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Time in Get OUTside!

After my whirlwind year of 2013 when writing took up a good chunk of my existence, I’m going back to the garden. Taking a break, if you will, from the fervent typing in exchange for the rhythmic till of soil. It’s good to be outside, especially on a day when it’s sunny and 70! Florida living…. Not that the polar vortex missed us. It didn’t. But we do get a reprieve where many of you do not. My condolences.

My plants have missed me but are loving the cooler temps. Cabbage and broccoli love this weather.

cabbage is happy

Brussels Sprouts are coming along nicely, plumping on the stalk.

Brussels are sprouting

Onions, too. The warm bed of hay mulch helps.

sweet onions are snug

I also have carrots, kale and lettuce in ground. A few peppers, plus, we planted some potatoes today. All seem content. Miraculously, my tomatoes are not brown and dead from last week’s freeze.

frozen but not dead tomatoes

Not sure how that happened but I’m not chancing a bite of the fruit. I think I’m good until spring. 🙂

Spring. In Florida that’s only 6 weeks away! I hate to boast but life is good here in the South.


I find myself whipping through the holidays against my every intention to slow down and enjoy the moment. I want to consume the scent of evergreen–something we don’t get a lot of here in Florida–and linger in the beauty of the lights, the magic, the meaning of the season. My children have been counting the days, of course, hardly able to contain themselves as they anxiously await the big night. (Who knew there was something called Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve?) Thank goodness the actual day has arrived!

gingerbread house

It’s a beautiful time of year, one we celebrate with friends and family, sharing our hearts and time, contemplating our blessings. It’s a time to give, a time to receive, a time to take stock in where we’ve been, where we’re going and what it all means. This year has been a whirlwind for me. I’ve completed my new series, Ladd Springs, releasing book 5 out of 5 later this month. It’s been exciting, exhausting, challenging and rewarding but well worth it. Now, I take time to breathe and simply “be” before continuing the process of marketing and brainstorming the next set of books from Dianne Venetta. (Does it ever end? ;))

Kids are great

Hopefully not. Hopefully, for as long as I’m living and breathing I will have the spirit of creativity in my heart, the passion that sustains me and gives back in the form of entertaining stories which provide escape and release from the everyday stress and strain of life. We all have busy lives. We live in a time where technology propels our minds at the speed of light and thrusts us from activity to activity, goal to goal. I, for one, am taking a breather. If only for a day, an evening, a moment, I’m jumping off the “merry-go-round” of obligation and duty and sitting calmly at home with my husband and children.

Trying to, anyway, and I hope the same for you. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. See you in 2014!

Am I Selfish?

Am I selfish to want more time for myself, my writing?  Does it make me a bad person that I’m happy my kids are attending summer day camp for the next two weeks?  I mean, I did sign on as Stay-at-Home Mom.  When we married, it was agreed that my husband would assume the work/financial support role while I took on the house and kids.  Eventually it was understood I’d transition back into the workforce, once the kids were out of the house…

But I’m writing and publishing NOW, despite the fact it will be half a dozen years before my youngest moves out to college.  So technically, I’m breaking the agreement.  But I can’t help it.  I love to write.  I want to write.  And something needs to fill my days other than household chores, else I go mad.

So it’s with enthusiasm and joy that I dropped my kids off at the camp this morning.  I’m starting a new project, looking forward to a new release… 

Life is good.  Life is fulfilling.  Yet I feel guilty.  Okay, I don’t harbor a LOT of guilt, but I do have some.  Is it me?  Am I alone? 

I know mothers who work “outside” the home experience a conflict between duties, families and chores pulling at them as bosses and coworkers do the same.  But in my case, I’m bringing this upon myself.  Voluntarily.  I don’t HAVE to work.  I WANT to work.  I’m happier when I work, creating, sharing.  I need to work.  It’s an outlet.  It keeps me sane.  Yet sometimes, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m “sneaking” it in between the layers of my real life.

Maybe when I earn enough to support myself and the family I won’t feel this way.  Maybe not.  I’m not sure.  I’m conflicted.  Anyone else feel the same?


Summer’s Here!

I just saw on the news that Summer is officially here on June 20th. Oh my goodness. And we have no firm plans for our family vacation.For the last two years we rented a house on the Russian River and taken our dogs. But this year we didn’t plan enough ahead, so we won’t be going there. We’re researching homes to rent in the Lake Tahoe or Santa Barbara areas, but many of them have no openings at this point. We’re not leaving California since it’s just too much driving with our two big dogs in the back of the truck and they bark most of the time.

I’m partial to the ocean.  My husband loves lakes and the mountains.  He doesn’t want to drive that far.  I think a six-hour drive to Santa Barbara is no big thing.  Ay-yi-yi!  How will the twain meet?  The kids really don’t care, as long as it’s a “nice place”, they say.  So, do you have any plans for the summer?  Mountains or lakes or ocean?

Go For It in 2012

I recently marked my calendar through the end of the year with the dates for my blog posts. I’m a pretty responsible person, but I’m also human, so the possibility of my forgetting to blog is very real.

When I marked my calendar for blog posts in 2012, I never imagined how life would change for me this year because of the unexpected death of my father. I knew he would go before my mother because he had congestive heart failure and diabetes, not a good combination for anyone. He’d been feeling poorly the last few months and never looked like he felt good, but he went to the doctor and was never admitted to the hospital. Nevertheless, the phone call from my mom rocked me to the core.

I had a difficult relationship with my dad, one that never came easy to either of us. I can admit now that most of the reason for this is because we were so much alike. Scary! I had lots of things I wanted to say to him, none of them easy. All of those words died on my tongue when he died. That is my fault and I will learn my lesson about waiting for another day.

At church today (I’m writing this on Sunday), our wonderful preacher talked about goals for the year and committing yourself to doing the one thing that is most important. That one thing is different for everyone and is usually a very difficult thing. If were easy, he said, we would have done it already. If my dad were still alive, I feel pretty certain that talking to him and trying to mend our relationship would have been my one thing. But I don’t get to go back and change things, so I have to come up with another one thing.

My one thing is for me to know—I’m not going to get too personal and vomit my deepest desires on this public blog. But I thought the message was a good one. We all have demons that haunt us that are generally easy to put off doing anything about. Notice the pattern—putting things off is easy while confronting them is hard.

At this point in the year, when the calendar is open and most of the pages are empty, think about the one thing you want to do this year. I don’t mean goals or accomplishments, but the one thing that if the year goes by without doing it, your life could change forever.

You don’t have to tell me what your one thing is; I’m not telling mine, but know that I’m rooting for you every day of 2012!

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