, Just Beneath My Skin is the work of an author at the height of his game.

Grist by Linda Little

download (4)“This is the story of how you were loved,” Penelope MacLaughlin whispers to her granddaughter. Penelope MacLaughlin marries a miller and gradually discovers he is not as she imagined. Nonetheless she remains determined to make the best of life at the lonely mill up the Gunn Brook as she struggles to build a home around her husband’s eccentricities. His increasing absence leaves Penelope to run the mill herself, providing her with a living but also destroying the people she loves most. Penelope struggles with loss and isolation, and suffers the gradual erosion of her sense of self. A series of betrayals leaves her with nothing but the mill and her determination to save her grandchildren from their disturbed father. While she can prepare her grandsons for independence, her granddaughter is too young and so receives the greater gift: the story that made them all.

Somewhere I Belong by Glenna Jenkins

download (5)In Somewhere I Belong, we meet young P.J. Kavanaugh at North Boston Station. His father has died, the Depression is on, and his mother is moving them back home. They settle in, and P.J. makes new friends. But the P.E.I. winter is harsh, the farm chores endless, and his teacher a drunken bully. He soon wants to go home; the problem is how.

A letter arrives from Aunt Mayme announcing a Babe Ruth charity baseball game in the old neighbourhood. But Ma won’t let him go. P.J is devastated. The weeks pass, then there is an accident on the farm. P.J. becomes a hero and Ma changes her mind. He travels to Boston, sees his friends, watches Babe Ruth hit a home run, and renews his attachment to the place. But his eagerness to return to the Island makes him wonder where he really belongs.

Amazing Grace by Lesley Crewe

download (6)Can you really move forward without putting the past to rest?

Grace Willingdon has everything she needs. For fifteen years she’s lived in a trailer overlooking Bras d’Or Lakes in postcard-perfect Baddeck, Cape Breton, with Fletcher Parsons, a giant teddy bear who’s not even her husband. But Grace’s blissful life is rudely interrupted when her estranged son calls from New York City, worried about his teenaged daughter.

Before she knows it, Grace finds herself the temporary guardian of her self-absorbed, city-slicker granddaughter, Melissa. Trapped between a past she’s been struggling to resolve and a present that keeps her on her toes, Grace decides to finally tell her story. Either the truth will absolve her, or cost her everything.

Crackling with Lesley Crewe’s celebrated wit and humour, Amazing Grace is a heartfelt tale of enduring love and forgiveness, and the deep roots of family.

Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to take some of these books out for a test drive this winter. You might be amazed at how much local talent we have here in the Maritimes. Keep warm and Happy Reading! If you’d like to give a shout out to a local book in the comment section please do. I love promoting local. 

Twelve Lessons From 2015

For my first post in the New Year I thought I’d share with you some of the things I learned in the past year.

I firmly believe that life is all about the lessons. (I’ve said that before on my blog.) Some of them come easy, some not so easy, but like it or not, they still come. And thank goodness they do. 2015 wasn’t what I’d call a spectacular year, but there were some very precious moments sprinkled along the way. Lessons were learned (or sometimes came a second or third round as lessons often tend to do.) All we can do is deal with what’s presented to us and be thankful that we have a lifetime to try and figure it all out.

So here are twelve of the lessons that came my way last year. One for each month. Hopefully, there is something here that you can identify with.

1. The story isn’t finished simply because you think it is. Last year I finished the same novel about three times. This year, I hope to finish it only once. *Note I said hope.

2. Insensitive people don’t intentionally do hurtful things. In fact, they usually don’t take the feelings of others into consideration at all. What’s more, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Either accept them for who they are or give up being their friend. They probably won’t notice either way.

3. The only thing better than the birth of a new grandchild is the birth of two. I mean, why settle for one when you can have two I always say?

4. Not everyone will appreciate the things you do for them—true story. I’m not complaining, just stating facts. If you can’t do something for others simply out of the goodness of your heart don’t bother. Expecting praise for the things you do only puts a price tag on your good deed. Try doing something anonymously for a change. That’s when you truly know you’re not just looking for praise for those kind deeds of yours.

