Life on the Bayou, “Lucy” at the aquarium, and an MRI

Gosh, but it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write. So much has happened in the past two months and it’s left me turning in circles and unable to focus for a while.

December found us spending more time in church for funerals of family members, than not. I lost my dad at the beginning of December, a very close friend the day after Christmas and my husband’s niece lost her baby only days before her due date before New Year’s.

Losing a parent is rough and going through a funeral with family members at each other’s throats is not a pleasant situation. Losing someone who has been an integral part of your life for the better part of 17 years isn’t easy. Especially when that person sees you as part of their family and that is how it was. This man was as close to a saint on earth as I have ever met. He touched so many lives in a spiritual way and his legacy will live on forever. He was that kind of man, truly special.

Our niece’s baby did so many somersaults that she managed to twist her umbilical cord to the point it cut off her life-line to her mother. She was a beautiful little baby, pink as could be as she had just passed before delivery. It was heartbreaking for everyone. Her passing marked the third death in my husband’s family in five months.

As I look back and try to absorb all the emotions that have been floating around, I told my husband that I didn’t know what was the hardest – grieving a parent you’ve known your entire life, watching the burial of a beloved man, or watching two twenty-eight year olds standing with their arms around each other when they finally make the decision to allow the casket to be closed on a baby they will never get to raise.

Life is strange and definitely not for us mere mortals to understand. At the baby’s funeral, our priest said that the week before we had buried one of our finest (our friend) and that day, we were burying one of our purist. On New Year’s Day when our priest visited at the hospital, he spoke about the baby being a true angel, that she wasn’t tainted by this world. She had never taken a breath of this life. I thought of the Blessed Mother carrying a Savoir, and I thought what an honor, to be chosen by God, to carry an angel. That is special.

This past week I had the chance to play with the penguins at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. A friend of mine has a child with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and he was eligible to be part of the Easter Seals program that sponsors the event. My friend invited me to go along. She is too funny and sweet. The aquarium is closed on Mondays and she knows that I am an introvert and suffer from social anxiety. When the person told her we would be the only ones there (besides the other four families) she immediately thought of me – so off we went on a field trip, the two of us and two of her children. Did I mention how great it is to have such wonderful friends who love you and take your quirks in stride? I was not always so lucky, so I know that I am truly blessed.

We had so much fun, but the day wasn’t without incident! “Lucy” just had to do something! After learning about the penguins and their habitat, we were invited to enter the habitat and play with them. Of course, the habitat includes a huge swimming hole! I think I prayed the entire time that I would not fall in, because if that was going to happen to anyone it would have been me!

Most of the penguins are quite friendly and we were able to hold them. We were allowed to stay and play for a long time, which was nice. We weren’t rushed at all and the penguins seem to enjoy the visit as much as we did. The person in charge was as eager to answer all of our questions, as we were to ask them.

The only thing I feel bad about is that I am in most of the pictures because Mom was busy taking pictures of the kids and I was helping them hold and play with penguins! I felt she should have been in the photos instead of me, but at least the camera was safe in her hands. At the end of the visit, we were squired away to a room where two penguins with paint on their feet walked all over paper taped to the floor. Each child went home with a stuffed penguin and a picture “painted” by the penguins. We had so much fun!

Okay “Lucy” did have one incident that could definitely have been disastrous, but wasn’t. When we entered the door to go to the penguin’s habitat, don’t ask me what I expected to see. A staircase perhaps? What I saw was a ladder, much like those used in boats to climb down into the engine rooms. I had to laugh at myself and even said, “Oh! A ladder.” We climbed up the ladder with no problem and I forgot all about it – that is, until it was time to leave.

Having spent a little time climbing up and down such ladders, I knew as I watched everyone climbing down as though it were a staircase, that it wasn’t. Soon, it was our turn to follow Jude’s mom and sister down the ladder. They laughed when they turned around and saw Jude and I descending the ladder the same way we had climbed up. A ladder is a ladder is a ladder, I don’t care how you call it. She thought I was little nuts when I described how I climbed down, but Jude and I made it safely to the bottom with him climbing down by himself (like a big boy) surrounded by my arms.

That was the safe part, because as I turned around and started out the door, I didn’t see the raised lip and almost went flying. I still can’t tell you how and where I caught myself, but fortunately an accident was avoided.

If you would like to read about the program and see a few pictures, please click on the link. http://www.nola.com/family/index.ssf/2015/01/easter_seals_louisiana_and_aud.html

And, what do you do on the way home with kids? You stop for chicken tenders! We had a great day and it was nice to be light-hearted for a while.

Tuesday, I had an appointment at Ochsner for a MRI on my hand. The diagnosis was erosive arthritis and if you follow me on Instagram, (@SouthernCharmPlanner) I am documenting my progress with a medication that was prescribed. My doctor told me Erosive Arthritis is a cousin of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not a lot is known about it and there is no cure or known treatment – rare was what she called it. That didn’t surprise me as I already have two “rare” blood disorders. I am an INTJ and have a “rare” personality – 4% of the population share this personality. Rare is quickly becoming part of my vocabulary.

