Happy Strong Women’s Day

Now I could have said Mother’s Day, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m been overwhelmed with the need to talk about some of the strong women I know. Sure, there have been famous ones blogged about by me and other authors like political figures, astronauts, doctors, presidential wives, even a celebrity or two, but today I prefer to recognize those unknown to the media.

Lola and meFirst on my list, my mother. Yes, my that’s Mama and me. I don’t speak of her a lot; she was what one might call an “interesting” woman. To this day, my sister and brother and I have a hard time explaining her sometimes unique behavior (another story awaits). If you’re as ancient as I am, you know the song, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” That was my mother’s theme song. She was creative but strong willed, a good wife and I suppose she was never wrong (or at least that’s what she told me). She never drove a car yet when I was a child, she walked blocks to volunteer at a nearby children’s hospital. She loved to write and concentrated on poetry. Liked to be the center of attention but wasn’t particularly social. An enigma, she passed away over twenty years ago and still remains somewhat of a mystery to me for she never talked about her childhood.

Lola was born in Montgomery, Alabama and living in Mobile when she met my father. A beautiful woman, she married at eighteen and a year later lost her first baby. She went on to have two healthy pregnancies, but losing two more babies before I came along. She wore the sorrow of the loss behind her eyes until the day she died. She lived through the Depression, my father’s failed attempts at business, and moving around a lot. She turned to alcohol late in life,  as a last resort to ease the pain from extensive osteoporosis. She was the first strong woman  I remember.

My daughter and daughter-in-law are next—two strong women who took different paths.

My daughter, Jennifer, chose to be a high-school English teacher. To my mind, one of the hardest jobs on the planet. And she’s not mediocre in this effort, she’s excellent. Ask her students. I admire her and am proud of her choices as a wife and a professional woman whose work ethic is beyond reproach. Her strength lies in her convictions while keeping family at the top of a demanding priority list.

My daughter-in-law, Kathie, is a busy, stay-at-home mom blessed with six children (ranging in age from 7 to 21) including one adopted from Guatemala and one from China. She carried her third child for close to nine months before finding out only he had already died. A wonderful wife to my son, her strength comes from within through her faith and having lost her own mother to Cancer.

There are others in my extended family and there are countless friends, fine women who have proven over and over again what it means to have a quiet strength of resolve in their everyday lives. None of them will make the headlines or rock any big boats, but each one has a story.

To name a few . . . Susie, Patty, Leslie, Shannon, Robin, Jane, Nancy, Patsy, Barbara, Diane, Cathy, Dixie, Kim, Gayle, Jenny, Julie, Willa, Dolores, Shelly, Lisa, Stephanie, Jan, Debra, and another Nancy. Plus many more.

How many strong women do you know? Think about it and you will be surprised. Each one has a strongwoman3different kind of strength and they’ve acquired it through life’s upheaval, sorrow, hardship, and often survival. These are women who seek out the joy, the calm, and the compassion rather than dwell on the negative and who are laying the groundwork for the future. If there’s a problem, they tackle it, face it, and most of the time find a solution or die fighting. In a time when brave women are speaking out about abuse, voicing their opinions, turning ripples into tsunamis, I have great hope that the women of the future will have even more strength to represent our amazing gender.

Remember, never underestimate a strong woman.

Next month – guest author post by Marilyn Simon Rothstein.

Thanks for stopping by,



What’s that stuff in my glass?

dinerAccording to the dictionary, the first definition of the word PERSPECTIVE,  “is the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.”

I paint for fun. Once a week, I take an art class from a longtime friend who paints for a living. She’s amazingly gifted and a patient teacher. My latest attempt at creativity on canvas involved sketching a landscape picture. I chose to copy (see 1956 photo) a picture of my late father’s diner in Bonita Springs, Florida (which, by the way, is featured prominently in my latest manuscript, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES). My perspective was the initial problem—something that didn’t come naturally to me. I had to work on it.

I also have to work on the other kind of perspective, the “particular ATTITUDE toward or way of regarding something, i.e., a point of view.”

glass halfEvery day we can easily find a reason to take hold of the glass is half-empty attitude. Hey, just google “CNN news, or simply, what’s trending?” and you will want to crawl into a hole and shut out the world. I’m all for being up to date, agreeing or disagreeing with politics and social media (which for some reason we cannot live without), but sometimes, it’s okay to step back and take a different stance, slant, outlook or approach.

