To Each Their Own

I have a friend who often says: "It's exactly the same thing only different." I guess that statement is true in many things, including people. I think all of us have the same basic needs: sleep, fresh air, food, water, shelter, and of course someone to love. Most of us also want to be safe, happy and somewhat successful in what we do. But the thing we should thank God for— is our differences.

My husband loves to fish and talks fishing with everyone he knows. I understand because I love to write and sometimes I can get carried away, too. But my hubby often brings up an important point by saying, "If everyone loved to fish, I wouldn't be able to get my boat in the water because there wouldn't be any room left in the lake with all the other boats."

Think about it — if everyone was doing the same thing, life would get way too competitive and boring.

Like everyone else, I can relate to certain people more so than others. But I always try and see another's point of view, even if I don't agree with them. Just like the characters in my books, I put myself in their shoes and sometimes I see things in a total different way. The facts are that us humans will always have our differences and we can try and accept them and maybe even be thankful we're not all the same.

That said, it brings me to an important part of this blog: I believe that no one should be shamed or bullied, in the name of political correctness to conform to what someone else thinks or believes.

There are and will always be differences in people because that's how God created us. Maybe instead of intently focusing on the dissimilarities between us or pretending they don't exist, why not learn to treat everyone how you would want to be treated.

About the picture in this month's blog post: My husband and I saw the colorful decoys in a pond alongside the road on the eastern border of Minnesota. From a distance, we thought it was garbage in the ditch.The picture shows only a small portion of the pond.There were about a hundred decoys. Each were beautifully painted a different color and pattern!

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Between The Things You Want To Do

It's been said that anything worth while in life takes time and effort to achieve. I guess that's true in just about everything: relationships, projects, careers, or hobbies. You basically get back what you put into it. I try to visualize what the end result will be and use it as a push to achieve my goals. But I used to focus too much on the less desirable things I needed to do to get there. I'd start out super charged only to get over whelmed and fizzle out. I'd let the obstacles have too much power and then watch my goals fade from sight and drift away.

Now, I realize facing those challenges are like crossing a river. The river can be  narrow or wide but it can be less intimidating if I take the time to learn about it. Knowing how deep the water is or how cold the temperature makes it easier to jump in and get my feet wet. And who knows? If it's too far and deep maybe I'll decide to hire a boat to get across? I believe — if there's a will, there's a way!

I never thought I would, but a few months ago I learned how to design book covers. I was so afraid I couldn't do it in the beginning and now I've found — I love it. So far, I've designed the first two covers for my HEARTBEAT SERIES. Book#1—HEARTBEAT OF DESIREBook#2—REVENGE IN A HEARTBEAT.

I'm very happy how the covers turned out and I can't wait to show them to everyone. But in the writing world the single most important thing you must do is get an email list. Without it, there is no way to let your entire audience know when you're ready to release a book. A friend of mine asked why I couldn't just put an announcement on Facebook. I will do that, but FB is a hit and miss. Some people check FB everyday and others only once a week or a few times a month. So I've decided to start a campaign to get people to sign up for updates on my books. If you are kind enough to sign up, you have my word I will never share your email address with anyone else. I will never email you to death and you'll be able to opt out at anytime. I am so excited about my up coming books and want everyone to enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. Thank you for being on this writing journey with me.

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A Little Help From Your Friends

Summer greetings to you. My daughter calls this Covid-Summer 2020. I don't know if she's correct with the term, but I do know this season is very different when you compare it to past years. I think the biggest change is the reopening of businesses and restaurants. Talking with folks, I've learned that some people have decided to stay home while others can't wait to get inside their favorite establishments. And almost everyone is sad there aren't going to be any town festivals or a state or county fair. So what's a person to do?

Why not take this opportunity to reconnect with family and old friends? Maybe it will be a way for us to develop more of an appreciation for others and the simple things in life. Start by looking up an old friend or family member you haven't heard from in a long while and take a moment to really listen to how they're doing. I love to have a meaningful conversation with someone while we're hiking through the woods or trails. Another of my favorite things is to sit out by the camp fire and talk while the flames relax and entertain us. A fun picnic with your children or grandchildren maybe a perfect opportunity to start a chat about what's going on in their world. Or perhaps throw a bottle of wine with some glasses in your picnic basket and enjoy some time with that special someone. And while you're out there in your perfect romantic spot, stop and smell the roses or the fresh air around you.

