Rest vs Busyness

Summer officially arrived on June 21. The time of lazy days and easy living.

But is it? For most of us, life doesn’t slow down at all.

Why don’t we give ourselves permission to rest in this wild, busy world? What compels us to think we have to meet all the demands put upon us?

Writers face manuscripts to finish, blogs to post, social media to keep up with, craft books to read, conferences and workshops to attend. It’s easy to constantly be busy, moving, doing, and fail to slow down to settle into peace even on the rare occasions where it’s right in front of us. And, it’s not only writers.

So many things pull for our time and attention. We become weary. Yet we keep on keeping on, endlessly moving and doing.

Have you noticed that even when we do stop to rest and sit on the porch swing with a favorite book to sip a glass of iced tea we fidget? Our toes tap. Thoughts hammer rat-a-tap-tap like a woodpecker in our heads. It’s not easy to be still.

For some reason we tend to think by working hard and wearing ourselves out, we validate our value to the world. Faulty thinking that hinders rest.

We equate being busy with worth. But does being productive prove our worth?  Not necessarily.

Busyness can be an addictive, but busyness doesn’t have to be the boss of us.

We can break the habit. We can step off the busyness treadmill by taking moments for inner peace.

All we have to do is STOP.

Take five minutes to sit in the quiet. (If small children or pets are around, this may involve going into a closet or the bathroom and locking the door.)

Just. Be. Quiet. No TV. No music. No books, no journals.

Sit, close your eyes, and breathe. In – Out. In – Out.

Enjoy the peacefulness.

You might be surprised by what a time of rest can do to your peace of mind and productivity.


Goodnight, Chickens

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Putting the chickens up at night has become a multi-step process. As we introduce new chicks into the main flock, I must herd them into the coop for the first few nights.

I watched three of the black laced silver Wyandottes get settled one night. They started on the ramp.  

Then one moved onto the roost.



As I watched, another one squeezed onto the roost.  There was much flapping and squawking but eventually all three piled onto the roost.





Some have decided to sleep in the old bantam coop which has no door. We figured at least they are sheltered from the weather and somewhat hidden from things that would eat them – possums mainly.Then there are the bantams in the color project runs.  Most of them just roost on top of their coops.  Except for these two who prefer to balance on the fence.So my nightly routine involves saying “goodnight chickens” to the big coop, old bantam coop, color runs and the chick pen.

It’s not rocking babies, but it is a routine.


Wise Words from Steven Jobs

I’d add that when you’re doing what you love, it won’t seem like work.


Storytime at the Villa Maria – Guest Author

Today Constance Walker, a new friend and fellow writer, is joining me on the porch. Sunday we celebrated our fathers. I think you’ll find Constance’s answer to the frequently asked question about where authors get ideas for their stories a fitting honor to her father.

Welcome, Constance

I think the beginning of my newest novel, Storytime at the Villa Maria, came about when my Dad moved into a senior citizens’ facility.

I thought about all the memories, all the long-time friendships, the neighbors he knew so well, the familiar stores where he shopped, the sounds of the neighborhood … how do you say goodbye to all that?

How do you leave a house that has been “home” to all your dreams, your hopes and your fears? Where your every known emotion existed, where every celebration — whether a life or a death or a graduation or birthday, or a new job — mattered?

And how do you begin again when you’re in your golden years?

Next I played the “what if?” game – what if the central character didn’t want to move? How would that affect his children?

That evolved into thinking about the other seniors who lived in the building: They all would be about the same age – they all lived through the bad and good times of America. Many of the men and women were World War 2 veterans. And most importantly, all these people had memories. All these people had life stories to tell. What if they shared their storytelling as a way of bonding?

So, I dug back into my own remembrances of hot summer evenings and sitting on our front steps with family and friends and neighbors. I recalled listening to the senior adults as they talked – in everyday conversation — about their jobs, their families and friends, even the weather and how “really hot or cold it was a few years ago.”

They spoke about when they were kids or teens or young adults … when and where they went, their first jobs, politics, their favorite baseball teams, the music they danced to in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and just about all phases of nostalgia they wanted to share about their lives.

I put bits and pieces together, added my own thoughts and imagination and that was the beginning of the book I knew I wanted to write.

One more thing — about the characters in the novel — none of them are real — although, I must admit, I wish they were, because, in writing them, and I know this sounds strange, I absolutely loved them. But they are imagined composites of people I have known or met – or even just briefly seen, and they exist only in Storytime at the Villa Maria. I hope you like them.

Storytime at the Villa Maria

A charming novel of senior citizens, storytelling, nostalgia, and a world gone by but not forgotten.

Meet …
Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”
Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust
Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband
Tom, whose music lured women into his arms
Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long dead soldiers
Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons

Join them and others as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.

Storytime at the Villa Maria is an unforgettable book about life lived and still to be lived, and about the mysterious threads of joy and heartache and love that are woven into every life—including your own!

Available from these retailers:


AMAZON Paperback




Constance Walker is the author of The Shimmering Stones of Winter’s Light, Lost Roses of Ganymede House, In Time, and Warm Winter Love among other works of Gothic and contemporary fiction.

Connect with her on



Thanks so much for sharing, Constance. Storytime at the Villa Maria sounds like a wonderful read and a lovely tribute to your father.


A Bucket List Adventure

Not so long ago, in a discussion about our many moves, hubby and I discovered we had traveled in almost all of the fifty United States. Close examination revealed hubby lacked one state (Idaho). I lacked only three (Utah, Idaho, and Hawaii).

Not so remarkable when you consider we’re making our seventeenth move this month.

Since we’ll be leaving Colorado shortly, we decided to complete hubby’s list of fifty states and reduce mine down to one.

We made the four hour drive into Utah.

Utah is loaded with fabulous national parks. While there, we decided to check out the Arches National Park.

Wow, just wow. We really should have gone sooner.

Because our four-legged babies were with us, we couldn’t do hiking. Park regulations prohibit leaving pets in the car, and they aren’t allowed on the trails even on lease. Still we have fabulous views.



Our real adventure began when we decided to go back to our little hometown nestled in the Rio Grande Forest between the San Juan and San Cristobal Mountain ranges. FYI, there are zero major roads to get there.

Our GPS sent us back the way we came. We’d seen that route. We wanted a different route. A quick study of our Rand McNally maps gave us a route off Interstate 80 through Aspen via CO State Hwy 82.

What the map didn’t tell us was CO 82 is also known as The Top of the Rockies Byway, one of eleven America’s Byways® designated in Colorado. The scenery was beautiful. (You might want to add it to your bucket list.)

Our new route took us over Independence Pass. A pass that had only opened six days before. Thirty-two miles of mountainous terrain on a narrow two-lane road climbing to an elevation of 12,095-foot.

None of which we knew as we climbed higher and higher. Snow banks, some eight-foot tall, lined either side of the road. Temperatures dropped into the low thirties.

We were losing daylight by the time we reached the peak, making the ride back down white-knuckle to say the least.

The truly amazing thing is we did the trip All. In. ONE. DAY. Eight hundred miles.

Quite the bucket list adventure, wouldn’t you say?

Check back, we’re heading to Yellowstone and Idaho next. Who knows what bucket list adventure waits?


Natural Habitat

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

It is interesting how each of our six dachshunds has their own personality. Add Miller, the one we keep when his owner is out of town and we have general chaos.

I tried to get a picture of all seven on the couch and planned to name them after the seven dwarves.  Even with Rachel’s help, I gave up.I have all new respect for photographers who work with animals.

Our dogs are much happier in their natural habitats.

For Penelope that is in the chair on the back patio.  I think she considers it her throne.  I call her Princess Penelope after a book by that name.

I bought it for Rachel.


Sadie likes to sit on the window ledge and watch lizards.  She has been known to slip off and get stuck.

Bella prefers to watch the chickens.


Tucker, Max, and Coco have not chosen a particular place but rather prefer to be with a person. Max and Tucker are partial to Brian and Coco is my baby.

When people first meet all our dogs they ask “How can you tell them apart?”

I suppose they are similar in appearance but their personalities are completely different.


Wise Words from Steven Jobs

Every writer I’ve ever met would so agree with Jobs on this. Writing a blurb or an elevator pitch is ten times harder than writing a 40,000-word manuscript.