Book Launch Celebration went well

Wow! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! (Silence... Staring... Fingers perched on the keyboard...) That just about says it all... Two exciting things happened the week of July 29. Actually, one was not so exciting. I received my first copies of "No Time to Quit" and found out I have shingles. I'm not going to go into all the gory details of shingles in my head and eye, but suffice it to say, navigating through the details of moving forward with the book was much more difficult. I couldn't even schedule a book launch celebration because of not knowing when the symptoms would be manageable enough for me to function. The shingles did put a damper on the excitement of receiving the first copies of my first book, but I was terribly excited anyway. Holding a book in my had that has my name on it as the author has been a dream of mine since I was a child. The day I found out the book was available online at WestBow Press I was so excited I couldn't think the rest of the day. I was supposed to be working on publicity ideas and writing a press release. Within days, the book also was on the Barnes & Noble website, as well as Amazon. And Mom had been selling so many books … [Read more...]


Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy

By Barbara Johnson Going through a rough time? Barbara Johnson lets you in on the secret that "Pain is inevitable but misery is optional". Her book "Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy" comes out of four devastating experiences that equip Johnson with the credentials to help others work through their own pain. There are parts in the book that made me wonder how anyone could survive through the tragedies, and parts that made me smile. It is a book that makes one feel. Johnson first takes the reader through her own experiences - her husband's near fatal accident and slow recovery from debilitating injuries, followed by the loss of one son in Vietnam and another son to a drunk driver, plus a third son declaring he is gay and Johnson herself being diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes - all within seven years, She is candid about how each experience affected her, the emotions she had to process and the depression she went through. The book moves into Johnson's Spatula ministry to help others move through tragedy into joy with stories, anecdotes, poems, quotes and Bible verses. Given Johnson's reputation as a humorist, I expected to laugh more as I read the book. I also … [Read more...]


I’m onto the next step!

Decisions have been made, edits are done and the manuscript for "No Time to Quit" has been submitted for formatting! After the last few weeks doing nothing but working, editing the book and basic survival necessities, today was an exciting day! Maybe I should back up a little bit. The manuscript went through an editorial assessment where an editor at Westbow Press looked it over and did a sample edit on a few pages. Then she wrote a report about the manuscript's merits, as well as improvements that could be made to make the book stronger. She used words like "compelling", "inspiring" and "engaging" when describing the book. She also made some valid points and gave me wonderful changes to work on. To be honest, I was nervous about that part of the process. I didn't know how the manuscript would be received, and whether or not someone who is not invested in the story would really like it. The editor's comments pleased me. I put her sample edit next to the original and went over it one sentence at a time. The changes were minor, and they made the book stronger. The next step was getting an estimate for Westbow to provide the content edit she recommended. It was $1,200, and … [Read more...]


New Gardening Experiment

Have you seen the info on straw bale gardening? I like lasagna gardening because I don't really like to dig, but this year, I chose to experiment. Since I have never grown anything in a straw bale, I purchased one bale and placed it in the corner of my garden. I added about an inch of compost and then proceeded to plant my zucchini on and near the bale. The finishing touch was watering it well. So far, the plants look good.   The wire cage to the left of the bale is an old display from work that I am using to support the pea plants. I put it in the ground about an inch down and then planted the peas. With the cool weather we are having, the peas should still do very well. The only problem with this consistent rain is the timing. It seems like the nice days I'm at work and the rainy days I am at home. I don't have to water, but I am finding it hard to finish the yard and garden. The mulch is still in bags on my front step and my tomatoes are still in the flat. Hopefully, I will be able to finish what I started soon. Otherwise the season will be gone. Blink and I will miss it. … [Read more...]

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Picnic in the woods

Working in the retail business, weekends off are few and far between. I've taken to requesting a weekend day here and there just to be able to see my husband. Some requests are granted, some denied. My husband surprised me recently on a Sunday off with a picnic in the woods by the river. With spring being so late, it was like walking in a black and white film, sometimes with sepia filters. Color was void. Even the sky was gray, but it was wonderful. We found a log to use as a bench near a small creek running into the river where we could watch the reflection of the trees ripple as the breeze made the surface breathe. The quiet calm was interrupted by a bicycle or two on the tar path about 100 yards away. Then a bird, or the wind whispering through the tree tops. The undergrowth was just a thought under the leaves covering the ground, creating the perfect environment for trekking through the woods, investigating things we observed while eating our lunch. The woods were full of interesting details, many of the decomposition process. White shelf mushrooms forming on fallen trees were common.     We also saw a few duck couples, some with their white … [Read more...]


Being a Mother

Late again! I know Mother's Day was yesterday. No matter what my true intentions are, I'm chronically three to five minutes late in getting somewhere, and at times a day late or a dollar short when it comes to acknowledging special days and events. My husband says he knows how I LIKE to do things, but it's not that I LIKE to do things that way. Normally it has to do with trying to get too much done in too little time. I digress... Anyway, I really wanted to say something about being a mother and what Mother's Day represents to me. There is nothing that compares to being a mother, and no feeling that bonds two people together as fully as the parent-child relationship. When I said that to my daughter, she said children change your life forever. They really do. And all the changing diapers, wiping snotty noses, kissing scraped knees, washing dirty faces, helping with homework, setting curfews, checking up on their friends and the challenges that come with raising them is well worth it. A child can melt your heart when she looks at you with love, completely forgetting was so angry with you earlier in the day that she screamed for what seemed like forever, and then gives you … [Read more...]


Which photo would catch your eye first?

Things are progressing with the book publishing, and I am again looking for some input. I have two photos that I am considering for the front cover of the book. Though I have already pretty much made up my mind which I want to use, I would like to know which you would pick up first. Keep in mind the title No Time to Quit with the subtitle Life in a Broken Package.                                         Let me know which you would pick up first, the child or the plant. ?Use the comment section below this post. Thanks!       … [Read more...]



With the Minnesota Senate passing a bill that gives financial aid to illegal immigrants for college educations, I sit back and wonder where their minds are. Don't get me wrong. I understand the logic of helping these kids who have grown up here grow and learn. And since many have been here most of their lives, in many ways they are U.S. citizens. But, become citizens before we pay for their education. In order to get a job they are supposed to prove they have the ability to work here. Evidently, the parents have worked here for a long time, whether legally or illegally, in order to support the family. Are illegal immigrants paying taxes toward the financial aid? Do they file income taxes? If they want to live here, why not go through the process of becoming a citizen? I agree with one senator who voiced concerns about paying for the education and then the student not being able to work. With the current economic climate, and the fact that our country is in such debt, it ticks me off that I may be paying for illegal immigrants to get a college education. In essence I will be paying for people of other countries to gain an education while our country continues to go into … [Read more...]


Senseless Act

As I hunched over the StarTribune, attempting to give my tired body a rest, a co-worker looked at the big-screen TV in horror and asked if that was a bomb. I turned to see "Terror at the Boston Marathon" above a photo as the news reporter was talking about the incident. The break room was noisy - someone speaking loudly on his cell phone, people punching in, others punching out, lots of greetings and conversations. I couldn't hear anything the news reporter was saying, so I stood next to the TV until the room cleared out as people went on their way. I was mortified and in shock. Two bombs had exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, injuring and killing spectators and runners. I hurt for those who were injured or killed, and for those who love them. I hurt for those who witnessed the carnage and will have those images imprinted on their minds forever. I hurt for our nation and the impact this will have on other events. It doesn't matter who did this, whether it was a locally born psychopath or a foreign terrorist, the fallout will be the same. Our way of life will continue to change. We stand and say we will be strong and will not let these acts of terror change … [Read more...]


One Door Away From Heaven

By Dean Koontz One Door Away From Heaven is an unexpected book that follows three primary groups of people who finally converge in the last few chapters of the book. Writing styles change a bit from chapter to chapter depending on which group is being described, which dumbfounded me the first time I read it. The styles evolve into one style as the characters get closer together, which is an amazing feat! It takes a great writer to do that well. The book starts out in a dusty trailer park in California where Michelina Bellsong has moved in with her aunt, searching for a way to change the direction of her troubled life. Along comes Leilani Klonk, a precocious handicapped girl with a strong spirit who cuts through the crap and says it how it is. Thrown off guard, Micky isn't sure how to react but sees a quiet desperation underneath the strength Leilani portrays. Leilani's mother is absorbed in her world of drugs, and her stepfather, Preston Maddoc, is not who he appears to be. He has moved the family from place to place searching for UFO sightings, striving to make contact. The story he tells is that the aliens will heal Leilani by her 10th birthday or take her to live with … [Read more...]