swedish-horsesMemories of Thanksgivings passed are vivid this time of year and evoke a sense of melancholy I try not to wallow in.  This is the 3rd Thanksgiving without Mom, the 4th without Grandma and the 6th without Grandpa.  I remember when we used to gather on Big Lake at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  The wood stove warmed the room, smells of delicious foods wafted from the kitchen, Swedish decorations adorned the shelves and table, and the view of the pristine lake was so comforting.  Grandma always stressed out over such occasions.  For some reason the cooking overwhelmed her even though we all pitched in.  Maybe she just wanted everything to be perfect.  It was perfect.  We were together after all.


White lights and candles surrounded us, we ate, always laughed, and caught up on each others’ lives as we sipped on eggnog and coffee with Bailey’s.  Grandma always had, on prominent display, the arts and craft project I made when I was five which was a beer bottle wrapped in blue and orange yarn with twigs sticking out of it and little Swedish stars dangling down.  She kept it all these years and it was her favorite decoration to have out during the holidays.


I miss Grandma’s homemade apple pie.  I miss the sounds of their voices and laughter.  I miss Thanksgiving with them.

This year will be spent with Dad and Linda and her family…probably some neighbors.  I see them a few times a year and I know them all, but it’s a different feel.  No doubt there will be a lot of great food, laughter, and catching up on each others’ lives while we sip on….well, red wine for me!  Undoubtedly, there will be eggnog and coffee with Bailey’s consumed with the pumpkin pies from Costco.  It’s not the same, but it’s family and I’m grateful for that.


I give thanks for the memories.

I give thanks for my health.

I give thanks for my family.


Peace, love and light this holiday season.

NaNoWriMo is a real challenge!

Last year, when I first learned of National Novel Writing Month, I was too late to participate and frankly, too busy.  I swore that next year, I’d do it!  How fun?!  Write 1,666 words per day and have a 50,000 word novel completed in one month!  Sounds easy, right?


I was wrong.  It’s not easy.  Unless maybe you don’t have 3 kids, no full-time job that is over an hour away in commute time, you have a significant other to run errands for you, or to cook, or clean, and no dog to walk so you can think of what to write about.  Even if one didn’t have my busy lifestyle and just lived alone in the woods with no time table or agenda other than to write 1,666 words per day, I still don’t think it would be easy, but it would be doable.

However.  That’s the point.  The point is to challenge yourself to do more than you otherwise would have.  I know I’m not going to win the contest or be ready to publish in December, but truth be told, I have made more progress on my little project than I would have had I not joined NaNoWriMo.  It’s made me think about how to structure my story, how to develop the characters, and when to interject dialog as opposed to narrative, etc.

It may take me 5 years of NaNoWriMo’s to finish it, but at least it’s challenging me to think about it!

If a story is in you, it has got to come out.

-William Faulkner