Highlands Scottish-Irish Festival

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My husband and I used to go to the Highlands Scottish-Irish Festival in Estes Park, CO every year. Unfortunately, it’s the same weekend as the writer’s conference I’ve been attending for the past several years–Colorado Gold.  (Colorado Gold is my favorite writers conference ever–if you’re a writer and you’ve never gone before, I sincerely urge you to give it a try. You will leave vowing to go again the next year. And the year after that.)

But I digress. This year I decided to attend the Festival again. While I desperately missed my writing friends at conference and the loads of information gleaned there, we enjoyed the Festival with friends.

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The fun started with a parade on Saturday morning that beats any parade I’ve ever seen. And the best part? There’s absolutely nothing political. How unusual is that? Just pure fun of all things Scottish and Irish. And oh, for the bagpipes!

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So many clans in their colors!

The activities at the fairgrounds consisted of Scottish athletics, jousting, pipe band competitions, Irish dance, Highland dance, exhibitions of dogs from the British Isles, Celtic rock and folk music, sooooo much amazing food, commercial tents, a Guinness tent, (for those not familiar with Guinness beer, it’s a must while at the Festival–for those who imbibe), and so much more.

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And my favorite entertainer there since we’ve started going…none other than Seamus Kennedy. The guy has a sense of humor that draws quite the crowd.

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The weekend of September 11, 2020…Highlands Scottish-Irish Festival or Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference…choices, choices, choices. Perhaps cloning so both is an option…

A little Scottish humor: “Kilt. It’s what happened to the last person who called it a skirt.”

We All Bleed the Same

You know how you can hear a song a hundred times and then on the hundred and first time you hear it, you really hear it? Or is that just me?

I’ve listened to We All Bleed the Same by Mandisa on the radio several times a week and while it always gets my attention, this past weekend it hit me up along side the head. There’s so much truth to the words in this song that it’s painful. Our world has gone so sideways with all the hate, judgement, violence and intolerance. So many groups fight against each other. Why can’t we fight for each other? Why can’t we look for the similarities rather than the differences?

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
― Mahatma Gandhi

My challenge to you this week is to look deep inside of yourself and see if there’s a cause, or even just one person, you can fight for. Let’s make the world a better place by showing kindness to those who are different than us, tolerance to those who have different beliefs than us, and love to all.

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
― Henry James

Happy Thanksgiving

Holiday Fun

I participated in a craft and vendor show this past weekend at Harvest Fellowship Church, manning a table with my books. A writer friend of mine was there as well, her table next to mine. I’d been waiting a long time for this event, as it always promises to be a wonderful time and sets the mood for the beginning of the holiday season, including Christmas.

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Christmas? you say? But it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!

Yes, I know. I, too, am not a fan of stores displaying their Christmas merchandise before Thanksgiving. It seems to be getting earlier every year, to the point that one of these days it will probably be in the stores year-round.

However, that being said, Christmas means different things to different people. For the world of retail it means money. It means starting sales as early as possible, taking advantage of the marketing opportunity to make as much money as possible. Christmas music pipes through the speakers in department stores, subconsciously inspiring people to buy, buy, buy.

For others, me included, celebrating the Christmas season in combination with Thanksgiving means something entirely different. I don’t believe it can ever be too early to celebrate the birth of Christ. To begin preparing our hearts for the coming of the Savior. Thanksgiving isn’t only about remembering the Pilgrims, it’s about giving thanks to God for the thousands of blessings he gives me.

On October 3, 1863, in the third fall of the Civil War, President Lincoln issued a proclamation:
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, …, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him …

Giving thanks to the Father for the birth of His Son fits in nicely here. It’s never too early for that. So bring on the Thanksgiving holiday, complete with turkey, pumpkin pie, family, and football, while at the same time preparing my heart for the birth of Christ. And Christmas lights and music? When the heart is focused on Him, Christmas music isn’t about buying, it soothes and helps prepare. And lights? Who doesn’t love the beauty of lights.

Enjoy this holiday season, the entire season, for all it’s worth.

