Nan Reinhardt, Author

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

Three More Days of Thankful

November20

img_5964It’s Sunday and we’re closing up the lake cottage for the winter season, which means draining all the pipes and pumping in antifreeze, packing up all the food, storing all the deck furniture, making the place as unwelcome to mice and other rodents as we can, and covering the furniture with dust sheets. It’s bittersweet. I love being at the lake, it is unquestionably our escape from real life and we work hard to keep it that way.

In the past, when November came around, we were pretty much ready to stop making the drive and spend winter in the city. This year . . . well, not so much and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it’s because we stayed longer each time we came up this summer–often at least a week–which allowed us to “settle in” more. Maybe it’s just that we’re ready for a simpler life in a small town. But we have so much in the citywe’d miss–family, friends, our church home, access to lots of culture, and our docs, who’ve become more important as we’re aging. Ugh. The lake is lovely, but the little resort town depends on the summer folk and tourists, so winters here would be long and . . . uneventful, and neither of us are snowbird material.

fireplaceFortunately, there’s no hurry for us to make any life-changing choices and we’ve decreed this winter to be drama-free. No big decisions or changes. Just long cozy days together by the fire, reading (both of us) and writing (me) and binge-watching British television (both of us again because we are British TV addicts). We’ll see what next summer brings . . .

Here’s my gratitude list for three days:

  1. The lake.
  2. Our dear, dear lake friends–how we will miss them over the winter!
  3. Brisk weather–I really do like winter!
  4. Supper with the gang last night at a pub in the next town over–fun!
  5. Knitting–I’m getting better at it and as I get more proficient, it’s becoming more fun. I promise pics of the baby blanket I’m making when it’s done.
  6. The fascinating book I’m reading right now about the Dakota apartment building in New York and all its past and present occupants.

What’s in store for you this winter?

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Still Here, Still Grateful

November17

Nancy's MI trip 077 whiteriver07These are pictures of the lighthouse at Point Betsie in Frankfort, MI–the town Willow Bay is based on. Remember this lighthouse–it will show up in Sarah’s story and in Libby’s, too–the Women of Willow Bay books currently in progress.

I’m behind, as usual, but with good reasons . . . well, okay, decent excuses. I confess gratitude comes hard after this election because I’m sad and scared. But, sad and scared is no way to live. Neither is angry, so I’m working very hard to remember that I live in a great country. America is already great and we’ve survived this long because of our diversity and creativity and our mutual respect for one another. We can do this. We can. Son and I were talking about how folks have compared this situation with Germany in the late thirties and although, I get why the comparison is being made, I’m not convinced it’s a valid one. First of all, nothing gets hidden in this country thanks to social media, 24-hour news cycles, and cell phones with cameras. Second, our president-elect is not a stupid man–he knows he can’t turn this country on its ear without getting a lot of push-back from the citizens. I pray he finds wise counsel.

Also, Son and I were talking the other day–okay, moaning, but nonetheless, I said that I hope 9/11 showed us that we don’t have to be run over by hatred and craziness. Seriously? Do you think anyone could hijack a plane and fly it into a building in the United States today? I don’t think so. We have locks on cockpit doors now, as well as other safeguards, but also, I don’t think a single passenger would ever let that happen again, even at the risk of their own lives. I wouldn’t. Would you? That’s why I don’t think comparing us to 1930s Germany is fair. The world is different now–in some more dangerous, but in others, better, smarter, more caring.

So, here are seven days worth of gratitude . . .

  1. I’m healthy and strong.
  2. In the same vein (no pun intended), the CT scan showed that my carotid arteries are only 0 to 10% blocked, which is fabulous for a woman my age. Fabulous for anyone really.
  3. My darling daughter-in-law is having a birthday on Saturday–we’re blessed to have her in our lives and we’re thankful for how much she loves Son and what a great mom she is to Grandboy. We love you, baby!
  4. Gertie, the immobilizer boot on my foot, and I are tolerating each other pretty well.
  5. I’m learning to sit still.
  6. The blanket I’m knitting is coming along wonderfully–a picture next time I post, I promise.
  7. Fall has been lovely–warm days and crisp, cool nights.
  8. Husband–just because I’m so lucky to be loved by the most amazing man on the planet.
  9. IRWA Retreat was a fun time of fellowship with other writers.
  10. IRWA Retreat was also a great time with one of my dearest besties–hugs to you, Lizzie! You are the most delightful of traveling companions–I look forward to many more trips together.
  11. I got to know a new writer friend at Retreat–always a pleasure.
  12. The new book is continuing at a merry clip–this weekend, I’ll do a little bit of timeline work and plotting, although I know where I’m going. The trick is not to rush it, but also not get bogged down–it’s a tightrope sometimes!
  13. Son, DIL, and Grandboy are doing well–busy, busy lives, but they’re all good and when they’re good, I’m good.
  14. Dee is out of the hospital and yesterday we celebrated her 61st birthday–something neither of us thought would happen. Right now, I’m holding onto this fact–she’s still here. What a miracle!

