Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homesick for the Holidays

I'm homesick for my loved ones and friends. I talked to mom today and she said all she wanted for Christmas was a visit with her children. I told her I could relate to that.

Rachel will be spending the holidays with her boyfriends family and the boys are home in Alabama. Kendall only has a day and a half off and that's what Ken will have too, so we won't be able to travel the distance. Eddie will be home for a week and I know he is glad to be home, too with his lovely wife Melissa.

But I still miss them.

It will be okay though, because I know (especially after years of working in a hospital) that the most precious times are any time we are together.

So even though we may not be together physically, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I love you all and wish you the very best Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Love Ya!

Sheila and Ken

Saturday, December 7, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Mapmaker and the Ghost

The Mapmaker and the Ghost
by Sarvenaz Tash
The Mapmaker and the Ghost is Sarvenaz Tash debut novel, copyright date 2012. this book has several of my favorite things: Quirky characters, ghosts, quests, a feisty main character, vivid settings and a little history thrown  in.
It starts with Goldenrod going out on a quest to map the forest, there she meets a ghost and a little old lady (which is not your typical little old lady as we find out later.) The lady asks Goldenrod to find a special flower.
During the quest for the flower, she runs to into a gang of kids up to no good. They kidnap her little brother and steal and do all sorts of crazy things.
The quirky characters are identified by their special "abilities".
No-Bone is a contortionist (bend in awesome ways.)
and Brains are just some of the characters you will meet. You will have to read the book to find out what the special abilities are.
I highly recommend this book.

Monday, December 2, 2013



I finished the NaNoWriMo on Thanksgiving day with 50,536 words for my rough draft. I feel a certain amount of accomplishment. This has been a goal of mine for a long time.

I was feeling a little let down, because it is over now for another year. I liked looking at that graph with the numbers going up everyday and the word count to go, going down.  I learned a lot about the writing life and writing with a full time job.

I also participated in Kristi Holl's November challenge and she is graciously doing one for December. This one will be a little less demanding because of all the holiday parties and getting ready for company. If you would like to enter this challenge then sign up at her blog.

I have met some wonderful people here and feel like I know them. We wrote when words didn't want to come, when duty and work called and still we got some writing in.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I'm thankful for a lot of things, four healthy children, my mother, sister's and brother, sister's-in -law and brother's in-law. Wonderful aunts and uncles, cousins too!

A smart dog, good job, comfortable home, brothers and sisters in Christ, health.

The list goes on and on. It reminds of the song Count Your Blessings. I love the stanza that goes 'count your blessings name them one by one.'

In times of trouble or when things seem more than I can bear I think of the many things I'm blessed with and the day goes by so much better.

Thank you Lord!

That reminds me of another song I love!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


It is week three of the National Novel writing month and I'm still writing.

Some Firsts

 I have written everyday straight for 23 days.

I have written in short spurts (during commercials).

I've gone over the rough draft and resisted the urge to let my inner editor edit (Not until after November 30th will she be allowed to come out.)

I've actually told friends, family and coworkers that I'm writing. When they ask what it's about, I resist the urge to tell them. (They will have to wait until the rough draft is done.)

I lost Microsoft Word! Right in the middle of typing away madly I got an error that said it had quit working! Thank you for automatic save. I now have it all backed up on a flash drive.

Going into the last week, I have less than 9,000 words to write.

NaNoWriMo Sponsors have some great offers and I'm thinking I just might reward myself with one. But not until the last word is validated.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I have successfully completed the second week of National Novel Writing Month.
I have completed 30,506 towards my finished novel.
This is the farthest I have ever come to completing a novel.

Some of the things I have learned:

1.   I can get up early  in the morning and write, and stop on time to go to work.

2.   My muse will work on demand, if I just tell  it to write something, anything, to
      get the juices flowing.

3.   My story flows better if I write everyday, even if its only a few hundred words.

4.   I'm more alert to my surroundings, always looking for characters in the people I  

5.   I don't need to be afraid to add descriptions.

6.   I'm learning how to weave subplots by sheer necessity.

7.   I've also learned to confide in my husband about what I'm writing or what  
      my writing goals are and he keeps me accountable.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fisrt Week Of NaNoWriMo

I made it through the first week of NaNoWriMo. I haven't given up and except for one day; made my minimum goal of 1667 words.

