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Grieving The Loss of Your Pet

It seems strange to talk about grieving on a blog called The HAPPY but sadly, grieving the loss of a loved one or a cherished pet is a part of our time here on earth.

This photo of Earl was taken when he was about six weeks old and probably weighed about 10 ounces. Little did he know in a couple of weeks he would travel from his birth home in Michigan and travel to Indiana to meet the people who would give him his forever home. He didn’t know he would live to be fourteen and a half years old, weigh a whopping 9.6 pounds and make everyone he ever met laugh — although I do have to say, he does look pretty confident!

He has been gone for almost two months and I still get teary-eyed or cry when I talk about him and even now, writing about him I have to stop and dab my eyes. I have a feeling this will be the case for a long time. More and more though I notice that I’m able to talk about the fun times without tears. Will those good memories ever fill the hole in my heart? I honestly don’t know.

I do have several books that have helped me through the grieving process and I’d like to share them with you.

The Loss of A Pet: A Guide To Coping With The Grieving Process When A Pet Dies by Wallace Sife

Goodbye Friend: Healing Wisdom For Anyone Who Has Ever Lost A Pet by Gary Kowalski

Facing Farewell-Making The Decision To Euthanize Your Pet by Julie Reck DVM

All of these books are written by kind, compassionate people who know what it is to love a pet and miss it’s absence. In these books you’ll also find tips to help others understand what you’re going through and tips on dealing with those who say; “it was only a dog/cat/parakeet etc.” I might say some unladylike words or  give such a person a hand gesture or two. The experts in these pages will give you better coping skills for handling insensitive people than I ever could.

If we love a pet, we all must someday take this sad journey. It’s heartening to know that others have gone before us and have written about it so eloquently.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

See you in a few days with a much lighter subject!

Hugs,

Nancy

 

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Changes

Hello,

As you can see, I’m making some changes. It’s difficult to continue with the old blog theme without my little companion Earl by my side so I decided to change things up yet still keep him “here.” I will continue to add to his page so we can help other blind dogs live the great life he did.

I apologize to all of you who received In Honor of Earl a second time yesterday. I had no idea when I changed the blog over that my last post would go out again. I obviously still have much to learn about blogging and social media.

The photo is one I posted on Instagram this morning. It’s a message from my sun porch:) If you use Instagram I’d love to follow you! A huge thank you to my dear daughter for encouraging me to use it. Natalie knew I’d love the visual inspiration and connection. My Instagram connection button is to the left of this post. It’s so tiny, I thought I’d point it out.

Thanks for being here and a big shoutout to Rachel and Megan for liking my Earl post the second time around, it was so sweet of you both! Let’s hope I don’t send it out a third or fourth time! If so, you two are off the hook for likes.

I’ll be back with another post in a few days.

Here’s to embracing change!

Hugs,

Nancy

 

In Honor of Earl

Hello!

I haven’t been around in some time and there is a reason for this absence. On Friday, June 17th we laid our little dog Earl to rest. I’ve known the day would come since early April and come it did. My little warrior’s heart was brave up until the end and he was surrounded by many of the people he loved. We buried him in a spot by the barn where I can look out my kitchen window and “see” him. My husband found a beautiful red rock to mark the spot and I’m busily trying to make things pretty. Bunnies and birds have been coming to visit, even a deer or two. Earl would love this attention and would gladly give them a merry chase if he only he could.

I’ll continue with the blog but how and when I’m not sure. I need some more time but I will indeed do something to honor my little buddy and keep to the regular writing schedule he held me to. 1 p.m. My office. He was there. Laying in the sun, waiting. He’d stand to acknowledge my presence in the chair and lay back down.

Such a dear little dog, a true friend and companion. My family and I miss him more than words can say. 14 years old and three months! Almost four years blind but he was fearless and brave and enjoyed his independence in the house and outdoors. Don’t worry, he liked to be babied too. He was with us through thick and thin, vacations and parties. Earl could party, believe me, staying up well into the night around campfires, late night snacks or party clean-up. Always there, always with us. It can’t and won’t be the same without him.

