holidays under the weather

So, Christmas day is put to rest well. I have fond memories of fun times with my family and good visits with friends and family on Facebook. It was fun watching the children play, and watching the family interact with the kids. The food, as always, was great: the turkey, honey-baked ham, spinach and artichoke dip, baked macaroni and cheese, selections of oyster and plain dressing. The fruit punch was a taste sensation, with bubbles and everything that tickled my tongue.

Engaging conversations with adults and children was another highlight. The kids are so bright, so funny, they entertain me with their innocent wit. Their joyful charm shook their entire bodies. The sister and brother, two years apart, are partners in mischief and merriment that makes my heart glad to watch. It was a pleasure to be present with everyone.

The fact that my throat was still a little achy was not a big deal. I didn’t have to talk much to engage, to participate with my family. So I didn’t, managing enough to converse and say thanks for everything, with a little extra in between.

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if viruses respected calendars…

…they likely wouldn’t come at all. Or maybe they do respect calendars but only their own and pre-Christmas is on their agenda.

It’s been a very long two weeks with much to do and little time to get my thoughts fully focused. Not that there wasn’t enough time, mind you. I’m just in slow motion lately. And I know why that is; it’s just not so easy to change my speed.

To close out this two week period, this morning, I’ve said a sad farewell to my voice. It’s not a meditative, introspective retreat into myself that brings me to this. That would be a lofty, laudable, endeavor—definitely not the case today. Instead it is some sort of virus that has seen fit to arrest my vocal cords, making speech above a whisper an uncomfortable effort.

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now available: pebbles in my shoes

Actually, Pebbles in My Shoes has been available online since it came out in 2004. For the first time, I’ve decided to sell it on my work website. So, if you click the book, it will take you the order section that is at the bottom of The Word ‘Mage book page.

This is hopefully going to be just the first endeavor to market my wares directly. I don’t have anything against middle men in certain business models. They provide the services as needed. However, being inspired by a great friend and writers I met online, it seems like this is just the next reasonable step for me.

So check it out! I’ll likely be adding more titles after the holidays. I’ll have to learn more about shopping carts in the meantime, for when I get more selections in my inventory (smiling). I have a small inventory of the current title right now and won’t be getting anymore before Christmas, thus the reason for ‘while supplies last’ statement.

it all started when i was very young

It’s all very exciting to me. Just to be able to try. When I was a child of about 8 or 9 years old, I always enjoyed playing Store with my brothers—that’s what we called it. We made money, checks, and collected things from around the house to sell. We did good business too. (And when I say made I mean we drew the money on paper cut to roughly the size of bills and checks.)

From that time to this, I’ve always enjoyed making things for the family. I had a newsletter for a short while. I made Christmas songbooks for the family. Once I made a beautiful customized calendar and coupons for my brother and sister-in-law. It was all such fun to be able to sit in front of my computer to create these things. And then seeing the happy reception they got was really a great gift to me.

practicality came crushing in

Over the years I let the creating things go in favor of more practical and time-consuming things like life and responsibilities. The computer has been a mainstay in my life and continues to be a phenomenal tool for me. The Internet provides me the access to other tools to resuscitate this dream. So, now I can breath new life into the idea of selling directly to the customer, which I think is pretty cool.

This book, Pebbles in My Shoes, is a conventionally printed, perfect bound book published through Author House. I still like the work done in it, so I’m delighted to be able to share it directly! If you should buy it, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

Please know, I would love to hear your thoughts, reflections, or questions. You can email me at

Inspirations to move forward on this include:

Kirk Byron Jones
Matthew Quinn

thanksgiving, wow!

It’s amazing that it’s already here. I saw it coming, and yet when I take a closer look at the year, it flew by. There have been some really fun things and serious things that have helped the time pass for me. While the first part of the year was moderate, the second half just seemed to fly by. And, I’m grateful for all my adventures.


Relocation was a big deal at the midpoint of the year. I returned to my former apartment complex, (different unit). It was a tough move, as are all moves. Still, I’m glad to be back. I miss the company of my mom. She’s glad to be back at home though. I’m grateful for the chance to move again, and for the fun of rediscovering my things that were in storage. It was even a good challenge to have to neatly store all the things I’m saving for my mom. (Although, I may not have been that positive about it, when I first stared at all the stuff.)

Yes, I claim to be working from a positive, grateful stance most days. However, I also claim my humanness, my view of things as half empty sometimes. Still, I see that gratitude makes the self-pitying time largely non-existent. Self-doubt is more a habit that I need to break, and still something that I can usually work through.

computer training

Part of what made the move hard for me was that it came near the end of my computer training. It brought on a wealth of distractions that have yet to calm down. Still, I finished the course. I made some good friends in the course and I have a good grasp of the material from the program. It was fun and I’m grateful I could complete it.

