Super Bowl Sunday

STOP!! This has nothing do to with the football game later today, except to say I’ll be watching later. I’ve become a fan of Patrick Mahomes, and admire this very young man for how he is handling the intense spotlight. He comes from good stock, as his father was a professional baseball for the Minnesota Twins. It’s a great story. Hard, hard work, dedication, confidence, humility, generosity towards others, it’s all there. This is a story like many others of us who work day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Some of it is very hard and others never see it. As we build our foundations concrete block by concrete block, others resort to the poured walls method we see in construction now. It’s a quick way to get the job done, with fewer materials and less (much less) labor costs. Many block and brick layers are no longer in business, but the trade misses them. Just like many trades today. Hurting for skilled, dedicated workers, who are not afraid of hard work, and who will go the extra mile to do the job right. I have always been a huge fan of men (and now women) who can work with their hands. We need them all desperately.

Part of what we need is the mindset that comes with those professions. Not afraid to get dirty. They are really artists when you get down to it. A framer can eyeball things and often come up with the right measurement and right angle to cut the wood. Just to be safe, they measure and cut. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made, but not like people who have no idea what to do or how to do it. It’s that way when trying to learn new skills. Whether it be carpentry, block and brick wall building, quilting, writing, sewing garments, or blogging. Practice is needed. Sometimes years of practice. And the better materials you can afford, the better your outcome. But you can still do the job if you have budget concerns.

My family is a family of people who learned how to do many things by building and creating. My dad owned a full service gas station and garage after WWII. He sold it before he went to Korea. He could always listen to an older engine or drive the car and tell you what could be wrong with it. He was skilled that way. He could work with electricity in the house, (plumbing, not so much), building walls, (finishing and refinishing woodwork, he could do it all. My brothers have followed suit. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes. She did flower arranging about twenty years ago, when she was a youngster of 70. My older brother was good with cars and due to his small stature, ran many of the first computer cables in the old Omaha World Herald building in the 1980s when the computer age was beginning. He is good at the guts and workings of some electronic things. A younger brother worked as a machinist, a draftsman, and now works for that gutter guard company. The youngest brother works for CAT, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. He is a mechanic, and is very good. His people skills make him perfect for the customer service he provides. They’re all good guys. I’m a lucky sister, indeed.

Then you get to me. Growing up, I learned embroidery, as did many young girls in my time. I learned to sew in high school, and even sewed wool suits for my career in computers (coding, application development, etc.) because I was a single mom with three kids. It’s how I could afford to dress for the next job I wanted. I was glad some of those homemaking skills were so handy. Now, the kids are raised, two grandkids need rides or watching weekly, and two live too far to participate daily in their lives. I always thought I’d have a constant influx like my grandmothers did. Nope, didn’t happen. Now what? Learn new stuff. Learn how to reinvent yourself.

I was delighted earlier today to see a Facebook Post that depicted a 98 year old woman in London who had her opening art show. Yes, at 98! Ahem! That phrase across my face at the top of this blog?

I’m not too old, and it’s not too late!

Click link for article about the 98 year old artist.

So commences the I Art Daily challenge from my friends at I Create Daily. Yesterday, I prepped fabrics for the Snowball Quilt I’m making. I’m allowing one day a week to sew this beauty. I only want to finish by next winter, so no hurry. And I dug my milk crate full of art supplies out of the closet in my studio. Going to jump in today, did a little planning yesterday.

Ah, the possibilities!

Sometimes in planning, we need to look back at last month just to see where we are. I’m further along than I ever dreamed I would be. One goal in 90 days was to learn more about Social Media promotion of my blog, establish myself as an author, and gain a following. Interesting enough, the social media part was the part that ran out in front, thanks to the Nebraska Writers Guild Social Media training. If you’d like, join the Guild, and you’ll have access to this, too. You can find them at Nebraska Writers Guild. Does my heart good that even while I was feeling as if I was behind again, I really wasn’t.

And more possibilities!

Yesterday, I mentioned my friend Shannon Schofield, a newly published author from an I Create Daily writing group we both belong to. Here’s a link to her gritty tale of her life, bad choices, and her redemption. I applaud her for telling her tale. I have not read it, but as soon as I can purchase it in paperback, I will. Here is that, too.

And, here’s a link to my author Facebook Page. I’d love to have you follow me there as well. WordPress automatically posts there everyday to let you know the blog is up. I hand post to my personal FB page as well, but sometimes I get busy and forget. All new stuff. All good stuff. All stuff that will get this last third of my life going to be the best of the whole thing. I’m planning on living another 30 years, at least. How about you? Thanks for reading today, I got a little talkative. Just ask the Babe. I do that sometimes. See you tomorrow, I’ll be here. Hope you are, too.

