#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
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Thanksgiving Notes

It’s a quiet Thanksgiving here on the Triple L, and that, believe me, is a good thing. I could use some quiet, and so could the ranch crew. 2008 has been wonderful, but superhectic, with all the building and the renovating, the writing and traveling. Not that I’m complaining–but I could use a few dull, ordinary, noneventful months, and that’s for sure.

I stopped smoking on October 28. That first week was easy, with the Chantix and all, and I wanted to shout it from the house-tops. This is the way, gang! If you’re addicted to the noxious weed, as I was (and to a great degree AM), here’s the path to freedom. (When I’m onto something good, I like to share it.)

The second week, the blues set in, and I mean big-time. So much for easy. I had to go off the meds, per my doctor–if you’re taking Chantix, and you get to feeling depressed, or worse, you’ve got to cut out the pills right now, no ifs, ands or buts. The third week–the fourth–still hard.

Am I going to give up? NO WAY. I’ll tough it out–that’s the McKettrick (and Lael) way. My mind–and like most writers I spend too much time in my head and thus have a very powerful imagination, for good AND ill–rants and rages. It wants to smoke. That, it lies, will solve everything. But my poor, faithful body cannot speak, and of course, the body takes the brunt of any addictive substance. This time, my mind can rave all it wants. (Although I sometimes, in exasperation, tell it to shut the heck up!) This time, I’m looking after my body. Period.

It’s a lot things, this process, but easy ain’t one of them.

Still, I’m coping. I read more. I paint more. I listen to more music. I certainly PRAY more. I have my dogs and kitties and horses–and even the indoor animals are breathing better, bless their hearts. My home is warm and clean and there’s a turkey in the fridge, waiting to be roasted. Trust me, I know how much I have to be grateful for, and I’m celebrating that.

The withdrawals, I figure, are like a case of the flu. Eventually, it will pass.

As I write this, I have a big canvas in the still-messy studio, slathered with gesso and slowly (SLOWLY) drying. (Did I ever mention that impatience is yet another of my many besetting sins?) I’m planning a mixed media piece, and I’ll keep you updated on the progress–it might take weeks, or just days. If “Bless the Beasts” turns out as I envision it (or even close) I plan to put it up for auction of eBay or Etsy. If it sells, I will give the money to my friends at Spokanimal, a local shelter. They’re doing good work over there, God bless them. Saving as many lost or disgarded animals as they can.

And I’m also trying to remember that I don’t like what smoking did to me, and I don’t just mean the smell, or the harm to my lungs and heart, or any of that. It made me weak, a prisoner to a stupid habit. I gotta tell you, that goes against the Lael grain. We’re proud and we’re stubborn, we Laels, and once we make up our minds about something, that’s pretty much it. I will not be controlled like that.

You read it here first. :) And having you know will help me to stick to my guns.

So, yes, I’m thankful–today and every day. Also a little frenzied at times. And gesso-smeared. :) (I even had to cut some glue out of my hair the other day!)

I wish I could have word-painted a more Norman Rockwell-esque kind of blog today. Something with glowing faces gathered around a bountiful table and a big golden turkey on a platter. But the truth is, I’m in transition, and I think a lot of you can identify. Only the changes are different–the feelings are the same.

These are tough times. But we’re tough people, aren’t we?

So whatever your struggle is, I’m with you. You can get through it. You WILL get through it, because you always do, in the long run, don’t you? Because deep down, where it counts, you’re tough. (That’s partly why you like the McKettricks, the O’Ballivans, the Yarbros and, very soon, the Creeds.)

And so, my friends, I say Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. From the bottom of my struggling, stressed-out but determined heart. Wherever you are, whatever you’re celebrating, whatever you’re trying to get through, may you be blessed. May you be strengthened. May you be thankful, as I am, not only for the obvious blessings, but the ones that are on their way to you right now.

Before I close for today, there’s one more “thing” I’m grateful for.

All of you, out there riding the same trail. There might be some miles between us, but when we meet up in the pages of a book, or on this blog, or anywhere else, its like gathering around the same campfire to swap yarns and remind each other, even silently, that it’s all about having sidekicks and showing up to do our part.

That’s all we can do. But it’s more than enough.

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