Just a bonus: I’m so very thankful for all the dear friends who care about me and my well-being. I saw it clearly yesterday when I had to make several phone calls to let folks know the results of the CT scan. I am a blessed woman.

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Three More Days of Grateful

November10

018feff2d45d6aa7bdfc7a91e8188cce881c23ff0eThis is my picture of peace–it’s Lake Michigan. Isn’t it lovely? It’s been a disturbing week–the national elections didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, but as I’ve read all the comments and postings on Facebook and Twitter and listened to news stories and pundits and commentators, I’ve come down here: It’s going to be okay. Our democratic process worked. The way our founders set up the electoral process functioned as it was meant to function. It didn’t work the way I wanted it to, but it worked and now we have a new president-elect. Like everyone else who voted for the other candidate, I’m disappointed and yes, frightened by this man who will be leading us for the next four years. But I’m also hopeful that Americans will come together, that we’ll support the government and those working in it. Watch this video of President Obama talking about the recent election. He’s right.

I also appreciate what Tim Urban said in his blog, particularly this: “Which is why, if you’re a Hillary supporter, in addition to this being a time for disappointment and frustration, it should also be a time for reflection. Half your country voted for Trump. Over 50 million people—people with kids and parents and jobs and dogs and calendars on their wall with piano lessons and doctors appointments and birthday parties written in the squares. Full, three-dimensional people who voted for what they hope will be a better future for themselves and their family.”

We are a nation of smart people, this isn’t 1939, we aren’t headed into fascism. There are no secrets here–we live in a world where everything is reported within seconds of it happening. We’re also a diverse nation of good, caring people–let’s all remember that and be kind to one another and let our better angels prevail.

My three-day gratitude list:

  1. This gorgeous fall weather. Even though I’m limited to how much walking around I can do, I’m still enjoying the blue skies, beautiful colors, crisp air, and sunshine.
  2. I’m still getting up every morning and writing–I’ve only missed a couple days since October 4.
  3. Husband’s work ethic, which is amazing. He’s so hardworking, taking care of both of our homes, our vehicles, and me. I do love that man.
  4. My BFF, Lizzy, who is the best person I’ve ever co-chaired an event with–together, we will make this year’s IRWA Retreat a fun weekend.
  5.  Butternut squash soup.
  6. Geocaching–man, that’s fun! So much so that I find myself turning on my Geocaching app wherever I am, just to see if there’s a cache nearby. I think I’m hooked. 😉

 

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Two Days of Grateful

November8

Lake flowers 2012Yesterday, we packed up and headed back to the city–just one more trip to the lake for 2016 and that will be our one to winterize the cottage and say goodbye until spring. So, I didn’t write yesterday and I didn’t write today either because we had Internet issues that needed to be resolved and then I went to vote and now . . . well, I’m done with the first part of the editing gig I’ve been working on and my foot hurts and I have a meeting at church tonight and I’m just longing for a cup of tea and a nap. So, I’m thinking . . . a cup of tea and a nap.

However, before I curl up (and I use the term loosely because curling up anywhere with five pounds of immobilizer boot on your foot is nigh on to impossible), here’s my gratitude list for  yesterday and today:

  1. Voting–my voice, my vote and I’m proud to have been a part of the process this year.
  2. Husband–always Husband, who fixed the Internet issue this morning with a minimum of grousing, and still poured me a glass of Riesling to go with our guacamole lunch. What a guy!
  3. Amazing half moon last night when we went to the airport at midnight to pick up PJ and BIL. Man, it was gorgeous–yellow and all streaky with clouds.
  4. All the lovely fall leaves–all colors and so beautiful! Of course, I’m not the one raking/blowing/mulching them, so it’s easy for me to appreciate all the autumnal beauty.  😉
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Checking In . . .

October13

21-days. . . with my 21-Day Writing Challenge. It’s Day 10 and I have gotten up every day between 6 and 6:30 a.m. and written for at least one hour. Sometimes I get so involved that I’ve written for an hour and a half without realizing it. I’m surprised I’ve made it halfway through without missing a day–that may not sound like much of accomplishment, but given the chaos of the last couple of years of my life, it’s big stuff. Altogether, I’ve managed to get down 9,625 new words on Sarah’s story–an average of about 800 words each day–which brings the story to a little under 14K words. Given that a month ago, I was telling Lizzy that I was sick to death of the Women of Willow Bay and wanted to write something brand new, I don’t think that’s too shabby.

At first, getting up was hard–as I said before Husband is warm and cuddly and it’s still dark at 6:30 in the morning, but today was a milestone because I wanted to get up. I woke up thinking about the story and where I was headed next and making a mental list of some things I want to research when I take a break from work later on this afternoon. Could this be the beginning of a new habit? Who knows? But I remain hopeful. 😉

bob-dylanIn other news, congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning a Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of songwriting. That’s pretty cool. He’s only the second American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature–Toni Morrison was the other in 1993.

I got to Skype with my boys last night, which always brings me no end of joy–they both seemed happy and healthy and we giggled while Grandboy pulled out the contents of a goodie bag he’d gotten a birthday party at school. I love how four-year-olds are delighted over the smallest things. I think I need to work at being more easily delighted. Maybe we all should.

lawsThing that are delighting me today: New plantation blinds throughout the entire lake cottage–they look amazing! Dinner last night with Rich and Moe–good food and great fellowship. The sky is October blue this morning after yesterday’s rain and the air is crisp and very cool so I’ll get to wear a sweatshirt all day–nice! We’ve had fresh pears the last three mornings and they’re perfect and delicious. Right now, pears are my favorite treat.

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Happy Mother’s Day

May7

Nan_Mom

Today is my rogues’ gallery of family Moms . . .this isn’t near all the great moms I know, but they’re ones I love . . .

 

My mom in the late 1970s–love that smile!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

barbecue

My darling daughter-in-law with Grandboy–she’s one terrific mom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

pam and family

Sister Pam and her sons and daughters-in-law–she’s a terrific mom!

 

 

 

 

kathi dance

 

Sister Kate, who loved her kids and grandkids with all her heart and soul.

Das Brew

cam and me

Then there’s me, also a mom to a pretty terrific kid. You get a double dose of me because there’s also Grandboy . . . an old pic but still one of my favorites!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lent Check-In . . . I’m Still Here

March18

breatheWow, I’d sure like to say that I’ve been hugely successful at unknotting the knot, which was my Lenten goal, but sadly, I’m not quite there yet. But, I can say that I’m trying, I’m releasing stuff, just not everything. But in an attempt to let go of the body issue worries, I’ve scheduled the CT scan and Can’t wait for it to be done, so that the doc can tell me, “Kid, you have diverticulitis, welcome to aging, and pay attention to your diet.”

One thing I have learned about the diverticulitis thing is that everyone is different. Some folks can eat whatever they want, some can’t. I’m being pretty cautious right now because I’ve had two exacerbations in less than six months. That’s too many because, a. it’s painful as hell and b. you have to take a wicked combination of antibiotics when it kicks up and I’m just not interested in doing that again. I’m learning what I can and can’t eat and I see that as progress. The knee is holding on right now. Yeah, it hurts frequently, but if I get to the pool at least three times a week, it does better and if I get to the chiropractor regularly, that helps it, too. I’ve been telling it that it needs to hang on a couple more years. We’ll see if it listens.

I’m writing! That might be the biggest news from the home front. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually moved forward on a book. At the moment, I’m focused on Libby and Nick–the fourth Women of Willow Bay story, but there are a couple of other books banging around in my brain. I’m making notes and thinking . . . a huge step in the right direction. Mostly, I’m trying not to concentrate so much on the selling/promotion side of the writing. That only brings me down. Instead, I’m just going to write and see where I am in the fall.

Reinhardt_Poster_resizedThat being said, I am doing a book signing at Spring Fling in Chicago in May, which has forced me to think about some promotional stuff. Spring Fling is a great big fun event. Pal, Liz Flaherty, and I went in 2014 and we had a ball! Lots of hobnobbing with other writers, fun learning times at workshops, and an amazing time just being with my dear friend. We travel so well together–we’re kind of on the same wavelength about traveling and that’s terrific! I’m looking forward to it. It’s the biggest book signing I’ve ever participated in, so I confess I’m a little bit nervous. But it’s going to be good. That’s my table poster over there on the left–isn’t it great? Thanks to the amazing Lani Diane Rich for the design! I’m crazy about it!

