NO SMALL MOMENTS

Stacey Pardoe has such inspiration to share…enjoy.

There Are No Small Moments

I’m on my knees, camera lens inches from a dwarf ginseng, its tiny snowflake head bobbing in the breeze, when I realize we’re not alone.  “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” the khaki-clad elderly gentleman greets, and I’m drawn from my small moment with the ginseng.

“Sure is,” I say, somewhat embarrassed by the black dirt on my knees and elbows.

“Did you see the trout lilies?” he asks, and I notice the camera strapped over his neck.  I’m less embarrassed.

We talk for a long while about trillium and bluebells, and he finally meanders off along the path. Returning to my photo shoot with the ginseng, I remember the way I once looked at thirty-somethings with cameras and wildflower books.  At twenty-two, I kept track of miles logged and elevations reached, not dwarf flora, like violets and ginseng.  At twenty-two, I mostly lived for big moments – summit moments, and the thought of bending low for small moments seemed nothing short of condescending.

We walk farther down the trail, kids running ahead in search of toads and moths, and I consider these changing seasons.  When did small moments begin to take on such an authentic kind of glory?  It must have been before I dug the wildflower books out of the dusty boxes in the attic of the garage.

I remember when I started taking pictures of tiny mushrooms and sphagnum moss.  I believe that was the moment.  The moment I pulled out the camera and committed to capture the miracles I miss every day when I brush past in all my hurry, with my large-moment focus and my desire to prove something.

What if we could all live like we have nothing to prove?  What if we never again needed to prove our worth through demonstrating our intelligence, beauty, humor, and talent?  What if these things were simply gifts with which we blessed others, and we were fully content to live in the midst of our quiet moments in utter contentment?

Have I really learned the secret of being content in any and every situation?

What if there really are no small moments – just quiet moments . . . And what if the quiet moments are worth every bit as much as the loud moments performed before the multitudes?

I think long on it, while the kids build castles along the sandy creek, and I’m sure of it: These quiet moments of walking with children in the woods, baking cornbread, stirring scrambled eggs with a rubber spatula, folding tiny T-shirts, and wiping down dusty furniture are the moments that will make up the bulk of our lives.  There may be loud moments, platform moments, and moments that are broadcast before the world, but these big moments won’t make up the majority of our lives.

So what are we doing with our quiet moments?  Because the quiet moments are the ones that seem small, but they’re really the ones that comprise the essence of our lives.

Sitting along the water, I commit to live with more gratitude.  I commit to recognize the gifts that surround me and magnify God through naming them: dwarf ginseng, blue phlox, garlic mustard, and wild geranium; sandcastles at the creek, lunch on a hilltop, holding hands along the road; the mounds of dirty laundry that remind me of the gift of my family, the meat simmering in the crock-pot, the green crayon on the living room wall.  I won’t write these things off or roll my eyes.  I’ll embrace them and give thanks.

I commit to speak life.  I commit to ask direct questions and bite my tongue when I’m in a bad mood.  I remember to tell the kids that I love them just because they’re mine, that their mistakes will never define them, and that they make my world a better place.

I commit to live intentionally.  We role play the whole way home from the creek, and Bekah thinks of responses to every playground dilemma I can conjure up.  We read Bible stories before Caleb naps, and I pray specific prayers over each of them before he sleeps.  We turn off the TV and dive into imaginary play on the carpet with our assortment of mini characters.  I make some calls and send some cards.

When the sun sinks low that evening, Bekah and I put together a pocket guide of wildflowers from our sanctuary at the Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area.  We find Latin names and study the history of each plant. It all feels a bit small, but when she looks at me with dancing blue eyes, filled wild with life and passion, I know for sure that none of this day was small at all.

Bio: Stacey is the wife of a handsome lumberjack, mother of two blue-eyed beauties, a freelance journalist, mentor, and certified special education teacher.  She writes weekly at www.staceypardoe.com

 

 

 

 

 

As July Fourth Nears…

Summer is a-bustin’ out all over.

A father cardinal stays mighty close to his fledglings in their nest just outside our back door.

Yes, and flowers display their fragile glory everywhere we look:

And here come the begonias near our front porch–wish you could all come and sip a cup of tea out there.

Now, take a look at our granddaughter’s team last week, the night they won their sixth grade softball championship. One of those magical moments filled with gratitude. I’ll cherish these smiles marking the GOOD KIND of pride for years to come! (Can you tell which one she is?)

Last but not least, I’m still basking in memories of our trip to England, often recalling Winston Churchill’s grit in an almost impossible position. I know, I know, you may be getting sick of me mentioning him…can’t help it, though. I’m SO SO very grateful for how he played his role in history.

 

A happy Fourth of July to you, and a little publishing news. I submitted a new manuscript to a publisher last week, something from World War II, of course, but a little different…it’s Glenora Carson’s story: she was one of the women who got their hands greasy during the war years doing a man’s job. More to come on this novella, with the title Kiss Me Once Again.

Also, I submitted my next novel to an agent. You just never know what might happen …never a dull moment, though.

 

Thank You For Going

Chautona Havig, a loving soul desiring to inspire the hearts of others, is today’s guest author. Service in the military is a large part of my family’s story, and I am grateful for her thoughtful words to all of those who have served in whatever capacity.

Thank You For Going

I’ll never forget the moment I read L.M. Montgomery’s glorious words in Rilla of Ingleside. I hadn’t been fond of the book, but those words (and a second reading a few months later) gave me a greater appreciation for it. The scene is the train station where many in Anne’s town are sending their boys off to WWI—to fight for Canada. For King and country. One snotty mother gives Anne Blythe a dig that would tear at the heart of any soldier’s mother. It goes like this:

“I don’t know how you can stand this, Mrs. Blythe. I couldn’t if it was my pore boy.” And mother—oh, mother could always be depended on! How her grey eyes flashed in her pale face. “It might have been worse, Mrs. Drew. I might have had to urge him to go.” Mrs. Drew did not understand but Rilla did. She flung up her head. Her brother did not have to be urged to go.

Memorial Day—the day we remember anyone who has fought and died for this country we call home. So amid the cookouts, the ball games, and the swimming pool parties, I just want to take a moment to do what this day is all about. Remember.

To every mother who gave birth to an American soldier, God bless you. May God give you peace when your child is so far away.

To every father who taught that soldier honor, sacrifice, and duty, thank you for your example. Those daily choices to do what’s right, to do without all the toys, to go to work… again. They were worth it—so worth it.

To every teacher, preacher, neighbor, mentor, recruiter, and drill sergeant who made a difference in that soldier’s life, I respect you for your influence. Investing in one person’s life often ripples through generations. Thank you.

To the wife or husband who kept the home fires burning, so to speak, thank you for YOUR service. Our servicemen and women could not do what they do without the confidence in knowing that all is well at home.

To the children who grow up knowing that their parent may miss holidays, important events, and milestones, we’re so sorry. We pray they return soon and safe—to you.

To everyone who says goodbye and watches loved ones leave as youths, knowing they’ll return as soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines, say goodbye with the knowledge that they’ll never be the same—and they’ll always be the same person you’ve always loved.

And to every soldier who has served, fought, died, or is serving, fighting, and might die, there are no adequate words, but thank you.

Thank you.

I think I’ll go read that amazing scene from Rilla of Ingleside again. Imagine the flash of Anne’s eyes, the buoying of her spirit as she says, “I might have had to urge him to go.”

To all who serve in our military. Thank you for going—even without our urging.

 


 

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.


Connect with Chautona: 
Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

Scents and Sense

Here it is, September. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day my husband asked me to marry him. This will be our fortieth year of bliss/blessing/blundering on together. And something about the slip in the seasons–any Midwesterner can feel it in the air–makes me nostalgic.

Today I took some photos of the scents around me.

Rosemary, a heavenly aroma so akin to lavender.

Parsley, that clean drift in the wind.

Sage, bringing autumn flavors to mind. What would stuffing be without sage, and who wants to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy it?

20170903_165100_resized 20170903_164936 20170903_164802 20170903_164626

 

 

 

‘ 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint, adding a little more pizazz to an end-of-summer breeze and some gorgeous blossoms, besides. Ahh…our sense of smell has delights to offer during this season.As writers and readers, sometimes we can let one of our senses go wild. Wish I could bottle these up and send them your way!