Yes, of course, we can always count our blessings which temporarily makes us feel better. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? It is a conscious effort to live in the moment and make the best of things regardless of the fact that so much is out of our hands. But then again, how we look at life, taking comfort in the little things, making small changes that work for the good are cognizant efforts.

Making the best of things.

I really try to grab hold of the half-full concept. Confessing here though, doing so is difficult. Take my work for instance. It’s what I do everyday — researching, editing, or writing and creating from my little old brain. I want so much to get it right. And yet, another rejection email hit me this week. Do I look at it as another failure? Hard not to. So I talk myself into another attempt at playing the game of find the literary agent.

With two books under my belt, I am proud that I have accomplished that feat. However, I’m not getting any younger and reality sneaks into my head hitting me right where it hurts—my perspective. Will it ever really happen for me? Will someone actually read my book and, drum roll please, actually LIKE IT?

Looking at the reality of the situation is in some cases very negative. So daily, I force myself to pour bright yellow (thinking sunshine because the sun finally came out today) in my imaginary glass, sit back down in from of my computer and let ‘er rip. I constantly research better ways to write, read up on how to create more interesting characters, attend writing conferences and workshops, all with a POSITIVE outlook. Maybe . . . if only . . . and yes, I still have hope.

cherry treeSo, if there is a point to my rambling, I’d say, that in my humble opinion, in our daily lives, making the best of things, looking at life with hope in whatever way we see fit, is not simplistic, or futile. It may not be always living in reality, but it gets me through.

All I have is right now. Don’t know about tomorrow. Today, I’ll drink out of my half-full glass of beautiful Georgia sunshine and welcome in the month of March. Spring is here in the South. Our one year old cherry tree is blooming in our front yard. Isn’t it magnificent?

It’s all about perspective.

Thanks for stopping by . . .


Edit, Polish, Fix, REPEAT


snowI hope everyone had a wonderful and warm holiday season, and you have thawed out.

As you can see, we’ve had our share of cold already. So we are welcoming a little warming spell right now. But we’re not easily fooled down here. We know winter will return, but maybe not as harsh as a week or so ago.

Did anyone make resolutions this New Year? Not me. Since last year’s didn’t make it to fruition, I’ll just hit the REPEAT button. I’m good at that.

2017 wasn’t a terrible year. It wasn’t an outstanding year either. I’d say just an OK year, progress wise. Regarding my second novel, Relative Consequences, I’m repeating the editing process.

I would honestly love to say that I’m done with this novel, but every time I think I’m close, something happens . . . life happens . . . to stall my progress. Here it is 2018, and I am still editing.

Believe me, I know that life is short, and that time is literally running out on the amount Bellaxmasof writing I will be able to accomplish. I have so many ideas, so many stories swirling around in my little brain. But reality says, “Whoa, Nellie!” Husband, children, grandchildren, bronchitis, holidays, the dog, the cat, etc. I blame my unfinished manuscript or rather my UNPOLISHED manuscript on all of the above. Especially, the dog. There, I’ve said it.

That actually feels pretty good to blame someone or something other than myself. (I’m smirking while I type this.)

So, here I go again. REPEAT button pushed. I’ve given myself a deadline March 1, 2018.

writingbooksThere are hundreds, possibly thousands, of books, websites, and blogs giving help to writers on how to do it correctly, how to avoid mistakes, how to create better characters, better dialogue, more conflict, etc. If I read them all I’d be too busy to write. So I do it backwards. I write the book, have someone else read it, edit it, and then I read someone’s (a smarter person than me) book. REPEAT.

Went to a conference over the summer, where an agent critiqued the first 20 pages of my novel. Now this is a good thing to do. Writers receive unbiased opinions, which are either accepted or rebuffed. I have a very hard time rebuffing.

This agent, who shall forever be nameless, took her red pencil and circled every personal pronoun that I used. My first page looked like it had a skin rash.edit manu

The funny thing was a nameless editor once told me not to use character names repeatedly in a paragraph unless there was character confusion for the reader. Now you see my dilemma. I believe everyone.

REPEAT. Now, I’m almost through. One hundred pages to go. I take out a pronoun here and there, add or delete a character name. I’m using the “how does it sound to me right now” method of editing, and I think it’s going to work. I’ll let you know. I will print out the entire book and read it aloud – ONE MORE TIME, fix any mistakes. It will be March 1 by then.

Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!


Thankful . . . & LOVE AROUND THE TABLE

th (5)It’s already November. I have to be honest and say I’m glad to see the leaves fall. I really had kind of a rotten summer.

Word to the wise: If you’re planning on having rotator cuff surgery (with complications, I might add), a little warning–it’s very painful and a much harder recovery than I ever expected it to be. Okay, enough whining. I know, somewhere somebody is playing their tiny violin, right? Really am thankful that I’m almost through with physical therapy and have a useful right shoulder again. 🙂

Now to the important Turkey Day. I am read for sure. Even little ole me, who is on a strict Paleo Diet, can eat her fair share of the goods on the Thanksgiving table. I’m thankful for so many things, family and friends, dog and cat, roof over my head, and like I said, food on the table. I pray that all of you are able to be with people who love you and whom you love on that special day.

But maybe most of all, I’m just thankful to be here, able to sit in front of my computer, researching strong women of history, who I can draw strength from borrowing their characteristics and even their flaws as I begin to outline my third novel.

  • Thankful to be able to breathe, to taste, to smell, to see, to feel, and to hear every day.
  • Thankful for my health, my past, my present and, I hope, a future where I see my grandchildren grow up.
  • Thankful for all of you who bother to check out my posts now and then.

I’m also very grateful to have as my guest blogger today, Rachel Jones, an award-winninrachel jonesg author, who is a Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse by night and a writer by day. Her love of reading romance novels prompted her at age fifty-seven to write her first contemporary romance manuscript. She loves composing stories about strong women and sweet romance. Her books reflect her love of the performing arts and a twenty-eight-year career in healthcare has influenced the threads of medical drama woven into her storylines.

When she’s not working or writing, Rachel loves traveling, sewing and making music. She lives in Kennesaw, Georgia with her husband of thirty-nine years. They have three grown children and one spoiled Labrador retriever. Rachel is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Georgia Writers Association, Heart of Dixie Romance Writers, and is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America.


We are entering the holiday season. The hustle and bustle have started and will escalate as the days move to the end of November. It is also a time when most people pause to focus on the things for which they are grateful. I ran a Google search for the top five things people list and this is what I discovered: family, friends, health, job, and home. While I agree with this, I’d add volunteers to that list. Those inspiring individuals who give of their time, energy, and resources to make life better in some form for others is something this world needs.

This past year I have been involved in a project with five fellow authors. We wrote a collection of six short stories with the intent of donating the royalties to a local charity. We chose the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. In February, four of us toured the house in Sandy Springs, and in October all six of us visited the location in Atlanta. What an evidence of volunteerism! The furnishings throughout the home-away-from-home were donations from companies, large and small. Local merchants join together to continually stock the kitchen with food. Volunteers come in to prepare meals and snacks daily for the families staying at the houses. There are also volunteers who come and provide arts and craft time and entertainment for the children. All of their efforts add up to a real labor of love.

Love around table2-RachelI discovered something beautiful about our community, and I now have a personal connection to it. Through this project, I’ve learned much as an author. I have written three full-length novels, so to leave my comfort zone and write a story in its shortest form was a victory; a positive experience that will help challenge the writer in me to try new things. The time and commitment I put into Love Around the Table have indeed brought me much in return, and I am grateful.

Six authors bring you an impressive collection of stories about friendship, family, and love, and six delicious recipes.

100% of your purchase of Love Around the Table goes to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. Since they opened their door in 1979, they have helped 48,000 families. Please open your heart and help a child and their family in need. Thank you so much!

          Amazon: http://a.co/iDQasEf
          Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-around-th…/1127194101…
          Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/749147
          Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-around-the-table
          Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities

“A Sister’s Quandary”  by Rachel JonesLove around table-Rachel

Sophie needs a kidney and Brooke wants to provide her with one. But the past is keeping Sophie from accepting her twin’s gift and a chance for a healthy future.

You can find Rachel at the following:

https://www.pinterest.com/rjoneswriter/Love Around the Table

Thank you so much, Rachel, for being a guest on my blog this month.

Happy Thanksgiving!


A Little Dreaming and Author, Linda Joyce

book dreamThe other day, my husband, the talented pianist, was practicing a song from La La Land, “The Fools Who Dream.” I identify with that song. I am still, even at my age, one of those people who sees hope that all my dreams will come true.

