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Sending out 2015 with gratitude

Even though I haven’t done much blogging myself in 2015, I’ve still kept up with some of my favorite bloggers’ posts. And because of them, I learned about Dawn Landau’s blog party over at Tales from the Motherland. The idea is simple: in just 10 minutes’ time, compose a list of 50(ish) things from 2015 for which you are happy or grateful, then share it with the world. Since events this past year would make it easy to send 2015 out with ill-will and negative thoughts, I felt like I really NEEDED this challenge. So here goes…

Fifty things from 2015 that filled me with joy and/or gratitude (in no particular order)

  1. My loving, supportive husband
  2. A mostly-healthy body
  3. A purring cat on my lap
  4. Blazing sunsets
  5. Music from Adele to Zac Brown Band, and everything in between
  6. Parents who raised me to know right from wrong, and to take responsibility for my choices
  7. Rainy days
  8. Books that make me forget where I am
  9. A doctor I trust
  10. My Wine & Whine crew
  11. A reliable car
  12. Huge mugs of steaming hot tea
  13. Truckers who stay in the right lane on the interstate
  14. A membership at a gym with a pool
  15. Walks around the lake
  16. Pinterest, because I wasn’t wasting enough time on Facebook
  17. Days with a carefully planned agenda
  18. Days with nowhere to go and all day to get there
  19. Dark chocolate
  20. Long solo drives with the radio turned way up
  21. Subtle, pastel sunrises
  22. Sleep-in Sundays
  23. Life lessons and skills learned from my grandparents
  24. A warm, safe house to come home to each day (even if I do share it with squirrels)
  25. Caramel apples rolled in dark chocolate chips (or drizzled with chocolate…I’m not picky)
  26. My iPhone’s camera
  27. A freezer stocked with homemade soups
  28. My sisters- and brothers-in-law
  29. Christmas Wreath candles (Yankee Candle, please don’t discontinue this scent!)
  30. Time to be creative (and enough skills to turn ideas into reality–usually)
  31. Visits with my mom
  32. Long, hot showers in the evening
  33. Freshly laundered sheets
  34. A food plan that is steadily bringing the old me back
  35. An abundance of volunteer opportunities around my community (and time to participate)
  36. The internet–for banking, making reservations, shopping, looking up useless information
  37. The luxury of a space heater under my desk and a fan blowing on my bed–on the same day
  38. Sangria and mulled wine–not necessarily on the same day 🙂
  39. A valid passport–just in case Donald Trump is elected in 2016
  40. Skype, when my hubby is out in the field
  41. Friends and family who are there if I need them
  42. Erika, who recently gave me one of the best haircuts of my life
  43. Repurposing treasures from antique stores and flea markets
  44. New recipes that turn out to be keepers
  45. Seeing my students making progress toward their goals
  46. Thorlo socks, which don’t get eaten by my sneakers when I walk/jog
  47. Poker with the gang
  48. Exploring model houses, trolling for dream home ideas
  49. My 5:30 a.m. gym buddies and instructors
  50. Every chance I have to get “closer”

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s okay. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When you finish your list, feel free to add links and photos.

To join in this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post into yours). 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of Tales from the Motherland’s post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can paste the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2016. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of (or an attempt to write) 50 things that made you feel happy or 50 things that you are grateful for will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; it will be removed. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help flood the blogosphere with both!


Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Jewel of the Fair


Photo copyright  Janet M. Webb

“This line is endless. The kids are antsy. I can just take them down to the Sandwich Gardens. I’ll grade some papers while they eat, then we’ll meet you under the 7-Up clock in a few hours.”

“No, George, you didn’t come all the way to the World’s Fair to work. The line’s moving…we’re almost in. When else will we see Spain for twenty-five cents? We’ll eat paella inside…and Life mentioned some fruity wine punch. Look, kids! Flamenco dancers! George, what are they saying?”

“¡Felicidades! You are our three-millionth visitor! ¡Bienvenidos! Please, be our guest at the Jewel of the Fair!”


Rochelle’s creative use of historical fiction for many of the Friday Fictioneers photo prompts has inspired me to explore that genre for my response to Janet‘s photo this week. It is widely accepted that sangria was introduced in the US at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Lines to enter the Spanish Pavilion were often so extensive that ticket sales had to be suspended until the Pavilion had emptied–was it Goya or sangria the people were after? Pavilion organizers celebrated visits by countless dignitaries and celebrities, and also made quite a fuss over milestone visitors like George K. Bird, a Massachusetts teacher who’d come to the Fair with his wife and four children.


Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Challenges, Fiction, Uncategorized



Travel theme: Yellow

In honor of a brief glimpse of sun this week, Ailsa has chosen to celebrate all things yellow in her weekly challenge at Where’s my backpack?

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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


In the age of darkness

Photo copyright Dawn M. Miller

Photo copyright Dawn M. Miller

Anna pulled a tissue from her sleeve and dabbed the tears dampening Maude’s face. Another light had just gone out in her world; the encroaching darkness threatened to consume her. What good were the golden years if everyone you’d intended to share them with had left you? She’d outlived her husband, their only child, all five of her siblings, and now one more dear friend. Folding the op/ed page back over Maude’s obituary, Anna rose stiffly from her rocker, shuffled to the phone, and dialed a number by heart. “It’s Anna Hendricks. The usual spray of white stargazer lilies, please.”


Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.     ~Rabindranath Tagore

Maybe it was just my mood in the moment, but this week’s photo prompt for the Friday Fictioneers struck me as very sad. It brought to mind one of my grandmother’s frequent complaints in her final years…that she had outlived most of the people she loved. So these 100 words are in her memory, and in honor of all those she loved and lost. I like to think they are all together now, basking in each other’s light.

Clicking on the blue frog will take you to a whole collection of 100-word stories inspired by Dawn’s photo.


Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


Thanksgiving Eve

So thankful that my sisters-in-law and their families are here safely from Alabama and Massachusetts–it was not an easy drive for either of them. Thankful that the hubby and I are able to host a family Thanksgiving after five years overseas. Thankful that all the prep-work for tomorrow’s dinner for fourteen has gone smoothly. Thankful that the first snow/sleet mix of the season did not accumulate this afternoon, even though it did look mighty pretty while it fell. Thankful that I’m able to squeak this post in under the wire and not mess up my NaBloPoMo streak. 🙂
Hope y’all have as many blessings as I’ve got this Thanksgiving Eve. Happy Turkey Day!

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


Hey this isn’t so bad after all…

I_Hate_ThisImage from Val Nelson

I had to put on my big girl panties today. My wingman bailed on me, leaving me to attend a networking event all by myself. An event where she had promised to introduce me to folks she knew (i.e. everybody). I hate networking events. I possess very few qualities of an extrovert (even under the influence), so venturing solo into a room full of strangers where I will be expected to initiate conversations generally makes me nauseous. But I need a job, and this expo of local businesses seemed like a good place to find possible leads. So I had to go. By myself.

And you know what? It wasn’t actually that bad. I don’t know whether this means I’m maturing, or whether extrovert tendencies rub off (my no-show wingman is a CLASSIC extrovert), or if I was temporarily possessed by aliens. But I introduced myself, I chatted, I asked questions, I joked. I collected information, business cards, boatloads of pens and notepads, and chocolate (whoever planned a business expo two weeks ahead of Halloween was a GENIUS). I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of being an extrovert, but I held my own.

I don’t know whether a job will come directly from today’s outing, but I’ve officially survived a solo networking event. I walked out feeling like I’d conquered a personal demon. Maybe my wingman’s desertion was actually a blessing in disguise. Those big girl panties fit pretty well.

big-girl-panties-xviiPhoto credit

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


What the heart wants


As the evening breeze cooled the sweat on their bodies, Ali reached across Ryan’s chest with a contented sigh and pulled the corner of the blanket over them both.

With just a look, he could make her heart run wild, a power he’d held since his arrival on her daddy’s farm two years ago, yet in all that time Ryan had refused to acknowledge her lust or admit his own.

Until this afternoon, when the single cupcake Ali had carried to the barn to announce her eighteenth birthday had instantly dissolved his willpower—he’d grabbed her hand and an old horse blanket and pulled her through the fields until they were well away from the barn.

Now, as a shadow fell across her face, Ali realized more than the breeze had been rustling the barley around them. This was not the way she and Ryan had intended to inform her daddy of their new relationship.


Thought I’d take a stab at Five Sentence Fiction, a weekly challenge hosted by Lillie McFerrin. Her word of inspiration this week: “wild.” The photo and the sentences are mine.

five sentence fiction


Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized