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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

It's Been Some Time



Hello again. Did you miss my posts?

After spending a feverish month as a result of accepting the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post a blog every day during the month of January, I took a hiatus for the past six weeks. Noticing it was already the middle of March, I felt guilty about being absent for so long...so here I am.

Here in East Texas, we've entered our Spring season  and that means spending lots and lots of time outdoors, doing cleanup from the winter storms and checking flower beds. Seems like every day brings something new in bloom.

Trees are leafing out. All the fruit and ornamental trees have burst into bloom--redbud, pear, plum, and Hansom cherry shrubs. I even have one azalea bush sporting deep red flowers.

This year is especially labor intensive because of the need to repair garden beds that suffered neglect for a couple years. I've had to re-position sprouting perennial clumps because their bed got destroyed when we moved my son's house onto the property last summer. From another bed, I dug up a bucket-full of iris rhizomes and set them into a new bed created along the edge of a grass area.

Right now, I'm tackling the cutting back of crepe myrtles that have overgrown their desired height.  Delivery of my order of new bulbs is expected any day, so if you don't hear from me, you know where to find me. Trowel in hand and perched on the garden seat my son gave me a few years back, I'll be soaking up sunshine and feeling happy.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Just Remembering

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Not really certain why these memories are haunting me today. Perhaps it's being Presidents' Day or because of the emotional turmoil this latest shooting has created among our country's citizenry.

It was my first Christmas with my Coast Guard husband after his transfer to Honolulu before our son was born. We chose that day to visit Punchbowl, the National Military Cemetery of The Pacific. Established in  a crater that was formed some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago, the governor of Hawaii offered the Punchbowl for a national cemetery in 1943.  In February 1948, Congress approved funding and construction began. It was officially dedicated on September 2, 1949, the 4th anniversary of V-J Day. 

 As we stood on the viewing platform, looking down at the rows of crosses, I could hardly believe this sunny day with a warm breeze disturbing my hair was December 25th. I found the experience to be a very moving as I realized how many gave their lives so I could stand in that spot.
Image result for Normandy military cemetery

An equally moving experience happened twenty-odd years later when my family spent a day at the Normandy coastline at Omaha Beach American Cemetery & Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer. The first American cemetery on European soil,  France granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. Overlooking Omaha Beach, the memorial consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing maps and narratives of the military operations.

I cannot describe my stirred emotions as I walked the sands that had absorbed the blood of so many of America's finest.

Perhaps I'm just sensing that we, the people, need to look back to see how we've drifted from that era of sacrifice for others and unity of country.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Rainy Day...

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Why does a rainy day bring on the urge to write? Sitting at my computer, the falling rain is a curtain  shutting away the outside world. Cozy in my cocoon, the cacophony of life beyond my ken can not assaulted me. Instead, I'm free to browse the expansive world of thought and imagination.

Non-writers may not be aware that we scribblers don't confine our working time to those periods we plant ourselves before a computer or at a desk, pen and paper at hand. Just as much time is spend in exploring the world our characters live in and mentally observing their behavior and interactions with others. These fictional characters acquire substance and reality as they reveal their quirks to us, the better to relate the story they insist must be written.

The imagination is a marvelous gift. My first attempts at writing for public view were restricted to informational articles. I was convinced I didn't have the imagination to create fictional stories. With a dozen or more purely fictional novels to my credit, that fallacy has been proven wrong.

It took a creative writing course with an inspired teacher at Kilgore College to remove the wall I had erected to writing fiction. Since then, I've consumed many books written by others generous in their desire to share their knowledge in my quest to grow in my craft. Close to thirty years later, I am still learning. 


Friday, February 2, 2018

A Habit's Been Formed

Only two days and I miss that daily act of writing a blog. Strange how easily some habits form...or perhaps not really strange.

I hadn't really planned to write again so soon but can't fight the urge. So, perhaps this is a good time to tell everyone about my latest publication. Actually, it's a re-release of a book that came out ten years ago...Living With A Depressed Spouse. (https://www.amazon.com/Living-Depressed-Spouse-Gay-Ingram-ebook/dp/B07939QHKC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8)

At the moment, it's only available in E-book form. We're working on the print copy that should come out shortly, depending on how long it takes Amazon to complete the process.

