Tag Archives: grandparents

WPC: Motion


This week’s photo challenge is, Motion.

Usually, it’s these photos that get deleted as my daughter is constantly in motion, making each photo I snap blurry, or maybe it’s the delayed reaction my camera phone has. However, I did keep a few. One of the pictures below you can see her happiness through the blurred image. Also, my grams, ironing quilt blocks, to which the image came out looking really neat.

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OWPC: Copper


I almost didn’t make this week’s photo challenges, as I have a pile of college homework to do; it’s almost the end of the semester.

This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is copper.

My dad's cat, Willow. She's great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, "Hi, Willow!" Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

My dad’s cat, Willow. She’s great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, “Hi, Willow!” Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it's a short trip to her school right down the street.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it’s a short trip to her school right down the street.

Alligators in Arkansas?


Spring break usually means vacation time for some, but to me, it’s time for catching up on college homework, as it does tend to pile up for us non-traditional students. It also means finishing tasks around the house that also needs my attention, such as taking my car into the shop to fix a burned out fuse, as well as having them take care of a recall. Then there’s the usual, dentist and doctor appointments that I can finally make since I have some time off. Or the opportunity to go into work early. All and all, for me, spring break just means staying busy, instead of relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere, listening to the waves crash onto shore, while I work on my tan.

But, it isn’t all work and no play, I do find some time for fun.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the Alligator Farm in Hot Springs. She’s been begging me to take her to the zoo, yet most of the things she enjoys is out of order and under construction at our local zoo in Little Rock; the train, petting zoo, etc. Plus, they no longer have giraffes, which is my daughter’s favorite.

I had thought about taking her to Turpentine Creek, which is a wildcat sanctuary in Eureka Springs, but that’s a four hour drive (back roads and road construction) and it was supposed to rain yesterday. It was also slightly chilly, so taking her into the Ozark Mountains to walk around looking at wildcats wasn’t something she would enjoy.

The alligator farm was a relatively short visit. There wasn’t much going on, but on the positive side, it wasn’t crowded. Since alligators are cold blooded reptiles, they were being kept indoors where it’s much warmer. They have spacious yards outside, yet it is still too cold for them to be moved outdoors.

Along with the numerous amount of alligators, they also had a pair of Arctic Wolves, a mountain lion, turkeys, mallards and wood ducks, peacocks, a macaque, three lemurs, an emu, a couple of donkeys, and a handful of fallow deer, goats, and sheep.

Mini me was infatuated with the alligators, yet knew not to poke her fingers through the fence to try to pet one. Although, there was a guy holding a young alligator for visitors to pet (it had a rubber band around it’s snout so it wouldn’t snap anyone’s fingers off). Of course after I touched it’s belly, she saw that it was okay and touched it twice, which was long enough for me to snap a quick picture.

It was a fairly inexpensive trip, yet we always enjoy getting out of the house, no matter the price. I think that any young child or adult would enjoy taking a few minutes out of their weekend to visit the Alligator Farm. It’s easy to get to, plus it’s located five blocks away from downtown Hot Springs, where there is plenty of other things to see and do for couples and for families.

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DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

DP: Ha Ha Ha


Today’s Daily Prompt is for us to share a joke, or a funny story.

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s still one of my many favorite memories of my grandpa, who has been gone from this world five years in September. It’s a story of a pair of red foxes that once lived in the small patch of woods, behind our house. My grandmother likes this story and has me tell it to close friends and family when they visit, or at family reunions.

Enjoy!

A Pair of Red Foxes

I was helping my grandmother clean one of the rooms one day and casually glance out the window at the clearing behind our house. I saw movement at the edge of the tree line. Suddenly whatever it was came out into the clearing, a red fox, and following behind it was its mate.

I was mesmerized, watching the pair of red foxes chase one another, playing. I told my grandmother, “Look, red foxes.”

She looks up to see what I was staring and smiling at. “They must have a den close by,” she says.