Love and smooches,

Nancy

Tips for Writing A Personal Essay

Ha! I’m back! I’m doing a happy dance, finally, a normal day after weeks of *&^%$#@!!!! Earl is snoozing and

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing personal essays. Eight years ago I’d written a handful of essays for the back page of a local magazine, enjoyed it immensely but never gave much thought to writing them again once that particular publication closed down. Now, I love reading essay collections especially humor stories by Connie Schultz, Sloane Crosley, Erma Bombeck and Mindy Kaling (yes, The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling) What I wouldn’t give for a kitchen table discussion with these ladies about their writing craft.

If, like me, you’ve been thinking about writing personal essays and honing your craft here are three terrific links with solid info you can put to use right now.

1) Writing A Personal Reflective Essay

A deep dive into the parts of a personal essay and how to put your words to work:)

2) How To Write A Personal Essay That Will Tell Your Story The Way You Want It To

13 tips with keen insights to take you from draft to finished product

3) 8 Tips For Dazzling An Editor With Your Personal Essay

An editor who is also a writer and teacher offers her tips for writing the personal essay.

How about you? Ever thought about writing personal essays? Any resources. books or authors you’d like to share?

Have a happy afternoon and evening! Earl says;

You should really get back to work now!

“You should really get back to work now or bake me a chicken.”

Smooches!
Nancy

Happy Thoughts

Hi.

You’re probably wondering where the heck I’ve been and to be truthful I do feel a little sheepish,

I'm ok.

I’m ok. Really.

*groan* about not blogging for so long.  I’ve been traveling for a few weeks, writing for my paying gigs, getting my house and yard ready for spring and planning a bridal shower for my super future daughter-in-law. Happy things! But along the way, life got crappy  uh, interesting.

I’m finally getting back to my regular routine, (hello yoga class tomorrow:) life has become a little less crappy (thank you sweet daughter for our surprise lunch) and I’ll be back with you soon — maybe even tomorrow!

Thanks!

Earl sends smooches!

Hugs,

Nancy and Earl

The Hardest Part of Working Out

Martha Beck says in her book, The Four Day Win, the hardest part about working out or going to the gym is “getting to the gym.”

I agree! You can have all the greatest of intentions but unless you make it as easy or convenient as possible to get there, it might not happen.

I’ve been practicing yoga at home on a regular basis for almost a year. I love how it makes me feel. I have some weird leg problems that no one seems to be able to diagnose and I’d discovered yoga on top of my regular workouts really helped.

Last spring, I began thinking it was about time I went to a community class. I knew a class would teach me more than I could give myself at home, plus I would be challenged and Earl and I so like a challenge.

The sitting on a pontoon, enjoying our day challenge.

The sitting on a pontoon, enjoying our day challenge.

The nearest city to our home, Fort Wayne is about 45 minutes away. My daughter lives in Ft. Wayne and she’d heard a lot of great things about a yoga studio close to her house. I go to Ft. Wayne about once a week to do errands (there’s nothing like shopping in the big city:) so I thought this would be perfect.

The yoga studio my daughter suggested was terrific and everyone was wonderful. The teacher, Linda, had a soft lyrical voice that instantly created a circle of calm. I loved it. Let me say it again. I loved it. But I didn’t love it enough to go every week or even on a semi-regular basis.

In the midst of my struggle to get to the yoga studio, I had to write an article about women’s work-out routines.

As I was researching the assignment I realized there was a yoga and fitness studio closer to my home, about 30 minutes away. I called the owner of the studio for an interview. She was great (why are yoga people always so nice?:) helped me create a solid article and we had a wonderful conversation.

Getting There

I began to reflect on why I wasn’t making to the studio in Fort Wayne.  After yoga, I would be sweaty and I’d have to put on my street clothes to do my errands, which would mean packing a bag with a lot of extra stuff.  On weeks when it wasn’t necessary to go to the big city, I still didn’t go to yoga because it took me an hour to get there, an hour and a half class and and then an hour home. A sizable chunk of my time. In other words, it was inconvenient.

So, you’re probably thinking I switched over to the studio closest to me right away, right?

Nope. It took me two months to get to there. Why, oh why, you ask?Because I felt guilty not going to the other one. Yeah. Not my brightest moment. I just kept plugging away on my own.

When I finally did go, I was greeted by a very sweet, upbeat instructor, Stacy, who made me feel at home.  I was also greeted by five of the most kind, generous women a girl could ask for. Women who made me feel comfortable and who told me not to worry about anyone but myself. Smiling women who told me everyone was at a different level, just go at my own pace. Another kind woman, Ann, reminded me the class was Yoga For Everybody. I’m inspired by the fact that these women are around my age, some older, some younger (I’m 58) and they are all in great shape and limber. Now I’m not privy to their medical histories and only they know the true state of their health, but these women GLOW good health and more importantly, they share a generous spirit.

As for me, I can go to a morning class and come home feeling great in 2 1/2 hours.  Now I find myself getting there each and every week and it’s making a real difference off the mat and in many areas of my life. Thanks to the challenge of a class, my annoying leg issue has vastly improved too. It’s exciting!

The Secrets

The other secrets to getting there? It’s so simple. Lots of Mom do this for their kids during the school week all the time. I lay out my workout clothes the night before or the morning before, everything right down to my shoes and yoga mat.

This works so well, I now lay out my workout clothes the night before I plan to workout at home AND I put my them on as soon as I wake up. No toddling off to get coffee or take Earl out until the workout clothes are on my body. This signals to my brain that this morning I WILL do my workout.

The Four Day Win also suggests driving to the gym or studio before your first visit and even go so far as to sit in your car in the parking lot if you need to, all to give you a feel for “getting there.” Since my new yoga studio is on a main street in a little village, I drove by before my first class to get a feel for where I might park and it cut my first day jitters in half.

Anyone else have trouble getting to the gym, yoga studio or even working out at home? What tips can you share with me and others? Thank you so much for being here!

Smooches,

Nancy and Earl

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Wreath Stays Part Two

My previous post The Christmas Wreath Stays is about two American Goldfinches roosting in the Christmas wreath on my front door since early December. In case you haven’t read that post, these birds are very small and both would fit in the palm of a small hand. They fly into the wreath at twilight to roost and stay all night until first light. The fun thing is we can see them, sort of— because our door is etched beveled glass. By nightfall, little Mr. and Mrs. are magnified in a weird funhouse mirror way.

Hubby ALWAYS sees both of them fly in. I mean he REALLY see them. I have only ever seen one fly in. So before twilight one evening I positioned myself, determined to witness this event on my own, equipped with a glass of wine and Earl on my lap, at the big window in the dining room. I imagined them coming from the front, up the hill, down the short sidewalk to the front door.

Hubby remained in his position on the couch facing the door where he ALWAYS sees them. I kept my eyes trained on the hill. Earl was a good sport even though he seemed confused by our new evening seating arrangement.

Then it happened.
Hubby says; “See it?”
Me; “Really?”
Hubby snickering; “Yeah one just flew in.”
Me, not taking my eyes off the window; “Are you kidding me?”
Hubby chuckling a little; “Keep looking, the other one will come soon.”
Me: Speechless (for a change:) frantically scanning the landscape side to side totally pissed I didn’t see the first one.
Hubby: “And there’sssss… the other one! See it? Did you see it?”
Me: “S—T” !!!!

Nope didn’t see them. Apparently they flew in over the house from the right, left or the back. I don’t know why I was so certain they would come from the front. Hubby laughed and I think he even slapped his knee once or twice.

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I didn’t see those darn birds either!

A few nights later, I was sitting in Hubby’s spot on the couch and saw them both fly in. Mrs. flies in first and fluffs everything up with her beak which is adorable. Then Mr. flies in and there’s a greeting, a birdy hug and they cuddle up tight. Hubby says Mr. comes in last because the poor guy always has to work late. I say she works too but feels it’s important to come home and makes things pretty and comfy for him. Then we laugh.

Winters get pretty long out here in the middle of nowhere.

After that night, they never came back. I waited three days before I took the wreath down. I’d been noticing a flock of goldfinches at my bird feeder and I like to think they’re staying with family and friends now. My little birds have flown the wreath.

I miss my little fatheads and all our funny stories about them. However, the beauty of living out here in the sticks is there’s always another critter with strange behaviors waiting in the wings.

Now we have a bad-ass squirrel…

Do you have any bird or animal stories to share? Let me know in the comments!

Hugs and Smooches!
Nancy and Earl

The Threefold-Great Escapes

Tough day? Guess what? I hope to make your day better and brighter. Cuddle up with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and prepare to be whisked away to great blog content, photography, comfort and food.

I admire anyone who has photography skills because I’m hopeless with a camera. Ask hubby, ask my kids. They will laugh loud, long and hard. Oh, the embarrassing stories they could tell! But let’s talk about that another day, let’s see what three terrific foodies, do-it-yourselfers and photographers are up to.

A Garden For The House
Kevin makes his recipes and gardening tips humorous but have no doubt, they are for real. Every recipe I’ve tried has turned out well and when I needed to know about how to prevent squirrels from digging up spring bulbs he had the most informative and totally hilarious post. And it WORKED.

When I tell hubby I’m making one of my cyber-boyfriend’s recipes for dinner he smiles, because he knows it’s going to be delicious. If I say I making one of Kevin’s recipes, he looks puzzled and says, “who?” So, Kevin will remain my cyber-boyfriend where hubby is concerned.

At Kevin’s place you can go for a garden tour with his adorable dog, (come on, you had to know there would be a dog!) and find humorous, yummy recipes. Take your time and meander…truly delightful!

Aiken House and Gardens
I love going to Carolyn’s little cottage on Prince Edward Island. Oh my. Girly-girl stuff. Lace, teacups, soft lighting. Almost meditative. Love. I have some serious china envy with this girl. Every single teacup/teapot/place setting she shares, I want. I want them all.

I haven’t been to Prince Edward Island since I was a child. My parents were married in Summerside P. E. I. during WW II and were happily married  just shy of 68 years before Mom passed away. P. E. I. is also the setting for one of my favorite childhood books, Anne of Green Gables. Go to Carolyn’s. Sit, stay, breathe. Have a cup of tea. Lovely!

Mrs Twinkle : My Wonderful Little World
How could you not like a young woman named Mrs. Twinkle? Her DIY ideas for adults and kids are fun, her photos gorgeous, her recipes yummy. In addition to her lovely children, she has a dog too. Take the time to explore, you won’t be sorry. Plus it’s Switzerland! Who doesn’t want to go to Switzerland??? Get thee to Switzerland to see Mrs. Twinkle! Kick back, relax. She will make you smile. Promise!

What about you? Where do you go for a blog escape? Please share in the comments!

The Christmas Wreath Stays

I know the holidays are over. Our indoor décor is packed up and put away and we took down our outdoor decorations last week. That is, all except the wreath on the front door. Here it is in all it’s fake-fruited glory.

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I love this wreath, had if for years, and was very disappointed when the red, green and white twinkle lights died but now I think I know what happened. Two tiny birds decided this was a great place to roost on a cold winter’s night and loosened some of the bulbs.

They are so darn cute. They fly in at twilight, which here in Northern Indiana is around 5-ish. They snuggle up close to the glass on fake evergreen boughs and stay there all night until first light, around 7:30 a.m.

Of course, there are a ton of questions I’d like to ask these two. Why sleep here when you are surrounded by trees and brush piles along with some very nice boxwood shrubs? The fading red ribbon might block the wind a little and the light above the front porch stays on all night but seriously, I doubt you’re very warm. Sometimes at night when I walk past the door, but not too close, the etched and beveled glass makes you both look like little fatheads! Which by the way, is quite adorable. Still, I worry. Last night it was zero degrees. Zero.. If there was such a thing as a birdie blanket, I would make or buy you one.

Then there’s the matter of your friend, who swoops in occasionally and sleeps above you two by the plastic pomegranate. Who is this weird bird? A wayward teenager or a crazy relative?

I tried to get a look at you to determine what type of birds you were. One evening hubby thought I was playing some sort of game by standing out by the front door (yeah, I question this too—this is a fun household, but seriously???)which consequently made him stand too close to the door making faces at me from the inside. You flew out of the wreath and at my head. I know you meant no offense.

I’m pretty sure I looked like the grim reaper in my big black wool coat and hood. Waving my purple gloved hands and screeching had to be terrifying as well. Then, there’s the matter of hubby’s shiny bald head on the other side of the door which had to be like nothing you’ve ever seen in your teeny-tiny lives. Flying at my head was your only choice.

