Thursday, August 29, 2019


My sister, the horticulturist, has given me many, many plants over the years. Her yard is lovely. Of course, she waters her flowers regularly and pulls out the weeds.

I am a bad plant mom and hope for rain so I don't have to water the flowers. I weed a bit when it's not too hot. I struggle with the over-abundance of hungry deer who eat everything I attempt to grow—even the plants that are poisonous. And yet, the deer don't always win because some of the plants are indomitable.

 In the top photo, you can see where the deer nibbled away at the green leaves of the Lilyturf. I was surprised when the flowers appeared despite the leaves getting chopped off.

The deer nibbled the echinacea down to about three inches. But while the flower isn't as lush as it could be, it bloomed anyway.

My sister had given me seeds for brown-eyed susans years ago. For a while, I had lots of those bright flowers. But the deer enjoyed the taste of them as well, leaving me no seeds to gather.

Or so I thought.

Brown Eyed Susans
One brown-eyed susan plant came up this year between the blacktop and the edging beneath the hedges. I left it there and surprisingly it bloomed.

Montauk Daisies
Then there are the Montauk daisies. I bought root hormone and nurtured the baby plants and when the roots appeared I put the small plants into the ground. The deer came along and bit them down to the dirt.

So I figured that was it. Then after one rainy week, I noticed the plants were doing their best to recover from being pruned by the deer.

There's hope.

Maybe next year I'll have more flowers.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

What Writers Do

Image by rawpixel at Pixabay

I've been writing for a long, long time. I started at the age of nine. I write out my daydreams. To me, and to other fiction writers, that is a normal activity. I do not take it for granted since there have been times when I could not write--not because I didn't have ideas but because I was suffering from grief or going through some other difficult time in life. But most of the time, I enjoy sitting at my keyboard and typing out--letter by letter, word by word, page by page--the story in my head.

Last weekend, I chatted with someone who is an avid reader. For a while, we discussed other authors' books we both read. Then she asked me to tell her about my latest book. So I did. I gave her more than a blurb. (Hint: Next time stick with the blurb.)

She expressed amazement and wondered where I got my ideas. (Big sigh.)

I began to wonder if only writers have story ideas--or if everyone else ignores the ideas that are all around them. Life is complex, challenging, and emotional. Everyone goes through a myriad of experiences at various stages in life. Plus there are historical events that are intriguing to dive into. I find reading the daily news fills my mind with all sorts of notions.

All anyone has to do is invent a few characters, drop them into a thorny situation, and then record--letter by letter, word by word, page by page--everything that happens to those imaginary people. It takes time. There are days when the writing does not go well, but with a heaping dose of persistence the story will come to an end--nicely packaged into a bundle of adventures that make a whole lot more sense than incidents in real life.

That's what writers do. I consider it a blessing and a lot of fun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Our Little Picnic in Barnegat

This is the view from the boardwalk in Barnegat, New Jersey. Hubby is a member of the Happy Days String Band. The band had a gig lined up last Saturday in Barnegat. I take photos of the band to post on their website and Facebook page. I don't go to every gig, but I go when I can. I decided to join him for the Barnegat gig, but I had a prayer shawl meeting earlier in the day and had to hurry to join hubby for the drive. Members of the band must arrive early to set up. We had no time to eat. We just packed some food in the cooler and headed south. 

Fortunately, we didn't get caught in any traffic jams so we had time to enjoy our little picnic dinner before the gig started. Sitting on a bench and looking out at Barnegat Bay was so peaceful and relaxing. I realized that was the first time we picnicked outside this summer. Of course, the weather happened to be extremely pleasant. The heat for most of the summer has been oppressive--and we've had a lot of rain, which is not conducive for picnicking. 

Hopefully, we'll have a for more nice days to eat outside and stare at some lovely view. 

Below you can see the band play one of their favorite tunes. Fun for everyone!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


Please welcome today's guest, Carol Raj. She has been writing short stories for children for several years. Curiously, The Curious Prayer Life of Muriel Smith, a woman’s contemporary, is her first novel. Born and bred in the Midwest, Carol now lives in New England with her husband of 40+ years. They have three grown children and five grandchildren. Her website is under construction. 

Here's the blurb: One unlocked car door, one glance to the left, and suddenly seventy-one year old Muriel Smith is hurtling down the road at an alarming thirty miles per hour. Will the teenage boy who carjacked her really shoot to kill? Muriel can’t die yet. Not till she’s accomplished something on earth. Not till she’s seen her great grandchild. But if Muriel Smith’s survival depends on her driving skills, she may not live much longer.  How could God have gotten everything so wrong?

Here's a brief excerpt:

    "The ramp’s coming up, Mrs. B. Put your turn
signal on. What’s the matter with you?‛
     The ramp was only feet away. Muriel took a deep
breath and stepped hard on the gas pedal. She zoomed
past the entrance to the highway.
     "What? You didn’t even try to turn!" Kevin’s head
swiveled as the entrance ramp disappeared.
     "I did try to turn, Kevin. Honest. I tried really
hard. I just couldn’t do it. I told you. I don’t merge. It
scares me."
     Kevin’s voice went up half an octave. "Merging
scares you more than my gun? Are you crazy? Didn’t I
tell you I’d shoot? You can’t just say you don’t merge.
You have to do what I say. That’s how it’s supposed to

Buy the book! Click on the links below: 

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Writer’s Eyes

Those are my dilated eyes without any makeup. I went to the ophthalmologist today for my usual checkup. I don’t particularly like getting my eyes dilated but it does help the doctor see inside my old eyeballs. All is well this time around, but I did need a new prescription, which I suspected because my eyes were getting more tired than usual. I use my eyes constantly—reading, writing, editing, drawing, painting and crocheting. 

I like being busy. 😆 But since all of my favorite activities involve my eyes, I do my best to take care of them.

I had a scare some years ago when I saw flashing lights in my eyes. The problem turned out to be a posterior vitreous detachment, which is common for anyone over fifty years of age. The flashes went away, but left me with floaters in my eyes, which can sometimes be annoying.  

Still, I always go to the doctor for my regular checkup and try to follow the other suggestions for good eye health. Check out the list at

Getting new eyeglasses is the fun part. Maybe I'll be transformed. LOL!