Changes, Edits, and Keeping on

This photo reveals a sign of change. We all know what happens next…we wake up to hoards of brilliant leaves piling up on our lawns. And before we know it, yet another seasonal change lies just around the corner.

All of a sudden, it seems, vibrant summer green gives way to golden hues.

We begin to notice these leaves everywhere around our yard.

They get caught in cobwebs between flower boxes and porch floor, they cling to the edging against our house’s outer walls. This one’s a bit more interesting, with its pinkish tones.

The changing of the seasons reminds us of other alterations, some not so pleasant, some downright painful and ugly. As a friend who has battled fibromalgia’s confusing pain for over twenty years said recently, “I’ve had to learn to adapt…it’s the only way through.”

This summer, I’ve been busy editing a new set of short stories for our 2024 Hill Country Christmas Collection and also editing a manuscript that has hung around for a long, long time. The characters really want to come to life–how can I throw them out, even though my writing was pretty pathetic way back when I started?

Ah…that’s life, decisions upon decisions, and continuous change.

Nothing to do but keep plunging ahead, right? I’d love to hear about your own changes these past months, if you care to share.

Change is in the Air

Isn’t it always? We may sense this more as leaves turn orange and gold or snow melts away in the spring, but truly, every day brings change. By and large, we’d rather not, even when it’s a good change, but change we WILL.

Last week our granddaughter reminded me that the gorgeous gold of a harvest moon has to do with the amount of dust in the air, and that if you view the moon again in the middle of the night, it will have moved higher and be silver again.

One sure sign of autumn comes to us via the busy spider, spinning, spinning before winter comes.

Credit goes to Lance for these shots in a local field of corn. They remind me that we’re always spinning, too. My dear knitter friend carries her latest project with her–when she drove me to a doctor’s appointment earlier this summer, her knitting kept her company while she waited.

When we’re busy, seeing what’s at hand to do and putting our hands and hearts to it, even thistles have their beauty:

This week, I had the privilege of meeting Jerri and Regina, descendants of my heroine Dorothy Woebbeking/Worst’s sister Elfrieda. They shared some delicate Christmas cookies from Dorothy’s father’s recipe, and showed our book talk group the actual cutter he brought from Germany to make them.

It’s likely that he and his wife included cookies like these in their CARE packages to Dorothy and her three brothers deployed all over the world during World War II. Easy to imagine their delight at homemade treats like these, and to imagine the angst of these parents as the long years dragged on.

All this brings me to a point: I love sharing Dorothy’s story with whomever will listen. And here’s an update about the places I’ll be giving book talks (Oh, the places you’ll go…) during the next few weeks.

On Tuesday the 24th, I’ll be at the Alta Vista Public Library – 10:30 a.m. Then the Waverly Public Library will host me (and Dorothy…I really feel she’s right alongside) at 2:00 p.m. the same afternoon.

On October 3rd, I’ll be with a new friend for a “book party”, and at Davenport’s East Branch library at 3 p.m. on October 3rd. After another private engagement on the fourth, I’ll visit the Solon Public Library at 3:00 p.m..

On the 5th, I’ll co-facilitate an all-day memoir writing workshop at the Cornell/Mt. Vernon public library, and on the 11th, spend time with another book club. On October 12 at 10:00 a.m. you’ll find me in Janesville at the public library, still bursting with my heroine’s exploits–like these vines overtaking a building even though the growing season is past. (Ha! What do we know?)

Stop in when you can–I SO enjoy meeting you all in person!

The Ins and Outs of Life

A friend of mine wrote, “I really hope the New Year will see changes in my attitude. I have to stop w/ the pity parties, the hatred toward the consequences of my choices or lack thereof. There’s enough good in my life. I may not have all I expected to have in life at this age, but what I have, I want and I need to care for it.”

Perspective. That’s one of the gifts of aging. Of course, nobody wants to talk about aging, but things go better if we keep on learning.

Many birds here under the Mogollon Rim enjoy eating acorns – this one is a Stellar Jay one of the small, rounded nuts in its beak.

IMG_1923The woodpeckers have learned they can’t use our outer walls for a granary, to store the little acorns for winter food, although they certainly made hay while the sun shone. But our trusty bird netting surrounding the whole house has thwarted their storage intentions.

IMG_1829A few years back, we discovered about three hundred and fifty holes in our house…beak-sized and drilled with great intensity over the months we were absent. And each hole contained a treasure in woodpecker language: food.

These little 1/2 inch acorns pepper the mountain oaks around here, but who would have thought they’d end up in our house? Lance filled the holes with some foamy goo he found at the hardware store, and after it hardened, the netting provided a way OUT of being attacked.

A way out…just what we needed–we’d tried everything, hanging shiny CD’s from the eaves to scare the acorn-carriers away, etc. The birdies, of course, still sought a way in, but have had to accept what they cannot change, while we had to change the things we could. 

In this new year before us, and those two phrases depict many of our desires. Sometimes we seek a way in…into a deeper relationship, into a more serene existence, into success. Other times, a way out describes what we need. Still other times, we need to embrace acceptance.

Perspective…just another way of looking at things. I’m going to try to remember this in 2018.