CHRISTMASES PAST

Christmas is a time for children and family. I attended a concert this week for two of the grandchildren. Seeing a 5 year old play handbells was really sweet and I’d share a picture except I picked up the wrong camera and took one that didn’t have a memory card. Doh. However, I stuck in a card so that won’t happen again though I expect there will be other fails throughout the holidays. After all, isn’t that what makes a day or a season memorable?

Instead, I am going to share a few pictures of Christmases past. I have not named the children in the pictures but they are mine….years ago when they were much youngers.

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And one of a granddaughter. She isn’t performing in a Christmas concert but she is performing and entertaining us.

 May you enjoy Christmas and especially the children. tats 5 years old 030

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COVER REVEAL

My Feb. book is available for preorder on Amazon. I love the cover on this book.

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What do you think?

This is the third and final book in the Montana Marriages series—the story of the three Bell sisters.

There’s even a Valentine scene. How much more romantic can you get than a cowboy on a beautiful horse against the backdrop of mountains and then picture him with a valentine.

Unfortunately it’s not out until Feb. Sigh.

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SOMETIMES I FEEL SPOILED

There’s nothing like a stay in a 4 star hotel to make me feel spoiled.

I spent a few nights in Gaylord Opryland Hotel while I attended a writers retreat. It’s basically 4 hotels connected by 9 acres of indoor gardens with 50,000 tropical plants.

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Everything is contained in atriums—convention center, restaurants, shops, rooms, etc.

There were lovely murals depicting historic scenes.

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The Christmas lights and displays were awesome both inside and out. There was a life-size nativity scene but I only saw it from a distance and didn’t have time to get a picture.

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The lobbies were beautiful on their own.

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The service was excellent.

It was a wonderful holiday. But you know the best thing about it all? I didn’t have to make any meals or take care of any chores for a few days.

What’s the thing you enjoy the most about staying in a hotel?

 

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VISITING NASHVILLE

The title of this blog is a little deceiving because, although I did go to Nashville, I saw very little of the city. I attended a writers retreat and we spent long days in our hotel sharing and learning.

However, my roommate and I arrived early and decided to tour the Belle Meade plantation. For those unfamiliar with French, it means beautiful meadow.

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The founders started out in a log cabin and as they established their horse farm, they built the mansion. We had a tour of the interior but pictures were not allowed. Too bad as there were some wonderful period displays.

Belle Meade was the premier thoroughbred horse farm, From their original breeding stock come race horses such as Seabiscuit, Secretariat and in fact, every horse to race in the Kentucky Derby since 2003 can trace bloodlines back to Belle Meade.

The buildings were beautiful. Here is the carriage house.

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We were free to wander around on the grounds but there was a bitter cold wind blowing. (Don’t let the sunny fall colors fool you.)

Porch sitting for a nicer day. The stone building is their dairy.

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The low window-less building is a mausoleum no longer in use.

It was fascinating to get a glimpse into the lives of a southern plantation family.

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REMEMBRANCE DAY

I considered doing a blog about where I’m going to be next week. (At a writers retreat in Nashville. Staying at this lovely hotel.)

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It’s a huge hotel (almost 3000 rooms and all under a dome. Several atriums joined together.) I can’t wait.

 

But next Tues. is Remembrance Day and after recently having had two soldiers killed by terrorists on Canadian soil, I would be remiss not to honor our veterans and soldiers.

Here is the memorial page from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial

On it you will see the information on one Quinten Grierson, my mother’s brother. It will be on display again in July.

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This information is also given:

In memory of
Flying Officer
Quinten Thomas Russell Grierson
July 29, 1944

Military Service: Service Number: J/26315
Force:
Air Force
Unit:
Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:
408 Sqdn.
Additional Information:
Cemetery:
KIEL WAR CEMETERY, Germany

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Our freedom, peace and security have come at a high price.

May we never forget.

 

Commemorated on Page 322 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

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NOVEMBER

Yes, it’s November already. Already?? Yup.

I like November. Here are some of my reasons.

1. The yard and gardens are ready for their long winter sleep and no longer require large amounts of time and energy. What’s not to like?

2. Oven meals. I don’t feel guilty about turning on the oven and throwing in a casserole, or baking potatoes and meatloaf. In fact, everyone in my house loves carrots cooked in the oven (in a casserole.) Oven meals are ready and waiting when I’m done work in my office and the clean up is minimal. What’s not to like?