 

 

 

Catching Up With Daylight -MASSIVE GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to the WhiteFire Publishing Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to go back to stop #1 and collect all the clues in order. Once you have them all, you’ll have uncovered a secret message. Turn that in at the final stop for a chance to win one of THREE amazing prize packages!

The Hunt begins at Roseanna White’s site

  • Take your time! You have all weekend to complete the Hunt—entries will be counted until Monday June 26—so have fun reading all the posts along the way and getting to know each author
  • Lots of extra prizes! Many of the authors are featuring unique giveaways as well, for even more chances to win!
  • Submit your entry for the grand prizes back at Roseanna White’s blog.

On an evening flight from Des Moines, Iowa to Colorado Springs, the man in the seat behind me quipped, “We’ll be catching up with daylight on this trip.” Voila! The perfect title for my memoir.

A few years later, WhiteFire Publishing issued me a contract for this manuscript, a compilation of essays, quotes, and women’s stories. The process of nurturing this work to publication taught me so much about life, even though I was a late bloomer with my writing.

I learned that memoir borrows some fiction techniques, such as grounding the reader in each new chapter. And of course, the genre requires imagination

IMG_8097

 

You may be singing your heart out like this little wren in our back yard, but must alert the reader to the whys and wherefores.

 

Memoir relays one’s unique journey, but mine definitely benefitted from editors’ objectivity. In the end, the published books delivered to my door one day gave me deep satisfaction. I believe I may have hugged the Fed Ex man.

CUwD 3D3

IMG_4608

Taking the journey is one thing, but turning your private writing into public writing entirely another, and I’m so grateful WhiteFire gave me the opportunity.

From there, the road has stretched on to writing World War II fiction focused on characters’ journeys. Their joys and sorrows become as real to me as my next door neighbor’s.

But for me, memoir needed to come first – making meaning of my own experiences.  Eudora Welty wrote, “To imagine yourself inside another person…is what a story writer does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose.”

Here’s the Stop # 7 Scoop:

You can order my book at: http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

Clue to Write Down: imagination

Link to Stop # 8, the Next Stop on the Loop: Joy Palmer

Need the full list of stops?

 

Roseanna M. White

April McGowan

Cara Luecht

Christine Lindsay

Debra Marvin

Dina Sleiman

Gail Kittleson

Joy Palmer

June Foster

Melody Carlson (hosted)

Nelson Hannah

Rachelle Rea Cobb

Sara Goff

Susie Finkbeiner

Susanne Dietze

Suzie Johnson

All finished? Submit Your Entries!

And now, for my own little giveaway! I’m adding a World War II replica flour sack dishtowel to our group giveaway, since that era affected my childhood so much, and therefore plays into Catching Up With Daylight.

20170617_100642

Jot a comment here, perhaps about how memoir has touched you, and leave a LIKE or a smile on my FB author page (if you’ve already LIKED it) to qualify.

 

Never Too Late for Friendship and Thanks

I just spent some extended time with a new friend, and she shared this little saying with me. We don’t know the author, but she/he certainly coined a powerful metaphor.

20170301_075817_resized

Note the essential elements:

focus – concentrate on a task or need

capture – this reminds me of “Carpe Diem”, seize the day

develop – use our creative abilities

The final verb, “take”, comes into play when plans go awry, as they often do. I hope to waste far less time bemoaning my failures and mistakes during the rest of my life than I have in the past. What a waste!

And I’d also like to practice gratitude far more faithfully. I can start easily this week: Thank you to everyone who helped me by hosting me on their blog or left an encouraging comment, posted a review, or bought my new release, With Each New Dawn, I’m truly grateful for all the support.

Just as it’s never too late to develop a new friendship, it’s always the right time to say a hearty thank you.

Good morning, sunshine!

A quiet Sunday morning, but after a great rain last night, our plants are grinning all over the porch and deck.

Geraniums garner fresh sunshine . . . the plant on the right has TWELVE blossoms right now.

20160626_091939

Rosemary and basil greet us . . .

20160626_093111

 

Petunias and johnny jump-ups join in.

20160626_092025

Yesterday the first edits for A Purpose True, the sequel to Addie’s story, arrived. A time to pay attention to details, to make things better, to brighten the world around us, and to enjoy the process.

Already, tomato blossoms promise a fruitful summer . . . what more could we ask?