First blog post


Welcome to my new blog! I’m leaving The Puritan Chronicles’ site to use just for that trilogy, and adding this new blog as my general blog. My blog posts lately are just random musings, so I thought I’d give them a fresh new home!


The Winnowing


It happened again–just like that.

Something fell and just went splat!

No warning, no heeding, no “Look out below!”

Another is dropping–here we go!

With a frequency some might find chilling,

They fall away, without my willing.

“Quality over Quantity,” is what I’m advised

And though I once found This One highly prized,

I released it freely, as was It’s request

While at the same time, wishing It the best.



food healthy yellow broken
Photo by Pixabay on

Happy Autumn!


photo from Just a Smidge of This and That.

Happy Autumnal Equinox, everybody! The leaves haven’t started to change just yet that I’ve seen but there’s definitely a change in the air. Days will get noticeably cooler and shorter, and 2018 begins its wind-down.

The transitional seasons of Spring and Autumn have always appealed to me the most; Spring, with it’s newness and Autumn with its abundance of harvested goods. With the approach of Fall, I anticipate pumpkin-scented candles and brilliantly-colored leaves skittering across our lawn, ready be raked into mounds inviting the playful to jump in!

Admittedly I have taken a bit of a creative hiatus, but I’m hoping this will pass and Inspiration hits. I’ve spent most of time reading library books, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But I can’t just passively wait for the Muses to return. So I realize that, being how early morning is always my most creative and productive time, I am going to have to set up some ground rules for myself. This will mean a drastic change to my morning routine.

Well, first things first; I’ll still feed the cats (#1 priority if I’m to have ANY semblance of a peaceful morning) while my water heats for coffee. But here’s where I get distracted; FACEBOOK!

So instead of checking good ol’ FB out whilst sipping my French Roast, I am going to have to FORCE myself to actually work on plunking out a few words. So from say, 4:30-5:30 am at least (or whenever the girls decide to jump on the bed and start walking on us) I will, if nothing else, sit for 1 full hour–inspiration candle lit, creativity meditation strumming through my earbuds, “plotting cap” tiara slapped on my head–and if I can’t put forth on screen actual paragraphs of satisfactory fiction, I will brainstorm with pen in hand and scribble  down whatever scraps I can.

A few obstacles still rear their ugly heads for which I don’t know quite know how to maneuver around yet but I won’t let that completely derail me from getting back to my first true love–writing!




Frau Renner’s Theory of Creativity

A very dear quilter friend of mine has commented that she can’t understand how I just stopped quilting years ago. To this, I had no real answer. It just seems that with me, my creativity is flighty; I like to try new things.

I go through phases–I’ll crochet, then not pick up a crochet hook for years. Instead, I’ll cross-stitch. Or spin yarn. Or just go a book-reading binge. Or–hopefully–write, which I consider this blogging to be part of.

Lately, I have begun collecting scarves–mostly silk. I was in the midst of learning fun new ways to wear them (in an attempt to start dressing like a lady of my age) when my friend Susie started selling Paparazzi jewelry.

Now, I have tried my hand at selling things myself, with poor results. I don’t even push my books that much because I didn’t write them to make money but rather to fulfill my life’s dream of becoming a (mult-award-winning, but that’s a bonus!) historical fiction author.

Admittedly, I am not big on jewelry. I’m surprised my earlobe’s piercing haven’t closed up. I have more necklaces tangled in my jewelry box than I know what to do with. I despise bracelets–hate how they slide up and down my arms.

But I like to help a friend out.

So when Susie started selling the jewelry, I hadn’t planned on buying anything. But then it occurred to me; I could utilize the rings and bracelets with my hair and scarves! And so while the Muses remain quiet about my writing, teasing me with juicy morsels here and there, I have been having fun combining rings and bracelets with my scarves and hair!

And yes, I do consider that a form of creativity. Which leads me to my theory (which may not be the case for everyone. Some find their passion in 1 or 2 things and stick with those creative outlets). I am a Creative Grazer—ooo, I like that term! I am always creative, even when I am not writing (or crocheting, or spinning, or whatever). Thus, my Theory of Creativity is:

If inspiration to write is lacking, my creativity is still alive and well; it just spills into another outlet!

Surely I am not alone out there.

Are there any other Creative Grazers out there?

When one is not blessed with dimples, the gift of The Stewart Lines will do

The trait comes from my mother’s side of the family. She had them, as did her father. Some of my aunts and uncles had them. And now, apparently thanks to age, I have them too.

As a child, I loved that facial feature found along my maternal line. That feature–a series of vertical lines just below the apples of the cheekbones when they smiled–was something I found endearing. “A Stewart Trait,” Mom told me once. I always kind of hoped I’d develop them, which I fondly refer to as The Stewart Lines.

Well, lo and behold,  I had only to wait for the collagen in my cheeks to age a little and POOF! My wish was granted! They haven’t got the cuteness dimples have ( and I’m looking at a particular friend of mine when I say that *wink*), but I wear these lines with pride, happy to accept the Stewart Lines!

I discovered this trait in a rather odd way; I was sending text messages with a friend while Dave and I were in the car while my phone was charging. Somehow the video got turned on and a short video of Dave and I talking about the new furniture we were considering getting got sent. At first I thought my friend had sent it, but then I realized, wait a minute–that’s Dave and I talking! And the angle was such that I could only see my profile.  At one point in the video, I smile, displaying the Stewart Lines so much like my mom’s I caught my breath! So the only thing keeping me from developing that anomaly was youth?  Every month since this decade has begun for me, some new development crops up. Well, with this one, I won’t complain! These aren’t wrinkles–they’re character lines! And I will wear them with pride, remembering those who wore them before me.



The Fragility of Happiness

ball black bubble colorful
Photo by Pixabay on

Since Dave retired last October, we’ve spent the great majority of every day together. Dave has commented that I will get tired of him being home all the time.

Not a chance.

Just having him home is a delight for me. I’ll be washing dishes after we’ve eaten and I will be struck with such a wave of contentment and happiness I just want to burst in an explosion of joyful sparkles.

But then the fearful side of my being starts thinking, “But you are only happy because you have him. Your life is only this good because of him. If anything happens to your beloved, happiness will abandon you for good.”

Friends of mine have experienced my greatest nightmare, and survived. They’ve even been happy again. Some people I know have lost children, and THAT loss is just beyond my ability to fathom.  I feel like if this sweet, happy bubble I exist in pops, I will collapse, never to recover.

I can honestly say I’ve never been given more than I can handle, and what challenges I’ve experienced and survived have strengthened me (the whole “what doesn’t kill you–” thing). So whenever the fearful voice whispers all the “what-ifs” to me, I tell it to shut up–I’m not worrying about the unknown circumstances hidden in the future when all I have right now is this present moment of happiness I am so thankful for.

Never take yourself too seriously

Today a friend of mine brought to my attention  an obituary in our local paper that made her chuckle. I did not know the woman who passed away, but I wish I had. I just used her initials, but the obit reads in part:

HB, 85, mother, nana, “collector of Knick-knacks”, holder of grudges, and forever vertically challenged, left this earth to reunite with her beloved husband, R on August 13, 2018. A master orator and skilled motivator using what she termed “nagging”, HB raised a slew of children and grandkids whom she noted were all fortunate enough to have inherited height from some “lucky schmuck”. HB was a devoted homemaker who would not hesitate to make you one of her gourmet meals like over-boiled hotdogs or TV dinner a’ la microwave. HB loved QVC, bragging about her grandkids, gossiping with friends, adopting EVERY stray cat in the neighborhood, and leaving Christmas decor up year-round so that she wouldn’t have to get on the step stool more than once. Her family will forever miss attempting to locate her in stores with tall racks, “butt dials” from her “new fangled” phone, and trying to carry on any discussion with her while”Family Feud” blared in the background. It is not lost on the family that her passing came shortly after HB’s repeated requests to clean the attic. HB has respectfully asked for no viewing as she didn’t want the general public to know she had “friggin’ wrinkles”.

At times of grief and loss, humor may not seem appropriate, but I had to comment on this obit. I’m left to wonder if HB herself authorized or worded the above in preparation for her own passing or if her family decided she would have wanted it written that way. In any case, it evoked a giggle from me when I read it.

In one of my journalism courses my freshman year in college, our assignment was to write our own obituaries. I was 18 and at the time and had myself dying at some ripe old age after having been one of the first pioneers to colonize Mars.  My legacy, I wrote, was my “Little Planet in the Solar System” series of books. I was very original.

Obituaries can be so sad and somber, especially those of young people; “he would have graduated from high school this spring,” “she was planning her wedding for next June,” that sort of thing. But never have I read one that made me smile with amusement.

HB sounds like a well-loved lady and I’m kinda sorry I didn’t know her myself.



The menagerie grows

So after MONTHS of silence, the Muses finally deign to help me out of this writing rut. And how do they resolve my latest block?

Add to the already-crowded menagerie that exists in our fictional town of Berryville.

We already have William the aging tabby, the calico Salome (mother to William’s 5 kittens), Kaiser the German shepherd K-9 officer, Mao, the bullying Maine Coon/ Siamese mix and Loqi, the obnoxious gray parrot.

So what’s one more animal?

Well, the plot required a nonhuman but relatively bipedal creature, and so I came up with a Capuchin monkey.

The as-yet-unnamed primate will play a pivotal role in the plot, in keeping with the light-hearted hilarity I am looking for in this novel. *happy smile*

photography of gray and black monkey
Photo by simon on