Stories from My Winery Visit

Photo: Kiepersol

My husband and I recently visited Kiepersol Winery and Bed and Breakfast in Tyler. Our room at the Bed and Breakfast was in the building with the restaurant. Not only were the surroundings quiet, calm, and serene, the wine was wonderful, our room beautiful, and the restaurant defied description. They feature great steaks and seafood, with incredible sides. My favorites were the sauteed mushrooms and garlic potatoes. And the desserts…I had cherries jubilee, and I swear I gain a pound thinking about it, but it was worth every calorie.

But the stories of the winery’s history our wine tour guide, Ron shared captured my writer’s sentimental heart. Founder Pierre de Wet’s story would do any hero proud. Born in South Africa, in 1984 after the death of his wife from skin cancer, he and his young daughters, age two and four, moved to America. Pierre worked as a farm laborer until he could buy acres in Tyler, Texas. Though in 1996 there were no wineries from Austin to Florida, Pierre was sure he could make a winery work.

The winery’s name comes from the Kiepersol farm where Pierre grew up. Legend has it soldiers running from a lion toward a lone tree, shouted, “Kiepersol! Kiepersol” as they sought safety in the tree. (Later it was learned the soldiers yelled, “We hope this tree will keep us all!” Pierre named his winery after that Kiepersol tree, hoping everyone who visited the winery would find that same comfort.

Pierre’s determination and frugality when he started his winery served him well. To lower startup costs, he purchased used equipment. In tough times he sold residential lots, eventually creating one of two wine estates in the U.S. In 2000, he harvested his first grapes. To sell his wine, he hired teenagers with signs and obtained retired Clydesdales for carriages rides that ended at the winery.

Photo: Kiepersol

I can’t share all the winery’s stories today, but I want to share one behind Flight sparkling wine. Guinea fowl have roamed the area for over 20 years as vineyard stewards. Their chatter safekeeps the grapes from deer and birds. They eat bugs serving as nature’s pesticide. Guinea fowl spotted feathers are believed to be good luck charms. Now to the name. The winery says, “We believe each spotted feather found represents a releasing of the past. Flight is grown in a place where one can feel soulfully grounded while also letting dreams soar. So. Take Flight my friends.” That sentiment makes me shiver.

I love visiting Texas wineries and hearing their stories. The minute I heard Pierre de Wet’s, I thought how I would’ve loved to create such a hero. The courage, strength, and determination he possessed to come to America with two young daughters when the only person he knew was a Texas A&M professor, astounds me. He created a winery, a bed and breakfast with fifteen rooms, an incredible restaurant, a distillery, and an RV park! But most importantly, he raised two strong women who carry on his legacy.

Pierre de Wet and his daughters
Photo: Kiepersol

I may have found a retirement-keep-busy-and-involved career. What could be better than telling a winery’s stories, meeting fabulous people, especially if I could be paid with an occasional bottle of wine and dinner?

Today I’m giving away this horseshoe decoration and a signed copy of To Tame a Texas Cowboy. To be entered in my random drawing, leave a comment to this question. What is the best story you’ve heard or best/most interesting fact you’ve learned on a trip? Or, if you don’t have a story to share, just stop by to say hello or tell me about a real life hero in your life.

 

A Refreshing Author Weekend

Have you ever run yourself so ragged that you just couldn’t even put two and two together?

 

That’s where I was about a week ago. This season of my life has been challenging. My oldest daughter graduated from high school in May and I’ve been doing ALL THE THINGS, like shopping trips for college, helping her apply for student aid, gearing her up to pack, scheduling last visits (like doctor and dentist). And…trying to keep my author business going.

It’s been a lot.

From left to right: Kari Trumbo, Elana Johnson, Cathe Swanson, Mandi Blake, Laura Ashwood, and Chautona Havig

I’m about to break the fourth wall here, but we are in a “pivot” season as far as being an author goes. Marketing books is vastly different from what it was pre-covid and even during covid. While I know there are still cases, the world’s way of thinking is different and authors are having to adjust to the way people are now consuming entertainment. Figuring out what works now, is challenging.

So, all that to say, I needed a reset!

I met with 5 other authors over the last few days in northern Minnesota. We talked, we had devotions. We worked through stuck plot points. We fellowshipped… It was fantastic.

AND, it was exactly what I needed to keep going. You see, even professionals get tired. We need someone to refill our cup too. I didn’t know who to ask, I wasn’t even sure exactly what I needed, but God knew.

The only thing I’m bummed about? Jessie Gussman was supposed to be able to come but had to cancel. Having her there would’ve been fantastic. I will meet her in person some day.

Other than myself, at least two of these authors have been on the blog before and all of them are fabulous.

The setting for the retreat was a very rural, rustic cabin out in the woods. We saw deer and one of the authors even had close encounter with a coyote. Luckily, they are afraid of people it turned tail and ran the moment it saw her.

 

Beyond the refreshment I got (and hopefully gave) to these great women, was the scenery. We took a day trip to Lake Superior, and everyone loved experiencing the ‘big water’, some for the first time. There is something incredibly relaxing about huge bodies of water. The waves, the sound, the scent, and the blue of the water

meeting the sky just creates this amazing internal worship. I can’t explain it any other way.

What do you do when you need a refresh?

In the past, I’ve been able to grab a good book or talk to friends and recharge my batteries, but I think I let myself get too low. I needed to get away from the ordinary for a short time (Thurs.-Sun. morning). While I can’t do a retreat every time I get in this situation, I now know that I can look forward to this every year and I’m excited for 2023.

 

To Invite Parents Into A Story or Not

Many of my books deal with the theme of family of choice. There are a couple reasons why. I’ve always been geographically separated from family and then later, I became estranged from my parents. This changed my writing and my definition of family.

Another reason I turned to this theme is because having parents–ones who have a solid relationship with their children, offer advice when asked without dictating, forgive their children, are mentally healthy, and set good examples–is tough. At least for me, they muck up a story. They often keep their children from making bonehead mistakes that drive a story and create conflict. Why? Partly because they’ve raised children to consider options before acting, gave them a solid moral base, and are present during rough times.

That’s why either my hero or heroine often have past issues from with one or both parents. Let’s face it. Anyone who’s a parent has worried about screwing up their kid. I often joked I hoped I wouldn’t botch parenting so bad my kids spent spent in a therapist’s office. But in romance novels, emotionally damaged characters make for create conflict and character growth. How we’re raised, our emotional baggage and wounds, taint how we see the world and influence our every relationship. For example, Zane in To Marry a Texas Cowboy has major family baggage. Like two  large suitcases and a trunk’s worth.

 

Here’s an excerpt that shows how two relationships shaped Zane’s life.

“Why isn’t your old man helping out?”

“He’s in Europe trying to patch up marriage number three. Good thing, too, because he’d be a worse choice than her assistant.” How could folks as wonderful as his grandparents have raised such a shit for a son? Someone who would lead two completely separate lives with two families?

“I’m thinking a man who breaks out in hives when he hears the word wedding has no business managing a wedding planning company,” Cooper said. “If you ask me, that’s looking for trouble.”

Zane wouldn’t let  Grandma Ginny, the one person who’d been there for him his entire life, loving him unconditionally and acting as a guiding force, put her future at risk. He’d do anything this side of legal for her.

Even run Lucky Stars Weddings.

 

Another thing I like about parental absence in my stories is it allows friends to occupy a prominent role. I love creating banter between good friends, who as Elbert Hubbard says, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” That kind of friend will also tell you when you’re being an ass, and often do in my books.

 

Here’s an example of the heroes in To Tame a Texas Cowboy, who view themselves as family.

“What did this one do? Is she another one with a hyena in heat laugh?” Ty asked, pulling Cooper back to the conversation.

AJ dug his wallet out of his back pocket. “Nah, can’t be that. Not even Coop could find two of those. Ten bucks says this one talked too much.”

“I’m still here, guys, and I’d rather skip the psychoanalyzing session. If you’re interested, I think I can scrounge tickets to the Alabama game. If we can beat them, we’ve got a real shot at the national title,” Cooper said, hoping to channel the conversation onto football and off his love life, or lack thereof.

“I say Coop connected with this one on Facebook, and she posts pictures of her food all the time.” Ty tossed a ten on top of AJ’s, completely ignoring Cooper’s change of subject.

Damn. He was in trouble if tickets to the A&M Alabama game failed to divert his buddies.

Zane tossed a bill on the stack and rubbed his chin while he flashed a perfect white smile at the women two tables over who’d been giving him the eye.

When he glanced back at his friends, he said, “I peg her as the strong, assertive type who’s recently divorced and is still in her angry phase. I say she complained about her ex.”

