Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life's Lessons and a Measure of Patience

I am learning, even at my age, that life is a bittersweet adventure. There are good times, better times and great times. There are unpredictable happenings that turn what you thought would happen into a completely opposite set of circumstances. On the whole, I've always been able to make whatever adjustments needed to be made.

But, and isn't there always a but, I've come upon a problem that doesn't seem to have a solution and I've been working with it and at it for quite some time now. I love my blog. It was created by a dear, highly intelligent computer whiz who came, clicked, shifted and arranged the blog and all that went with it. She set up everything and then stayed with me as I learned how to post articles and add information that could be changed when necessary. She helped me list my books, copy and paste the covers and then magically set up a system whereby any visitors to the blog could purchase books just by clicking on the cover of the book. Unfortunately, Diana died shortly after creating this mysterious and luxurious blog. Multiple brain tumors took her young and beautiful life. She is greatly missed by many and not just for her technical abilities. Diane was full of life, always laughing and oh, so willing to share her expertise.

Well, difficulties with the blog have raised their ugly heads and try as I might, I just can't find solutions to the problems. When I post, as I'm doing here, everything seems to be in order. But, when I try to add something new to the left-hand side of my blog where my books, book reviews, and other sections are, nothing seems to work and as I've clicked my way along this troubled path I find I can't add anything to this section of my blog. In fact, I tried to edit my poetry in this section and it disappeared, never to be seen again. I now get a message that my 'gadgets' are broken. I must say I've never had a broken gadget before and I'm desperately trying to locate anyone who might just be a gadget fixer. To date no help has arrived. I have one more place to seek this wizard of gadgets and that's my women's networking luncheon. So, on the second Wednesday of December I am going to quiz anyone who will listen to see if I can't find someone to fix my broken gadget.

What makes this more frustrating than ever is the fact that my newest book, FORGIVEN, is arriving this week and I wanted to put a blurb and the cover picture on my blog.

There must be a gadget fixer somewhere. Patience, writer. Patience.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Sneak Peek

Okay, the day has finally arrived. Forgiven is now in book form and at the printer. I'm as excited about this one as I was about the very first one I published. Forgiven is my tenth novel and I'm working on number eleven.

But, just to give you a quick idea about what Forgiven is about, here is what you'll find on the back cover. I don't know about you but when I pick up books to contemplate purchasing, the first thing I read is the back cover.

This is FORGIVEN'S back cover:

"The mystery of God can sometimes be found in a simple conversation with a stranger…"

"In the sleepy little town of Gadara, Florida, Alice Waterson arrives home from college pregnant and dumped by her boyfriend. Her mother, Karen Waterson, is reeling from the news that her ex-husband is expecting a baby with his new wife and that his financial woes will mean Karen selling her and Alice's home. Across town, A.J. Handley is staving off loneliness and wondering if the chest pains he's been having are serious. Heading for Miami, a young man struggles with the choice he has made of rejecting the woman he loves and the baby she carries. And at the Gadara Twin Oaks B&B Innkeeper Sarah Jane is not quite sure what to make of the stranger who arrives after hitch-hiking his way into town.

Sunny Serafino weaves a haunting tale of mystery, faith and the intertwining of lives as each of her characters faces their own problems and dilemmas, seeking answers from God. They find that none of the answers come immediately or easily, but that the final answer may rest in the actions of another, hidden for two generations. A secret so buried that only Divine Intervention could possibly reveal it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


As a writer I know that excessive use of !!! is simply not done but sometimes even those rules have to be overlooked. Anyhow, as W. Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are."

The reason for my exclamation points is that my latest manuscript will mature into a real, actual BOOK on November 22nd. This weekend I've received the mock-up of the cover and spoken to my precious publisher. I've heard some sad and terrifying stories about publishers, editors and agents but absolutely none of those descriptions can be even remotely applied to my PUBLISHER, Rebecca Melvin of Double Edge Press, who is kind, caring and absolutely thorough while keeping a friendly and compassionate relationship with the harried author. After careful editing by Rebecca, her staff and finally me, we have polished the work to a finished product. With a final tweak to the front, back covers and the spine, the book goes to the printer on Monday. OH, HAPPY DAY!

