Visiting the creek

It’s that time of the year, the weather is warm and the sky is blue and it’s time to go see what the winter rains did to the creek. Every year it’s a little bit changed. But every year we love it all the same.

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This year wee made our first trek through the brambles on a Sunday afternoon. The dogs came with us. It was our very on tiny slice of heaven. We found new growth like this little fern in the middle of a stretch of rocks. We found deer tracks from a momma and a baby.

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The water was freezing but it didn’t stop my daughters from playing in it, swimming where they could, and splashing where it wasn’t quite as deep. The dogs had a blast, I had a blast, my daughters had fun. It was lovely. We even had our own little blessing in the form of a gorgeous green and blue dragon fly landing on my husband’s chest for a few moments.  (Also, he took the pictures. The man is a genius with a smart phone camera)

Our creek is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s fun for exploring and for daydreaming. And I really think everyone should get to play in a creek, it’s good for the soul.

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I’m back in the saddle again

I thought and thought and thought some more about what to blog about today. You see, I’ve been on a break sort of. Not purposely I don’t think, but more of a I need a break before I go postal sort of thing.  Being an author is a lot of work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not even a tiny bit, but it is hard work. It’s not just writing the book, its the marketing and cover decisions and teasers and all that.

Now I don’t want to complain too much. I’m blessed, I know that. I get to write as my job. It’s not a very well paying job, but it’s okay, because I love it. Creating worlds and people and creatures…who doesn’t want to do that?  But even loving it as much as I do, I still got burnt out. Expectations and limitations, and then add in a folded publisher and you have a full on old time recipe for a crash and burn.  Add to that, this is a pen name, which means it’s my secondary writing profile. I write under my real name too and that means I have two totally different genres and age groups warring for space inn my head. It’s a lot. But….here’s the thing. I think I got it figured out. I mean, it’s a simple plan I’ve worked up, but it should allow me ample time for both personas to get the spotlight. And boy do I have some fun stuff planned for the middle grade audience.

Dragon Child 2 is done and waiting on edits and a cover, and then I’m veering off course to write about small town carnivals during the great depression. And lets not forget my viking girl, she’s nearly fully fleshed out and waiting patiently for her story to be written. So, here’s hoping it’s a good year for writing. I hope you’ll stick around for all the fun stuff coming.

I’m adding a picture of my cat Felix, he’s my mid grade writing mascot 🙂

Biology lesson

We live in an old house, in the woods, in the south. It’s like a trifecta for creepy crawlies to be a presence in my life.  And I’m not just talking about the dirt dauber that just landed on my arm when I went to get a plate. Oh no. We have armadillos that like to dig up our yard. There is our friend the awesome possum who likes to get into our trash. Every once in a while you’ll come across a crawfish that came out of it’s hole, or a lizard who has decided to sun himself on the side of our porch.  Oh and snakes…but I’ll get to them in a minute.

I have a love/hate relationship with all these, plus the ones I haven’t mentioned. I love the ability to teach my girls a lesson in biology, to teach them about respect for living beings (except spiders, those buggers get squished). And as long as they don’t invade my house (I’m looking at you giant snake in the ceiling) I tend to leave them be. (This is true unless it is a danger to my girls. We tend to dispatch the venomous snakes to keep our girls from getting bitten.)

To this end, I have not fixed the torn screen on the window in my daughters bedroom because for a few years now, birds have been nesting there. What better way to teach my girls about the cycle of life than to watch a clutch of eggs hatch and then thrive before leaving as fluffy little mini Wrens off on adventure.  A few times now we’ve seen it from beginning to end. A happy slice of birdie life happening before our very eyes. There hadn’t been an issue until the other night. The girls check on their birds (yes of course they named them) every couple of hours, and the other night when they went to check on them there was a snake in the nest.

It was horrifying on multiple levels. A snake, only one pane of glass away from my girls bedroom (yikes.) The type of snake (hello rattlesnake…again, yikes) And the fact that my girls were completely distraught that it was eating their birds.  Now I had to drag crying girls away from the bedroom so super hero daddy could rid the nest of the snake (it was a rattlesnake, that thing is not going to live, sorry not sorry) and I could explain about predators and prey and the natural cycle of life. I did everything I could not to quote Lion King. It wasn’t a terribly long episode, over in just a few minutes and only one baby bird was lost. But it was a lesson. Not only in the cycle of life, but in how important it is to tell us if they come across a snake, as well as what kinds of snakes we are willing to let live in really close proximity to us. It won’t be but a few days and the baby Wrens will be flying away, and I’m again left with the decision to fix that window screen.

