One Word Wednesday – AUTHOR

AUTHOR – the word conjures many images.


So how do you recognize an author?

My friend and multipublished author Joan Reeves created this fabulous video about how to recognize an author.



Where do you write?

I’m always fascinated by where writers write and what their writing spaces look like. I enjoy looking at pictures of famous authors’ desk and writing spaces.

Some places where writers write are pretty awesome.

Charlotte Bronte’s Writing Space

This blog has some wonderful examples of famous writer’s offices.

Rudyard Kipling’s Writing Space
If you’re as fascinated by where writers write as I am, I recommend these sites. 

After thirty-three years of working in my old office, our recent move meant I had to create a new writing space.

The old room offered plenty of space for me, my writing assistant plus two desks-one for my laptop and one for my desktop, a Xerox machine, and multiple bookcases.


A complete world for my writing space.

Not so in our new location. This house has 1,200 square feet compared to 3,600 square feet in our old home. Needless to say, my new writing space is MUCH smaller.

SMALL isn’t the problem.

I can work in small spaces. I’ve written in cars, hotel rooms, on a train, and even on a cruise. All I need is spot for my computer or AlphaSmart.

But there’s something special about having my own office space. Now I’m using the smaller extra bedroom. Too bad the desk I brought with me was designed for a much larger space and the room already has a twin-sized trundle bed.

The real problem was finding places for all the extra-writing stuff—printers, files, reference and resource books, etc. No room for the tables, file cabinets, and bookcases. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After weeks of placing things, my office writing space now looks like this. Plenty of room for my writing assistants and me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith my office set up again, I’m set to get back to some serious writing.

YOUR TURN: Do you have a writing office? If not, what is your writing space like?


Visitor at School

by Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

Coco, our youngest dachshund, was sick this week with a bacterial infection in her stomach. The vet said not to feed her for 24 hours.


I figured the other three dachshunds would not be too thrilled about fasting with Coco so I took her to school with me. 

I kept her kennel behind my desk and covered it up during my classes so the kids would not be distracted.

Coco, who was not pleased with this plan, made her feelings known by whining loudly. In each class, when the students asked about the noise, I had to admit that I had my dog at school. 

One of the fifth grade girls was quite relieved. She said, “Whew, I thought you were going to say you had a chicken back there.” 

Did she really think I’d bring a chicken to school? 

But on the other hand, if Mary could take her little lamb to school, I guess I could bring a chicken…or a daschund with a tummy ache.


The National Day of Prayer

LARGE-POSTERIn 1952, the United States Senate designated the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer.

A day set aside when Americans of all faiths gather in prayer in front of courthouses, houses of worship, mosques, synagogues, and temples. Communities schedule luncheons, picnics, and music performances revolving around praying for our nation.

Click here to find a celebration near you:

The theme for today’s 62nd annual observance of National Day of Prayer is “Pray for America.” At noon today, Honorary Chairman Pastor Greg Laurie will offer this prayer:

“Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.

How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.

Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)

That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)

Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. A day when people of all faiths can pause and pray for our nation and our leaders.


I believe we can do nothing more important and encourage everyone, no matter what his or her religious preference, to join me today.


One Word Wednesday – ACTION

For merchandise with this one word motivation:

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”   ~St. Francis of Assisi~

Novels begin with the first word on the page or computer screen.

ACTION on your part gets that first word there.


Tipping Point The Final Phase

Our downsizing journey, which began in the fall of 2012, ended on a balmy day in March.



Once the truck and van were unloaded, the real fun work began—finding places for all we’d brought with us. Even though we’d culled and tossed, we still found duplicates and extras.



Four weeks later, all the stuff has a home. There are no boxes on the front porch or in the house. 

We ended up repacking many boxes. Some to store for a garage sale this summer. Some to our church’s thift shop.



Lastly we swapped  the dining room chandelier for one we’ve had in every home since 1972.

We’re finally home.

There are still a few last touches to complete.

  • A new storage shed so my husband can have his workshop back.


Jerry shed


  • A garage – can’t survive Colorado winters without a place for the cars.


  • A master bedroom addition above the garage so there’s plenty of room for company to visit.

Overall, our transition from urban living to simplified mountain top living is complete. We don’t miss the traffic, the fast food, or the noise. We love watching the wildlife from our bay window as we sip our morning coffee, our long walks on the forest trails, and the clean mountain air.

Life is good.


My choice for April Poetry Month. What’s yours?

April is National Poetry Month. All month has provided opportunities and activities to celebrate poetry and poets.

I couldn’t let the celebration pass without posting one of my favorite poems about a realio, trulio, little pet dragon named Custard.

custard the dragon

I read Ogden Nash’s poem to my children so often they memorized it

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called hum Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
and Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,
I’d been twice as brave if I hadn’t been flustered.
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,
We’d have been three times as brave, we think,
And Custard said, I quite agree
That everybody is braver than me.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

I do love Ogden Nash for the nonsensical, humorous way in which he poked fun at the problems of American life in his poems.

Reviewers of his work often criticized him for taking liberties with spelling and rhyme. Things like “If called by a panther/Don’t anther.” Liberties with words that I find delightful.

I relate because I have this habit of adding things to names. Brooke becomes Brook E, Abby – Abby Me Gail, Faith – Faith-e-foo, Morgan-Morgan from org, Landry-Landy Pandy, J.B.-J.Beetle, Sara-Sa-RA, Steph-Stefoney, etc.

To me, nonsensical words and names are fun.

I hope you enjoyed The Tale of Custard the Dragon. If you’d like to read other poems by Ogden Nash, check out this chronological list of all his work:  


New to Miller Farm

by Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

Rachel went to a birthday party recently for a set of twins she babysits. Their grandmother wanted to purchase some bantam chicks from Rachel (which of course, she has) so she carried two chicks in a box with her to the party.

She returned a couple of hours later with a different box and said, “Mom, come see my babies.”

I was confused, as usual.  Had she brought the bantam chicks back home?

I looked inside the box and discovered her new babies were baby rabbits, not chicks.

baby rabbits

Rachel found them abandoned in the yard where the party took place.They don’t even have their eyes open yet, but they make noise just like a squeaky toy, which was driving the dachshunds crazy.

The momma rabbit was nowhere to be found, and the four babies were in danger of starving. Something Rachel could not allow.

Becoming rabbit rescuer Rachel, she loaded the babies into the box then stopped to purchase formula and syringes on the way home so she could feed the rabbits every two hours.

This morning a friend brought her boys over to Miller Farm to see the chickens and quail. Little did my friend know that today we would also have baby rabbits. 

Every day is an adventure here on Miller Farm.


One Word Wednesday – Poetry

April is National Poetry Month. That’s why I chose Poetry for our word today.

I read in Cynthia R. Green’s blog “A Mad Obsession’: Poetry on the Brain that poetry is a good way we can keep our brains challenged and vibrant.

To quote Dr. Green: “Numerous studies have shown that intellectually engaging activities such as reading or writing poetry can be critical to maintaining our mental acuity and potentially reducing our risk for dementia over our lifetimes.”

Here’s a Writing Prompt from Edie Melson’s The Write Conversation to stimulate your brain today.

Poetry of Life

Now go read or write a poem.


Tipping Point Phase 3 – The Saga continues with a hiccup!

Our downsizing journey began in the fall of 2012. If you haven’t been following the saga, you can catch up on Phase 1 and Phase 2.

We planned to leave on our new adventure after the New Year and be settled in our Colorado home by spring.

Our son and his wife came to help us, selected furniture they wanted to stay in the family. That’s Wendy’s head above the open box on the floor. Packing with Wendy

After they left, the months betwixt and between our anticipated departure date found our thoughts focused on the new place when reality was living in the old place that no longer resembled our home. ???????????????????????????????We’d find ourselves going to a cabinet to put something where it had lived for thirty-three years only to realize that that cabinet was no longer there!

It now lived in our son’s home.

Every thing was on schedule until Mother Nature threw a curve into our plans. Sub-zero temperatures in Colorado created an electrical outage at our destination home.

Unfortunately, when the electricity returned, our furnace didn’t reignite. Pipes froze. Four pipes burst. ???????????????????????????????

We quit packing our Houston house, drove to Colorado, and found:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Living - hall (2)Amazingly, tear-out went smoothly and restoration was fast. Replacement floors arrived as promised. The house was ready for the arrival of our daughter and her family for spring break. While they played in the snow, we returned to Houston and finished packing.

Finally, on a ninety-degree day in March, we pulled away from the home we’d lived in for thirty-three years. With all our worldly possessions loaded into a trailer and a U-Haul, we headed to our new home in the Rio Grande National Forest where the final phase of our adventure began. vans pulling out2More about that next Tuesday.