Why Every Parent Should Get Involved

My son is a pretty smart kid. He’s so smart that he’s up one grade level in math, but this school year has evoked many changes for him. Not only did the school district swap around the schools, but instead of going to one new school, my son goes to two schools.

Or he did until last week when this mom stepped in and put a stop to it.

 

Kids on the street

Bug and Boy waiting for the light to change

As a parent, we all want what is best for our children. That’s the hope, right?

Over this past school year, I’ve noticed an attitude change within my son. The boy who loves school and cries when he doesn’t have homework –wasn’t turning in this homework. Every morning he dragged his feet to the front door, “Do I have to go, Mom?”

These are not the words any parent should have to hear from a child in elementary school.

A teenager, yes. An elementary kid, no.

If there has been one thing I’ve learned this school year is that communication is key.

In the fall of the year, parent teacher conferences left me weary of this double school day for my son. As I heard from one teacher, I never heard for the second one at the second school. No note, nothing. No communication teacher to teacher. So, I thought to myself this is new, there’s things that need worked out, it’ll be okay.

Meanwhile, my son had to ride a bus with children in upper grades. Before that bus passed two streets from the bus stops there were kids fighting. My son didn’t want to ride the bus. I didn’t blame him. For many months, I’ve drove my son to school in the morning. “Have a good day, I’ll see you later.”

I’d watch as he entered the school then headed to the next school to drop off another child before the morning bell rang.

Each night our family makes it a point to have supper together. My husband will go around the table and ask our children to tell them one thing about their day – the best thing. Most of the time for me, its sitting down as a family for those thirty or so minutes that we have together in one room to share a meal. I love to hear my kids voices pitch with excitement when it’s their turn to share. Except for our son, who asks a trivia question or says his hour of Wii time was the best part of his day.

 Now that it is spring, I thought for sure I’d hear from teacher #2. Not a word. That is until the teacher was informed that I withdrew my son from her classroom and from traveling between schools for the remainder of the school year. Who would have known that taking my son out of this school and class would prompt the first outreach of communication?

 My son now does his advanced class per independent study in his primary school. I’ve noticed a difference in just the first day this change has taken place.

As a parent, I know my son better than most anyone. That’s why building a relationship with him is essential in this beginning stage of his life, he knows I’m listening and I care. He knows he can trust me and come to me when he’s unhappy or troubled.

Staying involved and keeping constant communication open with my children will help ease those challenging teenage years.

Here’s a few ideas on how we can all stay involved with our children’s lives:

  1. Spend a few minutes every day asking you child what the best thing about their day is/was.
  2. Attend parent/teacher meetings at your child’s school or activities your child is participating in
  3. Allow your child to complain to you, just like you would a best friend, and listen –just listen.
  4. Tell your child they are important to you. “I’ll miss you,” “See you soon,” “I love you,” “Have a good day” when you send them off to school.

There are countless other ways, I’m sure, for parents to communicate and get involved with their children’s lives, but this is what I know works best for my family. Can you think of something you’d like to share that works best for you and your child?

Fiction Teaser Tuesday #5: The Troll (Troll Hunter)

River Troll 07

Photo Credit: James Shields via Flickr

 

“It’s nearly dawn.”

Harald shook his head. “He’ll be on the move before the sun shows if we don’t get him trapped.”

Dag bit the inside of his cheek. He spotted the dark line of an arrow on the ground. Slowly, he snaked across the ground. The troll turned its head toward him. Dag held still. It sniffed, pulling Dag’s hair straight up and he floated an inch off the ground.

With a loud snort, Dag fell back to the ground again. He slipped the arrow beneath him and crawled backward to this spot beside Harald.

“Now your thinking, Boy. What are you thinking?” Harald asked.

Dag grinned. He patted the sleeping powder tied to his belt.  Harald helped him tie it to the arrow. “It’s cracked. It won’t hold the weight.”

Harald pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and poured some of the powder in the middle of the cloth. Dag kept an eye on the troll.

