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Table-Top Travel

During the last three years — I actually started a little before the COVID lock-downs — I’ve assembled dozens of jigsaw puzzles. The idea at first was to minimize the snacking during evening TV. Has it worked?

Thanks to a gift of boxes of puzzles and the local library, my coffee table usually has a puzzle in some stage of assembly. Size limits the ones I dare attempt. And at the beginning, the pieces are often two deep.

This one, done in May, reminded me of European travel.

A riot of flowers in generous beds. Windowboxes. Red roof.

Can you imagine yourself as a guest with a second-floor room. The scent in the morning is a touch of heaven.

Travel without the airport hassle and long drive. Some assembly required.

Want to travel in a sweet romance? In MORNING TRYST you get an introduction to several Missouri State Parks. Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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On Silent Wings

Seek a little silence. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Unplug for a time.

All good advice to help a person regain some balance and perspective.

Does this seem impossible? Too many obligations to others? Lack of transportation or mobility?

Perhaps a picture will need to substitute.

This puzzle, assembled a little more than a year ago, gives a peaceful winter view. Can you imagine yourself following a trail along a creek after an early snowfall? Sounds are muffled. The snow sparkles as the sun sets. And then–the majestic snowy owl glides past on silent wings. No harm to you — he’s seeking much smaller creatures who have strayed from their cozy dens.

What’s one way you find calm in your life?

Starr Tree Farm — a winter story set in Wisconsin — includes the heroine seeking solace in a walk on the Christmas tree farm. Two collies, Taffy & Cocoa, hike along for security and humor. Find details here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Farewell Autumn?

In the United States, Thanksgiving is past and thoughts have turned to the end-of-year holidays.

However, autumn is a colorful season where I live and let’s give it one more shout-out.

This puzzle, one of many assembled during 2022, features many harvest and autumn themes. The banner proclaims a Harvest Moon Festival. Orange pumpkins and bright, new straw give vibrant color. Trees wear their autumn best. The horses hold their heads as if enjoying cool air with a sent of delicious grain on the breeze. Let’s dance! One last party before the wind turns cold and brings snow with a different sort of beauty.

Looking for a sweet romance to go with the season? I suggest SEED OF DESIRE. Concentrated from August to November, this small-town contemporary features interesting people — and dogs. Always a winning combination. And advice from a wise old woman — You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats a dog.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

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Feast Day

Our alphabet is nearing an end on November 25. Did you feast yesterday? Did you eat at the home of friend or relative? (A friendly relative is best.)

Were these on the menu?

I’m trying a new recipe with YAMS this year. I hope it turns out delicious and pretty as the picture in the cookbook. (I won’t hold my breath for the second part of that statement.) (Writing this entry before the holiday — so still hopeful.)

In most places, these are available all year long. My favorite way to cook is to bake and eat hot with liberal amounts of butter. I often pair with a piece of chicken or a pork chop. Yum — a feast for anytime of year.

The clean & wholesome romance, HIDING PLACES, features a culinary student as the heroine. How many ways do you suppose she can prepare yams? For a romance with a dash of danger check it out here: https://amzn.to/2Jm26GQ

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Think Spring

For the date of November 22, we focus on the letter “V”. The blessing is violets.

Violet

Delicate. Beautiful. A sign of spring and warmer days to come. We can either look back to the violets that bloomed in spring past — or look forward to the fragile petals to come.

Either way — keep them in mind — I have a fine china tea cup decorated with violets in a place of honor. (It may need to yield to Christmas decorations). Do you have display items or clothing with violets?

HIDING PLACES, a sweet romance, is set in Wisconsin during the month of June. Violets are past, but recent enough to have a secure place in a person’s mind. For a peek at apple orchard activities, check it out. Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Jm26GQ

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From Here to There

I want to go from here to there. (A person points off into the distance.)

Or, perhaps more often, the statement is more like: I want to go to the store. I want to visit a friend (or relative).

Sometimes it becomes a question. How can I get from the apartment to work? Or from my home to school?

The answer to these questions depends a lot on the distance involved. And the terrain. (I once looked at the map of a retreat property and thought — oh, it will only be a short, easy walk from A to B. The diagram did not show the steep ravine or forest which required a considerable detour. Ooops!)

Very often the best way between two places is via today’s blessing, in honor of the letter “R”, ROADS.

This well-maintained roadway enables visitors to this Missouri State Park to easily travel to trailheads and viewpoints. Do you like the view? Have you visited a state or national park this year? Roads go there.

For an armchair visit to several Missouri State Parks, pick up the clean & wholesome romance MORNING TRYST. Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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The Color of Fruit

Today, the 15th of November, is time to give thanks to something beginning with the letter “O”.

