And Now For My Next Trick!

Here’s a little flashback post that I wrote June of 2013. Yes, I’ve been at this blog writing thing for about four years now! (Started in 2011) I decided to dig back into these archives (from a blog entitled “Rural Spoon and Dish” that I use to run before this one) and repost a few that I thought were worthy. This one actually spoke to me and helped me to dig out of a funk I’ve been in. I hope it does the same for you. Let me know what you think!


“And now for my next trick…” the skateboarder says to his friend.

“Here I can record it!” his friend replies.

We’ve all seen these videos and the moment AFTER these comments. They typically don’t end well.


They typically end up on some kind of video show or YouTube where people can laugh at it over and over again. And yet, people keep making these videos. 


Maybe it’s perseverance (and not stupidity) that they possess. They keep having faith that there will be a different outcome. Hope that they can achieve all that they dream with just one more try

THIS time it’s going to be epic.

And this time it turns out okay. The skateboarder finishes his trick without blood or mishap, but it wasn’t anything grand. He did it, but they move on without comment. Maybe it wasn’t ALL they dreamed it could be even though he lived to tell about it. But they keep riding their skateboards and documenting their attempts. It’s a work in progress. They strive for something even grander, even more challenging to video and share. They continue to push themselves for something more.

And why don’t we all have this mindset? Do we all strive for more of ourselves? Could we push a little more to achieve our dreams? Or do we just let them fade away because it became too much work?

What if we recorded all our attempts at greatness? Would we want to share them or would we want to give it another go to make it more epic? Would you want others to see how you’ve given up – or would you rather they saw how you persisted?

Maybe the trick today is to write 100 more words than you wrote yesterday so you can get that book deal. Or to even get an article, poem, devotional or short story published.

Maybe the trick today is to get that garden planted, the lawn mowed, or to read the kids just one more story. Because it’s what you love to do.

Maybe it’s to make someone smile.


Maybe the trick today is to say “I love you” to someone you’ve been meaning to say it to. And who might not be here tomorrow.

Or maybe it’s to say “I love you” to yourself today. Because no one has said it in a long time.

Whatever it is – don’t you want to look back and say: Yeah. Maybe I didn’t achieve it all. But I didn’t give up. I didn’t settle for just the simple tricks. I went all out.

I do. And today my trick was to just get this blog idea out to you. Guess what? I did it.

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M is for Mindless Musings

Once again I’m working on my A to Z Challenge for the week and trying to discern the best use of an “M” word for my readers to enjoy.

I thought about doing Marriage – I’ve written about it many times before though and I think my mind is bereft of ideas in that area. I have a great marriage. I love my husband. We fight and disagree, but, in the end, he’s my best friend and I could not live another day without him.



I considered Megan – my God daughter – as a topic, but I just wrote about her and Naomi last Friday so I didn’t want to bore you although I spent almost all of yesterday with her. (You know me though – I’m writing this ahead of time. I sometimes feel like it’s a weird rip in the space time continuum. But since the day hasn’t really actually occurred it’s hard to write about it… let your mind process that one!) Plus, I COULD write about Naomi for “N,” but I decided against it in favor of this more random post instead.

I also considered writing about my pooch, Max. But there isn’t much to tell. He hurt himself the other night, but he’s better now. He tried, as he does every night, to chase some bunnies in our backyard, but his leash got the better of him and he became tangled. His horrifying yelps broke my heart and I feared he had broken his neck or leg. It was the worst ten minutes of my life. He limped for awhile, but I could not discern any broken bones so I let him sleep it off (but I did not sleep much that night). In the morning his limp was less pronounced and now it is gone completely. I am relieved and snuggle him in gratitude every chance I get.


He looks like a pointer here. Ever on watch.

