All the Many Changes…

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It’s amazing how time flies when you’re really living. I just logged in to my blog and discovered I’ve posted nothing since August. Believe me, I’m totally committed  to maintaing this site, but in the past few months, life has been a beautiful storm of love and life as well as death and transition.

In June, I was still galavanting around the country writing and loving the freedom of minimalism and the simplicity of RV life. Without boring you with minor details, I’ll fast foward through life events…

By mid-June, I was back in my home state after recording audio books and some of my original music with my producer in Indiana. On July 4th, I became engaged. In August, I was married and my husband agreed to try living the full time RV dream with me. Two weeks after that, I was able to witness the birth of my first and only grandchild. Less than one month later, due to unforeseen circumstances, we became the guardians of said grandchild and needed to abort our nomadic existence.

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In a matter of only a few weeks, we sold my RV,  moved into a new home, and I acquired a “regular vehicle,” and drove at street level for the first time since I started full timing. I didn’t  know that my grandbaby wasn’t the only one who needed to have a home environment in which to be cared for.

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This month, after celebrating his 50th birthday, my master musician, Veteran Army Ranger brother suffered two strokes. These were in addition the four he had suffered in the previous three years,  and the three heart attacks he had two years prior to the first stroke. He declined very quickly and moved into our home to receive hospice care. Just last week, he passed away, and for the first time in my life, I’m left an only child without the protective presence of my big brother hovering around me.

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Yes, there have been many changes in my life. In some  ways, I’ve come full circle. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have a loving husband, a happy home, a writing room to die for, a beautiful granddaughter, and my brother is no longer in pain. To God be the glory for all that He has done!

Surprise Babies and Covert Weddings With a Little Travel Mixed In!

Well, it’s been a few weeks since last I posted, and I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I’ll go back to Indy… If you recall in a September, 2013 post, I headed to Indianapolis to record the … Continue reading

Cookie Obsession

I have become absolutely smitten with cake mix cookies! They are simple, delicious, and RV friendly. So far, I’ve enjoyed the likes of Red Velvet, Butter Pecan, Lemon, Chocolate Chip and today’s baked goodness, Strawberry Coconut.

To make cake cookies, you simply need one box of cake mix, two eggs and a 1/2 cup of oil. You can add any “extras” that you choose.

For my strawberry cookies, I used Pillsbury Strawberry Cake Mix, 1 cup of flaked coconut, and a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix your ingredients. Place mixture on a cookie sheet by the spoonful (I like to roll mine into balls,) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to seven days. Yields approximately two dozen cookies.

Other examples of add-ins: 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, M&M candies, or Reese’s Pieces to yellow cake mix; 1/2 cup of Andes Mint chips or crushed peppermint to chocolate cake mix; or 1 cup of coconut to lemon cake mix — yummy!

For variation, you can use frosting if serving immediately. Hint: cream cheese frosting is always wonderful on carrot or red velvet cookies!

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The Way Grandma Used to Do It!

This morning, I met my new neighbors for the first time.  They are a wonderful couple – – white and fluffy with orange features.  They are the cutest ducks you’ll ever see! The gentleman in the RV next to mine raises them.  It saves him money, gives him fresh eggs and also provides a hobby.  My little Lola has been fascinated by them all day.

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These little duckies (both of them are named, “Crackle”) made me think of full time RVing in another light.  We certainly live a simpler life and we’re closer to nature on a regular basis.  I had never even explored the fact, however, that we’re not always as dependent on modern day, “luxuries” as others.  I met my feathery friends and their owner as I was heading outside to fill my water tank after completing laundry duty.  I realized, at that point, that as RVers, we do several things the way our grandparents and great-grandparents did.  While the fulltimer, “next door” was collecting his eggs, I had just finished using my washboard to do the wash.

When I was just a little girl, my Grandma Teamor taught me how to use a washboard.  In fact, between my two grandmas and the one great-grandmother that I was blessed to have until I was 17, I learned many ways of the past.  I have an extremely extensive formal education that cost me an arm and a leg, but the education that has been provided by my parents and other family members is invaluable.  I digressed…

I love the idea of raising foul for eggs, but I still opt to just buy them at the market.  I will not, however, be without my washboard.  I like the fresh smell of the laundry, I get a great upper body and abdominal workout, and each time I’m washing, I think of my family and quietly pay homage to those who used “elbow grease” in all that they did.  I would implore everyone to make it a practice to carry out at least one task “the old fashioned way.”  Although it may require a bit more work, I promise, you will find that somehow your mind is at ease and you’re a bit more emotionally relaxed while you’re doing it.

