Baby Boy Celebration Journal!
It took a minute… but he’s finally ready. I hope everyone enjoys this journey…
My grandmother used to warn me about having too many irons in the fire. I do love to stay busy… I’ve been writing! I’ve been writing the next New Parish book, the next Brigham Tea Magazine, and another project I’ve been working on for almost two years now, The Grandparent’s Field Guide to Long Distance Grandparenting.
The next New Parish book, Home in New Parish, is about three fourths done. It offers a completely different side of the romantic comedy that always happens in New Parish.
The next Brigham Tea Magazine is full of so much rich history of the west, beautiful new pictures of the wild and wooly west, and even a buffalo hunt. The buffalo hunt was with cameras only, of course.
The Grandparent’s Field Guide to Long Distance Grandparenting has been a labor of love. It’s full of stories and games that I created for my own grandchildren, to share with other grandparents who might not live very near their little ones. Or even if they live near, they could still use this fun and engaging book.
So as for my grandmother’s warning, I don’t think I have too many, irons in the fire… I think there’s just the right amount to keep me busy and out of trouble. I can’t wait to share it all with everyone!
There’s an old song or poem written by Tennyson that says in part,
“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
What an incredibly difficult year we’ve all had… I’m glad to lay this year to rest, and let it die… Things that we never imagined could happen, did actually happen. We’ve lost so much… but we didn’t really lose it did we, this terrible illness has taken it all from us, our way of life, our loved ones…
As this year passes, it feels like it should have been over a long time ago. Or, maybe, I just wish we could have had the progress that we have at the end of the year sooner. We know things are going to get better. We just all have to be patient, kind, and supportive, and wait this thing out. Things always change, I’m sure I’ve written about that before… This next year brings us new hope, and hopefully a good new normal. I know things will never be the way they were before, but that’s okay, we need things to be better than they were before.
So as we make our New Year’s resolutions, and contemplate this next year, this new year, and what our new normal will be. I’m full of hope for, new dreams, new goals, new discoveries, and wonderful things we don’t even know about yet.
I wish you all love, for each other…
I wish you all courage, to face our future…
I wish you all strength, to help carry each other’s burdens…
I wish you all hope, that you can see a brighter tomorrow…
I wish you all kindness, for everyone…
I wish you all happiness, from within…
I wish you all, peace…
As I cook, because that’s what you do on Thanksgiving Day, I long for my family and think about all the things I’m grateful for. It was suggested that we keep a personal gratitude journal leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I have done so, and want to share it with everyone now. I hope you can all find gratitude on this wonderful day!
Personal Gratitude Journal
Day 1 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m so very grateful for my family. They’ve been a special blessing in my life, and I love them dearly. #GiveThanks
Day 2 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for cherished friends who have touched my life and made it better… #GiveThanks
Day 3 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for all the hardships, challenges, and failures that I’ve had in my life. Not just grateful that they are in my past, (at least the ones that have already happened), but grateful for the things I’ve learned from them. #GiveThanks
Day 4 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for memories of good times, happy times, and laughing so hard my face hurt and my tummy muscles got sore! And hoping for many more… #GiveThanks
Day 5 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for my country. For all its faults, flaws, and foibles it’s still the best place on earth to live. I love the diversity, and the freedom, but I think most of all I love the kindness and care that we have for each other… yeah, I still look for the good, and I find it. #GiveThanks
Day 6 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for all the blessings I enjoy. Whether technology, medical, or just modern conveniences that are available today, I’m grateful… #GiveThanks
Day 7 – personal gratitude journal…
I’m grateful for the One who’s blessed me with everything, and His son… #GiveThanks
Have you ever had a gnat fly up your nose? As this has recently happened to me, I pondered, as I often do ponder things that happen, I pondered this experience. It was a very intense surprise, with long lasting implications. For the gnat things ended there, for me it seemed the gnat was still around. Logically I could tell myself the thing was gone, but emotionally I could still feel it in my nose.
