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Results may vary, but the plan is to post weekly, usually on Wednesdays. I'll be here. Hope you will, too!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Little Miracles

We live in a beautiful part of northern California and because of where we live, Nature sometimes blesses us with amazing little miracles. One of them happened just recently.

My dear husband (dh) and I were chatting in our backyard when a tiny emerald sparkle flashed into view. It flashed and flashed again--over the bright purple blossoms on our Russian sage, over the just budding pomegranate blossoms on the neighbor's tree, and then--and then the miracle. It landed on the tiniest tip-top twig at the high point of the neighbor's pomegranate and stayed still. When have I ever seen a hummingbird still?

"I'm getting my camera," the dh said.

I scoffed. "It won't stay there long enough for you to get a picture." But hope springs eternal and the dh went for the camera. Second miracle: the bird stayed still. There it was, all two inches and half an ounce of brilliant color, just posing as if it wished its picture to be taken. "I can't believe it," I said. Unruffled, the dh kept shooting and got some marvelous images which I'm sharing here with you today, popping pictures again and again until he caught the final image of the bird resuming flight. Here is one of my favorite miracles of spring. Enjoy!

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't hang out with her seven children and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.susanaylworth.com or find her @SusanAylworth, at .facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Author, or on Pinterest. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Losing my Furbabies

It’s been about nine years since Ché died. Not Ché Guevarra. I’m talking about the overweight, short-tailed-from-birth, spayed female Labrador mix that was part of our family for some thirteen years. At the time she was the oldest of four pets.

Our second dog, Pirate, was about five years old; we don’t know exactly, since she was a rescue and already grown when she came to us. The youngest were our his-and-hers sibling cats: a huge ginger male and his delicate little sister, a calico with such clear and vivid spots that a friend declared we had painted her.  As the oldest and largest of the four, Ché ruled the roost.

She was as affectionate as a dog could be. She never snarled at anyone—not even the grandbabies who crawled over her and chewed her ears. That is she never snarled at anyone unless they tried to come between her and her food bowl. For the last years of her life, she limped, the result of a traffic accident when she should not have been in the road but was there anyway.

She loved to rub her long body on whatever was available to scratch (fences, furniture, the rough outside walls of our home) and she loved having her head rubbed. The whole family knew the Ché routine that meant, “Rub my head! Rub my head!”

On a Friday evening after work, my hubby and I packed our overnight bags and prepared to hit the road. We only planned to be gone overnight, so we filled the food and water bowls for all four pets. As a last step, I took dog cookies out to the two girls in the backyard.

Pirate, as always, snatched hers from my hand and ran to hide. Ché, usually the chow hound, didn’t come. In fact, she seemed not to hear me although I stood less than eight feet away. I yelled louder and her ears popped up. Laboriously she moved over to me and happily took the cookie. Then she lay down on her special blanket and that’s where I left her.

That is also where my husband found her, long gone and cold, when we returned the next afternoon. The sun was just down with night coming on fast. The next scene looked like something out of a Chevy Chase movie as the two of us dug a grave in our sideyard, holding flashlights in our mouths while we labored—and sobbed—in the pouring rain.

Two years ago, also in spring, we lost Pirate to old age and hard living. Now our two geriatric cats—thirteen this summer—are the only furbabies we have left. After Ché’s passing, we realized the day would come when we’d want to be free to travel and it would be easier without the four-legs. Now Kola and Koi, though still spry and feisty, are beginning to show the effects of aging. It can only be a matter of time, and not too much of it, before we lose them too. There's no question our lives will be easier—but we will miss the affection and the unconditional love.


Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't hang out with her seven children and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.susanaylworth.com or find her @SusanAylworth, at .facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Author, or on Pinterest. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Babies: The World Will Go On

They stand there in front of the family home grinning like jack-o-lanterns: my nephew, Douglas, his wife, Katrina, smiling over their newborn infant daughter. They call her Eve. Lovely! She’s a pleasant little girl, if one can call a 9 lb. 5 oz. newborn “little.” She is just another of the little miracles we’ve welcomed in our family of late.

In about a month, our beautiful daughter-in-law, Amy, queen consort to our son, John, will deliver a little boy who is as yet unnamed although his older brother thinks he should be called Sharkmouth Razor Bullet. I can forgive Vaughn for that impulse. He’s four! Older and wiser heads are working on the name we will use for this little guy. We can hardly wait to meet him. We’ve already added him to the list of people we love.

Each new little person we welcome is a miracle and a vote for optimism. When we welcome a newborn, we are betting that the future will be better because this new soul is joining us in our world. The poet Carl Sandburg once said, “A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.” I like the thought.

It’s fun to imagine what Eve or “Sharkmouth” will bring to the world—what talents and gifts will come with them, what skills they will develop, what hurdles they will leap on behalf of us all. What we can almost guarantee is they will bring new blessings and challenges to all who know them—and they will bring love. They always bring love. It seems to come with them, unbidden.


With the marriages last year of two grandchildren, we may expect to begin welcoming another generation before too much longer. We know they will bring their own love as well. Not yet ready for the title “great-grandma,” I can wait, but I know I’ll be thrilled to see them when they come. 

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't hang out with her seven children and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.susanaylworth.com or find her @SusanAylworth, at .facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Author, or on Pinterest. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

My Office "Room with a View"

This blog sits at the back of my computer and even farther in the back of my mind. I remember it once in a while and feel guilty about finding nothing to say. Today I feel effusive, almost as if I can’t write enough. It’s spring—and it is beautiful!

Out my office window, I have a picture view of my flower garden featuring roses in ivory, yellow, salmon pink, soft pink, Tropicana orange and American Beauty red and in every stage of bloom from barely budding to full glory. From my side window I can see my irises blooming grandly in soft lavender, stark white, and deep purple-blue. The red dogwood in the midst of the garden is almost fully leafed out and the bracts at the end of each branch are just beginning to form white blooms. Does spring get any prettier than this?
Today the sky is gray, promising the rain our northern California home has needed so desperately and which has come this year in amounts almost equal to the need. We can’t yet call our long drought broken, but our state’s major lakes and reservoirs have been able to release “extra” water for the first time in years. To help me appreciate this gray day even more, it is the first day in nearly two weeks that has not been sparkling sunshine.
Our home is less than an hour’s drive from one of the places known throughout the world for spring wildflowers. On a typical Saturday this time of year, we can go to Table Mountain, hike the trail to the seasonal waterfall—flowing fully this year—and hear a dozen different languages being spoken by families who’ve crossed oceans to see what is almost in our backyard.

To add to our enjoyment, the world’s best field guide for recognizing the dozens of varieties of wildflowers was written by our friend, Sam, who together with her husband, Sam, comprise “The Sams,” some of the finest neighbors we could possibly ask.  She is also the world expert on our local flora. We hike the mountain with guidebook in hand. Then, should we come to a quandary about exactly which gold bloom we are enjoying, we can snap a picture and ask the expert—just another of the lovely benefits of spring.

Summer will come and with it the kind of heat that wilts enthusiasm and encourages air conditioning, but for now, the spring is perfect. And I’m in love with it all.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't hang out with her seven children and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.susanaylworth.com or find her @SusanAylworth, at .facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Author, or on Pinterest. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Always Something to be Thankful For

As I write, the sun is lowering in a brilliant autumn sky. Out my office window, I can see two of our trees, still fully leafed but vibrant in their orange-red fall color. Under them my rose garden is blooming vigorously--rose, pink, and magnolia white all within sight. My cat purrs on my lap, soft music hums in the background, and my husband is in the kitchen doing early prep work for our dinner. It's a nearly perfect November day. In this season of Thanksgiving, it's important to remember and appreciate days like this.

Many of my friends are practicing the art of the gratitude journal. Although I haven't been keeping the record, I try every day to recount the gifts that particular day has given me; I try to be grateful, to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Sometimes that can be difficult. Also as I write, only a week has passed since the terror incident in Paris. Mali terror is only a few days in the past. Syrian refugees are pouring over the borders of almost every nation, economic indicators are unstable, and presidential candidates are screaming at each other. On a more personal note, I have a niece lying in the hospital, hoping to save her baby in a high-risk pregnancy. Sources for worry and discouragement are easy to find.

Then again, they always have been, As we look back on any golden, romanticized period in human history, we find the problems hidden behind the image. The nature of the challenges may have changed over time, but every generation has faced its own struggles. And every generation has been happier when it focused instead on the gifts of each day.

Am I good at always being grateful? Nope. Would that I were! But as I grow older, I realize that worry accomplishes little (if anything at all) and discouragement keeps me from accomplishing much of anything. I feel better, do better, and enjoy my life more when I remember what a much younger friend has already learned: "There's always, always, always something to be grateful for."

I want to remember that--not just this coming week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, but every single day.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 published novels and has a part in several boxed sets as well, all titles available now. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 24. She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves hearing from readers @SusanAylworth, at  www.susanaylworth.com, or susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.