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  • June: Half the story is written….

    Stories are generally divided into chapters, and chapters are then further divided into sections or paragraphs. And when you look at a work in reverse, it becomes much easier to see how all those small sentences, paragraphs and sections become chapters, and chapters become a complete book. Our lives are lived in much the same fashion. Each section of minutes becomes an hour, hours become days, days become months… and so on. In a somewhat clearer statement, here’s what I’m saying: Our lives are created and lived, moment by moment, until all at once, you realize half your story is written. Does it read like a romance, true crime, or something totally out of this world? (Interject some laughter here). I hope it’s a little bit of all those possibilities, rolled into making you a very unique story and person. In a somewhat similar vein, the months of the year, naturally bring us full circle, until one more trip around the sun is complete and we’ve added another chapter to our Book of Life. Since June is the midpoint for the yearly trip around the sun, it’s a great opportunity to look back on the first half and ponder where it went, how did we spend our days, and just what can we see that we’ve added to our unique story. Hindsight is such an important part of our lives. If you’ve read any of my books, you’ve been exposed to just how much importance I place on “hindsight”. Here’s the excerpt from my back-of- book for Memories of Tomorrow: Everyone says that hindsight is 20/20. If that’s true, how much of that image in the rear view affects who we are today, or what we will become tomorrow? Every step we take, every move we make, every bond we make (or break)… all those jumbled moments become the snapped-together puzzle pieces of our lives. A patchwork of experiences, people, and places we file away in our memories that make us who we are. The make our life what it is. In these last few months, mine has been a whirlwind of change. Ups and downs, curves and clips, more unexpected than expected. There has been laughter, smiles and tears, and lots of emotional rollercoasters. But here I am, still standing at the midpoint. Still standing hallway through this tumultuous trip around the sun of 2024. Sometime over the next months and maybe year, I will be in a better frame of mind to share the latest chaotic chapter of my life, but not just yet. What I can share, and can’t wait to share, is some great book news! Today I received the wonderful news that my books are now going to be available as audio books! I’ve waited for so many months for this to happen and I’m excited beyond belief! I’m listing the books, the ISBN numbers, and copies of the covers below and if you’d like to give them a try, you should be able to find them on Amazon, Audible, and any other main stream audio book distribution site. Until next month, dear reader, stay safe, happy, and well-read! Natalie

  • May’s Temps, Turns, and Turbulence….

    If you’ve never experienced tremendous change in your life (be it on a personal or a professional level), then you’ve missed a great opportunity for growth and improvement. Anytime you step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, learn something new, or just make a significant change in your daily life, you’re opening a new door – be it good or bad – it’s new and causes a strain (sometimes a ripping) of the fabric of your life, and as a general rule, you’re adding a few scraps to the fabric as you go. How you choose to move forward or react to those changes and opportunities is entirely up to you, and will define some aspects of your adult character. And if you haven’t already guessed, this has been the situation for the last few weeks of my life and will most likely be continued over the next several months. I must admit, I have mixed feelings about these changes. One day, I look forward to the change, the next, I will admit, I feel nothing but trepidation. My rational mind tells me this is completely normal. My emotional self has a different viewpoint. Just like the changing tides that pull and push the ocean waves, our emotions pull us in multiple directions, depending upon the mood of the day. The logical mind is a more disciplined entity and refuses to be swayed on a whim. It takes real facts to move logic. Right now, I feel more like the month of May in the spring season: temperaments and heated moments that rise and fall on a whim, twists, and turns of emotion that resemble a ribbon of asphalt on a winding mountain road, and turbulence that assaults my logical mind daily with blasts of constantly changing emotions. Pretty close to the weather that accompanies the changing of the season during the month of May. I suppose it’s a blessing that we are endowed with both logic and emotion. Each has a role to play during the course of changes and decision-making. It’s just sometimes hard to distinguish between at what point one should follow and one should rule. And as I approach my sixties, I’m still not sure of the correct answer to that dilemma. So it would seem that at this moment in my life, at this particular juncture, I will again repeat: As with all dreary, unhappy, difficult moments of storm and rain, the flowers are coming – as we emerge from the darkness, we can see the sun beginning to shine brightly. The rebirth is upon us! New life is born of strife, and we can smile again! Welcome May and the flowers she brings! I’m still working on the big news – it won’t be announced this month – but let’s cross our fingers for June. After all, that will be my birthday month – it will be time for some great, big, wonderful news! Until next month, dear reader, stay safe, happy, and well-read! Natalie

  • Dogwoods, Dogma and Deliverance….

