Feeling Grateful – Living in the Country

tulips-2091609_1920I woke up this morning and went outside onto my front porch. The air was sweet and clean.

We live on a dead end street and most days there is limited traffic. I surveyed my garden, by simply looking over the railing and thought ‘life is good’. My lavender is lush and a rose bush that has struggled is now in full bloom. The day lilies are about to pop!

Fifteen years ago, when we decided to move back to the country, it was an adjustment for me. Finding my place. Reaching out to the neighbours. Learning to live in the silence.

We’ve worked on our home so that now it feels like ‘us’. The bushman loves his double garage for his ever-changing projects. He built a carding machine and has been transforming alpaca fiber (sometimes alpaca combined with wool) into rovings for spinners.

Over the years, we’ve removed old carpets, installed bamboo flooring and an exotic living room floor that was an auction item.

In the kitchen, I can display my collections of serving plates, cake stands and other kitchen goodies. The yellow colour is welcoming. Art is everywhere including a large stained glass that I had made for the bushman years ago.

We’ve enjoyed many exuberant meals on our porch and in our dining room. We love to gather around the table and share food and stories with others.

This is Home! And when we’re surrounded by family and friends, I’d have to say we are ever so grateful!

Grateful! Which really, in my opinion, should be spelled – GREAT-FULL!

If you can be torn away from the gorgeous weather we’re experiencing , what are you grateful for this week?



Replenishing The Well

bookshop-1759619_1920In my pursuit of the craft of writing, it’s easy to forget that it’s crucial to continue with reading. I’ve always been a reader but when trying to complete a manuscript, reading can fall by the edge of the road.

Books are critical to my improvement as a writer. I want to be humbled, brought to my knees by the turn of a delicious phrase or a paragraph that I want to re-read or memorialize in a notebook. Some days, I have serious author envy. The writing world is filled with brilliance.

Whether it’s memoir, autobiographies, non-fiction and fiction, all these words and ideas, are all components of the luscious stew that I’m creating in my brain.

In order to keep myself motivated and learning, I try to read outside of my genre and I try to read everything I can get my hands on that fits my mood.

Lately, this is what I’ve consumed:

  • Lucky Man – Michael J. Fox
  • The Lost Garden – Helen Humphreys
  • The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult
  • The Dance of the Dissident Daughter – Sue Monk Kidd

And I’m smiling because I just picked up from the library – Paris for One & other stories by Jojo Moyes.

I take great joy in making my book characters readers. You betcha! In my last novel ‘Finding Hayden’ my main character Lily adores romance. For her, they are a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. They provide her with an emotionally satisfying story.

Literacy can be the key! Are you reading anything lately that has amazed you? Please take the opportunity to share.





Permission to Rest

koala-bear-9960_1920Right now, all around me, family and friends are in transition. Family dynamics change. Friends are down-sizing, up-sizing, moving back, moving to, pondering moving, or thinking of staying in place. The thought of change is constant.

We wonder what might lie just around the corner. And that in itself is exhausting. We are trying so hard to keep up, that the tendency is to do too much.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the ability to just ‘let it be’.  In our constant striving it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves.

Reading can offer answers. Whether we embrace fiction or non-fiction, we can learn from the journeys that others have taken. I don’t have to fly a helicopter or perform brain surgery (thank heavens) but I can read about what it’s like from those who are involved in those careers.

There are countless books that offer tips to leading a calmer lifestyle. I’m discovering that those suggestion are crucial for living the ‘writing life’.

Have you found a particular book that is helping you relax?




Filtering Out the Noise

sad-2019926_1920Lately it has become difficult, sometimes impossible for me to remain removed from the tragedy of world events. What’s happening ‘out there’ all over the world is heart-breaking.

Living in the province of Quebec for a number of years I was exposed to chaotic, theatrical and unusual politics. But those issues pale in contrast to what I’m reading, witnessing and absorbing now.

I’m supposed to be immersed in my story – but when I take a break, and turn on the radio, or TV or phone then I’m assaulted again by yet another instance of hate.

What can a writer do when all of my emotions are under attack? I’ve had to devise ways of protecting myself from the everyday horrors of the daily news.

  • I have arranged for no-media days.  That’s tougher than you think when I rely on social media to keep current in the publishing world.
  • I choose to write first, early in the morning. This works because then I feel at least that my mind hasn’t been poisoned by the latest news cycle.
  • I try to surround myself with positive people.
  • I limit my discussion of politics.
  • When I’m really upset, I head to my garden porch, sit in a rocking chair, survey my flowers and drink tea. I remind myself of everything that I have in my life. Family, friends and my bubble of love.
  • I light candles and set up my room diffuser with an essential oil. Right now, I’m using one called ‘Unwind’.
  • I look for novels that have encouraging and positive endings. We need that right now. I believe that is why readers are attracted to romance novels. They are given hope.
  • How are you managing in these chaotic times?

Sometimes It’s Enough …

mothers-day-717610_1920To watch the garden spinner twirl in the wind

To marvel at the opening of a blood red poppy

To discover the owl blending into the tree

To wonder at the conversations of birds

To feel the breeze caress my limbs

Sometimes this is enough.

And for today – it was.

Because my mind was at ease and I was floating above my chaise lounge, I wondered about my character Lily in my novel ‘Finding Hayden’.

  • Did she take the time to enjoy the small moments in her life?
  • Did she question her chosen path?
  • Did she experience regrets?
  • Where did she find her courage?

Follow Lily’s journey in Finding Hayden (available on Amazon).

She made some distinct choices. When faced with a difficult decision, how do you work it out?

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