As an author I know that some people think we sit grimly in front of the computer screen, fingers flying over the keys and then eventually lean back and sigh, "Job done." Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure we spend hours typing, thinking, rewriting, researching and polishing each phrase as if they were jewels; and they are. But there's nothing more exciting than seeing your words on paper, bound together and in a BOOK. Of course, there's the joy of having your work accepted by faithful and loyal readers and other writers. Oh, I know, there is talk that books as we know them are going to be a thing of the past, being replaced by e-books and something called a Kindle (which I have yet to investigate but it is on the horizon and I'm not sure how I feel about that). But nothing, absolutely nothing will deflate my enthusiasm this weekend. The book is finished, it's on it's way to being born and like any mother, I'm so excited.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Also hope you give FORGIVEN a chance. After all, it's another of my children and Mama is beaming.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Speedbump on life's highway…

I have been belaboring over writing about the latest hiccup in my year. I'm not much for crying in public, but this certainly has been a challenging year health-wise. If it wasn't one of it was the other and sometimes it was both. Lenny and I have each taken trips to the hospital via ambulance; both have had a room at that Inn, me for 4 days in March and he for 17 days in May. Then there were the recuperation and rehab periods which sometimes ran into the next issue. Now on October 6th I fractured a bone in my right ankle and broke two bones in my right foot. The right foot! I'm the only driver in the family! (I think that was one too many exclamation points but sometimes you just can't help it.)

But…the right foot. Think about that; when there is no other driver it is a colassal pain. For a month we've had to rely on friends, and what wonderful friends we have. They, Betty, Sharon, Alice, Judy, Jean, Judy, Linda, Clara, Ginna and Lynn (forgive me if I've overlooked anyone) have provided transportation to and from doctors, hospitals, labs, grocery stores, trip to the hairdresser for me and a barber for Lenny. Shirley, Jan and Maggie have provided meals and desserts. I know they do these things with generous and kind hearts but it's not easy to keep asking for help. Believe me I would much prefer the shoe being on the other foot, both literarily and physically. One couple rescued us when the battery in our car dies. What you may ask, did it matter if the battery was dead when neither of us can drive? Well, the dear soul who was taking us to the doctor that afternoon suggested using her car wasn't practical because of the humongous boot on my foot. She has one of these spiffy new vehicles you need a ladder to enter. So I said, "Oh, that's okay; you can drive our car." Sounded like a good idea until the engine wouldn't turn over so we had to use her car anyhow. The next day AAA came and gave the old buggy a jump but discovered a bad cell in the battery. The only thing to do was take the car to the auto supply since AAA didn't install batteries, just jump start them?? Hence, the rescue by Judy and Ralph.

I am fully convinced there are lessons to be learned in everything that happens in your life. We've realized how very blessed we are to live in a community such as we do. Our nearest family is 1200 miles away and it is impossible for them to help but they pray and communicate their concerns. I've learned that you can enjoy food that is quick to prepare and preferably comes in little frozen boxes that pop out of the microwave as dinner. I've learned that it isn't absolutely necessary to have the bed made twenty minutes after arising; so far the covers have been pulled up and the spread remains in the closet. I've also learned that it takes an inordinate number of trips around the bed to change sheets and putting laundry into the washer and drier from a walker is a clumsy stretch. I've learned to laugh when the walker gets stuck in a doorway or your boot leaves skid marks on the kitchen floor. I've also been blessed with the knowledge that's it's okay to ask for help because in similar circumstances I'd want to help others. The meaning of the words 'friends', 'neighbors', 'help' and 'blessings' have all intensified and you take nothing for granted. You just take whatever is offered with a grateful heart.

I've reinforced my belief that all things are possible and sometimes prayers are answered with the word "wait". There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The next appointment with the foot doctor is on November 22nd and we are hoping the boot comes off then. I have no pain and that must be a good sign.

Lenny and I will be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day with a couple of friends as we do each year. There will be telephone calls from the family and smiles and tears will mingle with our happiness.

I am blessed with a patient, loving husband who doesn't care if dinner is an omelet made out of Eggbeaters. I am so very aware of the depth of his love and help even when help is difficult for him to give. I've drawn even closer to God because I feel His hearness with more intensity.

So…I hope this blog didn't sound like a pity party because that wasn't the intent. It's just another corner of my life and it's okay.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Never Thought . . .

I never thought I'd be using terms like neurologist and cardiologist or life expentancy subjects with my 48 year old son and be talking about him.

Paul was born strong; he walked early, pulled himself up before other children; played viorously and then graduated to sports where he gave 110% encountering various injuries along the way. He was great in baseball and basketball and, while he wasn't really interested in football, gave that a try too. He was a healthy baby and even though he suffered various injuries during his rough play and sports years, he was always healthy and strong. He was a good worker and loved his job.

In June 2008, Paul contracted, if that's the right word, a disease called Legionnaires Disease. I didn't know much about this disease except that it was first detected and named when a group of Legionnaires attended a 1976 convention in Philadelphia and suddenly came down with a malady. There were many attendees who became very ill and some who died, so it made the news for quite some time.

When Paul was hospitalized and then diagnosed with LD he was away with friends and his two youngest children on a camping trip. They were about 100 miles from home up in the mountains of Pennsylvania. He was rushed to the nearest hospital and, of course, at that time the diagnosis hadn't been made. He was put on life-support and remained there for eleven days. I was 1200 miles away and had to rely on his two sisters and the hospital staff for daily updates. The staff at the hospital was exceptionally good in explaining things to me. As they put it, "LD is like the worst case of pneumonia possible." Clear, but not too encouraging. Later, after he was off life-support, I Googled Legionnaires Disease and found some pretty startling statistics, such as the death rate for those hospitalized with this disease is 50%. I'm glad I didn't Google while he was still on life-support.

This disease is caused by bacteria which grow in warm, wet places like hot water tanks and air-conditioning systems. He had a window air-conditioner in his bedroom however, we have no proof as to whether that was the source or not. No other family member contracted the disease and none of the other campers were or became sick.

After the hospital stay, which revealed some other problems such as he had a small stroke although it wasn't clear whether this happened prior to or during the onset of the disease, or while on life-support.

His recovery has been slow, he is no longer strong, he has terrible headached and he is always tired. Paul also had back surgery prior to this incident and while that was a recurring problem, it was manageable before this latest incident. He has been told, and understands, he will never work again. That, in itself, is a discouraging outlook for a man his age and certainly nothing a parent wants to hear.

These continuing symptoms have sent him to his doctor time and time again and it was he who finally recommended Paul see a neurologist. Since then there have been tests after tests over the past year and a half and yesterday when he called me he said, "Mom, the neurologist wants me to see a cardiologist. He thinks that because of some of the test results there may be blockage in my heart and there may have been another stroke. He's not sure. I'll let you know when the next test is scheduled."

It was a shock to hear these words but being the consummate Mother and optimist, I gave him the Mom's positive outlook speech. "We'll continue to pray, Paul. It will be okay, you have good doctors."

Then he said, "Well, I told the neurologist I'll do anything they order but I want to live to see my kids graduate from high school." That knocked a big hole in my positive reaction but I said nothing negative. I will continue to pray, that's all I can do.

Paul has five children, three of his own and two he adopted; his eldest, Andrew is married and has a boy and two step-daughters. One of Paul's adopted daughters has a little girl so Paul is a grandfather to two. His youngest children, a boy and a girl are 12 and 8. When he told me he wanted to live until the kids have graduated high school my heart shrank but what can I do but be supportive and pray for him.

A mother's heart can take a lot but sometimes there are things . . .I never thought . . .

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something Wonderful

Well, there are hardly words to describe my feelings for the past weekend. I attended my second Florida Writers Conference in Orlando, Florida and it was even better than the first one, something I just didn't think could be topped.

For only two and a half days, we sure packed a lot into that time. Workshops that really meant something, events that mixed us together like a giant stew of talent and creativity spiced with huge dollop of camaraderie; the time flew by. The workshops were interesting, helpful and delivered with a sincerity and expertise hard to top. The accommodations were exceptional, the staff excellent and the FWA folks awesome. Their organizational skills were very evident when event after event flowed with a pace that was perfect. This time I met old friends and made new ones. And the best part…it was fun, fun, fun from beginning to end.

Even with a broken foot I enjoyed every minute. Of course, that was only because my dear friend Lynn provided transportation to and from Orlando; pushed the wheelchair the hotel provided for me; fetched and gathered what I couldn't reach and generally saw that I was able to get from place to place. Therefore, I didn't miss a thing and was even able to participate. There was an overwhelming feeling of being in the right place at the right time with the right people. What a conglomeration of talent to be a part of! I thought last year's couldn't be topped but this one did and I'm already looking forward to next year.

One special bonus to the occasion was meeting with my publisher,Rebecca Melvin. I met Rebecca last year. It was a chance meeting and we seemed to often be crossing paths. It was shortly after the conference that she selected my manuscript Forgiven for publication; the book will be released in November and I am so excited I can't describe my feelings but elation comes to mind. Rebecca was at the conference again this year. This time I got to meet her husband, Neil, and renew my friendship with her mother, Martha. The trio are more than delightful and I was so pleased with the time we shared, even if it was snatched between events. But, having dinner with them on Friday evening was like the whipped cream and cherry on the top of the sundae.

The list of events and happenings seemed endless yet they flowed, one after the other. This year's FWA collection, Slices of Life, was finally unveiled for the participants and the joint book signings were such fun and again, an opportunity to meet new authors and renew friendships with those from last year.

I guess there are good things and then there are GOOD THINGS and this weekend was surely in that latter category. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this awesome time tomorrow. This first day home was a bit gruelling but tomorrow beckons and I'll be back.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

This has been an interesting day, not that many of my days are dull. But sometimes, as one of my teachers once said while trying to make the point that overdoing something can be as harmful as underdoing something. He said, "It's like trying to put ten pounds of sugar in a five pound sack."

Since my transportation is still provided by the lovely people in my community, I went to the foot doctor this morning with the help of my friend Ginna. It's not only driving from home to office, it's loading the dreaded wheeled walker into trunk or back seat at home, then out at the office, then back into the car and out when we get home. But, these friends do this willingly. Then in the afternoon because I'm going away to the conference tomorrow, I went to get my hair cut and styled. Another friend provided the transportation and this time Sharon took the honor. Again with the walker and then on to Wal-Mart's to pick up prescriptions for both Lenny and me, then a quick trip around the grocery portion of the huge store in one of those electric carts. I'm getting good at that, only toppled one display case to date and that was weeks ago. Sharon, dear girl, walked with me with the walker because if she didn't she'd have had to take it out to the car, go get it when I was finished shopping and that meant at least two more times of in and out of the car with the walker. This kind of friendship is immeasurable.

The good news of the day was that the doctor is 'pleased' and if he's pleased shouldn't I be? Of course, he did say the dreaded boot will remain with me for another 4 weeks, at least. Well, guess I'm glad that things are moving forward although at the speed of a snail on tranquillizers.

I've packed and you don't realize how nice it is to move easily until you can't. Seemed to take an inordinate number of trips back and forth but the suitcase is packed, the suitcase carrying 30 of my books for the conference book store has made it to the back seat of our car so that in the morning (4:25 a.m.) my friend Lynn and I will only have to more that mountain from my car to hers.

So if you look carefully you can see the rosy side of today. I got good news from the doctor, I went to the beauty shop, I picked up the much needed prescriptions and got in a few groceries to hold my husband over the three days I'll be away. And the best good news message of all - - - -I have wonderful friends.

Tomorrow we're off to the Writer's Conference. I'm as excited as can be. Won't be able to post for three days but when I can it should be full of all kinds of good news.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

About Me

I can't believe it's been so many months since I added anything to my blog. Forgive me! There are things that happen and perhaps I can use some of them as an excuse although I really don't like excuses.

I told you about the health problems earlier this year. Well, they continue and I'm not going into all the details but I will bring you up-to-date on the latest. Sixteen days ago I fractured a bone in my right ankle and two in my right foot. I think I have the nastiest feet in the world. Not so much what they look like, although I'd never be picked out of a crowd of feet to be a 'foot model'. They were functional with a bit pain here and there which you kind of get used to; they have been in a painful condition for years and at this time are riddled with arthritis. Not the most interesting subject, right? Of course it had to be my right foot and so for the time-being I can't drive. Being the only driver in the family (the kids are scattered thither and yon [I always wanted to use that phrase]) and my husband hasn't driven in 6 years due to medical conditions, it makes for some interesting getting around. Thank God I have wonderful friends who have volunteered to provide transportation when needed. Now for the good news.

As most of you know, I've been an author for several years. During that time I was never able to get through to an agent, editor or publisher so, being the optimistic soul I am, I published ten books myself always hoping to find that elusive publisher. Last year at the Florida Writers Conference in October 2009 I met Rebecca Melvin of Double Edge Publishing. A Christian publisher who accepted my latest book, Forgiven. I was so excited and the excitement hasn't lessened. She is wonderful to work with, fair, honest and oh-so-helpful. Forgiven will be released in November of this year! I feel as if I should use capital letters for that sentence.

So I've been busy with editing, arranging for promotional help for Double Edge and doing whatever I can to make this the truly exciting, magnificent event of a lifetime. I can't wait to hold the finished project in my hands.

Of course, being the prolific writer I am, I've also been working on the next book. I have about 20 chapters finished but this latest setback (the broken foot) has sapped a lot of time from my days and strength from my body. Still I know that with God's help and encouragement, I will finish this book too.

Let's see what else is new? One of my poems(I don't write many) was accepted for publication in the Fall Issue of the Pen Women, a quarterly magazine sponsored by the National League of American Pen Women. A nice recognition and if I can figure out how to add poetry to my blog, I'll so so. So far the mechanics elude me.

I was asked to teach another creative writing course at South Florida Community College which was to have begun yesterday. Of course, being disadvantaged at the moment we had to postpone that to January when, hopefully, all the parts are back where they should be. I still chair the weekly writer's critique group at Avon Park Library every Friday, I attend as many Florida Writers Association local meetings as I can. I've recently given several speeches but those for next month are iffy unless I can get transportation but all that can be handled, I'm sure. See, I told you I was the eternal optimist.

I am making a promise to myself to write on this blog much more often and hope that some of my faithful blogers will continue to visit. In spite of it all, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest, blessed women. I'm where I want to be; I'm with whom I want to be (Lenny) and I'm doing what I love to do and what I've wanted to do for most of my life (writing). What more could I ask? See you soon, promise.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life is not about…

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it's about learning how to dance in the rain. I don't know who said that but I love it. I guess I've been waiting for the storms to pass when I should have been learning to dance.

It seems that for the past few months my husband and I have run the gamut of troubles. We both needed ambulance rides which weren't exactly something we had anticipated but then I guess no one looks forward to a crew of EMTs and flashing red lights.

In March it looked like I was having a heart attack. Me? How ridiculous. I'm strong, healthy and busy. But there I was tooling along the roadway to the ER hooked up to things and stuff and the lights were flashing. Well, it wasn't a heart attack but something called an atria-fibrillation. After four days my heart was stabilized and I was sent home. But, what happened to my pep? Surely those wonderful hospital people forget to reinsert the pep-quotient. I dragged and dragged, complained about being tired all the time and then, low and behold a light at the end of the tunnel. Some changes in meds and I was feeling better.

Don't get too excited. At 2:00 a.m. on May 11th my husband suddenly couldn't stand or walk, even with his walker so another 911 call, another trip in the ambulance, this time I was following it with my reconstituted heart now in my mouth. Well, today I brought Lenny home -- seventeen days later. He is better and the rehab he went through and will continue to avail himself of locally, has strengthened him. This has been another of life's learning lessons. I have learned that these things happen; I have learned that friends and family are capable of enormous amounts of prayers, encouragement and love. I am grateful to an extent I didn't know was in me for these wonderful people in my life. I am humbled by the wisdom, patience and aid available through the medical facilities we visited. I learned that we are not alone and that God guides people in mysterious and magnificent ways.

I also learned that I must learn to dance. It's great to be back and I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to check in and see what's going on in my life. There is good news, too. I've received a signed contract on my latest novel, Forgiven. A Christian publisher in Pennsylvania has opted for this book and asked for rights of first refusal on the next! And as to the next, even with all the worry and distractions, I've begun novel number 11. It's a small start but it feels so darned good. Excuse me, I have to dance.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Writing a book is like giving birth. The next book is the next child to an author. A living entity that begins with just a smidgen of hope, a whisper of thought and then slowly grows into something even the creator doesn't know all about until it's completed.

First it's an embryo and then a growing, living, breathing thing that develops slowly, broadening it's scope, fleshing out the character until it becomes something who is at once promising and yet incomplete until the last sentence is typed. The main character takes a special place in the writer's life as if she is actually part of my family now and not just an idea that blossomed.

That's how I think of my books, anyhow. It's really more than just the main character who becomes the new child; the accompanying prose and color help finish the project. I know this new person, probably better than I know my own children because I created her and God created my children. The other characters are like cousins or friends maybe; known but not as embedded in my heart as the gossamer thread that began with a simple thought and became another family member.

Most of my novels were born because of something I call my 'what if' syndrome. What if this or that happened to me or someone I know? What would follow: and then the manuscript is launched.

So now, novel number ten hovers just on the horizon…completed, ready to be born. I don't say finished because I'm not sure a novel is ever really entirely over and done with in the writer's mind, just as a real life child changes over the years.

My latest novel, Forgiven, is with a publisher as I write this. Any writer reading this knows the anxiety contained in that statement. Will the publisher accept it? Will this new child be introduced this way? It's a waiting game but whatever happens, it is certain that Forgiven will become my next child.

To give you just a hint as to the makeup of this next offspring, let me tell you a little about it. Not too much, mind you, but enough perhaps to capture your attention and bring you to my side to help wait out this finale with me.

FORGIVEN - Trouble is about to descend on the sleepy little town of Gadara, Florida. A.J. Handley, the last of Gadara's founding family, now realizes his days are numbered. Believing he is without heirs, he prepares to leave his estate to the town's Historical Society. On the other side of town, Karen Waterson is dealing with very different problems. Not only is she struggling with financial matters, now she's got an ex-husband who's useless and an unmarried daughter who's pregnant. Alice, Karen's daughter, would like to be sympathetic but she's got her own problems now that Morgan, the baby's father, has disappeared. With no real explanation, Morgan just up and left, saying he wasn't equipped for the task of being a father. Now that trouble is boiling up like a teakettle about to whistle, Karen prays for guidance.

Meanwhile, Samuel looks down from his Heavenly perch, listens to Karen's plea and shakes his head. He knows it's up to him to do something, but first Samuel has a job to do. He's got to tell Jack Coursky he's dead. After an accident Jack climbed out of the car, left his body behind, and began wandering around like a lost soul, which in fact is precisely what he is. Once Samuel has convinced Jack he is now an angel, Jack gets his first assignment…an assignment that takes him to Gadara where he meets Karen, Alice and A. J. Handley."