My choice is ORANGE. You may decide if I’m talking about the color or the fruit.

Do you like the color red? What’s your opinion on yellow? As you probably learned as s child with a paint set — mix them together for orange. Perhaps it was a short time later you were introduced to the “color wheel” the diagram where orange shares the status of “secondary” color with purple and green. Don’t forget the rainbow — with the same colors arranged by wavelength.

Then we have the fruit. It’s pretty much the same color – varying shades and if picked a little early with some green visible. Do you like them large? Or smaller to fit in a petite person’s hand? Seeded or seedless? How much effort to you want to peel?

Having fun with an Octet of Oranges before the first one fell victim to a snack attack!

When photographing a sunrise (or sunset) the heroine in MORNING TRYST pays close attention to the angle of the light. To follow a few of her adventures, check out the clean & wholesome romance. Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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Blessing of Security

On this, the eleventh day of the month, we focus on a blessing starting with the letter “K” — KEYS

Several years before my birth, the President of the United States, voiced four important freedoms. These were soon visualized by one of the prominent illustrators of the day and became very popular. They are: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom from Fear.

One of the basics for security — and Freedom from Fear — includes locks and the keys that go with them.

You’ve heard it from police and insurance companies — LOCK YOUR CAR! LOCK YOUR HOME!

In addition to keys to these two — or one if you happen not to own a vehicle — you may also have keys to a desk, file cabinets, storage shed, or even a trusted neighbor’s home. I, for one, feel more secure, less fearful, when the doors are locked before I go to bed in the evening. Yes, simple locks which these keys unlock are not immune to breakage and possible theft. However, they will “keep an honest person honest” or perhaps deter someone looking for easy mischief.

My next glass of wine will be in honor of my late uncle, a locksmith!

Some people just can’t resist a locked home — and cause problems for the residents. COMFORT ZONE contains an example of a burglary with high suspicion and low evidence. Check out the clean & wholesome romance here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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The House on the Corner

Today, on the eighth day of November, we highlight the blessing of HOME, beginning with the eighth letter of the alphabet.

Home. Does the word give you a warm, pleasant feeling. Or do you recall a house filled with more tension than love? Is your first thought to a childhood home? Or perhaps you prefer to think of where you raised your children. Is it people? Or a place?

Unlike many of my elementary and high school classmates, I did not live in the same house my entire childhood. Then again, we only moved once during those years — from “the brick house” on main street in the village–to “the farm” located four miles of paved road outside of town.

“The Farm” consisted of more than a house. Yes, the two-story frame house with basement and small porches was where we slept, ate, and spent some time together. But the farm was more — if you look behind the maple tree (which contained a bee hive) and the taller elms, you can see the tall barn and the granary. A red chicken coop and/or hog shed (same building served both purposes at various times) in the background and the white brooder house (for young chicks) near the maple tree completed the primary structures. Much time was spent in all of these buildings. It varied by time of year. However, the barn — with morning and evening milking — was a constant.

Do I remember the house with fondness? Not with the degree of joy for the more encompassing “The Farm”

Looking for a romance set on a Midwest farm? SEED OF DESIRE introduces three cousins keeping the tradition on their grandfather’s, and great-grandfather’s piece of land.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

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Nov 4, The Letter D

Thankful for an item beginning with the letter D.

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind?

For me, it was DOGS.

From the time we moved to the farm when I was aged eight — we had a dog. And I liked when we visited friends with dogs before then.

Not all our dogs were the same.

Kev — a German shepherd knew he was Mother’s dog. He tolerated my father and other men mother approved of, killed cats or chickens that wandered into the house yard, and furnished protection from strangers asking directions or wanting to use the phone.

Strupe — belonged to my oldest brother as much as a hound belongs to anyone. Easy-going and willing to eat anything, anytime, anywhere. He turned vocal on occasion and when we counted chickens one fall we learned all his howling in the middle of the night kept the foxes away and saved poultry lives.

Scamp — Dad had trouble believing he actually spent money for this “cattle dog”. I don’t recall him ever herding animals. I do remember him going out of his way to get into puddles and the open sewer from the milk house. Fortunately, my rather high-strung father wised up and gave him away to a much more laid-back friend.

Tuesday — part of an abandoned litter, his life was saved when Dad mused “He looks like a cattle dog.” Oh, my father was mistaken in that regard. Tuesday didn’t want to chase his friends. But he grew to be a good companion, house-trained himself, and was known to share his food dish with the cats.

Don’t let the smile fool you. Kev knew who belonged near the house!

German shepherds, many generations removed, feature in the clean & wholesome, small-town romance SEED OF DESIRE. Check out the Kindle edition here: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH