Haitus over …. Did you miss me?

I realize asking, “Did you miss me?” after such a long absence opens me to the possibility of all sorts of disappointing, maybe even disparaging, responses. All of which I’d deserve. I dropped out of sight without telling you I would. Truthfully, I didn’t know I was going to do it myself. It just happened.

Pastels provided a new kind of creative outlet.

But now I’m back and feeling good after a three-month hiatus. I didn’t realize how much I needed a break from writing. I’d worked hard to finish the manuscript of a new novel only to have it turned down by my publisher. Optimistically, I went in search of an agent only to hear, “No, thanks,” again and again. Maybe this novel was not meant to be published. Simultaneously, I cut back on blogging, and the longer I didn’t post, the easier it became.

As I let writing recede, I opened my  mental, physical, and emotional space to other adventures.

I dove deeper into the pastel pool, taking another class and gaining confidence.

Greece offered unbeatable light, color, and history.

A friend and I spent a sublime few weeks in Greece.

My new prairie patch (where I mostly pull weeds) offered solitude and a much-needed reminder to be patient because things come in their own time.

All of these events and more provided time to breathe, to reflect, to let my heart tell me what to do. Without conscious intent, time away from writing brought me back to writing.

Purple vervain helps me look past prolific weeds.

So, here I am once again. I’ll be writing and posting about the above topics and more in the weeks ahead. The time away also brought me to a decision about my manuscript. I’m moving forward on the route to indie publishing. One step at a time without certainty on the end game. You’ll hear more about that, too.

So, my friends. I’m grateful for each of you who waited patiently and are willing to read my ramblings once again.

I’d like to hear from you. Please drop a note about how you’ve spent the last several months. Or let me know how time away has helped you make a decision. Let’s reconnect.

 

I’m thankful – Today and everyday

Thanksgiving Day gives us a reason to say thanks. It’s a little sad we may need a reason, though I understand how it happens. We’re busy. Too much to do. Not enough time.

Because I sometimes have a tendency to get wrapped up in doing rather than being, I have made an effort of late to purposely, intentionally, mindfully be thankful.

Here are some of the things I’m thankful for today and always.

Our home and the trees that surround it.

Maple tree & House

 

 

 

 

 

My granddaughters who show me what true joy looks like.

Making Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

The prairie where I revel in the beauty of nature and practice mindful patience.

Prairie Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband who still surprises me.

David & Carol Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

Women friends who encourage me to greater heights and prop me up when I’m low.

Friends in hats

 

 

 

 

 

Readers who buy my books and then take time to tell me they enjoyed reading the stories.

Go Away Home Review

 

 

My son who is a fine man and a great dad.

Lance & Girls

 

 

 

 

 

My feet are thankful they get to spend a week on a warm beach when Iowa is bitterly and prematurely cold this winter.

feet

 

 

 

 

 

My sister. My nieces and their families. My neighbors. People like you who read my blog. Good health. The good fortune to have been born in America.

I could go on. And on. And on. I’m one lucky person, and I know it. My cup overflows. So on Thanksgiving Day, I am purposefully, intentionally, mindfully thankful as I join with so many others in saying thanks. Thanks!

First blooms in the prairie

All signs of the prescribed burn we did on the prairie a month ago are gone. With each rain, each wind, each day that passes, the burn is less visible. In fact, only a few blackened stalks remain. New green growth rules. But each plant is discrete. This early in the season, patches of the ground are clear.

As I walk the prairie now, it’s encouraging to see now-familiar plants emerging–coneflowers, asters, cup plant, blackeyed Susans. And my favorite from last year–rattlesnake master–is there, too.

But the prairie is full of surprises. The first blooms of spring aren’t any of the plants I recognize. Instead, the first bloom is an entirely new plant to me.  Golden Alexanders.

When I first saw them, I feared we had an infestation of wild parsnip–a plant that is noxious and actually dangerous if you get the sap on your skin. But I took my trusty prairie wildflower book to the prairie and made a positive identification. Leaves and flower formations all confirm these plants as Golden Alexanders, a member of the parsley family.

My book notes that early pioneers thought the plant would cure syphilis.  One has to wonder how they may have come to this conclusion?!?

Another new resident in the prairie this year is a bluebird. We put a bluebird house at the edge of the prairie last year, but too late to attract anyone interested in nesting.  This year, a bluebird moved in right away. When I walked by the birdhouse, thinking I’d take a peek inside to see if anyone had taken up residence, the mama came flying out. I quickly walked away. Now that I know she’s nesting, I’ll give her a wider berth.

The prairie is an endless source of learning and surprise. I’m glad it’s spring in the prairie yet again.