So far I have completed 15672 words towards my 50,000 novel. I like seeing my scale go up and up.
I did some preplanning and read up on how to tackle this goal.

I started with a completely new story idea. I did a little bit of plotting before the month began. (I wish I had done more).

The three act novel idea is beginning to sink in. I don't know yet if I will go back and revise this novel or perhaps continue the work on the WIP I have been dragging out.

But just by the shear will of sitting down and typing words, trying to make them fit into a plot, I   understand more now what I need to do before writing.

I also know that even if I have only a few minutes, I can get a lot accomplished. This has been very rewarding for me.

I do have the first week doubts to conquer, but conquer I will. If I complete this challenge, then I will have completed my first ever novel from beginning to end.

Also, I have found my husband to very supportive in this effort. He checks to make sure I have met my goal for the day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Anniversary Baby

Today twenty two years ago, Ken took off work (it was my day off) and we went to courthouse to be married.

He has been a rock, my best friend. He has really supported me everything I ever wanted to do and gives me courage to try.

I may have created a task master though. I told him I was doing NaNoWriMo this month and he makes sure I write every day (or night), but he is letting me off tonight. Hehehe.

I did get some writing done early this morning so it's not bad and I'm still on track.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Charleston South Carolina Aquarium

Charleston, South Carolina Aquarium
Divers at the aquarium swim with the sharks and turtles and various other sea creatures.
While everyone was looking at the group photo I noticed this single diver with a message on her  pumpkin. Pumpkins were carved while under water.

We also got to see a barn owl and learn about it. There was even an eagle that had been hurt and couldn't go back into the wild.

 We had such a fabulous trip. We went to the 4D movie and watched Sea Monsters and saw what was discovered in Kansas. We followed the life phase of a mammal similar to a dolphin complete with being sprayed water and poked in the back by sea creatures.

If you are ever near Charleston, check it out.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Helga’s Black Cat Search

Here is another contest and it's not too late. You have until 11:59 tomorrow night!

Here is my entry to  the 3rd annual Halloweesie Contest sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill.  The rules of the contest are simple: write a Halloween story in 100 words or less.  It can be scary or funny, poetry or prose, but it must be appropriate for children and include the words spooky, black cat, and cackle.

Helga’s Black Cat Search

Helga, the witch, wanted a spooky black cat for Halloween. She found one in the woods by a dead tree. It had a white stripe down its back and boy did it stink!

Helga looked some more and found a gray cat with a black mask, but it kept stealing her frog’s warts and eye of newts.

Helga looked and looked and found a spooky black cat that arched its back and hissed and spat at her. It was so scary she cackled, “I’ll take all three!.”


Monday, October 28, 2013

Contests Abound

A good way to break into print is to enter a contest. There are several contests that do not have an entry fee. To name a few: Children's Writer has extended their poetry contest to November 15. If you subscribe to this newsletter it does not cost anything. If you don't belong, then it will cost $15 BUT you get eight months of the newsletter free. Check back often because they have many contests throughout the year.

If you are older than 40 years of age check out Midlife Collage, again the entry free is 0! See Submission guidelines at

Susanna Hill is also hosting a contest for Halloween:
You have to write a story in less than 100 words.

These are just a few to get you started.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book In A Week

Monday is the beginning of the October challenge. If you like the NaNoWriMo, then you will love BIW.
The first week of each month is set aside to write without editing. You set your goal and turn in the number of pages you have written.
Not only do you get the fulfillment of getting your project written, you may also win a prize.

You have two chances to win:
1. The person with the most written pages
2. A participant drawing of those who met there goal and submitted in time.

I like this because I have a hard time moving forward. I want to stop and edit every single detail. At this rate I will never get my project completed.