    April has arrived and an early Easter has come and gone. It seems though, someone forgot to tell the Dogwoods to bloom early. Isn’t this just a perfect example of life in the modern world? Ahh, the beautiful dogwoods that herald the arrival of a new season, a new beginning. They are in bloom everywhere here in my little part of the Ozarks; in fact, my area is blanketed with white sketchy splotches of color. Lots and lots of splotches! Dogwoods often invoke thoughts of the resurrection, the meaning of Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and the heralding of our salvation through the death and rebirth of Christ, (yes, I am of the Baptist persuasion) and the dogma of the Christian faith. If ever there were an instance of a logo bringing about positive thoughts, the dogwood was the perfect “logo” for the Christian observance of Christ’s death and rebirth. An occasion that could just as easily have evoked dark thoughts is now infused with the beauty of the blooming dogwood and we all delight in not only the sight before us, but the knowledge that because of the death and rebirth of Christ we have the opportunity to experience salvation! On the pagan front, you recognize the spring equinox, the movement from a hibernating time to the resurgence of Mother Earth’s life’s blood flowing through all of nature. If ever there were the perfect example of deliverance from the dark, cold, starkness of winter the dogwood is that representation of the light at the end of the tunnel – the beginning of all things new and delightful. White, bright beauty against the barren starkness of the winter canvas. So in all ways positive, the simple, yet exquisite Dogwood manages to bring together the Christian and the pagan in a unified, happy, lovely moment. So it would seem that at this moment in my life, at this particular juncture, I take comfort in the Dogwood’s message of hope and coming life. As with all dreary, unhappy, difficult moments of storm and rain, the flowers are coming – as we emerge from the darkness, we can see the sun beginning to shine brightly. The rebirth is upon us! New life is born of the strife and we can smile again! As I prepare to bring this post to a close, I’m going to make note that the title should have been a clue as to the complexity of this post – but if not, I’m sure you have picked up on the tone, and irony, at this point. I’m at a difficult juncture in life right now – nothing I care to elaborate on just yet, but I’m really feeling the mood of the title I chose – Dogwoods, Dogma and Deliverance – and I’m actively seeking the deliverance aspect! In addition to my internal struggles and twisted discussion, I initially thought I would have some big news for this blog, but that’s been delayed a few weeks. So, I’m going to end once again, with “stay tuned” – I HOPEFULLY will have some big news to announce in the May blog! On another note, can you believe my next post will be for the month of MAY? Where is our year disappearing to?? Until next month, dear reader, stay safe, happy, and well-read! Natalie

  • The Winds of Change are Beginning to Blow….

    Ah… the uneasiness of February is beginning to wane, and once again, I feel somewhat normal as we blast into the month of March. I don’t remember all the verses of the old wives' tale, but there’s something about “in like a lion and out like a lamb” that applies to the roar of the March winds and the change they bring to the weather and, quite often, my mood. This year is proving to be no different. I feel the shift. I feel the change. And quite frankly, I’m truly ready for whatever may be blowing my way. I’ve been working on a new project, nothing at all related to my writing, and I’m ready for spring to bring a change to the work environment. Good, bad, or otherwise. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. Time will be telling us soon which way this path will lead me. Of course, the optimist in me always looks for good changes while seldom contemplating the negative. Sometimes, that’s a curse as well as a blessing. The jury is still out on this one, but the day of reckoning is slowly approaching. We shall see…. But, back to the writing and the very reason for this blog. I’ve been quite stymied in the writing department for a couple of years now. Sometimes writers and authors go through a dry spell. Mine has lasted longer than most, but I think I sense a change within myself…maybe the spellbound writer who has for almost a decade been enamored with Jo and Gina is about to make another appearance. I can only stay the course on this ride of life and see where the winds blow me next. That’s the most consistent thing about me: the inconsistency. Stability has never been my strong suit; the need for change and changing scenery is often disguised as “adaptability” (which many value as a welcome attribute), but after looking closely for at least the last two decades, I’ve realized that it’s more of a fault than an attribute. I’ve also discovered after watching myself for so many years, that it’s not likely to change any time soon. I’ve learned to embrace the woman of change and roll with the flow, always looking for the silver lining in each situation. Perhaps the sunny outlook and the optimistic attitude are the most lasting pieces of the writer, woman, and entrepreneur that I am. Well, as I read back over this month’s blog, I can see one recurring theme and in my almost 6 decades of life, I instantly recognize that spring is coming soon…the restlessness within me is pinging around like a ricocheting bullet in a metal room. Ideas, feelings, and visions are bouncing around everywhere! I’m going to bring this spring-fever-influenced blog to a close, and wish you all a wonderfully loud, roaring March! Stay tuned for the next blog – I have some big news coming in April! Natalie

