Today is the day.

The counter has  a few hours left on it, at which time I will be hitting the road to retrieve my eldest spawn – I mean daughter.

The past two days have been grueling; fighting a migraine with a to-do list a mile long, storms raging through the area, power outages, (hard to vacuum when there’s no electricity) all while the clock ticks away.

Every item of mine that was in the room is moved. If you don’t count the bed, dresser, bookshelf – all of which we paid for. You understand that our kids don’t see it that way though, right? Last year at this time she  gave us fits because we gave her mattress away when she went to college.  The mattress that we bought for her, for a full-sized bed, that had a “nest” indent in the middle when  the younger daughter got the bigger room, and she would get the twin bed for the 3 months out of the year that she was home. Technically we didn’t give it away.  The guys hauled it off when we got the new one for the other daughter.

She has already started in about we need to buy her a futon.  She’s 21,  if she wants a futon she can buy it herself.

There will be a lot of shifting  over the next several weeks. She will have to adjust to our schedules. She will have to maintain her room to a certain level of cleanliness. (Oh, trust me. I’m far from a white-gloved inspector) She will be expected to pull her own weight around here which means helping out with household chores once again.

I absolutely love her to pieces,  but she’s about to get a slap of reality.  My wonderfully talented and gifted daughter has decided that she’s not going back to school. With one year left to achieve her degree, she’s quitting. So, it’s time to enter the workforce.  She doesn’t seem to understand that she’s basically pushed her timeline forward by a year without the benefit of a degree.

Her student loans will come due in six months. We aren’t paying them for her.

She doesn’t have a car and expects to use ours to get a job. Problem is, that car has 200000 miles on it.

At 21, making adult decisions she will get to experience adult consequences.  You know, you try to  help them avoid the same problems that you’ve had to deal with, but they don’t see it.  As parents, we want the best for our kids.

We want them to do better than us and we try to shelter them from the same stupid mistakes that we’ve made. But those mistakes help us learn  how to do things better, how to manage our lives. Is it  a good thing then to shelter them from experiencing them?

There will be a shift on our part to help her but not coddle her. She’s not 2 anymore. She’s 21. I don’t want to be an enabler, and I don’t want to be harsh.

This is new territory for all of us. God give me strength – and wisdom. I need lots of wisdom.

With anything new, it’s a learning curve. Learning a new software. Learning a new job. Learning to live with your adult child when they’ve been on their own for a while. There will be snags,  rough spots, and testing of boundaries. But at the end of the day, our daughter is back home safe and sound with us and we won’t be worried about what she’s doing. We may be praying for answers and the patience to not engage in senseless arguments but we will know that she is alright.

colorful sunset

The future is full of opportunities, possibilities, and the road to success. Whichever road that may be.

As I sit and enjoy my last few hours of freedom, I mean quiet. . . . . I can’t wait  to have her home but I am still anxious about the next few weeks. My family means everything to me. This wasn’t in my outline for life. But then again, the best stories have sudden twists and turns.

I know this one is going to be good.

Write on my friends, write on.



A to Z Challenge – R


R – Red Wine & Roses

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You had to know I would  use this as one of my R words, right?

My very first published book! This is contemporary romance, and a bit steamy! According to one of the reviews, too steamy.

Most of my manuscripts are paranormal fantasy. This one is a stand alone. I loved writing it,  but I already know some things I will do differently in my next romance.

Red Wine & Roses – get your copy and leave me a review!




R – Reviews

The all important reviews for a book.  I don’t know how many readers actually read the review before purchasing, but to an author, it’s vitally important to receive reviews.

Wonderful Romance, extra Spicy

Couldn’t Put This Book Down

I Loved The Characters


R – Rice




Rice is the mainstay of most of the world’s diet.  It is versatile, so it’s used in a variety of  cooking styles. For instance Spanish Rice next to the Chimichanga and refried beans, Fried rice with the sweet and sour shrimp,  steamed rice with chicken ala king, or my favorite . . RISOTTO.

Which requires a RECIPE

If you can’t get any morels,  then you can substitute another type such as Portobello. Morels are best, but they are hard to find/get.



Risotto with Morels

1/2 pound  morel mushrooms, chopped into small pieces – rinsed and soaked in salt water then drain on a paper towel
4 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces bacon, cooked drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
freshly chopped parsley


In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer.
In a  Dutch oven, melt the butter and the morels, and bacon, saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed,  10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not  dry. Remove from  heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve  with extra cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.

R- Rash

While poking around in the garage working on furniture  restoration, I’ve gotten into something that has irritated my skin. The sad thing is I have no clue as to what it was, so I’m likely to repeat this.

2015-04-15 15.28.55


And technically, I did not take this picture. My daughter took it of me.

Write on my friends, write on!



A to Z Challenge – Q

 Q -quinoa


An amazing super food! There are so many ways to incorporate this into your diet. Here are a few suggestions:

  1.  use instead of rice, or combined with rice
  2. use in place of bread crumbs in meatloaf
  3. use as you would oatmeal in the morning – add your favorite toppings. Mine are peaches, cream, and a little honey.
  4. Make quinoa cookies – pretty much like you would make oatmeal cookies.
  5. Add it to a basic bread recipe!
  6. Add some to your salad before drizzling your favorite dressing over it.

Q – Queen



Queen -of hearts,  of diamonds, spades, but what about clubs? Are there no songs to commemorate the queen of clubs?

Many of you may not know this,  but a friend of mine has immortalized me as the evil queen (mwahaha haha- cackles with evil laughter) in  not one but two of her books.  OK, so the second is a sequel to the first but never the less I am immortalized as evil queen Ellie!  Apparently Queen Ellie has a thing for shrimp, not the kind you eat but rather a character that is a shrimp. Interesting.

I considered snapping a few pics for queen-sized, but naaaaaaaahhhh!


Q – Quackers


Baby ducks –  ok so it’s a stretch. But come on –  are these not the cutest things? Spring time is flourishing with flora and fauna!

These precious babies bring a smile to my face when then my legs are nearly shaking on the last lap around the pond.


Q – Quilt

OK,  I don’t know what the deal is but we saw numerous of these, all different on the ends of barns as we drove through northern Missouri and Iowa. Is this an Amish thing? Mennonite? Is there some symbolic meaning behind it?  I don’t know but  it got us talking.



If anyone wants to fill me in on why  so many people have a quilt block design on their barns, I’d love to know.  Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!



A to Z Challenge – O


 O – Ocean



The ocean – ahhhhhh. Relaxing, calming, soothing, refreshing. Some people recharge in the mountains. For me it’s on the beach or on the deck – yes those are my thick calves in the capris! We celebrated our anniversary with a cruise to the Bahamas last year. I absolutely loved Freeport Bahamas!

O – Onion


Do you  know why onions make you cry?

Onions contain amino acid sulfoxides that form sulfenic acids. The enzymes and the sulfenic acids are kept separately in the cells. When you cut the onion, the otherwise separate enzymes start mixing and produce propanethiol S-oxide, which is a volatile sulphur compound that starts wafting towards your eyes. The gas that is emitted reacts with the water of your eyes and forms sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid  produced causes burning sensation in your eyes and this, in turn leads to the production of tears.

Does it make me stop using onions?  NOPE.  Tonight we are having chicken fajitas, with lots of sliced peppers and onions.

O – Office

You may notice the distinct lack of images for this.

WHY? Because I don’t have an office. This is a problem.  I had one for a while,  then it was taken over. Then I moved to my daughter’s room while she was at college. But when she would come home on break,  or for the summer, I had no place for my office. My office has been a corner of the kitchen table.

I need my own office with places to put my writer stuff, and craft stuff, and research stuff, and  . . . . my STUFF! We have five desks and four people here. One is in the garage covered with Guy stuff. I think it’s too large to fit down the stairwell. One is being used by my youngest daughter, one is my writer’s desk that is in the oldest daughter’s room, one is in the living room and is my husband’s computer desk, one is in the downstairs office, which has become my husband’s office, and one desk is a corner desk that I painted for my oldest daughter when she was in junior high.  It’s purple zebra print.

