1 12, 2023

Thankful for Parks

By |2023-11-30T08:25:09-06:00December 1st, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Our grandsons brought their mother to see us the week of Thanksgiving.

They arrived on Monday evening. Tuesday, we drove to see their great-grandfather. It was quite an adventure.

The boys are now three and a half and eighteen months old. And they are boys – in constant motion. Opa had some fire trucks and a monster truck to add to the collection of toys Mom packed for them. They still needed room to run so we went to the neighborhood park tucked away behind all the houses.

There was no path to it so we traipsed through the grass. It was well worth the effort. The park had a marsh theme with structures, unlike any park we visited. There was a dragonfly whose wings made a seesaw.

There was also a puzzle that had frogs to put into the slots on lily pads and move around the pond. Alex really liked that.

Theo was unsure, however, about the lily pads connecting the parts of the playground. Maybe next year.

Back at Grandma and Pawpaw’s, we visited another park designed for people of all ages and abilities.

It is completely fenced in with double gates so we were comfortable letting the boys loose to run.

Their favorite part was the conveyor belt-like apparatus that allowed them to run, or crawl, in place.


Alex also enjoyed the train. Theo just liked running around.  We had such a wonderful time.

I am very thankful for parks!

27 10, 2023

Trash or Treasure

By |2023-10-25T16:58:23-05:00October 27th, 2023|Uncategorized|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I have a friend who is an art teacher. We worked together at a small private school for many years. When the school closed abruptly, we started to meet with other teachers every week at the local Dairy Queen to grieve together. Over time, we each moved on but we continued to meet and talk about life.

I’ve learned much from my friend. She has a unique way of looking at things and I find myself seeing the things around me with new eyes. She sees potential in many things, students included which is what makes her a great teacher.  It also makes her a great friend.

An ordinary leaf becomes a dancer or a bottle cap becomes an earring. I started taking her things to use in her creations. Most recently, I took a piece of cardboard that had been part of the packaging for something.

It was too interesting to simply recycle. I thought it looked like a spine – perhaps because we have been learning the rhythms of the poem Skeleton Parade by Jack Prelutsky.

I took it to our Dairy Queen meeting and we set it on the table. We sat and discussed the cardboard, turning it in all directions, for 15 minutes or more.

My friend saw a building and the other friend saw a set of jaws.

At one point, the manager, who we know from our regular visits, came out to see what we were looking at.

He thought we were playing a game like Jenga.

This is what I love about my friend. She has taught me to be inspired by a piece of cardboard.

My friend and her husband recently bought a house in a nearby town. It turns out to be the house she grew up in. But that’s another story for another time.

Eventually, they will move. I will miss our weekly meetings. I may have to take road trips periodically to see her.

And, of course, take her interesting treasures to sit and discuss.

28 08, 2023

Labor Day, Yellow School Buses, and School Supply Sales

By |2023-08-25T15:57:21-05:00August 28th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall Equinox will arrive on September 23, 02:50 A.M. EDT

Labor Day is upon us. The day that signals the time to bid farewell to the carefree days of summer and the return of high school football and fall festivals.

This little poem by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt says it best.

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

Down here where I live, we’re not experiencing or expecting the chill but I’m a former teacher and the return of the yellow buses brings waves of nostalgia. Not because I’m longing to be back in a classroom again, those days are long gone.

To be a teacher again, I’d have to give up too much time and energy I prefer to devote to writing.

But fall also means school supply sales. Necessary stuff for all the munchkins heading off to school and impossible for writers to pass up.

At least this author.

Never mind, I have plenty of pencils, pens, and notebooks. I simply can’t resist. I have to stop to check out all the displays.

Nothing jumpstarts my creativity like a shiny fresh notebook and a sharp new pencil or a bright colored pen.

Plus, who can resist a sale?

How about you? Do Back-to-School sales entice you?

14 08, 2023

A New Book and Creative Juices

By |2023-08-13T13:11:16-05:00August 14th, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

I started a new book. It’s a romantic suspense loosely based on a true event that happened in 2008. A dead body was found on the riverbank below a friend’s home. Story ideas have been tossed around and around all these years until at last I have a story.

Lately, the words have not flowed. I’ve been too distracted by interruptions.

Time vampires suck my creative juices.  Vampires like my phone, email, and social media. I forget to turn them off when I’m writing and my creative juices dry up. If I’m not listening to my characters, they stop talking in my head.

In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell describes how to keep creative juices flowing:

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first, you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Austin Kleon, another creative whose blogs I enjoy, calls Campbell’s place a bliss station. His wife suggested, “Our bliss station can be not just a where, but a when. Not just a sacred space, but also a sacred time.”

A corner of the dining room is my Joseph Campbell bliss station. It’s where I tuck away with my characters and keep my focus on their story. They stare at me from their poster.

I may have followed the bliss station advice, but I haven’t disconnected from the world’s interruptions. I need to calm my brain, to find quietude and solitude for creative juices to flow.

I’m going to start again. This time with no phone, no email, and no social network interruptions. I suspect my characters will start talking again and those creative juices will again flow.

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