All in the Brew

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Once again, the weather has given us a big surprise. After an absolutely beautiful non-Derby Day, winter has returned to the Ohio Valley. Is anyone else underwhelmed?

There is a bright side, however. The cooler temps mean I can have another cup of coffee. I’ve received a second shipment of my favorite local beans, so it’s gonna be good!

This has been a week of exits for me. I resigned one of my jobs, effective end of June, and a multi-author blog I’d co-created and co-developed, is slated to close at the end of May.

Though goodbyes are coming in on both fronts, I’m at peace. I trust in God’s timing for everything. He knows what lies ahead and He is never taken by surprise. Don’t you love that? I suppose that’s the reason for my peace.

And just in case you’re wondering, I live in the Louisville area, so the first Saturday in May is BIG. Except for this year. The Derby has been postponed. So, we had a non-Derby Day for only the second time in history.

Getting back to my work downgrade, what will I do with all those spare hours? Writers can always use more time. In fact, there’s no such thing as “spare time” for the writer. Each empty moment is an opportunity for either writing or thinking about writing.

A story is always brewing in my mind. Even the not so empty moments can be filled with stories. I often work through story elements as I garden, or while I walk.

Right now, I’m working on a suspense novel. The main characters are vying for my attention throughout the day. I was about a third of the way through this one when I realized the timing was off. So, I had to go back and rework many of the scenes to blend them together.

It was as if I’d written them all separately as free-standing stories. I’m not sure how that happened, except that I’d been extremely busy and was trying to fit writing moments into my day.

My lead male character is Jake Bradley, a struggling reporter. He stumbles on what he believes will be his best story yet, but there are many roadblocks. I like Jake. He’s a country boy at heart, but he has ambition.

Since it was Friday morning, I’d expected more activity at police headquarters, where I had that ten o’clock meeting with Detective Scott. The boss had insisted I turn over any information I’d dug up on those two goons in the black LTD.

“That girl’s life could be in danger,” he’d said.

I ran a comb through my unruly locks before I headed inside. I was no dummy, but I figured if they wanted her, they’d had their shot. I grimaced. Maybe that was a bad choice of words.

In appearance, Jake looks a little like a young Tom Wopat (circa Dukes of Hazzard). He tends to swagger and drives a muscle car. Fun!

I’m looking forward to writing this story, so having more time to write is definitely a good thing. Will it be any good? It’s kind of like brewing the perfect pot of coffee.

Sometimes it’s the beans, and sometimes it’s all in the brew.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Hello Thursday Morning DevotionHello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope you’re doing well this midwinter morning. It’s cold and a little damp here.

We’re only weeks away from spring. Yay! I’m thinking about what I’ll plant in my flower beds, and that thought is invigorating. Already, the new green is showing through the deadness of my front bed, as you can see in the photo below. We’ve had an unusually warm winter thus far.

I hope you’re wide awake and ready for a great day.

One who is kind benefits himself, but an unkind person hurts himself. [My paraphrase of Proverbs 11:17].

Kindness paves the way for a good day. I know there are times when your kind words are not greeted with kindness, but if you will persist in kindness, it will pay off in the long run.

And pay attention, please. Wake up! Put your phone down and leave it down when you’re driving. Every day, I see people crossing over the line into my lane because they are distracted. Yesterday, a friend of mine told of a near head-on collision with another driver who was distracted. My friend was so shaken, she had difficulty driving home.

So, do me a favor. Do yourself a great kindness. Forget about that message until you get where you’re going. If it’s that important, pull over somewhere safe and deal with it, then proceed.

It will be better to arrive a few minutes late, rather than to not arrive at all.

So, wake up and smell the coffee. Practice kindness today. Sometimes the best thing you can give another person is your attention.Winter Garden 2020

Throwback Thursday

It’s Throwback Thursday on Facebook, so I thought it would be a great time to repeat one of my favorite posts. This one is a showcase of Kentucky. A quick trip around the state and I don’t even mention some of the best places, like cave country and Lake Cumberland, among so many others. Sweet little places like Glendale, Kentucky and the Whistlestop Cafe. I could go on all day, but I won’t. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride:

Oh, Kentucky! I love my beautiful home state. Yes, it can be steamy-hot in the summer, but most of the time, it shines like an emerald. Some years, the grass stays green all winter. Last year, the neighbors were still mowing their lawns in December.

They call it bluegrass, but it’s really green. And honestly, bluegrass is not all that hardy. Many Louisvillians replaced it in their lawns, after an especially dry summer killed their bluegrass.

I love this picture! ❤

When most people hear the name Kentucky, they think of “My Old Kentucky Home,” horse racing, and a few famous drinks. But Kentucky is a lot more. We have plenty of lakes and mountains (small mountains) and rivers, and in between, lay peaceful rolling pastures lined with black fences. Follow the narrow roads–the scenic byways–and you’ll catch sight of some gorgeous animals, along with their equally beautiful abodes. These thoroughbreds live quite well.