The waiting game is the labor in this creative endeavor and to ease the pangs I've begun another babe, in such early stages even I am not sure where it's going. Alas, that's the writer's lot but one I've dreamed of for most of my life. There are no complaints, just awesome anticipation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Unrest and the Results

A couple of months ago I wrote a letter to the editor lamenting the loss of civility in our culture and included it on my blog. Today I continued on that same subject as follows:

Over the past months the lack of civility, respect and common courtesy has deteriorated beyond belief. There are more and more instances of a total disregard for respect in every facet of our lives. It's okay to shout down the President of this country? It's okay to shout out racial slurs and to spit on our Congressmen as they enter the Capitol Building. This terrible situation is actually encouraged by a few of our leaders. It is okay to twist and turn the truth into scare tactics? No, none of this is okay!

People who were once reasonable and respectful have slipped away only to be replaced by unruly mobs carrying placards with terrible statements, using words no decent citizen would utter. There appears to be no shame as to what language is used and where it is used.

These can be troubling times but shouting matches and outright lies will solve nothing. Every American has a right to his or her opinion and a right to voice that opinion but with decorum, respect and responsibility to not only speak, but to listen.

Some of the falsehoods are nothing more than scare tactics. Some of them are very damaging. Just yesterday an announcement was made that the recently signed Bill concerning health care and regulations for the insurance industry was challenged as being unconstitutional. I don't think it is but it certainly is not unreasonable to wait until the parliamentarian and officials research the subject completely. Are there no open minds left? One cause for this premise of challenge is the belief that "it is unconstitutional for the government to force citizens into programs they do not support." Did you know that Medicare would fall into that category? Medicare is essentially compulsory. People who refuse to join Medicare Part A are not allowed to receive their earned Social Security benefits. I haven't heard of many people refusing these benefits mandated by the Acts establishing Social Security or Medicare. (this information was taken from 5 Things that will make your Smarter - Highlands Today, March 24, 2010) I believe this reasoning can be applied to the current Bill and has also been applied to such Acts as the Civil Rights Bill and probably more of the 'government plans' we all enjoy. Do those who make this challenge really want to refuse restrictions on the insurance industry? Do they not see a need for some of the provisions as to pre-existing conditions? There are government procedures that may change some of the provisions but to just toss out the entire Bill doesn't make sense. Kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Since the actions of our government affect many facets of the lives of all American citizens, wouldn't it be wiser to calm down, remember the manners and freedoms that we have enjoyed over the past two hundred years? Our willingness to work together, to respect each other and to continue to enhance and build our greatness as a people who can and do work together is one of the many things that makes the Unites States of America the wonderful democracy/republic it is. A little cooperation, a smidgen of respect and patience and a dash of courtesy goes a long way. Let's work together before the violence like brick throwing and civil violence gets out of hand.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Everyone loves gifts…and they come to us in many forms. The shiny box with the big bow at Christmas and birthdays. Special occasions when we receive gifts. We almost always remember to offer thanks for these gifts.

Some of the nicest gifts, however, don't come wrapped in glittering paper and topped with lacy bows. Acts of kindness are nice gifts and often don't get acknowledged as they should. Expressions of gratitude are gifts, as are kind words.

Most of these gifts come delivered by hand, through the mail or via the brown UPS trucks. A few are face to face immediate responses. "What a kind thing to do. Thank you."

But some gifts sneak up on you unexpectedly and come via many routes, even email. I was surprised, pleased and appreciative of a gift I recently received and it came in an e-mail note. I have been teaching a creative writing course at our local community college, South Florida Community College. I have done this periodically over the past few years and enjoy it immensely. One of my passions is sharing what I have learned writing fiction and I love to share this with others with the same passion. Currently I have a class of eight who are enthusiastic, responsive and doing fantastic things with words. Yesterday I received an email from one of those students and while I consider it a personal gift from her I'd like to share it with you.

"I noticed yesterday we were all saying how much we enjoyed your class. I was in another writing group when I first moved here. I didn't learn nearly as much as I have learned from you in five weeks. You are so generous and beyond helpful. You are also an inspiration to me knowing that you didn't start writing until you were in your 60s. I don't know if I will ever be a published author. What I do know is that my love for books, reading and writing have been expanded beyond measure. I find all these things to be my true passion in life. I just kept it under wraps for way too long."

Thank you, Carolyn, for a lovely gift. I shall treasure it forever.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Sometimes we let things get in our way. Things beyond our control and yet we allow them to take us off the path we've chosen. Something like that happened late last year.

I don't remember exactly when I decided to create a blog, and using the word create here might be misconstrued. I don't have the technical know-how to do anything like this but I had a friend, a great friend, who did. Diane was the kind of friend you didn't have to see every day or even every week to know she was a friend. Once a month we met at a women's networking luncheon and she was an encourager. "You can do a lot with a blog. It will help you, I'll help you," she said and I believed her so I asked for her help. And, help she did—in fact she created it for me. Of course, that was her business but to see her click on boxes and move things around the screen until my blog evolved as a real, viable networking tool was great. Talent comes in so many forms, doesn't it? Some paint, some write, there are those who do magical things with a needle and thread and then some create blogs. I loved my blog and was excited about using it.

But, and isn't there always a but? But, as hard as I tried I couldn't seem to find the formula to achieve the success Diane suggested was waiting out there for me. I wrote updates, articles and promoted my books but I got very little traffic and fewer responses. What was I doing wrong? I'd have to ask Diane. I became discouraged but something else crept between me and blog happiness. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Diane got very ill. So ill she needed surgery. So ill she was diagnosed as 'critical'. Those of us who knew our bubbly, successful friend couldn't understand the why or the how or the prognosis. This was our Diane! But nothing worked and Diane left us—forever and I was alone with my blog and my memories of Diane.

On several occasions over the past few months I've come to the blog intending to update it. Hoping for some inspiration to motivate me to use this networking tool she was so convinced would help, but nothing came to me. I'd review some of what was here and then sign off. Not today. Maybe tomorrow and tomorrow never came.

Yesterday I was talking to another friend and the word blog was mentioned. I had to admit I had drifted away from this gift Diane had provided me with. And then the thought came to me—wouldn't Diane be disappointed in me. Disappointed that I'd abandoned the ship, tossed aside the opportunities it just may hold; I'd given up. That's not like me. I'm not a quiter—never have been and hope I never am; so I'm going to do what I promised myself (and Diane) I'd do.

That's why I am tapping away at the keyboard and not at all sure I've made any sense and not at all sure my pathetic reasoning has any value. But I remind myself, "You're a writer so why don't you just get off your pitty platform and write something"; why don't you make something of this miracle Diane created for me.

Okay so what have I done in the the past months? I've completed my tenth novel, a story about troubles and matters of the heart. A tale of courage, confusion and accomplishments from unseen and unusual places and people. As in all my other novels, I have kept my promise to myself that I won't use language or situations that might be offensive to anyone. I've sent it off to a Christian Publisher who expressed an interest and asked for the manuscript. Is this the breakthrough I've been hoping and praying for? Will she accept it for publication? Please join me in small prayers and finger crossings that this might just come about. Of course, if it doesn't I'll self-publish again. But what I really want is some help with reaching the market I just know is out there somewhere for me. Maybe this time I'll open that door. I've given speeches, held workshops and been invited to teach at South Florida Community College again. The weekly writer's critique group I initiated is doing well and growing. I've met wonderful people, interacted with other authors and kept a busy schedule that surprises even me. I've started novel number eleven and have an outline for number twelve. I'm writing a couple of short stories to enter into contests. I love contests, they are so helpful in challenging yourself to do more and to try new things.

If you're reading this perhaps you'll give me a teeny word of encouragement. We need each other you know. That's the way these things work.

God bless you.