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Home is what and where?

People always IMG_4337talk about home… So what is home? Is it where you live? Where your loved ones are?  A place you lived or grew up?

For me its a mix of it all. When asked where I’m from, I reply “Southeast Georgia.” It’s as simple as that… but wait, is it? I was born in Florida, so that should be home right? Nope!

I am a Floridian by birth, Georgian by upbringing. Now, I did go back and live in Florida (not far from where I was born) as an adult and loved it… even then I still claimed Georgia as where I’m from. Today, if you asked “where are you from?” I’d still reply, “Georgia!”

Here’s why… from around 1978-2001 and then again from 2010-2012 I lived in Georgia. That is 25 years! Those years include my childhood, adolescence and early adult hood and some more years. That is more than half my life in one state! So yes that is where I am fromIMG_4338

Today, I am a TT! Texas Transplant. Way away from where I am “from” but still settling in and creating some roots. Where I am from and where home is, that is totally different! So how do I call this place home when in my heart it is Georgia. Well this is what I do…. My writing career started here. My love is here. This is where I was married. I started building a life here. I’ve begun to make friends and enjoy the many things Texas has to offer. And a bonus… this is where most of my children live.

So here, Central Texas, is my home. I have a veggie garden and flowers all over. Whether I step out front or out back, I smell the sweet floral scents of my many blooms. Here I have shared a few with you.

And while I can move my home anytime, but I will always be from Georgia!IMG_4339

It’s a bean day…

This morning I was up bright and early and decided it was time to pick more beans/peas! So I did. The raised bed with the beans/peas in them is over run – the support poles are leaning and plants continue to grow. NOT a complaint mind you!

So, I gathered my bowl and with my trusty companions I went forth! Here is what I got this morning from my speckled bean plants! Aren’t they great! I can’t wait for dinner.

If you haven’t read any of my previous garden posts, my husband (AKA – hubs) and I grow everything organically. All earth friendly and pure! So this is a lot of work… we plant, we fertilize, we water, we pick gross little bugs off our plants… We could use chemicals and make our lives easier but then they wouldn’t taste as good nor would they be as good for our bodies.

I’m a bean girl. I love beans of all kinds. So growing my own was only sensible. As you can see in the picture on the bottom left the beans are all at different stages. The littlest is obviously to young… but they make a great steamed bean (whole pod and all). The next three stages will make nice beans of any kind – stewed, steamed, boiled, etc… The largest and last stage – the one with the spots… Yeah, that one! That is the ultimate stage. You can either eat them now (cooked of course) or you can use them to dry for storage. Nothing better than fresh beans in the winter when they won’t grow cause its too damn cold out! What is your favorite bean?

Now, not all beans are pretty – some have little bug holes where those buggers ate right through to the bean – darn things would eat half a bean and leave. How dare they not finish their meal! Others have spots from the world not being so kind to them and us not catching a problem soon enough… but overall more than 99% of what we grow we consume! YES!!!

Below you will see a small harvest of our bush beans. These can be snaps or the beans can be shelled for a delicious veggie for dinner. I will let the plants go another 10 – 12 days before I attempt another harvest. I left plenty of beans on both types of plants for a larger harvest nearer the 4th of July dinner! Oh my I can’t wait.

Oh, I almost forgot… those garlic I was growing – and hung to dry… They are strong and dried out now.

The garlic is currently in the process of being ground into garlic powder. Love my pestle and mortar for this stuff.

 

Well, that is my garden up date for this turn… see you soon!

 

UPDATE: Last night I cooked the beans! They tasted amazing – Oh my yes. They were tender and flavorful. If you can grow your own and organically I highly recommend it – if not try to buy organically, so very worth the cost!

Blocked…

For as long as I can remember I have been claustrophobic. I need doors open and the rooms uncluttered, only my closet doors always had to be closed. I would have panic attacks when I’d have to go through tunnels. So bad so that once when in the Mobile tunnel we got stuck in traffic, my hand was on the handle to get out and walk out and meet my family on the other side when the cars started to move. I can’t be in total darkness, there must at least be a glimmer of light for me. This fear has kept me from crawling into spaces… going through caverns… this fear has kept me from a lot.

This has been going on in my life for at least 25 years… I could never remember what triggered this phobia and had become so used to that I had quit questioning it. This week my best friend came to visit for a couple of days and while we were talking I say, “Ya know, I’m claustrophobic and don’t have a clue why!” We were talking about things of the past and such. Her reply, “I can believe it. Your mom used to lock you in the closet!” It was like a revelation and veil lifted. I could only reply, “Really? Wow, that’d make sense… I have literally blocked out years of my life then… I didn’t realize it was that much.”