I want to, but then again, that nest that has been used for a few years has been a great teaching tool for my girls, and a pretty quirky addition to our house. So for now, at least, it stays unfixed. And we continue to watch the growth of four babies. And we continue to learn. And how cool is that?

 

** The image is a picture I took of the nest. It’s not a great picture, but if you look really hard you can see a bit of yellow of one of the babies beaks.

Summer is early

It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation. I mean, not mine, as I don’t really get a vacation. I’m mom 24/7/365. My oldest daughter however, she gets a summer break. And she gets it early. Today is her last day of school and it’s not even a full day. In a few hours I’ll head to the school to watch her end of year program, snap a pic or two as she crosses the stage for whatever award she is getting and then I’ll check her out early and we’re off to home. And then….then it’s two months of my girls squabbling (it’s what they do), of swimming, of trips down to the creek, of trips to the library, and basic mischief.

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The signs are already here (in truth, the signs have been here for weeks now). Signs of happy kids that is. The pool is up and full. The skin is tan (and a little pink where I wasn’t as great at the sunblock), the wet clothes are dropped over the old bouncy horse, and the towels hang on the line. This year there will be no big trip, just a sequence of days lunging around the house and driving each other insane. It’s a good life, and one I wouldn’t change at all. Even if summer comes early and doesn’t last long enough.

To the creek!

 

 

It’s our spring and summer battle cry, and even when it’s not something we planned to do on a particular day, when the creek is involved, fun is ahead.

We were doing yard work. We were only going to check out the path to see how much we would have to clear this year. We were not going to jump in the freezing cold water. Yeah… two guesses how well that played out.

In the end the girls got soaked. I got soaked. And the dog..oh the sand she brought home with her. But it was worth it. Totally worth it. We had visits by a butterfly and had the first dragon fly sighting of the year. We found our biggest piece of petrified wood to date. And we found the most gorgeous rock.

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It looks like there is a constellation on it. Or the beginnings of a fossil. I had to bring it home to add to our collection. And I’m planning on placing the giant piece of petrified wood into a succulent garden. The creek is our place. A happy Saturday afternoon, a fun and wet Sunday evening, even a wienie roast on a Friday night. And even when the water is still too cold (like yesterday) and the kids are still in their pjs (again like yesterday) the creek leaves us all with a smile on our face, and sand in our toes.

 

*Author’s note. Both pictures were taken by my dear hubs who is an amazing amateur photographer.

 

The joy of Spring

It’s Spring here in the south and that means, oh well, it means time to work. Time to clear all the fallen limbs from the end of winter wind storms. It means clearing all the leaves from the flower beds to be sure the rain hasn’t washed away the bulbs. It means planting flowers, fruit, and veggies (and maybe a new tree or two).  It also means playing outside as much as we can before it gets too hot to do so.  Yesterday the family went to the park to let my daughters ride their scooter but instead we ended playing in the sandbar near the creek that had gotten washed down by the rain. It was a fun half hour in the middle of a day that had us doing all the yard work. It also netted me my first sunburn of the year. In April.

April brings my youngest daughters birthday, which is hard for me, cause I really want her to stay a baby forever. And this April brings the release of a new book. Which brings me to, ah books!! Writing gets harder to do in the spring and summer. So much to do. So much fun to be had. Time at the creek. Time at the park. Time playing with the hose in the front yard. Writing and marketing get pushed to the back burner. And I’m mostly okay with that. While writing is my chosen career, the way I hope to someday earn enough at to afford to maybe take my kids to the movies on (yes, yes, I dream big..lol), my kids are my world. My girls are the reason I get up every day. (well, coffee too) The are also the reason I keep writing, I want them to see me work hard at my dream.  But now that it is Spring, I’ll write really early before the day starts, or late at night after my girls have gone to bed. Tired from playing hard, maybe still a little sandy from the creek. It means a little more laundry for me, but it’s worth it.

So that is my Spring. What does your Spring look like? Smell like? Sound like?

Dealing with discouragement

I am, by nature, a happy person. A person who feels that helping others is just what you do.  I don’t do it because I have to. I don’t do it to get something out of it. I do it because it makes me feel good.  It makes me happy, and I like to be happy.

Lately though, I have been discouraged. I’ve had some writing blocks which I’m sure has fed it. My goal for the year is fluid at best and keeps changing which throws me in a spin, which has also contributed to the discouragement. And then, there is the little matter of not getting help I think I need. Now in the long run I may not need the help, but at this moment, it feels pretty huge. And I’m getting crickets. Crickets I tell you. And it hurts. And it makes me a tad rage-y. There could be reasons. Heck, I’m sure there are reasons, but right now all I see is that people I help all the time, whenever I can, are not helping me back, and that just seems wrong.

