I am crazy about animals. I’ve had cats, rabbits, horses, cows, a snake, a baby armadillo, dogs, and more dogs. I’ve had pedigreed dogs, rescued dogs, mutts, curs, big dogs, bigger dogs, and 100+ pound dogs. Of all the dogs I’ve been blessed to know, it has been two golden retrievers whose paws captured the biggest pieces of my heart.The first golden girl of my heart came to me when I was twelve and stayed by my side until cancer took her thirteen years later. Some folks may tell you goldens are not good watch dogs. They would be wrong! Mae was just ten months old the first time she came to my rescue. She and I were sitting on the porch of an old, closed feed store when a tall, lanky fellow in his forties came up and tried to talk me into going with him. I said no and started to leave. That’s when he grabbed me, and that’s when Mae went from being a big tail-wagging pup to Cujo. She jumped off the porch and landed on his back and held on. When she finally let go of him, he took off in one direction and Mae and I ran the other way.
I have a large American flag mounted on the southern deck of my house. We live in the mountains so nobody sees it except family, but that’s okay. I like watching it wave in the wind. Sometimes the wind whips the flag up and it gets wrapped around the pole. In the past, I’d run outside, take down the flag, and unknot it so it could once more fly free in the wind. An hour later, the scene would repeat itself. Some days, I’d make five or six trips outside to untangle the flag.
“How do you know if a guy has a good heart?” This was the question my daughter asked me the February she was seventeen. The boy she liked and her date for the upcoming Valentine’s dance had done “something” (she wouldn’t go into more detail) that was causing her to have second thoughts about Mr. Wonderful. Summoning all the restraint I could muster, I didn’t push her to reveal what the “something” was, as I knew that would send her fleeing in fear of a pending inquisition.
Many thoughts jumped into my brain. Make sure he respects you. (I’d preached that one for years). Does he listen to his mother? (More important to me, no doubt, than to her). But I sensed she didn’t want to hear a rehash of the platitudes and pearls of wisdom I’d tried to instill in her since birth. I didn’t want to screw this up. Her coming to Mom for advice instead of to her teenage peers was more and more a rare event.
She wanted something new, something simple and concrete that she could use as a yardstick in an attempt to measure the true nature of a human heart. Years before, I’d read a quote from Immanuel Kant, a famous 18th century German philosopher and ethics professor. It had stuck in my mind, probably because I love animals so much. My daughter does too. The quote seemed to fit our situation. I considered it a pretty good yardstick. So did my daughter, who eventually found and married a man with a good heart, a man that adores her and shares her love for animals.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant.
Thanks for stopping by,
Over the past fifteen years I have had the privilege to know,
socialize, and work with many women writers. I met some when I joined
the Authors of the Flathead, a local group of writers from all around Northwest
Montana. Others I met through critique groups, our Montana Women Writers group,
and writer conferences. It is an eclectic group, writing in various genres, and
coming from diverse backgrounds. Yet they all have one thing in common. They are
all women with a can-do attitude.
The theme of attitude verses gratitude brings to mind a quote by the famous
physician and missionary, Albert Schweitzer. He said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
This is so true for writers. Whether it is writer’s block, a plethora of
rejection letters, or just the sense of being overwhelmed that comes from trying
to carve out a few minutes to write while holding down your “day job” and caring
for a family, I wager there are few writers who have never thought about just
giving up and getting out of the business. Sometimes, I’ve felt that I was
running on fumes. At these times, one or more of these wonderful women with
attitude stepped in to rekindle my fire for writing and reignite the hope that
the elusive perfect prose is within reach. I am forever grateful for their
supportive attitude and generosity of spirit.
Drop me line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me in 100 words or less about a woman with attitude who has enriched your life, and be entered in a contest for an autographed copy of Breaking TWIG. Last day to enter: Nov. 30,2013.
Thanks for stopping by,
Where does your inspiration come from? Is it the vibrant colors in a treasured
painting or the pulsating beat of your favorite rock band that gets your heart to pumping and makes your hands itch to pick up a paintbrush or guitar and produce your own masterpiece? Maybe you’re like me and find yourself surprised by a plethora of sensory delights that stir your imagination and inspires your creativity.
I find my greatest inspirations in literature. Amazing novels take me on journeys of imagination that open up new worlds to explore. They can make me
laugh, cry, and empathize with people who start out as fictional characters and evolve into friends by the last page.
Poetry speaks to the soul and entreats me to be best version of myself that I
can be. Nonfiction educates my mind, causes me to ponder new possibilities, and
entreats me to ask, “What if?”
Histories and inspirational biographies reinforce my deep-seated belief that
we can overcome life’s trials. We can persevere.
After years of tragedy and triumphs, Becky, the main character in my novel,
Breaking TWIG, concludes that, “We all filter the realities of life through our own personal fears, individual experiences, and the human need to cling to hope despite the circumstances, regardless of the odds. And in doing so, we each determine our own truth.”
Inside the pages of a book is where I find the people, places, words, and
ideas that inspire me to continually seek and reevaluate my own truth.
Have a great Labor Day holiday,
The print, “Dig”/Sadie Wendell Mitchell, artist, is courtesy of the Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures
Have you noticed how many times Montana is mentioned in movies, commercials, and country songs? The implication seems to be that somehow life is better in Montana. After twenty years of being inspired, awed, and befriended by her
majestic vistas, remarkable animals, and amiable neighbors, my family heartily agrees. However, the differences in living in Montana are not limited to its natural resources, wildlife, and people. Native Montanans have a different mindset than those of us who are transplants from whirlwind hubs like Atlanta, Houston, or Los Angeles.
According to the encyclopedia, Montana is in the Rocky Mountain Time Zone. Those of us lucky enough to live here know life often unfolds according to the unwritten
time concept affectionately dubbed, “Montana Time.”
I first became aware of the practice of living life according to Montana Time when
we were building our log home. The carpenters would show up around 10 a.m. and would leave by 4p.m. When questioned, they explained that the fishing was best early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Admittedly, I didn’t see the connection between fishing and getting my house built. The craftsmen took pity on me. With great patience, they explained the concept of Montana Time, so that I wouldn’t remain forever clueless in Montana. Why, they wondered, would someone move to this breathtaking Eden and not take the time to enjoy its cornucopia of
During my first fifteen years here, I didn’t fully appreciate the Montana Time concept. I was busy running my retail store, raising children, and writing my novel. Today, the business is sold, the kids are grown, and Breaking TWIG is out in paperback and eBook formats. Now, as I make my way around a family of wild turkeys and head for the hammock to contemplate the new novel swirling in my head, I realize a subtle conversion to a different view of how to make the most of my time here on planet Earth has seeped into my psyche . . . a conversion to Montana Time.
Thanks for stopping by,
P.S. How do you enjoy your Montana (or its equivalent) Time? Leave a comment by Aug, 7, 2013 and be automatically entered into a drawing for a free copy of my novel, Breaking TWIG.
Despite getting three inches of new snow last night, I know Spring is only a few days away. So, to welcome Spring and to thank all those who have supported me and contacted me about my ebook, I am giving free downloads of Breaking TWIG on March 18th.
Have a great day,