Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we’re never too old for a little sexy romance…
Browsing Gratitude

Getting Older or Better?

June3

Seems like this year, June is going to start out with an emotions overload. Yesterday was sister Kate’s birthday. She’d have been 67 and we lost her way too soon. I was so counting on becoming feisty senior citizens with my sisters, like my Nana and her sister Alice. They were so funny and got on one another’s nerves and loved each other with all their hearts. I thank God I still have PJ to make those kinds of memories with–we’ve promised each other we’ll live to an old age and drive each other crazy.  I’m counting on you, PJ!

Today is the celebration of life service for my friend and neighbor, Bon–she passed in April (another victim of evil cancer), but her family decided to have the service today on what would have been her and David’s 56th wedding anniversary. I confess to wishing they’d simply had it back in April because Tuesday is the first anniversary of Dee’s death and I’m already feeling bereft at the thought.

But you know, I think there’s a chance that this may be the new normal for me because I’m getting to the age where friends die. People are living longer because medical science is keeping diseases like cancer at bay longer and we are better at taking care of ourselves. The fact is, though, that I’m almost 65 years old and that’s senior in anyone’s book. Right now, I feel old because my body hurts from switching up my exercise and my arthritis is screaming at me, but I don’t want to be old. Well, not old and sick anyway.

So to answer the question in the title of this post–I think I want to get older and better. I want to be that fascinating old lady that people want to get to know better because man, she’s a little crazy and a lot of fun. I want to write romantic books and swim in the lake and go boating and play with the Grandboy and enjoy Husband and Son and DIL and my friends. I want to find a place to volunteer this winter and be of help to someone other than myself. I want to learn more about everything and taste some different wine and learn to cook some new and exotic dishes. I’m not done yet, not nearly done. Yeah, I’m getting older, but I’m also getting better . . . and that’s okay. That’s okay.

 

 

Staying in the Moment

March30

On Wednesday, I posted this to the Word Wranglers blog–take a minute and read it. I’ll wait here.

Are you a Phubber?

Oh, good, you’re back! Then today I read this article on a phenomenon called “phubbing,” which is the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone. We’ve all done it. Some of us do it. I tend to do it most at breakfast because I’m tracking my food on my WW app or checking points for food or… okay checking to see what’s coming in the mail and yes, okay, checking Twitter and Instagram. I don’t have Facebook on my phone because I was spending too much time there. Starting to think maybe Twitter needs to go, too…hmmmm.

Then last night, I caught myself looking at my phone while I was sitting across from my sister at a Maundy Thursday gathering at church. She said something to me and I looked up from my phone and had to ask her to repeat it. She didn’t say anything about the phone, but the look on her face clearly said, “I’m here, whoever’s texting you is not.” She may not even have been thinking that, but man, oh man, that’s what I saw. So I turned turned off my phone, dropped it into my purse, and focused. I focused on my sister and the meal we were eating, I focused on the service, which was beautiful, and I focused on helping bring warm water for the feet/hand washing. I shared communion with my tablemates and passed the peace with my fellow worshippers. I sang. I prayed. I helped clean up. I didn’t touch my phone again until I got into my car in the parking lot, where I turned it on long enough to text Husband that I was on my way home. The beauty of that service and the joy of the fellowship stayed with me all the way home and then I was able to share it with Husband.

Yeah, there’s a lesson there. Be in the moment. Enjoy the here and now because this particular moment isn’t ever going to happen again. Nothing on Twitter or texts or Instagram is as important as what’s happening right in front of me. Or as important as anyone I love.

Gratitude for today:

  • Last night’s service
  • Spring is here, but I could do without so much rain
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Husband is done with the taxes

 

 

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Gratitude When It’s Hard to Be Grateful

March12

I gave up being dissatisfied for Lent and man, oh, man, is life ever testing me on that one. It’s been a tough week–Son is trying very hard to finish up his PhD thesis in preparation for defense next month, their house is in serious disarray as the contractor gets the kitchen remodel finished up, and we had a terrible tragedy in our family. My niece’s daughter died of an overdose last week. At 24 years old, her life was sad and spiraling downward due to addiction and bad choices, but no one deserves to die so young. We are all heartbroken for her mother–I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child.

Amidst all this, I’m thinking that all I want is to move–and yes, slapping myself each time I get the urge to check Zillow for houses closer to Son. How selfish is it really? He’s moved to the same town we live in after 15 years of being 2000 miles away, so a 30-minute drive is nothing. But I’ve been wanting to move to a different area and to a one-story house for quite some time, so this is not new, but it’s also not the time, and the longing for it sure doesn’t make my Lent promise any easier.

However, in January, I committed to a year of peace, a year with no big decisions, no major changes, no life overhauls. We need a year where nothing happens. We need twelve months of simply living and enjoying the here and now. Then, maybe we can figure out what we want to do next. So, the Lenten sacrifice of dissatisfaction is key here. I think when I find myself being dissatisfied with anything at all in my life, I’ll simply stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and do a couple of rounds of gratitude.

To that end:

  1. Son is nearly done with his thesis!
  2. I’m one-third of the way to finishing my first novel for Tule Publishing.
  3. In another month, we can open the lake house–yay!
  4. Grandboy is always such a little charmer–that face…he’s so precious.
  5. My niece has lots of support from friends-she will survive this.
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Late for Lent

March1

Well, Ash Wednesday was a couple of weeks ago–on Valentine’s Day this year, which was kinda interesting. Anyway, usually, I post during Lent about what I’ve given up and how that’s affecting my life. I’m late to posting about it this year because I committed February to featuring authors of Seasoned Romance on the blog, and it didn’t seem fair to shove in with my own stuff. But the blog is mine again.

I did give up something for Lent this year, but it wasn’t wine or social media or chocolate. This year, I gave up being dissatisfied. That may not sound all that courageous, but trust me, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately feeling sorry for myself. I recognize it and I hate it, but I do it. So on February 14, I committed to being happy right where I am. I have everything I need–not everything I want, but that’s a dark and frustrating path to head down, so I’m just not going to do it anymore. Well, at least not until after Easter. Then all bets may be off, although I hope not.

I’ve let the things that aren’t going right in my life overwhelm my appreciation for all the things that are going right. In the interest of maintaining my Lenten promise, I’m not going to list the things I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of years. Instead, each time I post during Lent, I’m going to name five things that I’m very satisfied with–things in my life and circumstances that make me unreasonably happy or even just mildly happy. Sometimes, yeah, I may be typing the list while I’m gritting my teeth, but, by golly, I intend to be joyful this Lenten season.

So, things that fill me with joy today:

  • Husband. After almost 45 years of marriage, he is still the heart of my heart.
  • Son and Grandboy and DIL–the loves of my life and what joy that they are now living so close!
  • Sister PJ and Brother Bud. We have history and it’s so important to have at least one person in your life who’s known you your whole life. Those people becom fewer and fewer as we grow older. I still have two.
  • My dear girlfriends–you know who you are. I couldn’t begin to find joy without you all.
  • Writing, which fills up a place in me that cannot be filled in any other way.

I’m at USA Today!

September27

Yup, I really am at USA Today–today, actually! Hope you’ll stop by and check out the interview that Joyce Lamb did with me. It was so much fun! We mostly talked about my writing, but there were a few other kinds of questions as well. I hope I came off as the professional I try to be. Let me know what you think, okay?

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ManyBooks . . . and I’m One of Them!

September24

Hey gang, check out ManyBooks today to find lots of great deals on books, including Once More From the Top, which is still at the discounted price of just 99 cents! It’s been a wild ride these past couple of weeks as I’ve prepared for the release of  Saving Sarah Book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series on Tuesday, September 26. I picked that day because it’s my birthday and releasing a new book seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. If you haven’t met the Women of Willow Bay yet, now’s the time to get started. I hope you’ll love Carrie and Julie and Sophie and Sarah as much as I do!

Today’s gratitude:

  • Fall is here and it’s going to cool down next week.
  • Sales are going well for OMFTT and Saving Sarah pre-orders are not bad at all.
  • Trip to CA in November is planned and I get to see my kids.
  • Kids sent an amazing early birthday gift–Weather Tech car mats! I’m way overwhelmed and grateful!
  • Husband is as thrilled as I am that I’m starting a new series–more on that as news comes in.

Make it a great day!

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Best Friends

June9

Yes, it’s me, looking for peace again . . .

You see, my dear Dee died on Monday–quietly and surrounded by her family, she moved on. I don’t deny I’m grateful that she is finally free from the cancer that has racked her body for five long years. I’m happy that she’s finally reunited with the love of her life because she’d been longing for that. I’m glad this horrible siege of illness is over for her sons, who can now remember their Mom as the vital beautiful woman she was, even when cancer stole that from her. Honestly, I’m even a little relieved that my life may return to some semblance of normal . . . maybe, if I can remember what that is.

But I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed with sadness at the loss of my friend of thirty-four years. I hate that I won’t be talking or texting or visiting with her again in this life. It feels as though a piece of me is missing–not the same feeling that I had when Kate died. That was different–like a third of the sisterhood had gone missing, which it had.