His friends stared, waiting for him to declare the winner. Betting wasn’t much fun when he was the topic. While AJ and Ty weren’t correct now, in the past, he’d lost interest in women for both the reasons they predicted. Tonight, Zane came damn close. Too close.

“Zane, sometimes you’re damn scary when it comes to women. How do you do it?”

“Years of extensive research.” Zane grinned as he scooped up the cash.

 

So, that’s why I often don’t include a parent or parents in my stories. Another time I’ll chat about the couple times I have had a parent be a prominent character.

 

To be entered in my random giveaway for the cactus T-shirt, coozie, and a signed copy of Family Ties, leave a comment telling me what you think about having the hero or heroine’s parent(s) as main characters in a story.

A Summer Full of Busyness

A week ago, I was recovering from the four day affair that was my birthday, my daughter’s graduation, her graduation party, then Memorial Day. All week, my children have been home. The house has been loud. I’ve been trying to do “all the spring things” that I couldn’t do while I was preparing the house for my daughter’s graduation party. Oh well, we’ll be harvesting sweet corn in September. It probably won’t freeze…

At the last minute, one of our family members messaged me to let me know they couldn’t come. They had just gotten over being ill and weren’t feeling up to the drive. With that, we were looking at our respective calendars and trying to figure out when we are all free to get together. What we figured out is that summer is about 5 weeks too short.

Do you feel this way? Like every week and ever minute is planned? All of a sudden you look at things you wanted to do and realize the time is literally spoken for? Just about every weekend is taken from now until the weekend after I drop my daughter off at college and I even canceled a few things!

I know myself. If I don’t take some time to recharge, I’ll get sick. The older I get, the easier I hit burnout and I can’t go through that again. Burnout is a pit of despair coated with tar and deeper than the ocean.

One thing I’ve done this year is to give myself reading challenges. I read a book from my own library that I haven’t read yet (free entertainment when gas is so expensive). I already paid for it, I should enjoy it! Then, I read a book in Kindle Unlimited. I got a free 3 month subscription with the new Kindle I just got for Mother’s Day. I don’t normally splurge on KU, because I don’t have the time to enjoy it. I might decide to keep it this time. Then, I’ll read a book for endorsement or one that my friends have recommended. You can see my new TBR here.

Since I haven’t made enough time to read extensively in the past few years, this new “take time to read” plan is helping to keep me grounded. And, I can read in the car as we take my daughter off to college (and blame my tears on the book).

I’m currently writing the 4th book in the Belle Fourche Chronicles. Book 2 comes out this Friday. Grab your copy HERE.

For a chance to win an ebook copy of Valley of Promise, tell me about your reading plan for the summer. Happy reading!

More Outdated, Strange, or Downright Dumb Texas Laws

A while back I had so much fun discussing odd/weird/crazy Texas laws still on the books, and while I’ve tried to find the reasons behind these laws, so far I haven’t had much luck. However, I have come across more unusual laws still on the Texas books. Unable to resist a good laugh, (I mean can’t we all use one?) I’m sharing these new oddities with you.

  • It’s illegal to own a set of Encyclopedia Britannica in Texas. Apparently, lawmakers were upset it contained a recipe for beer and didn’t want to deal with home breweries. If you have an old set around somewhere better hide it now!
  • In LeFors, Texas, taking more than three drinks, sips, or swallows of beer while standing is illegal. But that makes me ask what about wine or mixed drinks? Is it okay to drink more of those standing?
  • In Houston it’s illegal to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday. Apparently, other cheeses are okay because they’re not specified. This begs the question what do lawmakers have against Limburger cheese and why is it illegal only on Sundays?
  • If you’re planning on committing a crime in Texas, you’re required by law to give your victim 24 hour written or verbal notice. It’s hard to believe someone possessed the nerve to stand in the state legislature and propose this law. Not only that, but the person suggested the law in hopes of reducing crime! (Because people wanting to commit a crime wouldn’t dream of breaking this law!) I’m laughing thinking of a burglar slipping a note in my mailbox. Planning on robbing you Tuesday night. Is that good for you or do I need to reschedule?
  • Don’t eat your neighbor’s garbage…without permission. Major yuck factor with this one because well, garbage. If caught, this law will get you in trouble for trespassing and property theft. Who knew garbage was property? I thought it was fair game once it was put out, but I guess not.

  • Flirting with the “eyes or hands” is illegal in San Antonio, for both men and women. Seriously. If police enforced this one, they could almost empty the Riverwalk daily. Now that would clog up the court system.
  • In Texas your vehicle doesn’t need to have a windshield to be driven on the road. However, it does need to possess windshield wipers! I’m trying to imagine where those wipers could be affixed if there isn’t a windshield. Or maybe they don’t need to be attached but could be tossed in the back seat or in the glove box? Boggles the mind to think the person writing this one and the lawmakers who passed it didn’t see the irony.
  • Another ironic one that lawmakers didn’t think through is when two trains meet at a crossing, both must fully stop, and neither can move until the other has left the crossing. How could this miss this problem and realize it would make for looooong waits at train crossings?
  • In Dennison and Bristol you can land in jail for up to a year for showing your stockings. I’m laughing thinking of some poor old man being tossed in jail for wearing socks with his sandals. Or are socks considered in stockings? Good thing most of us women have given up wearing hose and stockings.
  • Since Texas is a common state, if two willing, single, over 18 parties announce three times they’re married, bam, they are legally married. Wow, talk about lying having major and lasting consequences.
  • In a holdover from the old west, when one rancher would cut another’s fence, it is illegal to carry wire cutters in your pocket.

I hope these laws gave you a chuckle. To be entered in my random drawing for the Cowboy Take Me Away T-shirt and signed copy of Cowboy in the Making leave a comment about what the craziest or silliest law you’ve heard about that is still on the books.

 

Finding Some Interesting Ranch Brands

 

So, I’ve been mulling over this new story idea (I’m always thinking of the next book while I’m writing the current one). It takes place on a fictional small hobby ranch converted into a retirement home. I’ve decided to call the retirement home Rocking Chair Ranch. Cute, right? My first step was to come up with a logo for the retirement home that resembles a brand. This is solely to cement the place in my head and give it the kind of personality I want. I played around and this is what I came up with. I like it.

Then, I did a Google search to see if there are any real retirement homes called Rocking Chair Ranch. No, but there are two large cattle ranches. There’s also a peach farm with the same name. I don’t think this is going to be problem, so I’m keeping my little fictional brand.

 Well, if you’ve been reading my blogs here for any length of time, you know already that this took me down a strange rabbit hole. Out of curiosity, and because I’m a romance writer, I decided to see if there were any brands with hearts. I mean, if I had a ranch, I’d want a heart in my name. I found a couple cute ones and some okay ones and one I…ew. You’ll have to form your own opinion.

The upside down Js make me think of cane, not Js. The flying heart is okay. Don’t really like the hanging heart.

I’d say the double heart is my favorite. The broken heart looks like it’s medical for some reason. I think they could have done better.

Okay. This one. Yes, it is what you think it is. I suppose they were trying to be funny. For me, the joke didn’t land. Maybe others will find it hysterical.

Truthfully, I could have spent an entire day looking at brands. There are websites where you can design your own brand which you can then take to your state’s appropriate agency and register. Did I visit that website? Um, maybe. What do you think of this one? What would your brand look like?

 

Various Valentine’s Day Ramblings

For this month’s post I started researching the history of Valentine’s Day, but ended up traveling down various rabbit holes. Today I’m sharing that journey and my musings with you. First, I discovered there’s confusion as to which St. Valentine the day honors. Apparently, there were two men named Valentine that are possibilities. The day has roots in a Pagan festival and became an official holiday in the 1300s. Valentines weren’t sent until the 15th century and mass-produced ones came to be in the 1840s. The tradition of giving flowers started in the 17th century, with the heart-shaped chocolate boxes we see everywhere arriving in 1861. Oh, and the discovery that surprised me was those hearts with the sayings were originally lozenges! (The messages were added in 1866.)

As I scrolled down under related content I found “7 Momentous Kisses in History.” They listed the first “post-married” kisses of Kate and William, Harry and Meghan, Ross and Rachel’s kiss on Friends, and others. Most—other than the on V-J Day 1945 and the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, didn’t seem that iconic to me. But those kisses started me thinking about about epic movie kisses. Again, I found myself disagreeing with what I found. The kiss in Gone With the Wind after Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara in she needs kissing badly was there. So was the potter’s wheel kiss in Ghost. But the other kisses didn’t seem that memorable or epic in my opinion. So I began wondering about great Western movie kisses. When I Googled that I pretty much came up with nothin’ other than The Longest Ride—a great movie by-the-way and Brokeback Mountain. With all the great Western romances written, how come there weren’t more Western romance movies? Or at least romantic movies or romantic comedies with cowboys? Boy is Hollywood missing out on a great market there.

Lastly, my thoughts wandered to asking why this day has such a focus on romantic love. Why do we do that people when it makes people who aren’t in a relationship feel as if they’re not complete or less than they should be? And why is it such a big deal to get engaged on Valentine’s Day? Instead, we should simply celebrate love in general. Love between friends, parent and child, grandparents and grandchildren, and the list is endless. Love and kindness should be showered everywhere like confetti. That’s where we should place the emphasis—on sharing love and kindness to those who most need it and to those who are central to our lives. If we did that rather than focus so much on romantic love Valentine’s Day would be more inclusive and not as painful for some. Also, can you imagine the ripple effect and the changes that could result from seeing Valentine’s Day this way.

To be entered in today’s giveaway for the Valentine’s Day t-shirt and A Cure for the Vet tell me what’s your favorite romantic movie and why it’s so wonderful. Some of my favs are The Sure ThingAn American PresidentOperation Petticoat, and Father Goose. I can’t wait to hear yours. I need some new movies to watch!

Life is Better With a Grateful Heart

This year as Thanksgiving approaches, I’m focusing on gratitude. The dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” I like that this definition includes both that we recognize our blessings and acknowledge what we receive.

Stephen King said, “Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.” Today, I want to thank y’all for being here. You are truly a bright spot in my life each month. You’ve made me laugh, taught me so much, and shared yourself with me. That has truly been a blessing.

Here are some additional quotes that have inspired me.

  • If you want to find happiness, find gratitude. –Steve Maraboli
  • The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see. –Mary Davis
  • Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. –Robert Braul
  • We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. –Cynthia Ozick
  • When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. –Maya Angelou
  • Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. –Randy Rausch
  • Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have, and you will attract more good things. –Rhonda Byrne
  • Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors. –Richelle E. Goodrich
  • If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice. –Meister Eckhart
  • My socks may not match, but my feet are always warm. –Maureen McCullough
  • You ought to be thankful a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not! –Dr. Seuss
  • Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes. –Oprah Winfrey
  • Be grateful for what you have and quit complaining—it bores everyone else, does you no go od, and doesn’t solve any problems. –Zig Ziglar (This keeps things in perspective for me.)

In addition to spreading good cheer, there are other benefits for living more gratefully. People practicing gratitude are more likely to reach goals, feel successful, have higher life satisfaction, a stronger support group, and even sleep better. Since I started focusing on gratitude, I’ve tried to thank those who make a difference in my life, and I admit, I’ve experienced a lot of these benefits. However, I’m still waiting on the improved sleep. ?

                         

Because I’m so grateful for all of you, I’m doing two random drawings this month–the first for the Howdy Fall Y’all earrings and a copy of A Cure For the Vet, and the second, a Happy Camper T-shirt and copy of Family Ties. To be entered leave a comment about a quote or share your thoughts on gratitude. Thanks again for being here and brightening my day!

Discovering the West – on Two Wheels

One of the things you may not know about me – I ride motorcycles. It’s my husband’s second love (after flying), and I learned to adore it, riding behind him for more than 100,000 miles. 

Then I learned to ride. I’ve had 5 now, and I’ve ridden probably 200,000 miles on my own. All our vacations used to be taken on motorcycles, and I’ve been from Mexico to Canada, California to Florida and most places in-between, on two wheels.

 

You may have seen them-articles about “Why I ride a Motorcycle”.  This is a subject that fascinates me. Maybe because no one ever seems able to explain it well. I thought for a while that it was because the answer couldn’t be expressed in words – that the emotion couldn’t be conveyed to someone who had never done it.  But that’s not it either.  I have another theory; that the answer is so multi-faceted that it can’t be described in a few sentences.  Yes, the experience is individual but there are points of commonality. 

In a car I never would have experienced:

  • The awesome vistas of Wyoming, where the land is so open and rolling, that from the top of a hill, you can see how the glaciers carved the land, and how time has softened its harsh effects.
  • In the badlands of Utah, the delicate multicolored striations in the crumbling ledges made me wish I knew how to dye cloth to be able to recreate it on fabric.
  • The vast open sky of the Four Corners area, with the dramatic red stone monoliths seeming to rise out of the ground in the distance.
  • The never-ending green covered prairie of Canada, with the wheat rippling in great waves in the wind.
  • Small towns in the middle of nowhere, shutting down the main highway that runs through town for a Fourth of July parade complete with tractors pulling hay wagons festooned with bunting and carrying the local beauty contest winners.
  • Real country stores with wooden floors and pot-bellied stoves surrounded by rocking chairs – not to be trendy, but because the old-timers sit there.
  • The howling aloneness of the Canadian Rockies, where the mountains stretch seemingly forever.

True, I could have traveled to all these places in a car. But on the bike, I didn’t go looking for them.  In a car we generally tend to ‘Go Somewhere’, you have a destination in mind, say a National Park.  You drive there, experience it, and drive home.  On a bike, I like to have a destination too, but the destination is not the reason for the trip. We “happened upon” most of the above places on our way to somewhere else.

Another part of my theory is that experiencing life from the seat of a motorcycle is more real and indelible than a car experience.  Follow me on this one, it’s kind of weird.  I believe we’ve been so indoctrinated by our “socialization” to be able live so closely together, that we lose the sensitivity to really experience life to the fullest.  The physical and mental rigors of riding a motorcycle scour that protective layer off, and allow the details of life to sink in to the pores of our consciousness. 

Think about it.  Imagine watching a rain storm from inside a house, and then imagine experiencing it on a motorcycle; black clouds ahead, and the straight road is leading right into them.  Before you get there, there is a temperature drop, the wind buffets you, you smell the rain in the air, but more than that, you feel the storm inside of you…it almost feels like a small electrical current humming inside your body.  An experience like this is naturally going to remain with you longer than watching rain come down outside a window. 

Food tastes best, outdoors, right?  I think life is sweetest when you’ve been on the bike long enough that your “normal life” has receded to the background, and you are truly living in the moment, happening upon the next treasured memory.

How  about you? Ever ridden a motorcycle?

Thinking Positive Takes Work

I love when God or the universe if you prefer, tells me exactly what I need to hear some days. And it’s even better when that reminder leads to not only one blog post, but two! This happened last month as I struggled to find a post topic. When I went to Starbucks to pick up my morning tea, I said I couldn’t think of a topic for my post. The fabulous manager and incredibly perceptive person, Caitlyn said, “And now you’re putting that negative energy out there.”

 

Caitlyn’s words reminded me I’d been backsliding on positive thinking. (Click here for the post inspired by a dear friend Jinger who started my positive thinking journey.) I smiled and responded, “I don’t know why I’m worried. I’ll think of something. I always do.” My fear eliminated, at home when I read through my blog ideas, the file entitled “Sayings that tick me off” caught my eye. Thinking someone else might need a gentle nudge about turning a negative into a positive, I wrote this post.

Do you see a woman’s face or a man playing an instrument?

Just as the picture here illustrates, most things come down to how we view them. One saying on my ticked me off list was “too blessed to be stressed.” For me, this felt too Pollyanna and like ignoring stress. I can’t do that. Plus, stuffing things down never works. (But they make for great books!) I need to actively fight stress. I prefer the staying “Pray more. Worry less.” or “Be Still” Psalm 46.10. Then there’s “Stars don’t shine without the darkness.” Yes, we know the road will at times be rough for everyone. But when stuck in the darkness, thinking rough times makes the good moments shine brighter offers me no comfort. I prefer, “Stars don’t shine in the day.” That reminds me day will come, though the night feels endless. It also says something positive can come out of what has happened. Though that thought doesn’t make going through difficult times easier. However, when the night recedes, just as it’s easy to forget the stars during the day, it’s easy to forget what I learned.

Sometimes simply changing a word can change a negative to a positive. Can’t to can is the obvious one. But here’s another less obvious example. Instead of saying I’m struggling to find a post topic, what if I say I have to work to find them? The first is negative, while the second if positive. I have to work to discover topics indicates I will find one. The hard work will pay off. For me to remain positive, I have to watch for words like struggled that can trip me up.

How did I get two posts out of Caitlyn’s comments? When I saved this post under May’s scheduled date, I discovered my day was May 5. I thought if I posted these musings for June and wrote about the history of Cinco de Mayo for May I’d be ahead for once!

Today I’m giving away the T-shirt pictured here and a copy of To Tame A Texas Cowboy since that book was released when I started my positive thinking journey. The heroine, Cheyenne also refuses to let her medical issues destroy her positive attitude. To be entered in the random drawing, share your favorite positive thinking advice or how you keep a positive attitude.