It was a few years ago when I first heard what I thought was a panther. I was in the backroom, rocking my daughter to sleep; she was about a month old. Laying her down in her crib I decided to check my email real quick before going to sleep myself, when I heard a loud screaming sound in the distance, behind our house. It got closer and closer and then it got quiet. Suddenly I heard it again, but even louder and it sounded like it was right in our backyard.

I had remembered what a panther scream sounded like as I heard one on our family’s homestead when I was a little girl, and I thought that was what I was hearing now. I quickly got up and woke my grandma, telling her there was a panther in our backyard.

“It isn’t a panther, go back to bed,” she said. Just then it screamed again.

“Call the police,” Grandpa hollered at me from his room.

“No, don’t call them, they’re only going to laugh at you and think you’re crazy,” Grandma said with a laugh.

“Well, what do I do then?” Panic flooded me, I was being serious and she was making a joke.

“Go back to bed. You can’t do anything, its outside.” It screamed again, but it sounded like it was a little further away this time.

“That isn’t a panther,” Grandma claimed.

“It sounds like it.” I peer through the window blinds of her bedroom, trying to catch a glimpse of this creature that has me petrified with fear.

“It’s that red fox calling for its mate.” She rolls back over, pulling the covers back up to her neck, a sign saying that this conversation was over.

I walked out of her room, pulling the door quietly behind me. “Did you hear that thing grandpa?” I asked, peeking into his room.

“Yeah, I did.”

“What do you make of it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess I’m going back to bed, night.”

“Night.”

I went back to the computer and quickly searched the internet for sounds a red fox makes and sounds a panther makes and I found both; they sound so much alike. I understood how I got confused. I’m sure anyone would make that same mistake.

I laughed at those little foxes, watching them as they play on the hillside behind our house. They made me think back to the first time I heard them. I will always remember that night and I think grandma will to. She always has me tell this story to others when they visit. I enjoy sharing the memories I’ve had with my grandpa. I think it helps to keep his memory alive.

Book Reviews on Amazon Actually Help


It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.

Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.

According to Brooke Warner in her Huffington Post blog post, “book reviews on Amazon are what carries it’s weight in getting more attention with Amazon.”

“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”

In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.

It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.

If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.

I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.

According to a blog entry by Mike Briggs, on author Patricia Briggs’ writing, “…that pure, dumb luck plays a major role in this phase of the game.”

He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.

Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.

With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.

I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!

More Snow and Another Snowman


My daughter and I have only been to school one day within these past two weeks. It continues to snow, or we receive more freezing rain, or it melts then freezes, making the roads slick, to which all school close for the day. Either way, I’m getting further behind in my classes due to there not being any…classes. Plus, it’s hard to get any homework done with my daughter at home. I mostly get it finished when I’m at school, sitting in the library, where I can sit in a quiet spot and work.

It isn’t easy being a single mom and a college student at the same time, especially during the winter. There’s only so much whining to go outside and play in the snow that a mom can take before she gives in. I’m trying to be the model college student and work on my research papers and other homework assignments, yet my inner child is screaming at me to listen to my daughter and go build a snowman.

Of course I couldn’t say no to that! My inner child jumps for joy and my daughter does the same. She rushes around the house looking for her hat, gloves, and shoes with all the excitement of a five year old. I proceed to change out of my pj’s and into some jeans.

Of course it was still snowing when we walked outside. It was also mushy and melting, though relatively slowly. Guess it was too warm for it to actually snow, yet it was still coming down.

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I was surprised to find that this round of snowfall was easy to work with and it didn’t take much effort for us to build a snowman. I showed her how to roll a small snowball around in the snow, allowing it to grow bigger and bigger until we had the size we needed for the bottom half of the snowman. After we had the middle portion and then the head placed into it’s proper spots, she found a stick that was then used for arms and a mouth. I found a rotten pecan that I busted open, placing the two halves as eyes, and the pecan as a nose.

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We stood back and looked at it. It was almost as tall as she was.

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