It became restless and started to stand up. First on one knee and then the other. “Hurry, he’s moving. The sun must be coming up.”

Harald fished around and found the bow that had fallen near the rocks where Dag had hidden.  He grabbed the arrow from Dag and loaded the bow. He pointed as the troll howled and stood it’s full height. Dag fell back.

“Can’t do it. You’ll have to shoot him. Quick!” Harald’s hands shook. He handed the bow and arrow to Dag. “Hurry before he takes off running.”

Dag snatched Harald’s glasses off his face and positioned himself to shoot. He pulled back the arrow. ff

“Aim for his nose or mouth.” Harald grabbed the earth behind them and pulled himself up. He held onto the sack of powder.

Sweat beaded and ran down Dag’s face. He aimed at the nose.  That’s when he saw her, slung over the giant troll’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Dag blinked. He lowered his aim.

“Shoot!”

She was alive! Dag couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Give me that you dumb fool!f” Harald wretched the bow from Dag’s grasp. He shot the arrow straight into the belly button of the troll.

It growled and plucked the arrow out like a splinter.

Leona was alive…

Dag stood and stared at the troll. It smashed its hand down toward him. Harald shoved him out of the way. The troll swooped Harald up in its grasp. “Go ahead you stupid oaf eat me!” Harald said.

“No!” Dag cried.

 

 

post

Look What We Found On The Farm

bunny girls

Is it the Easter bunny? Is it made from chocolate?

Nope, these two little dwarf bunnies, named Daffodil and Chocolate chip, sure are sweet though! I have a feeling I’ll be hearing, “Mom can I have a bunny?” from my precious little Bug on the ride home today from the farm.

bunny cousins

I love that the kids were able to spend time with cousins and warming up to all the farm residences during our visit these past few days.

Circle BunnyBoy, who is usually very weary of anything that moves and can breathe, was petting Chocolate Chip and paid no attention to the cats slipping past him and the dogs barking, jealous of the bunnies, no doubt.

pet bunny

Just like little bunny, the girls found a large hole in some tractor tires. They’re better than the park and any playground equipment.

tractor tiresOf course, it wouldn’t be a day at the farm without stepping down into the parlor and milking a few cows while we were there. I’m not sure what fascinates my kids more about milking the cows, the milk going through the tubes and into the tank, or how cool it is for milk to come from cows.

milking the cows helper

The milk that comes from these cows, gets turned into cheese. One of these days we’ll have to take a field trip to the cheese plant for the kids to see how cheese is processed. I hope they still want to eat it. My dad always says that a good dairy farmer never lets his milk spoil. In order to make cheese, I believe it has to curdle.

milking the cows

Now that the parlor is empty and the cows are milked, it’s time to take off the barn boots and head down the dirt lane.

milk parlor

As the cows go back to grazing in their pasture field once more, the kiddos and I pack and prepare for the return trip back to our house.

dairy herd

Already, I am looking at my calendar and counting down the days until we can return when the kids are out of school and we can stay for another visit.

Tomorrow is Easter.

Where will you go? Who will you spend this rejoice day with?

 

post

Is This Your Home?

There’s a song that goes, “Over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house we go…”  It’s a holiday song that many of you may know. One of my favorite lines in this song is this one:

Over the river and through the woods–
and straight through the barnyard gate,
we seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
 

Amish BuggyIn the past years, we’ve made up our own version of this song, it goes like this: Over the hill and through the woods to Grandma’s house we go…

Then it’s like a rocket getting ready to launch and we start to count down… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Grandma’s house!! (Pap lives here, too, but the kids still say it’s grandma’s house.)

There’s just something about crossing the county line that I can’t wait to get home. Perhaps it is the familiar sightings, the memories that flash as we drive-by. In the back seat I hear, “We know Mom, you already told us about that.” Yet, if I don’t point them out, they do by saying, “Hey Mom, isn’t that where you went to school? Isn’t that the fair grounds? Isn’t that where you used to ride your horses?”

But it’s on that flat stretch of road, past the fair grounds, past the school, around the curve, and past all our new Amish neighbors that a little patch of woods is spotted and there’s just a slight grade of a hill that I start to sing and my trio in the back joins me. “Over the hill and through the woods…

 
Tractor

You know you’re home when you spot Big Blue. My dad bought this tractor the year I was born. It’s been in our family for as long as I have, and who knows maybe one day Mom will actually let Dad park it in the front yard as a lawn ornament when we can no longer find parts to keep it running.

We arrived home on the farm just in time for the kids to witness new life in the shed.

newborn kittensI love spring on the farm. Even the cows are in agreement with me. The pastures are turning green and the flowers are in bloom now.

Dairy CowsWhenever I say I’m going home, my husband tells me I’m already home. While my physical address is the house I reside in with my husband and children in a town several hours away, the home of my heart will always be the place where my parents raised me.

I’ve tried to become a city girl, but I cringe at the traffic that zooms past our house. I get annoyed with the people who stop and throw their trash in my yard as they walk to the nearest bus stop or take their dogs for walks. I avoid the parks near our home due to past discoveries of items no young child should have to find or parent should have to discuss with their child until they’re at least the teen years.

While living in town has it’s conveniences, it doesn’t have my mom’s kitchen or a hot cup of tea ready in the morning. It doesn’t have cows in the pastures and scents of dried hay and fresh chop (feed for the cows). It doesn’t have dirt lanes for kids to ride their bikes or cousins to chase around the fields and play tag. There are no empty horse stall either, reminding me of piece of my life that I put on hold because of a promise.

Is your home a place that holds your heart? or is it a place that stands by four walls where you reside? Both maybe?

Tomorrow, I’m turning off the kids electronics, mine included. With old clothes and battered shoes, I’m tossing my kids outside in the fresh country air to play. Yep, play. No video games, ipods, or other types of electronics, just them, their imaginations, and a big back yard.

I think I’ll hang out in the barn, maybe muck the place out a bit, and then sit on the swing with my mom and watch the kids have fun.

Ahhh…. this is home, if only for a few days.

 

 

 

Fiction Teaser Tuesday #4 Down by the Steam (Troll Hunter)

Last week’s excerpt lead us into the village pub, but we all know that Dag leaves the village and goes into the woods. What happens when Harald catches up to him? Where do they go now?

Photo Credit: katsrool

They sat and rested near a small stream.

Dag tossed Uschi a small bit of dried meat. He cupped his hands into the frigid waters and drank. A dark streak– like split ink–spread down the stream and he left the water run through his fingers.

Harald crouched beside him. He swirled his fingertips in the water. “It’s fresh. We’re getting closer.”

By fresh, Harald meant the water had not yet cooled the warm blood that flowed in the stream. It’s burnt metal odor caused Uschi to grumble and back away. Dag grabbed fistfuls fo snow and tried to clean his hands. All the while his stomach threatened to lurch upward.

He hoped it was a dead horse. Immediately, his thoughts were of the party of villagers, Da included. He shivered with the thought they were all dead, too.

Harald moved away from the stream and Dag followed him. By the look of the sky, half the night had slipped past them. Uschi scampered through the patches of snow. The little bear was careful to keep her distance. As they went upstream, the waters became more darker, and they came upon the source. “You might want to stay there, Boy.”

Dag wanted to look, but dared not. He wanted to keep his supper in his stomach. f

“It’s a horse, or what’s left of it. Carcass is cold now. Looks like our trail starts here. We’d best get along before morning comes.” f

Dag didn’t reply. His mind skipped ahead once more to the party of villagers. Little relief came to him as he expected it would. As angry as he was with Da, he didn’t want anyone else to die. Who would see after Ma and Gregor if they were all gone?

A cool breeze blew down from the troll’s path. Dag took a deep breath hoping to catch a whiff of the scented pines up ahead, but his sense of smell had been distorted by death and troll dung.

He sat on a stump and adjusted his bow over his arm. He wasn’t sure if he could go on. He pushed around some snow with his boot. Uschi turned in circles and Dag squinted. He tilted his head and then he stood up on the stump. Harald stood scouting a few feet ahead, right at the edge of the large impression.

They were in a giant footprint!

If only he could see where the snow started and ended, he would know which way the footprint pointed. Yet, the trees betrayed him with their thick branches hiding the moonlight. He no longer had a torch, and Harald would stomp him and the light out before he had a chance to see.

Beside him, he noticed a narrow path between the trees was less dark. Uschi sniffed and grunted, she headed for the path.

“Uschi” Dag dropped reached in his pocket and pulled out a bit of dried meat, but Uschi ignored him. She was hot on the trail of something more potent smelling than a snack, he was sure.

Dag trudged through the mess of trees after Uschi. He glanced back over his shoulder, Harald had gone ahead, out of sight. Near the base of a tree Uschi’s eyes glowed in the dark.

“We’ve got to catch up with Harald, come on,” Dag said.

On the other side of the trees, he spotted a massive tree set apart from the rest. Uschi stood in front of where the tree hollowed and growled low in her throat.

He swung his bow around and reached back for an arrow. His heart thundered in his ears as he set his feet apart, notched his arrow, and aimed at the tree’s hollow.

Is it the troll? Is it a villager? Who else could it be?

 

 

post

T Minus 18: Are You Waiting for Your Kids to Grow Up?

Just wait until your kids get older.

It’s what we middle-aged parents hear a lot of times.

When I say “middle-aged” I don’t really mean our age, but our kids age. You know the stage where you’ve gotten past the preschool years but you’re not quite in the teen age years yet? For older kids they call it the tween years, most of us call it the elementary stage or the middle stage.

But no matter what stage it is… It’s not the life-pause stage.

My daughter, whom we affectionately refer to as 'Bug',  at age three.

My daughter, whom we affectionately refer to as ‘Bug’, at age three.

When my kids were toddlers, we had nap time. It was my most treasured time of the day. I would hold them close and tucked them in and even read a book or two, then while they rested for the afternoon I went to work. Sure, I threw in a load of laundry, picked up a few toys in the middle of my path through the house. However, for that hour or two in the afternoon, I’d pulled out a paper and a pen or my computer if I was able, and I’d write.

“But your so young! You still have plenty of time.”

My parents taught me if you wanted something in life you have to work for it. Sitting around and waiting for my kids to grow up is like leaving a garden untended for eighteen years and then coming back and trying to remember where you planted the red peppers.

If I were you, I wouldn’t eat those red peppers, like everything else that grows old and gets left behind, they’ve shriveled up and turned bitter. Not that aging has ever been a bad thing. Look at some of the greatest wines, they’re better when they’re decade or two old, and sometimes a century.

I don’t believe we were created to be like wine.

The impression I’ve gotten over the years is that you have to wait for your kids to grow up in order to accomplish your dreams or have success in your life.

Especially if your a woman.

Apparently, when you have kids, your life becomes a count down for your aspirations in life. Long ago, someone wrote this invisible code that said you had to pull out a hat box and fill it with all your dreams and that one desire. Then it gets sealed up and locked away until the last kid is eighteen.

I’m afraid I didn’t get that memo or it got lost in the mail. Maybe it’s festering in my spam box, do you think? Either way, motherhood hasn’t stopped me from pursuing dreams and doing what I love, and neither should it you.

My kids love that I share my hopes and dreams with them. They get so excited when they can  share ideas on a story I’m writing and then have me read to them bits and pieces of it before bed. This past week, my son surveyed his class and gave me a list of possible titles for my free ebook that is now available for download from here on my site. By sharing the things we love, demonstrating the effort and the desire to achieve something, you’re doing your kids a much bigger favor than kicking your dreams under the bed. No one ever said you couldn’t be a parent and work towards that goal or dream.

Like my kids, you may find your family is there to support and encouragement to carry you on your journey.

Don’t wait for your kids to grow up. If you do, you may find they’ve shriveled up or the hat box isn’t there anymore.

Is there something in your life that you’ve put on hold?

 

 

Fiction Tuesday Teaser #3 : Shank’s Pub (A Troll Hunter Scene)

In last week’s excerpt, Dag had a decision to make. Go to the pub or go out the gate.

Here is a bit of the scene if Dag would have chosen to go to the village pub.

Medieval pub

Photo credit: Robert Young Flickr Creative Commons

Dag pushed open the door and stepped inside. He spotted Gitta filling drafts one after another, but it was the color of dried leaves and a swirl of a cloth that caught his eye. He turned as Ma grabbed two pints from the bar and weaved her way between the grime covered miners. Why hadn’t she gone to the church?

He looked around, the pub was crowded. Why hadn’t any of these people fled to the church? It didn’t surprise him that the miners had come above ground. He didn’t recognize any of them, but they all stared at him. Uschi took off took towards the hearth. He chased after her. Gitta held out a dish and the little bear bounded toward her. She set behind the bar where the bear was out of sight and motioned for Dag to sit.

It didn’t take him long to notice the only chair left empty belonged to Da.

“They’ve not come back. If what the troll hunter says is true, they’ll never come back again.” Fresh tears drenched Gitta’s face. Her face had paled and within the last time Dag had seen her, she’d aged considerably.

“I don’t believe that,” Dag said. Just like he hadn’t believed in trolls. He wanted to turn and ask each and every one of them about the trolls. How long did they think to keep this secret? Did they not want their children to survive due to their ignorance of making the danger into fables at bedtime. He glanced around, the miner nursing his pint in his hands, he knew the fear. Dag saw it in the skinny man’s eyes when he braved a glimpse him.

“It don’t matter. What is done is done,” Gitta said.

From the other side of the bar, Dag watched Ushi dig into the load of scraps Gitta had provided for the little bear. He was thankful that at least one of them had a stomach this evening.

Gitta slipped him a pint and pushed hunk of bread in his hand. “I’ll get you some stew. Better drink up, it’ll be a long night for us all.”

He watched as she gathered bowls and headed for the stew pot, and he sipped the pint. The vile liquid spewed from his lips.

“That there’s the best, ain’t it?” A hacking wheeze followed the skinny miner’s words.

Dag shoved it away and turned, he spotted Harald and Ma at a table not far, with their heads bent toward each other in deep conversation. Several strands of Ma’s hair had come loose from her braid and covered the side of her face. She brought her hand forward and Harald took it, the gesture of a brother. When Ma shook her head, Dag knew something Harald had said upset Ma.

As he stood, Gitta grabbed hold of his arm. “Going somewhere?”

Dag sat back down and took the wooden spoon Gitta held out for him. “She came here to see him?”

Gitta walked around the other side of the bar, careful to pull her skirts around Uschi, who rolled on her back and licked her paws. “Your Ma been coming her for many a night, Shanks been deducting from Angus’s tab.”

“What about the wood?” Dag asked. By the look on Gitta’s face, Dag didn’t need to hear the answer. He clinched his fist and looked back over at Ma and Harald.

“Don’t blame him,” Gitta said. “There are things that many still don’t know.”

That was what Dag was afraid of.

What do you think? Will Dag’s father, Angus, along with Shanks and the other men who went out in the forest to find Dag’s little brother return?

Now Serving: One-Click Customers

At the beginning of the school year, my son had some math homework that he couldn’t figure out on his own. He went to his father, a math instructor, for help.

“Do you know what prime means?” my husband asked him.

“Free shipping,” he said.

My husband later said to me. “I see you’ve been teaching our son to shop.”

Online Shopping with Touchscreen Ultrabook

I love Amazon, and I love Amazon’s Prime membership. It has enabled me to order what I need online, including some great books by just one click. Perhaps, too many books, as I now have a to-be-read list on the kindle app on my phone about three swipes of my phone screen long.

But as a one-click customer, I’ve also gotten spoiled by this kind of online instant service, and I’m sure Amazon knows it. We all know it.

Instead of slowing down, I’m speeding up. Because I can save time online to click and download books, order gifts, household needs, and yes even grocery items at time, I find I just fill up the savings with something else.

And it’s just not Amazon.

How many of you also shop online?

It’s awesome isn’t it?

One click and it’s yours.

Last week, I headed over to Etsy and made a transaction. I was dumbfounded with this particular shop made me stop in the middle of clicking through for my payment. Instead of the easy of my PayPal account, I had to find my wallet, get out my credit card, and type in the numbers.

It made me stop and think if I really wanted to buy that item. Honestly, having to leave my computer and walk to a different place in the house to get my credit card made me pause at whether I really wanted it.

Are you clicking one too many times?

It’s so easy to get carried away with making purchases online when they’ve got your credit card information memorized and all you have to do is click to buy. It’s a hazard to one’s checking account and a shock when you sit down to balance it every month.

However, if you’re a business person, this makes the most sense. If you’re not making it simple for your customers to click and buy in an instant, then you need to think if you need to upgrade your site.

Mindless purchases are the way to go.

Yet, if you’re the customer, what gives you the green light or the red light for clicking on that button? Is there a screen that pops up in your mind and asks: Do you really need it? Do you have to have it right now? Is it in your budget?

One-Click is all it takes.

I eventually got up and walked in the other room and completed the transaction I mentioned above. As an advocate for handmade, I’m all for supporting craftsmen and artists. As a writer and avid reader, I’m all for instant downloads to my kindle app, too.

All it takes is one little click, but one-click leads to more. There’s a limit on one-click shopping online, and that’s you.

When I shop, I have purposes. When I grab books from Amazon and have them downloaded with just a click, I tell myself no more until I read the ones I’ve downloaded. I’ve had to discipline myself when it comes to the free downloads, too.

How about you, are you a one-click customer?

What’s the last thing you just purchased online?

Fiction Teaser Tuesday #2 – At the gate of Troll Hunter

Carl motioned for Dag to follow him, “I understand. I’d go too, if my family were out there. I’ve been ordered to keep the gates closed, but you know the way back in.” Carl winked at him.

“A gate won’t keep a giant troll out. Have men at the wall, and best keep everyone inside their houses and fires burning around them holes in the square. With the ground rattling you might find some mine trolls popping up in the night,” Dag heard Harald warn Fergus, the caption of the village patrol.

Dag could hear the rushing of his blood in his ears. His heart sped. Carl motioned for him to slip through the gate while Fergus and the troll hunter argued. As the gates closed, Uschi squeezed through by the scrape of her fur.

“May the Lord watch over thee this night!” Carl said.

Dag set out in the direction that the runaway horses had taken the night before. Uschi ran ahead of him in the open stretch of land between the village and the forest. Her little bear body rolling and tumbling through the snow. At the edge of the forest, Carl’s words brought little reassurance to him.

Uschi climbed up a fallen log and paced back and forth its length. Her nose running across the bark inhaling the scent of damp wood and wet moss. Dag’s foot fell into a deep gash in the snow and he stepped back. Large gashes wounded the snow around the fallen tree. Some places were deeper than others and the earth bled through the ground’s white layer of snow.

 

Or maybe Dag doesn’t go beyond the gates this night, maybe it happens like this:

 

Carl motioned for Dag to follow him, “I understand. I’d go too, if my family were out there. I’ve been ordered to keep the gates closed, but you know the way back in.” Carl winked at him.

Harald clamped his hand down on Dag’s shoulder. “We’ve got bigger problems here, than in the woods tonight.”

Dag followed Harald’s gaze down the streets where torches were lit and wood stacked around the sunken spots of the streets that opened to the mines below the village. A few of the King’s patrolmen and several villagers held onto their torches and as the evening bells of the church bonged the fires were lit.

Harald turned his face heavenward and scanned the darkening sky.

