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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, May 28, 2016

Big Events Coming!

Spring and summer are often the time for big events. May and June are filled with graduations. Mother's Day happens in May and Father's Day in June. June is also considered the month for weddings and consequently, for wedding anniversaries. In our family, we are experiencing answer d) All of the above.

Last month we traveled out of state to witness a grandson's baptism. Then we went on to another state to share in the birthdays of two other grandsons. A fourth grandson's eighteenth birthday, high school graduation, and plans for the future will take us across several states before June is over. Somewhere in the midst of it all, we have celebrated Mother's Day, five May birthdays and the birth of another grandson. Before June ends, we will celebrate our daughter's birthday, Father's Day, and our wedding anniversary. This May-June season will be filled to the brim with reasons to rejoice.

And we're just getting started. In June we meet to see off a brother and sister-in-law who are on their way to missionary service in India. We will see a grandson off for an adventure in another land and language. We will meet and celebrate with scattered family we seldom see and we will have opportunities to reach out to new people who may one day become family as our grandchildren grow older and introduce us to potential mates.

We are already papering our fridge with wedding invitations. Although some of those events will be too far away for us to attend, we are planning to be there for others. In the midst of it all, we sometimes wonder when we will have a chance to unpack.

Would we change a thing? Well, we might hope for some of those grand events to be a little closer or our schedules to allow us to get to more of them, but otherwise, no. We love all these lovely people and the great occasions we get to share with them. We can only hope good fortune will bring even more grand events and great occasions in the days, months and years to come.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California home which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't be with her seven children, seven great kids-in-law, and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She also 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, May 21, 2016

Mercury in Retrograde? Go for it!

They tell me Mercury is in retrograde. In fact, my friend Gina Ardito just did a great post on that very subject for the "classic and cozy" blog. I'm no expert on astrological phenomena, but if this is what happens when Mercury goes rogue, then I say GO FOR IT, MERCURY! Retrograde any time you like!

This month has been great to our family. We started with a visit to see an eight-year-old grandson (Eric) who was having a special event in his life. We hit a second peak this week with the birth of a new grandson (welcome, Zane!), and we'll cap off the month by traveling to the Midwest to celebrate another great event with our grandson who just turned eighteen. (Go, Tanis!)

In the meantime, California had an unpredicted rainstorm last night (our forecast still says partly cloudy although more than an inch has fallen), and our area has needed rain desperately. The whole state, at least as much of it as I can see, is in bloom--or seems to be. Birds are nesting, bees are humming, and a book that hadn't done well suddenly sold more than 500 copies in two weeks. I can't say that any of these events have been affected in the least by the movement of the zodiac, but I like them. I like them all very much!

As it happens, Mercury is a friend of mine. In my novel, MAGGIE RISING: ADVENTURES OF A PART-TIME PSYCHIC, the heroine's legal name is Eastern Star Rising. Her older brother is named ... you guessed it! ... Mercury Rising, and Merc is a cutie too.  If you should happen to look at my birth chart (something I haven't paid too much attention to, although I've seen it once or twice), you'll find that Mercury and I go back a l-o-n-g way. No wonder that planet is so good to me.

Okay, time to be honest: If Gina hadn't told me Mercury was in retrograde, I wouldn't have known. The fact is I haven't given too much thought to the movement of stars and planets. Still, given the marvelous events of these few weeks, I will likely confuse people in the future when I hear them complaining about Mercury going retrograde. If future experiences are anything like this time, I'll be happy to see Mercury acting up whenever and however it happens.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California home 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 also 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, May 14, 2016

Sorrow in Summer

Spring has come. We've seen life renewing itself gloriously in brilliant blossoms, buds and blessings. As we begin the transition into summer, sorrow seems far away . . . until it lands on our doorsteps.

This past week, two dear friends have lost loved ones. For Marilyn, the loss of her husband and companion of more than sixty years is devastating. For Sam, the death of her father's second wife is almost like losing her mother again . . . for the second time in a handful of years. At a season when all seems bright and lush, both of these ladies are suffering and hurting from the pain of others they hold dear. It doesn't seem fair.

I know how it feels. Last month marked the twelfth anniversary of a wonderful-sad arrival, the birth of a beloved granddaughter. Some accident of conception had left her unprepared to live a "normal" life or, according to her doctors, to live at all, but she came into the world with a tough, determined spirit, outliving the doctors' predictions by several times in the first week of her life. Despite grim predictions, she grew stronger and came home to be with the family who loved her. I have a picture of her on my bedroom wall; she is the image of a happy, smiling, bright infant girl.

Allie lived three months. Her parents had done everything they could to make her life happy and comfortable and her doctors were becoming mildly encouraged about her odds. It seemed she was on the verge of overcoming every challenge of her birth. Her parents were cautiously predicting a normal life span. What went wrong was a complication no one knew about, something no one expected. We buried her on a warm July morning when the earth around her grave hummed with life.

It's because I know something of sorrow that my heart goes out to Marilyn and Sam and to all others, everywhere in the world, who are suffering loss. A second-hand acquaintance was among those injured during the terror attack in Belgium and my sympathy has gone out to those victims as well. Some days it almost hurts to see the earth so bursting with life.

Yet there are the other days as well, the days when I look at the beauty around me and feel nothing but gratitude. None of us comes with a "forever" guarantee stamped on our foreheads. With the blessing of our birth comes the certainty of our death. And in between we get to enjoy days as lovely as the one I revel in now. I look out on a world full of beauty and blossoms and know life is meant to be lived. My heart goes out to Marilyn and Sam and so many, many others. I hope they can soon see again the beauty of our world and this lovely, wonderful season.


Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California home which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't be with her seven children, seven great kids-in-law, and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She also 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, May 7, 2016

The Tree I Almost Killed

It stands outside my office window in the central place of honor in my front yard--the wrong dogwood tree. The house was in its final stages of completion when the builder declared it was time to choose our landscaping. Having had most of three years to consider how I wanted that front yard to look, I had a detailed plan to hand to Tom, the taciturn (read that "rude") landscaper our builder used. He looked at it, grumbled a little at all the roses I wanted, and then said, "What's this?"

"A dogwood tree," I declared. "I love dogwoods--pink if you can find it, but white is good too."

He grumbled some more and that was the end of it--or so I thought. A few days later, my yard was planted and looking lovely. The roses wouldn't bloom for another year--not much, anyway, but they were perfect. The tiny lawn was covered in sod and already looked well tended. And there was my dogwood tree, reigning over the scene. Then as Tom was leaving, he tossed a quick remark over his shoulder: "I couldn't find pink or white. That's a red dogwood."

Red dogwood? That was a new one on me, but I eagerly awaited its bloom the next spring. It didn't. Didn't bloom, that is. When the dogwoods all over the area were bursting with color, my tree still looked as it had all winter. Only after the other blooms were gone and the trees almost fully leafed out did my tree even start to get leaves and it didn't get blossoms at all.

I described my level of disappointment to my husband. Always eager to please, he suggested we yank it out of the ground and get the kind of tree I wanted. I considered it, but I'm a desert girl, born and raised in the arid lands where trees have to be loved into growing. This tree, although it wasn't what I had asked for, had a lovely shape and was well positioned to throw shade on our western windows during the hottest part of the year. I couldn't kill it. I just couldn't. So, full of passive-aggressive indecision, I simply resented it as it grew.

Fast forward a few years. That "ugly" little tree has come into its own. It almost shades our western windows now and will likely provide full shade before this summer is over. It's still a lovely shape as well.  And now--it blossoms! The flowers are edged in red when they first open, but they turn a soft pink color as they grow and they are beautiful.

The tree I almost killed is now one of the beauties of the neighborhood, its blossoms still gracing our yard weeks after the other dogwoods have dropped their blooms. I've apologized to it a few times and I believe it has forgiven me. It has more blossoms this year than ever before. I speak gently to it now. Although I can't say whether it knows me or not, it seems to have had a sudden spurt of intense growth and flower output. I can hardly wait to see it in another few years.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California home 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 also 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 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.