Icy Winter

So far,this has been an icy winter in the snow belt. It’s a bit unusual, in that we often have lake effect snow but don’t get much ice. The first picture below is of our container garden we planted this summer. It was our first year of doing the container gardening, and we have plans to expand it next summer.

That bench in the left corner tends to mark how much snow we’ve gotten.

This picture shows the same bench, even earlier in January last year so you can see the difference we’ve had already in snow amounts. (Again in the left of the picture, just below the tree.)

Even with the ice though it is still beautiful.

Winter is far from over with. Up here, we rarely cancel for snow; if we did school would never be open, but we do cancel for ice.

Only time will tell what the rest of this winter brings. Super cold temps are forecasted for the next week or so, which could bring more lake effect with it.

If there is anything I’ve learned about winter it is that even the darkest of winters, there is beauty. Even in the harshest of winters, there are days so breathtaking I wish they would last just a little longer. The sunsets and sunrises seem more vivid, more colorful, and the crisp air is so refreshing. Spring will come again, but for now, we treasure these long winter days when the earth, and our souls, find a little rest.

Years Fly By

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and while this is true, it’s also true when times are tough.  I haven’t been able to blog nearly as much as I want to in the last couple of years, in large part due to getting my first Masters Degree, and then going back for my second.  Truth is though, I miss it.  I miss blogging and sharing photos, being out in nature, and just having time to write.  I want to try to do better at blogging, to squeeze in a few minutes here and there if at all possible.

It’s hard to believe we’re in 2019 already.  Ben and I have been married for 7 years now.  The last few years, Ben’s health has declined as he suffers from peripheral neuropathy and they do not yet know the cause.  We’ve been through a lot in our 7 years of marriage, but it has made us stronger as a couple and more in love every day.

Life has a way of taking you places you’d never thought you’d go, of teaching you lessons you never knew you needed to learn.  If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that nothing stays the same except change.  As much as we want it to, everything changes in this world.  We learn, we grow stronger, we move forward even when it’s tough.

I’m still writing, more than I ever used to, even though I have yet to have a book published.  It’s easy to talk about publishing books, to think about having a book completed in a year, send it out, get it published.  It’s much harder when it actually comes down to it, especially when that book turns into two, and the three, and then a series that really can’t be easily published until it’s completed as a series.  But still, I keep pushing forward, knowing that one day, one word at a time, it will be finished.

I will end for now with one of my favorite songs, Jericho sung by Aaron Boyd.


For all our questions, there will be an answer
and in all our trials, You remain.
Even in the valley, hope is rising
for peace. It has a name -“

Sunshine and Writing

Living in Northern Michigan, you don’t get to see the sunshine very often.  In the part of North-West Michigan we are in, we get lake effect snow added to other systems, at least until the Great Lakes freeze over.  Today was a rare; sun for a little while.  It’s no surprise that many in this area are Vitamin D deficient due to the lack of sunshine, so we made sure to get out at least for a little  bit and enjoy the sunshine today.




Ben and I have both gotten some writing in today too.  It feels good to be writing again.  It isn’t as often as I used to, especially before Grad School, but I’m slowly working my way back into it.  Writing is hard.  It takes work like so many other things in life.  It changes you and changes the way you see the world around you.  Your characters become a part of you, a part of how you see the world.  For me at least, writing stays with me.  Sometimes I find myself quoting lines from stories and then suddenly realize it isn’t only from something I’ve read, it is from something I’ve written.

Of course, not all writing is fiction and not all writing has characters.  In my experience though, even that writing changes you.  There is a poem I wrote about trees that I think about whenever I see the trees blowing in the wind.  There is a fictional story I wrote about a real place, and my mind goes back to that place every time I read that story.  I tried to make it as real to the reader as it is to me.

It’s days like today when I’m so thankful I married a fellow writer.  We can talk for hours about our writing and it never gets old.  Writing is both a way to get your voice heard among the shouts of so many, and to get your ideas out.  Writing lets us create worlds we’ve never seen.

I can’t tell the future, so I don’t know if an editor will pick up either of our works one day, but I know we’ve both been published in Newspapers and I have my blogs.  It’s not the ultimate goal, but it works for now.  There is self-publishing too, if we decide to go that route.  I have a ways to go with my work anyways before it is anywhere near ready to be published.  When the time goes, I’m planning to aim to go through an agent first though.  No matter how small the odds, I have faith that one day we’ll get there.  Both of us.  After all, even Northern Michigan sees a little sunshine some days.

Writing into the New Year, and then some


I started this blog when I first moved up north, hoping to share some of my up north adventures with family and friends from other places.  It has been a crazy few years, and I haven’t been able to blog as much as I want to.  I have gotten married, bought a house, gone back to school, finished my Masters Degree and gotten a new job.  I am hoping to be able to keep up with all of my blogs a little bit better now.    My goal is to keep up with all of my blogs a little more regularly, while I work on some of my other writing as well.

I miss writing.  Sure, I’ve spent the last three years writing.  I’ve written nearly 100 pages for my Masters thesis and still managed to write about 160,000 words in a series of books I’m working on.  I lost some of that when my computer crashed, leaving me with about 117,000 left.  With all that, it still doesn’t seem like much.  It is more than many people do, but I want to do more.

Soon, I will hopefully have another article published in  a local paper.  A first for this particular local paper, but not a first for me publishing something.  I am looking forward to it.  In 2017, I am hoping to stretch my writing even further.  I want to be published, not just with blogs and newspaper, but in magazines and in others books, in journals and even my own books.  I have bits and pieces published here and there but it just doesn’t seem like enough.  It isn’t what I want.

