Monday, October 31, 2016

Enlarged territory

Perhaps you have heard of The Prayer of Jabez.

"Oh that you would bless me and increase my territory, and that your hand might be with me..." I  Chronicles 4:10

This weekend I was privileged to gather and celebrate with a writer friend. Amy launched her second book. It's a big deal. I'm so glad I was able to attend.

I had never met Amy face to face until yesterday. She invited me to her book launch party. We hugged right away when she greeted me at the door. She is wonderful. Lovely in every way. We were trying to figure out how I even found her. Social media had a hand to be sure, but I simply can't remember how I came across her.  We guessed it was through my fascination with England, and somehow I stumbled upon her writing.

You see, she lives in England! My happy place. She grew up here in the states, not far from where I live. She met and married Nicholas, who is from the UK. He is a vicar and they make their home in London. Two lively children have since been born.  I got to meet them too!
Amy signing books! Can you see the joy! She is filled to the brim!

I mentioned the Prayer of Jabez. I most certainly feel like God has enlarged my borders. I live in a small town. It really is a great place to live. That cannot be denied. But, there is something to traveling and choosing to step outside our comfort zones.

About four years ago, I started a journey I never dreamed I would travel. Writing! I have been able to go on writing retreats in Dallas, St Louis and Florida, to name just a few. Sure, I've been learning tons on the craft to actually write something that's relatively decent! But more importantly is the people I have met along the way.

I always wondered what those authors were like when I picked up their books in Barnes and Noble. Were they even real? What kind of lives do they live?
Well, now I know! They most definitely are real and live very normal lives. Just like us!  They just happen to be very disciplined in the art of writing. They plant their butt in chair and don't get up until they reach their word count for the day.

Stephen King wasn't kidding when he was asked how he wrote.
"One word at a the end, it's always that simple."  I'm learning to live by these authors' example.
One of these does not belong! Take a guess who. I'll wait while you ponder. (I'm humming jeopardy music while I wait.....)

If you guessed me you'd be right! The one NOT published yet!

Want to know more about these authors? Here's the link to their websites.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Taking it back

The analogy between toothpaste and words is too good not to share.
 Have you ever tried to put toothpaste back into the tube once its been squeezed out?

Basically, it can't be done. Just like words. Once they've been spewed out of our venomous mouths, the damage is done. You can't take it back.

Here is a link to 'Words' by Hawk Nelson.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Driving Miss Gail

In last Monday's post, I promised I would tell you what we did before having lunch at Reads.

I was asked if I wanted to go for a drive. Hmmmmm...twist my arm!
Yes, please!  I felt a bit like the Dowager in Downton Abbey! Que the music!
Enough with the selfies already! But, you have to admit...I played  the part well! My chauffeur was definitely Driving Miss Daisy ( I mean, Gail!)

We drove in the country for about an hour. I was in my glory!
I want to live here. I really do. This is a village green with a real life pub! I know...storybook. Idyllic.
 Every pub has its own name. Makes the area so quaint.
See what I mean!
So much history. Oh, if those markers could talk!
Yes, that is the road!
I loved the tree tunnel!
That is a car, and yes, we managed to squeeze past without a scratch!  Tight fit! Made me think of that scene in the movie The Holiday. "Amanda" nearly gets squashed by the lorry (that's 'truck' in British terms) while driving the mini cooper down the lane.
We got out and walked around. I wandered about and breathed in the fresh air. Pinch me. I really was in England.
My beautiful happy place!
Can it be more blissful?
In England, I could walk anywhere I wanted! There are footpaths everywhere!
See that road in the middle of this photo? That's the quiet lane. Aaaaaahhhh....I'm there in my mind. 
On the road again. All good things must come to an end. Bummer.
My driver/chauffeur/ dear England friend, Alan! Thanks for the drive. I loved reliving this moment, Alan!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Where I come from.

Admittedly, Halloween is not my favorite holiday.

Scaring children, dressing up like the grim reaper? Really? This is fun? Ummm...don't think so!

This is more my style...

Finding flower arrangements dressed in brilliant oranges and stunning reds.

Seriously though, the Halloween capitol of the world is where I come from. There really is such a place.
Anoka, MN

This is where I grew up.
So did a few famous people.
Those being...

U.S. Representative, Michelle Bachman
1989 Miss America, Gretchen Carlson
and Garrison Keillor.

I once saw Garrison Keillor in the grocery store of all places. Not in Anoka. Actually it was in Wisconsin! I could not pass up the opportunity to speak with him. I discreetly approached him and asked him if he had been to Anoka lately. He laughed that undeniable chortle and there began a lovely conversation. He is a wonderful human being.

Anoka got its name in the history books back in the 1920s. The festivities started, "to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks..."

October 28 and 29, Anoka will be celebrating their Capitol status in Halloween style. It really is a sight to behold. Floats and bands WANT to be invited to these parades. Truly, one of the best parades in all of the midwest. If you happen to be in the area, check it out.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Swept away to England (in my mind)

Between reading this...
...and having some dear friends visit this weekend to enjoy tea and a new favorite UK show...
....I couldn't help but wander to England. Even if it was only in my mind!

I happened to see a photo of our dear England friends this week on Facebook. They were enjoying an afternoon at Reads.  We savored our time at Reads while in England over the summer.

What is Reads, you ask?

A glorious restaurant. Here's a snippet of what to expect should you go.
A drink while waiting for your table is a great start. Here I am with a Pimms. I had never had a Pimms before. Made with a light ginn, it gets diluted with lemonade.  English cucumbers, strawberries and mint float at the top! YUM!
Marion and I went for a walk around the property. So quaint, isn't it?
 Reads grow their own vegetables.

I glanced at this picture often while eating. I would love to have this hanging over my fireplace.
 Awe, the gift of friendship.
Appetizer. Pleasing to the eye. Just the right temperature, and melt in your mouth flaky crust goodness.

Main courses.

Dessert. Yes, please!
After dinner, we enjoyed mints and tea in the parlor. So civilized!
Marion and I. The whole afternoon was idyllic. Just the way I imagined England would be.
Next week I will show you what we did BEFORE we went to Reads.

Here's the link to the restaurant.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Did you know?

Did you know the rock  group U2 sings Psalm 40 at every concert? It is the last song they play for the evening.

I never knew that!
Watch the video.

Have you noticed  Bono always wears sunglasses? Well, that is because he has glaucoma. He has sensitivity to bright light and flashes. So, if you happen to see him, don't shove your camera in his face. He will pay dearly for that flash for the rest of the day.

Bono is knighted! By the Queen!  Pretty cool!

He is an activist for the AIDS pandemic.

His mother died of a cerebral aneurysm. And get this...she died while attending her father's funeral. Many of Bono's songs are focused on the loss of his mother.

Bono is one decent human being. We could take lessons from him.


Monday, October 10, 2016

They have arrived!

This weekend the books I have been patiently waiting for, arrived!
 "This Christmas, settle into a cozy chair by the fire and prepare to be swept away to England in two unforgettable novels by bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn..."

Only, I'm not waiting for Christmas! The time is now! I will be plopping myself in that cozy chair for the next few days, diving into this book. I'm already sucked in. The first paragraph hooked me. That and the fact that it takes place in England! AND it's now a movie! Comes out on November 13th. My calendar is marked!

I am beyond excited. Books do that!

"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are."
                                                                        ---Mason Coolney

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Daily life

Sometimes life can be so daily.

This week has not been a stellar week in our household.

I've had to remind myself in spite of life's ups and downs, it's still a wonderful world.
A walk was just what I needed.

The leaves put on quite a show for me don't you think?!
I love the sound of leaves scrunching beneath my shoes...
...the smell of pine wafting through the air.

I filled my lungs with the scent of fall. It was glorious.
 When I got home, hubby had baked a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf! Yep. It's a wonderful world.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fun video

Forgive the simple post here! I've been on a self imposed writing deadline!

I found this fun video from Anglophenia...thought you might enjoy it too.