There was a time in my life when I stopped dreaming. I became bitter and too self involved. Somehow, I crawled out of that hole and realized that life was all about living, not about looking backwards or having regrets. Now, I live in the moment but I never stop dreaming.

I once dreamt of writing books. I’ve written two complete novels. Now I dream that someday at least one of my manuscripts will be published, and I look forward to the next book I will write.

lindaLet me introduce you to someone who is fulfilling her dreams, my friend, Amazon Best Selling author and four-time RONE Award Finalist, Linda Joyce. Linda writes women’s fiction and romance with 10 books to her name since 2013. She’s published through The Wild Rose Press and Word Works Press. Also, you’ll find her poetry and short memoirs within the pages of a several anthologies.

Linda believes in service and volunteering. She received the Service Award from the Heartland Romance Authors and was the newsletter editor for the Missouri Writers Guild. She served as Vice President of Whispering Prairie Press and the Creative Director of Kansas City Voices literary and art magazine. In Georgia, Linda served on the board of Southeastern Writers Association. Currently, she is the Hospitality Chairperson for Georgia Romance Writers.

A big fan of jazz and blues, Linda attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. She’s lived coast to coast courtesy of her father’s Air Force career. She wrote her first manuscript when she was twelve while living in Japan. In addition to being a book addict, Linda’s a foodie, an RVer, loves to kayak, and loves movies. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and General Beauregard, their four-legged boy, who believes Linda is his pet.


The “Yes” Disease and How It Shows Up in Bayou Brides by Linda Joyce

Bayou Brides - Linda1“She has the ‘Yes’ disease.”

That’s how my husband describes me. I say “Yes” to many things.

I learned the root cause of this affliction when I studied astrology, wanting to understand this constant driving force within me. There’s a lot of fire energy in my chart. It manifests as my burning (fire) need to be working on multiple projects, often at the same time. I get an idea, and I want to run with it—ASAP.

However, after losing my mom and two of my fur babies in 2016, I made a conscious decision to slow things down in 2017. I only scheduled three events—in March, June, and September. I didn’t make the event in March, Booking in Biloxi, because I fell on my tailbone trying to do too many things at once and couldn’t sit in the car to make the trip.

The Heart of Dixie Reader’s Luncheon took me to Huntsville, Alabama, and I was thrilled to meet new readers, and also the Keynote Speaker, Brenda Novak.

I planned for Penned Con the end of September. It’s an event in St. Louis with a thousand readers. I planned for a book release of a secret project I’ve been working on for Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, which will publish on November 1st with 100% of the proceeds to go to the charity. That book is Love Around the Table. I planned for my website redesign to launch in early September, but that hasn’t happened yet—maybe in October?

What I didn’t plan for was my publisher releasing Bayou Brides on October 4th.

It’s a good problem to have. But a challenge nonetheless. Making sure all my spinning plates in the air keep spinning from the last week of September through the first weekend in December will take a bit of work.

And as I move from one task to another to keep all these plates spinning, my husband shakes his head. Sadly, there isn’t a pill for the “Yes” disease.

It seems parts of me show up in my characters. In Bayou Brides, Nola Dutrey has a bit of a “Yes” disease. She works three jobs and facilitates a community band supported by charitable donations. She’s got a lot of spinning, and when she meets Rex Arceneau, he puts a whole new spin on life. And like me, she didn’t see it coming!

Bayou Brides’ tagline is Music is the heartbeat of love. The paragraph below is from the Amazon blurb. 

Nola Dutrey is as dedicated to her jazz singing career as she is to her kids’ community band in New Orleans. When she meets her best friend’s brother, her heart beats with a newfound passion. But falling in love with someone whose life is in New York has no future. Restaurateur and music enthusiast Rex Arceneau is in town to settle his father’s estate. He must get the financials into the black before handing over the family restaurant to his sister. To reduce expenses—the weekend singer must go. However, he meets Nola, and their connection sizzles. When he hears her sing, he’s hooked. Nola’s torn between powerful attraction and life in New Orleans. Rex is determined to use music as a secret weapon to entice Nola north. Will she ever be a bride at Fleur de Lis or will life’s dissonant notes ruin their harmony and once-in-a-lifetime love?