So much of my youth I dealt with many things…bad and good. But to be reminded of something I had obviously blocked was like opening my eyes for the first time. She recalled times of when she’d sit on my bed and wait for it all to pass. My mother would put me in the closet when either her or her husband and I were fighting. This was her way of getting me out of the way till things smoothed over. My punishment.

Can you imagine being that little kid… that teen? What is sad is it happened in front of more than one of my friends. I don’t feel hurt for me… it is them I grieve for. They had to sit and witness my abuse, they could do nothing – it scared them. What is worse… after a time – they grew to expect and understand that this is what happened. room-thoughts-bun-cry-Favim.com-4265308

So for all the reasons I had become that claustrophobic young woman who had to have all the doors open and uncluttered rooms…. I had blocked.

My God is Peaceful, Therefore so shall I be

Among all the hate and destruction of this world… we must find peace. My God is peaceful, therefore so shall I be.

If your god is full of hate and anger… then maybe you need to consider a new god or way of thinking.

Stop the hate, stop the bloodshed. Stop! Remember to love.

Never crumble…

No matter has happened or happening never let yourself crumble into dust. For if you do then you have no chance to rebuild. It will be over.  This is why we as individuals, communities, and civilizations can always come back from defeat…we are not gone. And those that were made into dust are. 


The sun rises every morning, even if the clouds try to hide it from you…it is still there. As the sun rises so must you. Take a deep breath of the new day before you with great conviction that you are not dust, maybe crumbled and broken, but are able to rebuild. Rebuild your soul, heart and mind…then help others do the same. 

I’ve rebuilt my mind, heart and soul many times. I refuse to be completely defeated. When I am the. my life shall end. Until then keep up the construction. We are not done. 

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The countdown begins ~

In July, I will be heading to the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida with my family, well most of them… Some couldn’t get off for vacation. We will be in Crestview, Florida for the FATE event! What’s that you ask? Well FATE – Florida Author Takeover Event will be collecting canned and non-perishable goods for those in AMVETS, St. Jude’s and Make A Wish. You can go here for more information on the details.

For me its more than just a signing… or helping charities… its going home. You see this is where I was born … in the Emerald Coast – just south of Crestview in Fort Walton Beach. As a child I didn’t live there long but did go back as an adult and lived there for more than 7 years. My kids grew up there until middle school grades and we loved it!

Now to go back to the city where I worked, lived, entertained and loved is just pleasure. My husband seen it once as we stayed one night there but didn’t really get to see the place. I am hoping in my days there I get to show him around and see what I loved so much. Oh and we get to see family and friends while we are there too!

The event is July 16 & 17 and I offered to send in swag for the event….so then I had to figure out what to send. I didn’t want to be like everyone else and send plain old book marks. People always end up with tons of paper bookmarks and business cards. So, I put my hobby to work. I crocheted 100 book marks. All a little different from one another! Yes… I did. Oh my some nights my hands hurt. But here is what we have to send off!

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I have also started going thru my book inventory – counting what I have and what I need. Orders go out next week for all my items.

So as the time gets nearer I get to check off more and more on my list… the countdown begins!

Did that really happen?

When I was a teen I moved out of my home my senior year of high school… Life wasn’t easy for me there and therefore, my best friend offered me her couch. By the time I got settled in good – report cards were coming out. The months prior had been pure hell for me and my grades dropped immensely.

Now you know all parents give punishment for not having good grades. BUT her mom gave the most unique punishment I will ever remember! Because my trigonometry grade had slipped I had to dress up for Halloween. At school! Yes!

Now, many of you may not know this but I NEVER dressed up for this since I was a small kid… like ten! So here I am, 17, in high school having to dress up.

Um, okay… so then what was I to dress up as?

The choices were endless. The final decision… a mime!

How horrifying is this? Some may say it was fun! Some may say thats the best ever! Not this girl. I wasn’t happy about it. I liked not being so noticeable.

All day long I was dressed as a mime and barely spoke.I had the all black clothes and even the face paint. Now that was a punishment that embarrassed me, but one I will never forget!

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Embarrassing

That’s a wrap

As a child we enter kindergarten with big dreams and no limits. As we get older we find our passions and talents and many of our limits. I can remember the day I graduated high school – I was so proud and felt the world was mine to conquer.

As a parent this Friday I was able to watch my youngest child walk the stage! Looking back at the many memories that was built by him and with him I can see that he has truly grown into an amazing young man. His dreams and ambitions are pretty much the same as they were when he was in elementary school… The route he has chosen to get there is all that has changed. I couldn’t be more proud of my son!

In adulthood, he will grow and learn so much more and will branch out and the world is now his to conquer. As for his childhood… well that’s a wrap!

