"...IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, DOORS WILL OPEN FOR YOU THAT WOULDN'T HAVE OPENED FOR ANYONE ELSE." - Joseph Campbell

"SOMETIMES ON THE WAY TO YOUR DREAM, YOU GET LOST AND FIND A BETTER ONE." - Lisa Hammond

"IT IS POSSIBLE AT ANY AGE TO DISCOVER A LIFELONG DESIRE YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD." - Robert Brault


"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN." - George Eliot

"WE DID NOT CHANGE AS WE GREW OLDER. WE JUST BECAME MORE CLEARLY OURSELVES." - Lynn Hall

"GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGED." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 28, 2010

** HAPPINESS 101 **

My blogger friend, Daisy, recently posted this meme and invited anyone who was interested to accept the tag and name 10 things that make them happy. This is the first time I've done one of these, and I even had to look up the definition of "meme". Sounds way too scientific to me! But I get the idea. Just "keep it going"!

So, I'll do this the way Daisy did. I'm not going to "tag" any particular people. If you'd like to join along, just grab this photo and post it on your blog. Then write the 10 Things That Make You Happy. Daisy wrote hers in a poem. She's so talented! She's on my Blog List, so check out her lovely blog, "Dancing With Daisy".

I have one thing to add and this is not a "rule", it's just a thought I had. Since most of us would say our family and/or friends, and name specific people, I'm not going to use such generaliztions. Since I have hundreds of things that make me happy, I shouldn't have a problem with this!

1. Writing
2. Laughing
3. Dancing
4. Singing
5. Reading
6. Candles burning
7. Learning
8. Chirping birds
9. Walking on my trail
10. My dog, Tiger (especially watching her let out a heavy sigh, while laying on her quilt)

Okay, there's my Happines 101 List! If you'd like to write about the things that make you happy and continue this meme, please consider yourself tagged and take the logo back with you to post on your blog.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

Friday, February 26, 2010

** Part 2 of Yesterday's "To Be Continued" **

My apologies for not continuing this last night!

Well, I did sing and dance my way around the house yesterday for awhile, and that helped my mood considerably. But, what really got me back into my Writing Zone, was a documentary on HBO Family last night. It was almost half over when I happened upon the station, but those few moments were rejuvenating. It was "Hard Times for An American Girl: The Great Depression".  The following is the description on the website:

"The very young and the very old teach and inspire each other in this documentary focusing on what it was like to grow up during the Great Depression. Children interview folksinger Pete Seeger, artist Faith Ringgold, poet Philip Levine, and others, and learn about how the 1930s changed their lives. Mixing archival films, photos and kids discovering history, this half-hour film is a meditation on happiness and survival during very hard times. Directed and produced by Amy Schatz."

As soon as it was over, I marched upstairs to my office and got down to bidness on my book! I settled down, settled in,  and accomplished quite a bit. I'm feeling great today and I pledge to continue....feeling great and writing my book, that is!

Thanks so much to all of you who left such encouraging comments yesterday! They meant so much to me!

"A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." -- Anonymous

Thursday, February 25, 2010

** Thursday's Thimble of Therapy **

Okay. I'm feeling a little bit rowdy today and I'm not really sure why. I was up until 2:00 am last night (er...this morning) writing and submitting something that meant quite a lot to me. I woke up "bright eyed and bushy tailed" about 6:30 am and I've been doing various tasks around the house ever since. Knowing my medical history, my temporarily energetic self will be hitting the wall soon and I'm sure to need a nap. But right now, I'm quite the opposite and feeling a bit hyper.

I have no idea why the word "rowdy" came to mind. I've never described myself by that word, ever! But it's the perfect word for how I'm feeling. I'm having some writing issues. I'm agitated. I'm discombobulated!

In fact, I probably need to get away from my laptop and go do some physical work. Not a problem! I have laundry to do. I have an entire room that needs decluttering...but do I really feel like doing those chores? Heck, no! Okay, I know what to do. Turn on some music and turn up the volume, and dance, dance, dance!

To Be Continued...........

"I know Kung Fu, Karate & 47 other dangerous words." - Unknown

Monday, February 22, 2010

** My Blue & White Chicken Cookie Jar **

I noticed recently that Kathy of "Oregan Gifts of Comfort and Joy" had photos of her decorative chicken collection posted on her blog. It reminded me of when I decorated my kitchen with a chicken motif. It was years ago and in a different house. I had a cute chicken wallpaper border, and a chicken spoon rest and other knick-knacks, but my favorite item, by far, was this gorgeous blue and white cookie jar! It sits proudly on the baker's shelf in the kitchen of my "new" home, which we've lived in for seven years already. I'm so happy that I kept it! (It's probably obvious that Chicky isn't resting on my baker's shelf for this photo! I set her on a chair by a window for a better background.)

*Note: If anyone has manufacturing-type information about this cookie jar, please let me know.  I was so sure it was part of the "Auntie Em" Collection by Treasure Craft, but I can't find anything about it. I spent way too much time online last night, searching for photos or info about it. I have an "Auntie Em" Collection spoon rest, with the same colors and a chicken painted on it, that I'm sure I bought at the same time in the 1980's. And I'm pretty sure I purchased them at Dillards. I just cannot believe that I can't find another one like it! I Googled it and looked at all the various sites....but nothing!

I feel so blessed to have "met" so many new friends through my blog. I look forward every morning to reading the newest posts and viewing the newest photos!

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” -- Dale Carnegie

Sunday, February 21, 2010

** Various Thoughts on a Sunday Evening **

Hey Everyone! It's been a fun and busy weekend. I actually had some laptop withdrawals this afternoon because I'd been so busy with other things!

I got some awesome house cleaning accomplished yesterday; due to having friends over for the evening! I don't normally "clean" anymore for friends....hey, we accept each other for who we are, right?!... but a new couple also joined us, so that was cause to get out the old dust rags, put away the clutter, and vacuum! It looks lovely and I hope we can keep it that way!!

Once again, congratulations to Kathy of the Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy blog for winning the Bread Alone book! I'll be sure and get it mailed tomorrow, for you, Kathy!

In case anyone wonders how I handle the random drawing, I am happy to explain! I asked a blogger-friend how she handles her contests and she told me about http://www.random.org/. It's a fascinating site, but I've never spent a lot of time browsing through it. I just type in the number of contestants in the True Random Number Generator, click on Generate, and voile'......The Winner is chosen! (Also, I read through all the comments about bread making, starting with the first one, which was Linda O., and so she was Number 1, etc.etc. And the person with the number that came up was Kathy.) Just so everyone knows it is Fair & Square! I do not "choose" who wins....the computer does!!

How many of you are watching the Winter Olympics? My husband and I have really enjoyed so much of it. We are big fans of Apolo Ohno and watched last night as he earned a Bronze Medal, to break the tie he had with Bonnie Blair. What makes him such a fan favorite, too, is his inspiring story. Here's the link to his official website, but it takes forever to load, probably due to millions of people trying to read it! I finally gave up! http://www.apoloantonohno.com/.

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." -- Tommy Lasorda

Saturday, February 20, 2010

** AND THE WINNER OF "BREAD ALONE" IS......**

Good morning everyone! It feels a teeny bit like spring here today......birds chirping,  rain in the forecast, and predicted high temperature of a balmy 45 degrees! (I could do without the rain, though.)

And, now to announce the winner of the contest.......drum roll please.....tah da......It's Kathy at Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy!! Congratulations, Kathy!! You have won a fabulous book, to add to your roomful of books!! The first edition, autographed copy of "Bread Alone" by Judith Ryan Hendricks!!  Please send me an e-mail with your address and I'll get it mailed on Monday.

Thanks again to everyone that took the time to enter. I really enjoyed reading all the comments.

