NEWS UPDATE

I’ve been busy with August. You know the stuff—garden, company, going places, the lake, summer camps for the grandchildren, family gatherings, the garden.

But good stuff is happening at the same time. So here’s the news.

1. I received my 25th book pin. Isn’t it lovely? I think so.

writing aug. 2014 004

 

 

 

 

 

2. I got two boxes of books within the same week. How cool is that?

The first is the beginning of a new 3-book series of three girls found on the prairie and adopted and it’s set in Montana.

writing aug. 2014 002

I love seeing the delivery man stop in front of my house and hand me a box of books. I love opening the flaps and looking at my latest release.

 

 

 

The second book is a re-release of my second Love Inspired Historical in large print with a slightly different cover.

writing aug. 2014 005

I think the new cover is great. My hubbie and client think the large print is great so we’re all happy.

In the meantime, I am working on the final book of the Eden Valley series. Look for three more books late in 2015 in that series.

One other August bit of news. My granddaughter got a new puppy for her birthday and has named him August in honor of her birthday month. Smile

august puppy

So how has your August been so far?

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SUMMER TIME

It’s been a busy summer as it always is. Last weekend, a family reunion where are my siblings got together. Two have passed and we missed them.

Kids here, kids there, kids in raspberry patch.

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Kids at the waterslide.

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Kids at the playground.

family in august 034

And a new kitty–Peanut–who is fun even when he’s sleeping.

peanut 001

How’s your summer going?

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ROCKS REMEMBER

Geologists have a saying–rocks remember. Neil Armstrong 

I couldn’t help wonder what rocks remember, what stories they could tell, sorrows they feel as I passed two specific rocky places on my research trip.

First, the Okotoks Erratic.

montana research trip July 006

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Plunked in the middle of prairie, where and how and why is this rock there? It has a very mysterious feel to it. I can understand why the Blackfoot people considered it of spiritual significance.

And then there is this valley of rocks caused by the Frank Slide.

montana research trip July 038 In 1903 at 4:10 am, 90 million tons of rocks slid down Turtle Mountain and in 100 seconds buried the eastern side of Frank, killing and permanently burying 70 people.

The rocks along the highway go on for about 4 miles. Huge rocks.

montana trip 033 A horrible tragedy. The power of nature is overwhelming.

But then man adds his touch to the world.

montana research trip July 028

Just for fun, here is a site for enjoying rocks.

http://www.rocksforkids.com/

Anyone out there have any rock stories to share?

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FIRST HAND

I like it when I can see first hand the places I plan to write about. So this past week, I headed south to research the mountains of north-western Montana with a special regard to the gold rushes that took place there in 1867 and 1876.

The trip was most enjoyable. Forest fire smoke gave the mountains a smoky haze.

montana research trip July 031 Seeing the fading layers of blue-gray makes me long to be able to paint what I feel. Words are far too inadequate.

Seeing the cattle on the green hills made me feel like I had stepped right into the life of one of my cowboy heroes. Can you picture yourself on horseback, your cowboy hat pushed back as you admire your herd? I can.

montana research trip July 032 We took the scenic route south of the border along the Koocanusa Lake which meant that for 52 miles we followed a snake-shaped road down the mountain. Yes, the scenery was nice. I guess. I had to keep my eyes on the road. But I stopped to take this picture.

montana trip 038 The Koocanusa bridge across the Koocanusa lake formed by the Libby dam across the Kootenai river. The lake is very long–about 90 miles–crossing the International border into BC. By the way, the lake was named in a contest. It combines the first three letters of Kootenai, Canada and USA.

More of the lake. (I stopped twice on my way down the twisty road)

montana research trip July 044  We arrived in Libby, Montana and stayed in the Venture Inn Motel (great place to stay).

My room: Yup, that’s a recliner chair. Nice. And the desk was great for working on.

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Libby has something like 70 statues of eagles. Most of them done by the same man. This one could be seen from my motel room.

montana trip 042 

It was good to see the area. And equally good to get home. I’ll share more of my trip next time.

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NOSTALGIA

It’s fun when I find something that fits into one of my stories or gives me an idea for another.

I had such a moment this week.

Often the little girls in my stories have a doll someone has made them week so when I found fabric dolls in a gift store, I was enamored. They were so unique. Here, have a look for yourself.

gift store sylvan lake 007 gift store sylvan lake 006 gift store sylvan lake 005 Did you notice the sign beside the one doll. lol. The partial sign on the first doll reads Bad mistakes often make good stories.

There were bumble bee dolls too. Cute, but not the same nostalgic feel.

gift store sylvan lake 004

I’m off to do research in Montana this week and hope I can find some special moments like these dolls provided.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Both Canada and America celebrated birthdays this week. Our maple leaf flag is hanging at our driveway, proudly informing everyone that we’re proud to be Canadian.

Our town celebrates with a huge party in town–very kid friendly and everything free. Needless to say, it attracts a large crowd.

There were bouncy castles, rides, games, cupcakes, popcorn, balloon animals, face painting, temporary tattoos, dog agility demonstrations, music, etc.

I thought I’d share a few pictures of the event.

Canada day 003 Canada day 024 Canada day 006 Canada day 015 Canada day 020

Did you celebrate your country’s birthday? What do yo do that is special?

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SO LITTLE TIME

After a long LONG winter there is so much activity to pack into a few short months.

There is the garden (with which I have a love/hate relationship). I love the fresh veggies. Sometimes I even like working in the garden. But only sometimes. With the abundance of rain, the weeds have gotten a head start on much of the garden.