As you may guess from the title, this was a difficult book to write and not one I would have chosen to write. Without going into long details. I'll just say God used a stranger to let me know the book had to be written. I have to add, if it were not for my journaling during that period all this happened, there is no way I could have remembered the details.

For those readers who live in the vicinity, I'll be at Uncle Mike's, an Italian restaurant, in Big Sandy this morning with my books. Come by, say hi, and enjoy some tasty food. It's not hard to find. Big Sandy has one red light at the intersection of SH 80 and SH 155. Mike's is there, at the intersection.

Hope to see some friendly faces.



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last Day Thoughts

Whew!

Determination and perseverance have brought me to the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

I'm patting myself on the back for achieving the goal - to write and post a new blog every day in the month of January. Creating a new blog every day forced me into a routine. I'd have my first cup of coffee while checking email, Facebook, and posting the blog I wrote the night before to three sites besides twitter. Only after this was done--which took about an hour--would I make my breakfast. This was eaten while I wrote my Morning Pages a la Julia Cameron.

Toward the end of the month, I started drafting the blog the evening before and then tweaking it the next morning before posting.  Later in the day, I'd scan the Ultimate Blog Challenge Facebook page to find other folks' blogs that caught my attention so I could comment or tweet.

Now that the end of the month has arrived, I willingly give up the chore of posting every day. Not that I'll give up blogging. But, perhaps it will be more realistic to aim for one or two a week. I have to admit, my numbers haven't really changed that much as a result of this experiment. As soon as I find the time, I want to study my stats and see if I can discover a pattern that might guide me in the future.


I do want to shout out a big thank you to those of you took the time to drop in everyday and check out what I had to say.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Remembering A Cool Place I Visited



This is a take-off from one of the prompts that start...10 Things I Like...or some such like that.  I've always found it difficult to write to prompts so I usually ignore them. Instead I'll do some reminiscing about a place I visited that left an impression...both times.

Last summer I took my granddaughter to visit the Grand Canyon. We chose the day-long trip from Phoenix via a chartered van. God gave us a perfect day with bearable temperatures once we got there. Lunch had been arranged for us while we stopped in Sedona. At the canyon, we exited the van and followed the crowd to the canyon's edge.

To say the vistas were awe-inspiring does not come close to how they affected me. Apparently they affected my granddaughter the same way. At one point, I caught sight of her, outlined by the clear sky, as she stood on a precipice of land that jutted out into the canyon. She remained there for the longest time, just taking in the sight. It confirmed my time and money was well spent.

Actually. this was my second visit to the site. Way back in the mid-nineties, I did a cross-country trip with my father. Coming back from California, we arrived at the canyon barely thirty minutes before sundown. We scrambled toward the nearest lookout,hoping to get there before it got too dark to see anything, and were rewarded with the unbelievable light-show as the setting sun turned the canyon walls into a multi-colored, ever-changing  phantasmagoria.

If you've never been, I strongly urge everyone to visit at least once in their lifetime. It's a sight that will permanently rearrange your concept of this planet we inhabit.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Getting Into Blogging

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Never thought I would admit this, but I like blogging. I've been told a blog is simply the best, fastest, and easiest way to create your online persona. Well, only time will tell if that's true or not.

I've learned your blog posts should all serve larger goals. Aimless blogging is almost as bad as not blogging at all. So I'll try to focus on particular topics, such as little known subjects, odd phrases that have gone out of use or other things that readers might find informative. 

Maybe even something a bit more personal once in a while. It's been said more people will enjoy reading your blog if the writing is more approachable. Maybe include glimpses of my personal life  to help them get to know me.

I learned that advice is to be organized really well. The working title I chose opens the door to a variety of subjects and hints at the sometimes incongruity of situations.

Other recommendations are: don't copy-and-paste and not give credit where credit is due. I must remember to link back to the actual page from where I captured the information I share. To cite someone's content on Twitter, I can just include a "via @username". If I publish a post from a guest blogger, I should always mention the guest blogger's name, give them a short bio, and  include a link to their website.

Most importantly, I need to take the time to shape up my post. Preview the post and fix any typos, run-on sentences, or accidental its/it's mistakes. 

It's a work in progress but I keep reminding myself  there will always be more things I can do to make my posts better.