Looking Ahead

Three of Symbols of What I Plan to Do More Of in 2020.

The great debate will begin soon about what your New Year’s Resolution will be. Losing weight, quit smoking, work out more, you know, the usual stuff people resolve or “give up” if you’re Catholic and do Lent or Advent.

Would it make more sense to decide to change yourself or your habits?? Maybe it would become more of a permanent thing. A lifestyle change. Nothing trendy or hit or miss. The three ornaments I shared at the top of this blog are symbols of how I would like to spend more time next year. First, is read more, and sell books next year. I have been in contact with my editor friend, and we will proceed together with edit/rewrites on my novel. It will be a learning experience, and I’m glad to have a friend for guidance. Her name is Sam and we met through the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Fall Conference. Nice woman, I will learn well from her. There are other books very close to being ready to publish, and with God’s grace, I will publish them next year also.

Second, I plan to make more time for quilting and sewing. One of the ways we waste time the most (and I am guilty as charged) is on our smart phones. Yes, I’ll play crosswords, word games, endless games of solitaire, and read Facebook until my eyes ache. And then not have time to work on a project I’d been planning to start for a month or two. In the past two years, I’ve joined a challenge through All People Quilt. It’s called a UFO Busting Challenge. In the quilting world, there is a term “UFO” to described all of our Unfinished Objects (a/k/a/ quilts). I have so many of them. So many. My group is culled because of working on a certain project each month until they’re finished. Some make it to be finished, others do not. But, they’re all closer that they were. I can share those too, once I make up the list for 2020.

Third, I plan to continue writing often, in addition to the daily blog. I can tell that some days the blog is good, some days not as good. General mood, level of enthusiasm, and topic all make for a good or fair blog. I deeply appreciate you all coming back day to day, and having the interest to continue doing so.

Right now, we are waiting for Gavin to come over to spend the night. Do you have fond memories of spending the night at your grandparents? I do. Sometimes it was with a cousin, other times it was alone. It was wonderful! Hoping he has good memories after he’s grown up. I’ll be here again tomorrow, I hope to see you then. Thank you!

Wednesday Blessings

Pretty quiet today. Some days you have to do necessary things to keep your home running well. We did a few errands and this afternoon, it’s sort of a regroup and planning the rest of the week. We have a cookie exchange Sunday and that means one day will be cookie baking day. The dogs will love it. And so will the Babe.

I have started to read a series by fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member Bonnie Lacy. She also wrote a Rage Rising: My Walk Through the Dark Tunnel of Anger, which I just finished. It was a remarkable story. I can understand how anger can bubble up from within a person, especially when a number of terrible things happen one after another. You may find her at the website: http://www.bonnielacy.com. You can find her books, read about her, and correspond with her if you wish. Her second book I’m reading is called “Released, The Great Escapes Series.” It already feels like a book I want to spend time reading and finish soon. That is how I want to write. I want to tell compelling stories. I want to tell stories that make you want to spend the time with on a free afternoon.

I’m just about finished with the Christmas tree. I was going to add a lot more ornaments but decided it had enough. I don’t want to overload it. The ornaments I didn’t put up are a collection of official White House ornaments from 1999 until now. I am collecting them for our grandson Joell. I thought he might like them to remember the time his dad worked in Washington, DC. Those ornaments are pretty cool. This year, it’s a replica of the helicopter used to transport President Eisenhower, the first president to use the helicopter. Last year, it was Truman’s White House.

Official 2018 and 2019 White House Ornaments

I have enjoyed buying these each year, and reading about the history behind the ornament and which President it honors. They are about $25, and well worth it. They are from the White House Historical Society.

Some Favorites for the Memories they Evoke

As kids, my brother and I walked to an area the fire department would flood every winter in a local park for ice skating. There is now a city swimming pool where the site was. We walked quite a way to get there, then put on our skates, and skated around until we were too tired and too cold, and then put our frozen boots back on, and trudged up the hill to our house. It was the best. Mom gave us hot chocolate and cookies. No one else was around, it was like having our own private rink. Sometimes on weekends, we would go to the local horse racing track/hockey rink and skate inside. That was always crowded and peoples skills ranged all the way from beginner to very good. I was learning how to turn and skate backwards. We became quite good. When he left home and went away to school for his freshman and half of his sophomore years, then I went there alone, rarely a girlfriend came along.

Eventually, I believe the rink closed, and they no longer flooded the park area. It was always a fun thing to do and great exercise. When I see ice skates, I think of skating as a kid. Great memory. I even have a figure skate with greenery and glitter instead of a Christmas wreath on the front door.

Looking to get some reading in before we leave to pick up our granddaughter Addison from school. Then off to meet friends for beverages and dinner at the VFW. Wednesdays are fun. Thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, I hope you are, too.

Messy Characters and More

After attending the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference, I arrived home with a renewed sense of purpose, charged to jump headfirst into NaNoWriMo, and easily finish my novel with 50,000 words that all made sense with each other, and simply breeze into the sunset come November 30, 2019, with a deep sense of accomplishment about the novel being close to finished.

Today is November 17. I’m running behind with the number of words per day, but it’s still in the realm of completing. I could have some fantastic days coming up after doing some more research about what I’m missing in the first 40,000 words. It’ll come, I know it will.

I came across a mysterious Post It note in pink, that had scribbled diagonally across it,

“Chuck Windig – Messy Characters.” I’m assuming that was an author and book that I really needed to seek out to get answers on how to keep going, and make sure the characters are completely fleshed out.

I’m completely wrong about what is written there. Why can’t I remember why this is so important to my destiny? My story? My characters? Googling proved I spelled Mr. Windig’s name wrong. It is really Chuck Wendig, and he is a science fiction writer. Not my genre, but ok. Why did I make this note?? Could it be because he is not only a writer but a blogger as well?? His blog is TerribleMinds. If you Google his blog and go back to November 1, 2019, (Not now, when you’re finished with reading mine, silly!) he discusses two things. Writing a novel is hard, because it’s supposed to be hard. Writing a novel is hard, because it has to be done your way. Wow. This blog hadn’t yet been written when I jotted this down. And now, I’m finding something that is speaking volumes to me.

How did this happen?? Is it yet another sign that I really do have a story to tell?? Yes, yes it is. I cannot waver and say, “Well, I’m not sure,” because I have to be sure. I have to be sure this is very hard, it will probably get much harder before it gets easier, and I haven’t even begun to see hard work yet. And I have to be mentally ready for it.

It is hard. It is hard because I have a story I want to tell. It will be a story realistic in as much as I haven’t sanitized anything, left uncomfortable parts out, or failed to tell the complete truth about a situation because I didn’t want to have to explain where that idea came from. It’s coming from life. It’s coming from observations from life for a period of sixty seven years. That’s a long time, really. And to find each and every just right word to tell that story is hard. Somedays it flows, somedays it’s clogged up worse than an old septic tank. (That’s all I could come up with folks, sorry!)

The days you can coax the words and they flow endlessly are the days your energy level goes through the roof and you feel great. Nine out of ten times, this one day of brilliance is followed by one to ten of clogged up words, gelling together to make a tremendous mess if they ever are broken apart and allowed to flow, unfettered, into the great beyond. Lots of cleanup is required after that, and usually, it all goes in the sewer. Sorry, that’s the fact, the reality of writing. Not as glamorous as it sounds. And I haven’t even gotten near the hard part yet.

So now that I discovered how a note to look Mr. Wendig up ended with my finding him giving me some great advice that he hadn’t written yet when I jotted his name down, I will say good day for now and go on to writing more on my book. After all, I have been told it will be hard because it’s my own. And it will be.

Thank you so much for reading today. Make sure to comment in the blog and like to have your name entered in my NaNoWriMo Giveaway. I will draw on December 1, 2019 to give away a $50 Visa Gift Card. Comment, like blogs and you can have two entries a day! That makes 60 free chances in all, just for reading, commenting, and liking. Easy enough.