This month I'm really excited, because the next month is NaNoWriMo, which I want to participate in also.
My goal is to finish this novel before the end of the year so I can start editing in earnest.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

National Book Festival

What's the next best thing to having a book at the National Book Festival? Having a friend whose book is representing the state.

Please join me in congratulating Irene Latham on her book, "Don't Feed the Boy"

I learned so much of what goes on behind the scenes in this book. A lot about animals and there caretakers too!

If you like this book, check out "Leaving Gee's Bend". Another book set in Alabama.

Way to go Irene!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Lighthouse

There is finally a light in the lighthouse. My husband bought this lighthouse for me years ago for some occasion. I don't really remember which one. It had a place for the light bulb, but we had no outside access to power. It remained a dark house. We moved it 570 miles to Florida and found a nice spot next to the fish pond. You can see the LED lights in the pond. It give just the right amount of light for the patio.

The lights come on when it's dusk and goes off when the sun shines. The fish we put in the pond have grown to about three inches. They were about an inch long when we first got them.

I love my little oasis.

Thank you, Honey!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This picture was taken February 16,2006. Left to right: Pam Kirkland, Mary Ann Taylor, Pat Weaver, Debbie, Sheila.

I can't believe it has been 7 years since we took that cross country trip to Okarcoke, NC. It was snowing the early morning we left. We took turns driving. We had to take a detour, ( I couldn't tell you where we were) and the police stopped us. (They were stopping everyone. As Pat said, they knew better than to mess around too much with 5 menopausal women. (Pat also had a stock pile of chocolate for the long trip).

We don't see each other as much, but we are still in contact and I believe we always will be close with the memories we shared on that trip.

It is with a very heavy heart that we say goodbye to Debbie who left us suddenly yesterday. Her kind heart will be remembered by many whose lives she touched everyday.

Miss you girl.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Remembering Dad on Father's Day

One of my fondest memories of Dad is how we all got together in the summer to make homemade ice cream. He would always watch and make sure we had plenty of ice and salt.
One of my earliest memories of Dad was when I won Yogi Bear and a pail full of candy. Every summer the whole family would go to Euclid Beach for a work sponsored picnic. The company would have contests and drawings for the children. This summer I was able to participate. I could either do it myself or have my daddy help me. I still remember him telling me he would help me if I agreed to share the candy with my  three sisters. I agreed and he did help and we WON! Later in life, I wanted to go to college. We made too much money to get any grants, but dad said not to worry. Well I got married instead. Later I did go to college and Dad did help me with my books. He always wanted us to follow our dreams.
Here is a picture of my dad and his parents and his younger brother Louis. I remember dad telling me how his dad had built the wrap around porch. This house was somewhere in Mooresville, Ms.
When dad got sick and mom had her stroke, Ken (my husband) would fix food for me to take to them. He loved salmon patties. ( I hated them-still do I don't care if they are good for you.)
We would sit at the table and talk. We would go through old family pictures. I didn't know my Grandpa Sid because he died before I was born. I loved getting to hear about him.

I loved asking my mom and dad about how they met. My mom's folks would move around a lot. Grandpa Odus would work on farms. One year they happened to be across the street where my Dad's grandpa lived.
My mother's eldest brother, Ellis, and dad became good friends. When dad would go into town, he would take all the young people with him.

Dad always got along with everybody. I never met anyone who knew him to have a bad word to say about him.

I have truly been blessed to have such a father. I thank God everyday for blessing me with the family I grew up with.
Love you sisters and brother!

If you have a father still alive today, tell him thank you for being there. If your parents were one of the few to stay together, ask them how they did it. I guarantee it wasn't always easy.

Happy Father's Day to all you father's out there!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day to all you mother's out there. We had a very special service at church today honoring mother's.
First they handed all the women, mother's or not, a carnation and tissue.
Then they showed a video that made us laugh and cry. It was from the view of a baby growing up through all stages and how mom was always there.

We are still blessed to have our momma with us, even though we are scattered around. Mother taught us about family and to take care of each other. With us girls, when we were growing up and fussing, she would tell us how lucky we are to have each other. She is so right. I know no matter what, my sister (and brother) will be there for me.

God also blessed me with a very special woman who is now gone. My mother-in-law was the best. We enjoyed so much of the same things. When she became ill and not able to do things herself she still kept a smile on her face. She loved visitors.

I would always commiserate with her about how awful her son was and she would laugh and say his dad was the same. I hope I can be just as a good a mother-in-law some day.

Thank you God for all the women in my life, including the dear friends not pictured here today.
You know who you are, love you  ladies!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lunch on St. John's River

Took a little day trip to the east side of Florida today. We went almost to Daytona and stopped at a restaurant on the side of St. John's River. This is a picture of the bridge there. We got a seat at the window and watched boats go up and down the river. A sailboat was going under the bridge. It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Writers Retreat With Friends Pat Weaver and Irene Latham

Our writing retreat was a great success. We woke up to a beautiful view of the sun rising over Weeks Bay close to Fairhope, AL.

We enjoyed each others company and did some site seeing in downtown Fairhope. We visited the library, the museum and the Page and Pallet Book Store.
We visited with Irene's relatives and got the inside scoop of the early settlers.

Of course no trip to the museum that had a jail would be complete without Pat behind bars.
It was interesting to find out that the jail which had two cells had come from the brig of a ship. Each cell held 4 beds! Talk about being claustrophobic!

We had good food thanks to our great cooks, Pat and Irene. Then I treated them to some "Ugly Biscuits" from the Biscuit King that are out of this world. The citizens of Fairhope were very friendly and when two passersby were walking towards us, we asked if they would take our picture. The azaleas were blooming everywhere.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Welcome Home Kelso II

We finally have a home with a nice big backyard and we were missing our Kelso. We had a friend that had a fiend that was looking for a good home for a dog they had taken in. We met at our house and let Billy aka Kelso explore to see if he thought he could be happy here. He is now a big part of the family. He roams the house and grounds to make sure all is safe. He loves the koi pond and visits to the Dog Park.

Karen took this picture of Ken, Kelso and me on the steps of our patio. Thank you so much Karen for letting us adopt Kelso!

Here's a picture of Baron and Kelso resting under a tree at the Millineum Dog Park in Ocala, Fl.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After what seemed like ages, we finally got our granite installed in the master bath, guest bath, guest bedroom vanity and kitchen! It was worth the wait. We started looking at granite even before we had actually bought the house. We went to several places and even a supplier. We asked lots of questions and leraned about the grade and the thickness. The master bath is totally done and the guest room. We still have to retile the the guest bathroom and are looking at backsplashes for the kitchen. I would show you a picture of the kitchen but I would have to clean it first. :) The granite for both bathrooms matched the tile that was already there. We are looking at possibly using a tin backsplash (copper finish) for the kitchen. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous! I think Kelso has been in the small pond fishing! I will blog about him another day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Manatee Festival-Crystal River,FL

Ken and I got up early this morning to go to the Manatee Festival in Crystal River. We walked through the arts and crafts and made our way to boat pier for the boat tour I had never seen a real live manatee before and wondered what all the fuss was about. Then I saw not one but two!

They are huge! But they tell me they are also gentle. People were kayaking with their children and dogs!

I have been wanting to take up kayaking but Ken kept telling me the alligators would get me. So I asked a guy, "What about the wildlife?"
He said not to worry, they usually go in the other direction and he demonstrated the technique for using the paddles.

The kayakers really had the best view, so close up. Some of the manatees even came up for air. there was also one swimming with her baby.

Seems the manatees come in from the ocean when the weather turns cold. the spring fed rivers are warmer so the manatees come in for the winter.

We had unusually warm weather for manatees and were afraid we wouldn't see any because they were heading back out to the coast. But we were lucky, we had a cold snap just in time to bring them back in.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

One of the things I have been looking forward to is adopting a dog. When we moved to Florida, I wasn't able to bring Kelso with us. He has a wonderful home now, but we are missing the friendly drool of pup. So while my sister-in -law and AI were in Ocean Springs, Ms we came across this dog. Isn't he sweet?