Other years there was almost too many things to do and it seemed summer slipped through our fingers before we knew it. I know that times have changed, but I going to look at this summer as a slower yet wonderful time to be alive. I hope you will too!

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Life’s Simple Pleasures

It seems I've been hiding in a fox hole for the last few months waiting for the bombs and explosions to go off, but I've only heard a few gunshots off in the distance. Not saying a stray bullet can't ricochet and hit me but I'm willing to put on my bullet proof vest and keep my head low in order to venture out. I can't stand being in this dark hole any longer. I want to have a real life and I want a life for my family and friends as well. My plan is to use God as my shield and pray he keeps my safe as I go out and reclaim my life.

I am very thankful that my family and friends are alive and doing okay. We've all had plenty of time to reflect on what we've missed the last few months, so I've decided to focus on things I'm looking forward to in the months ahead. None of which I have to wear a mask to enjoy. I've made a list of some of the fun things I want to experience this summer.

1. Sunshine and hearing the sound of song birds

2. Leisurely walks

3. Campfires / Smores / Stories told there

4. Rhubarb pie

5. Homemade ice cream

6. Mushroom and Blueberry picking

7. The smell of the rain

8. The smell of balsam from the pine trees

9. Long drives

10. A cold beer

11.The smell of fresh cut grass

12. The squeal from the neighbor children as they go out to play

13. Fresh strawberries and garden vegetables. Yum!

14. Visiting relatives and friends again. Knowing I only can see 10 people at a time, I've decided to make more visits.

I hope you get out and enjoy some of the things you've been dreaming about the last few months. When you're out there take the time to really appreciate even the smallest of pleasures. It goes without saying: You need to be careful, but more than anything you need to have a life. I hope you have a great summer!


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The World As We Know It

I hope everyone who reads this blog is doing their best to stay healthy and happy. I can't think of anyone who isn't impacted by the corona virus in some way. For many people it seems the whole world has been tipped upside down. And to top things off, it appears the politicians are divided and aren't working together to get things up and running. Some are trying make it sound like it's the end of the world. It makes me think of the song by R.E.M.—'It's The End Of The World As We Know It.'

Long before the corona virus, my husband and I talked about that song title and we believe it to be true. Each night we go to bed and end our day only to wake up to a new day with endless uncertainties and possibilities. So of course, it's the end of the world as we know it — because it's a new day and we don't know what it will bring. The only thing we can be certain of is change itself. Change is part of life and the best thing we can do is to try and make it into something positive. Hopefully with God's help we will experience some brighter days ahead and get through the unknowns of this pandemic. Maybe afterwards we'll find those positive things that often come out of the worst situations.

I had planned to release my trilogy 'Heartbeat Series' in May but like many of us during the epidemic; my plans have been changed. I had a marketing strategy that involved being in busy public places. That isn't going to happen — so now on to a new plan. The first book of the Heartbeat series — Heartbeat of Desire will come out later this year and the other two will follow. I'm very excited about releasing the entire trilogy and hopefully things will work out for me and I'll have them out sooner. Until then be safe and keep your chin up. Remember that we're all in this together!

Please sign up on the Contact page of this website for updates on my books. I will only email you when something is about to happen and I will never share your email with anyone else.


Find Your Silver Lining

After a week of being quarantine for the coronavirus, I find myself getting a little stir crazy and wondering why. You would think the answer would be obvious, but it's confusing for me because basically I'm a homebody at heart. I know the 'stir crazy' part is purely psychological because normally it wouldn't faze me at all to sit home for over a week. This tells me that if I decide to stay home it's no problem, but if someone else tells me I have to, it's torture. In any case, it looks like I may be confined to my home or close to it for a while because we all need to take the virus very seriously. That being said, I've decided not to let this virus or my anxiety control my life. In a world where some have gone crazy with all the 'what ifs', I resolve to keep things on a positive level. My plan is: Stay home, keep my hands washed, find something that will keep me busy and contented.

