January 2021

Welcome to our virtual café, where we'll chat about what I've been reading, writing, and doing over the past month. I invite you to have a seat, grab your inspirational beverage of choice, and join me in sharing a leisurely cup of caffeine for the soul.

What I'm Reading

I appreciate that moment when you look at a word or a phrase and it can be interpreted in so many different ways. The same can be said about a string of those words or phrases in a book. Dear Edward did that for me, in both respects. The way that first word in the title, dear, can be used as an adjective, adverb, or noun, with each form supplying a slightly skewed intonation depending upon the context it’s shared in is so compelling.

But it’s this story, with all its emotional intensity, that tore me apart and pieced me back together again in a new way. Each character and their unique perspective on life provided a cohesive, deep, and motivating plea to live life with appreciation, fullness, and a healthy sense of urgency.

Read my complete review for Dear Edward on Goodreads.

What I'm Writing

To be completely honest, I’ve been writing absolutely nothing over this past month. And while that has my inner muse trembling with anxiety, I promise that I’m not ignoring her. On the contrary, I’m nurturing her, like a freshly brewed cup of tea, while providing some much-needed space for her to recharge and rejuvenate after the roller coaster adventure that was Splendid Chaos.

With that being said, I have this small cube sitting on my desk. Each face has an image with an inspiring quote for writers on it. I’ve been focusing on one in particular lately: Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. I’ve tuned my focus more acutely to everything happening around me. I’m allowing my inner muse to soak in every experience and observation. Like nourishing rays from the sun, those snippets of everyday life are like Vitamin D for the writer’s soul.

Ideas are forming. Characters are awakening to a fresh perspective on what the next chapter in Pigeon Grove will look like. And I can’t wait to share it with you. May the new year fill you with fresh ideas and the passion to pursue them with every ounce of energy inside you.

What I'm Doing

The term once-in-a-lifetime experience might be overused at times, causing it to lose some of its importance. My most recent experience, however, lived up to all the hype and then some.

For several months, we’ve been talking about watching the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st, the winter solstice and longest night of the year. Since my son was a young boy, we’ve had a 6-inch reflector telescope that we’d take out into the driveway, searching for planets and deep space objects. We’ve observed the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, the Moon, and Jupiter/Saturn on separate occasions.

But never have we looked through that telescope to witness Jupiter and Saturn in the same field of view. To see the rings on Saturn alongside Jupiter and its four moons almost looked like something out of a science fiction novel. But our eyes were not deceiving us. It evoked a sense of grandeur and magnificence. The sight was simply spectacular.

And to think that both the day before and after the conjunction occurred, the skies were cloudy and the planets were hidden behind a cloak of cumulus clouds? It made that sight on December 21st something even more special than it already was.

Dubbed “The Christmas Star”, it is thought by many astronomers that the brilliant “Star of Bethlehem” was actually the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn 2020 years ago. Even though the two planets were over 450 million miles away from each other, they looked as though they were sharing the exact same space in the night sky.

And as we looked out from our driveway, across the street and into the dark sky to witness this once-in-a-lifetime conjunction, it gave me chills to see those two planets, the modern day “Star of Bethlehem”, perfectly aligned over the Christmas manger in our neighbors’ front yard. Perspective is such a wonderful thing, don’t you think?

Monthly Caffeine

There’s one word that recurs over and over again in our get-together this month: perspective. It feels appropriate to choose this thought and image from Sophie Holland in Between the Lines as our monthly caffeine offering.

Do you see a sunrise or a sunset? Is this the close of a long day or the beginning of new one? Defying all laws of physics in the natural world, could it be both? We have the opportunity to paint that picture and its interpretation in our own unique way.

Do you remember opening up that box of 64 crayons when you were a kid? I had many different sized boxes through the years, but I remember the awe I felt when lifting the lid on that biggest box with the little sharpener on the back. The rainbow of opportunities staring back at me was liberating in a way that only a child can truly appreciate. But it’s my adult self who connects that memory to other moments in life.

Just like that wide assortment of colors in a crayon box, we each have choices. And while some may not be as popular with others in our lives—whether friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances—if we are following what’s in our heart, whatever color we choose is the perfect shade of beautiful.

Until next month, stay inspired! And, as always, I welcome a short (or long) email to say hi or share your thoughts on this month's final sip...

It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Best Wishes

Heartwarming Romance for the Soul By Dave

Pigeon Grove Series Fly Away Home Between the Lines

Splendid Chaos

Standalone Second Chance

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