Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Red Thread

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know I’ve written a novel called THE INK OF TIME. Many of the smaller details that help tell the story are things that I’ve actually witnessed or experienced.

For example, I have friends who are scuba divers and they’ve talked about getting their certification in very dirty, murky water. This happens in my novel. 

My Grandma Hill had a dog named Duke. In my novel there is a dog named Duke. 

Some of my nephews are in and Irish band and one of them plays the bodhran, which is an Irish drum. I would have never known of this instrument without these young men in my life. A bodhran is a key component in the first part of my story. 

Also, my in-laws, at one time, drank prune juice mixed with vinegar to flush their digestive systems. One of my characters does this too.

These things help tell the story and give the characters life. I’m always on the look-out for ideas. I pay attention to the quirky or unusual.

Like the time Tim and I stopped at a truck stop to eat and the table next to us ordered steak. Who orders steak at a truck stop? This is a priceless bit of information. But it gets even better. When the steaks came out, the patron complained about the steak and proceeded to tell the waitress how to grill a good steak.

I think I laughed about that for five miles after we got back in the car. I’m going to use that snippet of life someday in one of my novels.

Anyway, couple of years ago I happened to notice a UPS calendar in a friend’s office. It was June 2014 and the quote was a Chinese proverb about an invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to meet. That quote gave me the fuel to keep my novel moving. 

Here is an excerpt from my novel that grew from that proverb.

No answer from Otto prompted Hazel to take a red marker and small pad of paper from her backpack. She always carried something to doodle on- inspiration for a new tattoo design could hit at any time. Also, drawing helped her relax. She closed her eyes and started to draw. She started making zigzags across the page. After a bit her hand took control and she relaxed a little more. She only used the red marker, and never picked it up off the page. She drew and drew. Finally, she slept.
My idea of Hazel's doodle.
When she awoke, and as the fog of sleep lifted, she realized that Otto was frowning at the notepad still in her hand. She looked at it to see why. At first glance the page looked like a red scribble, like an angry knot of red yarn. But when she looked into the white negative space of the red doodle, the shape of the state of Alaska appeared. Attached by a crimson line across the paper, floating in the white space of the page, was a scribbled bundle of an infant swaddled in red. It looked as if a baby, floating in a vacuum, was tethered to Alaska.
“Well, this is interesting,” Otto said. “What’s it all about, Hazel?”
“I couldn’t relax. I tried to talk to you, but you fell asleep, so I had to do something,” Hazel explained. “Drawing always makes me feel better. I fell asleep while I was doodling.”
“It looks like Alaska…” Otto said.
“…with a baby tied to it,” Hazel finished in a whisper.
They looked at it a moment longer then Hazel closed her notepad and stowed it as they prepared to land at the Fairbanks International Airport…

Then, this weekend I went to a library used book sale and found a book that kind of shocked me. The title is The Red Thread and it’s by Ann Hood. This book was written six years ago in 2010.

The blurb on the inside cover says it’s about a lady who opens an adoption agency that finds homes for Chinese baby girls in American homes. My book, without giving a spoiler, touches on this subject as well. I hope this story is not my story!!  

After I read The Red Thread, I’ll write a review for it.
I also looked on line and found that the “red thread idea  is somewhat synonymous with adoption. It's strange that I was drawn to that quote,  along with having never heard it before, adapted it to that very concept in my book.

Life is always full of 

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Craft Club

I have a group of friends that I do crafts with. We call our get-togethers Craft Club.

My friend Karen is the mastermind and creative guru for the rest of us girls. (She even has her own craft-room! It’s like a Man Cave only better.) We do what she says and our crafts usually turn out pretty nice.  I didn’t think I would like doing crafts and I was skeptical of my creative abilities, but this group of girls makes it fun. We eat. We drink. We laugh. We encourage.

Some of my projects have turned out better than others. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised in what I’ve created.  The Hearts-on-a-Stick craft involved a lot of hand sewing. I found that I really enjoy sewing and have now taken up 

Below is a little photo gallery of some of our crafts over the past couple of years.
Halloween Door Hanging
Christmas Painting
Hearts-on-a-Stick sewing craft
Fourth of July Wreath

So, this week I ventured out on my own in the crafting department. I found a door “wreath” on Pinterest that I liked and thought I could probably pull it off. I’m happy with the outcome. I think my Craft Club girls will be impressed too!
$3.98 Walmart Spray
$2.99 particle board
(not real wood) letter R
$5.00 picture from Goodwill.
I only needed the frame so I
removed the picture and glass

Sandpaper, paint, and super glue.
Inviting front door on a budget.

My Pinterest inspiration.
My Pin-spiration!

I would love to see and hear about any craft projects ---or really any project--- that you’ve had fun with or learned from.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself,


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My First 5K

All the medals!
This past Saturday I participated in my very first 5K Run Walk.

