Thank You Nancy Drew For Inspiring My Love For Writing!

Nancy Drew  I love words!  My desire to be an author began as a child…all because of my enjoyment of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series.  I had written my own mystery called The Secret of the Old Oak Tree, but it was bound only in yellow construction paper—the finest binding a fourth grader with a vision could create. My teacher went around the room one day asking each one of us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember raising my arm and excitedly saying, “I’m going to be an author when I grow up!”

It took thirty long years to realize the dream…but so worth the wait. I just want to encourage all the writers out there with the same dream to never give up on it. I can remember trying desperately to come up with intriguing plots for many years. However, I realized that sometimes we just have to wait for the right timing.

My inspiration came after my father’s death twenty years ago. He was a pathologist and was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s when he was 56. He looked young and healthy, but it was a deceiving camouflage that hid the insidious disease that was robbing his once, bright mind.

After his death, nine years later, I found myself in that common position of needing to explain the natural cycle of life to my two young sons. I was walking on the beach in 103 degree heat. I kept visualizing the image of a melting snowman family who return in the form of happy raindrops together again. My mind was so deep in thought that I walked way, way, way too far from where I was staying. I found myself parched and weary, having lost all sense of time and distance. However, I was ecstatic because the creative process had, at long last, produced for me. I spotted a lady on her deck and I asked if I could use her phone to call my mother. When my mother drove up to rescue her distracted daughter, I jumped in the car and said, “I finally have the idea for my first book!” The Everlasting Snowman—a story of the cycle of life—was birthed at long last. The artist, Tamara Scantland Adams, did an excellent job of bringing the words to life with beautiful watercolor illustrations. It is a book that has a universal message of loss –an aid in grief resolution. It is a book for children, but also for the adults holding them by the hand who need the comfort, as well. Thank you, Nancy Drew, for being the catalyst for igniting my wonderful career   and fulfilling my dream that began as a child. I have written a total of eight books and have another children’s book that should be out by the end of the year. I feel so fortunate. I am certain my father would be pleased and is smiling down from heaven.

I hope that my message will encourage other writers with “the dream” to never give up on it. If you love words…you can make your dream come true, too.  Personalized copies may be ordered by visiting

The Everlasting Snowman

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A Touching Moment That Made My Heart Smile


DaddyHave you ever experienced a moment when you are so touched by a discovery that it  causes you to set your “to do” list aside in order to absorb in the emotions? This happened to me recently and I have my father to thank for the heart wrenching moments. He died 20 years ago at the age of 63. He was a doctor having graduated from Carolina Medical School at the top of his class. But in spite of his incredibly sharp mind, it was his kind heart and gentle soul that was his most beloved trait by his family, friends and patients. He began his medical career with his own practice. He only charged $3.00 per office visit. He was, also, known for accepting vegetables from the garden of patients who had difficulty paying. It bothered him greatly to bill his patients. He decided to go back to school at Bowman Gray to become a pathologist. He could be paid by the hospital and never have to worry about billing his patients again. After he died we received a mountain of letters from his former patients who had been so appreciative of his good deeds.

I happened to run across a multitude of his old medical textbooks. I noticed that on the inside cover of each of his books, he had written beautiful quotes that he had gathered from a myriad of sources. After drinking each of them in, it struck me that he had lived his whole life by these quotes. It completely explained why he was such a cherished husband, father, friend and doctor. I am sharing a few of the quotes below in hopes that each of you will use them to live by as you progress through your journey called “life!”

Do all the good you can…By all the means you can… In all the ways you can… To all the people you can… As long as ever you can…   John Wesley

To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always…  Fifteenth century French quote

If you wish for kindness, be kind.

What you give of love you receive

If you wish for truth, be true.

Your life is a reflex of you….James Allen

One ship sails east, another sails west

With the self same winds that blow.
It’s the set of the sail and not the gale
That determines the way they go.

Like the winds of the sea are the waves of fate
As we journey along through life.
It’s the set of the soul that determines the goal
And not the storm and the strife….Elma Wheeler Wilcox

The Rose Beyond The Wall

Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
Watered and fed by the morning dew,
Shedding it’s sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice’s length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing it’s fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve
And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive–
The rose still grows beyond the wall,

Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forever-more.

.A.L. Frink


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Silent Night….Un-Silent Night…

                             Silent Night…Un-Silent Night…..

 The most anticipated event of the year for my mother and many others in her town of Elkin, NC is the annual Christmas Community Chorus. It is a collaborative effort by 34 churches and 106 of the most beautiful voices. They practice for seven weeks prior to the event, as they strive towards perfection. They are always successful at attaining it.  The people in attendance sit in a collective reverent awe, as they are enraptured by the soothing ensemble of a Christmas must that goes straight to the heart and soul. It is one of my most favorite childhood memories.

Now… what if I told you that several years ago at this most cherished holiday event, my mother single-handedly turned these Christmas carols into “Christmas Peril?” Because she is such a fan of the event she decided to take a tape player in order to save the tunes for posterity. The people were nestled all snug in their pews while visions of the anticipated soprano solos danced in their minds. For a time, she taped inconspicuously. It was a technologically smooth event…or so she thought…until the lights were dimmed for the preparation of the mood for the next lovely song. However… the ambiance was disturbed when my mother inadvertently pressed play instead of record. Oops!

Up from the pews there arose such a clatter. Everyone turned their heads to check out from where the blaring sounds were coming. When what to their wondering ears should they hear, but loud strains of the cheerful song from kindergarten days, “Sailing, sailing, over the ocean blue!” Apparently, my mother had grabbed a tape from a recording session my sister and her friend had made from years past. Under the pew, she flew like a flash, punching wildly to find the right button to make her Christmas chaos end.

Unfortunately, Christmas and stress can be synonymous…and it should not. One Christmas, when my son was a toddler, he knocked the tree over three times. By the third decorating attempt, I was lacking the initial spirit and haphazardly found myself throwing tinsel on a lop-sided, beaten down tree, in only the way that a Griswold would do best.

We are becoming a society of self-imposed holiday stress in this fast-paced, task-oriented society. It can manifest itself in “grinchness. “ If we are not careful, it can defeat the true meaning altogether. We must find a way to de-pressurize Christmas and focus our energies on what truly matters. It’s actually a message that should not only carry us through Christmas, but throughout our lifetimes.

Maya Angelou expressed what “truly matters” in that little way she has by saying, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they are gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve  learned that you should not go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I have learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I have learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

So…concentrate this Christmas on making the people you love feel the best they have ever felt by heartfelt words and actions. Perhaps, my mother’s Christmas faux pas was not such a “goof-up” after all. Maybe we should all give ourselves the gift of “sailing, sailing over the ocean blue” with a carefree spirit knowing we have opened our hearts to show the most important aspect of Christmas…LOVE!

         Merry Christmas! Allow yourself to relax and sail over the ocean blue…!

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“A Friend is The Hope of The Heart”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A friend is the hope of the heart,” Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently said. And the hope in the hearts of the fourth grade students of their teacher, Colleen Buchauer, was that she would know that they would love her forever. Love and hope went hand in hand in their lives and are naturally deep-rooted human needs. The symbol of their special love for Colleen came in the form of hats….simple, white painter’s hats. They were the symbol of love and empathy for Colleen as she gallantly fought breast cancer.

Colleen was diagnosed with a rare form of inflammatory breast cancer. It can be overlooked because the initial change to the body is not in the typical form of a lump. Swelling and a rash are indicative of this type of cancer.

I interviewed Colleen many years ago in order to write an article that would hopefully touch lives. She had expressed that the elementary  school where she taught was “the most wonderful, loving school. I am so blessed to have their support. I love my job. It is a dream job and I have a dream class. It is one of the things that have saved me! Being here makes me feel better!” On the days that followed her chemotherapy treatments, volunteers came in to teach her class, including retired teachers who had previously taught there. Colleen is pleased that in spite of her illness, the level of her instruction and education never wavered…thanks to her cherished friends.

Colleen’s initial words to me were, “This story really should not be about me. It should be about the children, the teachers and their support.” The teachers at the school where she taught were trying to find a way to show their love and support for Colleen. Two of the teachers said they would shave their heads, but as appreciative as she was, Colleen said that really was not necessary. They came up with an even better all-inclusive plan. The teachers, as well as, the fourth grade students, decided to wear hats to show their support. They were designed, painted and personalized by the children in any way they wished. Because their school had a uniform policy, they had to go before the School Improvement Team to get permission to wear the hats on school property. The hats were readily approved and the plan was executed. First Union Bank donated the hats for the cause. Some of the brightly decorated hats said such things as, “Go Mrs. Buchauer!” or “We Love You, Mrs. Buchauer!” It is a daily constant reminder to Colleen that she is cherished by her devoted friends and students. They have made every effort to let Colleen know that she is not alone.

Every Friday a different grade sent meals for her family. Her students, as well as, her previous classes continued to reach out to her. One particularly touching incident came from a past student of Colleen’s who was an eighth grader at another school at the time. When hearing of Colleen’s illness, she wanted her to know that she was thinking of her. She had her mother drop her off at school before going to her own school early one morning. She presented Colleen with a beautiful red hat; however, the even greater gift was the love and the effort behind the loving gesture. It brought tears to Colleen’s eyes as she spoke of it. Obviously, Colleen had made a permanent imprint on this girl’s heart and soul, as well as, countless others who appreciated her as an excellent teacher and friend.

With heaping portions of pure grit, gumption, an undeniable positive attitude, and the power of prayer, she felt her disease could be conquered. She said, “I’m pretty stubborn and I’m going to beat this. I refuse to accept any other outcome.” It was inspiring to listen to Colleen speak of her serious illness, yet at the same time having a look of peaceful joy on her face as she laughed and smiled throughout our talk. She said, “I feel like I’m on a journey. It is one that I did not choose, but it has been chosen for me. My attitude on life has changed. We tend to get so caught up in our busy lives we take feeling good for granted. I know to be grateful when I have a day when I just feel good. And that’s enough.”

Colleen died in the spring of 2005. Her beautiful spirit lives on in the lives of the ones she touched so deeply along the way. So, as you go about your days, remind yourself of Colleen’s valiant fight, Work towards patterning your days with an ingrained positive attitude and strong inner well-being.


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NEVER EVER Call My Mother During “HER” DUKE Games!!!

I have come to the inherent conclusion that the term “MARCH MADNESS” goes far beyond that month in particular. We are all aware that it actually drenches ALL the months where sports are being played. The natural obsessive compulsive support of our favorite sports teams is a prime example of an all-encompassing loyalty at its finest. It is a love that encapsulates our emotions, as we root in anticipation of a hopeful win for our team of choice.

The height of the excitement of the basketball fever that does go along with MARCH MADNESS became all too clear to me a few years ago when Duke was playing Baylor. Now let me preface this part by saying that my mother is a dedicated Duke graduate. She, therefore, has thoroughly enjoyed following “her” Blue Devils’ basketball and football seasons for many years.

I learned a long time ago to never even think of calling her during a Duke game. I, however, broke my rule on this night in March, as Duke battled Baylor in a national championship game. On that particular night, our area was in the throes of severe weather that included a possible tornado. Because of the scary forecast, I wanted to check on my mother, but I knew she would be immersed in the game. I figured that her safety far outweighed the game…or at least I thought.??

I hesitantly placed the phone call. My mother answered the phone in a tirade over the fact that the meteorologist had taken over the screen for way too long and was interrupting “HER GAME!” I said, “But Mama, she is just trying to keep you safe.” My mother’s quick retort was, “But she’s been haranguing for 20 minutes about “rotations” and “upper and lower levels.” Why doesn’t  she just say, “Don’t go on highway so- and- so or go to the basement if you live in the western half of the city?” Then she should shrink down into the corner of the screen and let the game take over the larger part!” Isn’t  Duke lucky to have such a dyed-in-the-wool devoted alumnae?

I have heard other interesting stories of team loyalty to pass along. One friend recalled the night when Carolina was playing Michigan State in the NCAA several years ago. There were high school kids enjoying the game in their basement. When the power went out, they all panicked, but then came up with a plan. They decided to use the light from their cell phones to help them navigate their way out of the basement and into their cars. They then had a caravan jaunt to a friend’s house to finish watching the game…ahh…beautiful devotion at its finest.

I have a friend whose husband and son are devout Tar Heel fans. They prefer to watch the games by themselves in order to avoid distraction, so as to drink in every detail. If Carolina is having a bad game, they have been known to feel the need to walk around the block just to get away. They were staying in a hotel once when this type of game scenario occurred. Her husband walked out in the pouring rain to deal with the game strife. Her son hunkered down in the hall of the hotel to fight the concern of a possible loss.

Needless to say, I will make certain that my mother and this father and son team are never, ever, ever in the same room watching a Duke/Carolina game together…especially if a tornado is whirling its way towards them while a meteorologist is hogging the screen. Now that would be a true example of MARCH MADNESS at its finest!!!

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The Mind-Boggling Small World Theory Proven On a Trip To The Beach!!

The small world theory has been proven to me…yet again! This particular series of consecutive events happened on a trip to Atlantic Beach with my family. I love going on a morning walk on the beach to the soothing sounds of the ocean. I witness a lot of family fun as I stroll along. One morning I set out for my ritualistic morning walk and I passed a young mom who was struggling to do yoga while watching her kids build a sandcastle. As I walked passed her, she began to topple over while laughing at herself. She looked up at me and we struck up a conversation. She said that she lived in Texas and that her parents were with them on vacation. She mentioned that her mom and dad lived in North Carolina. She went on to say that her mother had gone to Meredith College. I told her that I had gone to Meredith, as well. We finished up our conversation and I headed on my walk.  On my return trip, I passed her again and a lady was standing beside her. She yelled out, “This is my mother!!” I walked over to say hello and we began conversing about our college commonality. She had graduated ten years before I did. She said that her best memories were living in Stringfield Dorm her freshman year.  I said, “I lived in Stringfield Dorm, too…room number 103!” She looked at me completely stunned and said, “That was my room, too!” We stood there staring at each other in disbelief as we drank in the odds of what our encounter entailed.

I then began to head back to the condo. As I was approaching the door, I noticed a lady standing on the porch that was next to ours. She was painting some chairs. We said hello and started talking.  She happened to mention that she had gone to Meredith.  Of course, it came spewing out of my mouth that I had, as well. She was two classes ahead of me. We had several friends in common.  We reminisced together about our cherished memories from days of yore. I then slowly walked to my room to spill all the details to my family of my intriguing morning walk! Little did I know it was not over yet….

That night our family crew headed to the Channel Marker for a delicious meal for which that popular restaurant is known.  It is a natural lure for many. We had an enjoyable time with lively conversation around our dinner table. As we were winding down, I decided to take my little granddaughter, Cat, outside to watch the boats float by the restaurant.  As I was walking through the restaurant, I glanced up and was stunned by the vision. There was a familiar couple sitting there having dinner with their family. We all stared at each other, as we gasped trying to grasp the visual! Now…let me back up and explain this unusual scenario by prefacing with the fact that I have done book signings weekly at Cherries Café in Clemmons, North Carolina for several years. It has been one of my most favorite spots and a  wonderful place to meet the nicest people.  The even greater return is that I have become friends with the regulars. I am privy to what goes on in their lives—the positive occurrences, along with their struggles and pain with which they may be dealing. This couple that I spotted at the Channel Marker always come to Cherries for a delicious meal following the wife’s chemotherapy treatments. I have followed along with her progress this past year. I had seen them in Cherries the week before our beach trip. Our minds were blown that we were seeing each other in another restaurant setting five hours away!! How bizarre is that? I saw them in Cherries again the very next week and we talked about the odds of the likelihood of our beach encounter, as the song, “It’s a Small World After All,” played in my head. What are the odds of three small world events in one day?

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A Simple Sentence, A Two Thumbs Up And A Smile= A Love Power Punch!! :)

Has anyone ever said something to you… a simple statement or a question that has a power packed message? The natural side effect is that it can put your mind in a reexamination mode. It can also leave your heart and soul smiling!

Powerful life changing words can often fall out of the mouths of the young. Sometimes it’s the naïve, innocent words of a child that can cause a life changing status.  My father had a busy physician’s schedule, so he enjoyed going bird hunting with his friends when he had a free day. When I was three years old, he came walking in the door carrying a slew of doves he had killed. I innocently looked up at him and said, “Daddy, why did you kill those little birds?”

He was left stunned with no answer to his little girl’s simple question. He told my mother that he did not have a good answer for me. That’s all it took for him to pack up his gun and he never went hunting ever, ever again. He did not want to disappoint his little girl. I’m sorry that I ruined a special hobby for him, but I am touched that his response and follow up behavior was because he loved me.

Another one sentence circumstance happened when I was in high school and I came down with a serious case of mononucleosis. I missed two months of school…including the prom. Since it is a virus, it does not respond to antibiotics. It just takes time to become fully healthy again. My throat was so swollen that I had to sleep propped up on huge pillows so that I could breathe. My father would come to check on me throughout the night.  One night in particular, I looked up at him and in a hushed, pitiful tone I said, “Daddy, am I going to make it?” That’s all it took for him to rush to his car to drive straight to the hospital to get a dose of cortisone for me. It does not cure mono, but it gives a sense of well-being and it helped to reduce some of the swelling. It certainly enabled me to begin feeling better. Thanks, Daddy! I love you, too!!

My younger brother, Robert, said a simple sentence to me once that had a powerfully profound effect on the way I live life in general today. He was diagnosed with a serious illness called Reiter’s Syndrome-an autoimmune connective tissue disease. We were advised to be prepared for his inevitable death. He was completely incapacitated and in a great deal of pain…but happy!  I would go to spend the day with him. He would have taped comedies so we could sit and laugh all day. I would always stop off to buy him his favorite frozen coke from Burger King and a smoked sausage biscuit from Bojangles. There was one day in particular that I was handing him the frozen coke and he reached out for it with crippled hands. It struck me how extra sad his situation was. I knew that I had the capacity to physically walk out the door, exercise, go to lunch with my friends, and on and on….and he would still be lying there. I said, “Oh, Robert, I’m so sorry.” He blew me out by saying, “What are you talking about? There’s a whole lot worse than this out there!” He lived his life millisecond by millisecond while drinking in the pleasurable, brief moments of each day that made him smile. He died seven years ago at the age of 44, but I am certain that he extended his life longer than expected with his amazingly positive attitude!!

When my son was “launching off” to NC State,  my heart felt heavy as I walked beside him to his car before he left for his next “life adventure.” I said, “I hope you’re leaving with good memories of having had a great childhood.” He looked at me with the brightest smile and then shot me a two thumbs up! Sometimes words are not even necessary to touch a heart. Those thumbs pointing upwards and his big smile  touches my heart at the mere thought of the memory.  It was all a mom needed to know. Love is the true essence and nourishing factor of life that guides and comforts us on our JOURNEY CALLED “LIFE!”

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Focus On Life’s Milliseconds of Joy!

Has anyone ever said something to you which creates such a sense of awakening that you are compelled to share the profound words of impact with everyone? This is what happened to me…an incredible light bulb moment caused by a few simple words…and I have my mother to thank!

This moment of  awareness  happened on a family trip to the beach many years ago. My mother had a habit of buying junky little toys for my boys…especially on vacations. After being played with intensely, they would inevitably break shortly thereafter and then be left lying around in need of being thrown away.  On this particular trip to the beach my mother, alias Santa Nana, eager to grant the wishes of her grandchildren, pulled into the parking lot of yet another beach store stocked full of plastic, junky toys. I said, “Why do you always buy them this junk? They will only be forgotten or broken by the time we get home.” Her reply to me has eternally changed the way I view life in general.  With laughter in her voice, she said “They’re milliseconds of joy!”

I had no response at all because I was so swept up in the magnitude of the meaning of her powerful words. As I was standing there speechless, the entire aura of this previously junky beach shop took on the most charming glow. Life in its entirety made complete sense to me. I realized then and there that no one ever gave us a guarantee that life would be a continuous picnic of pleasure…but rather, and more importantly, life is a conglomeration of tiny, precious moments. In our fast-paced society, these milliseconds of joy can be so easily missed. If we are wise, we will warehouse these moments for posterity. We can take pleasure in absorbing each detail of these quickly passing moments, savoring every aspect of them as if they were a delicacy from the smorgasbord of life! If we have stored away enough wonderful memories of milliseconds of joy, they can then be drawn upon in our times of desperation, sadness or conflict.

I had a brush with my own mortality many years ago. During the anxious waiting period for test results that would determine the direction my life would take, I was able to experience wonderfully heightened sensibilities because of the millisecond of joy theory. One day my son jumped in the car when I picked him up at school excitedly telling me about his latest feat on the monkey bars. I found myself  even more enraptured with each syllable he said as if it were melodic.  The usual outside interferences seemed so inconsequential in comparison to the pleasure of hearing about my child’s acrobatic contorsions. Fortunately, the tests proved that I would be able to listen to even more monkey bar stories! Yahoo!

My conclusion is that life is like a transient bubble bath with its opaque beauty and fragility. The bubbles are like “milliseconds of joy.” They have the strength to stay composed just long enough to bring momentary pleasure…but they can be burst at any moment and lost in their own evaporation. Fortunately, their essence can be revived again as a renewal of the soul.

Could this be a starting point for people to overcome their view of everyday life as mundane and ordinary? We should all begin each day viewing life with a new attitude towards its valuable “milliseconds of joy” as we drink in and enjoy God’s thrilling life with tiny sparks of happiness and the simple pleasures. I can guarantee that if you allow it for yourself to become keenly aware of these mini-highs, you will see that they occur more and more frequently. In return, you will be a happier and more fulfilled person. If we can teach this concept to our children, then we will be fertilizing a generation of innately happy and productive people.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What Do We Have “For Eat?” Shakespeare Would Approve of That Sentence Structure…Right?

English is spoken by approximately 309 million people. Mandarin Chinese is the number one spoken language with 873 million who speak it. We, as humans, do seem to have a way of confounding our language with our trendy jargon and peculiar speech nuances. Our kind of present day communication would leave Shakespeare befuddled, I’m sure.

We tend to crucify the King’s English in our modern society with our use or misuse of certain words, along with their innuendos.   We all have our own distinct presentation, tone, and voice inflection as we attempt at conveying messages to others. We do tend to waste our breath by using unnecessary words tacked onto our sentences. “If you will,”…means exactly what? If you will let me finish? If you will try to understand me? If you believe me? Some words that we insert in our sentences are unnecessary and have no real definition. What does the word “really” really mean? The word “very” has the same unnecessary connotation. It’s “very” unnecessary…I mean…really?…think about it. We also tend to combine mannerisms in our attempt to communicate. I, however, do think that Shakespeare would have approved of the cool “air quotes” with a cool “thumbs-up!”

We are all artful at manipulating our language to adhere to our own style. When my son was young, he used to walk in the kitchen and say, “What do we have for eat?” It became “our term” in referring to what was being served and available in the refrigerator and pantry to satisfy his eating desires. He is a 1st Lieutenant in the Army now. (what do they have “for eat” in the Army, I wonder??)

I suppose, in our complicated English language, there is, however, one simple sentence that is wholeheartedly understood. (I’m certain Shakespeare would have agreed.) One can never go wrong when using the beautiful words, “I love you.” It carries one a long, long, way to make the heart and soul smile with no room for misinterpretation. If you know what I mean…I mean, you know…really!…if you will!

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“All Our Words Are But Crumbs That Fall Down From The Feast of The Mind”-Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes all it takes are a few “word crumbs” to make us observant and take notice…and help us to smile. I have been doing book signings for the past 17 years in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings.  As I sit “peddling my wares,” I have become an eyewitness to the interesting natures of humans. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting fascinating people and observing others. One summer, as I sat outside a shop in Blowing Rock, signing books, I noticed so many people wearing shirts with interesting words. I finally took out a note pad to write down the entertaining words I was reading. It gave me a great insight to their interesting natures…along with being a “feast of the mind.” The first one of which I made note was an overweight man with a shirt that said, “My working out is just not working out!” After the second one which was, “I’d trade my wife for a tractor,” I grabbed my pen. The rest followed in this order:

* Life is uncertain. Eat your dessert first.

* This is the shirt I wear when I don’t care.

* Women who behave rarely make history.

* I’d stop eating chocolate, but I’m no quitter.

*If you can see this shirt, the old lady fell off.(on a motorcyclist’s shirt)

* Save the planet….duct tape won’t fix everything

* Save the planet…it’s the only one with video games.

* Stick around. I need someone to blame.

I recall a time period when I was a semi-mature (?) adult and my mother simply stated two words that were all I needed to carry me. I went to Atlanta on a business trip for a week. (a whole week!) I reverted back to the most infantile of behaviors, acting like a homesick kid at camp away from the comfort of home.

The actual moment my lust for home began was following a phone call from my son the first night I was away. He called to tell me the great news that he had been accepted into the college of his choice. I could not believe I was so far away and unable to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event with him. (Did I mention I was to be there for a whole week?)

I spoke to my mother on the phone during this period of longing in hopes of gathering necessary relief. I could tell she was searching for just the right words to comfort her all grown up baby daughter. Disappointingly, she did not say, “Don’t worry, honey. You’ll be home soon.” No…instead she emphatically said, “Buck up!” My defensive retort was, “But it only means that I really like my life and that’s a good thing!”In actuality, her words were quite appropriate ones. I allowed them to continually resonate through my mind and I “bucked up!” They helped me to endure the final days of my trip with a little more endurance. Words are so powerful and moms are the best! Her “word crumbs”provided a feast and carried me!

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