Wishing you a most blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. – E.P. Powell

The Miracle of Change

The Miracle of Change

Why does something that’s so healthy, so good, so necessary, elicit such enormous fear? In fact, the only certainty in life is change, and while comfort typically accompanies certainty, that’s not so when it involves change. In reality, the beauty of it is we have the power to determine what changes we make, changes that will take us where we want to go and make us who we want to be.

  • Caterpillars change into butterflies.
  • Green leaves change to reds, oranges, yellows, purples.
  • Winter changes to spring changes to summer changes to fall…
  • Acquaintances change into friendships.
  • Seeds planted grow/change into healthy vegetables and brilliant flowers.
  • A date between the right people changes/grows into love.
  • A broken heart (can) change into a valuable lesson learned and can lead into a healthier relationship.

We change our minds, our jobs, our situation, and our goals.

Change is what allows us to grow, to follow dreams and change course when we’ve veered off. Change is our hope when we feel we have none and the light in the darkness. It’s change that gives us second—and third and fourth—chances when we blow the first. It’s what we can hold onto and count on when we feel defeated. Change isn’t out of our control, it is in our control. And it’s in our control how we use change. It’s the one thing we can count on.

How are you going to use change to turn the world around you into the world in which you want to live? The opportunities are endless. Go forward and change what you don’t like into what you do. Change what isn’t working for you into what does.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Three for the Week:

3.)  The joy of going on a weekend getaway for my wedding anniversary. It’s been an amazing eleven years married to the most amazing man and my best friend!

2.)  The soothing feeling from listening to the beautiful music of David Nevue. Here is a taste of peace.

1.)  Finishing my word count goal for Camp NaNo and having the most amazing cabin mates. Our cabin Rocked! 🙂

What are you grateful for this week?

Wishing you peace.

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America

The top three things I’m especially grateful for this week are:

3.  The songs Need You Now by Plumb and Oceans by Hillsong UNITED playing back to back Thursday morning on Pandora at the precise moment I needed to hear them, proving the Hand of God in my life. A blessing indeed!

2.  The proof of my novel, The Inheritance, arriving on my doorstep in the midst of a most difficult week, bringing a glimmer, that spark, that I needed.

1.   My sweet, precious nephew, a true lover and servant of the Lord, overcoming serious brain surgery this past week, and on the mend from a setback last night. And the lesson in obedience he taught this humbled auntie when he asked not for a miracle but for God’s will to be done. (I will post about him in the very near future, as his story of survival, hope, and love is one that deserves telling.)

May peace and grace be yours–and with yours–today. 🙂

 

 

 

10 Things I’m Grateful for Today

1.) Every person who has ever played a role in my life. Those who have left imprints on my heart as they passed through, and those who continue to as we share life.

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2.) Everything that makes up my life as I know it–my family; my marriage; my home that is warm, comfortable, and radiates peace; a job I enjoy that allows me to make a difference in the lives of others; interests that bring me complete joy such as writing, running, and music.

3.) A new opportunity each morning I wake up to be the best me I can be that day. And when I mess up, knowing that I can start over at any moment of the day to make it a better one, each moment a new beginning.

4.) Experiences, good and bad, that have led me to where I am and made me who I am exactly at this moment, right now.

5.) The gift of now. Despite goals, plans, and experiences of the past, I have right now to breathe, give thanks, and lift my heart to a loving God who is present in every “now” and to just “be.”

6.) Opportunities for growth given to me by failed attempts, bad days, difficult relationships, and hiccups in life.

7.) Someone asking, out of the blue, how I am or about my family, and really wanting to hear the answer. May I pay that forward to another.

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8.) The arts–books and music that bring me to that happy place. A story that brings a smile to my heart and music that speaks to my soul. Enhanced, of course, by a good cup of coffee, the flickering of a candle’s flame and lamp light. 🙂

9.) Morning’s light after a difficult night, the rainbow after the rain, the clear sky after the storm. Hope after despair and pain.

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10.) A God who cares about lil ‘ole me in a universe that is so enormous, and loves me, flawed as I am. A God who knows my heart, my needs, and desires, and cares enough to give me the beauty of every seemingly small miracle that graces my daily life.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
―Epicurus

All is Grace.