And you can get your copy at:

Amazon: http://a.co/bXjWlNy Print Book: http://amzn.to/2y3jjzi
eBook: http://amzn.to/2glOL3P

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bayou-brides-linda-joyce/1127069744?ean=2940158907814&st=PLA&sid=NOK_DRS_Nook+Catch-All,+Low_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP79701

Places to connect with Linda:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaJoyceAuthor
Twitter: @LJWriter  https://twitter.com/LJWriter
Amazon author page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Joyce/e/B00BODDROS/
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/LindaJoyceWorld/boards/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrjZh-TMFbeN1k7BlWAAxeA
Newsletter:  http://www.linda-joyce.com/newsletter/

Thank you so much, Linda.

See you at the end of the month,


Remotely Controlled

buzz 1CONTROL—everybody wants it. My husband, God love him, is a little bit of a control freak (she said nicely and with love), but in a good-hearted way. Me, I might be borderline, but hey, I know what I want and I usually want it right away. 🙂 My sweet dog, Bella, is even on that spectrum – she is maybe more of a manipulator than control freak though. But, the cat, my handsome Russian Blue, Buzz, – he’s in control. This main man pretty much runs the show.

There’s all kinds of control—birth, appetite, acne, pest, gun, and self, to name a few. But the word “control,” well, sometimes that can get sticky. We all know that when control becomes forceful it can become a dangerous thing. That’s another subject for another blog.

Speaking for myself, the older I get, I strive to lesson control or at least try to stop hurricaneworrying that I’ve already lost it in so many aspects of my life. I’ve accepted that there are way too many things of which I have absolutely no control. Let’s see – hurricanes, storm surges, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, summers that are too hot, winters that are too cold, oh and did I say, hurricanes?

So if I pretend I’ve got a nice, shiny, new black remote control for life in general, what would I put on those all important buttons? Mine would have to a multi-colored buttons. A red one for peaceful solutions to our country’s problems; another one for the world. Green for patience. Blue for empathy. The purple one would make me do the right thing even if I hesitate or have doubts. A yellow one would cure diseases that take away our loved ones too soon. The extensive list would make my remote control too heavy to carry, and it certainly wouldn’t fit on my coffee table.

How about you? What buttons would be on yours?

remote controlToday, my own personal remote is not so complicated.

  1. I’d push TOOLS. It would immediately heal my post-surgery shoulder. It’s taking way too long, and I have things to do, hair to blow dry myself, tall shelves to reach, books to write, etc.
  2. Next, the button that says CANCEL would convince my husband to retire (that’s wishful thinking).
  3. The ENTER button would allow me to complete this post today. (I think I can handle that one.)
  4. And, lastly, I’d press PLAY so I could eat a hot fudge sundae with real vanilla ice cream, and a warm and gooey chocolate brownie. Okay, I went way off track here a little. I can’t even get that luscious dessert near my mouth for I’m Dairy, Gluten and a whole lot of other Free’s.

I do consider myself a strong woman. I try not to dwell on regrets of the past anymore, but I love to wallow in the bliss of the todays that I’m given, and I pray and hope for lots more tomorrows. So if you’re anything like me, you sit back and sometimes (I said sometimes) hand over the imaginary remote control. You might do it with a smirk, a whimper or a frown, but you do it anyway. What does that girl say in the song from the movie, Frozen? “Let it go . . . .”

In my newest novel, two women friends think their lives are set until one of them opens a old can of worms forcing life to spin out of control for both women. There’s that CONTROL word again.

In October, we’ll see what’s on the horizon for Guest Blogger, Author, Linda Joyce.

Thanks for stopping by,


A Handy Lesson and Jena C. Henry

Sorry I’ve been away for a few months, but I’m back now. Back from shoulder surgery. In fact, I have just begun typing with both hands. My right hand has been out of commission due to the cradle sling the surgeon made me wear for six weeks.

One seems to appreciate all the things your dominant hand did for you before its use was taken away. Like, for instance, brushing your teeth, eating with a fork, swiping your phone screen, etc. etc. But, that’s nothing compared to someone who has no use of their hands or doesn’t even have hands.flower-flowers-small-flowers-white-161561

Believe me, I’ve done the appropriate amount of complaining during my recuperation. You can ask my husband. 🙂 But when I attended my first “big” outing the other night to hear him and his trio play, I quickly became humbled.

She sat at the bar, enjoying the jazz, blonde and attractive, laughing loudly with her friend. Her back was to me, but I couldn’t help but notice the fortyish woman. Not because she looked odd, but because she didn’t. The fact was–she had no hands. The kicker was she still managed to drink her cocktail, wipe her mouth with a napkin, even reach into her purse and retrieve her wallet so she could pay the bartender.