I considered writing a book review of “Mercy’s Rain” I just finished. I can give a small one here: read it. There are some tough parts, the main character is raised by an abusive and evil man – who is also a preacher – but the story is mainly about how she deals with this life that is now in her past and how she finds mercy and grace. The writing is so well done that I am recommending it to everyone I meet. I met Cindy Sproles at St. Davids Writers Conference in June and she is such a sweet, kind and giving soul, but her writing in this book just sealed the deal for me on this author. Be forewarned: there are some vivid and graphic scenes, but it’s worth the read.


Finally I could tell you about the two town’s that I grew up in: Milton and Montandon. I was raised out in the country a bit and it was in-between both towns. We had a Milton address, but were closer to Montandon. Milton is home to a Chef Boyardee plant that my dad worked in for over 40 years. My uncle worked there too (along with almost everyone we know) and even met Hector Boyardee back in the day. The only story I have about Montandon is that when my parents were dating Dad told Mom he’d like to take her there on a date (to a restaurant maybe, I’m not sure) and she said, “I can’t go to Montana!” She thought he wanted to take her to another STATE, not just a little town down the road.

Or I could tell you about my maiden name too, but I won’t. Those of you that know me know it, but I don’t want to share it right now in this post. We have some famous chips named after us – distant relatives – and I’m proud of the name. Right now I’m working on getting into the Daughter’s of the American Revolution because one of my ancestors served and I’m proud of it.

So there you have it – a few little musings about the “M” things in my life. I hope you’re writing your A to Z Challenge too and enjoying reading! If you want to read more check out the hashtag #atozchallenge on Twitter and Facebook – I’m sure you’ll run across other great blogs!

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Wordless Wednesday

I was searching out some inspiration from old photos today and I came across these beauties from a trip to Indiana we did a few years ago. My husband is a big fan of old cars and we visited the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. Although I like the old cars too, I am more fascinated in the details and the shapes. Here are a few of my favorites.

100_1223 100_1228 100_1271 100_1288 100_1162 100_1167 100_1178 100_1219100_1291 100_1292 100_1295


What inspires you?

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Cleanliness next to Godliness?

My in-laws arrived last week. Before they arrived, I forced my husband to clean the house like a madman. We scrubbed and polished and even moved the couch. I shoved papers into unseen places and picked up every last bit of dirt I saw. I doubt they noticed, but it made me feel better while they were here.

Then, the in-laws wanted to have a little get together with my parents, but my mom wasn’t feeling up to leaving her house. I arranged to take the in-laws to my parent’s house but my mom said, “They’ll have to put up with my mess.” (There is no mess…ever…at my mom’s house.) Once again, I’m sure they didn’t even notice the non-existent debris.


On more than one occasion I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’ll have to clean” or “They will just need to deal with the junk” when there truly isn’t ever anything to be so stressed about. I know I don’t really take note when I visit other people’s homes, but I stress about my own if I know anyone is stopping by.

tln kitchen mess, 25 january 2011

I’ll admit – this I would notice. This is NOT my mom’s house.

It caused me to wonder: Does everyone fret about their home when company is coming over?

I found this post discussing the same topic. Check out the comments. Almost everyone admitted that they clean before company. But many also said they didn’t care when going to other homes. Kitchen and bathrooms seem to be the rooms at the top of the “better be clean” list for most folks though. I can only agree. When I visit someone’s home, especially for a meal, the kitchen cleanliness is a must for me. I can’t even describe to you how I feel when it isn’t clean…it works up my gag reflexes. Bathrooms certainly bother me as well and it’s why I often don’t go when I’m out. (Although I’m not as bad as my mother who refuses to go in public restrooms.)

When I looked up this phenomenon I mainly got websites for OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and facts on hoarding. I think it can be a little of both – for both ends of the spectrum – but I’m fascinated by it. For me, my mom always had a clean home and used to (thank you Mom for no longer doing this) comment on the cleanliness of my home. It was what a “good homemaker” did. (How antiquated right?)

Of course we also know that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” is from the Bible.

Wait… no it ISN’T? This is one of those “scriptures” that people repeat but is not actually found in scripture!

Psalm 19:9 KJV states, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever” but this is not referring to cleanliness. Other versions state, “The fear of the Lord is pure” instead. It’s not about cleanliness…but it is about being pure in your fear of the Lord. Respecting Him. Being clean might not get us closer to Him, but fearing and respecting Him surely will.

So we can toss that opinion out the window.

Does it go back to “keeping up with the Joneses'” mentality? We think our neighbors automatically have clean homes or, perhaps, employ servants to keep it spit-shine new?



I guess I should just be thankful that all my friends think they have to clean before I come over… and they should be grateful I reciprocate. It sure would be nice to NOT do it once in awhile, but then…when would my home ever be clean?

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L is for Letter Writing

As part of my #atozchallenge, I’m writing a letter to my God daughters. They say the art of letter writing is outdated…I don’t agree. We just don’t use paper and fancy pens anymore.

Dear Megan and Naomi,

You may never get a letter such as this. You’re used to Tweets and texts and who knows what else (you’re only 6 and 2 now so it’s hard to say how things will change in the next few years.) But when I was young and when you parents were young, we wrote letters to one another. We used paper and pens – sometimes in fancy colors – and wrote to friends or relatives who lived out of state. It was a place to tell the person what was going on in your life and to keep them up to date on the latest news. (There was no internet then!)

I’m using this space to write to you about things that have gone on this year in your lives and to tell you how much you both mean to me and your Uncle John.

In June, we went with you and your parents to Cape May. It was our first vacation with kids and we weren’t sure what to expect. Although there were some ups and downs, we had a blast with you and hope it is not our last trip together. I’d like to share a few moments that meant a lot to me.

Megan – I will never forget cuddling up together on my hotel bed and reading a Jack and Annie (Magic Tree House series) story with you. It was super special to me because up until this point, John and I had always read to you. But this time you read to me! (Well, we shared the duties…) My heart burst with pride as you read aloud to me. I love books immensely and am so pleased that you do too. It’s a passion I hope we both share for years to come.

We also took you to see the lighthouse (just John and I) and played some mini golf. I hope you remember. I enjoyed your enthusiasm for the mini golf – even though you weren’t doing well. You didn’t give up and you were simply happy to spend time with us. It meant so much.

When we spent time on the beach and you trusted me enough to hold your hands while the waves crashed near us – it touched me deep inside. I never want to lose that trust from you. And feeling your giggles against my legs as the waves lapped your feet is something I will never forget.

Naomi – you probably will not remember a thing about this vacation because you were too small, but you had some trouble adjusting. It’s hard for someone as young as you to understand being away from home, but there were still moments that we will always cherish. When we went to the zoo, you asked Uncle John to carry you for a bit – you had barely given him the time of day up until that moment – and he couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Although John was less than thrilled with your shrill screams at most meal times, we both enjoyed your maniacal laughter and your fearless spirit. And I’m still laughing at how both you and your sister love lemons! You would think you’d both be more sour!

But the absolute best moments were when you cried out, “Bald eagle!” …and there were no bald eagles. Birds, yes… but not bald eagles. One thing is for certain – you will not be a ornithologist.

It’s hard to capture every moment that you’ve affected our lives, but I want to get as much of it written down as I can so you’ll always have these letters. I hope to write more for you as you grow and hope to experience so many more happy memories with you.


(Aunt) Sue



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The Courage Wall #welivebig

Have you seen this >>>



It’s called the #welivebig campaign and this is the courage wall. This is a chalkboard that encourages people to write down what they wish they had the courage to do. I found it first on a friend’s Facebook page when it was at the Ballston Farmer’s Market. The campaign also has a FB page here.

This is their mission statement:

“Live Big” embraces the idea that we are the authors of our own life story and as such, have the power to live vibrant, impactful and joyful lives filled with passion and meaning. We Live Big is a movement to raise awareness about living life on purpose. It’s about courage and vibrancy. It’s about finding your passion and creating a meaningful life. We encourage people to uncover their authentic selves, continue to grow and make contributions to the world.