Since Hubby was off at the duck camp, a friend went with me to the hospital. On the way home – laughing here – we stopped at iHop. It’s not only children who like chicken tenders! We ended up sitting and talking until almost dark!

I escaped two incidents this week unscathed – which still has me shaking my head. The second was Friday evening when I went to the dog’s kennel to check to make sure their blankets had not been drug out of their houses. Their kennel is the white picket fenced yard surrounding my Garden House (the pic is above). Their houses are located under an overhang to the side and on a wooden platform. As I walked onto the wooden platform, my foot slipped on the slime (it’s been raining) and down I went. My arm went down on top of the fence between two pickets and I hit my knees. My thought as I was going down was this is going to be a bad one. By the Grace of God, I was kneeling down and wondering what I broke when I realized I hadn’t hurt myself, not even my knees! I am still shaking my head because I’ve done more damage with less traumatic falls. My favorite jacket was even spared.

Other than catching up on Etsy orders and book reviews, that has been my week. Hope you enjoyed visiting!

 

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S.E.C.R.E.T., S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed by L. Marie Adeline (Review, Giveaway)

The S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy has a unique and captivating plot, strong female characters and a realistic HEA

S.E.C.R.E.T. focuses on the sexual awakening of Cassie Robichaud, a repressed widow in her thirties who accidentally stumbles on a mysterious female organization that instills confidence through ten life-changing steps. Cassie’s sensual steps propel her towards a relationship with her boss, Will, but they have to overcome a few obstacles before they can truly enjoy their HEA (Happy Ever After).

The first book in a sexy and sophisticated series of erotica, with a new twist: this time, women control their fantasies and men will do anything to satisfy them

Cassie Robichaud is thirty-five and widowed. After a life filled with disappointments, her days are dull and gray: she waits tables at a rundown café in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to a one-bedroom apartment alone. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman, Cassie’s world will never be the same. The notebook’s shocking and scandalous contents lead her to S.E.C.R.E.T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, darkest, and most intimate sexual fantasies. The S.E.C.R.E.T motto: No judgment. No limits. No shame. Cassie soon embarks on a tantalizing and unpredictable erotic journey, completing ten fantasy-steps toward sexual fulfillment–discovering acceptance, courage, surrender, and more–with gorgeous men in rapturous scenarios beyond her imagination. As she is set free from her inhibitions, the satisfaction and bliss she experiences bring her a new confidence that transforms her forever. Equal parts scintillating, liberating, and emotionally powerful, S.E.C.R.E.T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the erotic sensation S.E.C.R.E.T., where women’s sexual fantasies become reality

Still wounded from a recent heartbreak over her boss and lover, Will, Cassie Robichaud throws herself into service with S.E.C.R.E.T., the mysterious organization that changed her forever by bringing her deepest sexual fantasies to life, one step at a time. Now, it’s Cassie’s turn to guide the group’s newest candidate, Dauphine Mason, recruiting men to execute a new set of fantasies.
At thirty-one, Dauphine is the proprietor of a New Orleans vintage clothing store. She’s been harboring a crush on Mark Drury, a local rock star, but is too shy to put herself out there with him. She turns to S.E.C.R.E.T. to reignite her sexual flame and find the confidence to risk her heart again with another man.
As Cassie worries that the right time will never come for her and Will, she finds inspiration helping Dauphine in S.E.C.R.E.T. Both women navigate the rocky path between their hearts and their passions, hoping to discover what they truly want in life and in love. S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared is a romantic, adventurous, and sexually charged sequel to one of the hottest new series in erotica.

S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed bares all—the final book in the hot erotic trilogy

The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S.E.C.R.E.T., an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and focuses on her work with helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even though she knows he can never love her as deeply as Will did.

Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S.E.C.R.E.T. candidates before her. Can Solange find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he’s made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him?

S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed is the explosive, sexually-charged finale to the phenomenal S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy.

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L. Marie AdelineL. Marie Adeline is a pseudonym for the bestselling author Lisa Gabriele. S.E.C.R.E.T., her first novel in this erotica series, was a #1 international bestseller. For more information on the S.E.C.R.E.T. series, visit http://www.secretnovels.com and http://www.facebook.com/lmarieadeline

For more information on books by Lisa Gabriele go to http://www.lisagabriele.com

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My Review:

The S.E.C.R.E.T. Trilogy is not for the faint of heart, but it is for all of you who love great fantasies and love stories! Under no circumstances do I want to give away the plot of what I thought were fantastic books, so I will tread as lightly as I can. Picture yourself in your day-to-day hum-drum life and out of the blue you find out about a secret society that helps women explore their sexual fantasies, in a safe environment, with trained men. Calm down ladies! I’m not sure if such a place exists, but just think of the possibilities!

The S.E.C.R.E.T. Trilogy books are set in New Orleans, a city ripe for such an undertaking if there ever was one. The books are romantic. They are tantalizing. They are full of sexual intrigue (so not for the faint of heart) and mystery. The books are about women’s friendships and women helping women.

