Find The Happiness

Books, coffee, and my morning treat…finding happiness in little things.

Yes – I’m reading six books at once. I pick which depending on my mood and never have trouble jumping right in where I left off. And, a new Studio Moonfall mug – a gift from my recent author visit. That mug is going to be seeing a lot of coffee!

~ Find the happiness ~ All my best ~

Keep your eyes open!

On one of my walks I found a fairy!!! See! You just have to keep your eyes open, and you’ll find magic!

For a list of my magical tales (fairy books too!), please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

I spy, with my little eye…

I spy, with my little eye, something written by ME…

Who can name the title? And man my book is in such good company on the shelves of Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI.

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

This Author Journey…

This author journey is an incredible one, and keeps getting better with every day! Thank you to Studio Moonfall for today’s wonderful event! And thank you to the readers – every single one of you. It is a privilege to be able to share my stories, with you.

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Studio Moonfall Tomorrow!

Who is going to be selling and signing her tales at Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI tomorrow?! She’s someone who is writing ALL the fairy tales! Someone who loves dreaming, and imagination, and sparkle! Someone who thinks reading is magic! Someone who loves to see your smiles and talk books!!!

Studio Moonfall ~ Kenosha, WI. ~ Sunday June 19th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

It Was A Blue Jay!

Something in a tree caught my eye while I was parking my car at the Oak Brook Artisan Market last Sunday. It was a Blue Jay. I am particularly fascinated by jays. Mostly because, even though I have always been observant of nature, I’ve only spotted one a few times in my whole life.

This one was trying to get itself a balloon string, but couldn’t get one loose. It looked like a whole bundle of balloons had floated up into this tree and popped.

I heard and saw more jays abiding in the trees. Perhaps nesting flocks. I would have liked to have spent more time bird watching, but alas, it was a book day so I had my hands full. But I still feel lucky to have spotted a jay at all!

Stay Inspired!

A Wonderful Bookish Day

Had a wonderful bookish day at the Oak Brook Artisan Market last Sunday! I’ve said it so many times, but I have to say it again – book days are the best days.

To all the readers on this author journey of mine – I sincerely appreciate you.

Stay Inspired!

Literary love, Smiles, and Sparkle!

Had a great time at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market last Sunday. As I always say – book days are my favorite days, and this one was no exception!

Here’s a photo of my trusty bookmobile and parking lot book display. The bookmobile and I are always ready for a bookish pop-up (see that event tent temporarily crushing my passenger-side seat?)

Local event (Chicago-ish, Milwaukee-ish)? Send me an invite! The bookmobile and I will drop in to spread some literary love, smiles, and sparkle!

Event Tomorrow!

I’ll be at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market tomorrow – May 1st – from 12 – 5 p.m. signing and selling my tales! So excited!

In advance of any book-selling event, I take prep pretty seriously. I have this fear that I’ll show up without my cash box, calculator, receipt book, etc. Or very importantly, snacks. Ha!

I used to teach public speaking, and one of the keys to helping with nervousness is to be as prepared as possible for your speech. I use this tip to feel ready for events too. Bookmobile already packed!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, and all the spring flowers to you!

Now – you may have to squint your eyes just a little, but there’s a handful of fairies buzzing around in there. Do you see them? I was worried one might pinch my ankle, so I took this photo quick!

Beloved Tomes

Have you ever bound an often-read book?

As a youth, I remember we covered our text books with paper grocery bags and then scribbled all over them. You could then tear off the paper when it was time for return.

This is my Bible. Bound in my favorite green color, a velvety fabric. It’s gone through several covers and decades of page turning. It’s nice to hold it with this fabric and makes it feel personal to me. Consider it an idea for your most beloved tomes!

Not Just With Words

I’m not just a writer. I can also bite hearts right into my apples. I know, I know. A pretty special talent. I agree. I can share feelings not just with words, but with chomps!

Novels and Fairy Tales Too!

May 1st ~ 12 – 5 p.m. Evanston Made Maker’s Market with all of its incredible treats, crafts, and art! Novels and fairy tales too!!! I hope to see you there!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

These things, I’d never get tired of

Walking home with my groceries today, I came across an active three or so Golden-crowned Kinglets. I stood very still on the path, thus this little guy went undaunted by my towering as he searched for food not many feet away.

Someday I’m going to retire to a porch in nature, write, and watch birds and bugs all day. These things, I’d never get tired of.

Stay Inspired!

Jelly Beans…

Jelly beans…
Writing fuel for fairy tale authors.

For a list of my works, including the sweet and magical Once Upon a Star, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

I write myself away…

Each day, I write myself away to places I imagine…

One of the best parts?

Eventually sharing those places, with you.

{For a synopsis of my forthcoming Still, and other works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/}

That First Jump Off My Crazy Cliff

The first book I wrote was 521 pages. I look back and think I was crazy. Venice is an interactive book as well – you pick the next page to turn to at the end of each chapter. Do you know how especially crazy you have to be to write a 521 page interactive brick?

And yet…without that first jump off my crazy cliff, I’d never have known this happiness. The kind only writing and sharing my tales, has given me.

Do what you love – Stay Inspired

A Season Of Bookish Fun To Begin!

I sure am ready for spring weather and a season of bookish fun to begin!

Confirmed ~ Evanston Made Maker’s Market – Sunday May 1st – 12 to 5 p.m.
Confirmed ~ Oak Brook Artisan Market – Sunday May 15th – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

18th World of Faeries Festival !!!