I love this idea. How freeing would it be to just LIVE BIG.

Recently, I made a note of a Bible verse in my journal to look up later. Then while I was writing this post I came across this image:

ephesians 3_20


This is the verse I had written down! It was a reminder to myself that I should think and live BIG. God is working within me to do great works! Let’s start living like it.

For inspiration – here are some things I’ve seen written on the courage wall:

I wish I had the courage to:

  • quit my job
  • make art full time
  • trust my instincts
  • let things go
  • start a blog
  • be proud of myself every day
  • be comfortable in my own skin
  • be more sociable
  • be more assertive
  • forgive myself
  • always speak my truth
  • not worry about stupid stuff

These are just a very small sampling of the things people wished they had the courage to do. They seem small really, but they are huge to the people who wrote them.

What about you? What do you wish you had the courage to do today? Perhaps make yourself a courage wall – use a dry erase board or a chalkboard and place it where you can see it everyday. Then start writing down your hopes and dreams. Knock one off a week! You can do it!




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Book Fest is Coming!

I’m part of a terrific writing group that has helped me evolve over the last few years into the writer and editor I am today. We hold events about once a year that help us, and others, to expand our knowledge of the writing industry. Last year we held a one day conference, we’ve held small social media days and this year we’re holding our first ever book fest! You can check out our website for all the details here.

The purpose of the book fest is mainly to announce to our local area all the great authors we have right here in North Central PA. There are numerous groups and many of their members have been published. I thought I’d give you all a little sneak peek into some of the outstanding authors we already have slated for our event.

Carrie Anne Noble – Carrie is kind of our pride and joy this year. We met her a few years ago during a Nanowrimo event and she’s come to our meetings off and on ever since. At that time she was writing and editing a young adult novel. According to Carrie, before it was even truly finished in her eyes, she decided to submit it to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest. She was just hoping really for some feedback on the piece. But several months later, her novel, The Mermaid’s Sister, won the 2014 Award in the Young Adult category! Now she’s traveling all over to conferences and book fests enjoying her new found fame and adoration with this delightful masterpiece.

Susan Lower – Susan is one of our long time members as well as our book fest director. She spent a lot of years working on several novels, writing, rewriting and rewriting some more to try and convince book sellers to publish her work, but could never find the right one to get her well-crafted works out into the world. Finally, last year, she decided she was going to self-publish (which, to do right, takes a lot of work, but she did it). In October, she released a short story titled Emma’s Dilemma and then quickly followed it up with a delightful Christmas story called The Fruitcake Bride (which you can get FREE) before releasing her full-length novel Forgotten Reins, which is the first in her Silver Winds Trilogy series. If you love romance and farm life, you will love Susan’s books! She is currently working on the second book in the series which will be released soon.

Roberta Brosius – Roberta has been with our group for a long time and has written Bible curricula for the students she teaches and has also been published with devotions (to numerous to count). Much like Carrie, Roberta was working on a young adult novel in the fall of 2012 for Nanowrimo. She (and the rest of us) thought it was so good that she began to market for a publisher. In the fall of 2013, Surviving Meemaw was published with Helping Hands Press to rave reviews. Just two months ago, Roberta released the second book in the series, Surviving Jamaica. She’s now working on the third installment and we can’t wait for the finale to this awesome series!

This is just a small sampling of the talented authors we will have this year at Book Fest. We’re geared toward a family-friendly audience so you can be sure that all our authors works are PG rated! We’ll also have some children’s authors and other young adult authors as well as readings and a small selection of food. If you’re in the area, be sure and come check out all the Book Fest has to offer!

Anyone interested in setting up a stand for their books may contact me through my page or fill out the application on our page and send it back to us. Deadline is August 15, 2015.

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