Veteran’s Day, 2019

Today is a day to thank all of our veterans for their service. All who served honorably deserve for us to show gratitude. Not just for today, but for every day we live with the freedoms we enjoy. No matter what, we need to be respectful of them and what they have done for us, and for our freedoms.

I read a Facebook post earlier that makes me angry. In West Virginia, there was to be a “21 gun salute”, and the administration cancelled it due to the fact that “loud noises scare their students,” and “the administration felt it was inappropriate due to the amount of gun violence in America. “

I commented, telling them from what I understand a “21 Gun Salute” is only for honoring a national flag, the soverign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President, and President-elect of our great nation.

It is often mistaken at a Veteran’s funeral that they have a “21 Gun Salute.” Three volleys is what they receive. There could be seven Honor Guard people to shoot. That adds up to twenty one, but it is still three volleys. If there are only three Honor Guard people to shoot, it is not a 9 gun salute, it is still three volleys. It’s a common mistake that is present in America. Please, let’s help correct that error by teaching each other what it is, and what it means. God Bless our Veterans, and God Bless America.

I also mentioned that perhaps people need to really learn the real story of our history. All of it. You cannot sanitize the Holocaust. You cannot sanitize the early days of slavery. You cannot sanitize the unrest in the country during the 1960’s. It was all messy, brutal, and disrespectful to the races and religions involved, and to the American people, whom I would still like to believe are good and just. We need to regain our sense of unity and what is right. Politics aside, every veteran deserves our respect and thanks. Please do your part to make them know we are grateful for their sacrifices.

Maybe as children we learned too much about the harsh things in the world. We Boomers grew up with a sense of duty, and history was important for us to learn. Now I don’t remember all those dates the teachers made us memorize, but I do know why WWI started. And WWII. Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc., Rather than leave these countries to fend for themselves, we became involved. We wanted to share our great nation’s governing with other parts of the world. Dictatorship cannot allow people to life a free life. Socialism also does not allow people to lead a free life. We are simply trying to help these countries by helping demonstrate what is right. I do not believe we should be demonized for trying.

Proud to be an American
All the men in the Jewell Family. Thomas Jewell Sr was Grandpa, Jr was my dad, Joseph and Robert were his brothers.

My grandmother always had an 8 x 10 or larger of the portrait each enlistee or draftee has taken when they finish boot camp hanging in her living room. They stayed up the entire time she ived there, and they were returned to each son’s family when her house was sold. My father had already passed away by then.

We Cannot Thank You Enough!
This was my father at the tender age of 19.
Every Generation of Soldiers has the Next Generation to Follow

The photograph above reminds me of the Honor Guard at Benson VFW Post 2503. They are all getting on in years, yet still continue to do over a hundred funerals a year. They are dwindling in numbers. Younger members work during the week and often spend weekends with family on weekends. It is a concern. If you have served in war time in a foreign country and would like to join, please join us at Post 2503, 90th and Military in Omaha, NE. We have a plane in the parking lot.

Thank you for reading. Comment on how you have been aware of Veterans Day in the past and how you honor it in the present. Please like this post, the blog in general, follow me. I am giving away a $50 Visa Gift Card to one lucky winner. You can have two entries per DAY!!

One, like the post. Two, like and follow the blog. There will be ample opportunity for you to enter. In fact, go back and read all the posts for November, and you can be entered twice for each entry you read, like, comment on. A person could have sixty chances! Thank you again. More on NaNoWriMo tomorrow.

Super Saturday

It was a day of hilarity yesterday. In counting the words written, the words in my blog qualify since they are being published. Being a novice with WordPress, I thought I’d just go ahead and get a word count by typing the blogs into Google docs and copy to the WordPress daily blog spot.

Guess again!!! I have to release the doc to the Internet, copy the link, insert in in WordPress, kill a thousand year old chicken, turn to the left four times, following by hopping on my right foot to the count of 90. Sheesh!!