  • An Unusual and Uneasy February….

    A normal February would mean we were surrounded by cold winds, even colder temps, and for the last few years, quite a bit of snow. But not this February. No, this February you would think we’re living in Florida, or southern Texas. Balmy temps, light breezes, and quite a bit of sunshine. This all comes together to create quite the confusing and uneasy feeling. This is not so normal. At all. But, as with most everything that’s ever been a part of my life and daily existence, I’m adapting. There’s always a way to move forward; it may not always be the most joyous forward movement, but it’s moving forward nonetheless. My mood today is best described as that of a grizzly bear awakening from hibernation – sour, hungry and with a short temper. That thought brings up another question: what do the bears do when it’s more like summer than winter in February? Does their instinct to come out override the fact that they have only been in hibernation a couple of months at most? That “bears” investigating (pun intended). But, back to our original topic: Uneasiness and confusion. I’m not a real big fan of those emotions and states of being. Especially as a writer; I need consistency and clear focus. Unfortunately, for this month, in this year, I’m finding it’s anything but consistent and clear. Retirement is fairly new, and some of the emotions are unexpected. I’m not working on my book series right now, choosing instead to finish the house and develop a new consumer product and that makes me sad, but there are only so many hours in the day. So, all things considered, I’m stuck right smack dab in the middle of uneasiness and confusion, and it looks like this whole year may be following that same theme. Woe is me. Or not. Maybe. Maybe not. I need to share some joy and follow up with a more positive statement: I’m normally a “glass half full” kind of gal, so these feelings really clash with my usual disposition, and I will apologize to my reader at this point: this is usually not what you get from me. But, for today, in this moment, it’s all I’ve got. Sorry. I really do apologize for the doom and gloom feelings of today. And I’m certainly not going to leave you on that sour note. So, let me take a moment and look for something sunny and cheerful. Ah, I have it: SNAP! SNAP is The World’s First Fully Customizable Snackboard, and my current ray of sunshine and obsession. I’ve devoted almost a year now to the development of this product and am looking so forward to seeing my invention on the shelves at Walmart or the pages of my very own Shopify store. Or better yet, on Amazon! My faith is strong, and my hopes are high and that’s the most positive thought I can share with you today. Keep the faith, stay strong, hopefully real winter will arrive and come the warmth of summer I can share with you the first production run of SNAP! Natalie

  • A New Opportunity Has Arrived….