Mark your calendars! The 18th World of Faeries Festival ~ Aug. 6th & 7th, 2022 ~

To learn more about the festival, please visit: https://theworldoffaeries.com/home
To learn more about my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

To My Very Dear Readers…

~ To My Very Dear Readers ~

I wanted to share with you before I began announcing my forthcoming 2022 event schedule…

My little bookshop, The Quill and Brush, where I’ve signed and sold my tales at the Bristol Renaissance Faire for 5 incredible summers, will be sitting out the 2022 season. As many know, the faire is one of the loves of my life, and has been since I was a little girl. And my tented shop? Don’t get me started! Some of the best memories of my life were made there, making friends with so many of you, on so many beautiful festival days. It is because of these experiences that my tales have gone out into the world, and lived.

I will never be able to express enough gratitude for the patrons and friends of The Quill and Brush. But know and believe, how much I sincerely thank each of you.

Yes! There are magical future possibilities for The Quill and Brush! But for now, I am fully embracing 2022 as a year of learning and growth as an author, new opportunities and different experiences. I’ll be popping up everywhere, toting my tales along. It would fill my heart to see you! Thank you for being right there beside me on this incredible journey, which continues to amaze me.

Now, with all of this said – let the new books, new events, new announcements, excessive silliness and sparkle, commence!

Glad for my dad…

True story – my dad has been sending me books by snail mail, all neatly taped up in brown paper, for YEARS. Two decades? Sometimes up to one a week. He is a big reader, and our tastes line up so closely, that I will read much of what he sends.

This book came today. He always sends the ghost books because they are a favorite to us both. They’re my candy bars as far as book genres go. I’m surprised we haven’t read them all by now!

Glad for my dad, always sending me books.

Stay Inspired!

Like Eating Bowls of Ice Cream

Do you have a collection in your book collection? One of mine are my Venice books. I love reading history, but the really dry ones can be a challenge. The exception would be if they are about Venice. For me, that’s like eating bowls of ice cream.

Can you spot the two I wrote?

A Magical Kingdom by Michelle Novak

It’s summer vacation and Lizzy is eager to take a trip to visit her grandparents at their beautiful home in the countryside where all kinds of fun can be had!

One morning, Lizzy’s grandma offers her an exciting book to read. Hopping on her bike with the book and a picnic lunch, she settles down by a beautiful pond to begin reading the adventure.

After reading the first lines of the book, things are not as they should be. The pond is now a vast lake, and in the middle of it sits a magnificent castle! There’s also an oddly dressed woman who’s come looking for her. She looks like she’s just stepped out of the Renaissance! Her name is Milda, and she beckons ‘Princess Lizbeth’ to hurry, for she is expected at the castle.

Join Lizzy as she travels back in time to a magical kingdom and becomes a princess for a day!

~ This, and all my adventures are available on Amazon! ~
~ For a list of my other works, please visit here. ~
To join me on Instagram, click here.
To join me on Goodreads, click here.

I’m going to try anyway.

You know those things in life that are simultaneously exciting, and terrifying? This would explain my shaking hands as I wrapped up Veleno for shipping. I’ve entered some Independent Author Book Awards. Competitions really, though I don’t want to think of it that way.

A book award would be like winning the golden ticket in a chocolate bar. But I’m going to try anyway. Something to keep me on my toes. Keep me trying harder with each new book I write. Keep me inspired.

Everything so beautiful and like new!

So…I have been starting to look shabby. Like, I’ve had to start discarding jeans one by one with considerable rips and holes popping up everywhere, tops discoloring and losing form from many wears and washes, etc. I haven’t really purchased clothes in years. Only a few necessary items. I work from home now, and I don’t go to dress-up places anymore either. So, I’ve just been making do. And, though I once went to nice stores and picked out nice things when I needed (or wanted) them, money has become too precious for that. Those days are long gone.

But you know what? I did something yesterday that I should have been doing even years ago when I stepped out to the stores. I went thrifting at Goodwill. I walked away with a heart so full, friends. For about $55, I left with 3 jeans, 2 sweaters, 2 blouses, 1 flannel, 2 black slacks, a winter hat, a scarf (not all seen here in the photo). Everything so beautiful and like new!

My only difficulty with used items, is that they tend to have perfume in them from past owners. (Donators don’t necessarily wash items before they donate). Which, my serious allergies can’t take. But, with these clothes, a wash (maybe a half a cup of vinegar in it) will do the trick.

I feel SO blessed. God is so good. And from here on out, I will be a thrifter rather than a shopper. There is NO excuse not to stretch my hard-earned money, when such nice things are available to me, at such good prices. I always liked thrifting before, but I have a much stronger appreciation for it today.

All my best, and Stay Inspired ~

It’s Something I Just Don’t Have Words For…

It’s hard to describe the feeling you get as an author, when the first copy of your book arrives in the mail. Before, your work was just endless words on a bright screen. For months, sometimes years. And then one day, the book is real. And holding it in your hands, it’s something I just don’t have words for. Even as a writer…

Still by Michelle Novak ~ Release date announcing soon ~
.
Roe works as a backer, a jack-of-all-trades in one of New York City’s oldest museums. Housing a legion of ancient treasures, its dim and mysterious halls have been venerated for long over a century. Her father before her, an esteemed historian in the museum for decades. It was from him, that she learned everything.

In this place, Roe’s whole life has been spent. Exploring every shadowy corner, gazing over every priceless piece, sneaking a glance inside every creaky drawer. So, she thought she had discovered all of its even most secret of secrets. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a museum, there is always more to find. Or more to find you. And here, something has been hiding in the basement for a very long time. Something that has now begun looking, for Roe.
.
For a list of my works, please visit here.
Join me on Instagram.
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Follow my Author Page on Amazon.

Merry, Merry My Friends

A long holiday weekend spent reading and writing?! WHAT a treat!! Happiness – here I come!!!

Merry, Merry my friends ~
Stay Inspired!

Smart Joy

I lean more toward soft goals for a new year (if I make them at all). I remember writing a list as a child. Like – that was the thing people did decades ago. HA! But you know, after the 2nd of January, goals were forgotten.