At this point I don’t care. I need a desk, I need an office, and I need some storage shelves /cabinets/bins – whatever! OPERATION PERMANENT OFFICE IS GO!


Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!



A to Z Challenge – N


N- Notes & Notebooks



20160415_100654Old school is still the best way for me to brainstorm. I pot my notes into a notebook, this one is a cheap composition book  purchased during back to school sales. I think it was all of 49 cents. I tab my pages at the beginning of a section. When I have something I add to it. It may sit untouched for weeks, but when I need to go find that one thing that I wrote down, I will have it. Those tab things from post-its are great!





Such handy little things, nails.  These are for hanging decor and picture hangers. No, it’s not the same thing.  Sometimes you need a nail to hang something, other times you need one of those angled metal hook things –  a picture hanger. I’ve been tackling a few  things on my to do list.

I’ve waited for the hubs to “get around to it” for ages. It’s actually better if I tackle it because I know what I want. Never mind the extra holes in the wall.  They will get patched next time we paint. I’m nonplussed by little details like that –  I try to get it right the first time,  but hey, life goes on when you get your nail half an inch to the left too far and have to do it over. A little dab of toothpaste, smoothed out with an old gift card hides that sucker. And a little dab of paint from the leftover can we keep stored in the basement.


The beginning  of one of my family’s favorite meals:

Crab alfredo

Bear with me on this one,  I am trying to remember as if I were making it because  this was a throw together meal.

1 package of medium egg noodles

3 cups water

1 package of artificial crab meat, torn into pieces

1 package of scallions chopped into small pieces ( about 1/2 cup of scallions)

fresh spinach with the stems removed ( about 2 cups of fresh spinach)

1 jar alfredo sauce

1/2 cup of  parmesan

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

In a large skillet or electric skillet (this is what I use to make this dish), put noodles in skillet, add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking to the pan. Water will absorb. Once the pasta is cooked al dente –  which is only about seven minutes – egg noodles cook fast. Add butter and stir around. Pour jar of alfredo sauce over noodles. Stir to coat evenly, pour milk into the jar, shake up and add. ( Sauce thickens so this isn’t going to make your sauce too thin, plus you’re going to add more cheese.)  Add milk, stirring in.

Make sure the pasta is evenly coated. Add torn pieces of crab meat. Add scallions.  Layer  fresh spinach over the top. Add salt and pepper, cover for just a couple of minutes while preparing your salad and setting the table.

Uncover, scoop onto the plate, top with  some grated parmesan and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Super simple, healthy and satisfying.

Let me know if you decide to try my concoction! My kids love it and they have never complained about the spinach!

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!



A to Z Challenge – M



M- Macaroni

One of my kids favorites! It matters not that they are young adults now,  it’s still a favorite.

In fact, I think I’ll share a recipe.


Macaroni and Cheese ala Ellie


1 cup (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese ( I sometimes use a combination of shredded cheddar and American slices because the American slices make it creamier.)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup bread crumbs


Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly until   creamy and fluid. Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, still stirring constantly. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika or black pepper. I prefer the black pepper myself.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve.

Present dish to your hungry family, and watch their mouths water. Make them want it.  Take your time in setting the table.



M- Maraschino Cherries

Sorry but I wasn’t about to open the jar as these are for my favorite fruit salad to have with barbecue, which my husband will be cooking this weekend!  My job is the salad, corn, deviled eggs, and strawberry shortcake!

OK, fine. Since you insist, here’s the recipe for that as well.


Ambrosia Fruit Salad


1(20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 (16 ounce) container whipped topping

1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup shredded coconut or to taste

I jar maraschino cherries cut in half and drained


  1. Mix pineapple, oranges, whipped topping, marshmallows, and coconut together in a bowl. Fold in cherry halves. Stir lightly, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors blend about 2 hours.

M- Me

In one of my favorite shirts, at one of my favorite stores – Hobby Lobby, and what do I find but an oversized martini glass! Now if I can just find a wine glass this size!

