Miracle. All of it.

Hummingbirds are living miracles and full of life and beauty. Please enjoy David Kanigan’s post and visit his blog. It’s full of beautiful posts.

Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come…

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Summer afternoon—summer afternoon

A beautiful post from David Kanigan’s blog.

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon,” Henry James wrote late in his life, repeating the phrase with evident relish, as if to squeeze the full pleasure out of it, “to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” It’s easy to see his point, to follow him into the meadowland that those two words conjure effortlessly. Surely “summer afternoon” suggests a lovely aimlessness, with time as a friendly spirit guide, not a haunting, hectoring ghost. Lemonade, ice beading the glass, comes to mind, and a fat 19th-century novel that you’ll never actually finish but can drift into, and then let fall open on the grass, as you get lost (you’re in a hammock under a big shade tree) in a drift of clouds passing overhead, shaping and reshaping themselves. That’s “summer afternoon” for you. It gathers you up, paradoxically, when you give up hunting for it. Keep…

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When I was younger and watching the TV show, Friends, I always thought it would be amazing to have the kind of relationships that those characters had. They had fun, were silly, but also cared about each other deeply. They accepted each others’ quirks and always tried to have each others’ backs. I loved how comfortable they were with each other.

Growing up my family moved. A lot. The good thing about that was that it taught me to be flexible and adaptable. I learned how to get along with most people. I developed really good people skills.

The bad thing about moving was I was never able to develop those life long friendships that I saw everywhere. Kids who had known each other their entire lives; who had a long history together. I kind of envied that but was always grateful to those who included me despite my being the ‘new kid’. They were the ones who made it all easier.

When I got married, I moved away from my family to start a new life. And this wasn’t as scary as it seemed. I was good at moving.

What I wasn’t prepared for was once I was out of school and working, the dynamics of making friends became different and more difficult. I relied on my husband’s friends and that was okay for a while but I soon realized that they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I socialized with coworkers and I had some fun times and made some good friends but something was still missing. 

But I hadn’t achieved that long ago dream of having a group of friends who felt as close as family. Who shared my interests and accepted my quirkiness.

Fast forward many years and a few jobs later. I eventually got a job in a large chain bookstore. I was working with books! Any of you who have read this blog for a while may have noticed that books are kind of my passion. This bookstore was a new one in a new building and I got to help set it up while meeting other book lovers. For the first time I was having discussions about the books and authors I loved. I also discovered that many of the people there were also closet writers like me. Once we realized that we all wrote in isolation, we formed a writing group. We also formed many book groups of different genres. These were my people!

I felt very connected to three others in particular. This was when the new Lord of the Rings movies were coming out and we discovered that we loved these stories and decided to go watch the marathon together. And that was the start of my group of ‘Friends’.

The four of us just clicked despite the fact that we spanned four decades. Each of us represented the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. It didn’t matter. We were silly but could also talk about issues about which we felt deeply. And we laughed. A lot. The great deep laughter that brings tears, leaves you breathless and feeling healed and whole.

We call ourselves the Fellowship because of course we were our version of the Lord of the Rings Fellowship!

Now to the present day and more than a dozen years later these three people are my family. We still laugh a lot! We have LOTR marathons at each others’ houses. We go to Renaissance Faires together. We watch movies and eat out together. Like Bilbo and Frodo, we have adventures together. Sometimes our schedules make getting together a challenge but we keep working at it and make time for us.

They are my greatest friends and I now have the friendship I dreamed of all those years ago. We have shared all the ups and downs that we as humans go through and have been there for each other.

Whenever I spend time with the Fellowship, I feel like I’m recharged.

I am incredibly grateful that we found each other and continue to be the best of friends. So many times we have talked about our bond and how strange and wonderful it is. We know this is an incredibly rare thing and never take it for granted.

I hope you have people like this in your lives. Whether they are related to you by blood or you find each other along the way, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you.

And may you all have wonderful adventures together. Remember to laugh! A lot!

(The featured photo is a picture of the paver that we designed to honor our Fellowship and is at the Pennsylvania Renaissance fairgrounds.)

Copyright, Terms and Disclosures-Why?

Hello fellow writers, bloggers and website owners. I love how everyone I have met online has been incredibly helpful and supportive to each other and because of that I would like to get your answers to some questions I have. It concerns copyright, terms and disclosures on blogs and websites, as the title of this post says. I have explored a bit and notice that there is a variety of ways to discuss the use of materials on your sites and other peoples’ sites.

I have seen that some of you have written individual policies and disclosures while others are using things like copyrighted.com and Creative Commons Attribution. Some have a copyright notice stating that all rights are reserved. Many have nothing.

Some of these are more about protecting your own material and some are disclosing that you will use others’ material in a respectful and legal way.

My questions are:

– Is there a need for these things and if so, why?

– Why have you chosen what you have?

– Are some better than others and why?

– Are some more legally smart and what are the risks?

– Are there other sites or ways of doing this that I haven’t found that are helpful?

I would love to hear your opinions of what you use and why. Or why you don’t use any of these things.

Please comment so we can all be better informed. Thank you!

Mud Sale

What is a mud sale? I had never heard of a mud sale either until I moved to Lancaster County.

Mud sales are a way for communities to raise funds for local fire houses which are run by volunteers. Since the annual sales begin in early March and are held inside and outside, the ground is often muddy; mud sale.

There are numerous auctions going on at the same time both inside and out. There are also vendors that you can make purchases without bidding. 

You can buy almost anything during a mud sale. Furniture, new and used, quilts, crafts, farm equipment, plants and the list goes on and on.

It’s exciting how this tiny village comes to life for the mud sale! There are even games being played, like corner ball. 

We walked up and were amazed with all the sights and sounds. And more Amish than I had ever seen in one place before. 

So much excitement in the air. People greeting others they knew, the smell of delicious food cooking (and I mean delicious food!) and so much to look at!

There are great bargains to be had and knowing that anything you buy helps the community makes it even better. If you need help getting your purchases home, there are endless young men with their wagons to give you a hand. 

My words can’t seem to do it justice so I’m thrilled to be able to share the amazing photography of Bob Devonshire. I’ve only shared a few of his photos here. Visit his sites linked below for more. He very nicely gave me permission to share with you. His photos capture the day beautifully.

Please visit his site here: Bob Devonshire

and his Facebook page here: Photo-5 Imagery

Rainy Sunday Morning

It’s a dark, wet morning. The sound of a downpour of rain on the roof and tapping on the windows makes me feel extra warm and cozy in bed. Knowing it’s Sunday morning lets me pull the covers up and breathe in happy contentment. The experience of being warm, cozy and relaxed with no reason to have to get up. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Soon the Possibilities of the day start nudging me. “Hey!,” they whisper, “You can write, read, draw, play with the cats and more today!”

Oh yeah! I say to myself, stretching, waking up more.

Then the Shoulds speak up. “You need to dust, vacuum, pay bills and more today.”

Ugh! I curl back up and hide under the covers.

Then Common Sense and Logic step up. “How about if you get up now? Then you’ll have time to do a little of each? In fact, let’s start with something nice. You know, ease into the day.”

That does it. I’m awake with my head full of all this day can hold.

Now I’m sitting with a hot cup of green tea, a book, the occasional raindrop running down the window, birds on the feeder outside, the cats watching eagerly with tails twitching, a notebook, favorite pen and these words.

A day full of possibilities.

I hope you have one too.