Ten days from now, I will arrive on Hawaii’s Big Island.
There will be sunshine and palm trees. A volcano will spew lava every day.
Since I grew up in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens and survived the 1980 eruption, I’m excited about all that. It will be neat to see lava flow rather than the mud flow that decimated Washington all those years ago.
I’ve been to Hawaii before.
My first trip was to Honolulu in 1999. I went with a friend who had two aunts that lived on the island. We stayed in Waikiki. Very commercial, still we had a good time.
My second trip was for my 25th anniversary. Kind of.
Hubs and I went to Maui in October of 2013. I wrote some blogs from that visit.
A blue sky spreads to infinity. Glaring sunlight seeps into frost-bitten soil. The early spring bulbs raise their heads from slumber.
It’s Spring at last. The calendar says so. That would be March 20 at 9:15 am (PDT) for the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere.
But some weather channels hint that another late blast of snow may blanket the ground again.
Could winter give up it’s hold already?
I’m sure all my friends in the northeastern United States are beyond sick of shoveling snow and hunkering down as another blizzard pounds them. So what if the groundhog saw his shadow? That was MORE than six weeks ago now, so enough!
In case winter is holding you hostage, I’m going to share some photos of spring on the blog today.
Crocuses are the early bloomers in my yard.
Tulips like to raise their heads, too, but since Easter came early this year, those Dutch tulips in my beds will wake up a little later.
Even with the blue sky, it’s still sweatshirt weather in my backyard.
People in my neighborhood are more than ready for the season of flowers.
A picture popped up in my “memories” that made me realize one sign of springtime I’ve been missing for the past couple years.
Maybe I’ll need to plant a flowering plum tree somewhere in our yard. If the HOA grants permission.
Our grass stays green most of the year (with watering in July and August), but the sound of mowers is a sure sign that spring has sprung.
What is the tell-tale sign of spring in your world? Is spring your favorite season?
It’s Monday. But it’s a Monday like no other. Because today is Christmas.
Merry Christmas, my friend.
I pray it will be a day full of joy and family and contentment. If the Christ of Christmas has his way, it will be a day of peace and good will, in your heart if not in all the earth.
And if I have anything to say about it…there will be something sweet to eat and enough laughter to make your sides ache.
Since I didn’t take you on a tour of the Ozarks when I went there, how about a little Missouri for Christmas?
On the day we arrived, there was a parade through town and up to a lighted nativity displayed on the hill. These period actors were going the wrong way on the route about fifteen minutes before the parade started.
This parade consisted of a dozen floats (most sponsored by churches) and more marching bands than I’ve ever seen in one place before. Oh, and random shepherds.
This is one of the school bands whose uniforms I liked.
This is the sunrise I gasped over and made my husband get up early to photograph. And the picture doesn’t do it justice.
Our shopping trip to Branson Landing. This is my cousin and his lovely wife. Yes, I’m short. Thanks for noticing.
We took a road trip on our road trip…to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Home of the Christ of the Ozarks. It’s 64 feet tall (the face is 15 feet tall). And, yes, that is a large nativity at the base of the sculpture. It was c-o-l-d up on that hill, even though the sun was shining.
My favorite part of the trip to Branson was on the last evening. We attended the dinner show at the Dixie Stampede.
Apparently, there was a land grab in Oklahoma? Anyway, this huge sculpture is near the large Bass Pro Shop in Oklahoma City.
Galloping your horse in a crowd on rough prairie land is dangerous.
The entire reason for the pit stop in Oklahoma City: my beautiful Aunt Betty.
Merry Christmas to my Oklahoma family who faithfully read this blog.
As I prepared my blogs ahead of time, I came to 9/11. Monday is my regular posting day, and I had a post about writing ready to go. Then I typed the date.
Memories swamped me. Where I was. How I felt. How I needed to connect with my traveling husband, and the phone circuits didn’t work.
Even though it’s not a “special” anniversary this year, I recalled it all. I’ve never understood what makes one anniversary better than another. Twenty-five years is silver, and fifty years is golden.
Every year should be a celebration of the fact there is another year to celebrate.
Anniversaries of hard times aren’t celebrated at all. But they are marked on the calendars of our heart. Four years since Mom died. Eight years since Gram died. Five years since my friend moved away.
Today is that day.
A day loaded with melancholy and horror, grief and terror. On the flip side, it’s brightened by national pride and patriotism.
In memoriam of This Day, I’m sharing an informal bit of poetry.
It Only Takes a Moment
Life is business as usual
Alarm clock and workout wear
Planning sack lunches
Checking the to-do list
Heading to the gym
Kickboxing and sweat
Another day in the life
Of a blessed American citizen
One moment later
Everything tilts sideways
Planes used as cannon balls
Sirens, smoking towers
People gaping, weeping
No way to evacuate
This has to be special effects
But no, this moment is all too real
Only minutes later
Another plane crashes
The other tower flames
Too much horror
Not enough time
Rescuers become victims
Newscasters are speechless
Video gives awful detail
Life becomes a horror show
One hour later
Jumpers and screamers
A tower implodes
Thousands of innocents
Who woke up to normal
No one escapes
Every foundation rattles
Heroes step forth in this darkest of hours Defined in their moment of sacrifice
One day later
Prayer vigils with candlelight
Fluttering flags at half-mast
A nation of mourners
Stunned to silence
Awakened to need
God Bless America
News time sign-off
One week in slow motion
Weeping abates, anger stirs
Patriots stand, orders obeyed
Vengeance and blame
Can justice prevail
To rebuild the ruins
Or repay the death toll
One new tomorrow
Greeted in gratitude
Forged in unity
Gained in freedom
Faded with time
Gone so soon
Forgotten in life
Until that one moment
When everything changes
On September 11, 2001, I walked out of the gym after my kickboxing class at the fitness club. I glanced at the screen (they have TV monitors everywhere in those places) and wondered what movie trailer was playing.