Dee and I raised our boys together, confided in one another, protected each other’s secrets, and stood by one another through thick and thin. And although I have several very close friends who fit into that same category, Dee was the first. The first woman-to-woman friendship that I trusted. She showed me what it meant to be a best friend, so I was able to discern who was going to fit into my life in that way as I got older; and now I’m blessed to have several best friends.

I’m so grateful that she was in my life, glad that I could be in hers. I’m thankful for the women in my life now, who I know will see me through this grieving time and understand because they’re friends like Dee was a friend. You all know who you are, so I’m just going to say thank you right now–thank you for your love and support and care-giving. I want to gather you all close and find a way to keep you safe so I won’t ever have to feel this empty place in my heart again. However, I also know with everything inside me that you precious ladies will fill that hole with love and joy and laughter. I’m blessed to share my life with all of you, just as I was blessed to share my life with Dee. Thank you.

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Done . . . Begin Again

June3

Saving Sarah is with my editor, which means it’s out of my hands for a few weeks, which also means it needs to be out of my mind for the next few weeks. Honestly, that’s a really hard thing to do–release a book. I keep going back through it . . . but it’s time to stop because until I get the edits back from Lani, it’s pointless to make changes. I’m fairly certain that she’ll have plenty for me to do on the manuscript when she returns it. My challenge is to let go and start something new.

To that end, I’m working on a new story that I started last summer when Liz and I went to Michigan for a week. I really like these characters–Hallie and Tim and Aunt Bette. They’re all talking like crazy in my head. I just need to sort them out and get their story down. The big news is they’re not a part of the Women of Willow Bay series–this story takes place in Indiana, and that means Husband and I will be taking a day trip north to Indiana Dunes State Park (you knew I couldn’t resist using Lake Michigan as a setting, right?) and scope out the area. The town is fictional and sits right at the edge of park, so Hallie and Tim get long walks on the beach.

There is another WOWB story brewing–Libby, the vintner from Saving Sarah, has a story and there may even be a holiday novella for Carrie and Liam’s son, Jack, but I need a break from Willow Bay. I’ve been there for five years and even though I love those stories, it’s time to let some of the rest of the people in my head have a chance.

So here’s just a tiny taste of Hallie’s story–as yet untitled. Let me know if you’re in, okay?

It was all Millie’s fault. The roadside sign—Millie’s Pie Emporium—had enticed Hallie Nelson off the interstate and onto the little road where she was now stranded. In spite of the flat tire and the pouring rain, Hallie smiled, remembering the delicious slice of pecan pie she’d had at Millie’s, along with amazing chicken and dumplings, fresh peas, and biscuits that were pure poetry. Even though her stomach was past full, her mouth watered at the thought of the take-out biscuits, butter and honey, and the Dutch apple pie stowed in her cooler in the backseat. Comfort food to share with Aunt Bette when she finally got to Primrose.

Her father would scoff at taking a detour for something as mundane as food, but then he’d never been a foodie like Hallie. Dad ate for fuel, nothing more, while she ate purely for pleasure. Her best friend Suz hated the fact that Hallie could eat like a trucker and remain slim, warning her since eighth grade that one day her hummingbird metabolism would give out.

Just last week at their farewell lunch, she shook her head as Hallie scarfed down a double-fudge chocolate shake while Suz primly spooned up a single scoop of low-fat vanilla. “Just you wait until menopause. It’s gonna getcha, girl, and all that sugar and fat will land right on your tiny behind.”

Hallie wasn’t worried. She came from a long line of hardy Nelson women, who ate whatever they wanted and lived to be lean, wiry senior citizens. Just look at Aunt Bette. Besides, menopause was still years away. She gave a quick glance in the rearview mirror. Worried dark brown eyes under a thick fringe of auburn hair looked back at her. Thirty-two didn’t look bad at all; her skin was still smooth and soft. High cheekbones emphasized the fact that somewhere in the distant past one of her Irish ancestors had taken a Shawnee bride.

However, none of that changed the fact that she was still stuck on the side of a two-lane highway. Rain pounded on the roof and drizzled down the windshield while the swipe, swish, swipe, swish of the wipers gave her brief views of the spring landscape. Trees budded out with soft green leaves and wildflowers were starting to bloom in the grass along the shoulder. The air smelled fresh and newly washed, although a chill still lingered. She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see except the U-Haul trailer looming over her little sedan. Flicking on her hazard lights, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel and moaned out loud.

