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What is it about the smell of toast that is so pleasant? Not too much to do to achieve it: Bread popped into a toaster, button pushed, patience. And whala, simple pleasure! The photo above is the beginnings of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch today. While putting it together, the aroma that filled the kitchen made me take pause. I have no big events or special memories tied to the smell of toast that I recall, and yet there it was--that smile and feeling. From toast.

Sometimes, when I am reading a story, I find myself pulled so far into a scene. It somehow triggers some emotional response that I cannot trace back to its roots, but it is there none-the-less. In creating a story, it is my hope to find a bit or two spots in the narrative that folks may fall into and get lost for just a little while. Although my writing cannot compare, some of my favorite moments reading still light a smile. Fear. Intrigue. Sadness. And pleasure. Just recalling the words and moments brought to the page by some of my favorite authors replays it all so simply:

❤Harry Potter's birthday cake on the island in the middle of a stormy sea. (JK Rowling, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone)

❤Katniss Everdeen's moment in the tube before being elevated into the Hunger Game challenge for the first time. (Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games)

❤Elsa Wolcott Martinelli's stance on the back of a pick-up truck fighting for picker's rights during the Dust Bowl just before being mercilessly shot (Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds)

❤Lali (Ludwig) Sokolov driving away from the Russian soldiers after serving them and being liberated from Auschwitz weeks before. (Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

❤Alice Van Cleve's first horseback ride into the mountains to delivery books to isolated families (Jojo Moyes, The Giver of Stars)

❤And Kya's long long wait in jail after knowing only freedom and independence. (Della Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing)

These are just a drop in the bucket of the many moments I have had finding simple pleasure in reading. Not too much to do to achieve it: Grab a book, have some light, put on my glasses, read. Replay. And whala, a trip into another world.

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How many times are we told to be patient during our lifetimes? It can be hard. Part of what helps me maintain patience is having faith that I will know when the time is right to move forward. Even with this forward motion, patience remains the mainstay because many of our greater endeavors take time to reach its goal even after actions are set in motion.

Being in the right frame of mind is so important with creative endeavors whether it is writing, art, pottery, gardening, or any of that. For me, my heart has to be there motivating the effort. Sometimes though, a goal (as I blogged about not to long ago) can spark energy that has been lacking and recruit the heart to pitch in. I don't know if that works for everyone, but it does work for me.

I so hesitate to lay out a map or plan in any way for anyone but me. When I first started writing (or maybe when I first came back to it--I used to write all the time as a kid and regret not keeping that work), I did it for both distraction and fun. When I first thought about sharing my story, I realized I had so much to learn about so many things. I read about plotting and outlining and strategies to get a story onto paper. How to market and track progress while engaging with others. All so overwhelming for me but not everyone. Some get so deep into it all and get fantastic results.

Not me. In the process of learning all...that, I learned I am a "pantser". I write by the seat of my pants. No outline. I have a plot and a vision, but they are in my head. I do write down some notes and images, but then, as the characters come to life, I let them take over and tell their story. So many conversations and possibilities stir inside my head. Sometimes it take days to mull it over before sitting down to my laptop to write. It is fun. It is energizing. And it is so me. The introvert who revels in solitude and peace most of the time.

I don't know what you wait for or where your patience lays, but you do. And that's what matters. Here's to finding our joy, the patience to allow it to arrive, and the knowing when it's here.

The Between is a parallel novel to The Wings of Time trilogy that has been screaming (inside my head) to be written. I set a few goals earlier this year to help me focus on my writing. I have achieved 4474 words on the page (or screen as it is), and they feel right. They have been fun. And I hope to share them soon enough. Only about 90 to a 100k to go!


It was a heart transplant that put time on my hands to create my trilogy, Wings of Time. Time sitting and waiting and hoping. A heart transplant for the person who held my heart. And even before this event, I have always been fascinated with heart symbolism. Hearts in nature. Hearts by happenstance. Hearts in architecture. Art. Literature. Joy. And sadness. Seeing such an image always makes me take pause. Don't know why. I just do.

It's no wonder that a heart fell into my story. I did not plan it, it just came to be. With the story development the amber heart's importance grew. For Hallie, it holds a sense of home, warmth and comfort when she is alone and unsure. Formed from the Tree of Life's sap, it protects a bit of feather from Hester's wings when they were still white and pure and before her fall. Because of this, it connects Hallie to worlds beyond her imagination while preserving memories and hope for a future that may be somewhere in the past.

Although biology tells us there is a heart-mind connection, the direction of influence depends on the person and circumstance. With tomorrow's holiday that celebrates the heart, I hope your Valentine's Day, whether you share it with someone or radiate with your own self-love, will be the day you want it to be.

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