Ignore the no makeup hair pulled back in a ponytail look. This is me.  This is who I am. Life is too short to stress over putting on makeup to go to the store, or drive for hours, or anything that I do in my nonwork day.

Speaking of driving, I’m  heading out on the highway once again.  I may have to put some Motley Crew, Maroon5, Metallica, Megadeath, and Michael Franti on the playlist.

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!



A to Z Challenge – L


L- Love, laughter, life, . . . how would I photograph those?

I was pondering over my long drive on Saturday what L words I could photograph. The first things that came to my mind were the above. Those weren’t accessible.  A studio, props – my mind started going ninety miles an hour.  Now how was I going to do that while riding in a car?

After stopping for gas and bathroom breaks, I rethought my approach. There had to be something that I could use for L.  My daughter suggested a llama. AND WHERE AM  GOING TO GET A LLAMA? 

Cue the giggling laughter of my eldest spawn. I swear, sometimes that girl is way too much like me.

colorful sunset

colorful sunrise

L- Light

Getting up before sunrise can have its advantages. Maybe so but there isn’t enough coffee in the world for me to make this a habit.

My make up roses.  Aren't they beautiful? L – Love

Loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread.

                Loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread.

One of the ways that my husband expresses love to me.

L- Loaf

There is nothing that smells as good to me as freshly baked bread. This is also one of the ways that I express love to my husband. His primary love language is acts of service, so I do the things that make him feel appreciated. It just so happens that we all benefit from the baking. OK, well maybe not my waistline,  but come on –  its freshly baked bread without any chemical preservatives.  Speaking of acts of service, this leads me to my next L word  . . .



The never-ending job that isn’t noticed unless it hasn’t been done. I have some theories on this:  if you leave it very long unattended, it multiplies. There is a sock portal that opens inside of the dryer where socks escape to another dimension. Somewhere socks roam free. Or else they are transported to a very personal hell for someone who is given the eternal task to pair socks without their mates.


Hopefully, that last bit made you laugh or at least smile. Life is too short to not enjoy. Bake some fresh bread, get some freshly cut flowers, have a cup of coffee while the laundry is running. Be thankful that you have more than one change of clothes  to have to do laundry. Be thankful that we don’t have to go down to the creek and beat our clothes  on the rocks. Be thankful that someone had the brilliant idea to pour  water over burned coffee beans.

Make every moment count, even the ones that aren’t as exciting as others.

Live life to the fullest! Love passionately! Laugh every chance you get!


Write on my friends, write on!





“Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle 

Have you ever reached a point where you were disheartened and discouraged?  Where you just felt like you couldn’t do it,  it was impossible, it would never happen despite your best efforts?

Come on, it happens to all of us at one time or another.

“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”

– Neal A. Maxwell

“Discouragement is universal, it’s everywhere.” 

– Charles Stanley 

There are 5 truths about discouragement:

  1. It’s everywhere
  2. It’s recurring
  3. It’s contagious
  4. It’s unpredictable
  5. It’s temporary

Everywhere –  it’s  in every culture, some more than others.  It affects every age and if we give in to the discouragement it can lead to depression.

Recurring – It happens numerous times in our lives. Sometimes  it recurs more often in a specific area, one that we struggle with.  If we don’t develop a coping technique to battle against it, it can stop us from going further, and keep us trapped in a pit of despair.

Contagious – Debbie Downer can easily infect those around her with her pessimistic poison, offering up her personal brand of discouragement of why this or that won’t work as well as offer personal life examples from experience.   Don’t be the Debbie Downer- mind your tongue and guard what you are saying lest you discourage yourself as well as others.

Unpredictable – It happens when we least expect it.  After a victory there is usually a let down, don’t let the let down lead to a disappointment. Sometimes you’re sailing along smoothly then  the engine sputters and chokes, then WHAM! Suddenly you’re sidelined and discouraged.

Temporary – This is a key point here, to keep in mind that  it is indeed temporary.  Circumstances are always subject to change. This too shall pass.

“Most folks are as happy as they want to be.”

