Like many of you I'm sure, mine was a very busy summer. All three kids were home for awhile, and we spent a lot of time together, but their schedules were so different that we never managed a family vacation. It gets harder with every passing year. Thank goodness for the holidays.
We did manage a trip to King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks with our youngest son and his friend. We were treated to sights of gigantic trees, cascading waterfalls and rushing rapids. We encountered no end of wildlife, including: quail, roadrunners, deer and (due to the strict usage of bear lockers at the campground) the skinniest squirrels I've ever seen. Oddly enough, we heard more French, German and Italian spoken at the touristy places than we did English.
We closed out the summer with a milestone. My husband Bruce and I celebrated 25 years of marriage on September 8th. It was a chance to look back and marvel at the wonderful life we've had together, including the many blessings we've shared.
Here's wishing you had a healthy and fulfilling summer and that autumn will be even better!
It's a lovely spring day today, the kind of day that fills one with hope and the feeling that anything is possible.
With all the negative news that surrounds us in the world today, I hope you will take a moment to consider the blessings you have. Are you in good health? Are your children healthy? Are they happy? Do you still have your job or prospects for work? Do you have a roof over your head? Enough to eat? Clothes on your back? Not everyone does.
Take a minute to be thankful for all that you have and all the good times you've experienced. The gratitude you feel will fill your heart with joy.
I was visiting the blogs of some of my fellow writers today when I happened on a post by Terri Forehand (heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com) about a book titled A Talent for Quiet.
It made me think about what I loved most about growing up. Some of my best memories are of times when we didn't have to be anywhere or rush to do something. Those long, lazy days of summer when I could just settle down with a good book or sit outside and enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass or feel the warmth of the sun on my face. We need to learn how to do that again.
We rush around so much these days, taking the kids to ballet or baseball, to clarinet lessons or soccer practice. There is so little time left just to relax and enjoy this beautiful planet, to watch a sunrise or see the sunset, to observe a colony of ants hard at work or to follow a butterfly as it flits around the garden.
We need to turn off the TV and get out of the house, stop playing the computer games and go for a bike ride. Life is too short to spend it sitting in front of a screen, asking someone else to entertain us.
I had a wonderful opportunity this past Saturday to meet several talented and successful authors at an event called Literary Orange. It was sponsored by the Orange County Public Libraries and the UC Irvine Libraries.
I listened to presentations by three great keynote speakers and attended Q & A panels that featured some wonderful writers. They were very honest about their experiences and shared their thoughts about the writing life with those of us lucky enough to attend.
Writing is a difficult profession filled with unique challenges, but most of these authors admitted that, even though it isn't always easy, they feel compelled to write. It's part of who they are; it's their calling. Their need to share their stories with the rest of us takes precedence over everything else.
If you would like to participate in Literary Orange next year, mark your calendar for April 10, 2010. I'll be there!
Today is the first day of spring. Even though the weather's a bit dreary in So. Cal. today, the birds know it's spring. They are chirping away like mad, eager to celebrate new beginnings, as the flowers come back to life and cherry blossoms abound.
Spring is my favorite time of the year. The weather is mild, but there could still be a rain storm or a heat wave around the corner. I like not knowing which extreme (if either) we'll get. I love the sense of hope and promise that comes with spring.
It's a good time to try new things, to set out on an adventure. The possibilities are endless. So this year, why not try something new? Learn a language or take up a new hobby. Paint a picture, plant an herb garden, learn how to play the piano.
Go ahead. Try something new. What have you got to lose?
My dad emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the 1950's. He was one of 13 children, so we have numerous relatives in Ireland, as well as England, Australia and even Malaysia. I have about 75 first cousins on his side of the family alone.
St. Patrick's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Oddly enough, my dad had never heard of corned beef and cabbage as a traditional St. Paddy's Day meal until he came to the states.
When my kids were little, we had fun with the holiday, dying their apple juice green and serving other "green" foods. We also made Leprechaun traps the day before and left them out, only to find little footprints leading away from the trap. Somehow, they always escaped, but they often left a gold coin or two behind.
What fun we had with a bottle of green food color and an old shoebox and some string. It really is the simple things in life that are the best!
Ever notice how calm you feel when your house is in order? Everything is picked up and resting in its proper place, easy to get to when you need it. There are open spaces on the floor, clean countertops, neat bookshelves. You have a sense of serenity when you look around your home, satisfied that all is well.
Now think about how you feel when the house is a mess, clutter everywhere, the papers you need to find right now are in one of many giant stacks of paper lying around, instead of neatly filed away in the cabinet. Your pulse quickens as your stress level rises. It's hard to focus on what you need to get done, because all around you are reminders of the mess you're in.
Yesterday I made a conscious effort to clean away the clutter from my bedroom. I figured I couldn't fault my son for keeping a sloppy room when mine looked no better than his. I pushed myself to keep going, breaking the task up into small segments of time, focusing on one area at a time. At last, it was done, and I felt a tremendous sense of contentment wash over me. Now everytime I walk into that room I am happy, calm, peaceful.
I'm a freelance writer with a background in technical writing, though I have recently discovered a passion for writing fiction. I am busy at work on a mystery - nearly complete, a romance - well under way, and a children's book - in the brainstorming phase.