Like many other people I know, I have lived through some good times and some very challenging, but through it all, I've learned that doing positive things for yourself and others can divert you from the negative. It's also essential to free your mind of troubling issues if only for a few minutes everyday. Don't dwell on all the bad information—try and watch the news in the morning and view only a brief update in the evening to stay informed. Or vice versa.

It may be difficult to figure out what you can do for someone else now that we're social distancing. Many people are doing things like helping their elderly neighbors get their groceries and that is great but I believe there are things we can do for everyone to get through this situation — Let others know what you're doing to preserve your sanity and what improvisations are working for you during this crisis.

Here's my list:

    1. Call someone instead of texting. Many people would appreciate hearing a human voice at this time.
    2. Clean out closets. Who knows what buried treasures you'll find?
    3. Take long walks and think about what you want to change when things get back to your normal.
    4. Dust off old exercise equipment and utilize them—wouldn't it be nice to emerge from the crisis looking better than ever.
    5. Dust off your bible—use this time to get closer to God.
    6. Teach your children a new card game: maybe cribbage.
    7.  Roll up the living room rug and dance to your favorite music. You'll feel better and it's a fun way to stay in shape.
    8. Go on social media and share your experiences—what improvisations are you using when everyday things aren't available.
    9. If you're a person who likes to go out to the bars or restaurants and are missing it terribly—try watching old reruns of Cheers on Netflix. There are lots of funny things in those old shows and best of all, you get the feeling you're in a place where everyone knows your name.
    10. Have a glass of wine once in a while but don't let alcohol be your only outlet.

Here's a list of things that can be a silver lining in the long run:

    1. Perhaps families will become closer and value each other more.
    2.  Maybe being stranded at home will teach you how to cook with the supplies you have and you'll become a better, resourceful cook.
    3.  Maybe your whole family will learn to be more conservative and you will save money after the crisis on the products that you use.

Share what you're doing to improvise and what you're doing to keep your sanity during this crisis. Post them in a comment on this website or on my FaceBook page: Remember we're all in it together. Cheers to you!

Please sign up on the Contact page of this website for updates on my books. I will only email you when something is about to happen and I will never share your email with anyone else.

The Carefree Highway

Tired of winter, my husband and I decided to venture into the unknown and take a road trip. Our destination was to head out west to visit some old friends in Montana and then end up at our pals in Arizona. Knowing we had no time set to be anywhere, our plan was to stop whenever and where ever our hearts desired along the way. So, we loaded everything but the kitchen sink in our vehicle and hit the open road. We traveled on the backroads instead of the interstate in order to view things at a slower pace. It gave us a chance to mingle with the locals and take a peek at how it was like to live there.

One of our first stops was at the Occidental Hotel and bar in Buffalo, Wyoming. The hotel was original and had bullet holes in the walls and a reputation of being haunted. We learned that many famous people had once stayed there—Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Ernest Hemingway, Butch Cassidy and others. We noticed a photo of Robert Taylor (the actor who plays Longmire) above the bar and commented on the picture. The bartender told us that Mr. Taylor lived a few miles down the road and came in once in a while for a drink. An older cowboy at the bar said he knew him well and confirmed that he was a nice guy. He gave us the actor's real name and told us to keep that information under our hat. Who knows if he was just pulling our leg?

We continued on our journey in Wyoming and were refreshed soaking in the mineral hot springs of Thermopolis — I don't know what's in the water there but I couldn't believe how great I felt after I stepped out. In Montana, a local took us up a snowy mountain in her Cam-Am where we viewed a herd of elk sunning themselves on the mountain side. Although some of the mountain passes were a bit treacherous, the views were spectacular in Idaho, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. It was fun to see all the ranches and houses perched in the hills. We drove through the breathtaking painted desert in Arizona while listening to the Eagles greatest hits and decided the experience was the closest thing to heaven on earth. Near Phoenix, the desert was unexpectedly green with cactus flowers ready to burst into blossom any day. And of course we went on the Carefree Highway where I thought about writing this blog.

On the way home we talked about all the things we saw and the people we met and decided that no matter where you go most people are basically the same. But the surprising thing is — there are more nice folks out there than you would think. And that isn't something you hear about on the evening news. Most are willing to share with you something interesting about their area and tell you information that you won't find in a travel brochure. The whole experience showed us that you don't need to spend a lot to have fun when you're traveling. All you need to do is to hop on any 'Carefree Highway' and appreciate the people and scenery around you!