Dag followed his gaze. His body grew tense, it was hard to smell it in the air with all the smoke filtering down from the street, but Dag had lived long enough to know another storm brewed in the distance. Uschi, sensed it, too. She whined and scratched her head against Dag’s leg. He hunched down, running his hands through her baby soft fur and nuzzled her.

“I need a drink. I’ll see you at the tavern.”

Dag straightened and watched Harald retreat down the street. He glanced over his shoulder as Carl and two other patrolmen pulled the village gates closed. He thought of Ma in that instant, she would have gone to the church. His gut twisted. Harald would skin him alive, but Merle was out there. Da was out there. Leona was out there. Uschi whined for his attention and he looked down at the little bear and then at the gate.

 

So, what do you think Dag will do?  Does he go to the Pub with the troll hunter, Harald, or does he go out into the forest?

If you missed last week’s fiction teaser, you can find it here. You can also sign up for my newsletter below for you more behind the scenes info, goodies, and be part of my contributors’ club.

Warning: Site Revisions Under Way

You’ve probably noticed that things have changed a bit around here. As the days of March quickly pass and April blossoms, a transformation is taking place on this site.

I started this blog in 2009 after attending a Romance Writers of America Conference where I took a workshop that said, if you’re a writer and you want to be an author, then you have to have a blog.

Sad to say that back then, I came home, set up my blog and then just stared at it. They’d forgotten to tell me what it was I was supposed to write. Over the years, I’ve written about many topics, romance and relationships, kids and parenting, my life and parts of the good and the bad and the ugly that goes along with raising an one ODD child, and rewards of being a wife and mother have swirled all together. This place has been such a mess. If this were me house and my mother came to visit, she’d shake her head and start picking things up and putting them away where they belong.

Throughout these years, I realize I’ve probably been quite boring to follow and my post have been self-center, about me, around my needs, and I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

It’s taken me five years to realize that none of this is about me, it’s about you.

No one likes walking into a cluttered house and having to move the folded laundry off the couch to find a place to sit.

There comes a time when we all could use a little help. If I want to redesign a room in my home I call my friend, the trailer trash to treasure diva, or my sister to layout a design and give me a plan for room colors and decor options. This website is an extension of my home, a digital room, that is always open to you. I want you to come and visit often. I’m working on the furnishings and espresso bar. You just can’t see it right now under all the clutter of layers of unfinished projects and unsuccessful attempts to DIY things when that isn’t one of my talents.

When I travel to writers conferences, I go to teach others the things I’ve learned best and have experience doing well. I also go to learn so I can craft stories that engage you, scare you, make you fall in love, and not hate me most days because I’m not a grammar queen. No writer truly is, that’s why we have others critique our work and catch the things we’ve missed because we’ve looked at it a hundred times and don’t see that comma doesn’t belong there.

So, I’ve enlisted some help from some gurus, who have been expanding my knowledge of social media, website building, and community based content. I’ve decided to go back to school, Platform University, that is. Now, while Bell is in Cyber school, she and I both will be taking classes during the day.

I’ve lived my life serving others outside of this blog. I’ve assisted people with setting up Etsy shops, starting new business, learning Quick Books, bookkeeping, and tax preparation. I have been encouraging people to follow their hearts and dreams and pursue the desires and passions to do what they love.

I should have been doing that here, too, and I fail you.

“Nevermore”, just like the bird said in Edgar Allen Poe’s famous piece of literature The Raven.

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

As the days and weeks go by and changes and upgrades and new ideas are shared, I’d like to invite you all to become part of my critique group for this site. Think of it as visiting the house of a friend, when you notice they’ve repainted a room or got new furniture you compliment them on the design change because you like it. Here, I want to know if you like the changes, what changes do you like? But please tell me if you don’t like something and don’t be afraid to make a suggestion of what you’d like to find here both design and content wise.

I recently moved this site to a new host. It’s like moving to a new town and needing a GPS to find your way around. Now, that we’re moved, it’s time to unpack and start to make it feel like home.

What always makes you feel like your at home when visiting new places?