A teaser I am willing to part with is S.E.C.R.E.T. is a secret organization run by wonderful women who only want to help other women to have fulfilling lives. Members are chosen. Once chosen, the woman visits the mansion and fills out a questionnaire with her fantasies. The board of the S.E.C.R.E.T. organization then sets up the fantasies. There are ten altogether and the purpose is to give a woman confidence and to help her find direction in her life. Upon acceptance into the organization, each woman receives a bracelet. At the completion of each step, she receives a charm that represents the lesson she has learned about herself.

Surrender, Courage, Trust, Generosity, Fearlessness, Confidence, Curiosity, Bravery, Exuberance, The Choice

It is an intriguing trilogy, that while about sex, is not all about sex. It is about growing a woman’s confidence in herself. This is not the type of book that I normally review here on my blog, and I don’t think I actually understood the entire scope of the series when I agreed to review the books, but I really enjoyed them, so much so, that I am giving them a five star rating and highly recommending them. I thought the writing was top-notch and the book very well put together. The trilogy boasts a unique story line that I have yet to come across and I think women will definitely enjoy the books.

At thirty-five, I’d begun to believe “it” would never happen again. To be wanted, to be craved, the way this man craved this woman, was like something out of a foreign movie in a language I’d never learn, with subtitles that were becoming increasingly blurry.

I thought about the notebook, the words I had scanned, that man at the table, the way he caressed his partner’s wrist and kissed her fingers. How he fingered her bracelet, his urgency. I wished some man could feel that for me. I thought of a fistful of thick hair in my hands, my back pressed against a wall in the kitchen of the restaurant, a hand lifting my skirt. Wait a second, the man with Pauline had a shaved head. I was imagining Will’s hair, Will’s mouth…

S.E.C.R.E.T. is a fictional society dedicated to helping women achieve a sexual awakening.

I am hosting a giveaway of the entire trilogy (S.E.C.R.E.T., S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed) open to residents in the US and Canada only. Just leave a comment with your name and email for contact purposes! 

Purchase S.E.C.R.E.T. in these formats:
Kindle
Paperback
Audio

Purchase S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared in these formats:
Kindle
Paperback
Audio

Purchase S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed in these formats:
KindlePaperback

Amazon.com Review

A Conversation with L. Marie Adeline

L. Marie Adeline

Q. Secret Shared focuses on two characters: Cassie, who we know from S.E.C.R.E.T., and a new character, Dauphine. Can you tell us a bit about the experience of writing two characters throughout one novel?

A. That was not really planned until I began the writing process. It seemed to me that Cassie’s trip through the steps couldn’t continue. And S.E.C.R.E.T. has a mandate to “pass it on.” Naturally, I needed to find a new candidate equally compelling and vexed by her sex life, but in a different way than Cassie. She couldn’t also be locked in sexually and reluctant. In fact, Dauphine is far more experienced than Cassie; she’s just shoved sex on the back burner of her life. And so many people do it. Sex becomes a muscle we no longer flex. The trick with Dauphine is finding her Southern-ness, the parts that no longer work and the parts that served her well. The voice came from that. Switching voices between chapters took some getting used to. I would find myself putting Cassie’s words in Dauphine’s mouth. There’s also a character, Mark Drury, who both women “know.” I had to see him through two different eyes, by two women who felt differently about him. Once the characters became fully formed that was just a natural expression of who they were. But it was challenging, writing from two different perspectives. And fun!

Q. Do you see parts of yourself in the women of S.E.C.R.E.T.? Is there a character you particularly identify with?

A. I think a writer’s DNA is in a little bit of each of their characters. I think I share Cassie’s reticence, Will’s simplicity, Tracina’s survivor mentality, and some of Matilda’s hard-earned wisdom (I like to think!). My new character, Dauphine, is a bit of a workaholic, and that’s something I definitely share with her. I can really lose myself in my work, which I’m lucky to find so edifying. But still, work is no substitute for intimacy, as Dauphine happily discovers.

Q. In addition to Cassie, readers will recognize many other characters in SECRET Shared from S.E.C.R.E.T. Did you always know you wanted to bring them back? Or were there some characters you found you just couldn’t say goodbye to?

A. As the first book was completed, S.E.C.R.E.T. the novel became S.E.C.R.E.T. the series. So yes, that meant some characters would stay, newer ones would be introduced, and some characters will go, their journeys now complete. That said, I just couldn’t resist seeing what Jesse was all about. Bringing him back for SECRET Shared allowed a peek into who these men were and what was in S.E.C.R.E.T. for them. And while recurring characters allow me to rip back the curtain even further on how S.E.C.R.E.T. operates, new ones add new elements to this mysterious group. It’s really quite exciting for me too.

Q. In SECRET Shared, Cassie and Dauphine push their boundaries-both sexually and emotionally. Did you find yourself pushing your boundaries as an author?

A. Yes. Being a writer of sensual wasn’t in my long-term career plan and I never imagined S.E.C.R.E.T. would grow around the world, let alone evolve into an “anxiously anticipated” series. But yes, in order to do this book and this genre justice, I’ve had to write well out of my usual “comfort zone,” which ended up happening quite naturally as the characters became more real to me. For instance, as Cassie’s sensual appetites evolve, she becomes more confident, more adept. That meant I had to up my game, erotically speaking. So the romantic stakes get higher in Secret Shared and I think I’m having more fun with the material. I hope that shows on the pages!