3. Writing challenges from writing a novel during the month to creating a new idea every day for a month to boot camps, the internet is full of encouragement and help. What’s not to like?

4. The beginning of Christmas celebrations. Our little town really puts a lot of effort into the season. Today, there is a showcase of local artisans’ work. Can’t wait to view it.

5. Remembrance day is especially poignant this year with two soldiers having been slain by terrorists on Canadian soil in the line of duty. Our hearts are both broken and proud.

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6. Frosty mornings especially enjoyed through the window while sitting in a nice warm room. But is there anything prettier than a frosty winter scene? (except a summery scene of green?)

7. A writers’ retreat. I have not spent time with fellow writers for a couple of years so am really looking forward to talking about my imaginary friends and talking to real friends.

There are many reasons why I like November (can’t say as Movember is one of them, however). What are your favorite things about this month?

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The Halloween surprise

Today I am posting a little Halloween surprise dedicated to some special people—my grandchildren. This was a challenge to see if I could write a children’s story in less than 100 words including the words creak, broomstick and pumpkin.

Creak.

What was that? Jenna stared down the long, dark hall.

Creak.

Was it a Halloween ghost?

Shivery.

She tried not to breathe.

Her heart thumped.

Bang.

The broomstick hit the floor beside her.

“MOM.”

Mom raced into the dark hallway. “What’s wrong?”

“There’s a ghost in there.” Jenna pointed.

Mom flipped on the light.

Meow.

It was her orange cat, Pumpkin.

“Pumpkin is the only one here.”

Jenna picked up her cat. “I thought you were a ghost.”

“Meow,” said Pumpkin. She was no ghost.

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IS THERE ANYTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN OCTOBER?

October is my favorite month especially if it doesn’t snow and this year it hasn’t (so far). I am enjoying every beautiful day.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

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It’s nice when the leaves hang on week after week.

 

I walked on bracken, and dry leaves after/That flamed with color and crackled with laughter. From the poem. Walking By Dilys Bennet Laing

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What fun to watch the little ones fun through the leaves, laughing at the crackling sound.

 

 

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

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In Heaven, it is always Autumn. John Donne

Is October your favorite month? Or which month is? Please don’t spoil my enjoyment by reminding me that if it’s October, winter can’t be far away.

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FOR THE LOVE OF CATS

I love cats though I am not a crazy cat lady.

My grandchildren love cats so I really enjoyed watched my two year old granddaughter play with the old cat the other day.

What I didn’t get in the picture was the young cat wandering by teasing the child to chase him. When she did, he raced away always staying just out of her reach.

Watching cats and kids is one of the many joys of life.

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STATUES TELL A STORY

One of the things I enjoy coming across in my travels is statues. I seldom see one without ‘seeing’ a story.

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I’m sure you can all think of possible stories when you see this wooden man and the totem pole. But it reminds me of a real-life story of my son. How many of you have heard this song?

Poor ol Kaw-liga, he never got a kiss, Poor ol Kaw-liga, he don’t know what he missed,Is it any wonder that his face is red?Kaw-liga, that poor ol’ wooden head.

When my son was young—before he started school, he listened to a record with the instrumentals of that song. No words, mind you. He turned to me and said, “What a sad song.”

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This bear was along a road in Alaska on a trip we made with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. Gecko is sitting on the bear’s head. Gecko went with us everywhere and yes, there is a story there that will be written one day.

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 This statue to honor the local firefighters was in Libby, Montana.

I never think of fires without remembering being in a school fire when I was seven years old. My class and others were in the basement classroom watching a play put on my one of the older grades. At first we didn’t hear the fire ‘alarm’ which was a hand bell rung by the principal. He stood at the top of the stairs shouting, ‘Get out. Get out. It’s real.’

We barely made it out before the top floor crashed down to the spot at the top of the stairs where he stood. It was Feb. and so cold outside. We escaped without coats or boots. The water froze in the hoses as the men fought the fire. You might say it was an event that left a fiery memory in my brain.

One more statue:

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Again in Libby, Montana. A brass plate identifies it as ‘In His Hands, Artist Al Youso.’

I love the reminder to pray.

My prayer for today and every day is that people might show the kind of love the Bible implores.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV)4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God bless you today.

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