Love or Hate?

It’s the last couple of days to catch this deal on a favorite book. Love it or hate it, it’s the one with the most reviews and the one people have read over and over. Check it out!

And of course, if you have Kindle unlimited, it’s free! https://www.amazon.com/Thee-Wed-Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/dp/1517595010/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+ann

The English Language

My brother-in-law shared this poem on Facebook a couple days ago. At one time I really enjoyed poetry, and I read it a lot. I even tried writing it, but didn’t feel the pull as I do with writing books. I really enjoyed this poem, and it’s so very true when it comes to the English language. Enjoy!

English Pronunciation Poem 


I take it you already know

of tough and bough and cough and dough.

Others may stumble, but not you,

On hiccoughthoroughlough and through.

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

To learn of less familiar traps.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead – it’s said like bed, not bead.

For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat.

They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

moth is not a moth in mother,

Nor both in botherbroth in brother,

And here is not a match for there,

Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.

And then there’s dose and rose and lose

Just look them up — and goose and choose.

And cork and work and card and ward.

And font and front and word and sword.

And do and go, then thwart and cart.

Come, come I’ve hardly made a start.

A dreadful language? Man alive,

I’d mastered it when I was five!

Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004, by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981, and in Spelling Progress Bulletin March 1961, Attributed to T S Watt, 1954. 

I’ve shared the above poem and credits from this site: https://www.speechactive.com/english-pronunciation-poem/

A Little Helper

This post is for animal lovers, and cats in particular.

If you love cats, I’m fairly certain you’ve been exasperated by one as well. They have a way of growing on you, inserting their little personalities into your life…and then have you scratching your head as to why you’re sharing your home with them. That statement right there is part of the problem. It isn’t your home, it’s theirs.

I posted almost four years ago about some kittens that my husband found at the Transfer Station. It’s a neat story, and brings me to tears every time I read it. Happy ending of course!

Two of those three kittens made their home with us. Now they are big cats, with personalities to go with it. The furniture is theirs, the kitchen counters, and my desk. We have some birds that made their home along the eaves of our house, just above the windows where I write. So of course, it was terrible of me to put my desk area in the cat’s space for bird watching. This is my little helper most mornings.

Her name is Callie. She can be a sweetheart, especially with her mother, our youngest daughter, Catherine. But don’t engage her in something she doesn’t want to do. Taking her from my desk when she’s sitting on my keyboard can be dangerous.

Callie is very social, eating meals with us. She’s sits on the long bench at our dining table, usually next to Catherine. Her little head pokes over the top of the table, her eyes blinking, giving us love. Sometimes the paws come up so she can get a better view. If you try to remove her, you could be bitten as my husband experienced a few days ago. She’s quick! She certainly keeps the grandchildren on their toes. They usually give her a wide berth when she’s sitting somewhere giving them the eye.

This is Callie checking the time before her shower.

Feonie is Callie’s sister. Her demeanor is a little better. She loves neck snuggles, and isn’t so quick to strike out. But lately she gets in a bad mood and will give Catherine the eye. This began after Catherine put them on a little diet. Instead of having their dry food out all the time, they now have meals. Neither cat is liking the new routine. It’s making them a bit cranky.

Feonie spends much of her day in the little cat bed at my feet, curled into a tight ball. She appreciates a little petting every now and then. Feonie has taken to playing with the water running down the shower curtain after we take showers. This began about a month ago. Two shower curtains later we are draping it over the faucet. Cat claws and plastic don’t fair well. My light-blocking curtains can attest to that as well!

There are days I regret very much sharing my home with cats. The mornings I get up to find a broken glass and water on the floor from playtime on the counters during the night. The days that the cats choose to fight and chase one another across the counter with my just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie bars cooling. The times when we’d really like to sit in a certain chair, but it’s taken for a cat nap…by an actual cat.

I prefer cats over dogs. Always have. Someday I vow to not have any animals in the house. We’ll see. There are always pictures such as these that make them hard to resist.

Reviews

Reviews are a wonderful thing. I almost always review a product if given a chance. And as a side note, I rarely review books because I just don’t read as much as I once did. I do a lot of reviews through Trip Advisor.

I write a review because I know how extremely helpful they are to me when I purchase an item, or go on vacation, or eat at a new restaurant. (Also a thing of the past…;)) I rely heavily on them. They have usually been pretty accurate as well. If I read about a hotel being dirty, or the staff not friendly or helpful, and we stayed at that hotel, it was what the review said. Kind of rare that it was inaccurate. I don’t believe most people write reviews to be nasty or bring a product, or place down. If they are, you can generally see through that angst.