And still you came back…

I’ve determined you’re American Goldfinches. You are both so tiny, smaller than a sparrow and both brown, which had me puzzled at first because everyone knows goldfinch males are bright yellow with a little black cap. But then I found out the male American Goldfinch loses his bright yellow plumage in the winter! My other clue that you are indeed American Goldfinches is the endearing fact that your species is monogamous. Really, this melts my heart. A little Mr. and Mrs. right here on my front door who snuggle close and are kind enough to allow guests.

Hubby and I sit and talk in the late afternoons before dinner. I have a glass of wine, he has a beer and he always seems to be sitting facing the entryway where he has a full-on view of the wreath. He’ll break mid-sentence no matter what the topic, politics, hockey, upcoming vacations— and say; “Your birds just flew in.” like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

If you two are worried about Christmas being long gone, the wreath stays until winter is over. I don’t care what anyone thinks, unless winter stays until Easter and then we’ll have to talk. The wreath stays until temperatures rise and you can find a nice tree to build your teacup-size nest and raise your young. Never mind that this won’t happen for a couple of months. For now, consider the wreath and our door your “Home Tweet Home”

See ya tonight little fatheads!

Smooches,
Nancy and Earl

The Threefold: Three Authors, Three Books, Three Genres

Welcome to something new at Dancing In My Kitchen.

The Threefold.

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In ancient Celtic wisdom it was also known as the Power of Three. Many Celtic goddesses have three “faces,” or aspects like Brigid, the goddess of healing, poetry and fire.The Celts also believed in three realms: the celestial realm (where gods and goddesses dwell), the earthly realm (home of mortal men and women), and the underworld realm (home of fairy people and human ancestors). I could go on and on with my nerdy knowledge of Celtic Wisdom but I’ll spare you.

Suffice it to say here at Dancing, “good things come in threes” Threefold posts will include three links to things I’ve found around the web which I think are helpful. Today, I’m going to help you with your winter reading (ha!) and introduce you to three of my friends who have new books out.

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I’ve known these ladies for over ten years. Natalie Ellis and I used to make the hundred mile trek to Indianapolis once a month to attend the Indiana Romance Writer’s Association meetings. Time spent in the car and dinner afterward with chapter members provided us with time to brainstorm book ideas, plots and all manner of writing related topics. Natalie has a wicked-smart sense for twisty plots like no other person I know. Even though our writing took different turns and we no longer attend these meetings, we still keep in contact with each other, sharing our lives and our writing/publishing escapades.

Official Bio: Natalie S. Ellis worked behind the scenes in TV news for sixteen years and will always miss the rush of a breaking story. But the seduction of writing a fiery romance with twisty suspense is even harder to resist, especially when she has a new curve-ball for the plot. Natalie enjoys living in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attributes her cheerful attitude to empty nesting, a supportive family, and way too many lattés. Visit www.nataliesellis.com for links to FEAR FOR HIRE and REVENGE FOR HIRE, the second book in the “For Hire” series. Although REVENGE FOR HIRE Natalie’s newest book is a standalone, reading her first book, Fear for Hire is recommended.

Book Blurb: REVENGE FOR HIRE: With a young girl’s life on the line, can Billie and Nolan work together to save her while keeping their attraction to each other at bay?

North West Side Chicago. A man’s phone rings at 3am, and it’s every father’s worst nightmare – his little girl is in danger.

Fort Wayne, Indiana. Belinda ‘Billie’ Chapman is working the overnight shift at WVOX-TV when she’s called away to photograph a car that’s crashed into the second story of a house. But when a little girl is spotted in the house across the street, the aggressive behavior of her guardian piques Billie’s curiosity.

Nolan Voss has come to Fort Wayne to check on WVOX-TV, the station he owns. Rich, uptight and deliciously hot, he can’t keep away from the fiery Billie, and that means being dragged into her plan to help the young girl.

Each step closer to finding the truth leads them to a dangerous plot that has come all the way from Chicago. Will the danger only fuel their irresistible attraction to one another? Or will one of them get burned?

While attending meetings in Indy, I also met D.D. Scott and Oberon Wonch. I instantly connected with these generous, super-smart, witty women. My recent reconnection with them on Facebook has been too fun for words. They are always upbeat and interesting — plus they love dogs, cats and critters, so Earl loves them too.

D.D. has always been full of light, laughter and good vibes — it is no surprise to me that after finding success in fiction she delved into non-fiction and recently published I Am Good Enough One Non-Guru’s Guide To Spiritual Awakening

Official Bio: D. D. Scott is an International Bestselling Author and Spiritual Awakening Ambassador. With over 300,000 books sold, including 35 titles in 6 genres and chart-topping audio books, she treats her readers to loads of laughs and a bunch of love and light. You can get the scoop on her, her books and her adventures as a gluten-free vegan yogi in her cyber home—www.DDScottville.com.

Book Blurb

What if you don’t have to escape into the pages of a novel to find your very own happily-ever-after? What if there are miracles of happily-ever-after waiting for each of us and all we have to do is know where to find them? And better yet, what if we don’t have to find them? What if we already have everything we need inside of us?

I’m D. D. Scott, an Amazon Top 100 and International Bestselling Author. I’ve topped bestselling book lists with over thirty contemporary romances, humorous mysteries and on-writing books. Almost one million copies of my books have been downloaded. But how do these accomplishments qualify me to write books on spiritual awakening? It’s okay to wonder that. I pondered the same thing—for months!

What I discovered was that throughout my publishing career, I’ve written stories filled with love and laughter, the basic ingredients of the genres I excelled in. But what I hadn’t figured out, until my own spiritual awakening adventure began was that my life purpose was to leave fiction behind for awhile and to explore love and laughter as it applies to our very-real, everyday lives. I asked myself, “What if I could find a way to give people a happily-ever-after in their own lives instead of providing them with a few hours of escape into the fictional worlds I create?”

Hooked? I thought so! You can read the remainder of D.D.’s book blurb at I Am Good Enough

Years ago at an autumn writer’s retreat, Oberon read a passage of her work in progress and I clearly remember being awed by her lyrical writing and historical voice. Come To Me is Oberon’s debut novel with Engtangled Publishing.

Oberon’s Official Bio:
Oberon Wonch has engaged in a love affair with books for as long as she can remember. Penning her own stories from an early age, she later earned a degree in World Literature while studying several languages–all in order to learn what makes a tale endure the ages, but really just to read more books. Her very favorite stories–both to read and write–are those that celebrate the happily-ever-after.

An avid gardener and armchair archaeologist, she grew up in northeast Ohio but now lives in Indiana with her college sweetheart husband and two very joyful little dogs. She enjoys connecting with readers. Contact her through her website at www.oberonwonch.com or follow her on Twitter @OberonWonch and on Facebook at Oberon Wonch, Author.

Come To Me
Book Blurb
A maiden’s duty becomes a woman’s desire…
Comte Grégoire FitzHenri, the new Earl of Shyleburgh, is known for his prowess as one of the Norman conqueror’s most favored warriors…but not for his romantic sensibility or his command of the English language. Grégoire looks forward to his imminent marriage with his seneschal’s beautiful daughter, his longtime betrothed. But as a rough-hewn soldier, he wishes to enchant the elegant lady before taking their wedding vows—which means an interpreter…and much-needed lessons in courtly love.

The clever Bridget of Shyleburgh has been secretly in love with Grégoire since his visit as a dashing young warrior—when he was promised in marriage to her sister. But when he returns five years later as their new earl, Bridget is tasked with translating for him—including his love letters and somewhat awkward attempts to woo her sister. Mortified at first, Bridget soon finds herself completely charmed by his whispers of love and desire. She never expected such tenderness…or such wicked temptation… from a man like him. Grégoire’s heated missives tempt a fair maiden to stray down a path filled with forbidden pleasures. But his words are meant for another… aren’t they?

Oberon’s “unofficial” book blurb:
Come to Me is a new take on the Cyrano De Bergerac story, with a little bit of the Sound of Music mixed in.

Fun and Romance in a historical novel? Count me in!

So there you have it, my Threefold for the week and my task of helping you with your winter reading complete. Yay!

Thank you Oberon, D.D. and Natalie for all your kindnesses over the years. I wish you all much success now and in the future.

And to my readers…Hugs and Smooches!

Nancy and Earl