I love that I married a writer.  Ben gets it.  He knows what it takes to write something well, and he is willing to make the sacrifices needed along the way.  He is working on some of his own pieces this year as well, and we are trying to setup writing days that we stick to.  Sometimes we have to fight for writing days, and it is so hard, but it will be worth it one day.  I know if we keep going, we will look back one day and be glad that we did.

There is a quote that says “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.”  I believe if you work hard enough, you can achieve your goals.  There are many challenges to face along the way, and sometimes goals change, but dreams really can come true.  So here’s to 2017.  I hope it will be a year of writing, a year of growing in my teaching career, and a year of finally getting bigger works published.  #dreamsdocometrue

It Began With A Dream, Part two

For part one, visit here… http://myamuseinglife.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/it-began-with-a-dream/


Nadalia was startled by a knock on the door.  Vicky’s voice came through from the other side “Hurry up!  It’s not even your turn, Nadalia!”  

Vicky seem to have it in for her, but she didn’t know why.  She sighed.  They even had assigned bathroom times, and she had broken that rule.  But she was tired of playing by the rules, tired of doing what they wanted her to do.  She stood up straight, turned the water off and grabbed the towel from it’s rack.  If she was going to have to face the world, she had better at least look presentable.  She wiped the water off her face, put the towel back, and opened the door.

Vicky stood, waiting for her.  “Move, fatso!  It’s not your turn!”  She grabbed Nadalia’s arm and pulled her out of the bathroom, stepped inside and slammed the door.  Nadalia rolled her eyes then hurried to her bunk to get dressed.  The only two outfits she owned hung over the edge of the bed.  She rotated which one she wore each day, and was rarely allowed to wash them.  Sometimes, when they got really dirty, she would slip one into the bathroom with her when it was her turn, wash it, and return it to dry at the end of her bunk.  No one question it, no one even bothered to check her bunk unless she didn’t show up for school or at the assembly for her job assignment.

The soldiers kept everyone well educated, or at least they claimed to.  From the time she was a small child, Nadalia had been taught to obey the soldiers  to trust them.  She had been taught the history of her country, how they had been attacked and most of the parents killed, how some parents abandoned their children for fear they would slow them down in an attempt to escape, and how the soldiers were the ones who rescued the lost children and cared for them.  

Nadalia wasn’t entirely sure the history was accurate.  She could vaguely remember her mother talking about a history of their people, how the government had gotten stronger, how they had slowly lost their freedom and their weapons had been taken from them.  Nadalia wasn’t sure what the history was, but she knew she must find out.  

For now, though, breakfast called.  The dinging of a bell three times told her she had been lost so deeply in thought that she had missed the other bells.  Three bells meant a last warning for any food at all.  Those who didn’t come, lost their chance to eat for the day.  She hurried out the dorms and down the side walk to the cafeteria door.  Inside the cafeteria, Peter waved his arms frantically in an attempt to get her attention.  She walked to his side and started to say hello, but he pulled her down to the bench next to him.

“Where have you been?”

“I had a dream again, and..”

“Shh!  They will here you.”

She gave Peter a quizzical look.  “Who?”

Peter motioned with the tip of his chin towards two soldiers standing in the corner.  “I was worried sick!  Last night, I heard them talking while the boys were going to sleep.”

Nadalia rolled her eyes.  Soldiers talking?  Of course!  It was like saying birds flew.

“No, this is serious, Nadie.”  Peter was the only one allowed to call Nadalia any kind of nickname and get away with it.  He couldn’t let anyone else hear anyways, if the wrong person heard, the punishment for misusing a name was severe.

Nadalia was concerned by Peter’s voice.  “What’s wrong, Peter?”


Far Far better things ahead

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
― C.S. Lewis

I’ve come across this quote a lot this past week.  It’s the last week in this year, and I think the quote is quite appropriate for the coming year.  So much has happened these past few years, so many changes and challenges.  Many of them hard, some of them good.  Yet here we are on the brink of 2013.  Where has the time gone?

Over the last several years, I’ve experienced the lost of several families members, left a church we loved, and said goodbye to a dog I owned for 11.5 years.  I’ve also welcomed new family members, gotten married myself, bought a house, adopted two dogs, bought some fish, and have a cat as well.  This year especially has been a year of change, partially if I start with December of 2011.  Most of the changes were positive, a few hard.  I got married, one nephew was born, we bought a house, we adopted a dog, and we have another nephew about to be born.   We lost most of our crop, making it financially tight, struggled with vehicles problems and our hot water heater going out.  All of this has happened in just over a year!  I cannot wait to see what 2013 will bring!  I have a feeling it’s going to be a very good year indeed, perhaps the best yet.

As we approach the coming new year, I have a few Resolutions:

2013 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. To write and to actually get something published.  To finish at least one book, and keep up with at least one blog on a daily or near daily basis, to write daily
  2. To spot at least 115 species of birds this year, to take at least one major birding trip for each season
  3. To track my eating habits and work to increase vitamins, minerals, and food groups that I’m not getting enough of
  4. Continue with piano lessons and work on the guitar
  5. Do more with my photography than just take photos.  Take as many art classes as I can.

Writing is number one on the list because I really want to pursue this one the most.  I’ve always wanted to be a published author, and to have a book that I’ve written in the hands of others.  So this year, as the New Year comes in, I’m committing to write nearly daily.  I know there will be days when I’m sick, days when emergencies happen or things come up, but I want to blog and write every day.

I love the quote I shared by C.S. Lewis.  While there have been many good things this year, and a few difficult things, we now leave them behind.  And I feel it, deep down, that there are far far better things than any of what we leaving behind.  Lord willing, 2013 will be an exciting year!