By their very nature, reviews are subjective. You are giving your opinion. Some people are more opinionated than others. Reviewers may look at the product as a half-full item, or half-empty. When I write a review, I try to highlight the positive, state the negative. If it’s mostly negative, again, I try to state it, rather than pound home my opinion. It’s better to let those reading it come to their conclusions objectively if possible.

As an author, book reviews are extremely important, and a huge marketing tool. Book sales, check-outs at the library, and reading groups are based on other’s opinion about that book. And it can be good or bad.

I greatly appreciate a reader taking the time to write a review. I love to talk with my readers and hear their take-away of my stories. I write what is important to me, things that I have struggled with in my own life. It is my therapy. If that reaches someone else and helps in any way…or gives hope, my purpose has been fulfilled.

Reviews are needed. Write them when available, state your opinion as objectively as possible.

Please, please keep this in mind. Don’t review a product you haven’t given a fair chance. If it’s a book, and you just can’t read it for whatever reason, state that. But please don’t review what you have not read. We’ve all had the experience of something not beginning so great and ending up to be the best thing ever.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Our oldest titled her pictures of their Christmas decorating with those words. It reminded me that it always has been for me, and it really is this year.

When our children were small, the Saturday after Thanksgiving was our day to decorate. I wanted the most time possible to have decorations up and displayed. Some of you may recall that in Christmases past, many people did not decorate until Christmas Eve. Some even set up their tree that night as a way to surprise children in the morning. Talk about no sleep the night before! But, it would be rather magical to be a child and get up, seeing all the decorations and presents. In our house, Santa Claus was a fun concept. We visited him at the malls, our second oldest absolutely terrified on one video we have. But our children knew that he did not bring the presents, even if we joked about it on Christmas Eve as a way to get them to bed and sleep. We were more diligent about teaching them the act of giving to others, and buying gifts for others. At least I hope that was the end result!

This is the first year in a couple that we actually have our decorations up! It was on Sunday, but we are enjoying them now. And that makes me happy! We even have lights outside this year. We have an entire month to enjoy the sparkle, color, and coziness of the Christmas season. And I’m looking forward to it!

Here are a few pictures to share.

Christmas at our house, 2020

 

Now for some cold weather and snow to really set the mood! Have a great day, and a Blessed Christmas Season!

Best Oatmeal!

For almost four months now, I have chosen to not eat flour or sugar. I have also stayed away from too many carbs in the form of potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. I still eat dairy, and protein in the form of meat. I have felt much better. Many of my aches and pains are gone, and I am starting to sleep better as well.

All of those items are huge benefits for me. I know I have lost inches over this time. Clothes are fitting better, and I am able to wear some clothing I couldn’t. I no longer weigh myself. It was becoming an obsession, and was too debilitating for me when I didn’t lose, or I gained…again!

Because I began this journey back in the middle of August, I wanted to get a good handle on it before the holiday season began. I knew I also wanted to find some alternatives to the traditional holiday baking. At one time, before five children, and not much time, I loved to bake. Cinnamon rolls from scratch, brownies, and cakes I decorated. I didn’t use mixes. After children, so much of my time was spent cooking meals, that desserts really took a back seat, and cinnamon rolls were a rare treat. I also didn’t want that much sugar sitting around for us all to consume. 

I have been thrilled to find several sites/blogs that have wonderful recipes. They have almost anything you could think of made with no flour or sugar. The recipes are great for many kinds of diets out there, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, and Trim Healthy Mama to name a few. I have mostly concentrated on the dessert side of things because that was what I was missing. But now I’m ready to try some other goodies. In this post I’m going to include two links to two sites I use frequently, but there are many others. I want to give a huge shout-out to these women that spend the time working on these recipes so people like me can make them. 

For Thanksgiving this year, I stayed on my plan pretty well. I didn’t have that bloated, miserable feeling of past years. I tried one bite of the stuffing my father made, and the same for the mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and green bean casserole my daughters made. I ate turkey, spinach made with cream cheese and topped with cheese, sweet pumpkin casserole, cranberry sauce, and vegetables with cheese and bacon. For dessert I had pecan pie topped with whipped cream, and pumpkin roll. And I didn’t feel left out, or wanting anything. 

Last night, while drifting in and out of sleep, I was thinking about oatmeal. I know, kind of crazy. Especially for me, since I haven’t eaten it much lately. It was one of those items I had to eat as a child, and made probably too much for my own children. With the oatmeal thinking came the memory of the cranberries in the fridge from Thanksgiving. And then I remembered the sweetened condensed milk there as well. This is the result of those thoughts last night:

 

Our youngest and I enjoyed this for breakfast this morning, and it was delicious! Even better than I imagined in my dreams. Here is the recipe with the two links for the cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving, and the sweetened condensed milk that I made for the pecan pie. No processed sugar needed, and I think it tasted even better.

Enough prepared oatmeal for you or two, or more. Top with cranberries and sweetened condensed milk to taste, or for your diet.

https://joyfilledeats.com/cranberry-sauce/

https://mymontanakitchen.com/3-ingredient-sweetened-condensed-milk-thm-s-low-carb-sugar-free/

I also wanted to include another site that I frequent a lot. This is where I got the recipe for the sweet pumpkin casserole. One of our youngest granddaughters loved it!

https://mrscriddleskitchen.com/sweet-pumpkin-casserole/

Again, thank you ladies for some great recipes! I’m looking forward to trying a few more for Christmas. And now I know how to make the best oatmeal!

 

Yep, I Did That Contest

Sometimes it seems like you can’t get it right. So this post is not for all you perfect people out there! If you read my last post, you know it’s been a wild ride for our family the past year. So it shouldn’t surprise me to find out I messed up a book cover.

Why is it that if you make mistakes, they are more than likely ones that should have never happened, or ones that someone should have pointed out ahead of time, or should have been easily seen? A ‘well duh!’ moment. So you feel really stupid. God is still working on humbling me. I would like to think that I’m going to get it right someday, but it’s not looking good.

I have done several of my book covers. Designing book covers is something that I really enjoy. If I had more training in the area, I would probably work on covers as a side gig. But for now, other than a couple small projects, I just do my own. I designed the covers for the When series, and I’ve designed the covers for my current Love Defined series of four books. The first book in the series, Sweet Hope was released in June of this year. So it was with great surprise when our oldest daughter (also my editor) shared this picture with me.

Whoops!

My father has been a great supporter of my writing. He reads all my books, and even writes reviews! It shocked me, since my books are not what most men would read, but since they are not the typical love story, my father can handle it. So when he ordered my latest release, the above picture showed that it doesn’t have anything on the spine! Oh no! Not a good thing. So, I do apologize for those of you that ordered my newest release, which didn’t have any spine information on it. It will be fixed.

I enjoy writing, but I’m human (as is my editor!). I mess up. I need your help, and my editor and I thought this might be a fun way to catch any other errors. Because it seems like no matter how many times a book is gone over, and no matter how many eyes have been over those words, there are still errors! And it is aggravating!

So, I’m running a little contest. If you read Sweet Hope, I would appreciate you looking for mistakes. You may purchase a paperback or e-book version, or even borrow it from a library or friend. Just read it! If you find a mistake, please e-mail my editor at:

peasinapodeditinganddesign@yahoo.com

Each time you e-mail with an error that you have found, your name will be entered into a drawing that will be held in 2021. If your name is drawn, you will receive a free, signed copy of the next book in the series, Sweet Belief. I am currently working on this book. It is written, and it’s  good…one of my favorites…but it’s currently in rewrites and edits. I will update on here how it is progressing and when the drawing will take place. It will be before June, but I will give an exact date at the beginning of the new year.

In the meantime, while it is cold outside, and we are looking at another lockdown due to Covid-19, read, read, read! Here is a sneak peak of Sweet Belief

Sweet Belief cover for wordpress contest post

The Year 2020

I sit here trying to remember my last post date. I know it’s been far too long.

It’s been long enough that the format for this site has changed again. Why do we have to mess with what works? Is there always a ‘new and improved’ way of doing things? As many of my older readers know, it’s not so much the fear of change, the dread of a learning curve, but just missing the old and familiar. The comfy chair that fits you just right, and you know you’ll feel safe and secure in.

To say it’s been a wild and crazy year world-wide is an understatement. We’ve all had the ‘old and familiar’ way of doing things knocked from beneath us. Our lives have spun out of control, and some are still twirling, hoping to cease that motion on some remembered ground of what life was once like. Here in the United States, we are still in a political mess of who will be the next President. I don’t do politics on here, and generally not on any social media. I definitely have my opinions, but I don’t care to spend precious time battling them out. God is in control, and I have faith-rest that it will work out in His timing. It may not be an easy ride, I may not agree, but it will be taken care of. My job is to keep applying what I know the Bible says about each and every situation. My biggest responsibility is to applying it with love, using patience and consideration for all. My biggest battleground is myself, and each minute of the day at times, reminding myself of that love, patience and consideration.

Long before Covid-19 hit everyone’s radar, my personal life began it’s own spiral. With all the items that were thrown at us, by the time the Virus hit, it wasn’t much to consider for me. I had too many other devastating items taking place. This post isn’t about feeling sorry for the last year and a half, no matter how much I would like to wish it all away. It’s about sharing with my readers. The one’s that follow this blog, the one’s that read my books. And if you’ve read my books, you know I write about the hard parts of life. The parts we’re ashamed of, the parts we want to forget, the parts we don’t want anyone to know about. We all have them, and they have been forgiven, and forgotten in the broad scope of eternity. Out of the rubble, there is hope, and sunshine to be shared.

I left my job as Activity Director at our local nursing home in August of 2019. I loved the job, but my health wasn’t fairing well with the stress of working full-time. My husband was also struggling physically. Acting in ways that were very different for him. Ways that were scary to me since I had worked in nursing homes for so many years, and knew about some of the symptoms. Ways that a 59 year old shouldn’t be acting. After a general diagnosis from our local doctor in September, my husband was referred to a neurologist. After waiting several months, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the end of February.

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My world, our world was forever changed. Hopes and plans for our future were swept away with just a few words. I was devastated, hurt, angry, and I wanted to run away. Very far away. My husband has never been much for expressing his emotions, and I know he felt many of the same things. But I’m a fighter, and he buries his head. The more sand he can scoop for protection, the better. All the while I’m shoveling it away in bucket-loads. It has probably kept us together for 36 years now. But I know it has not been the peaceful existence he would have preferred.

In the midst of all this, two of our daughters were struggling in their marriages. One ending in divorce, another in separation. Four precious grandchildren involved. Again, not what we would have planned or wanted for their lives, and I know not what they wanted. But this road of life is treacherous at times, and it takes all of our being to get through the dangerous curves and drops. Both daughters are now living further away than what I ever would have wanted, but they keep close contact, and we have had wonderful visits with both of them just recently. Those times are precious!

Selling the house we had lived in for 15 years was another hurdle. It was the only home our youngest remembered. So, the first of June, we moved in with our oldest daughter and her three children. Her husband had started a job a couple hours away and was staying with friends from their church until they could move. For four months, during lockdown, we had the privilege of having three of our grandchildren right with us. God knew the timing, He knew I needed help physically and mentally. It was a cherished time for me…for the grandchildren, it may have been different! Our daughter and husband are now living a couple hours away, but they are so good about traveling to see us almost weekly.

As I read back over what I’ve written, I shake my head in amazement. I wouldn’t have planned the last 18 months. I would have run if I had known! Recently, my mother has been moved to a memory care unit. My father cared for her for several years while still working full-time. Again, with the Covid-19 restrictions, it has been frustrating. But she is doing well, and I talk with her often now. I am relieved for my father, and have appreciated the time we’ve been able to spend with him.

I have debated on whether I should take down my posts from when our daughters were married, the pictures I shared on here. I’ve had this blog for several years now, so I’ve shared our lives.  I’ve used it as a way for my readers to get to know me better, or at least that was what I was thinking when I started it. But it is therapy for me to write on here. I still cherish those posts, and the pictures. Those men our daughters married will always be part of our family…the fathers of our granddaughters. Nothing will change that. So for now, I will leave them, and I hope our daughters will understand that it is not for disrespect for their lives now, or for our new son-in-law. But it is what has made us what we are as a family. The good and the rough times we’ve shared.

My husband is doing very well on the medication for Parkinson’s Disease. He went from struggling to dress and shave to being able to do those ADL’s on his own. I am thankful. It gives us a bit more time to process this Disease and what our options are. For now we are renting from our oldest daughter and son-in-law, our son and youngest daughter living with us. Their help and support right now is making life easier.

That’s been our life in a nutshell. Again, not to feel sorry, but to let you know that I’m still here. I appreciate your prayers, and support for my books. I will write no matter what happens. I always have a story to tell. But my readers make it real, and very dear.

My newest release was in June. It is the first book in a series of four books about a very special family. Of course! 😉 The books are all written, several years ago as a matter of fact. I’m currently doing rewrites on the second in the series. I had hoped to have it out by the end of the year…but you just read the post! You may find the first book right here: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Hope-Jonathan-Elisabeth-Defined/dp/1708481419/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&s=books&sr=1-1

I’ve enjoyed sharing our life with you. Thank you for reading! Now go and make this day the best that it can be!

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