So today I am trying to remind myself that I don’t help others to get help in return. That all I can manage is myself.  I cannot make people help me, just because I have helped them. That is not why I do it in the first place. It will be my mantra today, I can’t manage what others do, only what I do. And no matter how upset I am, I won’t change my way of doing things. I might listen to happy songs today though (I’m looking at you Maroon 5).

So I hope you have a great day, and maybe just maybe, help someone today. it’ll make you feel good, promise.

 

 

When your heart is too big for your house.

Kittens and puppies oh my.

I am a rescuer of all things fuzzy. And sometimes it bites me in the rear. We’ve had a few constants, our doxie Ash has been with us four years and Felix the cat has lasted two. But the majority of animals that come through our house last less than a year. I’m a terrible person. Every time my heart overrides my brain and despite knowing that an animal isn’t a good fit for us, I still do my best to rescue it. I’s happened more times than I’d like to admit. And it’s happening now.

A few weeks ago we found a dog in our yard. We tried to find it’s owner but it had clearly been a stray for a while. So of course I took him in. He was sweet. He was really timid. Two weeks later, he wants to eat the cat. And Felix is the only cat that I’ve ever really liked. Felix is my cat. And I’m his person. So there is no way I’m letting the puppy eat him. So again I’m looking for a home for a puppy that we thought we could handle, and we can’t. It’s one of those times were I really examine my faults. Because it is a fault. My big heart for all things fuzzy and cute has turned me into a person who doesn’t do at all what she wants to. I wanted to save the puppy, but now I’m trying to find him a new home, because despite the want to save him, to love him, to add him to our family, it’s just not a good fit. And even that makes me sound callous and like a giant butthead. But it’s true. Family is a lot about fit. In a small house with four people, one dog, and one cat, fit is hugely important. I tend to forget that when big brown eyes stare up at me.

So it’s with a heavy heart I admit that I need to stop trying to rescue. Maybe our allotment is just Ash and Felix. Maybe I need to accept that. It’s hard though. It makes me want to whine and stamp my foot, but I’ll be strong. I’ll accept my faults and hopefully learn from them.  Sometimes being an adult sucks.

 

*featured image is my Ash and Felix

Don’t give up just yet.

How many times a day/week/month/year do you wish you could just give up? I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I’m struggling with writing lately and giving up is looking better and better. I get it, those people who give up, I totally get it. Is it worth all the time you put into to when it feels like in the end you’re just screaming into the void and no one is there to respond? That’s pretty much my publishing experience lately. I write a book, I publish a book, no one wants the book. It’s hard. It weighs on you. It sometimes makes it hard for you to keep writing. But no matter how much I want to give up, I just can’t. The voices in my head would probably draw and quarter me if they had no outlet, so I keep on keeping on. I keep writing, keep planning new books. New characters. Even though no one but my family is reading them. The idea that someday, someone out there that isn’t family might pick up my book is enough to keep me publishing.

So to all those out there who are looking at the hardness, who are looking down the tunnel and the light just isn’t there, don’t give up. Just don’t. It sounds easy but I know it isn’t. Trust me. I know how hard it is to keep going when you want to give in.  But I haven’t yet, and I hope that despite how hard it gets, I can still keep going. I can still keep pushing myself to take those steps forward even when all I want is to lay down on the side of the road I’m walking.  So just know that you’re not alone. That other people out there have been where you are, are still where you are, and in solidarity will keep going with you.

Also, just to make you smile, here’s a picture of Felix the cat. He likes to get all up on my lap when I’m trying to type.

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Doing as I say, or, We’re off to see the wizard!

I told a friend the other day to make sure she was reading to her two year old. “It’s where they get their vocabulary” I told her. When my oldest was young I read to her everyday.  It never failed. It was our time together at the end of the day, or our time before nap to calm down. But something happened after I had my second daughter. My oldest was able to read to her. I let her. Good sister bonding time I thought, and I haven’t read a bedtime story since.

And you know what? That’s crap. It really is. I want them to bond, I really do, but it’s not my big girl’s job to do that. It’s mine. So in an effort to do as a say, I bought a copy of The Wizard of Oz to start reading to my girls. Because it is important to read to your children every day, even when they’re old enough to read to themselves. Also, I’ve never read it, only seen the movie and that needs to be remedied. I can’t wait to sit them down tonight and start to read it. To do funny voices. To look at the really cool illustrations.

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Do you still read to your kids? I can’t believe I let it slip. I still remember my oldest daughter’s face every time I read her The Spider and The Fly, which is still one of her favorite books, 4 years later.