Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A to Z Challenge: G is for Gratitude (and Barbara Graham and Ghost Under Foot by Kenneth W. Harmon)

Just a reminder. The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is all about posting every day in April except Sunday, visiting as many of the participating bloggers as possible during the month and leaving comments. Bloggers make lots of new friends (and it helps to connect on Facebook and Twitter as well, so participants should have easily-seen links to their social media sites of choice).

If you'd like to learn more about this challenge, hop on over to the official A to Z website and blog.


Featured Author:  Barbara Graham

This short introduction is from Barbara's website, so the words are totally hers:

"Barbara was always a daydreamer. Her early literary efforts centered around her saving the world. Thank goodness it didn't all fall on her shoulders. She's a bit of a flake.

Born in the Texas Panhandle and unable to remain still, she has lived in places as diverse as Denver, New Orleans and East Tennessee. A former travel agent, mom, and ballet teacher, she resides in Wyoming with her long suffering husband and two dogs."

I can tell you from first hand experience that Barbara is not a flake. She's a sweet, funny lady with killer talent in both mystery writing and the art of quilting. Her titles in the quilting series include MURDER BY ARTIFACT: The Murder Quilt (2009), MURDER BY MUSIC: The Wedding Quilt (2011), MURDER BY VEGETABLE: The Baby Quilt (2012), and MURDER BY SUNLIGHT: The Charity Quilt (2013).

She lives way up in the northwest corner of Wyoming, so I don't get to see her very often. I bet she gets snowed in a lot. Gets housebound. Probably the reason she kills people (in her books, I mean).


Featured Book:  Ghost Under Foot: The Spirit of Mary Bell by Kenneth W. Harmon

First of all, this guy Kenneth Harmon is in my critique group. Second, he occasionally threatens to bring his resident ghost, Mary Bell, to my house when it's my turn to host a meeting. And finally, I've never seen or felt a ghost and have no desire to do so. I do not want to make Mary Bell's acquaintance. I fear she would not like me as much as she likes Ken.

Last year the Biography Channel included the Mary Bell story in one of their "My Ghost Story" episodes. It was creepy. Doors and drawers opening and closing on their own. Orbs bopping around the house when the camera is turned on. Noises.

Seriously, you need to read Ghost Under Foot and know I truly believe the author's story. Truly.


Word of the Day:  Gratitude

There is a lot written today about the practice of showing gratitude. Back in the old days, we called it "counting our blessings." Even saying the phrase makes me think of Bing Crosby's recording...."When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep...."

One of our special guests at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference this year was the poet, writer and artist Ilan Shamir. When he spoke of gratitude, he reminded us of the times we have had a bad event or a whole bad day and we moan and whine about our misfortune. Things do go wrong sometimes, but on any given day, 1,000 things go right. If we can shift our focus and express gratitude for those things that went right, it can change our lives.

1,000 things went right today, and I'm counting my blessings for each and every one.

22 comments:

Jan Morrison said...

I'm grateful for you, Patricia and all the great blogging community. Great word and good to hear about more Colorado writers.

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - You've hit on something that is absolutely essential. Gratitude for the little things in life. Gratitude for those small gestures others make. Even gratitude for what we learn when things go wrong. I think it's an attitude we need to cultivate. And I'm grateful you brought it up. Thank you.

Trisha F said...

It seems to me you have a very active and talented critique group and/or writer's group! Very cool :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Patricia, great minds think alike. Gratitude is my emotion for the alphabet G.

David P. King said...

I like to think that if I'm still alive by the end of the day, I have a lot to be grateful for. :)

Yolanda Renee said...

Pity parties are never fun, but being grateful on a bad day is sometimes the only way to move forward!

So nice to meet Barbara, another writer of mysteries,

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Sometimes it's a struggle to find the good in a "bad" day, but we can usually pretty much find at least one thing to focus on and be grateful for. Great reminder!

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

Linda Covella said...

Thanks for introducing me to these two authors! Regarding gratitude: when I think my problems are insurmountable, I remind myself that many, many more people are suffering much more than I. As my mother would often say: It could always be worse.
http://lindacovella.com/my-blog/

Kenneth W Harmon said...

Mary Bell read your blog and liked it. Now she definitely plans on visiting you...maybe she will bring some cookies...she likes to watch the Lifetime Movie Network.

Grammy Staffy said...

I so Agee with you about having gratitude. An attitude of gratitude can change your whole life and the lives of those around you. I almost chose gratitude for my G post. I'm going to take your advice and focus on my blessings today and not my health problems. Thanks for the encouragement .

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

I LOVE your three G's. I wonder sometimes if I have a resident ghost, however, I don't think on it much or else I will not live there.

In a world where little goes as planned. We get discouraged daily. It's important to keep gratitude in our hearts and minds.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Barbara doesn't look flaky...

Dean K Miller said...

Indeed, Ms. Graham sounds like a "killer" friend to have!

Enjoyed Ghost Under Foot and chatting with Kenneth a few times. I have experienced Mary Bell while at his house. She's pretty cool, I think.

Every breath we take is another chance to be filled with gratitude. Ilan is a shining example of that. I enjoyed his sessions at the NCW conference, too.

Reading your blog is one of my favorite daily blessings!

RichardK said...

What I noticed from Ilan is he wasn't ashamed of his time in the corporate world. He was grateful for the step up the ladder that led to the career he has now.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've been counting my blessings before I go to sleep each night. it does help me relax.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Sorry for being a slug today on comment responses, but I'm supposed to submit pages today for that very strict critique group's next meeting, and I'm still typing....

Kenneth W Harmon said...

That sound you hear is our whips cracking....type those pages...type those pages.....

Mary Aalgaard said...

Both authors and their books sound fascinating. I love how Barbara combines quilts and mysteries.
Play off the Page

Rhonda Blackhurst said...

Love the subject of gratitude. I once heard it's impossible to be hateful and grateful at the same time, and that's something that's always stuck with me. Love your posts!

Bob Sanchez said...

For years, much more has gone right than wrong in my life and my wife's, and for that, Gratitude is the perfect word.

betty said...

Visiting from A/Z; I like the idea of not counting sheep when one can't sleep, but one counting blessings. I'll have to try that next time! Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

betty

Arlee Bird said...

Barbara sure lived in some swell places--especially my lamented past home place of East Tennessee.

I have a lot of gratitude for the life I've had and the people in it and the gratitude keeps flowing every day.

Lee
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog