#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
Welcome to a new week!

Before we get to this week’s winners, I want to say thank you for all your comments and particularly for sharing your own experiences with loss.  You are all so open and so brave, so generous with your prayers and your kind words, not just for me, but for all our blog sisters and, no doubt, a brother or two.

Over the weekend, I played Word Solitaire on my phone and considered unplugging about a million times.  Alas, I didn’t actually do it.  :)  I listened to Denise Grover Swank’s TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES, which was cute, funny and action-packed, Libbie Hawker’s MERCER GIRLS, a terrific historical novel set in 19th century Seattle, featuring Asa Mercer and the brides he brought from Lowell, Massachusetts to the Emerald City.  Having lived in Bremerton (WA) and Port Orchard for so many years, Seattle is one of my favorite places to visit, and early in my career, I wrote several books set in the area: FLETCHER’S WOMAN, my very first, was one of these, along with the Corbin series and other novels as well.  

In good weather, Seattle is one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion.  Unfortunately, I can’t handle the gray days and sometimes weeks when the sky is overcast.  I have SAD as well as ADD–just too many acronyms, I know.  :)  The other problem is, I must be in very close proximity to my horses.  I must suffer from HDD.  :)  I comfort myself with the occasional visit and with fantasies about living in a high-rise condo or apartment with a view of the water and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, ‘the greenest green you’ve ever seen’, as the theme of HERE COME THE BRIDES proclaimed, and certainly the Pike Place Market, with its bounty of fresh fish and organic veggies, and the most amazing and colorful bouquets imaginable, grown on the many flower farms that surround Seattle.  Wendy and I loved visiting the Fifth Avenue Theatre and our favorite restaurant, The New Orleans Cafe, down in Pioneer Square.  Sadly, the cafe has closed, but we enjoyed many a delicious seafood etouffe (misspelled, I’m sure) in that rustic establishment, and the cornbread was simply not to be believed.   Sometimes, there was live music, always jazz of the Louisiana variety.

Now for our contest news.  This week’s winners are: Angie Hinton and Barbara.  (Remember, if your name happens to be Barbara, you will receive an email from Jenni, asking for your snail mail info) .  As always, the prizes are autographed copies of my latest book, which happens to be ONCE A RANCHER.  The new contest is underway and, as always, you simply need to comment and you are automatically entered.  The winners will be chosen at random, given the same prizes, and announced right here on this blog next Monday morning–or Tuesday.  :)

Now, back to FOREVER A HERO, the final book in the Carson trilogy.  

Have a good day and remember to be kind to yourself as well as to others.  

Ladies Who Lunch

I went to lunch with Mary Ann and Jen today, and even though I’m still feeling sad, it was good to get out of the house.  We visited a favorite Mexican restaurant, talked things over, laughed a little, and enjoyed each other’s company.  Life goes on, thank heaven, and all any of us really have is today.  Here in Spokane, the sun is shining, the peonies and irises are still in bloom, and the roses are coming on, ready to take the stage when their short-lived sister flowers take their bows and retreat into the wings to await their next performance.  Seems to me, that’s a pretty good analogy for the cycles of life.  Flowers bud, bloom, and then, though they seem to die, they are actually working their incredible magic, matrixes of energy hidden away in darkness, hard at work on becoming next year’s glorious blossoms.  Maybe, on a spiritual level, it’s that way with people, too.  And pets.

And even dreams.  Perhaps, in the darkest hours, those nearly forgotten hopes we thought were lost forever are, in truth, shaping and reshaping themselves, somewhere out of sight, fixing to burst into our lives as something new and better than we could have imagined.   

Of course nothing blunts the pain of the immediate family and close friends when someone they love passes away, and such comparisons would be mere platitudes to them.  I don’t believe in saying things like, “It’s God’s will” to people still reeling from a loss, even when I am certain it’s true, which is most of the time.  They’re not ready to hear it, and that’s okay.  Better, in my opinion, to say, “I’m here if you need me,” and mean it.   Healing is a process, after all, and, like flower bulbs buried under winter snow, processes take time.  They’re also different for everyone; some of the bereaved want company, others to be left alone.

I plan to spend the weekend as I normally do–a little writing, a little reading/listening to books, playing with my dogs, petting my kitties, and being grateful for my many, many blessings.  

Truly, life is a gift, and it’s so important to celebrate the ordinary moments, for that is where most of us live.

I’ll be back on Monday, announcing this week’s winners of a signed copy of ONCE A RANCHER.  The new round will begin then; just comment, and you’re entered.  Two winners will be chosen at random, notified, and named on this blog the following Monday.  Or Tuesday.

:)  Enjoy your weekend.

 

A “ten gallon hat” can’t hold ten gallons of anything.

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