So upon discovering this, setting appointments for Dan and his wound vac nurses, I simply printed out the Google doc and proceeded to type it in again. It worked. Then at about 5 p.m. discovered there were conflicting versions. I deleted one, but it turned out to be the wrong one. I deleted yesterday’s blog.

Enter Dan, sweet husband of mine, who came up from the man cave to tell me he liked what I wrote, and I tackled him for his cell phone, so I could re-type for the third time the 740 words I had deleted. NEVER AGAIN will I delete any version when trying to view on my Google Pixel 3 phone. Gosh, so instead of doing 740 words, I typed it three times. Shall I report 2200 words instead of 740? It’s not cheating, is it?? What do you think??

Today, I’m working on the actual book. I am adding the Table of Contents. From that, I can create another outline and commit to paper or computer my thoughts and ideas for expansion. The meat and potatoes of the story. What I have already is just the appetizer.

Day 2 on the road to 55K words!

Some folks are again noting daily what they are grateful for during the month of November. It is very fitting to do that.

GRATITUDE NOTE: November 1, Grateful to be relatively healthy. My issues are mostly orthopedic in nature, not life threatening. For that I’m grateful.

November 2, Grateful to have relatively whatever I could want. I don’t want a million bucks or bigger houses and cars. I have a great blended family for which I am very grateful. We hope to spend more time with all of them next year.

One short week ago, Gavin, Goldie, and Grandma. Time flies when you’re having the time of your life!

I create the best when I’m listening to music. I often listen to the same musicians for a long period of time. Then the mood strikes for something different, and I swap CD’s out from the basement collection. Getting out the Christmas music is always fun. I can tell you with certainty this will not happen until December 1. I don’t rush it.

My mother and her three sisters were really nutty about Christmas decorating for their homes. My mom had the biggest house, so she really decorated a lot. She still has an overabundance of theme trees in every room, except for the bathroom and basement. I sort of did the same sort of decorating thinking it was normal but since my kids all left home and the grandkids in town visit less than they used to, it sort of seems to be a lot of work for just us to see. Dan (a/k/a “Babe”), thinks the decorations are pretty, but too much work.

Last year, I was down in the dumps and did not decorate at all. This year, I hope to. I can’t be down in the dumps, it’s not how to get things done. Chronic, intense, debilitating pain causes depression. This year, things are better, so it’ll be ok.

When do you start your decorating? Do you go crazy or do you do a small tree, stockings, etc.?? I love how things are so sparkling and beautiful. It’s very hard to let go of the glow of Christmas for the dark gloom of January. With that in mind, I decided not to display my snowmen with the Christmas decorations. I put them out in January, and it makes things brighter and more fun. Why not celebrate winter??? Winter has a bad rap, in my opinion. I think it’ll be a crazy winter again, and all we can do is buckle up for the ride. Complaining won’t make it better or make it go away. Have a good attitude whatever the weather.

Tell me about what you will do this month to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Will you travel? Will you go to a warmer climate? Comment below, and like my blog. You’ll be entered in a November giveaway I am announcing today.

For every time you comment or like a post, you will be entered in a contest to win a $50 Visa Gift Card to use for your Christmas shopping for 2019. Yes, every like, every comment, will get you an entry. This is for the entire month of November, 2019. Enter today, maybe you’ll be lucky!! I’d love to send you a gift card in the mail. Tell your friends!!

p.s. Babe, you’re not eligible. You have my heart and soul, but I’m not giving you $50 for reading my blog. Thanks for entering!!

Let the Fun Begin

Here we are, a brand new month beginning, a very important month to a group of writers from all over the world. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to actually write 50,000 words in one month, thirty days. Can I do it? I plan to. We will need to see how far I actually get, knowing full well that life very often gets in the way of a lot of things. Dan and I have learned that in spades the past year. But we must keep going.

I love all the quotes and memes about perseverance and tenacity. An old friend I used to work for used the word tenacious describing me. I had to look it up. I was flattered, and he certainly meant it as a compliment, describing my working full time, being a single mom with three kids, and wanting to get a college degree. I finally made it.

It’s been started for awhile.

So, in the spirit of keeping on, I won’t bore you with the list of projects and details that I admitted out loud to you. On the internet. Preserved forever. No pressure, right?? My novel and a few other projects are listed on the blog post yesterday, if you’d like to scroll down and refresh your memory. Right now, I’m eager to dig in and write. I had little time to finish an outline of where I’d like my thoughts to take me while yielding actual countable words. I do have this vision in my mind of the outline, and I think once my fingers hit the keys, I will have enough ideas and words to keep up with the 1,677 words a day that will count towards the 50K goal. (Please feel free to quote me on this later should I whine I’ve run out of words).

If you think about it, that is a lot of words. My novel, as it sits now, is 38,388 words. I felt is was complete and wonderful and captivating at 33,507. My dear friend Kris read it, gave me some honest feedback, and I started to embellish the stark prose that was waiting to be adorned.

It will be challenging to add more details and description to what I’ve written, but I need to learn to add this in the first place. I think this executive summary style comes from being in the business world for twenty some years. Just the facts, Ma ‘am, Just the facts. It’s hard to deviate from that norm and create a new one. That is why choosing those words is so very important.

My first participation, hopefully not my last.

At the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference 2019, #NWGFALL2019 I sat in on a session about using poetry as a way to improve your writing. By using fewer words, you will improve your writing. It was amazing. Poetry says so much more without a high word count. I would think writing songs/lyrics would follow closely behind poetry. Think of the poems and song lyrics you have heard and still have in your mind over a lifetime.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” Joyce Kilmer, 1913

“and I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” Jimmy Webb, 1968

Suffice it to say, I was alive and heard Glen Campbell sing Jimmy Webb’s incredible song “Wichita Lineman” on the radio, I was not alive when Joyce Kilmer wrote her lovely poem about trees.

Those two passages just popped into my mind while writing this. A third one also did:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, words will never hurt me”

and I think this is totally wrong. Words have the ability to devastate a person, destroy a child, or start a war. Or all three at once. Anyone who has ever had someone gaslight them knows this firsthand. It’s terrible and hard to recover from.

Strong words? A story was told in that session about a group of famous writers talking about how many words you needed to tell a story. Ernest Hemingway is credited with this quote, and wrote a series of six word stories that followed this one:

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

I am moved to tears by these six words. I want to hug and kiss my grown children over these six words. How about you?? Please leave a comment below, like my blog, and pack your bags to come along on this journey towards finishing my novel. I will share parts of it from time to time, ask you opinions, have you select one passage over another, and other things similar.

I’m going to keep track of all the comments, likes, new follows, etc., and there will be a prize at the end of the month, based on your contributions towards helping me finish this novel. I think it will be fun, hope you’ll join me. Participating will not hurt a bit. I promise. Thank you so much for reading today.

It may come to this once in awhile. Just dig deeper!

Inspiring Sundays

It is a beautiful Sunday morning in Gretna. After the dark gray skies and all the rain , the sun is most welcome.

I have been following a couple of creative FB pages for some time now. I’d recommend them to anyone who is looking for inspiration no matter what your art. They are I Create Daily and I Create Daily for Creators.

Join them, I enjoy the daily encouragement.


I’ve made some great friends via these groups with the 30 day challenges. We share thoughts, dreams, ideas, and creations. There is even an opportunity to have your quotes shared, as they did with mine, above. They did a nice job, don’t you think??

Look Ma, I’m “published!”

Off to the races. Unpacking my Chromebook and notes/ideas/books bought. Today, I’m going to look for places in my book to insert the new expanded memories I wrote during the writing sprints.

Thank you to the Nebraska Writers Guild for their great conference. It was well worth the price of admission.

What are you doing today? Comment and take a moment to like, if you’re so inclined.

I so appreciate you taking time to read my blog. Have a beautiful Sunday.

#NWGFALL19

Super Saturday

It’s another hour before business begins today. Lots of busy people, coffee, breakfast, getting to breakout classes. I love to be around these people who love to read and write.

The Keynote Speaker was an incredible woman who has written and Directed documentary scripts. She has MS, the same terrible condition that took Dan’s mother. There is no worse thing than seeing a vital, vibrant person slowly have their mobility stolen from them.

#NWGFALL19

Dan’s mother, for all of her health issues, had the most positive attitude I have witnessed. She continually told people around her that they were better off than most people were. And she meant it.

Liz with Dan and me on our wedding day. She was still able to walk in 1998, but needed a cane or walker

She always welcomed visitors. People were drawn to her. This helped greatly with her attitude. I’m sure she had some bad days. Humans always do. Losing your dignity is so dehumanizing. She took it in stride.

Later Saturday, home from Aurora.

The rest of the today was informative. And everyone was tired. It’s a lot to take in. The crowd was more middle aged women this time, but that wasn’t a bad thing. Having attended and felt like odd man out last spring, this just felt like some good connections started. I’m looking forward to what the next six months bring.

What are you looking forward to? Share in the comments after you like my blog. Have a restful evening. After the Husker game, that is. Go Big Red!!

Aurora, at Last

Glad to be checked in and unloaded! No food around here so there will be an early trek to town to find food. No TV, no radio, so it’s pretty quiet, except for the terrible wind. It was hard to drive too.

There is a COOP in this building. The Center was originally built as a Future Farmers of America and 4H headquarters for the county. What a tremendous accomplishment for the small town of Aurora!

Enlarged pic of cornfield to our north. Spooky enough thinking of horror movies about cornfields. Don’t even send in the clowns!!!

October 11, 2019 – Conference, Day 1

I was starving at 6 a.m. I went up to a neat little place, The Makers – Bakery and Builders.

Coffee was fantastic.

Oh my goodness, I’ve never seen bread this large in a long time. It’s a breakfast sandwich, well worth $4.

Home made wheat bread. To die for!

So the day started right at 8:15 am, picked up my folder and nametag, and six new friends, we sat together all morning and wrote, ate lunch together, and had several classes together in the afternoon. Characters, developing them, and making them likeable. Big challenge if you think about it.

It was time to have a big rest from sitting all day, so I left an hour early. It’s been a long but productive day.

Did you learn a lot today as well?? Tell me about it. Comment and leave your email. Like my page, and you’ll see when a new blog is posted. Thank you so much for reading!

#NWGFALL19

Excited!

How many of us, as adults, have some event that we are really excited for? Of course, there are impending dates such as holidays, births, new homes, different cities, kids going off on their own and the like.

After retirement and a few trips, what do you look forward to? I look forward to new experiences, movies, books, seasons, and all things creative. After years in the IT world, I can finally do things I love. I direct my process, my way, and answer only to myself.

Hard to follow “It was a dark and stormy night.”

I am looking forward to the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference. Going to immerse myself in what they call writing sprints. I only heard of them at the Spring Conference. For three hours on Thursday morning, we will gather in the main conference room, and write for twenty minutes for each sprint.

We are to write on whatever we are working on. Mine is a realistic fiction novel about memories of a family home. The memories are from one of the children who lived there. The title is These Walls DO Talk.

My book is currently about 34K words. I would like to get it finished by the end of November. I will plan for the next six weeks to tell more of the story of the family whose walls talk. #NWGFALL2019

In a few hours, I’ll hit the road and be off on a new adventure. I’m so sappy though. I miss my husband already. And of course, Lexie. We just all enjoy hanging out together and are rarely apart. We’re both lucky.

Have a fun rest of the day. Even though it is raining in eastern Nebraska and snowing to the West, it is a beautiful day.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode on this writing adventure we’re on. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.

Please give me a like and leave a comment if you are inclined. I’d love to start my email list with you on it!