    Well, 2023 has come and gone. All the presents of the festive holiday season were feverishly ripped open with bows and paper cast aside, replaced by the glee of discovering what was hiding inside. What did I get? What did I receive? My most fevered wish must surely be hiding in there….. Alas, the magic and expectations of the holidays rarely live up to the reality of the actual event, package, or gift. It must be something to do with this time of year. From Thanksgiving to New Year, we just set ourselves up for some measure of inadequacy or disappointment or both. The unrealistic expectations of the season versus the cold dash and clash of reality is nowhere more evident than with our New Year’s resolutions. We start the new year with such grand intentions; such concrete goals and objectives…only to discover within a few short weeks (or couple of months at most) that the expectation and the reality are miles apart. We’re just simply not the most dedicated or disciplined creatures when it comes to making big changes that are designed to improve our lives and our health. We’re just not. En masse or as individuals, we most often take the path of least resistance, not the path less traveled. And from this realization, one thing becomes certain: We are designed to be daily creatures of habit, with only intermittent sparks of drastic change; not the other way around. I read once that “people do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures” (that’s a quote courtesy of F.M. Alexander), and I have found this to be a fairly accurate and true assessment of we humans. We choose our habits, our habits choose our friends and our activities, and the rest is a pretty easy picture to paint. So with the arrival of a new year, we have the opportunity to create some new habits (maybe not big, big changes – just a few small tweaks of old habits would be a great place to start) that might eventually lead to other new opportunities friends and habits that will eventually change and improve our life. But, so often, we’re totally consumed with the everyday; Consumed with the mundane, the habitual behaviors, that we fail to see the miraculous and life-changing opportunities that are flying past us each and every day. I liken opportunities to the colorful fireflies you see in the dusk of the day. There are hundreds of flickering lightning bugs flying around in the shadows of dusk – just waiting to find the right host for the night. It is the same with opportunities – there are hundreds of opportunities flying right past you each and every day – you just need to look up from the grindstone to see and catch them as they fly past. So as the new year begins, and the opportunities of a new year begin to fly past you, take some advice from someone who’s seen the fireflies: Look up, look around, watch for the quick glow – I can promise they are there! Have a wonderful start to 2024, catch your own firefly and we’ll talk soon! Natalie

  • And Then There Were None….

    How did December arrive so quickly? Each and every year, I seem to ask myself this same question. It’s as if I look around, and most of my year feels as if it’s been stolen – just whisked away on a wish and a whim! Of course, that’s not reality; each day drifted by in the hurried moments of errands, chores, and to-do lists. Even as I write this article, I have a notepad with my “Christmas To Do” sitting right beside me. I believed (truly in total error) that once I retired, I would have so much extra time on my hands… time to soak in the beauty of the day whilst I contemplated my next chapter of the Scrapbook Series or hiked along the many beautiful trails found in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark chain. And although I do take part in those things, I find so many more of my days are consumed with lists to be complete… lists of household responsibilities, doctors appointments, posting, and record keeping; as you can see, it simply goes on and on. The time thief invents ways to whisk away my time, and he’s getting better and better at accomplishing his mission. And then there were none. No months left in the year. No more, “next month I’ll get to that” for this year. The days are spent, and Father Time is ready to roll the calendar. I suppose this realization each year provides two necessary things for me: The first is that it is concrete proof we should appreciate every day and find a way to be thankful for all our many blessings, big and small. The second is the opportunity to look back over my year, acknowledge and revel in my triumphs while deepening my resolve on the items I didn’t accomplish. December, and the beginning of the winter season, is a perfect time for introspection and review. As the living world around us withdraws to rest, hibernate, and prepare for the coming spring and rebirth, so should we. It is a time to look inside ourselves to take whatever steps are necessary to prepare for a new year, a new season, and new beginnings. Some of us need time to reflect and lick our wounds. Some of us need time to revel in our victories. And for some of us (in fact most of us) it’s a little bit of both. So, as December of 2023 comes upon us, I wish for all my readers to have a wonderfully joyful and fulfilling Christmas Holiday season, but I also wish for you to have time to reflect, appreciate, be grateful, and prepare for the birth of a new year and new opportunities! Happy Holidays Everyone!!!!!!

  • A Time for Gratitude….