MLK Monday

Today is a national holiday, thanks to Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed this day to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. We do that not by store sales, cheap travel fares, discounted cars, and consumption of things. We do that by remembering a man who invoked change in how we as a nation treated black people. He was about fairness for all. Equality. Love. Peace. Especially for peaceful resolutions to our differences. I think it would shock him at the steady slide downhill in the last thirty years. I believe we did make a lot of progress after the riots of the late sixties. There have been so many instances in the past twenty years regarding race relations, police/race relations, and all of its ramifications, I wonder if we ever gained any ground on it at all. I would hope so we have.

We need to all be respectful of each other. It goes in both directions. Start at home, with each other. Expand to your workplace, your place of worship, your school, the local Target, everywhere. It isn’t easy, we all want the best treatment and don’t want to give it all the time. It starts and continues with each of us. Let’s all make a better effort. It could go a long way.

I started a very good book yesterday. It is “Sold on a Monday” by Kristina McMorris. It is the very sad story of a newspaperman who saw a sign with two little boys sitting nearby. The sign said, “2 Children for Sale.” It takes place during the Depression. Many people were at their wits end with how to care for their children. They were desperate and did the only thing they could think. Many times they placed the children in homes where they suffered abuse or became slaves.

In the book, the story included the fact first photo taken by the newspaperman sustained damage¬†with the negatives before it went to press. It was such a great human interest story they sent the newspaperman out to re-take the photo. The family left. They moved to California. He posed the photograph with different children. He constantly questioned his ethics after that incident. He pledged to be honest. He didn’t feel honest. He wrestled with his conscience for a long time.

In today’s world, I cannot help but question if many journalists of any kind question their integrity at all. It appears we cannot rely on our news to report the truth. Many journalists are allowing their bias write their stories, tape their interviews, and report the events of the day. This is not acceptable. I find it very sad we cannot trust people to keep us up to date with current events as they really happen. It will most likely get worse before becoming better.

As prep work for the children’s books I’m writing, today I viewed videos about creating picture books. It is very interesting. I hope to finish it tomorrow. It will be a good base for my 30 Day Art Challenge for February. There is so much to learn, and I’m enjoying it, it’s easy to get frustrated. There is always tomorrow, I figure.

Thank you for reading today. Be kind. At home, work, worship, driving, shopping, whatever you do, wherever you go. I appreciate you reading and hope you’ll join me here tomorrow. Thank you!

Thoughtful Thursday

Yesterday, I mentioned this book for when I’m out of sorts, not feeling my best because of overthinking or just a pick me up.

The wisdom in this little book sort of dovetails well with the memes, topics, and exercises in my I Create Daily Facebook Group. It’s amazing to see when it happens.

January 9th, for instance, the saying is:

“A life without discipline is a life without joy”. – Muriel B.

The folks at I Create Daily encourage us to write goals, write steps to achieve them, write if we achieve them, do what it takes, then report back. Tomorrow, start all over again. I believe we need discipline to accomplish our goals, especially when writing a novel, a daily blog, or a children’s book. My 90 day goal planner is near me almost constantly. This week is booked with appointments for my mom, so the goals for the week had to transform a lot.

Discipline isn’t easy or fun. But it’s the best friend we can have. We won’t achieve anything if we don’t have a plan, moxie to stick with the plan, to say no when we do not have the time to chat or to do something unnecessary that would severely impact you, your schedule, or your state of mind. It’s hard to say no or enforce boundaries if we have never had them.

There are definitely a lot of things to learn while writing. Discipline gives us structure, all art needs structure. Structure does not limit creativity but helps increase it. It is a challenge I hope I’m up for.

This evening, I’m reading more in “Structuring Your Novel”. Setting, Character Introduction, Plot Points. I never heard of all these things before. Or maybe I have. Haven’t used them lately, but I will now. All while showing, not telling. It’ll come to me.

Thank you for reading today. Remember to return tomorrow, I’ll be here. I hope you will be.

The Last Day of 2019

I’ve been quilting today. For the first time in a long time, I’m using invisible thread. It’s not something I dreamed up as a prank, there is truly invisible thread. It keeps me from having to change thread over and over to make it match different colors on the quilt. Anyway, it’s challenging because it’s nearly impossible to see. It taught me some patience today, and I’m grateful for that. If it was easy all the time, where would the fun be?

In the back of my mind, I’ve thought over and over about things that would be great to accomplish during the brand new year that begins tomorrow. Why wait until then? You can start today, tomorrow, or a week from now. The two main things are: 1. START. 2. KEEP MOVING. All steps that keep you moving towards the goal, however small they are, will get you there. How do I know?