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This picture represents hours of work but I’m hoping to get it under control this week…if it doesn’t rain again.

But besides the promise of fresh vegetables, there is the present joy of lettuce (in a different garden which is practically weed free) and an abundance of flowers–especially daisies which in one of my favorite flowers.

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There are so many things I want to do during the sunny (it will be sunny eventually. Right?) summer days. Of course I still have writing to do.

See what I mean? So much to do. So little time. lol.

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LEARNING TO DRIVE

A number of years ago I wrote little anecdotal stories for a local newspaper. I thought I’d share one of them with you.

LEARNING TO DRIVE

The best place to learn to drive is on the farm. I’ve heard it dozens of times so I know it must be true. I heard it lots about the time the men were making silage and there was a shortage of operators. Or right around harvest time when just one more truck would make it so the combine wouldn’t have to wait.

I’ve heard all the arguments. After all, they said, it’s perfectly safe. You can drive for days and never leave our property or see another vehicle. Most of the time. Yeah, right!

I’ve also seen how the kids were taught to drive.

It goes something like this: Open the truck door. Boost said child to the seat. Point out the pedals, the gearshift and the field. After that, it’s literally learn by the seat of the pants.

I’ll admit, it usually worked. The kid learned to drive simply because there wasn’t a choice. But it’s not without surprises as they learned the rules. ..sometimes with hair-raising results.

Take the time one of the boys parked the truck on a hill and walked down to the house. Part way down, he turned around to see the truck likewise headed down the hill, in a slightly different direction. He raced after it and caught up just as the truck nosedived into the side of the steel Quonset. Crunch. Rule number one: always put the truck in low gear and use the emergency brake. Especially when parked on a hill.

Or the time father and son were out moving a grain auger and looked up in time to se the fully loaded grain truck bearing down on them. The boy was able to leap into the truck and stomp down on the brakes hard enough to stop just before his father was pinned between two vehicles. Rule number two: See rule number one which applies double when applied to a loaded truck.

Farm trucks are a little different than your ordinary family vehicle. For instance, their weight, the amount of room it takes to maneuver, and the amount of time it takes to stop. Some things that a novice driver doesn’t always realize.

The men had just brought home a spanking new Mack truck. All shiny and clean. No dents. No missing pieces. Nothing the matter with it. They took it out to the field to do what farmers do best with their trucks. I think they stand around and brag about them especially when they are shiny and new with no dents. One of the boys drove the old, decrepit, banged up truck out to the same field, drove around the tractor, applied the brakes and came to a stop when he crashed into the side of the shiny new truck. There was much wailing and moaning as the men examined the truck.

Rule number three: Remember it takes twice as much space to stop a big truck as it does a half ton truck.

But I think if I had to choose the all-time winner of hard lessons it would be the time one of the boys parked a silage truck in front of the shop and sauntered to the house where the men were washing up after a hard day.

“Seems to be something wrong with the truck,” he mentioned. “Doesn’t turn too good.” And off he went to bed.

The next morning it rained. The men were busy packing the pit and looking after other things most of the day. It was late before they got around to checking on the truck and when they did, you could hear them yowl in the next township.

Something wrong turned out to be a bent wheel with a fender crushed into the tire. How it even moved was a mystery. As was the cause.

“I think I hit a rock,” was the explanation.

Upon checking the field, the ‘little rock’ turned out to be the size of a Volkswagen and it had been turned over and moved several feet from its original place.

I figured the boy deserved a medal for the biggest rock run over by a truck. Rule number four: avoid big rocks.

What better way to learn the rules of driving and what safer place than on a farm?

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TRUE CREATIVITY

Are we born creative? If so, is it criticized from us? Watching my grandchildren play makes me wonder if yes is the answer to both questions?

This is my four-year-old granddaughter playing with a box of cars and trucks.

Stasia 003

She has them lined up on the entertainment center. When I first saw her arrangement, I thought she was playing cars and trucks. Like why wouldn’t I think that? But no, the cars and trucks were people and she was serving them juice then putting them to bed, all the while talking to them.

Creativity at its best. I wish I could recapture such pure imagination.

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WAYS TO FILL THE WELL

Filling the Well

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Julia Cameron Filed as Uncategorized and tagged

Art is an image-using system. In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond. We’ve got big fish, little fish, fat fish, skinny fish– an abundance of artistic fish to fry. As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem.

If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked. Any extended period of piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well.

As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them– to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.From Julia Cameron’s blog. http://juliacameronlive.com/2012/08/17/filling-the-well/

Here is a list of some of my favorite ways to fill the well:

1.Go for a walk, preferably in a place filled with beautiful sites. I love walking around town in the summer and admiring the yards.

2. Which brings to mind another favorite way–visit botanical gardens.

olds gardens july 2013 013

3. Go to a library or bookstore. Sigh.

4. Visit a museum or art gallery.

5. Go to quilt or yarn store. All those fabrics and yarns arranged in bins of color. And the samples of finished work stir the senses.

6. Music–almost any kind. It’s especially nice to listen to music while sitting on a patio enjoying the scent of flowers.

7. People watching. The perfect place is at a little Paris cafe. Just saying.

cafe

8. Garden/farmer’s markets which combine people watching, colors and scents and food.

9. Coffee shops in general. The atmosphere seems to work for many people. A number of authors I know go to the nearest coffee shop to work. There is even an app to reproduce the sound of a coffee shop while at home.

10. Sitting at the lake.

sylvan lake in sept. 018

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