    As November blew in on the mountain, it brought a blast of cold air and a reminder that there is a time for every season… it's now fall and the season of colder temps, colorful leaves, harvest moons, and, traditionally, a time for gratitude and thanksgiving. As I closed October’s blog, I quoted Benjamin Franklin, and for those of you who don’t know me that well, Benjamin Franklin is among my very select group of special heroes. The October blog line was “Happiness, according to Benjamin Franklin, is an endless journey, not a comforting destination….where does your journey lead you?” The long version of the story as to how he became a special hero for me is best left for another blog; for this post, it’s sufficient to say I deeply admire his gift of persuasion. Ole Ben persuaded many a colonist with his exquisite use of prose, pen & paper, rather than the swing of the sword or the blast of the bullet. That ability takes real talent, and as a writer, I can truly appreciate the effort that goes into mastering the art of persuasion. And there we are, back to gratitude and appreciation. Quite fitting for this month of November and the national holiday we recognize in the US as “Thanksgiving Day”, wouldn’t you say? Happiness, gratitude, and appreciation are conscious choices; that means we must “choose” to be happy, grateful and appreciative of our life, our surroundings, and the world in which we live. And it seems to me that many of our world population have forgotten that fact. It’s always someone or something that we look to in our quest to find that highly elusive “happiness” we’re all seeking. When in reality, we all must take responsibility for our own endless journey and, by default, our happiness, gratitude, and appreciation. Greeting the day with a heart full of thanks gives us mortals the opportunity to open ourselves to consciously recognize blessings and opportunities as they flit our way each and every day. There is never a day that I wake up that I’m not blessed with lots of “happiness” opportunities – in fact, most often, they’re so numerous that I fail to accurately count them. I, by design, also live in a place that makes it easy to be grateful. One glance across the horizon affords you a spectacular vista of blueish-purple mountain peaks, ascending as if to meet the heavens, white fluffy clouds that encapsulate those majestic peaks, and a multitude of colors in the leaves as they waver between life and death. Eventually, the onslaught of cold and wind will knock them to the ground, leaving only a wintry bleakness of empty branches against a backdrop of winter skies. Even that stark and contrasting view can evoke emotions of thankfulness. And, in the bigger picture, those dead and discarded leaves of summer past will provide the food necessary to feed the promise of tomorrow’s wildlife and forests. As the days pass and the seasons change, we all should strive to stop, smell the roses, and take in all that we have been blessed to experience. There will only be one Fall of 2023; live it to the fullest! I hope this blog will find you in a place of happiness, gratitude, and appreciation, but if not, maybe this post will be the catalyst that propels you forward to making that happiness choice!

  • Mornings in the Ozarks

    We’re still working on Fall’s arrival here in the Ozarks, but you can easily see Mother Nature’s hand at work this October morning. Slowly but surely, the changing of the season is creeping in. Aside from the beauty that’s revealed during this change, my favorite thing to “watch” is the morning sunrises. I’m most assuredly a morning person, and the mornings here never disappoint. Beautiful hues of blues, purples, pinks, and reds gloriously fill the horizon in anticipation of the sun’s blazing appearance. It’s breathtaking sometimes, and for me, it’s the perfect start to the day. There are as many differing opinions as to the “perfect” start to the day as there are people to give them. Mine, however, follows right along with my view of life. Mornings are a wonderfully exquisite chance at a brand new beginning, full of opportunity, mystery, and a world of “what-ifs”. You truly never know for sure what or who you might meet, greet, or experience on any given day, and that, for me, has always held a sense of promise. As I’ve gotten older, that feeling hasn’t faded. If anything, it’s gotten stronger. That positive, hopeful outlook has gotten me through a lot of trial and tribulation. And I’ve always believed it’s better to view the glass as half full, as opposed to half empty. It’s this same outlook that has fueled much of my writing and filled the books I’ve written with a sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow. I’ve even tried to convey this in the titling of some of the books (i.e., Tomorrow’s Promise). That’s perhaps my greatest wish for my readers: Life can be a positive journey, regardless of the bumps in the road, the trials we all experience, or the tears that may fall. We are the ultimate determiner of our outlook and personal interactions with others. We can choose to live life negatively, or we can choose to see the positive, what some may call “the silver lining” in any situation. Each and every day, when we rise, we can be in awe of the opportunities and beauty before us, or we can see nothing but strife and darkness. It’s entirely up to the individual; it’s a truly personal choice. You can see the beauty or the beast of life. I once read, “You find what you’re looking for.” If you look for truth, you’ll find it. If you look for trouble, you’ll find it. If you look for sorrow, you’ll find that too. As I close my blog for today, I’m going to leave you with some words of positivity and a beautiful picture of my Ozark mornings. Happiness, according to Benjamin Franklin, is an endless journey, not a comforting destination….where does your journey lead you?

  • Fall’s Blazing Arrival….