The sun had been shining across the Ohio River when she’d left Evansville that morning. Karl, her mechanic, had promised the car would be fine. Hadn’t he spent an entire day going over every inch of the darn thing? Hadn’t he changed the oil, replaced the spark plugs, and every filter and belt under the hood? And the tires were less than a year old. He’d assured her it was in tip-top shape for a road trip. Well, as much as a ten-year-old Toyota with two hundred and thirty—Hallie squinted at the odometer—two hundred and thirty-seven thousand miles could be in tip-top shape.

It had been her first brand-new car—a gift from her parents when she graduated from college. For nearly ten years, she’d treated it as lovingly as a mother treats a child. And how did the silly thing repay all her years of careful maintenance? By getting a flat in the middle of some dismal road, two towns away from Aunt Bette’s.

And in the rain.

A semi sped by, splashing water all over the side of the car and drawing Hallie’s attention back to her situation. Time to focus and figure out what she was going to do. The rain pelting down showed no sign of letting up any time soon and even though it was still early afternoon, she longed to be warm and snug in Aunt Bette’s cozy house—there would be tea and pie. She found her umbrella in the console and got out, sending up a little prayer that the tire might be drivable.

Apparently, the angels were busy elsewhere because the right front tire wasn’t just flat, it was shredded. With a sigh, Hallie climbed back in, took up her cell phone, and gazed at the screen. At least she had a couple of bars of service and the 4G seemed to be working. Great news if she had even a clue who to call. A touch of the screen brought the GPS to life and showed her exactly where she was, only twenty miles from Primrose, so she asked the phone to find her a garage or gas station nearby.

Gus’s Service Station was in Cedar Hill, the next town north. She dialed the number and was greeted with a gruff, “Garage.”

When Hallie explained her dilemma, the man on the other end of the line guffawed. “Lady, I got six calls ahead of you and only two tow trucks. I can get there in mebbe two, three hours. You’re gonna have to sit tight.”

“Is there anyone else I can call?” Hallie chewed her lower lip. She could feel the temperature dropping.

“Nope. Even if you got Triple A, I’m the one they call around here.”

“But I’ve got to get to Primrose and—”

“Lady, we all gotta get somewhere. Now, my tale of woe is that my nephew took off last night with the mayor’s daughter and my sister’s brand new Land Rover. The only other guys I got to drive tow trucks for me are a sixteen-year-old who doesn’t know one end of a wrench from the other and my worthless brother-in-law, who ain’t no mechanic either, but he can probably change a tire.” He gave a disgusted snort of laughter. “He’s out on a call west o’ town and the kid’s down to McHenryville pulling a tractor outta the mud.”

“I’m really sorry, but I’m all alone out here and I’ve got everything I own in the world in a trailer behind the car.” Hallie tried to sound as defenseless as she could, hoping to elicit some sympathy from Gus. A cheap tactic, but one she wasn’t above using at this point.

“You’re hauling a trailer? Sheesh.” Gus’s disgust came through loud and clear, even with only two bars. It was looking very likely she was going to be changing her own tire in the rain.

“Yes, I’m moving to Primrose. You see I’m going to live with my aunt and—”

“Look, I don’t need your life history, just tell me again where you are and I’ll get someone out there soon as I can.”

Hallie went ahead gave him the information from her GPS, managing to be halfway polite when once again he ordered her to “sit tight.” It was a wretched day weather-wise and that wasn’t his fault. Neither was her flat tire. Gus sounded as overwhelmed as she felt. She clicked off and dialed Aunt Bette to let her know she was going to be late, but got no answer, so she left a message. She debated for about three minutes before reaching into the backseat for her raincoat. She may as well get out and fix the darn tire. She’d been changing tires since she’d gotten her license at sixteen, so she had no excuse except her own unwillingness to get wet.

Okay . . . so there it is . . .

Gratitude list for today:

  1. The lake–the only place I seem to be able to take a deep breath right now.
  2. Time with Dee on Tuesday, although she slept through most of the hours I was there, she squeezed my hand and opened her eyes at one point and knew me.
  3. Dee’s cousin Darhius and Dee’s sons are such good caretakers–exactly what she needs.
  4. Gorgeous, sunny summer days here at the lake–it’s been lovely.
  5. A boat ride yesterday–the lake was quiet with no traffic.

The Last 4,000 Words

May26

I’m in the home stretch with Saving Sarah, book 4 of the Women of Willow Bay series. I can’t wait to finish it, but there is a little bit of bittersweet involved, too. I’m not positive, but I think this will be the last WOWB book. I have another woman in the village who could have a story, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to close this one out. I have a new book already started and I like the characters and the setting, which is Indiana, not Michigan. Of course, we’re up in northern Indiana near the dunes and Lake Michigan because I can’t imagine a story without a lake. But that’s the only thing that is the same.

