Life Choices


It never ceases to amaze me how often a friend says “How do you know Jane?” Insert any name you like. The response for me usually is through thirty-three years working at the same place, a lifetime of volunteering with Girl Scouts and a hospice group, or along my writing journey.

It’s fun to make the reconnection and it reminds me of how small our world really is. No matter where I’ve met them, they have a common link, they are good-hearted, respectful, caring friends who have made a difference in my life.

A few days ago, that very thing happened to me. It sparked one thought and then another. Before I knew it, the following poem came to life. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it with those people that have woven love into your life

A Tapestry of Hope

Threads of life connect us all.

Multi-colored ribbons of endless textiles

Tribal motifs, gentle cottons, sturdy burlaps, luxurious silks

Each strand has purpose, each purpose has worth

Some with frayed ends, others miraculously unspoiled

Common and uncommon, grounded by perspective

Woven with tenderness, this rainbow enchantment

Spreads a superlative quilt of warmth and refuge

Over mountains and oceans, religions and politics

Strengthened in crisis, prominent amid disasters

Immune to pandemics, persistent and loyal

These threads of life called LOVE

by Diane M How

Who are the people in your world?

Do you share the same morals and values?

How has it affected the life you are living today?

We are all one


Just found a new friend who shares similar thoughts on love and happiness. Check it out!

I love love. I love everything about it. Just saying the word fills my little heart with comfy warmth and happiness. I love life, I love people and just every living thing that exists. (I say living thing because everything has life, yes, even my stuffed little teddy bear).

I didn’t always have so much love in my heart. There were times when I spewed hate and said hurtful things to people. There have also been times when I wasn’t a very nice person. But as I am waking up each day, I can’t help but realise that we are all one. 

If aliens were to invade our Earth one day, I wonder what we would do. If we think about it, I suppose countries who are now having feuds would start to support each other, people who hate each other now would start to love each other, we would almost be compelled to do so. Why? Because we are humans and they are aliens. Because at the end of the day, we are all fragmented energy from the same…

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My Silver Lining


Seems like such a short time ago, our grand dog, Hammie was just a pup. He’s 11 years old now. How time flies, except when you’re confined to quarers for an unknown length of time.

It’s tough right now, trying to find the silver lining in our disrupted world. We’ve been invaded by an invisible, unexpected, and uncontainable virus. As unpredictable as the Corvid-19 journey has been, so have been our responses to it. Confusion, denial, fear, anger, frustration. All reasonable, all understandable. Yet, with any crisis, there is opportunity from which we can benefit. Even Hammie is taking the Shelter in place command seriously.

Some folks use humor to get through the stressful situations. That includes me. I love some of the social media pictures and quotes that make me laugh out loud.

I ignore the rants and raves that do nothing more than stir negative emotions. It doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the seriousness of the situation, but many of the political pokes and ventings do nothing but spread anger and fear. I choose to focus on the positive.

So here are a few of the positive opportunities I’ve been given.

I’m saving lots of money because I traded trips to the casino for daily runs to the store in search of toilet paper. Down to two rolls. I got desperate and ordered some on line. Good news, I found some. Bad news, the deliver day is May 22. I thought it was a typo, but Alexa confirmed it.

I’m getting my daily 10,000 steps in by walking room to room and taking note of the chaos I’ve neglected for some time. Every once in while, I find an object that’s been missing for months. Found a Christmas present I forgot to deliver yesterday. Now won’t they be happy when it shows up in their mailbox. Spreading the joy.

My daily wardrobe consists of sweat pants and a t-shirt. Haven’t had to wash a bra in a week! Just think about the water and soap I’m saving. I saw a Facebook post that said to cut them up to use as a mask when necessary.

I’m not gaining weight because we aren’t eating out. All the burger and chicken are gone by the time I get to the store, so we’re cleaning out the freezer, trying to identify what’s each shriveled, rock hard, frosted package contains.

I’ve got lots of time to clean those closets and organize the pantry now. Could wash windows too. Choosing to save those fun thing in case I get really desperate!

Best part is that I have more time to write, and I am. Veins of Gold is taking form. The Dahlonega Sisters are busy keeping me front and center by my laptop.

The girls wanted me to do something to brighten your day, so they suggested I reduce the price of their first book, The Gold Miner Ring. The e-book is now available for $1.99 at your favorite site. Here’s the link: https://books2read.com/links/ubl/mVrL2p

Stay safe everyone and don’t forget to lighten up. This too shall pass and with a little luck, we’ll all learn something positive from the experience.

What’s your silver lining?

Turning Back the Clock, One Puddle at a Time


Turning Back the Clock

One puddle at a time

I was born with two left feet, a qualified klutz for sure. You know those exercise videos with music that make it look like you’ve got rhythm? Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I do them behind closed doors. The closest I come to physical coordination is puddle jumping. I love to teach kids how to do it so the water splashes on someone else.

While thumbing through some notes I made in preparation of my next novel, I came across a story I jotted down this summer after a weekend trip to my daughter’s lake house. I found myself laughing so hard I had to run to the bathroom. Maybe you could use a chuckle today, too, totally at my expense, of course.

A dear friend sent me a book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96597.Younger_Next_Year_for_Women I became engrossed in the claims made by the two male authors. They encouraged, actually, insisted, there is an athlete in each of us and we better find it if we hope to be mobile as we age. Heck, I’m already aged, and more than a little overweight, but somehow their words made it worth a shot.

While at the lake, I relaxed on their redwood deck that sits high above the end of a peaceful cove. With my book in one hand, a glass of pinot noir in the other, and a box of cheesy snacks within an arm’s reach between me and my daughter, I turned the page. Harry’s Rules, the ones I just finished reading, smacked me upside the head. The irony of reading this particular book, while stuffing my face with Cheez-Its, and following each swallow with sips of chilled wine, made me cringe.

Was I just going to read about getting fit or put it in action? I closed the book, stood and brushed the crumbs from my jeans. “Let’s go take the neighbor’s paddle boat out.”

My daughter looked at me with raised brows, but to my surprise, she jumped up and headed up the stairs to the cabin. “Aren’t you going to change into your swim suit?”

The last thing I wanted to do was expose more of my rolls of fat and cellulite. “Naw. We’re not going in the water, just in the boat.”

I’m sure you know what happens next, but I did promise to entertain you, so I’ll continue.

With towels and sunscreen in hand, my daughter returned and we walked down the thirty-something steps to her neighbor’s dock. We hoisted the paddleboat over the side of the dock and my daughter held onto one of the ropes The other was tethered to the dock.

“Go ahead and get in.”

Leading with my right foot, I tried to step into the swaying object without success. Then I tried my left foot. Somehow, I managed to plop down on the hard plastic bump between the two seats, but at least I was in it and not the lake.

With the ease of an experienced sailor, my daughter climbed in, released both ropes, and we were off. We peddled together for a while until my legs tired, a good twenty foot, for sure. Taking turns pumping our legs, we rode out to the end of the cove and back. The hot July sun burned overhead, almost as much as the calves of my legs, but it was a pleasant experience and reminded me of the many options available to exercise our bodies into shape.

We made our way back to the side of the neighbor’s dock and my daughter jumped out, pulling the front rope tight so I could climb out. I stood and wobbled, trying to find my balance on the waves, then put a foot on the platform. The back of the boat swung away from the dock stretching my legs apart. Too late to do anything else, I simply sat down in the water.

Of course, I’m not what you’d call a swimmer, so I treaded water, trying to figure out how I was going to get to shore or back on the deck.

“Stand up.” My daughter shouted between belly laughs. “Stand up.”

Fortunately, the water was only waist high. Laughter echoed from the top of the hill where my husband stood watching as I hoisted myself up on the end of the dock. My daughter’s fiancée, too polite to laugh out loud, fiddled with his cell phone to avoid eye contact, but asked if I needed help.

“I’m good, thanks.”  I laughed as hard as the others. “Did you get all that on video?”

It was fortunate that I had left my phone on the deck and didn’t try to avoid the inevitable dunk, possibly breaking a leg or arm. By the time I climbed the thirty-something steps back to the cabin, my jeans laden with lake water, I felt I’d gotten a good start on my new exercise program, although I anticipated in the future it would be on dry land.

It’s been six months since my husband and I started getting serious about exercise. We average twenty-five to thirty miles a week and I’m thirty pounds lighter. I doubt I’ll ever succeed at the exercise videos, although I still try occasionally, and I haven’t been kayaking or water skiing, but I still love puddle jumping. I feel younger than I did last year, so that’s a plus.

Book Birthing


I’ve been introduced to so many new terminologies in the past two years, most of them pertaining to writing, my head spins like that little blue circle on my computer does every time it doesn’t want to connect to something.

I laughed the first time I read a Facebook post announcing a book birth. Boy, what a crazy term, I thought. As I’ve muddled through the complex and overwhelming process of self-publishing, I decided I probably know where the term originated, even though I haven’t confirmed it yet.

I remember the excitement being pregnant, eons ago mind you, but still, it’s one of those things you don’t easily forget. Oh, my gosh. The excitement! I had a baby growing inside me. It wasn’t long before I could feel her squirming about, kicking and reminding me that soon I’d be holding this precious little bundle with tiny fingers and toes, stroking it’s tender cheeks and drawing in the insatiable scent of a newborn.

As the months passed, my joy turned to anxiety. What did I know about being a mother? Sure, I’d learned some things from watching my younger siblings, but to be totally responsible for this tiny miracle I carried inside me? It was overwhelming to comprehend, especially since I wasn’t handed a book giving me specific instructions for handling colic, puberty or dating.

Similarly, when I first started writing The Dahlonega Sisters, The Gold Miner Ring, I was enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to complete each chapter. Then as I shared it with my critique group, I began to understand it needed a lot of nurturing. After many rewrites and edits, somewhere around my fourth draft, I got brave enough to set a delivery date of October, no later than November 2019.

That’s when the labor pains began. I had to learn the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional, and then someone threw in “hybrid” just for good measure. Simple words like genre became complex. I didn’t understand the challenge of finding the appropriate genre for the book I wrote. All I knew was that I wrote something I wanted to share with others.

With the hand-holding assistant of my mentor, dear friend, and talented author, Jeanne Felfe, https://www.BridgetoUsBook.com, I managed to learn the difference and need for an ISBN, LCCN, AISN, and a thousand other acronyms with which I won’t bore you.

The much anticipated day of arrival came and the delivery man left a box on my doorstep. I anxiously removed the first book and stroked the delicate matte cover, savoring the heavenly scent of my freshly printed manuscript. I restrained from using the term book birth, but I did take a picture to post on my author FB page, https://www.facebook.com/dianemhow/

And now I know the job of “raising” this new addition will be even harder than giving birth to it. I’m overwhelmed with notices from Book Bub, Facebook, Amazon, and dozens of unread articles on promoting and marketing. Then there’s twitter, FB, Instagram, and so many more social media opportunities. But I’m determined to do my best, taking one bite of the elephant at a time.

It would be an honor if you’d stop by for a visit.

https://www.amazon.com/author/dianemhow

It’s available everywhere!

Happy Book Birth, The Dahlonega Sisters! Hope you have many siblings to follow.

Reaching for a Star


Many years ago, more than I care to acknowledge, I dreamed of publishing a novel. I wasn’t hoping for fame or fortune, merely a desire to entertain some readers, bring a little joy to a stressful day, and know that I made just a smidgen of a positive influence in this often worrisome world.

My dream felt as distant as the stars in the sky. I’ve heard many writers share the same feeling, but the more I became involved in the world of writing, I watched others succeed and I decided I wanted it too.

First, I joined a writers Guild, http://www.saturdaywriters.org, and then a small critique group, Pen to Paper. Soon I belonged to a second critique group, The Round Table Writers, some of the most powerful and supportive friends and writers in Missouri. My vocabulary increased, I began to understand point of view, and soon, I was writing short stories and poetry that won contests and were published in anthologies.

Still, I held onto my dream of completing a novel. I was introduced to National Novel Writing Month, NANOWRIMO, https://nanowrimo.org, which challenges writers to compose a fifty-thousand word novel during the thirty days of November.

I dove in head first and succeeded the first year I tried. I fell short the second time, but I learned I could do it if I put my mind to it. My first two attempts are still works in progress. About two years ago, I began a third novel and fell in love with the characters and story plot. I finally gained the confidence to believe it should reach the shelves of a bookstore. With the help of many fellow writers, especially Jeanne Felfe, https://jeannefelfe.com/, , author of the heartfelt novel, Bridge to Us, I’ve stretched a little closer to that star.

I am pleased to announce The Dahlonega Sisters, The Gold Miner Ring, is available for preorder on Amazon with a scheduled release date of November 5, 2019. It will also be available in paperback. https://www.amazon.com/author/dianemhow

To all the bloggers, dreamers and hesitant writers, I say go for it. Read, listen, join, and learn. Then make a goal and keep plugging away until that star becomes so close you can almost touch it. You can do it! I believe in you.

Power of Touch


Some time ago, a friend and fellow author, Amanda Bretz (https://amandabretz.wordpress.com), described a tender moment between herself and her father. No words were uttered. A simple squeeze of the hand spoke as loud as a pastor from the pulpit. The power of touch amazes and encourages me, especially when words are not enough.

As a writer, I draw upon an infinite source of words to fill the pages of a book, yet there are times when words are not enough to convey the intensity of the moment. A gentle kiss, a stroke of a hand on one’s cheek, a strong embrace conveys emotions unreached by mere speech.

Perhaps that was why I wrote the following poem some years ago as my mother suffered the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Although she could not verbalize her thoughts, we spent many hours just holding hands and sharing gentle squeezes, along with heartfelt smiles. I think if she could have expressed her thoughts, she would have said these words.

      Timeless Treasure

The memories of yesterday
Will become distorted over time
The written word will lose its strength
A verse will lose its rhyme

The laughs we shared will pass by me
My words will make no sense
Such simple things we once enjoyed
Will now seem rather dense

Old photographs will fade away
Your face may lose its name
You’ll think I’ve traveled far away
But my heart will know you came

No need for words, no bouquets bright
No trinkets made of gold
No promise for a miracle
Just your hand for me to hold

Your love’s the only treasure
It will endure through all the pain
Just speak to me in silence
You’ll be my sunshine in all the rain

Have you been struggling to find the right words? Could the answer be in the power of touch?

Tell me your story. I’d love to hear it.

Finding Inspiration


Writing often is a solitary calling, especially in winter months. You’d think I’d flourish when confined indoors with plenty of free time to devote to my passion. Instead, my mind hibernates, shuts down, and refuses to unveil any hint of creativity. Even the ink in my pen coagulates when cold winds blow.

During the other seasons, I have a fantastic (monthly) writing club, Saturday Writers, (saturdaywriters.org) to encourage me with contests, open mic nights, and amazing guest speakers, but they cease meeting for a couple of months, just when I need them the most.

Unfortunately, weather, health issues, and holiday commitments tend to cancel many of the biweekly critique group meetings, leaving a void in my face-to-face writing support system. Thank goodness for email and Facebook, but it’s not the same. I want and need to see the person’s face light up when a particular phrase I’ve written hits the mark or pay attention when a frown appears letting me know I need to rework a story.

My husband and daughter tend to tolerate my obsession for storytelling, and on rare occasions they provide a nod of approval after being urged to read something I’ve scripted. I get it. Writing doesn’t excite everyone. I try not to take it personally, but it would be refreshing to have one of them ask “What are you working on?” or even better, “I’d like to read that when you’re ready.”

Of course, showing interests goes both ways. Hubby likes sports, especially wrestling, and the weather and gardening. He spends many hours on-line reading about upcoming matches, baseball trades, and the daily forecast. I try not to half-listen when he shares his recent finds, but there are times when my attention fades.

My daughter loves cooking, basket weaving and shopping on-line, especially for shoes and purses. My purse selection is limited to two at any given time, one that’s worn and tattered and the one I bought to replace it. We do share the hobby of basket weaving. She’s an experienced weaver with a basement full of reeds, handles and patterns. She made this amazing basket one Saturday while I piddled with two simple ones.


I’m still an advance beginner. All of my supplies fit in a duffle bag.

My daughter’s also a speed reader and while she will read whatever I send her, her comments are normally limited to pointing out my mistakes.

I’ve found a rather simple, possibly sneaky, way of gaining their attention and giving them a reason to care. We do share some common interests such as nature, humor and a loveable dog named Hammie.

Personal anecdotes and yarns often become part of my short stories. Before I publish anything that involves my family, I make them read it and give their approval. Sometimes they provide a different version based on their memory of the event or they might remind me of another humorous tale.

Now that spring has arrived, my inspiration blossoms like the lovely ornamental cherry tree in my side yard.

 I’ve still not identified its exact variety, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s twisted, gnarled trunk and snowy white canopy bring me joy and signal a fresh start. The ink in my pen flows again.

Connecting with the Lighter Side


I start each morning with an essential cup of coffee and the daily newspaper. I feel the need to keep current on issues of importance, but all the crime and political craziness that fill the dozen pages I read do nothing to put me in a positive mood for the rest of the day.

I believe writing is a reflection of who we are and how we process the experiences we’ve had. Being an insufferable optomist is hard. I need a positive kick in the rear to balance out the negative effect of the disheatening news and keep things in perspective.

Fortunately, many blogs have a foot up ready to give me a push. One of them, Stories by Shivangi, reminds me to maintain a balance of realism and positivity. The writer focuses on a wide range of topics, yet she leaves me with a peaceful sense that influences my keyboard. Take a look at the joyful face of the baby on this post https://adivir.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/just-a-thought-humor/.

My spirits lift when I see that giggling bundle of innocence and it sets my sails in a better direction. Even when I’m attacking difficult rewrites, a simple glance at that photo brings a smile to my face . So does my granddog Hammie

How about you? Is there a blogger that brightens your day?

What do you do to find balance and perspective in your day?