I know because a few goals have been very important in my life. When my dad was dying, I talked with him about the only regret I had. At 37, I had not graduated from college. I got married at 18 because I wanted to, and was divorced at 30. I had a couple years of community college level classes and had earned a programming certificate and started working in that field. My dad said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll make it.” I have remembered that my whole life. I graduated from college in 1995, twenty-five years after I graduated from high school. Yes, it took a long time, and it was worth it. Having my degree in my forties made me more marketable. It was hard, raising three kids, working full time, and having a life. My kids were so good during that time. They had a good example of someone working towards a goal.

My point with all this is we set goals all the time. We take up a new hobby, we decide to spend more time reading or playing piano, or spend more time with our spouses and children. Whatever it is, start doing it. Keep doing it. You will not be sorry. You will be happy you did. My dad taught me so very much. As a little girl, I remember if I went somewhere downtown and had to walk to a store, he would take my hand. I could hardly keep up with him, but he slowed just enough so I could. He teased as most dads tease daughters. I was so proud to go places with him. I’m a very lucky woman to have had such a gentleman for a father. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old tomorrow. He guides me even now, thirty one years after the last time I talked with him. He is missed.

My new reminder for 2020. It will spark a great memory and spur me onward.

Tonight, the Babe and I are meeting friends at the VFW for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. The band is DayBreak. It will be fun to see our friends after a few weeks of being other places. Dan doesn’t drink, so we have a designated driver. I pray for all of you to be safe, make it safely home, and wake up well tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading today, I appreciate you taking time to do so. I’ll be here tomorrow, and hope to see you then.

The Magical Day is Here!

We are just relaxing at home for awhile before going to a friend’s home for Christmas Dinner. We have enjoyed holiday dinners with Lou, his daughter Beth, and Dan’s daughter Tracy, husband TJ, and grandchildren Addison and Gavin. We have done this for several years. Lou’s wife Sharon was Tracy and Blake’s aunt. Sharon’s sister Sandy was Tracy and Blake’s Mom. This would make a good character line for a novel, wouldn’t it?? Sandy, Sharon, and I were friends. Yes, I was lucky enough to be friends with these two great ladies.

They both passed away from lung cancer, the same kind their mother died from. We have formed sort of a family, the group of us. Lou invites us for many family celebrations. Today, Christmas, 2019, is a celebration of not only the birth of Jesus, it will be the first dinner in Lou’s rennovated lower level of his home. He was among those with devastating loss after the flood last spring. The lake house has never, in over fifty years, been flooded. This past year, the once in a lifetime flood happened. And boy, did it. Many houses in that area are still waiting to be repaired. Luckily, Lou has many good friends and contacts in the construction industry in the Omaha area. He is retired but is what I still consider to be one of the good, honest, and reliable businessmen in the business. He is a wealth of information of how to get things done. He is a good friend to Dan and me, and he was always there for the kids when Dan wasn’t. I owe him a big one, too. If he hadn’t offered Dan a job at Watkins Concrete Block Co., Inc, Dan and Sandy would have never moved to Omaha. I probably would have never met him. So I’m thankful for Lou. He has indirectly affected my life and it’s outcome.

It was a beautiful day and meal. Lou is an excellent cook, and we all had tasks assigned to finish the meal off. The conversation was wonderful, lots of stories, lots of love exchanged. How lucky we are to have spent the day with such good people.

Now starts all the end of the year clearance sales, the weight loss ads, the gym ads. Don’t pay a bunch of money for something you won’t do a month from now. Remember any day is a good day to start a new behavior, to break a bad habit, to make a change that will be beneficial in the long run. Any day is a good day to start.

Thank you for reading today’s very short blog. I hope your Christmas Day has been a good day. It’s whats in your heart that counts. I’ll be back tomorrow, and back at working on the quilt, then the rewrite of my book. See you then!

Superb Sunday

This was indeed, a superb Sunday before Christmas. We didn’t have to be out with the masses shopping for last minute gifts, but we were able to use our mad Ninja skills and help our cousins, Rob and Joleen, a/k/a Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus, to pay a visit to our 90 year old Mom before the old boy gets too busy in a couple of days. It was great to surprise her, she enjoyed it a lot.

Mom, Father Christmas, and Joleen
Father Christmas, his wife, and Baby Brother Tim
Father Christmas looking all regal

Joleen is my cousin on Mom’s side of the family. Our mothers were sisters. Aunt Judy died a couple of years ago. Both of Joleen’s parents died within a few months of each other, and that was difficult for her. Her folks were good to all of us nieces and nephews, and we are grateful to have been close when we were growing up. I was older, so I usually babysat everyone, so that was quite different than growing up as a peer or playmate. I was another authority figure to most of my cousins. One said he always wanted to call me “Aunt Kathy”, because he knew I was close to his mom. His mom just died in October. I miss all my aunts.