My goals for 2022 are almost singularly author goals. Goals set around an outlet that gives me joy in this crazy world. See how I’m setting my sights around happiness rather than discipline here? HA!

But I have another goal. I’m not a great consumer. I’m a minimalist. More than ever nowadays. I do buy books & music (that whole joy thing). But my primary spend is food and personal care items.

The goal? I know you’re feeling that inflation like me. Yikes! 2022 will be a year of considering value vs. convenience, and comparison shopping, etc. And that’s the way it’s got to be. But I’m still going to make sure there’s joy. Just smart joy.

Stay Inspired!

Only Two Goals Today…

I have only two goals today. To eat that sandwich (check!) and to sharpen those pencils (I’ll get there…maybe this afternoon…or tonight).

I’m not aiming high. I need rest. And some days, we just have to say, that’s okay.

Yes. Dull pencils drive me bonkers. Quite bonkers.

Author asides: Still releasing soon!! Oh my gosh – oh my gosh – oh my gosh. Who wants to get creeped out in a museum?! ME – Me – ME!! Early 2022 – date coming in a blink!

Dragons at Dusk – first quarter of 2022! Other new works? A glimpse is just around the bend. New events? Will announce the 2022 bookish fun as it is scheduled!!

Bonus: 5 author-signed copies of my Ancient are on giveaway NOW at Goodreads! Here’s the link.

For a list of my works, please visit here.

Stay Inspired!

They Jump Away From Me

As some of you know, I love jumping spiders. Like, love them. All of the ones in my house are my pets. They don’t agree. They jump away from me. But still. I know deep down they love me too and are thankful I let them live in my window frames and don’t squish them.

So when I saw this fossil of a jumping spider at the Field Museum…millions of years old…well, I just wish I could have seen him in action! Watched him hop! Watched him hunt! Too cool, man.

Stay Inspired!

My Holiday Wish…

What would make my holiday wish come true? A book review, from you!

Dear Friends ~ If you have read and enjoyed one of my tales, I would warmly appreciate a book review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or both! I genuinely appreciate these. Even just your rating and a sentence or two is so meaningful to this independent author who started this writing journey from scratch! Today, I am so excited about where I am, but also for all the stories I have yet to share! So please, make this wish come true! Your support continues to mean everything.

Thank you, thank you. Happy Holidays ~ Michelle

To learn more about my books, please visit here.

To join me on Instagram, please visit here.

To join me on YouTube, please visit here.

A Special Moment, Just For Me

The Yellow-headed Blackbird is rare in Illinois. I’ve been watchful of nature since I was a kid, and never saw one. Which was why when I spotted one one dismal rainy morning fluffing its feathers and looking like a magnificent firecracker, I was literally stunned. It – was – BEAUTIFUL.

I had no idea what bird this was! We had a chat, the yellow head and I. Sort of a one-sided conversation. I told it how beautiful it was. It fluffed the rain off its feathers, puffing up, walking cautiously around through the grass. I think it might have been hunting for worms in the rain.

I took this photo at the Field Museum recently. It made me happy to see it again! I hope one day to see another in the wild. But I’ll never forget the one time that I did. It felt like a special moment, just for me.

Stay Inspired!

Ever Humbled and Thankful

Book day today!! Book days are the best days!

Can’t every day be a book day?!

Thank you to all the gracious folks I met in Skokie at the Holiday Fair Extravaganza today! And for your support, each of you new readers. I ever hope that each tale that walks away, brings with it as much adventure, inspiration, and happiness, as always seems to come to me. I, am ever humbled and thankful.

All my best – Stay Inspired!

Smelly Cheese and Fancy Crackers

Holly jolly! Glitter and gold! Sparkle and lights!

I’ll be in Skokie tomorrow for a little holiday fun, talking books!

If you aren’t within a sleigh ride’s distance, please consider being a fairy godpatron this season with an online order. Because everyone wants a book in their stocking!! Of course!

And chocolates. Of course! And new fuzzy socks…
I’d appreciate some smelly cheese and fancy crackers in my stocking. Is that weird?

Merry, MERRY!
For a list of my tales, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Merry, Merry You All!

Here’s my tiny Christmas tree! It’s real. It drinks a lot of water. Or maybe it just evaporates fast? I enjoy sniffing my tree. That pine scent – oh my word!

I’ll be talking books this Saturday in Skokie at the Holiday Fair Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.! I would wear my ugly Christmas sweater, but it was so ugly I think I made it disappear from my closet. HA!

Merry, Merry, you all!

A Magical Mention!

Thank you to Studio Moonfall for hosting this author yesterday. My new Moonfall mug filled with hot cocoa (and refill!) was a treat, and proprietor Donovan Scherer a true mentor to the independent author.

A magical mention!! A selection of my books are now available at Studio Moonfall. Presently – Beauty Sleeping, Veleno, Dragons at Dawn, and Once Upon a Star! If you haven’t yet visited this gem of a bookstore in Kenosha, WI – you really must!

New books, new events, more magic coming soon! But in the meantime, Stay Inspired!

Things are going to get a little sillier…

As if things weren’t getting silly enough, they’re about to get just a little sillier. Come join me on the new YouTube channel – Authoress Michelle Novak.

Because there’s nothing like a little storytelling, is there?

Mini Shop in the Parking Lot

Set up a mini bookshop in a parking garage next to my faithful bookmobile today – and I loved it!

Wish everyday could be a book day. I really do.

@evanston_made – thank you for bringing together so many amazing artists. You – are an incredible organization.

And to the new readers I met today – I hope every page turned is a wonderful adventure. And how much I appreciate your stories, your generosity, and your smiles!

What A Wonderful Adventure…

What a wonderful adventure I had at Studio Moonfall today in Kenosha, WI. Thank you @donovanscherer for graciously hosting me and welcoming my tales to your wondrous bookshop! And a special thank you to the new readers I met today. My goodness – I won’t ever forget this sunny, welcoming, bookish day!

Friends! Special updates coming soon!!! What a magical season this has been! This author’s cup runneth over! How much I appreciate you all…

Stay Inspired!

Thank you, thank you!!


Friends ~ Thank you for THE most amazing Bristol season my little bookstore, The Quill and Brush, could have ever hoped for. Your generosity, kindness, ideas, smiles, laughter, and inspiration, were incredible this 2021. My 5th season was truly, a dream.

I wish that every tale that walked away with you, will entertain, lift, delight, hearten, and inspire. Such a hope, is what fills my heart and moves my pen! More stories are very soon on the way!

My next event – Evanston’s Maker’s Market – October 2nd.

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Just Two Festival Weekends Left!

Just two festival weekends left at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Don’t let the heat keep you away from these last magical days. I hope to see you at The Quill and Brush!

Stay Inspired!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Offering just a little bit…

Do you know what fills my heart? Boxes of books. My books. The loves of my life. The works of my soul. The hundreds of hours spent to give them breath.


They may not look like much in the cardboard, stacked in their paper and plastic. But when I place each individually into someone’s hands, and they walk away, I somehow feel I’m doing what it was I’m here to do. Offering just a little bit of magic, love, happiness, adventure…This is what I have to give.


Stay Inspired

New Events, New Books!

I’m scheduling new events! TBC (to be confirmed). TBA (to be announced). I anticipate the release of Still by the November 20th event, so anyone coming out in their cozy sweaters may just snag a first copy. I’ll keep you posted!

As for 2022? I’m planning to make it an amazing year of new releases and events, and I’m taking you along for the ride!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Thank you…

I just wanted to say thank you to each and every supporter of The Quill and Brush at Bristol, and to every reader. The positive reviews, the smiles, the wonderful conversations, the many new friends made. This has been an incredible season so far, and you can’t even imagine how thankful I am, for you.


My autumn writing bug is already biting. But it must wait! 5 more beautiful festival weekends still to come.

Stay Inspired, and all of my best.

Take A Journey…

It may have been hotter than is bearable this past weekend, but with all those special moments at The Quill and Brush, it seemed nothing at all…

6 more festival weekends at Bristol. I hope to see you there!

And speaking of heat…take a journey through a vast Egyptian desert in my supernatural tale, Ancient. For a description, read here.

Keep cool. Stay Inspired.

You, Inspire Me

I just wanted to say Thank You for an AMAZING first two weekends back at Bristol. The Quill and Brush was visited by so many wonderful readers, writers, old friends, and new guests. It was overwhelming in the most sincere and magical way.

You, inspire me.

7 more glorious festival weekends to come. I’m going to cherish every one. Be sure to come by for a visit! And perhaps a fairy tale too!

All My Best…

The Salad Hour

Greetings, Greetings!

It’s getting to feel like summer around here, and I’m so glad for it. Spring always seems to draw on for too long. Too many months of damp and chill when all one wants is sun and warmth!

I’ve been just about the busiest, and it’s only going to get more so for me! The Bristol Renaissance Faire opens in 5 weeks, along with my little book shop – The Quill and Brush. What a summer waits ahead! I hope to see you there!

I have a custom. It’s the salad hour.

Every evening I make a salad for supper. Usually accompanied by a little something extra (crackers, or a bite of this or that). I started this habit a while ago now. I guess it’s been some years, begun out of an awareness of what my body needed versus what I was accustomed to consuming.

I’m what one might call a creature of habit, so I don’t get bored with this. As long as there’s a bite of something additional with it (cheese, hard-boiled eggs, a piece of salmon, a piece of toast).

In any case, the right eating choice for my health has now turned into what feels like a habit of self-love and self-care. A time of day to relax, put something good into my body. To say nothing of the fact that making a salad takes minutes, with very few dishes messed. I love that.

Do you have a custom like this? Something good for your body or spirit that is just for you? If you don’t, I encourage it.

Love yourself. Love one another. Stay Inspired.




The Secondhand Purse

Good Day Good Friends! Are you staying inspired?

I love thrift stores, antique malls, secondhand places! Always have.

During the pandemic, I didn’t visit any of the secondhand stores I love. I really missed that. I’m eager (after my busy summer ahead) to be able to browse them again. For me, it’s not about shopping. It’s about finding a special or useful find that will bring joy to my life.

In any case, there is a local consignment shop that more recently, every time I walked by, was closed. Only, there was a leather purse in the window that I just felt was meant to be mine.

At length, after seeing it again and again in the window of this closed shop, I finally found the store open one day and promptly purchased the purse. Great price, and I was really happy.


Only, after getting it home, my house began to smell like strong perfume (understatement). Those of you who read this blog know that I am VERY allergic to perfume. I didn’t notice while carrying the purse home on a walk out-of-doors. But now, I got close to the purse and YIKES! It was as though it had been soaked in strong perfume. I now have to believe that it was sprayed inside, intentionally. This wasn’t a little surface fragrance. It was in the leather.

This was really upsetting to me. I’d pined for that purse for a long time but now it seemed I would have to promptly remove it from my house.

All of this to say, I looked up ways to remove perfume from leather online. And I, after weeks, have almost achieved the goal of removing much of the perfume from the bag. It has required wiping down, filling with baking soda, filling with newspaper, airing in the window, repeatedly. It’s been a chore.

The winner? Newspaper, I think. It seems to take in the perfume. You pull out the newspaper and it is scented. You throw it away, and do it again as needed.

Perfume and I are mortal enemies. But I really wanted to give my new secondhand purse a chance and I’m glad that I made that effort. It’s not there yet, but it’s come a long way. Enough that I can carry the purse around. It is at present however, taking another round of newspaper!

Sometimes there are hard cases in life. But when you love something enough, the extra effort is worth it.

Stay Inspired.

Six Weeks Until The Quill And Brush Returns!

Good Day Good Friends! I hope this message finds you well!

I got two emails from my Mama this morning asking if I was okay. She does that when I get a little quiet – because she’s a good mom. So, I thought I better come up for air and just say Hello to everybody!!

You see, since the very second Bristol announced they would be opening this summer, I’ve been all hands on deck. Everything from car repairs (no breaking down on the way to Bristol for me – I don’t want to end up a damsel in distress), to vaccines (both round one and round two took me down – no joke), to writing nearly every evening after work (more on that soon!!), to getting all my small business odds and ends in order.

I’m still in the thick of it, so I might be just a little quiet for a few weeks more, but then it will be time to bring out the magic! AND THE BOOKS! HUZZAH!

Where’s the costumes! Where’s the glitter? Dust off your fairy wings! Where’s your hair wreath? Where’s your sword?! Practice your pirate yarrrrr! A whole summer of revelry is just around the corner, and I’ll be sure to share it with you here from The Quill and Brush!

Who’s coming to say hello at The Quill?! Say hi here – I can’t wait to see you there!

Sweets for Spring

My mom and stepdad were very kind, spoiling me with a colorful Easter basket this year. As it has been such a long strain due to the pandemic, a time filled with less pockets of joy, it was a real treat to receive something so thoughtful to celebrate the spring season with. My folks have always remembered me, and made me feel special. I’m very lucky.

We’d met halfway between our homes to exchange some items, and as I was about to drive out of the parking lot, the basket in my backseat, my mom reminded me not to look back at that basket while I was driving…

HA! She knows me well!

Distracted driving while texting?! Not me! Distracted while gazing at my Easter basket?! Probably!

I waited until I was settled in at home, and then had a blast unwrapping and photographing it…

Sweet treats heaven!!! What’s inside?!

Edible green apple flavored grass…

Because no Easter would be complete without it!

Camo beans…

Because of course!

Gummy bracelets?

So I can look pretty and have a snack!

Mint and chocolate…

The most delicious combination ever conceived by man.

Sugar free cookies?

Because I’m watching my sugar. Couldn’t you tell?

Will I ever be too old for an Easter basket, you ask? Umm…I write fairy tales. And would prance around in a pretty costume every day of my life if given the opportunity. And think glitter is a gift from the gods. And I like to use my imagination. And believe that Bigfoot is real. And unicorns? Probably extinct, but heck yea!!

So nope…I’ll never be too old for something magical!

Stay Inspired

The Hunt For Pyrex…

Good Day Dear Friends!

Doesn’t a little sunshine in the morning make all the difference? I’m thankful for some today! There were a few blissfully warm days here in Evanston too, but then all turned to chill, and now damp, and the forecast isn’t looking too great for the next few weeks. Guess I’ll just have to keep wallowing in sweaters (and cookies) for a little while longer.

Good thing I have some other treats to bring me joy right now!!!


Guess what I ate breakfast out of this morning?!

My NEW VINTAGE PYREX BOWL!!! Aggggghhhh!

Drool – drool – drool…

Listen, I’m not the only one who loves vintage Pyrex. I’m going to guess there’s actually a lot of folks in that club. The most fun is trying to find a pretty piece at an antiques store. I don’t go to too many yard or garage sales (even though I dig things like that), but I bet you can find some good pieces that way. Or estate sales! And then of course, people sell online…

But let me assure you, to search a place like Volo Antique Malls (Volo, IL) or Antiques on Pierce (Milwaukee, WI) has a very special kind of feeling. Online shopping takes the fun out of what people call – the hunt.

Ooohhhh! I love the hunt. And so does my Mama.

You can check out my visit to Antiques on Pierce here.

I needed some bowls, and I love Pyrex, so my Mom gifted me with a set of three. One she already had, two others were an online order. And they are green – my favorite color. Love at first sight.

These will be with me until I’m an old lady. And then someone else will be happy to own them. And by that time, they’ll be vintage – vintage. Ha!

What am I keeping an eye out for at the antiques shops (which I grievously have not browsed since the pandemic began)? A Pyrex bowl in bright orange or yellow. In good condition. Cracks aren’t good when you actually want to use the pieces. It will also be an exciting day when I find a pink one. I believe the pink ones are prized. I know they are expensive. I better save my pennies. But they’re sooooo pretty.

THE PINK PYREX WILL ONE DAY BE MINE!!! BWA – HA – HA!

When I start getting back to the antique stores again, I’ll be sure to take you all along with me on the hunt!


Thank you Mama. Love my bowls. Love YOU!

And thank you readers, for being a part of my world. I wish you all the pink Pyrex there is!

Stay Inspired.

Born With Heart…

Nowadays, few people know this little tale. Only my family, or people who knew me as a child…

When I was born, God gave me a strawberry birthmark. A hemangioma. Try to say that three times fast in a row!

They aren’t dangerous. But they are a type of tumor. And mine was in the shape of a red heart, right on my forehead!

As I grew, the red coloring began to fade, turning flesh-color, and the heart shape went round. I mostly wore bangs growing up, so it wasn’t always visible.

When people did see it, not knowing what it was, they thought that I’d suffered a bump to the head. And it did look that way!

Somebody give me an ice pack!

Yes. I certainly played a trick or two on people who pointed out my birthmark. Oh my poor head! And then I’d have a laugh on them. It would make them laugh too. And then I’d explain.

When I was about 21 years old, I had minor surgery to have the tumor removed. Now all I have left is a perfectly straight scar where the scalpel ran across my skin. No one would ever know.

It’s funny. It was a part of me, yet I hardly think about it much anymore. I never really thought about it growing up! It was just, me.

But sometimes I do remember. And I like to smile and think, that I was born with heart. In more ways than one!

Stay Inspired.

Bed, Cookies, and Books…

I call this photo…

Bed, Cookies, and Books

Pretty much all you need to solve most of life’s problems!

Stay Inspired!!

{I’m currently reading Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman – Great book, great author!}

What are you reading? Come say hello on Goodreads!


The Good Plate…

In the past few years, health has been an important focus for me.

When I say focus however, I actually don’t do much thinking about it. I made some changes a while back, committed to them, and then put my brain on autopilot. But only because I knew it was important. My body was sounding the sirens. So I listened.

I could improve. Walking is a great love. I could do it more, and kick up that speed! I also can’t ever be satisfied with a wholesome breakfast. If it isn’t a muffin or pastry, I will cry in my cereal the rest of the day.

Muffin! Muffin! Muffin! – one of my favorite words in the dictionary.

I could also vary my vegetarian diet. I like kale, yet never purchase it, even though I know it’s good for you.

Note to self – Michelle, eat your kale.

In any case, I was thinking about health the other day. In spite of my shortcomings, I really do make a serious effort to eat for my health. And I thought – for all the vegetables I eat, aren’t we told that something magical happens? Like unicorns and glitter and stuff? I’m supposed to feel amazing, right?

I don’t have a direct example of who has done this brainwashing. The media, I guess. But I feel the message is always, if you do this-and-this-and-this, then you’ll have so-much-energy! And you’ll look fabulous. And you’ll glow. And you’ll probably have lots of friends, and a great personality too!

What?

I eat more spinach than Popeye, yet I still crawl to the coffee every morning.

Now, I’m just joking around here, but I was thinking about these ideas. That they were kind of funny. Yes, doing good for your body has many benefits. But for me, it’s been more of a, reaching for neutral ground sort of journey. Aspiring to just feel normal. Because, I’d lived it up in this body for so long, I’d forgotten what normal was. Or was supposed to be. If I ever even knew in the first place.

I’d forgotten to listen to my body.

I had to relearn.

To sum up, I think I’ve finally eaten enough carrots now, to just feel more or less, normal.

But glowing and full of energy and perfect skin and happy all the time? HA! HA! In this human and rebellious body – yea right!

What I mean to say is – don’t listen to all that noise out there. Just listen to you. Listen to your body.

It will tell you what you need.

Stay Inspired.

Happy Easter 2021!

A very healthy and happy Easter to you all!

…and at least one sugary treat, or five.



My mother has informed me that I will be receiving one of her Easter surprises. Let me just tell you, her baskets have historically been EPIC.

Will I ever be too old for an Easter basket? NEVER!!! (stomping my feet)

I’ll spill the treats for you here on Inspired By Venice, once I receive them.

Here is to a 2021 filled with love, healing, hope, and inspiration!

All of my best, to you.


A Happy Heart…

Good Day, Great Day! Spring has arrived!!

Did you have a chocolate croissant with coffee this morning?

No!? Friend – what were you thinking?!

Chocolate…croissant…butter…bread…chocolate….



I was up early this morning. Seems even though I need the sleep, my body has chosen a life of rebellion. I’m just along for the ride.

Up before the birds? Here we go! Wheeeee!

But that meant a sunny hike to the grocery, and I love when necessary tasks are out of the way. It’s a beautiful day, so that may just mean a second walk before evening.

Wear myself out, and then maybe I can sleep in longer tomorrow. See how I have to resort to trickery?

I had a thought this morning. The thought was, that I was happy.

For some reason, isn’t that a difficult thing to say? Not that that means one is unhappy. But perhaps because nothing is ever quite what we think happiness should be – life is never that perfect picture. At any given time, there is stress, worry, heartache, trials – even as there are joys, accomplishments, contentment, love…

Therefore I gather, it’s when you have a happy heart, that it doesn’t really matter that life isn’t ‘just so’. After all, it never will be...

Stay Inspired.

Don’t Think, Do

Recently, I knew I had to stop being my own worst enemy when it came to getting things done. Winter together with pandemic life has had a way of draining motivation. And that was ok, in my book.

To heck with getting things done! I’m going to watch scary movies, and cooking shows, and eat cookies!

But of course, after time, you just have to. Have to do those dishes. Have to check some tasks off the list. Have to acknowledge that you are still with the living, and not a cave bear…

Can you imagine being a bear, waking up from hibernation? Ugh! Imagine the hunger! And no cookies anywhere in the forest. I would be roaring really loud.

But as I was saying…

The words I’ve been using as a mantra are: Don’t think, Do.

And it works.

Probably because the truth is, if you think about not wanting to do something, you are far less likely to do it. If you just stop thinking, and go do it, it gets done.

But the trick has been – I don’t give myself huge tasks to accomplish. Only mini ones. I believe this works so much better than trying to conquer the world in one day, but instead giving up, and then feeling bad about that. Instead, if I can just do one or two small things extra, it usually does the trick.

Now if only I could apply this advice to doing my taxes. Thank goodness for the extension!

Stay Inspired.

My Lunch Prayer…

I’ve been conscious of saying a prayer over my plate lately. Well, just my lunch plate. Not my breakfast muffin or my dinner spread. Why lunch? I don’t know. Why more conscious? I don’t know. I just started making it a habit, for no particular reason. Today it made me think of prayer. Of the act of it.

I’m someone who prays all day long. Tiny little prayers. It’s rare that I actually sit down for a long talk with God. I’m more of a, let Him know what I’m thinking about all day long, sort of gal.

Good thing He’s patient and has big ears!

For instance, when I hear an ambulance going by, I always pray for the person heading to the hospital. I’ve been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance before. Maybe you have too. You are at your most vulnerable. Anyone whizzing past my house in one, gets my prayer. I live just down the way from the hospital. So…

Sometimes I pray for the workers in the ambulance, or the doctors waiting at the hospital. This all happens in a split second, this prayer. But I believe God hears it.

Or when I hear people driving down the street like maniacs, I pray for them. That they don’t get themselves, or someone else, hurt. Even the foolish, get my prayers. All the fools. Because, at some point, we are all foolish.

I also pray for people that aren’t acting very nice. Maybe they need God’s love. And I pray for people who are nice – just sending the love back, I guess. I of course, pray for people in hardship. But hardship to me, comes in many different forms. When I see something that touches me, I pray. And I, well, pray for everyone in every type of situation.

Chances are, if you’re anyone in my sphere of awareness, I’ve probably prayed for you.

I also prayer for myself – all – the – time.

Wouldn’t it be moving to listen in on peoples’ silent prayers? But of course, that is secret. And should be.

In any case…prayer can be funny. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are about to pray for. Random people or situations pop out of my prayers, when I didn’t even realize that they were with me!

Prayer also, is a way of getting things out. It may seem like our thoughts are all there is. Everything is in there. In our heads. We think all day long, right? But, just like when you speak to someone you trust, and who loves you – prayer feels like you can say it all. And there is a sort of relief and acceptance in that.

Sure, prayer is supposed to bring you closer to God. But do you know what else I have found? Prayer has brought me closer to others. To be able to feel more love and empathy, than I usually would.

And prayer humbles me. So that in the end, I remember what is most important in this life.

Stay Inspired.

If I Could Go…

If I could go. Back to my littlest, of little birthdays.

I would sit in my little chair, in my pretty little dress, and watch.

Smile for my family, all around. Who’d brought me little thoughtful gifts.

Special things, for a little Michelle.

I would grin for my mama. And share with her, my cake.

And my little heart, would be so full. Everyone so young, and joyful.

All there to celebrate, the beginning of, my tiny little life.

And I would be, grateful too. That it was me. The reason they were together there.

Veggie Life – Veggie Love!

Good Day, Good Friends!

Wishing you most well today! Do say hello – it buoys my spirits to hear from you!



Veggies! Veggies! Veggies!

I love them – I live on them – I can’t live without them

I used to eat veggies straight out of the dirt in my Grandma Ina’s garden. True story. You know – if you could pick moments to go back to, a summer’s day in my grandma’s garden would be one of them. And she didn’t just grow your average garden items. She had gooseberry bushes that appeared monstrous, an overcropping of rhubarb (at least to my young eyes), and even a trellis bearing deep plum-colored grapes.

In the heat, those grapes used to be warm and sweet. I just picked ’em and ate ’em. But they had hard seeds, so I had to spit like a cowgirl.

And what I wouldn’t do for a slice of grandma’s warm rhubarb pie right now…with some vanilla ice cream…and coffee…


Ok – sorry, got a little off course there. PIE! I mean…VEGGIES!

I’m certain there are many different opinions about ready-made. Some find it convenient. Some shun it. Some believe it costly. Some not taking to the idea of their veggies being wrapped in plastic.

I get it – for certain. You may recall my post titled Prepackaged Lettuce? Let us not! – in which I shared how horribly ill I became from bad greens that came in a plastic tub. Greens that always seem to spoil before their date – ultimately wasting money. I said I wouldn’t be buying that kind anymore (however convenient).

I have not kept to that – but let’s just say I have a keener eye now when it comes to my lettuce purchases. If the greens in the package look even a hint poorly, I search for a better option. I want FRESH!


In any case – as a serious vegetarian whose diet is principally vegetables, I have come to really value ready-to-eat.

I purchase carrot sticks already cut, celery sticks already chopped, sugar snap peas that just need a rinse. I do this, because if I have to prepare veggies at lunch and dinner, every single day (I’m often in a rush, or tired, or just want to go watch a movie, man), I am less likely to keep my diet veggie-varied, or to eat what is best for me. I will move to something even more convenient, but less healthy.

Further, the packages are the perfect portions for me – I can throw a plate of mixed veggies together in 5 minutes, or toss them on salads, or grab a snack, or steam them up, so quickly and conveniently. I use every, single, veggie (unless it’s fallen on the floor – no 5 second rule for me). And these hardier veggies rarely go bad before I consume them all – I haven’t been wasting.

But this inspired post today, is really to say, take care of yourself.

Listen to your body. Do your best to do what is right for you. And, eat those veggies! Even if it means picking up a pack like one of these for your fridge for the week – I know in my case, it makes me more prone to nibble on the good stuff.

Wishing you good health!

Come along with me…

Hello Friends!

I hope withal that this message finds you well and happy. Here in Evanston, the sun is shining and the birds have been veritably trilling. Several have been showing off. They’re going to get raspy beak by evening and will have to gargle with fountain mist. Or puddle water. I hear that works pretty good. That’s the go-to bird cure.

I’m just happy that they are happy – they make me happy – isn’t that spring song so lovely?!

Today, I digress. But I just wanted to say thank you, for reading.

Thank you, for being a part of Inspired By Venice. Thank you, for turning the pages of my tales. Thank you for coming along on my writing journey. Endless gratitude, to those who have made a visit to The Quill and Brush – my little bookshop at Bristol. Thank you all, for ambling along, with me.

How much I appreciate the inspiration.

I can report, a renaissance is taking hold. The writing bug has bitten. Ouch! I anticipate an outburst of works, to plan an event or two (as it becomes safe), and an uptick in inspired posts.

I hope you will come along with me

For, for all of you that have enjoyed my words – your support means everything.

It is only because of readers, that my characters, worlds, and stories, actually breath, live, and come to life.

All of your smiling faces at The Quill. The treasure of conversations shared. The ideas you’ve exposed me to! Hearing about all of your creative passions and aspirations. All of the feedback, book reviews, and encouragement. Your comments, your emails, your follows.

Please, keep it coming!

But most importantly – I appreciate you.


You can follow Inspired By Venice, via email or the WordPress button, on my main page.