Like many 5K’s this one had a cause that it supported. There are Run Walk 5K’s for any matter of diseases – and this one wasn’t any different. Well, maybe it was different. You see, most diseases are of physiological and biological origins. The disease I walked for is not. I walked for awareness of sociological disease. A problem in our society. (And there are many, but that’s another story for another day.)
A closer look.

I participated in the inaugural Iowa event of the OfficerDown 5K. This 5K’s purpose was to celebrate and support officers who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities save and to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.

This cause is near and dear to my heart because my beautiful son is a police officer. It is not a profession I would have chosen for him, but it’s also not a surprise to me that he was called to this duty. My son, since he was a very little boy, had (and has) a strong sense of right and wrong. Not that he didn’t get in trouble like any kid does, because he did, but that he could see injustices and wrongs at a very early age.  And he was always perplexed by them. He would ask: Why do they do that? Why did that happen?

He is proud of his work and I am proud of him.

I want people to understand. There are good and bad folks in every profession. But a profession in and of itself is not evil. I want people to understand this.

I pray for my son’s safety every night. I wake up in the night and pray for him.

Nate and 2 of his Tutu-wearing nieces enjoy the fun run!

It's a family event.
Nate's wife (in the middle with him) and her family,
along with ours.

Papa  (Nate's dad) and Adalyn (niece) at the starting line.

Nate's brother in law Phil came in third
in the men's division.
And Nate's sister Erin ran with 2 kiddos in her jogging stroller!

Youngest niece, Willow, enjoys the stroller ride!

According to Officer Down Memorial Page, 99 officers have been killed in the line of duty this year between January 2016 and October 2016.  Forty-four killed by gunshot.
Just this past week, three officers were shot and killed in the USA.  

From the Officer Down Memorial Page:

“Police Officer Blake Snyder was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance on the 10700 block of Arno Drive in Green Park, Missouri, shortly after 5:00 am.
He and another officer had arrived at the scene and were met with gunfire immediately as they exited their patrol cars. Officer Snyder was shot at point blank and killed instantly. The second officer was able to return fire and wounded the subject.”

“Police Officer Lesley Zerebny and Police Officer Gil Vega were shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the 2700 block of Cypress Road shortly after noon. A family member from the home had gone to a neighbor's house and and stated that his son was armed and wanted to shoot police officers. Responding officers, including Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny, arrived at the scene several minutes later. The man inside the home opened fire on them as they approached the front door, killing Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny and wounding a third officer.

“Officer Zerebny had served with the Palm Springs Police Department for 18 months. She was survived by her husband, who also serves in law enforcement, and 4-month-old child.
Officer Zerebny was scheduled to retire only two months after his murder. He was working an overtime shift on the day he was murdered. He is survived by his wife and eight children.
Officer Snyder had served with the St. Louis County Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife and 2-year-old son.

The 5K was a great success. It was comforting to be in the company of people who understand what it’s like to have a family member in law enforcement. It’s the only job (other than a soldiers') who, when gunfire erupts, they run toward it. Holy cow and Dear Lord.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself and Back the Blue.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

THE Vows

Wedding vows are what I'm talking about.

In this past month, we've had three weddings to attend. Weddings are fun. They're all about celebration and anticipation. They're all about making commitments and renewing commitments.

...for better, for worse. In sickness and health, until death do us part...

We, who are married, have said these grave yet sincere words with lightness in our hearts. Of course we mean them, but at that moment we can't fully grasp the concept of their seriousness. 

It's probably part of God's grand design.

This weekend, I was graced with the opportunity to witness these very vows in action. Friends from back in the Glory Days of our youth, softball leagues, and newly married life are fighting cancer. It's a family battle, to be sure.

Cancer is a mean MotherFu%#@r.  A group of three couples from the Glory Days went to visit this couple at their home near the beach. Of the eight of us, you would be hard pressed to tell which one of us is sick. Our friend looks fit and strong.

But he's not. There is no drug or treatment to help him. Their family is living on borrowed time. I just can't imagine it.

I find myself fighting the urge to ask God how and why this happens to good people. I know I can't, because the answer is not for me to know. Not yet anyway.

I try to only look at the graces, the positives of this situation, that have come to this couple in their time of need. There are many. People of their community have reached out to support them. I am grateful for that, since they live so far from family and old friends.

I am grateful for my friends' strong commitment in each other. I am grateful for my friend's beautiful sense of humor.
I am grateful for my ability to travel to visit people and places. I never take that for granted.
I am grateful for my health. I never take that for granted either.
I am grateful that I have the ability to work.
I am grateful for my family and friends.

I send my love to Surfer Girl and Softball Guy.

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself and your spouse.