Q. What would you say to a reader who has never read an sensual novel?

A. I imagine we’re talking about someone who not only hasn’t read sensual but has resisted reading “genres.” I would say to them that whether it’s a romance novel, fantasy, sci-fi, or whatever, a good novel is a good novel. Don’t get tripped up by the label or category. I can’t believe, for instance, that I resisted George R. R. Martin’s series for so long because I had a prejudice against “fantasy” books. I never read books with dragons and kings and had no interest, until a particularly persuasive friend suggested I give them a try. I lost months in those books. I just got swept away. For me, a good book is about the plot and character development. I no longer turn down a potentially great book because of the so-called genre into which it gets slotted.

 

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

The Montana Gallagher Series – Historical Western Romance at its best with MK McClintock (Reviews)

Book One of the Montana Gallagher Series
Historical Western Romance

She was a on a quest of discovery. He was on a quest for revenge. Together they would discover a second chance.

Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn’t know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family.

As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time-he didn’t need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn’t need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.

The Historical Western Romance Montana Gallagher Series:
Book One – Gallagher’s Pride
Book Two – Gallagher’s Hope
Book Three – Gallagher’s Choice

 Purchase Book 1 in these formats:  Kindleor Paperback

Book Two of the Montana Gallagher Series
Historical Western Romance

She sought a new beginning. He sought what he didn’t know was missing. Together they would discover hope in unlikely places.

Isabelle Rousseau must escape New Orleans and the memory of her family’s tragic loss. With her younger brother in tow, she accepts a position as the new schoolteacher in Briarwood, Montana. Desperate to keep what’s left of her family together, Isabelle joins her life with a stranger only to discover that trust and hope go hand in hand.

Gabriel Gallagher lived each day as it came believing he had everything he could possibly want . . . until a determined woman and her brother arrive with a little luggage and a lot of secrets. It will take a drastic choice to protect her and give them both hope for the future.

Purchase Book 2 in these formats: Paperback
Kindle

Book Three of the Montana Gallagher Series 

Historical Western Romance 

He finally had a family to call his own. She now knew what it meant to risk it all. Together they had a chance to find peace at last. 

Eliza Gallagher is tough, resilient, and rides a horse like she was born in the saddle. All necessary qualities for someone who runs a cattle ranch. She had more to avenge than any of them and she was counting on those skills to finally find the justice they all sought — until she realized it could cost her everything and everyone she loved. 

Ramsey Hunter finally knew what it was to have a family and what it took to keep that family together. He knew coming back wouldn’t be easy, but he never imagined what he would have to risk to keep it. 

Eliza got him home; now Ramsey has to do whatever it takes to save her life and help bring peace to Hawk’s Peak. 

Purchase Book 3 in these formats: Kindleor Paperback

Image of MK McClintock

Born near the beautiful coast of southern California and raised in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, author MK McClintock studied business at BYU-Idaho until she decided culinary school was a lot more fun. Armed with a gypsy spirit and adventurous nature, MK traveled from coast to coast living in remote mountains towns and a small New England village, traversed rocky coasts, experienced fine Southern hospitality, and explored the Highlands of Scotland before returning home to Montana.

She helps run her family businesses by day, and by night, MK spins tales of romance and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland, and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past, and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes wherever her heart and imagination lead her.

Learn more about MK by visiting her website: http://www.mkmcclintock.com or her blog: http://www.booksandbenches.com.

My Review:

Author’s Note: I fell in love with the Gallagher family from their first words. The characters are flawed, likable, and yes, sometimes infuriating, but they’re real and true to themselves. This is more than just a series – it’s a western saga, so some questions won’t be answered until the end. The series follows the Gallagher’s romance, hope, and revenge over the course of several books – each one offering something new.

I felt it necessary to begin my review with words from the author herself because she so aptly describes the books better than I ever could. The Gallagher’s are a saga, one you will love from the very first page of Book 1 through the last page of Book 3, and you will be left wanting so much more.

The Gallagher series takes you from Montana to Scotland and back, from one beautiful country to another. MK McClintock has the ability to weave the details into a story that leave the reader enjoying the friendship of the characters. The covers of the books draw you in, but the story and the people keep you there.

The books are well written, full of the beauty of the countryside as well as the people. The story-lines are intriguing, full of romance and intrigue, and will keep you guessing until the very last page. As the author said, the characters are flawed, likable, and sometimes infuriating and you will love each and every one of them.

I am giving the Gallagher series five stars. You will fast become a fan of MK McClintock.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

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She’s b-a-c-k…from life’s distractions, family drama, medical appointments, and shopping

I’ve been kind of missing in action lately, but I’m back. Hope there is someone out there that noticed, after all, we all like to know we’ve been missed.

My husband has been suffering with a neck injury with different diagnosis coming in from a chiropractor, a PCP, a doctor of physical medicine, and now a physical therapist. One was insistent that cracking the neck and back was going to fix it. While I didn’t agree with the method, I was willing to support my husband’s choice to try non-evasive first (although in my opinion, that constitutes evasive). With that treatment ending and the symptoms worsening, we then took it to the next level and medical doctors. We know there is arthritis in his neck, but none of this was explaining the numbness and pain radiating down his arm.

After x-rays and an MRI, we are now in physical therapy and at least things are beginning to make sense. The therapist was able to isolate the nerve causing the pain and some interesting things have begun to happen. Hopefully, improvements will follow. Seems between the two of us, we’ve been making a few too many trips into New Orleans to Ochsner.

Physical therapy is proving to be quite the interesting journey. Luckily, we found a wonderful therapist who doesn’t mind being asked questions and explaining everything going on. I have been known to irritate even the nicest of doctors with my questions. I never left the “why” stage behind. She would do something and I’d ask what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what she hoped the outcome would be. I was very impressed because she is very open with us. She is also confident that the nerve is not permanently damaged and she can restore what has been damaged through treatment. After three months of horrible pain, it is nice to see Hubby finding some relief. The physical therapist also uses dry needling and that is interesting.

I only have one comment. If that is how women act when they are PMSing, geez, no wonder we get on everyone’s last nerve!

Our latest trip into New Orleans this week was for follow-up blood work and an ultra-sound for me. The numbers having to do with my liver and gall bladder were elevated. I have two rare blood disorders and have blood work done every six months to monitor my elevated red cell count and platelet count. Those numbers are elevated, but within the same high range they have been for a year. I have to admit that if I get another tech that hurts me the way this one did, I’m calling for someone new. I have a huge bruise on my arm. She stuck me and then moved the needle around for a while (which, by the way I could feel) before she managed to hit the vein. I don’t watch, but I could feel it and it hurt. I told Hubby he needs to be my advocate next time and instead of watching, needs to stop them. He said had she moved it one more time, he had decided that he was going to stop her and call for someone new.

On the bright side, I did a little shopping this month and bought some cool stuff. I’ll be sharing those goodies throughout the week. First up are my little books from May Designs. I have recently returned to journaling and a pretty book is always enticing and I love these. I also have one for the Facebook group 360/30. The group gives a month’s worth of thought-provoking prompts at the beginning of each month. And I use the third for my medical records.

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Don’t you just love them?

 

And where do you put such pretty little books? Well – in a pretty little pouch. I found these cute Hadaki bags on-line. It came in a set of two, one of which was the perfect size for my little books, along with a pretty colored pen for each book. You’ll come to notice I’m more than a little obsessed with pretty pouches. I have amassed quite a collection through the years and I love mixing them up and using them for different purposes. One can never have too much pretty pretty.

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I even received a cute pink lollipop!
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I decided to leave the pretty green ribbon that held them together. I cut it and tied a piece to each zipper.
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The colors are so bright and cheerful.
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I even used the pretty pink envelope that came inside. I hole punched it to fit my planner and then used one of my Martha Stewart punches to make the cute top design, then added stickers.
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Even the inside lining is pretty.

I recently found a couple of shopping apps and I’ve been trying them out. You receive a list of items each week and if you purchase any of them, you can earn money back. It isn’t always items I use, but I’ve managed to rack up about $4 for just buying what I already buy. One is Checkout 51 and the second is Ibotta. I think they are available for both iPhone and Android.

I also use Grocery IQ as my grocery list app. It is connected with Coupon.com and I was able to utilize a few coupons there as well. One was for antiperspirants. It’s no secret that I love my Secret – unscented that is. When I sweat I do not want to smell like baby powder sweat, or citrus sweat. Anyone else with me? Well, being Southern I suspect that if I am invited on a picnic – and sweat – those in attendance will sniffing the air to see who smells like the Ambrosia (with a twist of sweat.) My new deodorant, thanks to a coupon, is Secret Citrus (I kid you not!) I truly just do NOT want to smell like something when I sweat. The best case scenario would be to not smell, but do you really want to smell like Spring – with a touch of sweat? Who thinks up these fragrances? We truly need to have a sit down with them – and soon.

We had a little family drama this week as well. If you follow my blog, you know that I adore my German shepherds. Ryka never darts out in front of the truck when we come through the gate, but this time she did. I had just closed one gate after Hubby came through and was starting to close the second when I looked up and saw Ryka start to cross in front of him. It happened so fast. The truck bumper hit and flipped her and then she rolled to a stop as Hubby did, right against the tire.

I did what any good Southern lady would do. I let out a blood curdling scream. Jamie Curtis in Halloween doesn’t have anything on me! I think I frightened Ryka more than getting hit by the truck did, but thankfully, she got up and walked away. I still shudder when I think about it. I was quite upset the entire afternoon and that night I spent about an hour just cuddling and playing and rubbing them before I came inside.

I was always concerned about Calypso because she insists on running down the drive in front of the truck and escorting us to the garage. Before the truck, we had a suburban and we could at least see her ears as she galloped along. The truck is so high, she would have to be a horse to be seen. Ryka always lagged behind and this was completely out of character for her. As they say, “All’s good in Hollywood,” at least momentarily.

There were loads more adventures and family drama this week, but I’ll save that for another day. As always, thanks for taking the time to visit here and I wish you a wonderful weekend. I have a book giveaway, so if you love a good romance, be sure and leave a comment there. The book is Waiting on You and the link is: http://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2014/04/05/waiting-on-you-by-kristan-higgins-review-giveaway/

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

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Gallagher’s Series by MK McClintock (Media Blitz and Giveaway)

She was on a quest of discovery. He was on a quest for revenge. Together they would discover a second chance.

Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn’t know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds, and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family.

As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time he didn’t need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn’t need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.

Book One of the Montana Gallagher Series
BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS INCLUDED
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle (no graphic scenes)

She sought a new beginning.He sought what he didn’t know was missing. Together they would discover hope in unlikely places.

Isabelle Rousseau must escape New Orleans and the memory of her family’s tragic loss. With her younger brother in tow, she accepts a position as the new schoolteacher in Briarwood, Montana. Desperate to keep what’s left of her family together, Isabelle joins her life with a stranger only to discover that trust and hope go hand in hand.

Gabriel Gallagher lived each day as it came believing he had everything he could possibly want . . . until a determined woman and her brother arrive with a little luggage and a lot of secrets. It will take a drastic choice to protect her and give them both hope for the future.

Book Two of the Montana Gallagher Series
BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS INCLUDED
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle (no graphic scenes)

He finally had a family to call his own. She now knew what it meant to risk it all. Together they had a chance to find peace at last.

Eliza Gallagher is tough, resilient, and rides a horse like she was born in the saddle. All necessary qualities for someone who runs a cattle ranch. She had more to avenge than any of them and she was counting on those skills to finally find the justice they all sought — until she realized it could cost her everything and everyone she loved.

Ramsey Hunter finally knew what it was to have a family and what it took to keep that family together. He knew coming back wouldn’t be easy, but he never imagined what he would have to risk to keep it.

Eliza got him home; now Ramsey has to do whatever it takes to save her life and help bring peace to Hawk’s Peak.

Book Three of the Montana Gallagher Series
BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS INCLUDED
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle (no graphic scenes)

MK McClintock dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock lives and writes in Montana.

Learn more at http://www.mkmcclintock.com or http://www.mkmcclintockblog.com.

 Purchase on Amazon:

Gallagher’s Pride (Gallagher Series)

Gallagher’s Hope (Gallagher Series)

Gallagher’s Choice (Gallagher Series)

Please check back for the giveaway shortly. Thank you.

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The New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints NFC Championship victory in...
New Orleans Saints NFC Championship victory in the Superdome which will take them to the Superbowl. Right after the winning kick! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went for my morning walk today and as usual, no one knows what thoughts will be entering my head. This is so true because why on earth would I be thinking of the New Orleans Saints? Decorating, yes. Baking, yes. Organizing, definitely yes. But, the Saints? Go figure that one out. But true to form, this is what came to mind.     

Is it safe to be from Louisiana, more specifically South Louisiana, and not be a diehard New Orleans Saints fan? I was contemplating the validity of this thought and decided that I can dare say it can be quite intimidating at the very least.                

I found one sure-fire way to stop an animated point by point, play-by-play conversation cold in the middle of the church aisle (a Catholic church at that) was to interject an excited statement of my own about the joys of going to a movie or shopping and having the theater and stores all to myself (it’s not that I don’t like people, I just prefer the quiet.)The looks of complete and utter bewilderment I received were worth putting my life in peril.      

At this point, I will stop to thank the Saints for making it to the playoffs. People who would not speak to each other are now holding each other in rapturous conversations. And did I mention the ear-splitting, window-rattling rendition of The Saints Go Marching In that followed the bedazzled priest out the door after mass. Who would have ever thought we’d live to hear a priest include a prayer for a football team and a “GO SAINTS” in his final blessing before joyfully marching down the aisle to the above mentioned song? Not me!     

It almost isn’t safe to attend church if you are not a Saints fan. Who knew there was so much Saints paraphernalia that could be worn, held, walked on, spit on, listened to(you get the picture)? One enters the church these days with much trepidation. Even the prim and proper little old ladies are sporting Saints t-shirts under their jackets while giving out Holy Communion as well as sporting Fleur-de-le earrings in their sagging ear lobes!     

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am not a fan of the New Orleans Saints; I am just not a fan of football. I, for one, am more than a little happy that football season has come to a close for the year. Fans have finally begun washing  their well-worn lucky t-shirts and are placing their lovingly folded clothing in the drawer for a much-needed break before next year’s season; at which time those Who Dat’s will surely spur up the emotions of South Louisiana once again. 

Reprinted from March 3, 2010

It’s all about life – Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to a Little Southern Comfort here on My Life. Just so happens today is also my birthday. I found myself wishing it didn’t fall on this day because I write my column on Tuesdays. While most people enjoy celebrating their birthdays, I do not. It has nothing to do with age. I am now 56 years old. See – no problem. My not celebrating my birthday has to do with life.

If I celebrated my birthday, I would find myself making a wish as I blew out a candle; and because we all want that proverbial wish to come true, we tend to wish for something that will come true. You have to admit that we all hedge our bets. I can’t do that. I would wish for my two daughters to put their anger aside and to be part of my life, an honest part with no pretense. I have wished and prayed for just that for seventeen years. It hasn’t happened. And so, this is why some birthdays, theirs and mine, are bittersweet.

Yesterday was my sister, Debbie’s, birthday. She lost a battle with Leukemia at age seven. I was five at the time, and as anyone who has lost someone dear to them will tell you, the loss never goes away. And, although I have my very own angel in Heaven, the gloom lurks near by.

As Tuesday was approaching, I didn’t think I’d have much to write about this week, but turns out, things began happening. I’m still trying to navigate my way around my new Mac Air. I have to admit that by Saturday night, I was wishing I had left it on the Apple tree (so did everyone else!) I was attempting to use Quickbooks for Mac. photo (7)I’ve been using Quickbooks on my PC for about six years now and easy peasy. On my Mac, I had a menu strip down the side of my screen as well as a menu across the top and then the open page in the center. Once I figured out what was going on (just as I was picking up the phone to dial Quickbooks help) everything made sense.

Then, I had to close the file and finding it again proved to be a scavenger hunt. After a few texts to a friend, I managed to not only locate the file but even move it to another folder. Thanks Jessica! Yeah Me!

I have another good friend whose little boy started school this year. He has a few developmental problems and his little immune system is compromised. This means she needs to stay nearby in the event another of his classmates is sick and she will need to pick her little boy up so he doesn’t get sick. We haven’t been able to have lunch together for a while so I told her we needed to do breakfast instead. What fun! She came over and we had fun that only two chocoholics and puff pasty addicts could have. We wrapped chocolate in puff pastry, put it in the oven, and sat down to wait – impatiently! When the pastries came out of the oven, we sprinkled – okay, dumped – the confectioner’s sugar on them and then laughed like only kids can do. It was the best breakfast and visit. We’ll have to do that again soon Lynette!

We almost had a hurricane blow through. Call me crazy, but Hubby and I both attribute our good fortune to all the people on the bayou praying the “Hurricane Season Prayer” that gets prayed every Sunday in mass. We live in Southern Louisiana about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans and all the rain was on the east. God listens when two or more are gathered. The proof is in the pudding!

My cousins that have been in from Georgia came to visit on Friday. They left on Sunday to go back to the place on top of the mountain they now call home. I miss them already. I pass their house in New Orleans every time I head into the city to Ochsner for a doctor appointment or blood work and I could always count on calling and saying, “I’m passing by, want company?” I am quite lucky to have them in my life, even if it’s not as often as before. I really miss the great meals I was served on those days.

The tide has been high due to the disturbance in the gulf and on Sunday the bayou was finally beginning to flow back south. Water lilies were floating by in droves and as Hubby was checking his crab traps, a few came close enough to the wharf to snag a few blooms. They are really pretty and I love sitting on the swing behind the boat house photo (2)watching them float by. It is very peaceful if you can tune out the traffic.  There will be pictures if I can figure out where they are on the computer. That’s makes me laugh, because I hit download and they disappeared. (Obviously, I did find the pictures.) I am also wondering why it was so easy to find them. Someone is playing a trick on me.  I am also including a picture of the bayou. So many people do not know what a bayou is and we get asked that question frequently. In other parts of the country, it is called a river or a stream, etc. Here in the South, it is called a bayou.

photo (4)photo 1

It is also pecan season, at least in our yard. We have a pecan tree that produces every two years. And, of course, Hubby decides to check to see if the the steady wind that has been blowing has knocked any to the ground. I say this because we are on our way back from the boat house and there is no container except our pockets to put them in! photo 4photo 3

I am also including a picture of Calypso and Ryka (laying down sleeping) sitting guard at the base of the tree. We had a squirrel for the first time this year and they know it’s up there. For someone who chases her tail and can’t sit still, Calypso is

photo 2

holding a quiet vigil waiting…

According to my planner, I have books to read for review so that’s My Life for this week. Hope you’ll stop  by again next Tuesday for a visit.

photo (1)photo

We meet in the middle – Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It seems my life resembles one country song after another lately. Take for instance,Thursday. I picked out my clothes for a meeting I needed to go to. Since the weather here in the South is normally stifling, I didn’t put my jacket on. Because the weather is so hot, I decided to wear one of the cute thin cotton shells that I have. I tossed the jacket over the dining room chair alongside my brief case and phone – all things I did not want to forget. As it got closer to my designated leaving time, I gathered up the last of my belongings I needed and headed out the door. I grabbed my jacket (or so I thought.)

Fifteen miles later I pulled up in front of the parish office and got out of the car. I reached back in to retrieve my jacket, briefcase and bag only to find no jacket. I was mortified. The cute sleeveless blouse I had chosen to wear under my jacket  was a little thin side. In other words you could see through it. After panicking and searching frantically for a jacket that wasn’t going to magically appear, I called hubby.

I was frantically telling him I had left my jacket at home and there was just no way I could sit and conduct a meeting in a room full of men in a see thru shirt, and could he please meet me with my jacket – all in one unbelievably long breath. Of course being such a sweet husband he said yes. I then proceeded to tell him to look on the dining room chair and on my office chair and so on. He then got a little perturbed and told me he would find it but I needed to hang up. What is it with men? Can they not walk and talk at the same time. I wanted to stay on the phone walking him through each room and be there when he located it so I could quit panicking. Okay, so I can be a little OCD at times.

I began heading back down the highway from wince I had come hoping to meet hubby in record time even though we were now encroaching into the work knockoff traffic. He then called me to say he was hung up in traffic (there is only one road up and one road down the bayou so this was not good). I was driving through a little town and began announcing every landmark I was passing in the hope that he would say “I’m almost there.” “I am passing the post office. ” “I am passing the library. ” “The post office?” “The library?” As in we have one of those? Picture me rolling my eyes and wondering if I would actually meet him in our driveway rather than on the road.

51TH8hVO7hL

We finally met at a small grocer. He was traveling north and as I approached the store I saw him put his blinker on and turn in from the far side. We met with our windows already rolled down. He handed off my jacket and it was “Bye” “Bye” and we were both off again. Reminded me of my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Go  Dog Go. “Hello!” “Hello!” “Do you like my hat?” “No. I do not.” “Goodbye!” “Goodbye!” I managed to get back in plenty of time to begin the meeting on time.

My birthday is coming up soon and I’ve been wanting a laptop. So…Hubby said I could get one. My cousin was in from Georgia so it ended up being the perfect time. I would get to visit and do something fun – like buying a computer at the same time. And, I needed his expertise.

As always, when I arrived at their house on Monday morning, a wonderful meal was waiting for me. I’m a challenge to cook for because I’m so finicky, but, he’s learning. He scrambled eggs and melted smoked gouda cheese on top and then spooned it onto tortillas. He then folded the tortillas and put them back in the pan to toast them. When I tell you, it tasted like a little bit of Heaven, believe me. Some of my favorite ingredients – eggs, cheese, and tortillas. Can’t go wrong in my opinion. Doesn’t that look good?!

photo 1photo 2

And, all of this on a Monday morning. I normally do not schedule anything for a Monday because I am not a Monday person. I normally hang around the house in my pajamas until the grass is dry and then I get dressed and mow grass. Supper is whatever I find frozen, usually gumbo. It’s sort of a non-lazy lazy day. So, to not only be up and about, but in New Orleans at 9:30 in the morning – well it was a miraculous day all around.

I’ve spent most of today attempting to navigate around the Mac. One difference I’ve found is that there are not as many menus available in the programs as there are on the PC. I am finding that quite a challenge. Next up on my list is to try to download a few favorite fonts. I was not at all successful in my twenty thousand tries today. Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

I invite to leave a comment on how your week is going. See you next week!

Hurricane Isaac rears his ugly head

Part 1

It is 8:14 a.m. on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. The house has been shuttered as though expecting a long winter’s nap. The first wave of rain associated with Hurricane Isaac is beginning to hit the house. The last two days have literally been the calm before the storm, as it is said, as they were beautiful, warm sun filled hours in which to prepare. This morning was no exception. It began quite early for those of us in the storm’s projected path as we completed last minute preparations.

It is strange how many items you find that you can do without as you pickup and secure things in anticipation of the winds. The roadside garbage piles the last few days have been reminiscent of spring cleaning at its best.

I sit here in the darkening room as the day progresses, listening to the wind gusts and the howling of the wind as it whistles its way through the rafters of the house like a lonely ghost. Perhaps it is the silence of the shuttered house that magnifies the pump at the oil batteries across the rising bayou. It is not a sound that we normally notice, but with the silenced normal activity in anticipation of the storm, it is somehow fitting that we hear the eerie drone of the motor.

Family pets, not normally allowed inside, welcome the respite from the heat as they lie in the cool garage. They cannot even be tempted to go outside to romp and potty, afraid that the very action of venturing outside, however momentarily it will be, will end the rare allowed luxury of bedding down in their kennels.

For a while during the storm, it was as though we were cake batter in the Kitchen Aid mixer. The wind was beating against the front of the house and whipping around the corners with such velocity, that I waited, with baited breath for the house to begin spinning.

Thursday, August 30, 2012. Now, that the weather has calmed down, there is a gentle breeze accented with the occasional rain, hampering the cleanup efforts of many. The highways are beginning to come alive with traffic as people venture out to restock supplies depleted during the confinement brought on by the storm.

I was outside earlier washing down the house, removing the remnants of leaves that had become part of the exterior before they dried. Already wet, I continued my task as the rains once again came down, enjoying the chance to feel the light cleansing rain on my skin, a sign of the healing that begins after a storm has passed.

I spent time on the front porch swing with Ryka and Calypso, who were rapturous to be free once again. Calypso seemed intent on catching up with all the time she missed chasing her tail, while confined to her kennel. Ryka was content to take up the extra space on the swing, enjoying the gentle movement back and forth as the breeze ruffled her coat.

Generators are humming all around us as people charge up freezers and enjoy the comfort of fans.

We were lucky this time around. Even as the storm danced and stalled several times as it stalked the coastline, trying to make up its mind where to strike, it did not hold the punch of storms long passed. The seventh anniversary of the devastation reeked by Hurricane Katrina upon an unsuspecting coast, has passed in relatively quietness, allowing those holding their breath to exhale.

 

Some things never change. It’s hot after a storm.
Tree damage.
The wind.
First rains.
Tree down. Water.

 

Additional pictures are available on http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com