    Hi, Everyone! Another month, another blog post! It’s September… and fall is beginning to arrive in the Ozarks. The temperature is dropping slightly, and the breezes are less humid, all telltale signs that summer is giving way to autumn. But for me, the glint of the sunshine announces that fall is coming. Although it’s almost inexplicable, the way the sun falls and glints on the world that surrounds me never fails to whisper and alert me to a change in seasons. And so it is, that Fall, with all her glory, will soon arrive to bless us with cooler temps, less oppressive humidity, and all the color we can take in. If you were to ask me what I love most about the mountains, it wouldn’t be the fall colors; my love of the mountains is fed by the mystery that seems to envelop each twist in the road, the shadows of the trees, and the sheer majesty of the mountains themselves. No, the Ozarks aren’t the Rockies, but they have a serenity all their own in their remote indifference to the many inhabitants, tourists, and vacationers that hike, bike, swim, and fly over them each year. All that said, I do find beauty in the color that Our Lady of the Fall brings each year. All the reds, yellows, oranges, and multiple hues in-between grace us with their presence from late October to sometime in December. And this year’s beauty should arrive with the same class and allure as all the years before. So many of my blog posts cover topics of choice and consequence, strife and struggle, or the “how, when, and why” of my life; this September post, however, is going to take a lighter note and a higher road. This month, I just want to soak in the beauty that surrounds me and pass along some of that appreciation in the written word. Several years ago, we made the decision to purchase raw land and create our own version of paradise in the Ozarks, and so far, we’re making good on that goal. We’ve managed to carve out a spot for a house with a magnificent view, a shop, and some spaces to leave as nature made them, untouched by our human hands of progress. It has been a unique experience: Sometimes arduous, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes a disaster. But through it all, the beauty and aloofness of the mountains have prevailed and we’re still so appreciative and in awe of our surroundings. We’ve witnessed three years of changing seasons and are approaching our fourth turn of summer to fall. Here, against the backdrop of the Ozarks, the seasons are still evidentiary of the changing of the guard; the ebb and flow of life’s seasons run in unison with the ebb and flow of nature’s seasons. As I live life and move ever closer to the fall and winter of my life, my appreciation of the beauty of the fall increases each year. With that in mind, we’ve made plans this year to take in as much of the scenery the Ozarks have to offer. We’ve planned excursions to many of the local hiking trails, trips to several tourist hot spots, and a lone weekend in Branson during the height of their many fall activities. To say that we’re becoming more local than newbies would probably be pretty accurate. I simply hope that we never fail to feel inspired, in love, and awestruck by the beauty of the Ozarks adorned in their fall décor and the coat of many colors that provide moments of beauty that will take your breath. It’s my hope, as we move forward on our journey of an Ozark retirement that I’ll get to share ever more with my readers and my family. It’s my goal to impart as much beauty in my words as my eyes continue to behold in my Ozark Mountain Retreat. Until next time, I’m going to leave you with this painting of one of my pictures taken on our Ozark land. It’s a smorgasbord of fall colors!

  • Take Time to Dream….

    The Scrapbook Series is my Dream In 1977 I bought a plaque at the TG&Y in Fayette, AL. I was 12. It had an old Irish proverb written across the front. One of the lines of the proverb goes as follows: Take time to dream, it is hitching your wagon to a star… After spending a lifetime working, owning, and operating businesses, I finally have the chance to follow a dream. My dream is to write; it is a passion that developed from a love of reading and finally, at 50, I’m following that dream. So, what did I choose to write? A fiction series entitled “Women of the Ozarks, The Scrapbook Series”. This book series is set in the Ozark Mountains, in the fictional town of Polk Ridge, AR, and chronicles the lives of Jorja and Regina. Children of the turbulent 60’s and 70’s, who grow up to be women of the 80’s and 90’s. It is a celebration of life from a woman’s perspective about the strength and resilience of women. Women who made beds and history. Women who raised kids and hell. Women who shattered the glass ceiling, or at times, simply found a way around it. The opening chapters of Book 1, Tomorrow’s Promise, relate the lives of these two very different young girls, how they met, the friendship that developed, and how life’s paths can take us in completely different directions, only to reunite us later. Much later, with much to share. I invite you to join Jo and Gina, as they laugh and cry, reunite and reminisce, and look for a way to bridge the distance between their past, their present, and their dreams for tomorrow. For your reading pleasure, I’m also including the Old Irish Proverb in it’s entirety below: Take time to work, it is the price of success. Take time to think, it is the source of power. Take time to play, it is the secret to perpetual youth. Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom. Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness. Take time to dream, it is hitching your wagon to a star. Take time to love and to be loved, it is the privilege of the gods. Take time to look around, the day is too short to be selfish. Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul.