"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done." -- Stephen Wright
   

(I've used this quote before, but after reading Cathy C.'s blog this morning, I just had to use it today!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bread Alone Contest & A Runaway Zebra

(photo: Harper Collins)
Bread Alone: There's still some time left to be in my contest that ends tonight at midnight CST. Just leave a comment about making bread in the post of February 13th. It's that easy! One lucky person, to be randomly chosen, will be the winner of the autographed book, "Bread Alone"! Tell all your friends, neighbors and fellow bloggers!
“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” -- Robert Browning


Runaway Zebra:  **This is part of an e-mail from my niece in Atlanta. I hadn't even heard about the poor zebra that was trying to run away from the circus.**John and I were on the interstate with the runaway zebra yesterday!!.... at 5:00 and we were headed to Bremen.....We got on the entrance ramp to the south bound connector and all of a sudden a zebra ran past the car...right next to me! I could have touched him. Bless his heart, he just does not want to be in the circus! Luckily, it was during rush hour and people were inching along so I felt like he wouldn't get hit. He was safely caught and treated for bloody hooves. He's now having some R&R time before he does another show. He was singing his heart out as he ran past my car...♪♫♪..Born free, as free as the wind blows ♪♫...as free as the grass grows...♪♫...I know he was thinking about the Kapiti Plain! *Aww..that poor zebra. I feel so sorry for him *

"Look there daddy, do you see? There's a horse in striped pajamas.
No, thats not what it is at all. That's an animal people call a zebra.
I see, but it still looks like a horse in striped pajamas to me."
(courtesy http://www.allthelyrics.com/)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

JUDITH RYAN HENDRICKS, ERMA BOMBECK & MORE

Contest Update:  There's still plenty of time to post your comment(s) on whether you've ever made homemade bread or not. If you haven't read about the contest, go to my post of Saturday, February 13th, see how easy it is to enter and you could possibly be the winner of a wonderful, autographed book, by Judith Ryan Hendricks! And remember, you may post 2 separate comments, which gives you twice the chance to win! (Contest ends at midnight this Friday, February 19th.)

More Judith Ryan Hendricks News: If you've read the first 2 books in the Bread Alone Series, you'll be thrilled to hear that she is currently writing the 3rd book in that series. The tentative title is: Baker's Blues. (No publication date yet.) AND, in the next few days or weeks, I will post an interview with Judi right here on my blog! More about that later.

Erma Bombeck Contest: I checked on the status of the entries at Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop and it said to expect results in mid-March. Gosh. I don't think I can hold my breath that long. Especially when I keep hearing to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, in order to get into my Writing Zone so I can write, write, write my book!

Tiny-Lights Essay Contest:  Don't forget to get your entries in the mail and post marked by this Friday, February 19th. (Snail mail only.) Some great winning dollars there and Susan Bono is a fabulous person  And, I'm not just saying that because I work for her! Tiny-Lights Contest

"Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out." -- Unknown

Saturday, February 13, 2010

** RULES FOR MY NEWEST CONTEST **

Yesterday's "schedule" didn't work the way it was written. Imagine that! So, although I said I'd post the rules for my new contest on the 12th, here they are on the 13th!

In order to be eligible to win the autographed, First Edition copy of Judith Ryan Hendrick's book, "Bread Alone", all you have to do is post a comment, stating 1) Whether or not you have ever made "homemade bread".  2) Was it in a bread making machine, or the old-fashioned way? And, it doesn't have to be white bread. Any type qualifies. So, that's it! You may post up to 2 separate comments. Tell all your book-loving and bread-baking friends to stop by and post a comment, too! I loved this book! It's been a couple of years since I read it, but the characters have stayed with me.

Example of your comment: "Yes I've made bread in a bread machine." (It doesn't have to be long and drawn out. But, if you'd like to share what kind of bread, recipes and anecdotes, etc. please do so!)

Oh, by the way, chances of winning has nothing to do with whether you made bread by hand, or by machine!The winner will be chosen randomly!

These 2 photos are from my ancient, Betty Crocker, paper back cook book. As you can see in the photo below, the book has been lovingly used many times. Above is the page with the white bread recipe I always followed....the old-fashioned way. I haven't made any bread in a long time, though, except in my bread making machine. I'm hoping this contest will revive that old spirit in me!

"Bread Alone" is not only a fabulous novel, but Judi includes a few mouth watering bread recipes as well. Thus....my reasoning for this contest!!

** Contest will be open from midnight tonight until midnight this coming Friday, Feb.19th. **

"It's so exciting not knowing what is going to happen next. One day I might be baking bread, the next I could be jumping out of an aeroplane!" --  Liz Barker

(photos courtesy of Bp)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

* Thoughts Straight From My Head To Your Eyes *

* Today, February 11, 2010 is my 27th wedding anniversary! Thank you, thank you very much! My wonderful husband surprised me by taking me to one of my favorite restaurant, Erio's. Youngest son, Mark and his girlfriend, Jenni also met us there, which was also part of the surprise! It's a nearby family-owned italian restaurant that I really like, but we never seem to think of it when we DO go out to eat, which isn't very often. My wisdomly astuteness for a happy marriage: Laughter and Love. Similar beliefs. Patience and Kindness. All pretty much in that order! By the way, I don't do math very well, so can someone please tell me how I can be married 27 years when I'm only 35 years old? (in my head, that is!)
 Chicken Soup for the Soul; Love Stories: I  have a story in this about us.

* I have a new contest lined up and this time the prize will be an autographed copy, first edition: Bread Alone, by Judith Ryan Hendricks!! When I e-mailed Judi and asked if she would like to be part of my next contest, she replied immediately that she was "honored and delighted", then offered the first edition, to "make it an even nicer prize." Besides being a fabulous writer, she is such a lovely person! Bread Alone was published in 2002. I've read all four of Judi's books and I'm looking forward to the one she's working on now! If you haven't read any, you've really missed out on some wonderful novels. You can learn all about Judi and her books when you click on the link above. Oh, by the way: Contest rules to be listed tomorrow!

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." -- Victor Hugo

* Huh? Are You Kidding Me? *

A funny thing happened while I was typing an e-mail recently....

I'm only familiar with AOL's way of doing things, so I don't know if the rest of the world has something like this in their e-mail spell-check program or not.....

As I was referring to a mutual friend, named Rita, I spelled it: Reeeeters, because that's what we call her sometimes. AOL, in its infinite spelling wisdom, decided to suggest other words to replace the "misspelled" one. The following list of words, in order, were provided as possible replacements: Beefeaters, Beekeepers, Respecters, Regenerates, Freebooters, Recreates, Regenerators, Repeaters, Requesters, Roomettes, Beefeater, Executers, Rebutters, Remitters, Reregisters, and Receptors.

The first two were actually my favorites and I immediately began to laugh out loud when I read them. By the time I got to "Freebooters", I was really howling and then totally lost it with "Roomettes" and "Beefeater" as if maybe the singular of "Beefeaters" was a better choice!

"Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?" -- Woody Allen

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

** Various Thoughts on a Tuesday Evening **

Hello Everyone! It's a brisk 19° this evening, with a wind chill of 4°. We received about 4 inches of snow between last night and early today. It's beautiful and it's windy and it's cold! BUT, am I complaining? No way! You know why? Because I don't live in the part of the country that is trying to dig out of 2 to 3 FEET of snow!! Yowza!

Okay, now on to some information you may actually care to read about:

1) Tiny Lights Essay Contest is still open! Submissions have to be snail-mailed and must be postmarked by February 19th. That's ten days from now, so get your pencils or keyboards going and enter! There's some really good prize money to be won....5 prizes in the standard category and 3 prizes in flashpoint. Click on the link provided and read all the rules.

