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May – Looking for the Silver Lining

The coronavirus pandemic has brought uncertainty and fear into our homes and our lives. How did this happen? What will we do to survive? When will it end?

There is an abundance of speculation by both citizens and professionals to these and other questions, but, as yet, there are no definitive answers. Each state, community, and family needs to evaluate the situation as it unfolds and reach answers that are unique to themselves. We have never had to handle such an overwhelming event that reaches to our core.

So, in my humble opinion, I say help where we can, let kindness be the guiding force. A simple phone call to an isolated person will let them know you care. A funny card,–homemade preferred–sent by mail will bring a smile. Maybe with all the home cooking being done, a plate of sandwiches and cookies would be a treat for a close neighbor with children who are tired of eating mac ‘n cheese.

I call these little acts of kindness a silver lining to the chaos surrounding us.

My neighborhood email thread keeps us connected. It is a poor substitute for morning coffee with a friend or a lunch together to help support our local restaurants. But think how much we will enjoy seeing each other when we can.

I live in a rural area, and last week a neighbor reported seeing orioles and hummingbirds. I’ve been watching, and this morning a male oriole sat on the window ledge by the kitchen table. He left before I could get a picture, but, oh, how beautiful he was. I call him Nature’s silver lining in these days of doubt and despair.

One evening, the local nesting pair of Canada geese brought eight goslings onto the lawn. They ran and played, then ate the newly mowed grass and ran some more. The parents certainly had to work to keep them together. Can you argue against this silver lining of life moving forward?

My neighbors have gardens ranging from a few raised beds to elaborate areas with greenhouses and hoop houses. With empty spaces on the shelves at the local grocery store, these friends won’t be in need of assistance. They are kind people and will generously share extra produce come harvest time. Neighbor helping neighbor, another silver lining.

This week I will plant lettuce and radishes in my cold frame. The ground is warm under the glass and once the sprouts appear the plants will be safe from rabbits and deer looking for a tender green treat. It will be a couple of weeks before I plant the rest of the garden. I’ve seen too many freezing nights before June to challenge Mother Nature. Doing a second planting after a frosty night is not my idea of fun, thank you very much. Come fall, I will reap my silver lining and share the bounty with my neighbors.

In The Christmas Promise, my 2019 holiday novella, Charlotte Wilson goes to Willow Birch, her husband’s childhood home to be with her mother-in-law. The longer she stays, the more she sees the community as a take-care-of-your-neighbor kind of place. Charlotte uses her abundance to help a local, needy family. Her silver lining is the joy she feels after helping others in a position of want.

We shouldn’t wait for a holiday or a special event to find a silver lining, a small act of kindness for a friend or neighbor or for someone unknown to us. Now is the time to reach out. Be creative, Be funny. Bring joy to the day.

Silver linings, small blessings, will have us …

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about starting fresh in January. I have a group of friends that are truly motivated with goals and intentions, so when I asked them about their projects for the coming year, they could count on their fingers the what, when, where, and how they would be successful.

When I inquired about their decade goals, I was totally surprised. They looked at me with deer-in-the-headlights expressions and mumbled, “Well…I… Let’s see… Um…I’m not sure.”

Could this be true? Do my dedicated friends only think in one-year increments? I was surprised – shocked, really – until one person explained that thinking long-term was scary for her. The last time she’d planned long-range goals, she accomplished them sooner than she’d planned and was left floundering with all her “free” time.

My reply of, “How wonderful. What a gift. Let’s plan more goals for you,” wasn’t received well.

I finally realized she hadn’t given herself time to do some future thinking to challenge herself to set bigger goals that were “scary” and would stretch her skills to accomplish them.

It is a known fact that we plan to do more than we can accomplish in one year, but we also don’t plan to do enough in the years beyond the first and are left with “Is this all there is?”

So I challenge you to grab a cup of tea, coffee, or “whatever” and spend some enjoyable time doing future thinking for the next few years in order to make this decade an awesome adventure.

For myself this year, in addition to writing, I have the challenge of making quilts – my first passion – for wedding and baby gifts. In our current society, hand-made gifts are seen as unique and special. And that is how I want my gifts to be.

My first gift this year is for a baby arriving in February. It is always relaxing and comforting to work with the pastel colors and add a flannel backing for warmth.

In this picture I have set out fabric and supplies and have made a few sample squares.

And here is the finished quilt, ready for the expecting parents. I can’t wait to hear when the little one arrives.

Each month this year I will show you my current quilting project and the challenges I will face making it.

Until next time, I wish you happiness and joy. The kind my characters receive after facing and overcoming their challenges.

Gini

Quilts Galore

I’ve always enjoyed books about independent women who are strong enough to successfully run a business and balance that with family. If there is a man in the story for her, that’s even better.

With the publication of my first book, Quilts Galore, you’ll meet Marianna Spencer, a professional quilter; her family, the attractive craftsman next door and the tight-knit, supportive community of Wolf Creek Square.

I brought my love of quilting to this story. I share Marianna’s love of fabrics and quilt patterns, and some of my award winning pieces were original designs. I have many boxes of fabrics and enjoy visiting quilt shops and quilt shows.

I’ve also brought a touch of history into the story. Sometimes it is fun to learn who were the settlers and how they forged homes and towns from the wilderness and how that history influences the lives and loves of the current residents.

I hope you enjoy reading about Marianna and her friends in Quilts Galore.

Next up for me is Country Law, my next novel in the Wolf Creek Square series.