I love Autumn and I love this poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906).
It's all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o'er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught 'em;
There's nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You'll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e'en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o'er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.
Don't talk to me of solemn days
In autumn's time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it's the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.
Today, I’m pleased to welcome Karen Pennington, lay minister, blogger, podcaster, and author. Karen, welcome and congratulations on your recent publication, An Anointed Mess, Discovering the Daily Adventure of Grace.
I just love that title. But before we talk about the book, will you tell us a little about yourself and your mission? You have such a fresh and down-to-earth approach to Scripture.
Thanks so much. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share my story and my heart.
About me… I have a lot of words, but at the risk of sounding redundant, I could sum myself up using only two of them: anointed mess. I feel very flawed, yet beautiful. I have lots of issues, yet I sense and claim God’s favor upon my life. I am so messy that I can’t even tell you where my iron is, let alone the last time I used it. And yet God continually works this mess that is me into a masterpiece of a life. The key for me is to remember that it’s about God’s the artist. I’m just the paint.
To be more specific, I have four passions in life: The God of scripture, family, friendships and clearance sales, in that exact order. I currently live in Jamestown, NY with my husband of nearly 20 years and boyfriend of nearly 22 years (same guy), Ben. I still think he’s hot. We adore our daughter Ali and her husband Baker. And don’t even get me started on our granddaughter Amelia. She’s just about the best thing ever, or at least the best thing in 2,000 years.
Beautiful -- and I completely understand about grandchildren. They really are grand, aren't they?
I just finished listening to the latest episode of Daily Adventures in Grace. Your podcasts feel so warm, welcoming, and honest. They’re like a cozy chat with a friend and, like the best of chats, there’s always a valuable takeaway. Do you usually plan your podcasts or are they straight off the cuff? Is there one aspect of podcasting that is more challenging for you than others? I feel sure that for your listeners, the topics can be emotional – different ones for different people. Do your podcasts ever catch you off guard emotionally?
Thank you so much for saying that. I sometimes think of my episodes as a little messy, and I am never quite sure if that comes off as a good or bad thing to those who listen. But it’s important for what I offer to come off as 100% me.
I post every weekday, because my book claims that if we seek out the adventure of grace every day, then God will show it to us every day. So I felt the conviction to do just that. I do not think I have the right to challenge others to seek out God’s grace every day if I am not doing so myself.
I always do some sort of Bible study or devotions right before I record, but that is not always what affects the subject matter. Sometimes the episode content comes to me after a few days of thinking things through as studying, or even as a conclusion after years of study and thought on a matter. Sometimes I read or realize something just minutes before recording, and I get so excited about what God has revealed to me that I just have to share it right then and there. Sometimes- and this sounds crazy- I will pray and begin with nothing more than a sentence or two in my head, completely unsure of where God is taking me. Those are the times I pray a little extra before I hit the record button, and I am often just as surprised as anyone else would be at what God draws out of me. It truly is a daily adventure for me.
Your book, An Anointed Mess is uplifting, encouraging. How did you come up with the title? Was it the first one that came to mind? Like your podcast and blog, the tone is beautifully conversational and friendly. Please, share with us your heart’s feelings about this devotional. I ask because it’s clear your heart went into it.
You might find it interesting to know that I started the first manuscript of the book about 15 years ago. I thought I was done six months later, but God had more to write in me, and I had much more to learn. I thought at first I could use God’s Word to answer some of life’s tough questions. But somewhere along the line it became more about honoring the journey itself, and rather than trying to tidy up life’s chaos, I began to appreciate the mess.
I am not saying that we should not try to go through healing or seek out godly wisdom and understanding. But we don’t have to wait until our life’s problems are all solved (which does not happen on this side of eternity) to enjoy the grace and favor of God, nor to be used by God as an instrument of grace in others’ lives.
The book title changed about halfway through the process. I can remember two distinctive conversations. One friend once told me this: “We woman may be a hot mess, but at least we’re hot.” And someone else commented that I always seemed to be going through some sort of a struggle in life. I think that second comment was meant as an insult, but it inspired me to own my flaws. Right there something in me connected the mess with the miracle. In my mind I linked it with the original biblical concept of anointing, which literally means to pour oil all over the head of someone who has been set apart by God for a special purpose. That’s super messy. That’s extravagantly beautiful. That’s me! I want the book to help other gorgeously imperfect people see themselves there too.