2) Speaking of Tiny Lights, my wonderful friend, Tammy Goodsell, is included in this month's "Searchlights & Signal Flares".  << click on that, then down to Latest Question; "What is a writer's Golden Rule?" Click on that and you'll see Tammy's essay, along with others. She's listed as T'Mara Goodsell. (Or, you can also get there by clicking on the Tiny Lights Logo, almost directly across from this) Congratulations, Tammy, for being published!

3) I've mentioned various books before that have inspired me and helped me along my writing journey. I came across the name of one recently (don't remember where I read about it) that I had buried in my book shelves and somehow had never read! Imagine that?! I dug it out about 3 days ago, when I was going through my major panic attack about my writing ability. It is a scathingly brilliant book!! (that's for you, Cathy C...I think!) The name of it is: "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life", by Ann Lamott. Many of you may have already read it, because it's not a new book (1995), plus the fact that every writer should buy this book, and read this book, and re-read, and re-read, etc.! It is full of great advice, hilarious anecdotes, and appears as if it was written just for YOU! It has been a huge part of helping me work through my fears and motivate me to WRITE! I can't recommend it enough.

4)  And, speaking of Books and Contests... I'll be having another contest to win a book, either the end of this month, or in March. More details to follow!

5)  Last, but not least.....Here's another one of my "Twilight Zone" moments that I'd like to share. Yesterday, I was looking for something in my china cabinet and came across a couple of photos I keep in one of the drawers. One is a picture, taken in 1970 of my (now deceased) maternal grandma on her 82nd birthday. (I know all this because it was written on the back of the photo, thank goodness!) She is standing between her dining room table, and her china cabinet. The table is all decked out with a fancy white table cloth, silverware, a crystal punch bowl, coffee pot, etc. I'm so glad that somehow I'm the one who ended up with this particular picture! I brought it upstairs with me to, to pin to my cork board along with a few other old pictures, for additional writing inspiration. I glanced at the back of it one more time before I actually got around to pinning it up today, and read again with a little more awareness, and saw that yesterday, February 8th, was her birthday!!! Do do do doooooo ♪♫♪♪

"Happiness...it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, February 8, 2010

*MY BOOK HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY A PUBLISHER*

* This morning, March 5, 2013 I stumbled upon this blog post and felt the need to write an update. Since I wrote this on Feb 8, 2010, I struggled for the next two and a half years, fighting writer's block, and everything else that gets in a writer's way. But I finally did complete my memoir in November 2012. I hired a professional editor, which I HIGHLY recommend, whether you're self-publishing, or going with a traditional publishing company. Late in 2012, I also chose to part ways with HHP, and fortunately it was amicable. At this date, I'm examining several publishing options. If you, too, have stumbled across this post, please go to the newest post for current news.*

I have some very exciting news to share! My book, based on the writing I've completed so far, has been accepted by High Hill Press, a small publishing company!!!

After my initial elation, came mind numbing fear, and then anguish concerning my talent and ability. Thank goodness we were at a friends' home last night, watching the Super Bowl, talking, and eating wonderful food, so my mind was able to wander and forget my angst for a few hours!

After speaking with L.T. on the phone today, I'm feeling more secure, confident and ready to blast off into Best Seller Land! ( hey, if I'm gonna dream, I'm gonna dream BIG! ) Don't look for it anytime soon, though. I have a long way to go to finish it.


"A best seller was a book which somehow sold well simply because it was selling well." -- S. Boorstein

Saturday, February 6, 2010

** It's Working Again! More News To Follow! **

Yay! I can blog again! I can blog again!  Thanks to all my blogger buddies who so quickly answered my request this morning for help. I was really surprised at the swiftness and kind words......although, I shouldn't have been.....y'all are wonderful people!

Unfortunately, I had already tried everything everyone suggested, and it still would not let me post anything new. I could swear I also tried it on my main computer and not just my laptop....but, as I just signed on and tried it here on the main one.....it is working! Alas, the laptop is still not working, but that can certainly wait for now, until I can send out a call for help!!

How stifling it's been to not be able to blog. How frantic I've felt! Guess I'm kind of addicted, huh?!

