It’s About Time!

 

propic11_1By L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

It’s here again. Time change. On Sunday morning we turn our clocks back one hour.  I, for one, am not looking forward to it, and actually am trying to do things to prevent suffering the side effects that to me (a person with Bipolar Disorder) are hard to deal with.

For about a week now I’ve been dreading the day this event happens. I’ve had flu-like symptoms, headaches, anxiety, and sleeplessness, to name a few problems. As I try to hold myself together all I can think about is how it’ll take precious time out of my life to adjust to the one-hour difference and when I am fully accustomed to the new time it’ll happen all over again. It may sound silly to attribute my problems to a mental health disorder, but there is much proof that it is so.

Benjamin Franklin conceived Daylight Savings Time when he was an American delegate in Paris in 1784. His essay “An Economical Project” outlined his reasoning. It was later, in 1907, that London builder William Willett (in his pamphlet “Waste of Daylight”) caused him to propose advancing clocks in April and returning to Standard Time in September.

Over the years there has been much discussion and many trials of time change. While some do prefer Daylight Savings Time in the summer months because of more hours of light in the evening, the change to Standard Time in the fall causes darkness to come early and others don’t like it much.

There are pros and cons to this practice. In an article I read recently, it has been proven that robberies are down during Standard Time because most people are already home and settled in their homes and seldom go back out. This is different than the summer months, when robberies are more prevalent because folks are out longer enjoying the nightlife due to sunny weather later in the day.

The US changed its date to return to Standard Time to the first Sunday in November in 2006, with the purpose of keeping trick or treaters safe at Halloween. Apparently this didn’t go as planned, as the kids wait until dark to leave, anyway.

There has been a lot of confusion as some states end up with (5) different time zones and while there are many who lobby for an across-the-board time zone, they are in the minority.

We just returned from our summer home at the lake, where we spent beautiful days and gorgeous sunset-lit nights. We had lots of hours of light to enjoy our activities. We moved back home last week and as if that isn’t enough to get my mind in a tizzy, now I’ll have to deal with an hour change. We already have snow forecast and we are in the dark by 6:pm. I’m all for changing the time so children at bus stops don’t have to wait in the dark in the morning. I wonder if I could write a pamphlet and suggest we turn the clocks to “Linda” time? I don’t think so!

I do a lot of journaling in the winter months and I’d like to share this layout I did last winter. I think it’s appropriate.

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Books by L.Leander:

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Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

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Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

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13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

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13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook

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COLORADO GOLD

Post (c) by Doris McCraw

For something different this post is sharing my love of Fall and Colorado Gold. Enjoy the trip

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Colorado high country can be stunning in its contrast

 

inner-peace
Labor Day is Balloon Festival Time as they take off in the early morning
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Fall also is the time leaves begin to fall, leaving reminders of cold to come
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The gold that nature shares in fall almost is too bright to take in
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Sunsets to take your breath away

And finally,

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Nothing compares to the far off vistas

Until next time, enjoy the fall weather, keep up the writing and continued inspiration to all as you travel this creative journey.

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at – http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page:http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL

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It’s the Great Pumpkin Spice

your Profile PhotoThis post by Jennifer Flaten

Happy Autumn, or as I like to call it Pumpkin Spice day. The day when every other flavor dies and pumpkin spice becomes the only flavor available until the peppermint mocha days of December.

I like pumpkin spice the way God intended, in a pie. I don’t want it in my cheerios, oreos or coffee.

Other than the over abundance of pumpkin spice, I love fall. I think it is such a romantic season, with the trees all ablaze in color; plus darkness falling early means candles (and who doesn’t look their best in the glow of a candle?). Not to mention the cooler weather is perfect for snuggling under a blanket with someone special or your favorite book.

I don’t even mind that my garden is almost at its end. After a really long, hot summer I am happy to be released from watering duty. Also, I am already looking forward to next year’s garden.

And, most importantly fall is the start of knitting season. Yes, I knit during summer, but not as often, some days it was just too hot to be handling wool. Plus, I can start wearing all my knit items again.

What is your favorite part of fall?