Please sign up on the Contact page of this website for updates on my books. I will only email you when something is about to happen and I will never share your email with anyone else.

New Decade, New Dreams

I have a friend who says it's important to have dreams and your everyday goals should be geared toward achieving them. He believes you need a reason to get out of bed and it shouldn't be just to go to work, unless it's your dream job. I think my friend may be on to something, because I know from my own experience that when I'm making head way with my goals, everything else in my life seems better. I have more patience and the day-to-day unpleasantries don't appear to bother me nearly as much. I find that I treat myself and others better and I don't let things get me down so easily. The problem is that in our busy lives, our personal goals and dreams get put away in a closet in the back room. We think about them once in a while and tell ourselves, "Someday when I have time, I'm going to do that." And then we shove them back in the closet and shut the door. It's not easy to find the time and energy to work on our dreams and goals with all the obligations and responsibilities that block our path but I think we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to try and make our dreams a priority. Who knows? Maybe working on our dreams can help prevent depression from creeping into our lives. In any case, what's wrong with making life a little sweeter? Hopefully, in this new decade you will open that closet door and start to reap the rewards of living a happier life while you turn your goals and dreams into reality. If you would like to receive occasional updates on my books, please sign up on the Contact page of this website.

The Gift of a Thankful Heart

Cheers! I hope you had a great Christmas. And here's to the coming New Year— let it be the best ever. I feel very blessed this year for achieving my long time goal of publishing a book. If I was granted one wish, it would be that whoever read my book Ryley—truly enjoyed it. Thank you for all for your support and for understanding my love of writing. You have helped me along on my writing journey and I am forever grateful. I can't give enough praise to my review team and everyone who purchased my book—thank you from the bottom of my heart. Whether you bought my book or borrowed it from a friend, I hope you were intrigued and entertained with the love story of Ryley and Matt. I'm so excited to get keep moving on my trilogy—The Heartbeat Series. I plan to release the first book—Heartbeat of Desire in May/June of 2020. It's a spicy contemporary romance about the widow next door who unknowingly becomes the love target of two wealthy brothers: Fiery widow Cheryl, struggles to keep the family farm while two neighboring brothers fight to possess her. When she finds herself in the arms of brother number three, Jake, Cheryl can’t stop thinking about him, even though he’s engaged to another. I've started to gather an email list on my contact page of this website to inform and update everyone with my release dates. If you were so kind to sign up, you have my word that I will never share your email with anyone without your consent. And I don't plan to email you to death—I hate that! Happy New Year! Donna    

Thanksgiving —The No Hype Holiday

Smoke is still lingering in the air from the Fourth of July fireworks when school supplies and Halloween decorations are brought out from retail storage rooms. Then like magic on the day after Halloween, Christmas trees sprout up like mini forests in stores and malls start to play a list of holiday tunes that studies have shown to inspire sales. We haven't finished eating the leftover trick-or-treat candy when we find ourselves at the brink of the holiday season. At that point, all the hoopla and drama have begun and we realize there's no way out; we're in it for the long haul. There are high expectations to live up to and so much to do that sometimes the whole thing seems overwhelming. But just when it looks like commercialization is completely out of control, along comes Thanksgiving — the no hype holiday. Like any other holiday, you have the option to make Thanksgiving as complicated or simple as you want it to be. Basically, the only requirements are a good appetite and a dish to share. Choosing to wear comfortable clothes (preferably stretchy) is advisable but totally up to you.The only gift exchanged is sharing a meal with the people that you love. What could make for a better day? I guess some would say football. Even if you're not a sports fan, you need to realize that football isn't so bad. If everyone else is occupied, you are free to do whatever it is that you enjoy. Maybe it's getting ready for ... okay, I can mention it — Black Friday. Thanksgiving has always been the perfect time to reflect on all the people and things that make our lives great. Remember to let go of any drama and find the patience to see the blessings in spending time with your family and friends.                               I'm excited this year that I finally published my book Ryley—A Christmas Romance. It would be a fun stocking stuffer! If you have read it, I would be forever thankful if you placed a review. Here's where to get the book and/or place a review: