Monday, 16 September 2019

Families and Learning Curves

I just got back from visiting my daughter, her husband and my adorable six year-old grandson. There's always a certain amount of trepidation when visiting family members. Living in such close quarters for even a few days at a time is hard. As a mother, I remember the days of childhood when I was more in control and knew what to say to make things right. Adult children have evolved from the days of learning what you want them to learn and acting like you expect them to. They make choices that define what their lives will become and must learn to live with whatever circumstances that brings. It's a time for parents to step back, listen more and make only comments that are necessary and hopefully wise. It's easy to see adult children as still needing your help and guidance, but they mostly just want your support and friendship.

My relationship with my children has been more difficult than most because they were adopted as babies and found their biological parents as adults. That changes the dynamics of normal parent-child relationships considerably. Patience and undying love no longer make the difference they once did because you are no longer the center of their universe. You must decide to bridle your own wants and desires so they can add two additional families to their lives without feeling like they've hurt feelings or caused too much sorrow. Understanding is complex because feelings do get in the way and hearts feel like they might actually break. It's one of those times when tears shed in private rule most days and a pleasant countenance is expected but hard to maintain.

Watching my daughter face her own challenges helped me to see her more as a person in her own right. I still see parts of the child I raised where stubbornness and the need to be in control rule the day. But I also see a woman who is raising a son who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at three and caring for a husband whose heart is only working at 20 percent capacity. He is going in for a second surgery next week that might raise the pumping capacity by another 20 percent, but that's as good as it will ever be.  I'm amazed at how she is able to handle such difficult circumstances without falling completely apart and am beginning to see why making phone calls or texting happens so rarely. Talking about what she is facing makes it harder for her.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that no life is perfect, and it isn't meant to be. We are supposed to change and grow each day. I love being able to see into someone else's heart for even a few moments. It helps me see that we're all alike -- just doing the best we can and hoping that others will accept that as being enough.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

A new year of learning

It's been a few weeks since I posted anything, but it's not for lack of desire. I've just been incredibly busy with my ten year-old granddaughter. I've had her with me at least three days a week all summer, and with work and church there hasn't been much time for writing anything else--even writing my books or working in the yard and garden. But while it's been a very intense and exhausting summer, I  can't complain about spending time with a child whose imagination is boundless and whose energy far outlasts my own. My little gal prefers animals to most people, but she's my little shadow, and nothing is more satisfying than curling up with her in a chair to watch a movie after a busy day of sewing doll clothes from homemade patterns, baking treats from recipes she finds online for her hamster and rabbits, watching her dance, playing with Barbies and baby dolls, constructing Shopkins' villages or entertaining ourselves in the castle that was constructed in my basement. She's almost outgrown that now, but she's an only child who loves having my undivided attention.

It got me reflecting on my own childhood. I had four sisters and two brothers and we tried to exist in a two bedroom and one bathroom house. We lived on a farm and our toys consisted mostly of sticks, cans and pieces of cardboard. But we did have one great place to escape. In the old fruit orchard were several old cars and trucks, some them laying on their sides. They were rusted and torn up, but we could climb through doors and windows and slid across seats that were loosing their horsehair stuffing and make believe we were traveling to far away and exciting places. We also had a favorite game where we would run along the top boards of the pigpen and try to make it across the sloped roof of the pig's house without falling inside where an angry boar was waiting to rip us apart. 

There were bikes to ride, an empty granary with several rooms we could turn into apartments, and willow tree branches to swing on. It was a fearsome delight each summer to watch our mother chop the heads off a hundred chickens so they could be skinned, washed, packed in milk cartons and stored in the freezer for winter use. There were cats, horses and cows to feed and miles of garden to weed. We seldom had outside friends to play with, and there was never any money for extras, but in many ways I feel lucky because life seemed much simpler then with party telephone lines, no television or computers and two or three outfits to wear to school.

When I tell may granddaughter about my childhood she has no conception of what I'm talking about. Automated life has its advantages, but sometimes I'd like to turn back the years and give the children of today a chance to be free to explore life on their own terms without constant planned activities and cellphones that can't be relinquished. It makes me wonder what my granddaughter will remember when she gets to be my age. I just hope I'm part of her pleasant memories. 


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Pioneer Day

It's July 24th. In Utah that means honoring our pioneer ancestors who traveled across the plains on foot and horseback, and by wagon and handcart, hoping to find a place where they would be free to worship God without persecution and violence. I admire mine greatly for the sacrifices they made. The stories about their lives fill me with gratitude and admiration and make me want to do everything I can to live up to the heritage they gave me. Perhaps part of my added focus comes from being older myself and knowing that it won't be that much longer until I meet them again in heaven to give an account of what I did with my family name. It's a rather daunting thought, but I really do want them to be proud of me.

In many ways, I consider myself, and every other person who lives on the earth, a pioneer in his or her own right. We each must carve out a place for ourselves in a world that is often filled with challenges and heartache that test our strength of character. I see people all around me who are rising above tremendous hardships and still giving back to others. They see the positive when the world around them is filled with chaos. They smile when their lives have fallen apart, and they rejoice with others who are enjoying success. They never become part of a newscast or enjoy any worldly accolades, but they live lives of hope, happiness and service.

I wouldn't want to be the pioneer who had to endure the extent of physical hardship many of my ancestors did. I'm afraid I might have stayed behind or given up during the journey. There are people in many countries who still exist that way today. I admire the selfless sacrifice of others who devote their lives to serving them and try to do my part, but I know it will never be enough. Perhaps that's the reason I wrote my next series. Final Allegiance, the first book in Reagan Sinclair, FBI, series came out today. It's about a 21st century woman who loves family, country and others and is willing to put everything on the line for what she believes. I'd love for any of you to read it and tell me what you think. It's now live at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv in both print and eBook. 


Saturday, 20 July 2019

It's Okay to Fail

So after three months of frustration, lack of sleep and feeling rather hopeless I’m finally admitting defeat when it comes to being able to design covers for the books in my new series. There are plenty of free and relatively non-complex options for designing eBook covers that look okay. Canva is great. I’m sure that’s why so many authors on a very limited budget only go digital, but I love the feel of a real book in my hands. So I sought help from a wonderful and talented friend who will do them for me at a very reasonable cost. I’m sure all of you will appreciate it because the ones I tried did not look good. Now I can quite worrying and feeling bad because the graphic art genes missed me completely and can get back to doing something I feel good about. The first book in the new series should be out in a few days. I’m really excited about it. The story will keep you guessing from first chapter to last. 

I guess my real message for today is that not everyone can do everything well. We need to discover where our talents and limitations lay and be okay with it. I know a great many people who seem to be able to do it all, but I'm sure they have things they feel less than confident about. Sometimes I wish I didn't have so many but I'd stack my work ethic up with most anyone even half my age, and can I ever cook, clean, sew and work in the yard. I was raised without any fluff or fanfare, but that's okay too. I just want to be the best person I can in my own little corner of the world.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Hot Summer Fun

  This will be a little personal since I'm talking about my writing, but I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer months with all the warm weather, gorgeous flowers, family vacations and grass to cut. I'm not a fan of hot weather but so far it hasn't been too bad, as long as I get up by 6 in the morning so I can do yard and garden work before 9. After that, I can spend time writing, doing things with family members and friends or giving service to others two days a week. I love giving back to people who cannot do certain things for themselves  I have been blessed with good health and the ability to do so. It is a great blessing and one I thank God for each day. There is so much suffering in the world, and I want to be part of the group who isn't always taking. That's so easy to do in our society where wants more likely than not outdo needs and people are more concerned with getting ahead than doing good to others. I believe every kind and thoughtful turn comes back a hundred fold in ways we would never expect.
  But back to what I would like to say, and it is about giving.  I'm really excited to announce the July 4 winners of the digital copies of Betrayal - Indecision's Flame - Book 4. I love sharing what I've written with others almost as much as I like writing. So here's a big congratulations to Judy Norris, Misty Mendenhall, Letitia Brower Klein and newrozunak@yahoo. For those whose names have not yet been drawn in a contest, I will be sponsoring another giveaway when the first book in the Final Allegiance series comes out in a few weeks. I'm working on cover-design. It’s very different from writing what goes inside, but I will endure. This new series is very different from Indecision’s Flame, but it does take place in some very exotic locations as Agent Reagan Sinclair begins her extraordinary and challenging service with the FBI. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.
    My knees trembled slightly as I walked past the empty desks of other agents in our division. Some of them were out of the building on assignments, while others would start trickling in as the clock ticked closer to the hour. This was going to be either a very good or a very bad day. The knot that had formed in my stomach while I was in the elevator traveled upwards until it lodged in my throat. What if I was being overly confident?  Nearly half of the new agents washed out the first few months on the job. There were few nine to five assignments and arrival at work didn’t always mean going home at night. Some cases took several days or even weeks to complete, and families couldn’t always be apprised of what was going on. 
   I’ll be sharing more later on my Facebook page and blog, and don’t forget that you can still get the first three books in Indecision's Flame as a Trilogy and save a little money, along with the rest of the books in the series at https://amzn.to/2BXNSdv. If you’ve enjoyed any of books I’d love for you to leave a review. They’re what help us get noticed and would mean a lot. Just use this link to help me out. http://bit.ly/IFReview