The other day I placed two eggs on the kitchen counter, blocked them from rolling with a pair of tongs, then went to get something from the other side of the sink. Before I could get back to the counter with the eggs, that were blocked off, one of them rolled around the end of the tongs, then back in the opposite direction, and off the counter, splattering on the floor. That should have been impossible, but, it happened. I saw the whole thing happen, with no way of stopping it. Almost like one of those tv shows, in slow motion. This was a very serendipitous event, also very annoying. I couldn’t write that into the story line in my books, no one would believe something like that would happen in reality. Well, it happened in my reality.
I know some surprises can be fun or nice, and that serendipity can bring lovely things to fruition, but that’s not been my experience. I’m not the kind of person who likes surprises. I’m not one who likes serendipity either. I understand there are those who do, I’m just not one of them. With me, I like things planned out so I know what’s happening and what to expect. I suppose there are times in life when you can’t work off a plan, you just have to go with it, whatever happens. Those are the times I can always feel myself reaching for that imaginary hand break, so I can at least slow things down.
Surprises, intense or not, happen. Serendipity happens when we least expect it, and least want it. Plans, well-made or not, come unraveled. All in all, I’d rather these things happen to the characters in my books, not to me in my life.
I suppose the bottom line here is that gnats happen, eggs roll, and fact is stranger than fiction…
In life we all have to face things we don’t necessarily want to face. Some of those things are more difficult than others, some can even destroy us, if we let them. In Return to New Parish, I chose to present a difficult thing that many women have had to face. Hannah faces all the emotions, fears, and heartbreak of this very difficult thing… Throughout her journey in Return to New Parish, she gains the courage to deal with this, and finds a way to move forward in her life. She has some great support in her sister, family, and Alex… but in the end, it’s all up to her to deal with what happened.
Excerpt from Return to New Parish:
Chapter 12 – Alex
“Have you talked to Uncle Alex?” Sarah asked.
“We talk all the time,” Hannah avoided what she knew Sarah meant.
“About Nathaniel?” Sarah probed.
“No,” Hannah returned firmly.
“You need to tell your husband about the man who nearly raped you,” Sarah insisted.
“Who’s Nathaniel?” Alex asked from behind them. “What happened?”
Hannah sighed and gave Sarah a disapproving frown, “I’d rather not talk about it.”
“It’s too late for that,” Alex said gently. “I heard what Sarah said.”
“Okay, but later,” Hannah pleaded, holding Annie close, almost like a little shield.
“Yeah, but we will talk,” Alex nodded and returned to the paddock and the girls.
“Grrrr,” Hannah growled softly at Sarah, so as not the scare Annie.
“Growl all you want,” Sarah shrugged. “He’s got a right to know, especially since you’ve decided to not have a physical relationship. He is your husband after all.”
Hannah sighed and tried not to think about the conversation she knew was inevitable. Holding Annie and watching the girls ride helped distract her mind, but not completely. She didn’t want to tell Alex but she knew Sarah was right, she knew she had to tell him, she sighed again.
That night as Hannah finished tidying up her sitting room, she heard a knock on her door. She thought, “I have plans for spending the evening on the balcony, and then moving to the big tub before bed.”
When she opened the door, she found Alex standing there.
“It’s not my night to fix your dinner,” she said quickly and somewhat panicky, hoping she didn’t lose track of which night she was supposed to fix his dinner.
“Nope,” Alex chuckled rubbing his tummy. “I’ve already had my dinner. Can we talk?”
“Sure,” Hannah said, stepping aside so he could come in.
Alex motioned for her to sit on the sofa and he joined her, “So, who’s Nathaniel? And, what happened?”
Hannah sighed heavily, feeling like all her emotions had just deflated and were filling back up with fear, dread, and anxiety. She looked out at the balcony she’d planned on spending the evening on, then back to Alex. “We’d been dating for a couple of months,” Hannah began. She watched his expressions as she spoke, “I’d just finished all my course work and passed my last exam. So, we went out for dinner to celebrate. We’d ordered our drinks, non alcoholic champagne, and we were ready to order our food. I was checking out the menu when the waitress told me that she saw Nathaniel put something in my drink. He denied it, but I could see a small pill dissolving quickly at the bottom of my glass,” Hannah paused to take a deep breath and try to settle herself. “He laughed, like it was some kind of joke,” she took another deep breath to try and control her emotions. “It scared me so bad, I of course left the restaurant and went back to my apartment.
Alex remained quiet listening to every word, as she answered his questions.
“I’ve been scared ever since,” Hannah sighed. “I’ve never been intimate with a guy, I wanted that to be with my husband, the man I would spend forever with. He was going to take that from me, something that was mine to give to who I choose, not his to take,” Hannah knew there was anger in her voice now, but she couldn’t help it.
Alex sighed softly and put his arms around her, he pulled her close and whispered, “You’re safe here sweetheart. If I ever meet Nathaniel, it’ll hurt.”
Hannah sighed, she did feel safe in his arms, she put her arms around him not wanting him to let go. He caressed her face and gently brushed her hair aside, then gently kissed her forehead. He held her for a long time.
A few tears escaped, but, Hannah thought, “It’s not fear, not anger, not even sadness.” She decided to analyze later, for now, she thought, “I’m going to just be glad I am where I am.”
Things between her and Alex became easier, more comfortable, and exactly what Hannah needed them to be.
Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:
We all have them, choices to make… Where we’re going to live, what career we’re going to pursue, who we’re going to marry… There’s always a myriad of choices that face us throughout our lives, and even on a daily basis. What movie are we going to watch tonight? What’s for dinner? In Return to New Parish, Hannah has many choices to make, some big, life changing ones, and some, all be it simple, still stressful ones.
Hope you’re enjoying her journey…
Excerpt from Return to New Parish:
Chapter 12 – Alex
“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that I have dinner with each of my wives on rotating evenings,” Alex grinned mischievously. “Tomorrow’s your turn.”
“What?” Hannah felt like the proverbial deer in the headlights. “I’m not a very good cook,” she admitted honestly.
“I can eat just about anything,” Alex shrugged. “It’s just to talk and visit, really. To cover some ground.”
“Okay,” Hannah sighed. “I make no promises on how dinner will turn out.”
Alex smiled warmly, “Can’t be any worse than some of the stuff I had to eat when I was on trail rides.” He gave her a quick hug, and said, “I have to get out to the stables.”
Hannah sighed, hoping for good news and opened the email from Brenda.
Congratulations. Yes, I’ve heard, at
times, very loudly about your marriage. I’m
glad you’re finally getting into cooking and
have friends that have inspired and encouraged
you. I’m attaching several recipes that should get
I’ll send some more soonish.
Love you too,
Just as she placed the last pan in the drainer, there was a knock on the door. She ran over to the French doors and closed them, and took a long, slow deep breath before she opened her apartment door.
Alex was standing there with a curious, questioning look, holding a bouquet of flowers.
Hannah smiled, not really wanting to explain anything, “Avoidance is best,” she thought.
Alex cleared his throat and said, “These are for you.”
“Thanks, come on in,” Hannah smiled, breathing in the wonderful aroma of the flowers. She filled a vase with water, placing the flowers in it, then set it in the center of the dining table, which was just past where the food and plates were.
Alex pulled a chair out for Hannah and scooted it in for her when she sat. He sat at the head of the table and said a short prayer.
Hannah thought, “A prayer is definitely needed for this meal.”
“How was your day?” Alex asked, obviously trying not to laugh.
“Fine,” Hannah replied, determined not to talk about the disaster she’d made of cooking.
Alex smiled and dished up.
Hannah did the same, hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as she feared it would be.
“We have a new foal in stable three,” Alex informed her, taking a bite of Sheppard’s pie.
“Oh, wow,” Hannah said excitedly. “Can I go visit tomorrow?” She felt guilty hearing the crunching sounds as Alex chewed. She knew shepherd’s pie wasn’t supposed to be crunchy.
“Sure,” Alex nodded. “She’s not going anywhere. I have high hopes for that little girl.” Then he encouraged, “So, tell me what you did in school.”