Mom’s family had quite a few characters in it. And like many families, there were a slug of cousins who were the same age. At one time, my mom, her aunt, and her cousin were all pregnant, and 1951 saw three more males born into the family. Mom’s Mother, Grandma Bobell, always said when more boy babies were born, there would be another war in fifteen to twenty years. Sure enough, Vietnam reared it’s ugly head in the 1960’s. Has anyone else ever heard that? I’ll have to do some research on that subject and let you know. It could be old wives tales or just how population increases, but I though it sounded like the truth. Grandma could really sell a bill of goods, let me tell you. She was pretty funny. She passed away just before my dad did, in 1988.

Rob and Joleen had another engagement after they left Mom’s house. They were going to a NICU, at the request of a grandmother, who wanted her tiny, new grandbaby to see Santa. It was beautiful to hear them say they weren’t sure what the situation was with the baby. They have raised two daughters, and I’m sure they’ll give not only the little angel some comfort and love, they will do it for the baby, parents, and grandparents. Just like they did for my mom. This is what good people do for others at this time of year. Spread blessings even though they are not sure what to do. Just by being there, it says everything. It’s how Jesus wants us to be. I only hope I remember that the next time I’m angry, or the next time I’m too tired, or the next time someone hurts me. I want to respond with love. And patience, and understanding. I have a long way to go. We all do!

I hope this evening finds you safe, warm, and full of love. Thank you so much for reading this, the last Sunday before Christmas. I will be here again tomorrow, and I hope to meet up with you, too.

Suburban Saturday

Maybe Gretna, Nebraska isn’t considered a suburb, since it is it’s own little town. We don’t associate closely with Omaha, or Papillion and LaVista, so I suppose I should have titled this Small Town Saturday. The gist of it is, I’m snug at home, working on a quilt that has a darling scene on it. After it’s gifted, I will make sure to post the finished project. It’s a labor of love. Tomorrow, if time permits, I will begin quilting it.

I simply love to create things. Whether it’s with words or fabrics and thread, I love the whole process. My parents instilled in all of us a great imagination. Some of that, I believe, is from reading. Reading in and of itself helps create things in your imagination, your mind. Whenever I read a book as a child, I usually pictured scenes in my head. The characters were real people. Sometimes, the people resembled the characters in television shows or movies we saw. It was my brain, making something concrete out of something in my imagination, that happened to come from a book. Maybe that is why I still love fiction to this day. To think next year, I will see my name on the spine of a book I wrote is a thrill beyond belief. It won’t be without hard work. My goal is to get the process of writing so ingrained in me that it will be similar to doing a large quilting project, or a remodeling project. I’ve done lots of those over the years. When I was a single mom, it’s how my sons learned to use power tools, and make things. I had learned from watching my dad, and was able to teach them some basics, and with the help of shop class (before schools did away with it).

While I was working on my project today, it occurs to me to be mindful of those who dread the thought of Christmas. There are many, many people who are alone this year. I have been in that position, and it is hard. Yes, I had my children, but it was not the same as having an adult man to be in a relationship with. God blessed me with the Babe, and he even asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997. I couldn’t make that up. It was wonderful.

Some folks aren’t happy with their lives for one reason or another. Other folks need to make major changes in their lives to have a chance at staying alive until this time next year. Obesity, Alcoholism, Smoking, are all conditions people have control over. Their lives are dependent on it. All around us are people who are not secure in their lives and situations. Jobs can be unstable. Homelessness abounds. Children are cold and hungry. Women (and men) can be afraid of their partners. Abuse, both physical and verbal, is so rampant in life today, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to situations in front of us. Find a way to become involved to help people who cannot escape these situations on their own.

My brothers have worked out with a cousin to surprise my mom tomorrow afternoon. You’ll see it here, I think we may render the old girl speechless, which is quite a task. Good job, brothers! Can’t wait to share it with you all.

Keep your spirits up this next week. If the holidays are hard for you, take heart. They are hard for me, too. I’ll tell that story later. It’s another one you cannot make up. I like to think of soldiers who are away from home, and hope they know how we appreciate their sacrifices. It’s tough on a family to be separated at times of family celebrations. We are such a great country because of our soldiers, who have kept us free all these years. Thank you all for your service.

First responders, nurses, doctors, workers in nursing homes, hospital workers, anyone in the service industries, know we are grateful for what you do. These are usually thankless jobs. Make sure to thank those who perform these duties.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s meet again tomorrow, and you can hear about our surprise for our 90 year old mother. I’ll be here, I really hope you are.