Book Review #3

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“We love reading a story about our favorite place to go in late summer! A place where play and fun collide and spending time with family is the very best of every day.”

– The Martin Family, Port Orchard, WA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Grandpa’s Orchard was Created

Don’t Dream It’s Over By Diana Krall

For as long as I can remember I believed myself to be a writer.  It was, has been, and is what I am most passionate about.  I believe the power of one’s voice and think that everyone is capable of writing something great.  Everyone has a unique story to share with the world or simply a story to share with one other person.  However, there are very few people who would sit down and spill their guts out on to a piece of paper and feel like it is worth something.  I feel that everyone’s story holds merit and value even if its just for them; to hold on to.

When I was younger and people used to ask me what I wanted to be I would always answer a writer or an author.  I can’t think of a time that I ever answered anything else. Today, I can say I am a published author but I could also say that years ago when I published a poem about my Grandfather and in the last 12 years a magazine article about “my husband and being a dad”.  There were times since high school that I grew a part from my pen and notebook but I have always found my way back to what I am most passionate about.

I left my job of seven years last November and while focusing all my energy on my children and their education, I did start to get a few moments to myself and I found my pen and paper again.  I found my voice.  I also found my first Apple computer which I love dearly.  It holds all of my words, my secrets, my contradictions, my dreams.

I started writing everyday for hours at a time.  I changed my surroundings often and frequently changed perspectives in nature to gain a different focal point. There was a lot of journaling and free writing in the beginning, hours of sitting in my nook with the tiny fireplace I got for Christmas. It created a wonderful ambiance in my nook.  Everything that was and is me is inside this small space.

I would say that I frequently suffer from insomnia which if I get up and walk around, drink a glass of milk, or write a bit; I can generally get myself back to sleep within an hour or two.  However, this does not work all the time.

Since, I had started writing regularly my insomnia grew more frequent and I could not get back to sleep so waking up at midnight meant I would be up until morning and it was getting very annoying. This became a new standard in my life which I didn’t like because if you know me, you would know I need my sleep.

On a Monday night in January, I woke up and remembered my dream I had just had about my family on the farm.  I laid in bed for an hour tossing and turning and I ran through my dream over and over in my mind.  After about an hour, I got up turned the lights on low, I tore some sheets of paper out of a journal I kept and started writing.  I couldn’t get the words out fast enough.  I wrote sentence after sentence and could not slow down.  It was as if the words were spraying out the end of my pen like spray paint.  I can say it wasn’t my best writing or the neatest but it was the story of Grandpa’s Orchard. Yes, I did some editing and typed it all into a my computer the next day but it was my dream in its entirety. After four hours of writing, my hand ached and I became very tired, I feel asleep on the couch and when I woke in a few hours, I knew this was the story I was going to publish! Grandpa’s Orchard all started in a dream.

Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!

 

 

Book Covers??

It is getting closer.  There have been some delays. Some stressful days waiting to hear that the phone didn’t ring when it was supposed too and the emails didn’t come when stated.  I am still learning about patience.  Another 7-10 days, I am not counting the time.

I was given three cover options because I requested the options. I wanted something to compare to what, I thought I wanted.  I should have gone with my gut right away.  What I thought I wanted is exactly what I wanted!! (HA!) These are the covers that didn’t make the cut – not my CUT! They are wonderful and were discussed but hey, you might get to see these illustrations again.

It has been months and months. I am done with the sequel and on to another book.  A different style of writing, a different voice, and a story I have always wanted to tell!

I am so blessed!

 

Grandpa’s Orchard!!!

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Getting “nutty” waiting on my book, #grandpasorchard!! Here are some fun Hazelnut facts from the #Oregon Hazelnuts website.
 
Fun Facts
The hazelnut became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989.
 
Hazelnuts are also known as “filberts.”
 
Some speculate the name originated from “full beard,” which refers to the husk (or “beard”) that entirely covers the nut in some varieties. Others believe the name was derived from St. Philibert, as August 22 (a date that corresponds to the ripening of the earliest filberts in England) is dedicated to him.
 
About 800 Oregon farm families grow hazelnuts on 45,000 acres.

That’s one way to end a workout!

Poker Face by Lady Gaga (*the only song I could find to run too.)

FullSizeRender-8I am not a runner.  I would rather do anything else in the world to exercise than run.  The pounding of my feet on asphalt, joints in my knees slamming down into my ankles. However, if I was being chased, I think that would be different.  But I am determined to keep trying to like running. This morning I woke early and the fresh smell of rain drew me outside.

Today, I needed more than yoga. But I am encouraged to work out by my friend, her personality, dedication, and attitude is awesome! She makes me want to do better.  In my head, I am constantly challenged by her.  Every time I have taken her class I feel like I can take on the world when I leave.

However, I didn’t want to drive to the gym so as the boys got on the bus I took off with my old shoes (old Nike’s, Austin has adopted because he now wears my size shoes), these shoes have been through it all, with a 12-year-old running around in them rain or shine.

