It’s My Birthday :)

Thanks Robin Wiesneth for the cute birthday graphic - the sign read my mind!

Thanks Robin Wiesneth for the cute birthday graphic – you read my mind!

It’s my birthday and I planned on coming home, getting in my pajamas and just catching up on some projects, but of course that didn’t happen.

The older I get the more focus I get, the more I perceive my purpose and path. Balloons and streamers mark a special day, but then everyday needs to have fanfare because everyday is more exciting and wonderful then the last. The older I get, the more I relish life. Glad to be here another year.

Now it’s time to take advantage and get some birthday writing done…

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God is Deeper: Ichinichi Ichizen

Dandi sunsetTo assume someone who doesn’t go to a traditional church isn’t a spiritual person is the same as assuming that someone who doesn’t hang out at swimming pools can’t swim.

It may be true, but it’s just as likely to be not true. Sometimes I need silence because I can’t hear God through all the people. I get more from taking a walk.

God and the power of creation is in everything. It pushes up through the earth and holds us upright. It washes down on us in cool starlight that brings our souls to shivering wide awakeness. Almost nightly I find time to stare at the night sky, dumbfounded by the immensity of everything. When I need to remember humility, walking along a forest line as the stars wheel endlessly overhead diminishes me back to myself.

When despair and exhaustion try to capsize us the sunrise is there, burgeoning hope washing across the sky in waves of golden encouragement. The sun setting reminds us not to waste our moments because there are only so many allotted to each of us. They race by like clouds before the wind, stretching clean and full of promise across the limitless blue of our potential.

Goodness, holiness and joy can’t be confined to a day of the week, or a building, or a group. God is deeper than that. The essence of goodness is all around us, in everything, all the time. Each of us has the power to do great goodness for others. Sometimes it requires sacrifice, but most often it’s something small and powerful, like a smile and a kind word.

My hope is that I will bring more goodness and joy to this world then I have taken from it, but I’ve been so undeservedly blessed I think I’m destined to leave this world in debt, having received more from it then I can ever give, but the important thing is to never stop trying.

— ichinichi ichizen 日善.

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I Love to Write Day

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Tea Time with Serenitea!

*DSCF1003Cold weather has taken over Niceville and this former midwesterner knows that means it’s time to pull out the kettle and find the tea set.

I am lucky enough to have found Serenitea fine teas and my favorite tea of all teas I’ve ever tasted is Gunpowder Mint, a green tea and mint blend.

One thing I love about Serenitea is they make it so easy to enjoy good tea. On the back of their business card are detailed *DSCF0979instructions to brew the perfect cup. For a non-aficionado like me, that’s vital info. I keep the card with the tea set.

This is tea artistry, a tapestry of brilliant flavor woven across my palate in living shades of fresh mint. The kick of green tea in the Gunpowder Mint punches in the message that I am alive and life is good. This is a vital brew—passion in a pot.

Bring on the cold, dark winter for I am well stocked with plenty of water, a sturdy kettle and an ample supply of artisan teas by Sereniteas!

artful thingsVisit Sereniteas online and find out which tea is your favorite and be entertained by their Tea Talk blog.

You can also get news on special events on Twitter at @mysereniteas and anyone lucky enough to live in Niceville can stop into Artful Things on John Sims Parkway and peruse the teas (and more) in person.

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New! Sunny Side In

Sunny Side In

Sunny Side In

Sunny Side In is now live and available exclusively through Amazon.

Keep your spirits up and remember, no matter what happens in life, we have to keep our sunny side shining brightly inside. Illustrated by Kyra Cato, I am proud and excited to release this newest picture book for kids of all ages that may need a reminder that after every dark night, comes a dawn :)

Sunny Side In, and all my books, will be free on November 21 to celebrate my birthday. Honest reviews, shares and ratings make the perfect present for an author. :)

 

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New Book on the Horizon

Sunny Side in publishingMy newest book is just about to be released, and this time the illustrator is my own daughter, Kyra Cato!

She did a wonderful job and I love how these turned out… and I’m not saying that because I love her. These drawings are truly perfect for this story.

From Amazon:

This colorful children’s picture book has an uplifting message for all ages about keeping a joyful spirit. Life doesn’t always go our way, and we have two choices when it doesn’t: give in to misery or keep our sunny spirit. Sadness comes to us all at some point, but eventually the rainbow follows the storm. May this book serve as a reminder to always keep to the sunny side of life.

I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready :D

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Penny Plus=Peace

Micawber PennyI’ve had a glitch in my accounts for awhile that I was finally able to fix, and once again I am balanced to the penny. Mr. Smith can tell you that there are two areas that can instantly turn my cranky – when my accounts are messed up and when my gadgets don’t work.

In the afterglow of account nirvana, I started thinking about how we often regard a penny as insignificant and yet how much joy hinges upon it. After bills are paid and groceries bought, if I am one penny short in my accounts I won’t be able to sleep knowing that the one cent shortfall could start an avalanche of overdraft. On the other hand, one penny surplus makes for sweet dreams. That’s why I always pick up a penny when I see it. Heads or tails, an extra penny is lucky.

I’m not the only one who thinks this. Mr. Wilkins Micawber, from Charles Dickens’s 1850 novel, David Copperfield, said it back then:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Interesting side note, the best fiction is usually thinly veiled reality painted up in gloss, and Dickens had a reality for his Micawber character to tap. His own father was the inspiration, and was actually incarcerated in the King’s Bench Prison, a debtor’s prison, after failing to pay his debts.

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Two Weeks Away from 46

Angela Yuriko Smith B-day profileI am officially two weeks away from marking another year, and things just keep getting better. Turning 40 seemed to be a magic number for me when life kicked into high gear. I think I finally got old enough to not care what other people thought about me and I could finally be myself.

Now that I am in the final days before my personal new year, I always start evaluating what I’ve done in the last year and what I’d like to do in the next.

My loose goals for my next year:

  1. Get back into healthy shape.
  2. Spend more time having fun with my family.
  3. Connect with people I care about more.
  4. Increase my book catalog.
  5. Increase income.

Last year I remember my goals were:

  1. Get out of debt. Paid final debt, a car payment, in August.
  2. Increase our incomeBetween Mr. Smith and I, that’s happened.
  3. Get comfortable with my job at the newspaper. I love my job!
  4. Increase my book catalog. I published four books since last year at this time.

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 8.45.19 AMMy goals last year were heavy on the work side, and the last year that’s all I remember doing. It was an excellent year and I accomplished everything I wanted to, but I can do better. This time next year I hope that I will reconnect with people I care about, including myself.

To make that happen, I have to focus on making it happen, so these goals have become a sticky note on my desk top that I’ll be evaluating, adding to and adjusting over the next year. Once a week I’ll be realigning myself to make sure I’m on track. In between, I can go on auto-pilot and focus on the minutes that make it happen.

I am super excited to see what year 46 brings!

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Apostrophe Catastrophe?

apostrophe-740738Today at work I was asked a tough question: should women, men and children have a possessive apostrophe when they are possessive?

I quickly gave my answer as yes and then promptly backtracked. I asked to look it up and discovered most people are as confused as I was.

Which is correct:

Women’s, men’s and children’s or womens, mens and childrens?

I finally said the version with the apostrophe, and here’s why.

According to the AP Stylebook, plural nouns not ending in s get an apostrophe, as in women’s rights. HOWEVER, if the noun is used primarily in the descriptive sense then it does not require the apostrophe s, as in citizens band radio BUT an s is required if the word does not end in s already, such as children’s hospital. So my final answer, tomorrow, will be yes, the apostrophe needs to be there.

This has been almost as bad as deciding which politician was worth voting for. A lot of people were divided on that one too. My next question is, who the heck makes up all these possessives rules?

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Paying for My Syntax

Nanowrimo: Day 5

Nanowrimo: Day 5

Nanowrimo. Day five. I can see now that this has all been a cruel, psychological prank on me, and I may never see the end of the 50,000 word mark that might open these prison doors, built of verb and noun.

Nay, and that is not the least of my fears. The thought has crossed my haunted mind that the experience may thrash my delicate ego to the point from which I may not be able to return.

If I cannot beat this fiendish challenge that plagues me, I may well never finish another book again.

A pox on this challenge and all who skitter lightly to the end, frolicking with pen in hand and sheafs of finished papers flying skyward to the sun! A pox on the very idea of nanowrimo! Surely the unnatural phrase, nanowrimo, is some sort of witch’s curse to enslave poor struggling writers and bash them into submission.

I am nearly finished with my first week of this literary sentence and I can hear fate laughing at me, a derisive sneer curls the lip of Father Time as he sends his baby days to scuttle away from me, leaving me wordless and on bended knee begging to be released from this curse of nanowrimo.

NANOWRIMO!

 

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