Over the mountains and through the woods, you’ll find one of nature’s more incredible phenomenons–the natural bridges, along with some awe-inspiring scenery, as you approach our border with West Virginia.

Ever seen a moonbow? Certain times of year, you can witness one over Cumberland Falls (picture from many moons ago, and not at night, when the moonbow appears).

And a really big ark park. Encounter a replica of Noah’s Ark, in Williamstown, Kentucky, near Lexington and within easy distance of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve never been, but we’re planning a trip soon. I’ll write an entire post, complete with pictures! 🙂

Photo by Karen Jurgens

We have a little cave–OK, a Mammoth Cave–situated near I-65, on the Green River. Hike through the underground caverns, then take a relaxing cruise on the river. No matter how warm it is outside, take a jacket or sweater, it’s cold underground.

Bardstown, Kentucky is a beautiful small town, one you won’t want to miss. My Old Kentucky Home is located there, along with some wonderful home-cooking restaurants. The countryside in all directions is scenic, sometimes breathtaking. Watch for deer, though. Especially early morning and early evening.

I’ve saved Louisville till last. Churchill Downs is open year round, though a lot more exciting in spring and summer. This resident has never attended a Derby, but I have been to the races on less hectic days. They also have a wonderful museum.

Visit the Louisville Slugger in downtown Louisville, if you’re into baseball, or just interested in seeing the big baseball bat (photo-op!). Located nearby, the beautiful Muhammad Ali Center, the Ohio River,  and its locks and riverboats.

Some of the top cuisine in America is located in Louisville. And we have a miles-long riverside park with a ped-bridge over the Ohio. Down River Road a ways, toward the beautiful new East End bridge, is a place called Captain’s Quarters, a restaurant best known for its scenic views and ambience. One of my favorite spots.

And there’s so much more.

I know, this sounds a bit like a travelogue. Can you tell I’m proud of my home state? (And I didn’t even mention basketball).  Yes, we’re land-locked. We don’t have ocean access, but if your vacation needs don’t require hot, sandy beaches, you might like it here. Especially if you love beautiful horses, lakes, and rivers.

By the way, this post is by no means an exhaustive list of the many places to visit in Kentucky. You’ll find that here: Kentucky Tourism.

Have you visited Kentucky? What’s your favorite attraction?

Click to Tweet: #Kentucky – a beautiful place to visit, and a nice place to live. #travel #ontheroad

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So Late So Soon

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”–Dr. Seuss

Well, if you think my blog post is late, you’re right. The time for coffee is well past, unless I’m having decaf. I think not. The truth is, I forgot it’s Thursday. Yep. The week went by so fast! I’m riding a wave and trying to stay balanced, when suddenly, there’s the beach.

Of course it’s Thursday. Good thing I went to work this morning. 🙂

But it’s Thursday afternoon!

So, in lieu of a long post, I’m sharing another wonderful quote from Dr. Seuss (author of the first real book I ever read). And I’ll leave you with my most recent meme. Yes, I’m still marketing the latest book.

If you’ve already read Annabelle’s Joy, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads. Even a short review helps. It’s one of the most thoughtful things you can give a writer. And thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’ll try to be on time next week!

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Hello Thursday Morning Christmas Wish

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m enjoying my favorite Christmas coffee—right here at home—Sunergos Hearth Blend (a winter blend, think brown sugar, hazelnut & pomegranate). Yum!

This is a very busy week in most of our households. It is especially busy here. Mom’s birthday is the 21st—she’ll be 85. The 21st is also our 44th anniversary. Yes, not only did we get married close to Christmas, but on Mom’s birthday. How cool is that?

Not so great when the holidays come around and you have to hustle—really hustle to fit everything in. The anniversary? Sometimes gets forgotten, or pushed aside until another day or even another month. Not a big deal when you’ve been married a while. But it’s never forgotten or neglected completely because it’s very important to us.

Christmas is right around the corner. If you’ve been watching very many Christmas movies (or reading Christmas stories), you may be in for a let-down. Though some of those films are based on true stories, most of us don’t have the magical Christmases portrayed in those tales. Don’t let it discourage you. If you think about it, you’ll find those magical moments scattered throughout your life.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you’ll be thankful, whether you have much or little, and that you’ll truly enjoy the season for all the right reasons. I pray for those who are suffering losses that you will know God’s comfort and the comfort of those around you. And remember, Christmas is a season that comes and goes. In a few days, a new year begins. Let the Word of God renew your strength—

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.—Isaiah 40:31 NIV

If you especially enjoyed one of this season’s stories, share it with us! Leave me a comment with the title of the movie, where you saw it, and why you loved it. Here’s mine: Christmas Secret (2014) Hallmark. I know it’s an older one, but still my favorite!