After the rain last night, the soil is moist under foot and I start with a fast walk.  The fresh air runs deep into my lungs as I inhale;  waking me from a long slumber. The sky grey – it could rain.  I start my run, really half run, half walk down the perfect isles of the hops that climb the twine to the sky. The row looks as if to drift into nowhere, I cannot see. Like looking out at the ocean – going on forever, you cannot see the end.

My shoes cake with moist soil and I keep lifting my legs and my feet get heavier. Running eight minutes and walking for 30 seconds – a goal I told myself I had to meet.

I am sure anyone watching me would think “what the hell, does she think she is running??” I feel less than graceful when I run.  I continue down the perfect isles – up one, down the other, up another, down the other, this lasts about five rows.  I walk toward the orchard.  Circle it once for a cool down and head to the garage for my own personal unorganized rendition of a gym instructor where I lift weights – arms and legs…sit-ups and push-ups and finally, lay back onto my yoga mat that I rolled out on to the patio.

My chest rises and falls, I feel slightly exhilarated, burning in my arms, legs, and abs, and I close my eyes. I look up to the grey sky and my to do list floods in. A few more deep breaths. I am calm, relaxed and without notice I feel Halo’s paw sharply jammed into my stomach, on my chest and a big slobbery kiss on my cheek. That’s one way to finish a workout! Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

A New Day

Great song to get your morning going! Light Years by Pearl Jam

 

I sit here early Saturday morning listening to Halo, our family dog bark outside the window. The sun creeps threw the half opened shades casting a shadow across the dining room table.  The laundry is tumbling in the dryer and the house is quiet.

Grandpa and Grandma have the twins for the weekend and it is so very quiet, so quiet one can hear the dripping from the bathroom sink.

I am paused in this moment and feel so grateful for all of the things in my life.  I am so lucky to have my family and my husband’s family, to have such a wonderful husband and my sister as my best friend.

The smell of fresh cut grass flows in from the cracked window, flowers bloom, and Spring time brings new growth on our farm.

The orchard is beautiful out my window, endless bounty if she is taken care of…fresh new growth, bright green leaves, and this year’s crop on its way.DSC_2620

I was finally home.

I came to this place with boxes, clothes in suitcases, shopping bags stuffed full with everything I needed access too on a daily basis.  Everything I had to my name came in Rubbermaid containers…some of which hadn’t been opened since high school.  They had been moved from colleges, attics, dorms, houses, basements, the home our babies first lived in, and then moved again, to the farm.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I knew I could trust my husband on blind faith that everything would work out.  Don’t hold your breath…everything has worked out so far!! But we have tons of time left to screw it up! HA!

We are so luck and blessed to be a part of this legacy this parents created years ago.  I am not going to lie-it gets lonely for me. I am surrounded by everything beautiful, everything that everyone is so jealous of, but you know women…they never are quite satisfied.  Today, I can say this farm is everything I ever dreamed it could be.

I have two amazing 12 year old boys, who yes, act up at times. They are polite, kind, loving, generous, well behaved, for the most part–not like some other kids we know that after an hour with them we want to drown them!  (Understand, this is a joke!) My boys are helpful-they vacuum, do the dishes, clean their rooms, do the laundry, work in the yard, help out on the hysters, 4-wheelers, and check the traps in the orchard. I could not ask for better children and this is because, of course, they have two wonderful parents (HA!) but also because of our families.  Most families don’t have both sets of parents near, practically fighting over them.  Everyone wants “their” time…..is that a wonderful problem to have or what…a wonderful gift to have, I say!

There is so much to complain about in life but does all that little shit matter….when you have family, food on the table, a home, and more family-a loving husband, my parents, his parents, his brothers (and Jaimy, damn it-marry her, already) and my siblings with their kids.  My brother and sister who have given my kids, cousins!! I always loved my cousins growing up……I still do, but life changes!! Today, I say-just be satisfied in this moment!

Moving to this farm was very hard for me, having my in-laws closer than neighbors, trying to figure out where I fit out here, in this dream land my husband was living in…..fulfilling his dream of work and raising our boys on the farm.

Somehow, in someway, moving here almost 10 years ago I found my voice again.

It was always here hiding inside me….being called out daily. Always, I stuffed it back down deep inside over and over, until it broke free.

A certain someone, Brittney Hall, kicked my ass in gym one day.  I moved slowly for weeks, sore everywhere, places I didn’t know I could be sore, and her positive outlook and driven personality-broke down my wall.  I remember sitting down after one of the classes she tried to kill me in, I was looking out the window, raining falling, so sore…..I leaned back, closed my eyes…..and my left hand found my black roller ink pen and I started to write again. My pen couldn’t keep up with my words, I wrote for six hours straight that day……. listen to this song by Andra Day called, Rise Up! (I would put it here for you to listen to but I don’t know how to do this….damn technology!)  This song, is again in thanks to, Brittney Hall.

Morning, afternoon, and evening I continued my writing, crying, I wrote the ink clean out of two pens!

I knew that day, I was finally home!