Browse my jewelry on Etsy

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

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This post by Joe Stephens

 

 

I can’t decide how I feel about this time of year. Part of me is looking forward to cool weather and brightly colored leaves and hikes in the woods without a thousand bugs flying in my face. But I have this weird quirk; I struggle sometimes to enjoy what I have because I can’t stop thinking about what comes after it. I just keep thinking about how fall is followed by winter, which is fun for about the first two weeks, and then I’m ready for spring. If we could have snow on Christmas Eve rural, road, countryside, forest, woods, trees, fall, autumn, leaves, fog, foggythat lasts until New Year’s and then the temperatures went back up to the fifties and sixties, I’d be okay. But as it is, I struggle to enjoy fall because I know it means that snow and cold and dreary aren’t far off.

I’m the same way with weekends. I love Friday nights and Saturdays, but Sunday after church, especially since I spend so much of that time doing school work, is unenjoyable to me because it’s like I’m mentally already back at work. And however many days a vacation is, subtract one and that’s how many I have fun because all I can think about on the last day is how it’s the last day and it’s almost time to go home.

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Me on Sunday afternoon

There’s probably a syndrome for that, but I have no idea what it is. Maybe it’s just good old fashioned pessimism. I don’t know. But I’d like to get over it. Maybe when I retire and can spend time in the south during part of the winter and won’t have to go back to work on Mondays and can end vacations when I want to, everything will be better. But in the meantime, I’m robbing myself of joy by focusing on the end instead of being in the moment. Do any of you struggle with that? How do you deal with it?

 

sunrise cover option 7Joe’s newest book,Dawn of Grace, just debuted on June 9. It’s available on Amazon.

ITS Cover ArtCheck out his third book, In The Shadow on Amazon

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Take a look at his debut book, Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at his second book, Kisses and Lies on Amazon

An Apple a Day

This post by Jennifer Flaten

 

Last Thursday the kids were let out of school early. It was a gorgeous fall day, sunny with just a bit of wind to swirl the leaves around. I decided it would be the perfect time to go pick apples.

 

Besides, I knew that apple season was rapidly coming to a close and it we didn’t go that day, we might not get any apples, and we couldn’t have that. Every since the kids were old enough to walk we’ve went to the apple orchard to pick a bushel (or 4) of apples.

 

This year the girls are 14 and my son is 12 so they are less enthusiastic about picking apples. I had to practically drag them into the car, but once we arrived at the apple orchard they perked up.

 

There is something of a competitive streak in all of them, each kid wanted to be the one to find the biggest ripest apples. Even though the orchard was picked over, it didn’t take long for them to fill an entire tote bag with apples, it just took a little more creativity on their part.

 

My youfile9291294450047ngest daughter decided the best way to get those tasty apples high up in the tree was to get on her sister’s shoulders. Watching the mount/dismount was comical. Once daughter two was on board it was like something out the Three Stooges, she clutched wildly at daughter one while shouting directions. Daughter one attempted to obey those directions but found it rather hard to walk with the extra weight.

 

At one point, they got themselves hopelessly tangled in the tree branches and I had to come to their rescue.

 

All in all we picked about 20lbs of apples in about 15 minutes. Those kids are machines, I often think about renting them out.

 

With all those apples I feel a bit like Forrest Gump…apple dumpling, apple butter, apple fritters, apple donuts, apple pie, apple cake…well you get the picture.

 

Browse my jewelry on Etsy.

Summers Over

By S. J. Brown

Many people mourn the passing of summer, not me. During the hot days of summer I photograph very little. The critters hide deep in the woods to find shelter from the heat. Those that are accessible are not in the mood to pose for me.

Of course there are some exceptions like the hummingbirds that buzz around my back deck and the butterflies that frequent the butterfly bush in the front yard. Also I can’t forget the bunny rabbits and ground hogs that steadily raided my veggie garden all summer long. We have an arrangement, I feed them they let me take their pictures.

September 2015 ground hog

This time of year I am putting away my shorts, pulling out long sleeve shirts and picking lots of goodies from the garden. It’s time to wrap up my summer projects and put lots of bulbs in the ground, so I will be greeted with spring flowers when the warm weather returns.

Most summer travelers are safely back at home. So there are fewer cars on the roads, less traffic means more traveling for me. The cooler nights that signal fall is on the way also signals migrating birds its time to go. I need to get as many images of migrating birds as I can before they are gone. Raptors will be gathering in groups and kettling (flying in circular groups), Monarch butterflies will begin their trip to Mexico and Starlings will be invading buildings and trees in large groups.

September 2015 vulture

Black Bears will be bulking up for winter. In areas where they find an abundance of food I can get a little closer for some great images. However areas where food is scarce Bears tend to be a bit grumpy and aren’t thrilled with the idea of having their picture taken.

September 2015 Bear

Soon the colors of fall will be providing me with great backgrounds for my critter shots. I will be doing more hiking, and a bit more exploring in new areas. What will you be doing to celebrate the arrival of fall?

September 2015 Fall Deer

It has been a year since I joined the writers, wranglers, and warriors group. For those that have followed along I have introduced myself, shared my images and my opinions. I try to keep my posts upbeat and visually stimulating. I hope everyone has enjoyed getting to know me as much as I have enjoyed getting to know all of you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up to. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

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Autumn is the Best!

This post is by Joe Stephens

I wrote a few months back about how summer is the weekend of the year, which might lead readers to think that it’s my favorite time of year. It really isn’t. There are things I love about every season (though, as I age, that’s less and less true of winter), but fall, hands down, has to be my favorite season. And this year it’s extra special for me, though I’ll save that for a later post. And just to clarify, I define fall as the period from September 1 to December 31. I know that winter technically starts earlier in December, but I don’t care. My brain, my rules. So here are three reasons why fall is the best.

  • Convertible weather. As a convertible driver, I contend that autumn, especially (though not exclusively) the first half of it, is truly the perfect time of year. Summer is just too sweltering, especially with a black interior. I parked my car in front of my house earlier this summer with the top down for just a short while, not more than a half hour. When I red, car, convertible, wheels, tires, street, sidewalk, white, fence, parked, housesat back down to leave, wearing shorts, I proved that it is actually possible for a human being to fly into orbit without aid of a rocket. You just don’t have that in fall. The temperatures become more moderate and, even if you need a hoodie, it’s perfect top-down weather. And when it gets a little nippy even for having the top down, the weather is just cool enough to really enjoy. A light jacket during the day and a coat at night, being able to sleep with the window open, and campfires where the fire is actually for warmth instead of just roasting marshmallows are the best ever.
  • Fall sports. My two favorite sports to watch–by a really wide margin–are volleyball and football. Back when I was in school and for a few years after I started teaching, volleyball was a winter sport here in my area, which was good in that my two favorite sports didn’t interfere with each other, but I think I like it better this way. Now I get all the best sports in one big smorgasbord and then I can take the winter off to hunker down in my chair and write. But I simply love watching football (all levels) and volleyball, especially the ladies team from my school. I’m their unofficial designated fan. I’m the only non-parent who attends entire tournaments with them. Even the girls who aren’t my actual students come to know me. I campaign every year for a job as a ball boy, but so far, I remain disappointed.
  • All the best holidays and special events. I often joke with my kids that the holiday season kicks off on September 17,nutcracker, Christmas, ornament, decorations my birthday. But the reality is that the best, most fun holidays are all crammed into this season. It really starts at school with Homecoming. Everybody dresses up in theme costumes all week, we have a thuse (thuse is what they call a pep rally at my school), the game is widely attended by alumni, and there are all kinds of special events during the game. It’s one of those weeks that make school memorable in a good way. Then, in quick succession come the two huge observances of the year. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas just seems like one giant extended holiday. There are constant parties and special events in the community, at school, and in church. I’m always exhausted by the last day of school before winter break, but it’s a happy kind of exhausted. To be specific, two events that simply make the holiday season for me are the tree lighting ceremony and the Acapella choir concert. When the time comes, I’m going to dedicate an entire post just to those events. They are truly special. And this is in addition to the fact that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the Titans of holidays. True, as a Christian, Easter is almost literally the kind of observances, but in terms of sheer family fun and celebration value, nothing compares with Thanksgiving and Christmas, each of which is nearly a week long event among my family and friends.

So there you have it–three reasons why the coming four months are the best four months of the calendar. Yes, the other three seasons are fine, but if life were a movie, fall’s name would come before the title and the other three would the ones whose names follow, “And featuring…” They play important parts, but the name before the title is the reason you bought the ticket.

Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey and Kisses and Lies, both of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. The paperback may be purchased from
Amazon, from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg, and from the author’s trunk.

kindle cover

Take a look at Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at Kisses and Lies on Amazon

Join Joe on Facebook 

Check out joe’s website.

Sensing the Seasons by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1When my daughter was young, she teased me when I’d say that something tasted like fall or smelled like spring. She emphatically stated that seasons did not have smells or taste. However, when she was about 12 years old she said, “It smells like spring!” With that, I knew I had won this discussion.

I grew up on a farm in Michigan, near the shores of Lake Michigan, in the heart of the fruit belt. Because of this, many of the scents and tastes of the seasons are tied to childhood memories of this time and place. Although some of my seasonal triggers have changed now that I’ve lived in Georgia for over 15 years, these connections to my past still resonate in my soul.

Spring smells of flowers and freshly turned soil waiting to receive seeds. It also smells of the vinegar used to make dye for coloring Easter eggs and of gentle rain soaking into the earth. For me, spring tastes like fresh picked strawberries, preferably 051111082-01-strawberry-shortcake-recipe_xlgcombined with home-made strawberry shortcake. My mother used a slightly sweet biscuit recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and so do I, and now spring also tastes like this for Willow and Mike. New potatoes and fresh asparagus are also wonderful flavors of spring as are the pudding-filled cupcakes my siblings and I made with our aunt on Valentine’s Day, which could be either spring or winter depending on the weather that year.

Fresh-mowed grass is the strongest of my summer scent memories, quickly followed by wet bathing suits, and the dry, dusty smell of the air in late August. There is also the wet, heavy scent of a coming thunderstorm and the steamy air washed clean from the rain that follows in its wake. One of my favorite smells of raspberrypiesummer is the sheets that have been dried on the clothesline in the hot sun. Summer tastes of homemade raspberry pie, not the baked ones that many people make, by one with a baked crust filled with fresh berries and covered in a homemade glaze that sets when it chilled. Summer also tastes of buttered corn on the cob, boiled just minutes after it is brought in from the fields. The ears are so hot that you need cob holders to hold it and each piece bursts into your mouth as you bite into it. Fresh-made corn dogs from the Band Boosters booth at the Berrien County Youth Fair is another favorite taste memory of summer days of long ago.

Autumn smells of air as crisp as the ripened apples being picked in the orchards. There were many vineyards in our area and to this day the smell of grape juice brings back memories of riding my bike past the grapes hanging heavy on their vines. Autumn also smells of hayrides and bonfires, and the undefinable but specific smell of dried leaves covering the ground. 1-Graciano-grapes-on-the-vineApple pie is a big taste of fall and when I was younger we often served it with a slice of cheddar cheese. My maternal grandmother had been born in England but raised in Chicago and brought this tradition with her. She had a saying, “Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.” Our church’s annual fundraiser, a chicken pie supper, held several wonderful tastes of autumn. Fall also tastes of stews and soups, as well as the classics of turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce.

Winter brings the subtle, slightly metallic smell of drifting snow as well as wood burning in the fireplace and wet mittens drying on a rack. There is the aroma of cookies made with butter baking in the oven and the scent of the freshly cut pine tree mittensstanding in the living room. Winter tastes of hearty foods meant to warm the body and soul. It tastes of roast beef and Christmas cookies, treats only enjoyed once a year. It also tastes of homemade bread slathered in butter, the first loaf cut into thick slabs because we can’t wait until it is cool enough to slice into reasonable portions.

Some of these scents and tastes are of my past, but I have carried as many as possible into my present. Willow will have her own sensory memories of her childhood but I am delighted to know that I have successfully imprinted at least a few of my own onto her.

For me, each season has its own smells and tastes. What do they smell and taste like to you?

You can learn more about me at:

Erin Farwell

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November by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1I love the first few days of November. The weather is cool and crisp, there are more leaves off the trees than on, and we still have a few more weeks until the bustle of the holidays gets into full swing. For me this is a time of reflection, or maybe it would be more accurate to say “nostalgia.” There is just something about autumn that takes me back to my childhood, and also into myself. The bare branches of the trees, piles of leaves on front lawns, and the smell of smoke in the air sends my mind on a journey that at times I wish the rest of me could follow.

My siblings and I would rake the leaves that had fallen from our huge maple tree and then jump into the piles. I’d walk back on our farm, toward the creekimages or pond, wading through tall, brown grass, maybe flushing out a pheasant or two along the way. There would be high school football games, and hayrides, and we always participated in autumn school and Community Theater productions. Life was good and childhood would never end.

While I still enjoy many fall activities, including hayrides and corn mazes, it isn’t the same. Leaves are to be raked and bagged, not jumped into with abandon. Walks include a fit bit or pedometer because I need to get more steps in. I enjoy the last of the flowers but then I remind myself that I need to weed and clean up the yard before too long.

So I long to go back to a simpler time of sweaters and mittens, and fun and laughter. Until I remember the whole truth. Yes, there is an innocence and joy that comes with childhood but there were also chores and responsibilities, tests and homework. And algebra. Life was never as simple or fun as it is through the lens of nostalgia.

Instead of going back, I try to look back with honesty and forgiveness – mostly forgiving myself for being such a clueless kid. But in looking back, I can see how far I’ve come, the obstacles I’940320-bigthumbnailve defeated, the ones I didn’t, and how they’ve all changed me for the better.

Still, you can’t look back too long so instead I use my foray into my memories to ground me in the present and prepare me for today, tomorrow, and whatever else is to come. I have a new, challenging job, a wonderful husband whom I married in November fourteen years ago, and a daughter who is living what will someday be her own childhood memories. I hope she has joyful events to reflect on when she is my age, like hayrides and pumpkin carving and the time we had a picnic on the porch roof, but this is in her hands, not mine.

The leaves have turned, the warm blankets are on the bed, the woodpile is stocked, and I’m ready for my memories and my future. Happy Autumn.

You can learn more about me at:

http://www.erinfarwell.com
https://www.facebook.com/erin.farwell.5
https://www.amazon.com/author/erinfarwell
http://www.goodreads.com/Erin50

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Happy Halloween – Then and Now by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1As a kid, I loved all things spooky so Halloween was a favorite holiday. I grew up on a farm in Michigan so by necessity, our costumes had to look good over or under something very warm or incorporate a coat into the overall design. This led to some pretty creative costumes. We didn’t have a lot of money but fortunately my mother is a talented seamstress and put together some great outfits for us over the years.Me at Halloween 001

Our neighbors’ homes were too far away to allow us to walk. Instead mom drove us from house to house so we could beg for treats. We would dash into the cold, ring the doorbell, and scream “Trick or Treat” before shouting a hasty “thank you” as we rushed back to the warm car. Some people made us slow down so they could admire our costumes, others just smiled after us as we ran away.

Despite the hurried nature of our Halloween outings, I enjoyed the sound of the rustling leaves underfoot as we ran from door to door and the sight of bare branches reaching toward a full moon. Empty fields stretched in all directions, a reminder that the harvest was complete.

Today I live in a suburb of Atlanta and never know if it will be hot or cold come Halloween night. My neighborhood is small and wooded, but with lots of friendly neighbors so we’ll walMichelle, Dianna & I Halloween 001k from house to house to Trick or Treat as we have since we brought Willow home from China when she was a year old. She’s thirteen now and I think this will be her last year to go trick or treating, which is sad and I wonder if my mother felt the same way when my siblings and I few too old for this tradition.

There are no bare fields where I live now but we do have an owl that spends late summer and fall living in our backyard so I trust I’ll hear a mournful hoot or two as we wander from one lit porch to the next. The trees are not quite bare yet but there are lots of leaves to crunch underfoot.Willow Halloween 001

I’m sure Willow will get plenty of candy; she always does. My neighbors are generous, as is my daughter. She’s not much of a candy girl so I can always count of a snicker bar or two coming my way and, despite my diet, I will gladly accept.

On this spookiest of days, let me wish you all a wonderful Halloween filled with the activities and small touches that make this holiday special for you. And have a snickers.

You can learn more about me at:

http://www.erinfarwell.com
https://www.facebook.com/erin.farwell.5
https://www.amazon.com/author/erinfarwell
http://www.goodreads.com/Erin50

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