When I had the sling on my right arm, at least I had one decent workable hand and would soon have the use of both. Needless to say, from what I saw, that strong woman did not consider herself as disabled. My assumption was that she might have been a Veteran, because when she arose, she also walked as if on artificial limbs. I’ll never know her story, but for a brief moment, I was blessed with a glimpse of her strength.

Just one of life’s little lessons on how to put one’s predicament into the proper perspective.

Now. . . I’d like to introduce my guest author, Jena C. Henry.

JenaJena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and darling dog. In addition to her writing, she presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it. She reviews books for readersreviewroom.com and hosts book tours and promotions on her website.

A little about her book series – The Golden Age of Charli

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding. In Book 1 of this humorous series, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt. Book 2 continues the delightful tale of the energetic, positive and friendly McAntics as they cruise through their retirement years and discover the consequences of too much of a good thing. By Book 3, empty nester Charli is left to recalculate her path to happiness after she and her husband both discover that their golden years are full of more surprises and calamities.


A sunny day, saddle shoes, a group of bubbly kids on a school playground. Do you remember jumping rope during recess? Two kids twirled the long clothesline rope as the girl who was poised to jump in held her arms chest high and bobbed to the beat of the swishing rope.

As she bounced into place and her pigtails swayed, we chanted:

Billy and Susie sittin’ in a tree,
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes Susie pushing the baby carriage.

Thanks to the playground, I acquired my roadmap for life in the third grade. Like the directions on a GPS, I followed the jingle from kissing to marriage to pushing the baby carriage. The road was straight, wide open, no chance I could get lost.

And that’s how life unfolded for me. What about you? I enjoyed it all (except the road trip is going by too fast.)

But what’s next? The grade school jumping jingle stopped at the Baby Carriage stage. I don’t recall any jump rope jingles about R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T. What is Retirement all about?

I have been called Hon, Mom, Co-worker. But now in this new phase of life, I don’t want to be called old. I want my leap into retirement to be thrilling. I want to thrive! I’m sure you do, too.


Let’s recalculate our journey and take a step back in time. My family spends the summers on Lake Erie. Near our vacation place is a piece of history–The Keeper’s House.

I visited the small, sturdy stone house on a muggy, summer afternoon. I was greeted by a retired couple who told me stories of life by the lake in the early 1800’s. After my visit, I did more research and learned that some of the information I was told was not historically verifiable, but it’s still a good story.

The story begins with Benajah Wolcott. He was hired to survey the land in western Ohio, now known as Marblehead, Ohio, and make plans for a lighthouse. This area was part of The Firelands, which was land set aside by the Connecticut legislature for the Sufferers, Connecticut families whose homes were burned by Loyalists and British troops during the last days of the Revolutionary War.

Interesting, right? So, good old Benajah surveyed the land, built a road, set up his log cabin and sent for his wife and family. The family traveled by sleigh from Connecticut to Cleveland and then by wagon to The Firelands. Of course, they did.

The Wolcott family settled in to their life in the wilderness. Then in 1812, Ft. Detroit was surrendered to the British so the family retreated to the Cleveland area. While they were gone, a native tribe destroyed everything.

And I think applying for Social Security is tough! But Benajah decided to return to his land in western Ohio and start over. His first wife died and when he proposed to another settler woman, she said she wouldn’t marry him unless he built her a proper Connecticut home. She wanted living rooms, bedrooms with doors, stone walls and windows. No flip or flop fixer upper!

So, he did, and this is the house I visited. But the ups and downs of life continued for the Wolcott family. Benajah became the lighthouse keeper until he died from cholera. Then his wife became the lighthouse keeper!

So here I am almost 200 years later. I am not beset by war or cholera. I will try to be like Benajah’s wife. As long as I have a snug home, with windows and bedroom doors, I will continue to be happy through it all!

What do you think? Is retirement, or really any life change, a time for freedom or fear? Will you embrace new experiences and play again with joy on a sunny day, or will you sit on your front porch and watch others drive down the road of life? It’s time to write the next verse to the skipping song and jump into retirement and life.

Many thanks to Jody Herpin for inviting me to her lovely website to enjoy her southern hospitality.

Jena's books etc

Thank you, Jena.

See everyone next month,