* On February 3rd, I wrote about having some new ideas for my blog. (Not being able to post, wasn't one of them!) I thought of the NANOWRIMO "Word Counter" that many used during November. I wanted to have something similar to let people know how well, or not so well, I'm doing with writing my book. So, my hope is to add a new Gadget on the right had column, to display that information. I won't always be posting a word count, because some days I may just be organizing some things I've already written and putting them into chapters. I may post how many chapters or pages I've written, also, instead of a word count. I think it will really help and encourage me, having that to look at! So, please feel free to make comments about what you see on it, too. You can't leave comments on the Gadget area itself, but you can leave one at my newest post, or whatever I might think of later.

Thanks again to all my friends who answered my call for help this morning.....even those kind enough to answer and say, "I have no answers!"

"How beautiful a day can be, when kindness touches it!" -- George Elliston

Thursday, February 4, 2010

* Some Concluding Thoughts on the Retreat *

*Note: When I began writing this, it was still Wednesday, so I kept my promise! *Okay, as promised, I'm going to try to put into words just how much this past weekend meant to me. It pains me, as a writer, to say "try to put into words". How can that be? How can I have such trouble putting all my various thoughts and feelings into words? I guess because it had such a profound effect on me. Sometimes those kind of events stir up my emotions into a fury and I can't get them out fast enough. Other times, it may take weeks, months, even years for my mind to wander through the maze of information and feelings, and reveal them.

I've been to writers' conferences before, both large and small. I've learned quite a bit about writing and met a new friend or two. I've also attended "religious" retreats, but those were many years ago, during my youth. Sometimes, I would leave feeling somewhat enlightened, for a while at least.

But, to combine a writers workshop along with a spiritual awakening program, limited to 30 women participants, was pure genius. The title was: Coming Home: Writing from the Soul. A Winter Retreat for Women. We learned how to write to express our inner self. We laughed. We wept. We sang. We danced. We made some life long friendships.

This was the first time Mary Kay Shanley and Joyce Rupp combined their talents, to host a presentation together. It was magical & powerful. We learned about Free Writing and Reflective Writing: Both were new terms to me and I learned so much in those brief discussions. A couple of things from our Saturday assignment:
"Reflective writing falls somewhere between learning and thinking. We reflect so we can learn. We learn as a result of reflecting."
"Reflective writing takes us to our inner self, to the heart of us, to our soul. "

I was amazed at some of the personal thoughts & experiences we all shared. I reminded myself to be more aware of others, and their actions and personalities. For some reason, too, I was surprised to learn that many of the women were teachers in various ways; full time, part-time, retired, some only taught creative writing, etc. Some were business women with high powered jobs, others were stay at home moms.The age group was what I had expected: 30's to 60+.  When looking at and speaking with these women, age didn't come into any thought or consideration. We were all just interested in learning about ourselves and each other.

May Kay Shanley is a fantastic writer & teacher. She is the author of 9 books. She has a wonderful sense of humor and had us laughing most of the time, except when she handed out our nightly assignments! (just kidding!) Check out her website for other upcoming workshops and classes.

Joyce Rupp, although a member of the Servite Sisters, is nothing like any nun I've ever known! She has studied just about every religion, visited just about every country, gives conferences and retreats both nationally and internationally and is the author of 20 books. Not too long ago, she "walked the Camino in Spain". That is something worth looking up and reading about. (*This woman is in her late 60's. If I remember correctly, she said she gave herself that gift for her 60th birthday.)

The writing and the spiritual awakening fit together perfectly. There was great balance between the two, and the spriritual part was just that: spiritual. It wasn't religious. What the entire weekend was......was perfect!

Left photo: Jackie and Shirley. Right photo: Kathy.

                                                                                                                         
"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." --Erma Bombeck 
                                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

** More News and Updates Forthcoming **

* Sometime today, I promise, I will write more about the wonderful weekend conference in Iowa.

* Also, I have some new ideas concerning my blog and will share those when I figure them out completely!

