Life Observations

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I love the magic of this time of year. The wonder sparking in a child’s eye warms my heart every time. A life time ago I was a teacher and I got all choked up when the little ones would tell me about their Christmas wishes. There’s something magical about Kris Kringle and his elves.

My own children wrote letters to Santa every year. They lovingly laid out Christmas cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and water for the reindeer. They believed in the magic.

*** HOLIDAY SPOILER ALERT AHEAD ***

But why wouldn’t they? (Here it comes …) I left messy crumbs behind and cotton on the glass as Santa’s beard. (Yes, I said it … Santa never showed up at our house to deliver presents … it was all me and Mr. Nina … don’t be sad.) I used different wrapping paper on the “Santa” gifts. It was all very magical. And I loved it.
 
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This week while I’m taking a break from all the reconstruction (I think I actually can see the end coming very soon), I thought I’d share one of my favorite lists, this time from Andy Rooney. Here are some quotes of his that I found and thought they were very sage advice.

1. I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

2. I’ve learned… That when you’re in love, it shows.

3. I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

4. I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

5. I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

6. I’ve learned… That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

7. I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

8. I’ve learned…. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

9. I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

10. I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

11. I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

12. I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

13, I’ve learned …. that nobody’s perfect until you fall in love with them. (And sometimes we fall in love because they’re perfect!)

MannersIt seems this discussion comes up every now and again. The whole “where have manners gone?” situations that just make me scratch my head.

A few years ago my son was hanging at our house with his girlfriend. A friend of hers stopped by and I spent some time enjoying these young adults. At some point I had drifted away from their conversation in the family room and went to work on the computer in my office, only semi aware when the young lady got up to leave. I didn’t tune in until she tripped on something in the kitchen on her way to the door. (I don’t leave lights on in empty rooms, hence she was stumbling through the dark.) Mortified, I shot my mother’s evil eye at Little Boy Blue and sent him running for the door to escort out his company.
 
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What is it about the night that awakens our imagination and gets our heart racing? There are all kinds of answers to that question. For me, it’s the secrecy. What exactly are the shadows hiding? What is cloaked by the black that the light of day would reveal?

I’ll be the first admit I have an overactive imagination.I don’t watch horror movies because I remember every detail of the monsters and the evil that reigned. When the lights go out, I don’t need those images adding to the ones I’m already conjuring. I close every closet door and tuck away every stray piece of clothing on the floor, lest they hide a villain or become some malevolent entity in the wee hours of the night. Problems loom so much larger when they pull me from sleep. Sounds magnify and become telltale signs of a malicious presence seeking to harm me. I try to be logical about this whole thing. But there’s something about all those shifting shadows that completely crosses my wires and I can’t seem to pull myself together.
 
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Mr. Nina often asks me if there’s an owner’s manual for me. LOL! I wish. Not that he’d ever read it, I mean come on, he’s a guy. But still, there are some things I tell him, that he still doesn’t quite understand. In no particular order, here’s a list of things women wish men would understand:
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1. Unless there are bones, blood or sex involved never interrupt a woman’s first cup of coffee (or tea)… her bath.. or the last chapter of her book.

2. A hamper is a thing… not an area of the bedroom.
 
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supportI’ve been thinking a lot about my support systems of late. Both personal and writing. Mostly because Mr. Nina is spending his weeks 2 hours north of me and I’m alone so much of the time. All I can say is … thank goodness for the Internet!!

I was once asked what the most difficult part of my writing journey has been and by far it had to be the period time when I was alone before I found other writers to share my celebrations and disappointments. My family has been a steadfast cornerstone of my career, believing in me even when I stumbled. I love them for that, but they don’t really understand the kick-in-the-gut feeling of getting a rejection, tumbling sales or the inability to find your writing mojo. Only another writer totally comprehends how difficult this stay-at-home-I’m-having-an-amazing-time-making-things-up-and-killing-bad-guys writing career can be.
 
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frustrationI know. I know. In the nine years since starting this blog I’ve never been this inconsistent posting. But really, every time I think I’m getting my feet on the ground, life knocks them right out from under me and straight on my @$$ !

A little over five years ago, Mr. Nina lost his job at a hospital in northern Maine where he’d worked for 22 years. No problem. I had really been wanting to move for a very long time. I was tired of living in the willy-wags in the middle of nowhere, where the most excitement came from my weekly trip to Wally-world for grocery shopping and social time (because everyone was shopping)!
 
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vietnam-memorialI’ve never been to war. I watch it from the comfort of my kitchen usually while I’m cooking dinner from a well-stocked refrigerator.

I’ve never carried a gun. But my heart aches for those who carry one every day, knowing it could be the only thing that saves their life or that of a fellow soldier.

I’ve never said goodbye to someone I love, fearing I may never see them again. But I’ve watched flag-draped caskets arrive back on US soil, where mothers and fathers grieve the loss of a child.

I’ve never had to be separated from someone who is my whole world while they fight for a freedom I get to appreciate every day. But I’ve known brave families who get down on their knees every night and pray for the day they can hold their husband/daddy/wife/mommy in their arms again.
 
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circuitsI’ve been at this crazy business of writing for awhile now. As you know by now, it didn’t start out as a hobby for me… I jumped in with both feet. Put all my pens in one container and started.

Easy… nope.

Worth it… oh yeah!

Often the first question asked of a writer… “Where do the stories come from?”

For a long time I couldn’t answer that question. Mostly because I felt silly telling people that I simply wrote romances I’d like to read. It wasn’t the book of my dreams or a story that had been nagging me to be told. It just was…
 
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What is it about that bad boy that attracts women? Oh, you know who I’m talking about… the man that swaggers into Friday night happy hour while you’re having an end of the week margarita with the BFFs. The leather jacket sits just right across those wide shoulders skimming along hips clad in faded jeans. And the two-day scruff doesn’t look unkempt, it just accents the dimple in his chin. He tips his chin at several tables as he moves through the bar and lands on a stool vacated by one of his equally naughty sidekicks. Oh, he is such bad news. You know it, yet you, and every other woman in the bar, is staring at this man who will no doubt break your heart.
 
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