  • Topsy, Turvy Life We Live…

    This week’s topic truly reflects the title I used. Topsy, Turvey life…that describes mine to a tee! As I reflected on the changes the next few weeks are going to bring and I looked through my books for a book bubble this week, I ran across the passage below. Even though I wrote this some nine months ago, the words seem once again to fit my mood and my life at the moment. So here for your reading pleasure is a little insight into me, the books I’m writing, and my topsy, turvy, chaotic world and life! Happy Reading, everyone! Natalie As 2019 draws to a close, it not only brings a year to a close, but a decade as well. And, for me, it’s been quite a tumultuous decade. There have been so many changes, personally and professionally, and these changes have affected all areas of my life; even my writing. I always encourage my family and friends to take time to look back. Look back to see how far you’ve come, because as a general rule, you need to know where you’ve been, in order to determine where you want or need to go. With this week’s book bubble, I thought I would take the opportunity to share with my readers a little bit of where I’ve been, and some insight into where I want to go. So, sit back, relax, and let’s take a journey through time… to where it all started… In 1977, at the TG&Y in Fayette, Al, I bought a plaque of anold Irish proverb/prayer. One of those lines reads: Take time to dream, it is hitching your wagon to a star. I still have the plaque; it hangs on my office wall and I still take time to dream. In following the dream of writing, I created the characters of Jorja (pronounced Georgia) Felsenthal and Regina Ingram and began their story. Jo and Gina, in The Scrapbook Series, is an opportunity to look at life through the eyes of the most unsung hero in American life: the everyday, average woman. We take life as it comes and find a way to deal with unbelievable situations: we laugh, we cry, we struggle. We get angry and frustrated. We are overjoyed and in tears simultaneously. We love in ways that are sometimes completely insane, and we reach for each other…. we reach for our girl friends. In doing so, we reach for a better tomorrow, while we learn to make the most of today. To steal a phrase from Jackson Browne’s Everyman, I wanted to create the “everywoman” in Jo and Gina. I wanted my readers to be able to identify with their life experiences. To read about one of their predicaments and say “Ah, yes. Been there done that.” I needed to be able to write about things, events, and people that I was comfortable with. In my writings, although none of these characters are real, they were created from many of my own life experiences, interactions, thoughts, and beliefs. I needed to write in ways that provided a connection between myself, my work, and my readers. I am a woman, so I wrote about women. I have lived life and made mistakes, made the best of it and moved on. So have Jo and Gina. As I wrote about their low moments, I cried. As I wrote about their funny escapades, I laughed. I want my readers to feel those same emotions. I want them to walk away from thestory of Jo and Gina empowered as a woman, with hope in their heart and joy for tomorrow! Way back in 1977, I was a total bookworm. I loved to read almost as much as I loved to eat! That passion has not waned over the years, nor has the desire to create stories for people to enjoy. Finally, during this last decade, I found myself in a beautiful position to pursue a lifelong dream: creating stories in the hopes of sharing some of myself, my imagination, and my passion with an audience of readers. My dream of being a creative writer has never wavered. I have spent a lifetime enjoying other authors’ works of art, and now I hope to be able to share my art with readers who can identify with the characters I’ve created: laugh, cry, and step into the world of Jo and Gina. This story spans five books in a series entitled “The Scrapbook Series” because our lives if put into books, would most resemble a scrapbook—a hodge-podge of memories, events, places, and people. So, as we move forward to a new decade with new opportunities, I am looking forward to finishing a series with a storyline that spans some 60 years and a writing effort that will have taken me two decades to complete. I hope you’ll join me for the rest of the journey, and happy reading to you all!

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