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I spent the last week staying with my parents at their home. My mother has had a health issue for a while that is quickly gaining steam. The road ahead is one paved with uncertainty, challenges, stumbling blocks, and some just plain old hard days.

In the time I was there with them, it was amazing and inspiring to watch how my dad (who is nearing 90) gave such tender care and encouragement to my mom.

And I couldn’t help but think about how brave he is – they both are – to face what is coming. And they are facing it by holding hands and sticking together.

Sometimes that is the best and bravest thing we can possibly do.

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Easter Bride

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Easter Bride (Holiday Brides Book 3) will release next week!

If you’ve enjoyed meeting Ruth, Matilda, and the gang at Golden Skies Retirement Village, the scheming matchmakers are at it again!  Pre-order your copy today!

Cute rabbit and little chicks 

Will meddling matchmakers make a perfect match?

 Piper Peterson loves the small community of Holiday, Oregon. She resides there at a beautiful, old farm where she’s surrounded by animals she’s rescued. And she manages the feed store that’s been in her family for more than a hundred years. Despite her contentment with life, her grandfather’s plans to sell the store and farm leave her future up in the air. When a sly matchmaker works to set Grandpa up with the perfect woman, Piper jumps at the chance to lend a hand. But the last thing she expects is to fall in love while helping her grandpa find happiness.

Stuck at a crossroads in his life, Colton Ford can’t decide which direction to head. Then an invitation to stay at his brother’s ranch in Holiday provides an opportunity Colt can’t pass up. He hopes time spent at the Flying B Ranch will help him clear his head and sort out his life. Before long, he finds himself entangled in a matchmaking plot involving his widowed aunt and a charismatic old gent. When he agrees to give the budding romance a nudge, he has no idea the man’s delightful granddaughter will capture his heart.

A heartwarming story filled with country charm, laughter, and hope, Easter Bride is sure to bring readers the joys of budding spring and sweet romance.

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Excerpt:

“Look what we found, auntie,” Colt said, feigning innocence as he settled an arm around his aunt’s shoulders. “You recognize this handsome devil?”

Ruth took the framed photograph in her hands and blushed. The image of Rand Milton showed a young man, shirtless and quite buff, standing in a pair of torn Levi’s and boots. A straw cowboy hat was tipped back on his head as he leaned on the fender of an old car. She traced her finger across the face of the handsome cowboy.

“Rand used to have all the girls in quite a dither,” Ruth said, handing the photograph to Piper.

“If I’m not mistaken, he still has a few of you gals running in circles,” Colt said with a teasing smile.

Ruth smacked him with the pair of pink gloves and he chuckled.

“Why are you assaulting that boy, Ruthie?” Matilda asked as she approached them from the clothing section with two vibrant-hued sweaters tossed over her arm.

“Because he’s being far too sassy for his own good,” Ruth said. She reached up and pinched Colt’s cheek, giving him a warning scowl.

Matilda looped one arm around Colt’s and smiled at him. “Too sassy for his good or yours?” The woman gasped when she saw the photograph. She held out her hand to Piper and took the frame, studying the image. “That Rand was sure a looker back in the day. Guess that hasn’t really changed. He’s still got it and if Ruthie would just loosen up a bit, it could be all hers.”

The blush on Ruth’s cheeks went from pink to nearly crimson. For a moment she looked like she was about to swat Matilda with the gloves she still held.

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This quote seemed so appropriate today. I spent the weekend doing some crafty projects for a gathering I’ll be attending soon.

One project in particular was new to me. While doing said project I learned that:

  1. I do not possess the patience required to meticulously glue things together.
  2. I really should factor in the whole “I have no idea how to do this” thing before I agree to take on a project.
  3. Once you’ve sprayed on the final coat of sealant, it’s a little late to discover you’ve made a huge mistake.
  4. Doing something over for the third time doesn’t make it any better if you have no talent for making something in the first place.

I don’t know how brave it is, but I am certainly bad at that particular craft project. Based on the fact the project will be seen by a few dozen people at the gathering I’m taking it to, I suppose I will have to be a little brave to show up with it and allow it to be on display.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and if you are thinking about tackling something new this week, go for it! I’ll be cheering you on!

Brave Lessons #8

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This quote from Dalai Lama resonated with me this morning. In every circumstance we have choices, even those hard, hurtful, terrifying circumstances, we still get to choose how we react to them, what we focus on.

I just loved this quote and the message it conveys of letting our circumstances soften us and make us kinder.

There is a certain special type of bravery in being kind, especially to those who may have hurt us, or used us, or been cruel to us. It’s hard to be kind to people like that. But it’s right. And it’s brave.

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So if you’re thinking to yourself that you aren’t a particularly brave person, just think of all the times you’ve been kind when other’s might not have been.

That’s being brave.

See, you’re braver than you think!

I encourage you this week to be kind and brave. I know I’m going to be working on it!

Brave Lessons #7

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One of the things I’m committed to working on to be more “brave” this year is getting out of my comfort zone more frequently.

Ugh! It’s so hard!

But worth it. Yes, yes it is!

Something that definitely takes me far beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone is public speaking. I can do it, I just don’t like to do it. It freaks me out, causes great anxiety, and leaves me in a tailspin until the moment I step up to the podium and start speaking.

I thought this quote seemed so appropriate – bravery doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid or full of doubt or insecurities or worries, it just means what you are doing is more important than giving into those things.

Last week, I was supposed to speak at a luncheon. I wrote my speech, spent hours practicing it, had some fun little giveaways to give each attendee all ready.

I went through my usual rundown of anxiety, fear, doubts, worry, insecurities as I prepared for the event, but I realized I was looking forward to the luncheon, too. To meeting new people and sharing my books with them, and finding out more about them, as well.

Then it snowed, and snowed some more, and melted and made ankle-deep slush, then froze and snowed again. Oh, it was a mess. And the morning of the luncheon, the organizer called to say it was cancelled.

Normally relief would have flooded over me, but this time, I felt disappointment for something I realized I’d been looking forward to.

So maybe, just maybe, I’m inching forward in being brave.

Brave Lessons Week 6

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With Valentine’s Day this week, my thoughts keep swirling around love.

I think this quote is right on the money. It takes bravery to fall in love – to admit you’re in love. Even saying “I love you” the first time to someone takes a good deal of courage.

When it comes to our emotions, bravery is required to share what’s in our hearts.  That applies, I think, to all our relationships.

I didn’t grow up in a house where people said “I love you” or randomly gave hugs. Then I met Captain Cavedweller. His family were huggers! I mean big, warm not-letting-you-go-after-two-seconds huggers! They said “I love you” to one another. And I quickly learned that I liked being among huggers. In fact, I became one.

I also learned to tell the people I care about that I love them. Not just show them or assume they knew, but to say it. And you know what? My family are huggers now, too, and I hear “I love you” often when I talk to them.

But it took being brave to initiate a change.

So whether you’re in the falling-in-love stage of life, the happily-married years, or still searching for your perfect someone, remember to be brave when it comes to matters of the heart.

Brave Lessons #5

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I read this quote the other day and it got me thinking about “growing brave by reflection.”

My take on that is that we can look at experiences with a thoughtful eye and see how we could do better, make different choices (brave choices), and have an alternate result. We can be reflective on a decision we’re contemplating, too.  And it’s pretty darn brave to smile when trouble finds us or gain strength from making it through a challenge.

I think it takes a good bit of bravery to honestly evaluate our lives, our inner selves, and be willing to learn and change from what we discover – to grow brave by reflection.

And the rest of this quote is pretty awesome, too. When we follow what our hearts tell us to do, and our mind approves – there is a recipe for success!