BOOK REVIEW: Blossom & The Beast by Author RS McCoy

One of the great perks of being an author is meeting other authors. In that exchange, it so happens that requests to review each other’s work happens… this is the latest gem I had the pleasure of reading. Below I share the book description, an excerpt, and then my review. I am eagerly awaiting book 2 if that tells you how good it is.

 

 

 

Blossom & The Beast

by

RS McCoy

Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra.

In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder.

Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long.

 

Excerpt:

“Did you run all the way here?” His voice was quiet and low, so unlike it had been just moments before. His question was nothing like she’d expected, and despite her efforts, Blossom found her eyes lingering on him once more.

“Yes, I thought my life to be in danger.” For once, she was glad of her soiled appearance—anything but a delicate flower. It might serve her well today.

He let out a stern breath. “I mean you no harm. In fact, I made your father a very generous offer, one I’m inclined to think he will accept.”

“I’m sure you’re very rich, but my father values more than money. He would never trade me to a Pyro, not for all the money in the world.” Blossom filled her words with as much hatred and venom she could manage, hoping they were true.

“You see, I’m on my way back to Pyrona from visiting the Terra Vice Syndicate. As Lord Castor’s compatriot, I’m pressed to notify him of any illegal activity I might be aware of. Activities such as illegal alder-cutting operations, even ones as cunning and developed as this one.”

Blossom’s jaw fell open in horror. “You threatened him?” In that moment, Blossom wished to be a bear, wished she could shed this fragile, human exterior and become the fiery, capable creature that could rip him to shreds.

How dare he threaten her family. Trading for her was one thing, but this? It was so, so wrong.

Blossom blinked away the unshed tears in her eyes, refusing to cry in front of him. He was awful, and if she didn’t figure something out soon, she’d leave with him. She’d marry him.

“Why?” It was the only question left to ask.

Vice Syndicate Kaide Landel took in several breaths as he considered his answer. At last, he looked up at her with those deep-blue eyes and answered, “I saw you in the wood, and I wanted you. And, Ms. Frane, don’t misunderstand me. I always get what I want.”

“And what about what I want?” Blossom shot him a scathing glare.

He curled his lips up in a half-smile. “Do you even know what you want?” The question hit her square in the chest, a damaging blow.

“I know I don’t want to marry a man who would threaten my family. Of that, I’m completely certain.” It was hard to look intimidating when he towered over her so, but she did her best to stand firm. Blossom clenched her hands into fists and jutted her chin high into the air, as if that could convince him of her seriousness.

“Well, then. I suppose you should agree to marry me of your own accord. Would that suit you?”

“No.” She hated this, hated playing this game. He had the power to do as he pleased and the money to buy everything else. Even Da couldn’t resist his pressure and influence. To corner her in the tent and pretend like this might be her choice was the most insulting ruse imaginable.

“What would it take to make you happy?” Caught off-guard by such a question, she looked up at him. His previous confidence had lessened, and it was possible he really wanted to know the answer.

But Blossom knew this was just another turn in the game. “I want you to leave.”

“That is my intention. As soon as our arrangements are finalized, you will accompany me back to Pyrona.” He reclasped his hands behind his back and stood taller, that brief moment gone.

 

Over the years, I have read several books. I’ve read fantasy… paranormal… sci-fiction… But never in over 300 books have I read one where I felt so invested in the characters! Seriously, McCoy was able to reach in my mind and heart and grab hold and not let go. I was sad for Blossom when the inevitable trade came along. I was angry at her brothers for not letting her explore. I was disappointed when her father let her go. I excited for her when her new life started to take shape. I was so floored by the ending I actually emailed the author!

McCoy’s ability to create a world and its people with its belief systems and social hierarchy was impeccable. Her character and world building flawless. Her writing flowed and not once did I get lost or bored. This is no typical Beauty & The Beast rendition – nope, Blossom is defiant, independent, yet wants for so much more and when she is given it – well… read the book. I give this book 5 stars without hesitation!

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

iBooks

Kobo

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Tell me, does this sounds like a book for you? If you decide to get it, please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback!

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Coffee date~

big cups

If we were having coffee right now…we would sit on the back porch a my home and sip on that hot and steamy cup of gloriousness. We would enjoy the world that comes to our backyard… the birds singing, the butterflies visiting the flowers, the hummingbirds coming to feast on the nectar available to them and the dogs, well being dogs. We’d talk about the garden and how its doing and of course future crop plans.

If we were having coffee right now – we’d talk about the high school graduation coming up in less than a week for the youngest kid in our crew and how he just committed to the Army. We’d talk about the upcoming trip to Florida and Georgia where I will be participating in a book signing and seeing family and friends. I’d ask how things are with you and the family? Work? What you have coming up?

But most of all we would just sit and enjoy our friendship as we sip on our coffee.

 

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A letter to never be answered.

Mom,

I know you have been gone for quite some time now, almost twelve years, but I still have the desire on occasion to pick up the phone and call. Not sure this will ever go away. Your grandchildren are all grown up now. High school is over for all but one, he finishes next week, you have three grandchildren now…I am sorry you never got to meet them.

Our relationship was one built on the insanity we called our life. You were so young when you brought me into the world. You told me how you didn’t want me and wanted to give me away, especially after things didn’t work with my father. He was a unique man to say the least, wish I had met him. You kept me anyway.

Over the years, my life and presence seemed to torment you – I think it was guilt that ate you up. Guilt that you had not had the life you truly wanted but instead had me.

You taught me many things and for this I am thankful. You taught me to appreciate Mother Earth and her many gifts. You taught me to eat from her and drink from her and use her gifts to better myself. You taught me how to give back to her, to respect her and to love her. You taught me how to be strong and independent at all times. You taught me to prepare and prepare and prepare…

What I had wished you taught me was how to love, how to accept help and ask for it when I really needed it, and it was okay to depend on someone.

I speak to my brother often and he is “seeing” the world as it is now and not the version of it from behind the veil you kept over him. He is angry and disappointed. I remind him you were young and really didn’t know what to do with us. You yourself was a child and had to grow and learn quickly. You were more like a friend to me than a mother cause as that friend you turned on me, banished me, shamed me… as that friend I was able to walk away from you.

But with all that… all that I learned and didn’t learn I just want you to know that I love you. You are the mom I was given, the mom I had.

When I reflect on our life together, I focus not on the negative… I am past that now. I focus on the times where we picked fruit in the orchards and came home and made jams. I focus on the times we went to historical sites and hiked for hours. I focus on the times we dug in the dirt in the mountains to find gems.

Although, you can never respond to this letter I know you can read it… you will get my message as I believe the spirit world walks among us.

You will know that I love you even when you couldn’t love me.

You will know that I am at peace and learned how to accept love and show it.

You will know that my life is good.

Love always from the daughter you never wanted but kept anyway…

Gone fishing…

Sunday my hubs and I set out to go fishing at one of the near state parks here in Central Texas. We decided on Inks Lake State Park. We had not been fishing in quite some time so our first stop was for worms! Yes… we ended up with three types of worms. Now I’m not afraid of worms so this was our first “wildlife” of the day, LOL!

On the way to Inks Lake we see raccoon, goats, cattle, sheep (with big round horns), and of course the birds! The trip was pleasant and as we came up on the lake I found the view breathtaking.

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The view was breath taking… leaving me to say to my husband, “Now, I can see some of the beauty of Central Texas.” Because in all honesty I didn’t think it existed!

So we go in and get to the pier and find a comfy spot to fish. The nibbles are there and of course we are ready! I caught the first fish – a really pretty red breasted sun fish, but too small to keep. The rest of the day was spent talking and trying new bait – different tactics. Finally hubs starts to get bites… he ended up catching four fish but still all too small to keep. All the while I keep seeing what I thought was a turtle head and cursing the said turtle for nibbling my hook. OHHHH but no he was not a turtle… I watched this cursed beast swim elegantly to a patch of grass where the water was more clear and NOPE, not a turtle…SNAKE! Yeah I had been arguing at a snake. Okay then…no worries they don’t bother me. Wildlife at its best – I am in their territory right?

The sun decided to peak out and grace us with her warmth and beauty for a couple of hours – this to me meant I came home with a very nice lobster shade of red on my face and neck – happens all the time.

Now… if you don’t know me that well I do fine with most creatures of the world EXCEPT  the spider. Oh honey I will scream and run from those creepy crawlers. So I can be brave with many things but let one spider of significant size come close and I’m done! Now, you may ask what is significant…. Okay… if its the size of a dime or bigger – I’m outta there! Yeah, I know that is sad… but hey we all have our weakness and that is mine.

So ALL over this dock/pier is spiders of significant size or larger…I’m smart – I don’t lean on the wood – and I move my pole out of their way – Respect is the key here.

After an all day fishing trip that ended plans for more than anything else we head home. Now, hubs drives most always – so here we are driving home from the lake on this long, long road and I see something creep across the road. I lean forward and think “Scorpion?” then noooooo I see it more clearly – just as hubs says aloud, “That’s a tarantula” Um, OH MY GOODNESS! This giant furry spider is strolling across the street like its an everyday occurrence. OH NOOOO! I get the shivers – you know the ones with the cold chill that runs across your entire body – yeah those! ONLY to see a few feet further on the road another one of those giant things strolling across again.

Needless to say I told my husband I didn’t want to see anymore wildlife for the day. And that was our fist day fishing in three years!

 

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