  This is the setting for the first book in Final Allegiance. Doesn't it look like a fun place to visit?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Fun of Being a Homeowner

So here's my excuse for not posting something the past few weeks. I'm sure it's one many of you have lived through - probably more than once. It's all about being a homeowner and having things fall apart. It began when I turned on my sprinkler system a few weeks ago and found that every time I turned the outside water on in the house my back yard got sprinkled until I shut it off again. I couldn't get any of the other lines to work. Instead of calling a repair man, I asked a neighbor for help. He struggled with it for a few days thinking the valves in the back might be shot but finally brought another neighbor who figured out that one of the valves in the backyard wasn't sufficiently tightened. He reprogrammed the entire system for me - something I'd been struggling with since moving into the house nearly four years ago.

Once that issue was solved, I turned on the AC only to discover that every time I did it froze up. This time I did call for professional help. The verdict, like so any others, they could try to fix it for almost as much as new one could cost but there was no guarantee it would work through the rest of the summer. The furnace and AC are 16 years old. Apparently, they're only built to last 15 years anymore. It makes me wonder why the old ones would work for 25 years plus. (Perhaps all the new technology makes more than just people a little more lazy.) Anyway, I opted to replace both of them since installation would be a thousand dollars less to do them together. Plus, they would give me a discount and a rebate. That purchase successfully ended any travel plans for the next couple of years.

While I was waiting for them to do the installation, my granddaughter turned on the facet in the guest bathroom, and we couldn't get it to shut off. My son came to see what he could do. He got the hot water  value underneath the sink closed but didn't check the one for cold water. Two days later I walked into the basement to get a can of soup and found water dripping on my head and a whole bunch of it soaking into the floor. My son came to my rescue again and tightened the other valve so the flooding would stop, but he doesn't have time to replace the facet and valves for a week or so. He's in the process of moving. I cleaned up the mess, but it still means that if anyone comes to visit they will have to wash their hands in one of the other sinks.

I'm not sure there's a moral to this story. Life happens and things fall apart. It's how we react to negativity and irritants that really matters. I do believe in divine help and the goodness of others. I believe they work together to help us through the challenging times in life. I'm just very grateful for all my blessing. Life could always be so much worse.

In case I didn't mention it before, the final book in the Indecision's Flame series was released last month. It's a great read for any member of the family, and there's even an option to get the first three as a trilogy and save a little money. I'm hoping I will have a little more time for writing now, but it's a little iffy until school starts because I'll  have my granddaughter with me 2 to 4 days each week. Being with her is a blessing. She's teaching so much.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Remembering Others

So I didn't exactly forget Memorial Day. It's just that I live too far away from the cemetery's where my ancestors are buried to visit them and pay my respects very often. However, I did spend some time thinking about those who had gone before, especially my father. He died when I was thirteen. A sudden heart attack took him away from a wife and 7 little children who needed him desperately. He was tall and lean and kind and truly one of the most hardworking and selfless men I have ever known. He wanted to come a soldier and fight for liberty and truth during World War II, but a heart condition and an injury while playing high school football prevented it until the end was near.

Since he couldn't be sent directly into battle, he became part of the military police who rode the rails back and forth across the United States looking for draft dodgers and deserters. I can't imagine doing that, but it was a necessary part of the process since not everyone wanted to leave their lives of relative ease to help someone else. The last few months he spent on a Del Monte Pineapple Plantation in the Philippine Islands as a medic nursing soldiers back to health. It seemed like such a noble cause until I learned that most of the men he was helping were suffering from venereal diseases. Being young, I didn't know what he was talking about until much later.

That recollection made me think about how important the seemingly simple decisions in life can be.  It might not matter what we eat for breakfast or what we wear on a particular day, but it will matter to someone if we smile when we see a stranger, pick up a piece of litter or think before we speak. Life is about giving something back, not always wanting to be the recipient of something good or wonderful. I applaud those who hang posters on doors asking for old shoes that can be sent to those in need. I marvel at the compassion and help freely given during times of disaster, personal crisis or unrest. I feel great pride when I see the flag flying because I know millions of people sacrificed all they had so our nation could be free. I wish I could do more but need to be content with doing what I can. We choose what we will become and what we will be remembered for. Most days I just want to be remembered as being a replica of my father - minus the tall and lean, I'm afraid. Someday I will see him again, and I want him to be proud of me.

As a quick side note, you have until Friday to get the first three books in the Indecision's Flame series as a trilogy for $.99 by clicking on this link https://amzn.to/2PfLun2.  I'll tell you about book 7 in the series later. It's a must-read for everyone who believes in family, hope and forgiveness.