I’ve not taken the certification exam yet because of more life stuff. It doesn’t help much that I don’t much care for tests. On the other hand, the eleventh hour is often my best hour. So, I continue. I fit in the studying here and there, and resolve to take the test before the end of the year. Is this eleventh hour or what?

writing admin stuff

Job search is a full-time venture, don’t let anyone tell you different. It keeps me occupied, perfecting and re-perfecting my résumé, searching, contacting and following up on applications. That writing goes hand in hand with the writing for my website. Adding different details to my résumé has led to me adding new things to my website as well. So, I’m grateful for the things this process is inspiring for being self-employed.

website development

I’m always adding to my website development skill set. I learned to use PHP. Not a lot of PHP, mind you. But, I have command enough to separate out repetitive sections of my static website. PHP makes it easy to add pages to my site since I separated out the top and bottom navigation, as well as the sidebar section. Without going into too much detail, this coding lets me update one file and it’s automatically propagated throughout the site.

I converted my work site, The Word ‘Mage, to PHP files. I wanted it done before expanding my site with a publishing section, and before other major projects I’m considering. I’m grateful that I was able to learn that quickly, as I really wanted to have this well in hand before I started to grow my website. Blog development is on the way.

gratitude: always the big deal

No matter how difficult things get at times, no matter how much I might struggle with a new concept, time, learning resources, I still find it easy to be grateful. I’m grateful for all that is behind me in accomplishments, training, and experiences. I’m grateful for all that is yet to come, getting through the known, and the excitement of the unknown. Also, I’m grateful tat I’m back on track with the November PAD Challenge.

As much as this day reminds me of gratitude, it reminds me that the year is nearly over! And that’s a great time for review and reflection. One of the best ways I have of reflecting and appreciating is to write through things. It’s a pleasure to be able to appreciate my life events. I can’t imagine how difficult life would be if I couldn’t smile during the easy and the hard parts.

I find that gratitude makes smiling effortless, don’t you?

my november writing frenzy

It’s been crazy busy for me this past week. I’ve had a lot of fun. And a lot of home business to catch up on. My house guest, (my friend Stephanie from home) came to visit for the week. We got into all the bad things we do together, eating all the wrong foods, shopping, watching rented movies until late at night/the wee hours. I had work search things to attend to in between the fun. And so went my week before the really busy week of Thanksgiving.

Not to worry, though. This should be a quiet holiday for me. So, I have time to catch up before then. I’ll even be able to get ahead on some other projects (hopefully) I have scheduled. It could happen that I’ll reach my end-of-year deadlines on a few. That excites me greatly!

PAD Challenge

I have no doubt that I’ll catch up on the poems for the Poetic Asides challenge. The rest of the prompt sites will be a greater challenge to catch up on. However, they’re strictly for my enjoyment of the community that I’ve met through them. And they give a week between prompts.

Today, it’s really quiet. I have no TV on and no music. My movies and music stand at the ready to provide the background noise I sometimes require.


It’s highly unlikely that I’ll finish my 50,000 words again this year. I think I’ll swear of NaNoWriMo indefinitely. Certainly, I need to give that up until I’ve done one in a year. There’s a reason I can’t seem to finish one. This is my third year iffing at the project.

It may be that I’m not a novelist. It may be that I’m not a writer. It may be that I need to write a novel in a different month than a poem a day month. Especially since I seem not to be able to stop writing poems. When there seems to be no time for me, for writing, for fun, I still think in verses. I swipe minutes for poems when I don’t mean to be writing. If there’s time for one thing to write, I’ll allot that time to poetry—or my journal.

So, for now, for the sake of my writing self-esteem, to reduce my need to self-censure, I will forgo the stories that play in my head. No, the truer reaction I’m having is this: I’ll let myself forgo the November novel writing fun. I will miss the effort and the tons of pieces-parts I generate. Instead, I’ll take them and work them into something over the year. Then if that works, (of course published or not) I may try the NaNoWriMo project again…in whichever year I complete one novel. It may be 2012, but that’s okay.

As always, you can read my poems and other creative writing at Telling Stories. I look forward to hearing from you, here or there. Thanks for reading.

family feels good in my head

Smothers Family Game Day 102410big doings this past weekend

saturday, a wedding day

On Saturday, my cousin Kristin got married to David in a picture perfect wedding. Our family came from near and far, to attend the wedding. Her Uncle Kirk performed the wedding ceremony. Her dad gave her away. Her proud mom was there, beaming. Her big brother was one of the groom’s men, in full tuxedo regalia and tears of joy.

Kristin’s wedding party spoke warmly about the union made that day. The food and the music were great. A good time was had by all.

the family band aid

sunday, a game day

Several people were able to extend the trip so we got together at my brother’s home to watch the Saints. We were hoping for a better outcome, without a doubt. Still, we easily managed to have a great time. It was more the company than anything.

monday, a loss made easier

Warm feelings of joy over simply being able to be together, wrapped us in love, laughter, smiles, hugs, games. It buffered the blow the game dealt yesterday, and made today much easier to walk through. You see, today, October 25th, is the third anniversary of my dad’s death.

As it turns out, this weekend was a perfect way to celebrate my dad, without any formal dedication. It was a great weekend he would have been fully invested in. He loved having his family and friends around, celebrating joyful events, and he loved the New Orleans Saints.

With much gratitude, I continue. Put simply, family and friends make life easily more pleasurable in good times, and more bearable in bad times.

In the photo: Smothers, Jones, Stampley, Coyle families: just a small part of my family.