Here’s to the simple life!

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How to Use a Washboard

1. Fill a bucket with approximately one gallon of water.

2. Wet your washboard and rub your bar of soap against the board to create a lather (I use white Zote – – it’s 99 cents a bar at Walmart and smells very fresh.)

3. Dip your garment in the bucket and then scrub it against the board.

4. Rinse and wring your garment, and hang to dry.

5. Repeat process for each article of clothing and that’s it!

Drastic Change of Scenery

It’s very hard to believe that only a few days ago, I was battling the snow and ice. After traveling a mere four hours down I-75, this is the view outside of my window today:

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Yesterday, it was 65 degrees and rainy; today, it’s a sunny 56 and very comfortable. I left temperatures in the low teens which brought frozen tanks on my RV, and achy bones on me.

Today, I’m relaxed, sipping a cup of honey chamomile tea and watching the film, Prisoners on pay-per-view. When the movie ends, however, it’s back to the keyboard to continue work on my next novel. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these temps will last.

Small Town Charm

On the final stretch of my drive home, I stumbled upon a wonderful little town in Ohio. Chillicoth seems to be one of those hidden US jewels that time has forgotten, yet just five minutes up the road, all of our modern niceties are found. It just doesn’t get much better than this!

Chillicoth was both the first and third capital of Ohio, and the pride of holding that honor is apparent. From the painted barns to the little white churches, this is a place to unwind, relax and just let go. I will definitely revisit very soon. It’s in the midst of these tiny towns that so many treasures are found.

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From TN to GA

After a fantastically productive time in Tennessee where I secured a publicity manager, radio interviews and an upcoming signing, I made my way to Georgia.

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I visited bookstores in Atlanta, Conyers and Norcross, and had the opportunity to visit family from both my mom’s and dad’s sides. Because I ended this part of the trip a day early, I decided to spend some time relaxing in Savannah before my next event in FL. I could have stayed in Savannah forever! Not only is it gorgeous, but the serenity gave me a space both physically and mentally to write and write and write! This is my kind of town.

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Not only was I excited to see the settings of, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” I was even more pleased that one of the monuments gave me the inspiration for my first non-fiction work. I can’t wait to shed light on the life of an amazing woman who ran a secret school for over 30 years in her, “Pink House.” I’m honored to share your story, Lady Jane Deveaux!

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My Week in Review…

It’s been a while since I updated you on my travels.  As you know, I’m currently touring the southern part of our country making appearances for my latest novel. So far, it’s been terrific!

When last I wrote, I was still in Indianapolis completing the recording of the audiobook version of Mirage.  After a couple of glitches – – one day of technical difficulties and another where my voice turned on me and I sounded like Wolfman Jack, we conquered these mini mountains and completed the task at hand last Friday. Of course, my little Lola was the perfect lady throughout the recording sessions.

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On Saturday, before leaving Indiana, I had the opportunity to see one of my cousins that I haven’t seen in 14 years.  He took me to Cerulean, a wonderfully eclectic restaurant that he knew would be right up my alley.  If you’re ever in the Indianapolis area, I highly recommend you visit at least once. Though I looked like a tourist, I couldn’t resist snapping pics uncontrollably – – here are just a few:

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I left IN and spent a couple of days in Illinois and Missouri.

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In Effingham, IL, I was able to view the world’s largest cross.  It’s quite beautiful, and unfortunately, the photo doesn’t capture all of that beauty.

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The next stop on my journey was to Little Rock for a photo shoot with my photographer of nearly 10 years, Lamont Campbell and visits to a few local book stores.  I just about fell in love with this cozy literary haven, Wordsworth Books and Company.

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I visited Little Rock Marketplace and climbed Pinnacle Mountain while I was there, as well.

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Alas, my Little Rock adventure came to an end, and I had to move on to my next stop in Tennessee.  So, here I am getting a bit of rest and preparing for my next book signings in Memphis on Friday and Saturday.  I do plan to do a bit of sightseeing, and as always, photos will follow!

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