So, I’m counting on writing the last few thousand words over the holiday weekend and then it goes to my editor, the incredible Lani Diane Rich, who will edit, while I work on a tag line and back cover blurb. Tag lines are so hard for me because I think I’m a naturally wordy person and tag lines are, by their very nature, not at all wordy. Lani is great tag line writer and so is my crit partner, Cheryl Brooks, so I may have to turn to them for ideas. I’m thinking it needs to have something to do with running away from bad and running to good, but I’m dammed if I have the first idea how to start.

It’s a sad time right now–my oldest and dearest friend Dee is dying–her cancer has become aggressive and is simply eating her alive. (See this post.) It’s probably only a matter of days now and she has so many people who love and care about her, both here and in heaven, so I know her passing will be eased by that. I spent some time with her yesterday–sweet time where we simply sat and held hands, cried a little together, and I watched while she slept.  But oh, my heart aches with a sadness so deep, I hurt in my bones.

When sister Kate died, it was different–no less sad and my heart aches still for her, but it was so fast, we barely had time to take a breath before she was gone. This has been five years of awful and I hate that Dee has had to suffer with not only cancer, but also with the deaths of her husband and mother in the midst of the cancer. But you know, I’m heartbroken for me, too–Dee and I always teased that when we got to be old ladies, we’d sit in our rocking chairs on the front porch, sip wine, and shout “F@*# you!” at the cars driving by. I hate that we won’t get to do that . . . we’d have been fun old biddies together.

Okay, so time for gratitude, although I don’t feel very grateful today. But I am so blessed, I have to remember that even though my heart is breaking.

  1. Husband, Son, Grandboy, DIL, Sister PJ–my close family and how they always support me.
  2. My BFFs–how blessed I am to have an awesome group of women friends I can depend on: Liz, Di, Moe, Harlene, Patt, Connie, Cheryl, Mary, to name a few . . . the list is way longer than this, but I hope they all know how much I cherish them.
  3. Pastor Diane at ACC–thanks for prayers and always being there.
  4. The lake–if there’s peace to be found anywhere, it’s there.
  5. Work and writing–I can lose the real world in the pretend ones (mine and other writers’) and sometimes, that’s a very good thing.

Last Day of Lent

April15

Today is the last day of Lent. Tomorrow is Easter and I can get back on social media. This has been a fascinating journey for me–an eye-opener, frankly. I had no idea I was so attached to Facebook and Twitter, no idea that so much of my social life was online. If you had asked me forty days ago if I was on social media much, I would’ve said “no, not much.” If you had asked me if I would miss it, I probably would’ve laughed. “Oh please, I have a life–I don’t need FB.”

Well, apparently, it has nothing to do with whether or not you have a life–at least not for me. I do have a life, but I confess I missed Facebook, I missed reading all my friends’ posts and news, checking out my author pals’ promotions and announcements, and seeing pictures of people’s grandkids and vacations. So there we have it–I am a Facebook junkie.

But, I didn’t miss the rancor of political posts, the constant stream of whining about either party–my friends come from both sides of the aisle–or the ads. I really didn’t miss the ads because it’s kinda creepy how you can look at something on Amazon or Google and the next day it shows up up in your Facebook news feed. Is it just me or is that creepy? All in all, I think I’m going to try not to be so addicted once I sign back on.

So to that end, I won’t be re-installing Facebook on my phone–I took it off my smart phone in December in preparation for giving up social media for Lent and honestly, I’m a happier person without it on there. I can still check Facebook on my computer and a couple of times a day should be just fine for that. I hope when I go back, I can focus my social media time on book promotion more than anything. That was the original reason I started my Facebook account and I think I’ll be a more well-rounded person if I keep that in mind.

All in all, an interesting experiment. I’m looking forward to saying howdy to everyone on Monday–I’m going to wait until after Easter to re-activate my account just because, you know, it’s Easter and my mind and heart should be elsewhere on Easter. Thanks to all of you who stopped by here while I was on social media hiatus–I’ll still be posting here regularly, so please continue to drop by! Happy Easter!

Gratitude for today:

  1. It’s the last day of Lent.
  2. Spring yard work is nearly done and man, are things getting green! Can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming.
  3. Powerful Good Friday service at church last night–so glad we went.
  4. Good day with Dee and Di yesterday. Also great to have Liz to talk to on the way home. Thanks, Lizzie!
  5. Husband, who worked so hard in the yard today–we make a good team.
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