Seriously. It was so horrifying, it had to be from a film.
In my car, the radio announcers explained the situation on the East Coast. Shock numbed me. Many hours later it sank in, devastated me.
The experience is beyond words, but maybe those I shared above touch a little bit of the significance of That Day When Everything Changed. Where were you when you learned about the 9/11 terrorist attack?
Summer is my favorite season. Shortly after Christmas is past, I start wishing for warmer temperatures. Or at least sunny skies.
I have a cousin who would happily leave his Christmas tree up year-round. If there was a symbol for summer, I’d set that baby up and move it to more prominent positions as temperatures dropped.
Seriously. The only good thing about winter is Christmas. I learned that fact in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Narnia was cursed by the White Witch. How?
It was always winter, but never Christmas.
This entire year has sped by already but summer seemed in constant fast-forward. Can you believe this is the last day of the eighth month of 2017? Tomorrow is the ninth month.
Worst of all, the ninth month will bring the end of summer.
The weather man is predicting warm, sunny days for a few weeks still. But when the sun goes down, the heat goes away.
No more sitting out on the patio in the evening to chill. Unless you want to pull on warm socks, long pants and a sweatshirt. No more s’mores roasting.
Of course, it also means no more air-conditioned house 24/7. Once the temperature drops, you can switch the AC off and throw open the windows.
My husband has already started doing this.
Here’s a recap of my summer:
Writing like a whirlwind in Vancouver, BC
Querying agents at a brand new conference
Choosing a title for the nonfiction I was querying
Getting selected to write Christian romance in a new Kindle World
Installing a water feature in the back yard
Releasing the second book in my Virtual Match Romance series
Barbecuing with the family on the patio
Writing the Christian romance story
Meeting new writers to beta read this new genre
Attending Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference
Making writer friends at the conference
Enjoying a total eclipse of the sun with family
Spending eclipse day with the birthday boy
A quick retreat at my sister’s beach house
Lots of reading in the evenings (but boy did my crocheting suffer)
It doesn’t seem like much when written in a list like this. But it filled three sunny months and made them whip by. My favorite memory from this summer is that it didn’t rain. Only a couple of days were cloudy. After nine months of endless downpours, I needed this three-month reprieve.
Am I ready for the rainy season? Never.
What’s your favorite memory from this summer? Include a picture if my comment section allows it (or jet over to my FB page where you can surely post one in the comments on the post announcing this blog).
Did I drop gray-lenses glasses over my eyes? That’s what it looked like at ten this morning when the moon cast the sun in its shadow.
Yes, my home was near the path of “totality” in Oregon. Since today is my son’s birthday, we headed south to his house into the path of totality.
Two minutes of darkness on a bright sunny day must have sent people in the Middle Ages into a frenzy. (Maybe that’s why they called it the Dark Ages? Okay, I’m being sarcastic. I understand what made those “dark” times.)
After I made a delicious birthday breakfast of French toast and bacon, we headed out into the sunlight. A golden ball shone from the crystalline aquamarine sky.
My husband had two camera rigged up. The rest of us were making bad puns, occasionally glimpsing through our “approved for eclipse” glasses.
The warning on the flimsy frames said I shouldn’t look at the sun for more than three minutes at a time.
Someone suggested an eclipse playlist. Of course, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” made the top of the chart. I quoted “You’re so Vain” because a local station played it yesterday, so it was fresh in my mind.
We made plenty of suppositions about how many human sacrifices the Aztecs fed to their volcanoes during the two-minutes of darkness during their hey day.
And of course, I wondered what might happen if your shift to “werewolf” was tied to the solar eclipse rather than a full moon. In fact, we decided an Ocelot-shifter might be a better choice. Something that loved the sun but went into hunter mode when the sun set.
Look for that story in the near future.
After the Chiquita banana stage, I glimpsed through my special spectacles more frequently. Soon a bare cuticle of a thumbnail of sun could be seen.
The glasses came off and the midnight sky turned granite as the sun-powered corona transformed the mid-day-night-like sky.
Whoops rose in the air. Neighbors ignited fireworks (apparently, in Woodburn, OR, any time is a great time for fireworks). Crickets sang their songs.
It was a glorious view. Amazing. Awe-inspiring.
And story-inspiring for my author brain.
Faces were ringed with joyous smiles. Eyes sparked, lit with an inner fiery star.
My daughter hightailed it to her job. Sadly, everyone had the same idea.
Traffic slowed. Suddenly, freeway travel between the Oregon state capital to the largest city in the state looks strangely like a day in Los Angeles.
Thankfully, my husband was telecommuting. And there’s internet at my son’s house (or the home of his second parents where we enjoyed the total eclipse of the sun outside by their gazebo) for me to do a little writing.
These pictures don’t do it justice. Once I can get to my computer and my husband can download his GoPro footage and his speedy-lens still photos, I’ll share the cream of the crop with you.
If you were in the path of totality, what was your experience? When have you been awed by two minutes (or less)? Read more