So gratitude for today: The gym pool–I’m free when I’m in the water. A great St. Patrick’s Day supper with PJ and her husband, Larry. Good food, good wine, good fellowship. Our Lenten Bible Study class on Wednesdays through Lent. We’re both enjoying talking about faith and also getting to know some of the folks in our church. It’s a good thing. We got a start on the spring yard work—I actually enjoyed three hours of digging in the dirt, which amazes me because I would almost rather have my gums scraped than do yard work. Each time I’ve talked to Son lately, he’s been good—not always jumping for joy, but reasonably content, happy with life, feeling productive, and breathing. So grateful to God for answered prayer!

Lent Check-In

March5

It’s been several days since my last check in, which is okay because I’m consciously not stressing about not blogging regularly. It’s a knot thing, you know? But here I am, reporting in.

We saw the doc on Wednesday–I really, really like her. She’s very reassuring without dismissing my fears and anxiety. She agrees it might be time to take a look inside me and verify that we are dealing with diverticulitis and how severe it is. Apparently there are other things we can do for it from different antibiotics that don’t wreck me all the way to having surgery to remove the offending portion of intestine. Hopefully, we won’t be looking at that, but I’m glad to be getting the scan to make sure there isn’t something more severe than diverticulitis going on. Her office is verifying with the insurance company and then we’ll schedule it. The knot has loosened slightly just knowing that we’re checking it out.

Today, we went to a funeral for the mother of one of our lake pals. His mom was 90 and had a good long life and had become quite ill, so her passing wasn’t a terrible tragedy except that she’s gone and there’s a hole where she lived in his heart. I know he’ll miss her and I wish so much he didn’t have to have that sorrow in his life. But it’s part of life, right? One of BFFs lost her mother-in-law this week too–another sorrow for another dear friend. This morning, we made a list of the people who’ve died in the last eighteen months. There were twenty! Twenty people I knew or who were related to someone I am close to are gone. That feels like a lot in a short time. Maybe it’s not . . . thoughts, anyone?

On the gratitude side, we’ve been reading our Lenten devotional each morning and enjoying our time together studying and praying. We’re using a study help that the pastor gave us–three questions to ask about our scripture reading. What does the scripture say? What does the scripture say to me? What does God want me to hear? Sometimes the answer to a couple of those questions is the same, you know? But we’re delving into the ways we share our faith and how we came to our faith, so it’s pretty interesting.

IMG955540Five things I’m grateful for right this minute: We got to see some of our lake pals, and even though it was for a funeral, it was so very good to get hugs and see them. I’m working on a couple of great books right now–one for a pub, one for an indie author–good stories, which is always a pleasure. We had a date last night–dinner and a movie, then we stopped and bought a bottle of pinot noir and enjoyed a glass together as we “camped out” in the lake cottage. we’re not officially open yet, so no running water because it’s still winterized, but we stayed there overnight anyway on our way to the funeral. We had heat and a warm bed and wine and each other, so no complaints. On the way home today, I wrote vigorously in my head on the new story and now I’m getting ready to work on it now. YAY! DIL sent Grandboy’s preschool pictures for us to pick from. Damn that kid is so cute . . .

So, the knot is ever-present, but relaxing some and to me, that feels like Lenten success at this point. Easter is about three weeks away and although, I don’t expect it to be gone by then, but I hope it will be looser, smaller . . . that would be nice.

More Days Later

February28

. . . I don’t want to count them and besides, getting particular about this kind of stuff does nothing at all for the knot in my stomach, so let’s just say, here I am again, checking in.

worrier yogaLife goes along . . . we’re enjoying some lovely spring-like days in February, which probably means March will be a nasty bear, but maybe not. Sometimes we just get a soft winter and an easy spring that slides right into lovely summer days. We got some outside stuff done and I’m still working quite a bit on editing gigs. We’re enjoying Wednesday Lenten Study at church and sad that Downton Abbey is ending. Yeah, we’re those kind of PBS freaks–what can I say? Son and DIL and Grandboy seem to be fine at the moment. I pray for them daily that their lives will be smooth and free of chaos and drama. Not always possible, but when it comes, I have faith they will handle whatever happens together.

