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Paws In Prison

                       Arkansas Paws in Prison –  Second Chances Are Saving Lives for Inmates and Animals Craig watched the yellow dog cower in the back of the cage day after day, as prospective adopters walked by, noticing the small dogs, the fluffy dogs, the dogs jumping on the gates begging for attention. Sandy, as his name tag said, wasn’t likely to beg for attention or food or anything else. He seemed fearful of all the noise and commotion of the shelter, and crouched in the corner with his face hidden.  Craig had seen him transform into a completely different dog when he’d taken him out of the cage for exercise. Sandy was smart and eager to please on these outings. Craig wished he could take him home, but he’d learned early on that he couldn’t bring home for every animal that tugged at his heartstrings. But with Sandy’s shyness, he’d likely never get adopted.  An idea struck, and Craig approached the shelter manager. “I have a dog I’d like to recommend for the Paws in Prison prog

Finding the Blessings Under a Blanket of Snow

 I’ve never been a fan of winter. Give me the summer sun and a pool, lake, or ocean to float in, or heck, even a lawn sprinkler, and I’ll be totally content. A winter wonderland is something I prefer to see in photos. So I’m sure you can imagine how I grumbled at the forecasts of this historic snow event. They’re calling it Snowmageddon? Really? This morning at daylight 10” of snow covered our world and it was -2 degrees in our little map dot. For our area, that’s a ten-year, or even a twenty-year record. Plus, the forecast calls for a second wave starting tonight. So I decided to pull my blanket tighter and look on the bright side. First, Gary and I are both in good health and do not need to go out to seek medical care or treatment. At our ages, or at any age actually, this is a blessing. We were able to go pick up supplies ahead of the first wave, so we have plenty. We are aware that not everyone had the physical ability or the financial ability to stock up, and we are grateful

NaNoWriMo Update - I'm a Loser

  How Not to Win NaNoWriMo It’s the first of November and I’m off like a flash. Well, maybe not a flash. More like a puff. a small puff, barely more than a sigh. But the point is, I’m off. I’m writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. The fabulous idea that has been buzzing around my head starts to take shape on the screen. After a few days of diligently sitting down every day, I have written myself out of ideas. I back up and jot some notes. I think seriously about where I want this story to go, then write some more. I write a couple of scenes that are really short stories that might be able to stand alone. I edit what I’ve written, which is a no-no in NaNo. I catch myself writing backstory. Is that important or am I just trying to fill up pages? Then, I have a discussion with some fellow writers about some advice we’ve heard over and over and over. Start with action. Hook your reader from the very first paragraph, first sentence if possible. I haven’t done that.

NaNoWriMo 2020

  (I originally wrote this post for THE WRITE WAY, the blog on the White County Creative Writers website. If you're interested in writing, definitely check out that website. I have updated it slightly for this year.) It’s almost November, and that means NaNoWriMo.  For those who don’t know, that’s National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve never heard of it, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that there’s an online community of writers who pledge to complete a novel in only thirty days. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But every year since 1999, thousands have proven that it can be done. The idea started small, but has continued to grow every year. Hundreds of those novels have gone on to be published by traditional publishers, while hundreds more have been self-published. The goal is a complete first draft, a minimum of 50,000 words in thirty days or less. That’s less than 2,000 words per day. Anyone can enter. There’s no entry fee, and it’s simple to participate. • Sign up on the websit

Overnight Success?

       I have been fortunate to see some exciting things happening in my writing practice. In the past few weeks, I have received my first check for a magazine piece to be published in October, received contributor's copies of an anthology, and seen a true story published in a magazine. I have eagerly shared these successes with family, friends, and fellow writers. I hope my small successes will be encouragement for others to keep digging for their own dreams.        Because it doesn’t happen overnight. The anthology story was submitted a year ago. One of the magazine stories was submitted in January, the other in March. By the way, several other pieces have been submitted since that anthology story last year and received no response at all. It can get discouraging.         But to mix a metaphor, anything worth doing is worth the wait. Never give up; never quit trying to reach that next milestone.         There’s no such thing as overnight success.

THE BIG PICTURE

If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14      We hear this quoted and see it posted on social media frequently, especially during trying times. The current COVID 19 pandemic has many people frightened, and many are turning to this verse for comfort and reassurance.   With constant news updates and opinion pieces available around the clock, the big picture is overwhelming.         And sadly, I see many of the same people who share this and other verses of comfort and reassurance also sharing scathing, hate-filled posts denigrating one side or the other of the political leadership of our nation. And while criticism is warranted, the constant focus on the negative of the big picture keeps us from fulfilling our part of the agreement implied in the verse.       If we truly are his people, ou

LEAP DAY

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The quadrennial February day fell on a Saturday this year, so it really was like having an extra day. And after the rainy, cold, dreary January and February we’ve had, the warm sunny day was an extra blessing.             This morning my eyes popped open to sunlight coming through the bedroom shade. Remembering it was Saturday, I rolled over, intent on staying another half-hour at least. But my brain had already registered sunlight!             My desk was a mess. More than twelve hours later, it still is. My to-do list didn’t get a single check mark today. Oh, but my heart did.             After what felt like months of drizzly, windy, too-cold-to-stick-my-head-outside weather, here was a day just shouting, “Come out and play!” We spent the morning in our neglected yard, raking, pruning, burning. After a few hours we shed the jackets and worked in short sleeves.              While raking, I discovered one tiny purple hyacinth and a brilliant yellow crocus peeking through the