-Abraham Lincoln

If you’re discouraged, you can’t make things happen. You can’t even help yourself.

Stop wallowing in the mud like a pig!

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the  surest stepping stones to success.” 

– Dale Carnegie

Two ways we deal with  Discouragement:

  1. From the inside out – our minds, our thoughts, naval gazing , self scrutinizing, and feeling inadequate and incapable.
  2. From the outside in – our circumstances.  You know  – you  just got  the car paid for and it gets wrecked.  You get a tax refund and your refrigerator goes out.  You  work really hard doing your very best and don’t get a promotion.

“In spite of everything I shall rise again, I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement – I will go on with my drawing.”              – Vincent Van Gogh

I am a survivor!  I’ve made it through many things.  The things I’ve survived have shaped me into the person I am today. We grow stronger through trials, through the troubles.  We learn through our adversities.

Common causes of discouragement:

  1. self pity:  we feel sorry for ourselves when life isn’t fair, when life mistreats us, when people  aren’t nice to us, or even when we fail ourselves.  Don’t give into the pity party!
  2. things don’t happen on our time table:  we set deadlines, we set absolute points where X has to happen and sometimes they are unrealistic self imposed deadlines that are beyond our control in the first place.  Unreal expectations about something  that is outside our realm of influence is a perfect setup for discouragement.
  3. Unrealistic standards:  I know I am guilty of this.  We set standards on ourselves that are so far above what is  obtainable,  or set goals that are not realistic, or  set our sights on the top prize and ignore all the ladder rungs between here and there.
  4. comparing ourselves to others: I am never going to be a lead singer  like Ann Wilson.  I admire her, her strength, her voice is phenomenal,  she  is one talented woman.  However I am not her – that  is her  path not mine. It is never going to do any of us any good to compare ourselves to others  because we  have to be ourselves and  follow our own individual path.
  5. not getting our way:  you know, sometimes it’s a good thing that we don’t get everything we want. Sometimes,  all our discouragement is  more akin to a temper tantrum from a spoiled child that didn’t’ get their way.
  6. spreading yourself too thin:  too many irons in the fire can indeed wear you down, and make  it impossible to do well in any area because you are simply stretched too thin.
  7.  facing a defeat:  setbacks happen. It is a rare individual that never meets with defeat at some point or other.  Defeat in one battle does not lose the war. Laying down and surrendering  guarantees failure. We often lay down and wave the white flag after a defeat instead of regrouping and getting back in the proverbial saddle and trying again. Sometimes, your best laid plans fall apart — the deal falls through — no one shows up to the event.  How do you react?  As one man said, “Just when I think I can makes ends meet — somebody moves the ends! That’s discouraging!
  8. illness: while ill we are simply incapable of doing what we  normally do.  Injury does the same thing. We have to take time to allow our bodies to heal. The human body is an amazing  creation, when we take care of it.  Quit constantly looking at what you can’t do now while you are ill, injured, or recovering.  Instead focus on what you can do, even if it is a small thing –  embrace that  small thing  and you’ll realize that  you are capable of more  gradually.
  9. self assessment:  when we take inventory of who we are, and what we are we often come to the conclusion that we don’t like the person staring back at us in the mirror.  Instead of  lamenting how horrible you are  focus on the aspects that you can change.  I am currently incapable of physically doing the things I could do a little over a year ago.  I’ve lost muscle tone, strength and the ability  to do normal things without pain.  I’ve been focused on these points of what I couldn’t do for  quite a while and just wallowing in the discouragement.  Recently I  took a fresh look at  it and realized that I am still capable of  some things so I’ve done those things.  This gives me encouragement, and a little encouragement lifts us up out of our pit of despair.
  10. fatigue: When you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, you’re a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are lowered and things can seem bleaker than they really are. This often occurs when you’re halfway through a major project and you get tired.

Remember also that if you are struggling with this,  seek out a friend or family member to talk to or even a counselor.  Don’t give in to the discouragement, even if you need a hand up – get up and move on. There’s sunshine  after the storm has passed.

Write on my friends, write on and don’t let discouragement keep you down.