My body is my big issue right now–the weight is coming off pretty well and I’m so happy about that, but my diverticulitis kicked up again and the antibiotics are playing havoc with my insides. I’ve decided to go ahead and have the CAT scan when this exacerbation is over because it will help me unknot–always a good thing. I’m spending way too much time worrying over whether this is something worse than mere diverticulitis. I want to know if there’s anything else going wrong in there or if the diverticulitis might need something more than antibiotics. I confess it’s taken me too long to come to this decision–asking for a CAT scan–but there is that part of me that doesn’t want to know. Fear that they will find something awful like they did with Kate and Dee makes me pretty much terrified, but on the other hand, not knowing that all is well is keeping the knot active and thrumming inside me. So . . . calling the doc tomorrow morning and getting things rolling.

howard arthritisThen there’s the knee–crap, crap, crap, the knee. I know it’s arthritis and I know I probably need to have the damn joint replaced, but holy snikeys, I want to wait a little bit longer. Everyone I know who’s had knee replacement has been overjoyed at the result, so what is my problem here? Well, money, first of all. My health insurance deductible is pretty high and I’d have to cough up a big buttload of cash up front. And I’m not at all sure I’m prepared at this point in time to deal with the surgery/healing/recuperation thing right now. It’s seemed as though I’ve wandered from crisis to crisis in the last couple of years and I’d really love a whole summer of no worry. On the other hand (there’s always an other hand, right?), do I want to spend another year dealing with the pain I’m in now? Hmmmm . . .

All in all, I’m good. I am. And I’m grateful for plenty of work, medical science, Husband, who is so dear and loving, for Son, Grandboy and DIL, for the Lenten Study, for Allisonville Christian Church,  and for the sunshine we’re enjoying today.

Days 5 Through 10

February20

I know, I know . . . I could be a better blogger. Actually, I could do a lot of stuff better. However in the spirit of knot-dissolving, I’m not going to list them here. Instead I’m going to talk very briefly about how the knot is getting smaller and why.

First of all, I got a lovely note from sister PJ telling me not to worry about the African violets, just water them and they’ll be fine. I’m trusting her on that one–they are her plants after all. Plus, it occurred to me that if I kill them, I can always buy her new ones, so no need to stress.

WOWB setBook sales are doing okay and I’ve got two more editing gigs lined up and others on the horizon, so for now, the career is mostly in balance. I did send another submission to BookBub after they turned down my last one. I’m holding out hope that they’ll accept this one and maybe SEX AND THE WIDOW MILES will hit a list, like USA Today. How fun would that be? I don’t have a knot in my stomach over this one because I know how hard it is to get accepted to BookBub, so if I do, it’ll be great and if I don’t, I’ll try again. FYI, if you’re not a subscriber to BookBub, go sign up. It’s a great site for readers and authors. Lots of great books and you’ll discover new authors there (maybe even including me!).

A health issue is kind of rearing its ugly little head, but I caught this exacerbation early and I’m hoping that the wicked strong antibiotics that the doc put me on will knock out the diverticulitis and this will be the last one I have to deal with for a very long time. Forever would be nice. This stuff is painful and the drugs you have to take for it tear you up. I’m trying hard to learn to eat correctly–lots of fiber, mostly is the key and probiotics. But here’s the knot thing about this stuff–sister Kate’s first sign of having cancer was a localized pain in her abdomen–well, that and extreme fatigue. So when this crap kicks up, my first thought is, of course, cancer! Even though I know it’s the stupid diverticulitis. Even though the antibiotics fixed it last time . . . Nan, the doc’s got this one. Do as you’re told and chill.

sparkling waterStill have dear friends dealing with sick parents, so prayers and healing light are how I’m working on those. Yesterday, we cleaned up our woodpile and split the rest of the wood we have left. Felt good to be outside, exercising, and doing something productive. We went up to the lake today and checked on the cottage. It was a gorgeous day and we walked down to the water and looked at the ice-covered bay. Beautiful, even with a skim of ice on it. We’re both ready for spring! It’s amazing how calming it is to be up there. Life is still happening–people are still sick, health insurance is still expensive, I still have to market both my books and my editing skills, Son, DIL, and Grandboy will always be at the forefront of my mom-worry, and friends are still having issues, but somehow, the lake makes it all okay.

Gratitude for this past week: DIL got home safely from Spain; Son is getting healthier every day; we had a great time at the Lent small group study–enjoyed getting to know people at church better; it’s been warm and sunny for a couple of days and we’ve basked in it; and our morning devotions/study are pretty interesting and spirit-lifting.

Life is good.

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