“Programming, networking, if it had anything to do with computer tech, I was in on it,” Hannah replied, taking her first bite of shepherd’s pie. “It’s not too bad,” she thought, breathing a sigh of relief. “I’m going to send Bren a, thank you, email tomorrow.”
“So when’s your last day on the job?” Alex asked with one eye squinted a bit.
Hannah smiled, she couldn’t help it, just about everything about him seemed charming to her now. “Next Tuesday,” she replied.
“Good,” Alex nodded. “I’ll start showing you how things work here next week.”
“Okay,” she said. Then a thought came to her, “How long have you been doing the girls trick riding team?”
“Oh, since Lexie got interested when she was about six,” Alex smiled. “She used to like to go watch me ride in the rodeo and she saw groups of girls doing trick riding and wanted to learn.”
“Wow, that’s really cool,” Hannah said with admiration.
“Once she got started, some of her cousins wanted in, and before long I had a whole team,” Alex chuckled. “Those girls were very determined.”
“The ones now are too!” Hannah smiled. “I love watching them.”
“Maybe you’ll like going to the rodeo then?” Alex winked. “There’s usually another team that does the same circuit we do. Sometimes they get a little competitive, but it keeps my girls on their toes.”
“Like a rival football team?” Hannah proffered.
“Yep,” Alex replied.
After they finished the salad and Sheppard’s pie Hannah retrieved the almost apple pie from the warmer. It was a little burnt around the edges, but the middle was all the way delicious. That made Hannah feel a little better.
Alex helped Hannah with the dishes and told her about the rodeo schedule for the summer. The customary good night hug was given and, as Hannah closed the door, she breathed a sigh of relief.
“It wasn’t a complete disaster,” she thought.
Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:
This next week (8th & 9th), will start an ad campaign on Amazon.com for Return to New Parish ebook and a couple of give away days for Brigham Tea Magazine and New Parish. I hope you all get in on the free stuff and the advertising special!
In Return to New Parish Hannah not only makes new friends but falls in love with a little boy who’s a larger than life character. Liam is her boy, she had no hope of ever recovering from the love she had for him…
Excerpt from Return to New Parish:
Chapter 10 – Processing
“The next morning Hannah’s phone chimed as she was getting out of the shower. She saw it was from Cilla and touched the screen to see what it was about.
“Taking Liam to the hospital!”
“Crap,” Hannah groaned, wondering what had happened. She texted back, “What’s wrong?”
Cilla returned, “High temp and crying with his head hurting.”
Hannah quickly found out which hospital and told Cilla she’d be there soon.
Hannah dressed in record speed and ran into the kitchen to find Sarah.
“Cilla texted me that she’s taking Liam to the hospital, I’m going,” she hurriedly told Sarah.
“Wait,” Sarah said, grabbing Hannah by the arm to slow her exit. “I’ll come with you.”
“I’ll come too,” Max said getting up from the table. “That little Smith boy, Liam plays with is already in the hospital.”
“Why? What’s wrong with him? Is it Wade?” Hannah asked in rapid fire succession.
“Meningitis,” Max’s voice had an ominous tone. “Yeah, it’s Wade.”
The room fell silent. Max, Sarah, and Hannah walked quickly to the front door.
Hannah received texts from Cilla updating her all the way to the hospital, “The doctors admitted him straight away.” Next was, “Doing tests,” then a worrying, “He won’t wake up.”
The fear engulfing Hannah seemed to have super powers, it was growing exponentially with each text.
As Max parked the jeep, Hannah sent a text to Cilla, “We’re here. Where are you?”
Cilla text back the room number and they rushed there. They found Cilla, Hope, and Patty all teary eyed, but Liam wasn’t in the room.
“He’s out for some more tests,” Cilla told them as they entered.
“Okay,” Hannah sighed, wishing she could see him and ease the pain that was hurting her inside.
After hugs all around they heard someone sobbing loudly outside in the hallway. Sarah gave Hannah an “oh no” look and peeked out to see what was happening.
“Oh, it’s Gwen!” Sarah told the others.
Hannah watched as everyone went out to where the woman was openly crying. She followed feeling a bit surreal as the scene played out before her.
“What’s happened?” Patty asked urgently, hugging the woman closely.
An older man joined them, “It’s Wade,” he said with tears streaming down his face. “He’s gone. It just happened,” his voice sounded strained. “The doctors said there was nothing they could do. It was too fast.”
This wasn’t computing in Hannah’s mind, “Wade, Liam’s friend was dead. No,” she thought. “That can’t be right.” She watched Wade’s parents crying over their loss and the others trying to comfort them. “He’s really dead,” her thoughts turned to Liam and terror ripped through her soul, “No, no, no,” kept repeating in her mind.
Hannah listened as Cilla was telling Wade’s parents what was happening with Liam.
“That’s exactly what happened to Wade,” Gwen said, through difficult sobs.
A nurse approached the group, “I’m sorry,” she spoke to Wade’s parents, “but, we need to make some arrangements for your son now. If that’s okay?”
Hannah watched as Wade’s parents walked away. Cilla grabbed her wrist and said, “There they come. They’re bringing him back.”
Hannah could see the worry in Cilla’s expression, she could also feel it building more intensely in herself.
Seeing Liam lying in that bed was a moment in time Hannah wanted to escape. His body was lifeless, on a bed that was much too big for the smallness of her little cowboy. This was more than she could stand. She wanted so much for him to open his eyes, smile at her, and say “Hey, Miss Hannah.” She needed that more than she’d ever needed anything in her life.
The nurses parked his bed in its place and checked the monitors and IVs. After everything was sorted, one of the nurses said, “The doctor will be in to talk to you in a little while.”
“Thank you,” Cilla nodded, stroking Liam’s hair.
Hannah’s mind was coming to a standstill, “This is wrong,” she thought. “Just very wrong,” she reached down to touch his hand, it felt very warm. Her eyes followed the IV tube up to where it connected to the bags that were hanging. There were three bags, one large and two small, all plugged into the tube that was inserted into Liam. Again she thought, “This is wrong.”
Max’s voice broke the silence that had settled in the room, “How long till Uncle Alex gets here?”
“He took off from Durango when I left for the hospital, so that’s been about two hours,” Cilla responded.
“Okay,” Max nodded.
“So, how long is that? Till he gets here?” Hannah asked urgently, feeling that if Alex were here things would be better. She didn’t even try to push those feelings aside. They gave her a sliver of hope, that she needed to cling to.
Max shrugged, “Any time, really.”
The vice grip of fear that had gripped her eased a bit with that information. Hannah looked at the monitors and thought of the monitors she’d watched just a few days ago that showed Annie’s progress toward birth. “This is the opposite, the opposite of excitement, the opposite of happiness… This is wrong,” she thought again.
The heart rate monitor seemed to be working overtime, she watched as Liam’s heart beat raced across the small screen. She watched Liam’s breathing which seemed to be trying to keep up with the heart rate on the monitor. All she could do was watch helplessly as this horror played out.
As she continued to watch, things almost magically began to slow, “Maybe the medicine is starting to work,” she thought feeling for any relief she could find.
“Oh, dear,” Cilla said and pressed the nurse call button.
Hannah could see why as she followed Cilla’s gaze. Liam’s arm, where the IV was inserted had begun to swell.
The nurse came in and removed the IV and after looking at Liam’s veins, said she’d send in someone to replace it. In just a few minutes a man wearing green scrubs came in and looked very closely at Liam’s veins, both his arms and legs. The man sighed and said, “I’ll check with the doctor. He’ll be in to talk to you soon.”
Cilla nodded, looking as though she were hearing, but not understanding, as the man left the room.
Hannah moved back to her position next to Liam after the flurry of nurse and technician. She squeezed his warm little hand in hers and went back to watching the monitors. Liam’s heart rate had slowed way down now and so had his breathing, “That can’t be good,” she thought. An extra surge of fear went through her.
The door to the room opened and a short man with short black hair, wearing faded blue scrubs and a white lab jacket walked in. He didn’t smile, he had a serious, somber expression.
Cilla asked him with obvious concern in her voice, “Doctor, what have you found?”
The doctor cleared his throat and began, “The blood work showed a high wbc, white blood cell count, so as you know we went on with the spinal tap. The sample from the tap looked cloudy under the microscope so I asked the pathologist to read it right away,” he took a breath as if he were preparing to step into deep water. Then he continued, “Your son has bacterial meningitis, it has progressed very rapidly. I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do to help him. He’s not stable enough to do the surgery we’d need to do to replace the IV, so we’re not going to attempt it. His heart rate will slowly decrease, and then, he’ll be gone. I’m very sorry,” the doctor repeated. “I’m sorry.” He bowed his head and turned to leave the room, but stopped mid step.
There was a tall cowboy standing in the doorway of the room. Wearing a black cowboy hat with the brim pulled low so that you could just barely see his eyes. The doctor stood there and seemed in shock.
“I’m the boy’s father,” Alex James drawled slowly.
“I’m sorry, sir, there’s nothing we can do for your son,” the doctor began.
Alex cut him off abruptly, “Maybe there is nothing you can do,” he said firmly. “Get out of my way. There’s something I can do.”
The doctor stammered something inaudible and Alex repeated in a low growl, “Get out.”
“Yes, sir,” he mumbled and hastily left the room.
“Max, clear the room, take care of your mothers,” Alex ordered.
Hannah hadn’t moved or even barely breathed since the doctor had entered the room. When Sarah put her arm around her shoulders and began guiding her out of the room it brought everything from a blurred unprocessed state to a full on focused reality. Everything the doctor had said crashed in on her. The pain of it all gushed out of her in torrents of tears.
She looked back into the room, and before Max closed the door, she saw Alex take off his hat, grasp Liam’s hand and kneel down beside the bed.
Seconds turned into decades, as she stood in the hallway fighting her heart’s longing to go back into the room and be near her little cowboy. She looked at Patty, Hope, and Cilla, there were tears, but there was a strength in their eyes that Hannah couldn’t understand. She was falling apart, and they were holding onto something she couldn’t fathom.
To not run back into Liam’s room, was taking all her efforts. Her thoughts turned to what she’d seen as Sarah led her out of his room, “Why couldn’t we stay in there? He’s just praying.” She pondered that for a moment to distract herself, then the need to run back into Liam’s room returned to torture her once again. The doctor’s voice began to haunt her thoughts, “Nothing we can do… his heart will slow… he’ll be gone… No!” she shut down the haunt.
A nurse approached the door to Liam’s room, where Max was standing sentinel and said, “Excuse me, I need to check on him.”
“Can you wait a few minutes?” Max asked her politely. “His father’s just gotten here and asked for some time alone with the boy.”
“Sure,” the nurse nodded. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
Hannah watched Max, “He looks like he’s standing guard,” she thought. Then she thought she must be losing it all together because she thought she heard Liam laughing. She looked at Sarah questioningly and asked, “Did you hear that? It sounded like it was coming from Liam’s room.”
Sarah shrugged and smiled at her.
She looked back at Max, he was smiling too, she thought she saw a tear roll down his cheek.
The door behind Max opened, he turned and moved aside. Alex walked out of the room carrying Liam, who had both arms and legs wrapped around him, giggling. Everyone rushed to them, everyone except Hannah. She was so shocked she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“You’re hugging me to death!” Liam giggled as Cilla, Hope, and Patty were all busy squeezing him with tears freely streaming down their faces.
That moment would be indelibly imprinted in Hannah’s memory for the rest of her life. How it had happened, she didn’t know, but she was more grateful than she’d ever been.
Hannah finally snapped out of it and took her turn at hugging the little cowboy.
“Miss Hannah,” Liam drawled, “I ain’t wore a diaper in years. I hope you don’t think I’m a baby or something.”
Hannah smiled, “No way, Dude, you’re the coolest kid I know.” She hugged him again full of joy to have him back.”
Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:
You must be logged in to post a comment.