5. A good book will teach you a lot about the person you are. If you don’t think that’s true, join a book club, open yourself up to discussing topics you’ve never discussed before. Find out what your thoughts are on various issues, how they make you feel, what your thoughts and ideas say about you as a person. You might be surprised or even amazed!

6. Some people you just won’t like in life and they won’t like you. Believe me, it’s not the end of the world. For years, I was unwilling to admit when I didn’t like someone. These days I’m more honest with myself. We can’t possibly like everyone we meet. But so what? There are plenty of people out there to like, people who bring a smile to your face or a warm feeling in your heart. Cherish them.

7. You can’t be everything to everyone. Seriously, take care of yourself. Fill your own cup first. Fill the cup for others with what’s left over. That’s not being selfish it’s being realistic. There’s only so much one person can do and do well.

8. Even a new computer won’t make dial-up any faster. Rural Nova Scotia—what more can I say?

9. The email comes when you least expect it. Funny how we can spend time waiting on things, hoping for things, and then right after we give up on it, poof , something totally unexpected arrives, maybe even better than what we’d hoped and planned for. I had a few wonderful surprises this year that totally came out of left field. (In fact, as I write this, I just received one such email…Blows my mind…go figure!)

10. We are given just so many days in this life. Use them wisely. 2015 saw the loss of some people in my life who were far too young to leave us, but instead of spending our days mourning their loss we should honour their lives with the happy memories we shared with them. Sometimes this is easier said than done.

11. There are far too many books on the planet and you can only read so many. Sad but true. Each year my TBR pile seems to grow. Too many good books, people. Too many good books!

12. Sometimes you just need to let go. That’s a difficult one. Letting go of the things we have no control over takes some doing, especially when we allow that “thing” the power to tie us in knots. Letting go gives us freedom and peace, but it often takes time for us to come to that place.

So there you have it; some of the lessons I learned in 2015. Of course there were many more than the twelve I’ve listed and no doubt many more that I failed to recognize as being lessons at the time.

I hope 2016 is a memorable year for you, a time for you to grow and learn and come to appreciate the lessons that come your way.

Did you learn any great lesson in 2015 that you’d like to share?

The Memory Tree

Every year there is a lot of emphasis put on decorating the Christmas tree. Some people even have multiple trees because one simply isn’t enough. Colour schemes are selected, decorations chosen with care…Everything must match. It needs to be perfect.

And while that’s all nice, it certainly isn’t me. The decorations on my tree might seem a little simplistic to some but, for me, they create a tree full of memories every year.

I always loved the ornaments the kids made at school and how proud they were to hang them on the tree. Here are a few that seem to make it onto the tree every year.DSC06873

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I saw this blue jay one Christmas and picked it up for my next-door neighbour because she loved blue jays. When you squeeze it it sounds just like one. After she passed, at the age of 100, her daughter gave it back to me as a remembrance of her. This ornament reminds me of the time I spent with her and the Christmases I helped decorate her tree.

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This Christmas tree owl my daughter made the year Miss Charlotte was born. It came with a poem—a story about a little night owl named Charlotte who didn’t like sleeping at night. I’m happy to report that she did outgrow that night owl stage.

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I posted this one on Facebook a few days ago. It was made from Miss Charlotte’s hand print the year she was two.

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This is a painted bulb of our house more than ten years  ago. Some subtle changes dates this one for me.

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Aunt Elsie made a few ornaments that adorn our tree every year. This one she made my daughter and it doubled as a tag on her gift that year. That has to have been nearly 30 years and dear Aunt Elsie is no longer with us.

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Here’s a silly one my daughter made last year. It brought plenty of laughter on Christmas day. I posted this one on Facebook, too. Cracks me up!

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My son’s Baby’s First Christmas ornament. This year he has two babies celebrating their first Christmas. Exciting times!