Wow. Bravo! It's beautiful and brave of you to share yourself and your struggles in order to lift up and encourage others. Is there another book on the burner? Do you have special blogs, podcasts, or anything else planned for the holidays?
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I have A LOT of words, and I use them often. I blog about once a week. I do Youtube posts, which I convert to podcasts, about five times a week. I post daily Scripture verses, midday quotes on weekdays, and a smattering of resources, shares and just plain silly thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkIn, along with the occasional pictures on Instagram and Pinterest.
I just wrote a short eBook devotional called “10 Healing Truths from God’s Word.” It is a free gift that I send out weekly to all new subscribers to my “Words of Grace” newsletter. This book forms the seeds of a longer, more in depth book I am developing called “Not Flawless, but Perfect: A Journey from Wholeness to Healing.” All of this, along with my personal contact information, can be found at my personal website, karenmariepennington.com.
It all sounds wonderful. Thank you.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, I am just so grateful for the chance to share my story and my heart. Everybody’s story matters, and everyone’s life is an adventure, whether they know it or not. And God has amazing plans for everyone reading this. We just need to let God in.
Thank you for joining us today, Karen, and for the wonderful, generous work you do. May God bless you in all your endeavors.
An Anointed Mess: Discovering the Daily Adventure of Grace
by Karen Pennington
Whether our struggles seem big or small, life changing, or merely mildly annoying, we generally just want God to take them away. But what if we changed our mindset to instead seek God’s grace in the midst of these difficulties?
Author Karen Pennington considers grace the key to experiencing God’s victory, transformation, and peace in the everyday chaos as well as in the major life challenges. An Anointed Mess: Discovering the Daily Adventure of Grace will inspire you to not only seek God’s grace but also become a bearer of this heavenly gift, ultimately empowering you to manage life’s ups and downs with joy, faith, and integrity.
Karen beautifully weaves personal experiences with biblical parallels and common burdens of today that intimately connect us with one another, such as anxiety, forgiveness, weakness, shame, and control. Engaging and easy to read, An Anointed Mess will benefit the reader as either a personal devotional or a group study. Each chapter includes insightful questions encouraging you to discover how God’s Word and grace intersect with your own story.
Quotes from the book:
The Bible is the world’s largest anthology of seriously messed-up people.
I love that God’s Word does not merely outline a bunch of spotless, picture-perfect personalities and lifestyles that I could never attain.
But the landscape of life is far richer than the peaks and lows, and the Lord is the architect of it all.
We easily forget that the Lord has an extraordinary ability to bring about the most amazing results out of the most seemingly ordinary circumstances.
I believe that God can grant any of us victory and peace right within the struggle, while at the same time constantly moving us forward in grace.
As we learn to receive and live by God’s merciful power and plan, we become both witnesses to and bearers of heavenly grace.
In fact, it shatters the powers of darkness in unspeakable ways when we choose to persist as warriors praising and worshipping God even when our emotions and circumstances beg us to retreat.
We cannot in any way resemble God if we do not to some degree possess in our innermost core an intense yearning for what is good and right.
As we come to God openly and honestly with whatever we feel, God will be faithful to walk us through it all, and even to work it all for our good.
Sometimes it takes a total break to lead to complete healing and restoration.
Available at Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A devotional blogger committed to seeking the excellence, fun, and wisdom of God in daily living, Karen Pennington also has written and published Christian magazine articles. Her career has centered on education and Christian ministry, including local, regional, and national lay ministries; curriculum development; and conference and seminar planning. Karen now enjoys substitute teaching and serving at her church. She and her husband, Bill, live in Jamestown, New York, and consider church and Sunday family dinners—with granddaughter Amelia (the light of their lives), daughter Aletha, and son-in-law Baker—the highlight of each week. Second to being in the presence of those she loves, Karen’s happy places are the beach and in the middle of a good clearance sale.
For review copies and media interviews, contact:
Slowly, slowly the world is illuminated,
silvery twilight revealing
all that was just hidden.
The veil of night, comforting or intimidating,
retreats to the other side of the earth.
What is revealed in me?
Has my darkness also retreated?
It should, for it is a new day.
Is it a gift or a challenge?
Surely, it’s both.
Twilight fades quickly.
The sun, in all its glorified glory,
tells me yes, this day is a gift
and a challenge set before me.
Firmly. Gently. With a smile.
I lift my coffee mug
in acknowledgement and acceptance.
I send up a prayer of thanks and petition.
The sky, all bright dawn, winks at me.
My heart lifts. Another day…
Today, I’m pleased and honored to host author, speaker and entrepreneur Laban T. M’mbololo, Esq. I met M’mbololo on Twitter, where he has around 17k followers and counting. He is influential. He is positive. He is generous. He is also a prolific writer. I recently read his book Influence and thoroughly enjoyed it. Be sure to see my review at the end of this interview.
Mr. M’mbololo, welcome. Thank you for joining us today. Please, won’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, Anastasia. I’m an author of 23 books, an influencer and a sales and business expert. I’m determined to write 100 books within the next 4-5 years period. I’m writing now more than ever before.
I absolutely loved Influence. I’d never imagined that what might have been a business manual could be so motivational or conversational. Please, tell us about your philosophy, writing, and publications.
I have a simple philosophy, “you can get what you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.” Many poets, writers and authors want to propel their work into the limelight and I use social media platforms to achieve this and in return they support my work. Sam Walton used the same philosophy and became the World’s richest man between 1982-1988. I write very early in the morning between 3-5am. This is a good time because I can concentrate on my writing and put my thoughts together on paper without the interruption of phone calls, status updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as daytime meetings. I have so far published 5 books and also write business articles for several magazines in the USA, East Africa and the Far East.
How is it possible to maintain a personal life, a writing career, and a social media presence such as yours? Do you keep things separate or is that not necessary?
Discipline and focus are key here. For example when you’re with the family, completely focus on that, and when playing golf just focus on that and don’t even talk about business. It’s important to attain focus in whatever you’re doing. Most people mix work and play, when they are at work they’re thinking about family and when with family they’re thinking about work. They’re not concentrating, and therefore they’re not effective on either. You can’t mistake movement for achievement; therefore it’s important to segment these roles into compartments to be effective.
As a writer, I have to ask: do you have any specific advice for authors and other creatives who want and need to focus on their craft rather than sales and yet need the sales?
Your success will be determined by the quality, quantity and the spirit of service you render. I use a simple formula QQS to demonstrate this and money is the yardstick of its measurement. Most authors and creatives will tell you that they want to make money, without fully understanding this law. It’s therefore imperative to begin off with exceptional quality; ensure the book content or whatever you’re creating is great, then get good graphics designed for the cover and a catchy title is a plus, combined with 2,300% growth over the internet per year, should get you sales for your books, art, wares or whatever you’re selling to your ultimate consumers.
Any final words of advice or something you would like to share with us?
Simply put, never settle. Never stop improving your manuscript or first talk you gave, always make sure it’s recorded and go over it again and again. This exercise will improve the quality of your content and you will begin to get more confident at your craft, trade or profession, or whatever it is that you do for a living. The moment you stop learning and become contented, it begins to impede your growth into the outstanding person you were born to be.
That sounds like great advice to me! Thank you. Before we go, what are you working on now?
Expect 4-5 Economic Crisis during your lifetime and what’s more? I’m working on a book that will accurately predict when the next crisis will happen, and it will happen, so that we are not caught unawares like during this covid-19 pandemic that has shuttered not only the worlds economy, entire industries and businesses but also the most important of all, people’s lives.
looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing your time with us today, Laban T. M’mbololo, Esq. Wishing you all the best!
Laban T. M’mbololo began his writing journey way back in grade school where he always emerged tops and got special recognition for good composition writing. This went on into high school, and he went on to assume the mantle of leadership of the journalism club as its chairman.
M’mbololo’s first literary works, Influence: The Secret of Selling fueled his passion to pen down 100 books within a span of 4-5 years, owing to inspiration he received from renowned authors, notable personalities in academia, business, government and industry, who acclaimed the book a “Masterpiece”.
M’mbololo is also an Influencer and Voice #1 of Sales, Entrepreneurship and Financial Independence. He speaks on National TV on issues affecting a high-octane business environment. M’mbololo has been featured on “This Week in America with Ric Bratton”, various podcasts and conducted webinars with renowned personalities on financial independence and also writes business articles for PenPenny.com, UnwokeMagazine.org and other periodicals.
M’mbololo comes with a strong academic background with accreditations from the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR), British Computer Society (BCS), Royal Society for Promotion of Health (RSPH), Study House, U.K. among others.
He now resides in Kenya, a leading tourist destination where he enjoys writing and exotic beaches. His children live and study in Manchester, U.K. and often visit to take advantage of the summer holidays, and enjoy the wonderful tropical climate, spectacular scenery and wildlife.
M’mbololo enjoys networking with people outside his industry to appreciate how they resolve issues in their sector. His hobbies include walking in the forest or the beach, reading science fiction, listening to contemporary gospel, podcasts and participating in charitable events.
Please enjoy an excerpt from Mr. M'mbololo's book, Why are Dumb People RICHER than You. My book review of Influence follows, along with links to his other books.
Excerpt: Why are Dumb People RICHER than You?
pages 78-79, Plain-Old Dumb Luck
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A few moments of misfortune and chastisement could place wasted years of a vigorous fight on a downward spiral, and a few minutes of good luck could save you a stupendous amount of indefatigable hard work.
According to Prof. Richard Wiseman a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, CSICOP fellow and author of The Luck Factor, Barnett Helzberg Jr. was considered as a lucky man. By 1994 he had been able to establish an immeasurably prosperous chain of jewellery business outlets, which boasted annual turnovers to the tune of about US$300 million. On one fine morning while walking past New York’s Plaza hotel, a woman called out aloud the name, “Mr. Buffett” to the man just right beside him and he overheard it. Helzberg battled within himself as to whether the man could have been Warren Buffett–one of the most prosperous investors in Northern America. Neither had he previously met him however, he had read about Buffett and the factors or financial scope he considers on acquisition of a company;
i) Durable competitive advantage over a considerable period of time.
ii) Honest to goodness and able management—because he won’t manage it himself.
iii) Purchase price which is not excessive and looking out for exceptions.
Helzberg had then-turned sixty, and had considered selling off; when it occurred to him that indeed it could be the ideal company Buffett would take delight in. Helzberg seized the opportunity and crossed over to meet the stranger and made an introduction of himself. It then happened that indeed the man was Warren Buffett, and the fortuitous meeting turned immensely fruitful because about a year later down the line Buffett made an initial offer to acquire the chain of stores. And all this took place as a result of him walking down on a street in New York and a woman yelling out his name.
The story of Helzberg is a classic tale that demonstrates the influence of luck in business dealings. Nonetheless, good fortune rolls out in all facets of our lives and indeed plays an integral part.
Available at Amazon.
Book Review: Influence, by Laban T. M'mbololo, Esq.
"You will acknowledge the fact that today will never come back again, and therefore it’s vital that we value our time, arise early, and start well and accomplish what we set out to do every day." – Laban T. M’mbololo, Influence
Good how-to books succeed in teaching us how to do something -- obviously. The best how-to books also inspire, encourage, empower. Laban T. M’mbololo’s book Influence does all of those things and more. It’s a call to action.
I bought the book hoping for a few social marketing tips, at first unsure if it was the right choice for me. I don’t think of myself as a business- or salesperson. I had to smile when I read the first few lines of Chapter One.
"For those who have the notion that generation of sales revenue is meant for salespeople, reflect again! We all engage in the art of generating sales at one point or another."
It’s true! Whether it’s a product, a service, a charity, an idea, we all find ourselves trying to sell something now and again, probably more often than we realize. So, how do we gain and keep customers, followers, allies?
According to Laban T. M'mbololo, it’s all about communication and relationships. What an extraordinarily worthy approach to business and life.
In a relaxed and engaging style – showing he practices what he teaches -- Mr. M’mbololo details how it’s to be done. He also shares guidelines on how to get the most out of our personal lives, gently steering us towards setting priorities, taking care of ourselves, and finding a balance in life.
In the end, he brings it all full circle, demonstrating that it is a circle. Success must begin within each of us and extend to outward connections.
The author writes from experience, with authority and knowledge of his subject. He clearly delineates what's important for success. I can think of so many wonderful quotes from this book that I might just have to make myself a cheat sheet to keep close at hand. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites.
"The purposes and intents shouldn’t be a go-getter, but rather a go-giver, focusing more on others than you."
Words of the wise, indeed. Many thanks, Mr. M’mbololo.
Barnes & Noble
Other Books by Laban T. M'mbololo, Esq.
Available at Amazon.
A Celtic Blessing
May the blessing of rain be on you --
the soft, sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
I am happy and proud to host one of my favorite authors as she does a tour with Silver Dagger! We have a guest post, a DELICIOUS, not-to-be-missed excerpt, links, and a Giveaway! So exciting! Welcome as always, Mary!
The Wolves of Clan Sutherland Book 2
by Mary Morgan
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
The Dark Seducer is known throughout Scotland as a man who charms many women into his bed. Pleasure is his motto as he obtains information for his king. Yet Rorik MacNeil harbors one secret buried beneath his heart of steel. An unfulfilled conquest plagues both man and his inner wolf, and Rorik would rather suffer death's sharp blade than confront his greatest fear.
As the Seer for the Orkneyjar Isles, Ragna Maddadsson confronts an unknown destiny when she travels across the North Sea to Scotland. In her quest to deliver a message from a powerful vision, she fears the warrior will not listen. If Rorik ignores her warning, Ragna must find a way to forestall his impending death. If unsuccessful, she risks having her heart cleaved in two.
To unravel their true fates, Rorik and Ragna must trust in the power of the wolf.
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8 Reasons You Should Read RORIK
1. The Vikings had their ancient laws, but you will also learn the Wolves of Clan Sutherland had their own called the Nine Noble Virtues of Wolf Lore.
2. You’ll get to meet a powerful Seer and wise woman from the Orkneyjar Isles who does not get along with a certain wolf in the elite guard.
3. You learn several ways how Rorik can shift magically into a wolf—from swiftly and quietly, to uttering a chant and transforming into the animal.
4. You’ll have a chance to revisit characters from the first book, Magnar.
5. Find out the other magical gift Rorik possesses.
6. Experience a Viking sporting game over a raging river.
7. Learn what happens when Rorik surrenders control to his inner wolf.
8. Norse Mythology comes alive within the pages of this story, and when you’re done, you’ll feel transported into Rorik and Ragna’s world.
I absolutely loved the book, especially Rorik! Following is my review.
She’s done it again! Master storyteller Mary Morgan has woven history, magic, and very human emotions into an unforgettable and poignant romance. Rorik transports readers back to the ancient lands of Orkneyjar and the Scottish Highlands, during the reign of King William the Lion of Scotland. Reading the story feels like a sublime form of time travel. The author is not only thorough in her research; she has visited the beautiful, mystical places she describes.
Rorik and Ragna are among the most compelling characters I have ever read – ever. He is intense, beautiful, tortured. She is simply magnificent.
This couple has a history, and they fight hard against their feelings for each other. But their hearts – and his wolf -- won’t be denied. The love scenes are passionate, beautiful, and deliciously sweet.
Love this couple.
I love the story, too. There’s lots of action, tension, and satisfaction.
It’s a boon and delight to catch up with Magnar and Elspeth. They are still their strong selves and more in love than ever. There is nothing soft or sweet about Magnar except when it comes to Elspeth. He does something for her – I won’t say what – that is so dear, so meaningful.
It’s also great to be reacquainted with some of the other fascinating characters from Magnar.
I am enthralled by The Wolves of Clan Sutherland and already waiting eagerly for the next book in this spectacular series.
Hats off, Mary Morgan. Five stars!
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Okay, just... swoon!
“Have you been eating the fresh berries in the meadow, Ragna?” asked the male voice behind her.
The man rolled her name off his tongue, sending shivers down her back. She knew him well, often staring at him while she traveled into the nearby village of Kirkjuvágr.
Doing her best to compose herself, she wiped the palms of her hands down the front of her gown and turned around. “I have yet to find any. Why do you ask?”
Rorik stepped forth from the shadow of a tree. His smile came slowly as he approached her.
She tried to control the fierce beating of her heart as the man loomed over her with a dark and hungry gaze.
“Your lips are as red as the berries that grow in abundance in the meadow,” he stated softly.
“’Tis only an apple I have been eating.” Unable to move away, Ragna studied the man’s features—from his deep green eyes to the dimple hidden within the dark facial hair covering his chin. To suppress the urge of twining her fingers into his long ebony hair, she dug her fingers into her gown. She thought the warrior had to be chiseled from the Gods.
Rorik lifted his hand and gently pressed his thumb against her bottom lip. “Beauty.”
An ache grew within Ragna. His nearness made her weak and without breath. When his hand slipped around her waist, she collapsed into his embrace, placing her palms against his broad chest.
“What are you doing?”
“I want to taste your lips, Ragna. I have thought of nothing else these long summer days.”
She tried to breathe, finding it difficult within his strong embrace. “Why me?” she blurted out on a gasp.
He lowered his head near her ear. “Why not you?”
$25 Amazon gift card and a signed print copy of RORIK
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Happy August! It's historically our hottest month here in Texas, but it always has me looking towards fall. I don't know what it is -- a certain slant of light, the knowledge that my favorite season, Autumn, is less than two months away. But it's always there, an upward tilt of optimism despite the broiling/baking/ sizzling weather ahead.
For Catholics, it's the Month of Mary, a peaceful time of prayer and reflection. As days heat up and schedules pick up, the gentle reminders to slow down, to be still for a moment, are helpful and sweet.
August 1, Lùnastal also known as Lughnasadh and Lammas, is an ancient celebration that marks the beginning of the harvest season in Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain. Here in Texas, it might be harvest time only in that many gardeners will be clearing the last of their summer plantings, harvesting what's left. It will soon be time to sow seeds for fall. Garden planning has begun.
Students are getting ready for school. Around here, they begin well before Labor Day. There is a sense of anticipation and preparation in the air.
I think that's it, how I feel about August. It's a time of anticipation and preparation.
We returned from vacation and hit the ground running. I had known that we needed the break. I wasn’t even in denial as to how much. And when we got back, that realization was doubly-confirmed. And that’s okay. Life is good. Life is hectic. Life is full. Thank you, God.
I’ve sort of fallen in love with short road trips – especially if the destination is the mountains. I’m not sure how keen I would be to drive cross-country anymore. We did that a lot when our boys were small. But a day’s drive, even a long one, gives us more control over our trip and it’s just a lot easier to toss everything into the car and go.
I didn’t post much while on vacation. For one thing, we had no internet at our mountain cabin. We couldn’t even watch tv because the setup depended on streaming and the line had been spliced. It wasn’t repaired during our stay. We were a bit alarmed initially because Joseph had a little work to finish up, but it all worked out. We had one or two bars near certain windows and usually we were too tired from hiking to want to go online, anyway. We sat outside, cooked some great meals together, and relaxed.
But now I’m home. I have internet. 😊 I can share thoughts, photos. How about this sunset?
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
Lucas van Valckenborch (1535-1597)
Do you like grocery shopping? If you don’t, you might think I’m being a little, um, let’s just say… a little dramatic.
Where do you buy your food? I realize that in many parts of the world, even here in the states, groceries can be and usually are purchased from small shops and markets, not gargantuan grocery stores/supermarkets. I’ve often thought how much I would enjoy shopping that way, buying high quality goods from local merchants, enjoying a chat, picking up a bouquet of fresh flowers on my way home.
We have farmers markets in the greater Houston area, but not that many. Most aren’t near our neighborhood and the few that are aren’t open daily. On the other hand, our closest grocery store is really close and at least it carries some fresh, Texas produce.
I’m not a fan of shopping, but I’ve always appreciated grocery stores. Does that sound odd? Who doesn’t, you might ask? But I think my view of them is not so common. I sort of see them as modern versions of medieval markets. Food is a necessity. We all have to obtain it from someplace. We always have. Holidays and seasons add fun and interest. The people working there also often add fun and interest. Something’s always going on. Supermarkets are dynamic and necessary.
Super markets. Markets. Yes, they are markets and the people who work there are merchants, just like in medieval times, just like in many towns even today. And I, at least, am a villager, ambling down the aisles in lieu of a winding, village street, often seeing people I know, sometimes exchanging a few words with some of the store’s employees. A lot of them have worked there ever since I’ve shopped there, several years now. It’s where they earn their livelihood.
It’s all just so human. Things change over time, but not all things change completely. There’s a timeless aspect to selling and procuring food and dry goods. I like to be aware of the timelessness, to embrace the humanity, and be in the present.
So, am I way overthinking grocery shopping? Perhaps. But it’s not really all about the groceries.
So, there I was, pleased as punch that I'd consolidated my blogs. I'd feel more free to write about everything, share my interests, bare my soul.
But I have very specific interests. It didn't work at all. I'd had a garden blog for over a decade. I have a garden memoir on the back burner. But every time I wanted to write a gardening post, I stopped myself. I can't only write gardening posts on a multi-topic blog.
And how many gardeners love romance? Probably a great many, if I know romance writers -- and I do. But certainly not all.
So I've decided to keep Grains of Sand as a more personal blog, with book reviews, even a few interviews, for topics.
It's going to be fun! Rubbing my hands together...
Thank you for your patience! More soon!
Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children. – Gibran Khalil Gibran