* Until then, I'll be doing other jobs inside, listening all the while to the beautiful little red cardinal singing ♫♪ outside nearby. It makes me smile, not only with my mouth, but with my eyes, and my entire being.
(photo courtesy: statelibrary.ncdcr.gov)

"My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather."-- Loire Hartwould

** Norman Rockwell **

Today is the anniversary of Norman Rockwell's birth. He was born on February 3, 1894 in New York City. What an immense talent he had, and how fortunate we are because he shared it with the world. I've been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I've purchased coffee mugs, note cards, Christmas cards....maybe even a deck of playing cards.....all with his beautiful and delightful drawings on them.

Sometime soon after September 11, 2001, I came across the charming collector's plate: "Freedom from Want". I don't remember if I saw it in a store or online, but it immediately offered such a sense of nostalgia and hope and goodness, that I knew I had to buy it. I hung it in our dining room and it was the perfect image
for our Thanksgiving dinner that year. When discussing it with one of my daughters-in-law, she said she knew instantly what gifts to buy me for Christmas and upcoming birthday. Below are all four of the "Freedom" plates. From top left: Freedom from Want & Freedom of Speech. From below left: Freedom from Fear & Freedom of Worship.

(photo taken by Becky 2/3/10)

In honor of Mr. Rockwell, I promise to stop & admire these plates more, instead of just passing them as I walk by, going about my daily chores. Happy Birthday, Mr. Rockwell. You have enriched my life!

"The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back." -- Norman Rockwell

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

* All The Books in My First Blog Contest *

I just remembered this afternoon that with being gone for the retreat and trying to write about that.....plus today being Groundhog Day, and posting about that, I'd forgotten to list all the suggested books during my contest last month. So, here they are, in the order I received them, by title, author, and person who sent it.

1)  The Help, by Kathryn Stockett   (Pat W.)
2)  Cracker Factory, by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt  (T'mara G.)
3)  Rhyme Stew, by Roald Dahl  (Daisy)
4)  Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden, by William Baldwin  (Claudia)
5)  Mama Makes Up Her Mind, by Bailey White  (Karrie)
6)  Sleeping at the Starlight Motel, by Bailey White  (Karrie)
7)  Old Songs in a New Cafe, by Robert James Waller  (Karrie)
8)  Book of Unhold Mischief, by Elle Newmark  (Janel)
9)  Face Down Upon an Herbal, by Kathy Lynn Emerson  (Janel)
10) Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan  (Donna V.)
11) All the Numbers, by Judy Merrill Larson  (Teri S.)
12)  Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons  (Cathy C. H.)
13) City of Lights, by Lauren Belfer  (Susan Bono)*Editor at Tiny-Lights*
14) The Intelligencer, by Leslie Silbert  (Lisa Ricard Claro)
15) Goodbye Glamour Girl, by Erika Tamar  (Krysten)

So, there you have it! Looks like a wonderful variety of books that these women loved enough to want to share with others. Awwww......so many books, so little time!

"I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things." -- George Robert Gissing

** HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY! **

And now, a few words and photos from one of my favorite movies: "Groundhog Day", starring Bill Murray.







"Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today."
~~~~~
"Hey now, don't you tell me you don't remember me 'cause I sure as heckfire remember you."



                                        
"NEEDLE-NOSE NED?...NED RYERSON?"  ..... "BING!"




                                 (photos courtesy imdb.com and archive.dailypicture.net)

"IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! ..... LET'S LIVE HERE!"

"Love is the answer. Shine on us all. Set us free. Love is the answer."
   -- EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Monday, February 1, 2010

** A Life Changing Experience **

I am not exaggerating when I say this past weekend has changed me. And in such positive & powerful ways I may not even be able to convey them, nor may I want to, at least not completely. What? Me, speechless? Yes.

I will surely post more information and photos later, but for now I just wanted to let everyone know I'm home.

"Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life, and that person was you. It is not too late to become that person again." -- Robert Brault