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I have a few of these birds that I always put on my tree. We had the same kind on our tree when I was a kid and I loved them. I bought these in 1979 the year we got married.

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Over the years a few friends have tole painted ornaments for me. Can’t help but think of them, the fun we’ve had over the years, as I hang them on the tree.

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So there are a few memories from my Christmas tree. While my tree is not fancy and will never make the cover of a magazine it warms my heart every year.  I couldn’t imagine not finding a spot to hang these ornaments among the branches. And really, isn’t that what Christmas is all about, the memories, the love and laughter?

Wishing you all a Christmas filled with much love and warm memories, and may 2016 surpass your expectations and dreams.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Scoop

I’d like to announce that I just signed a big fat publishing contract, and while I’d like to announce that… it just ain’t the case.  Sorry to disappoint.

So here’s the scoop…Which isn’t actually “the scoop.” My use of social media presence has been a bit on the skimpy side for much of the fall, checking in occasionally on Facebook to drop a comment or post a photo or two. My poor blog likely thinks I’ve abandoned it. But nope, here I am.

Fall is always my busy time. Things get away from me. I’ve stop trying to stay on top of everything. I’m only me, after all. Working six days a week when Fall comes doesn’t give me much wiggle room. I wasn’t able to write everyday. And I had to simply say “no” to a few things and not worry if people didn’t understand. It has taken me a long time to know my limits. Even now I sometimes struggle with the word “no.” Not only that, my world has expanded to include grandchildren so we need to make a special effort to spend time with them. (The kiddies grow too quickly.) Even then, we didn’t get to see them as often as we’d have liked because of work and other obligations.

Saturday, Jan Coates and I shared a table at the New Ross Christmas Tree Festival craft fair. We had a great time. It was so nice to see so many people out supporting local crafters. I think Jan would likely agree with me about this one lady who turned out to be my favourite customer. She happened by our table just as Jan and I was enjoying a homemade cookie and coffee. She bought a book from each of us, but was so impressed that we were authors she chimed, “I can’t believe you’re both published authors and you’re just sitting there eating a cookie like it’s nothing.” Yup…that we were. That was just a highlight to the day, although there were many other people who happened by who were quite delightful, as well. So nice to have that kind of support from the community, and nice just to see a friendly smile or have someone stop and chat even if they already have your book or are not planning to purchase one that day. It’s more about meeting the public and enjoying the day. If book sales happen that comes as an added bonus.

Christmas is coming. No need to panic…Deep breath. Some how things will all get done as I mentioned recently on my Facebook status. I know it. The tree is in the stand—not yet decorated, but that’s okay. Maybe on the weekend if we get time. I’m in no hurry for that and can remember a Christmas, not too many years ago, when the tree wasn’t decorated until Christmas Eve. Lots of shopping left to do but that will get done as well. I made fruitcakes a few days ago. (No one eats or wants fruitcake. It’s just something I’ve always done.)

This year, Levi had fun picking out the family tree.😉

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12295427_585814727079_1086416405704928326_nThe Lilly and Lleyton are now three months old, smiling and laughing. What precious a thing it is to see them developing their own personalities.

 

Miss Charlotte brought home her first report card and has even experienced her first snow day of the season in New Brunswick. She’s anxious to come for a visit during the holidays and hasn’t yet met new baby cousins.

12348423_10153274457043951_1571437249_nHere in Nova Scotia it doesn’t look the least bit like Christmas, if you’re used to a white Christmas, that is. All that could change very quickly, and the weather forecast is calling for some snow on Tuesday. We shall see. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be in for a white Christmas. The temperatures have been fluctuating most of the fall.

So there it is, the scoop… sort of. Am I doing any writing? Sure am. While I struggled many day this fall to make the time, I’m actually working on a few projects. I have a piece coming up in another anthology next year and lots of ideas brewing.

So, what’s your scoop or non-scoop? I’ve missed you all these past few weeks.

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