Bonus fun!! Staying inspired on Instagram! @InspiredByVenice

You can also join me on Goodreads, or my Amazon author page, for book updates!

Have you read one of my tales? Your Goodreads or Amazon book review, is a gift that is sincerely appreciated.

And of course, if you are looking for a new adventure, for yourself, or for a gift, please consider being a fairy godpatron in the bookstore.


Time to go sharpen my quill and spill some ink!

Stay Inspired

I Encountered A Tree-Hugger…

Yesterday when I was out for an evening walk, happy that it was actually still light out at the hour I can head around the block, I encountered a tree-hugger. Literally.

I’d just rounded a corner where there is a grassy lot containing several towering trees. I saw a woman ambling there, and was caught a little off guard. This lot is always absent of activity.

I smiled out of friendliness, just as she moved up to one of the trees, and wrapped her arms around the trunk. It had to register, but then I nodded. I understood.

Oh…do they have to take this one down? I sympathized.

In that moment, I was guessing that the particular tree had caused some hazard, or was unhealthy. That happens sometimes. But then, with whatever few words passed between us, her also gesturing toward a sign on the property, I understood. Both the trees would be coming down. Someone was going to build.

The woman was saying farewell.

I wished her good evening, and continued on my way. But as I walked on, I gazed above, and for a moment, I thought I would begin to cry. These trees appeared magnificently old. Perhaps some several hundred years, for all I know. And they were beautiful. And then, I noticed woodpecker holes in the trunk of one, and I thought about how we so aggressively thin out habitat, for all wildlife.

I was humbled the rest of my walk. Thinking how this woman had cared, and hugged this tree, and said goodbye. And I was so sad for these noble, living things – when it wasn’t their time to go.

I encountered a tree-hugger. And from that encounter, I was reminded…

Love yourself, love one another, love every creature – and be thankful for your time…

Stay Inspired.

When The Clock Strikes Cheese…

I am a creature of extreme habit. And I love it that way. Predictability and a schedule keep me centered and productive! And it also communicates to my body, when it’s time to go go go, versus slow down.

My weekdays follow a pattern. My weekends follow a pattern. Some patterns shift with the season (my summers are generally extremely busy) – yet even with change, comes a pattern.

This is the right way – for me.

Down the street, a church bell tolls the hours. 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m.

Dong! — Dong! — Dong!

I love it. I think I’ve cast open my windows and thrown my head out a zillion times, just to take in the bell. And the weather…and the stars…and the bell…

The bell is beautiful. I never grow tired of it.

When the 6 p.m. bell tolls, it is precisely (give or take) the moment I end my work day during the week. I then promptly go get a plate of cheese and crackers (or sometimes cheese and walnuts).

This moment of my day is a special transition – from work time, to my time. And the cheese puts a stamp on it. And like the bell, the cheese never gets old.

In fact with cheese – the older the better, of course!

Do you have a special part of your day? Something meaningful that you cherish?

Stay Inspired.

Pretend Like You’re A Princess…

Some months ago, I was sharing my woes with my mother over the phone. I’m guessing it’s pretty common for people to just want to talk to mom when they are feeling down. Or, someone close. Whoever it is, you’re just looking for comfort, or a clearer way of thinking about this or that. Words only someone who loves you, can give.

In any case, I said to her: What am I going to do?

It was really more of a statement. I am after all, quite old enough to figure things out for myself. I’m also so independent, I probably won’t heed advice. Further, we all have woes, so it’s not like someone else is going to have the miracle answer we didn’t think of.

My mother promptly replied :

Nothing. Just lay around in your bed, and pretend like you’re a princess.

BEST ANSWER EVER.

I wasn’t expecting that. But the truth is – sometimes you can’t magically untangle life, or feel better instantaneously. You just have to struggle and live through it.

Now, every time I feel this way, I hear my mother’s words. And then…I go get cozy under all my blankets, and eat cookies, and you know, pretend like I’m a princess.

It may not be solving anything – but it really does make me feel a little better!

Love you Mama!

It’s Time To Get Inspired!

Is it summer yet?

Heavens, I can’t wait for some sun on my face, on so many long and lovely outdoor walks. I can hear the Lake Michigan waves crashing as I giddily search for lake glass. And I can just see all of the tables of vegetable splendor at the farmers’ market. How I pine to throw open the windows to a beautiful breeze and cicadas on a summer’s night…

But back to reality. It’s only March.

But I’ve been thinking – and thinking very seriously – that it is time to get inspired. Like, down to business, inspired.

This is a pep talk to myself. And I’m making it public.

After losing myself in a Michelle-why-aren’t-you-working-on-your-projects? Where-has-all-of-your-drive-and-creativity-toddled-off-to? sort of void (the pandemic has played no small part – perhaps you can relate?) I think I’m finally getting my footing, and my goals back in line.

IT’S TIME TO GET INSPIRED!!!

First on the agenda – my mystery novel Still. New York City. A timeworn, venerated museum with many ancient displays…and shadowy corners to hide in…

Bwah-ha-ha!

I’m wrapping it up! With a dusty, creepy, page-turning ribbon. I can’t wait for you to read it. More soon…

Are you staying inspired? Don’t forget to take some time to dream, plan, and do, whatever it is you love.

Spring, lovely spring…

Welcome Friends! What’s going on in your world?

I hope life is bringing you health and happiness, wherever you are!

I just sat down for a quick lunch bite, but soon off to finish my chores. I’ve laundry drying, and some dishes and dusting yet to do. How the dust bunnies add up to be dust tumbleweeds around my house each week, is a particular mystery of interest.

I find dusting very satisfying.

I’ve also learned to be aggressive about chores. Get them out of the way, so I can play (a.k.a. – drink tea, eat cookies, and lay around reading).

I’m reading a book of classic short stories, by Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, Washington Irving, and such. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. The stories, and the cookies I’m eating while I’m reading, of course.

Maybe that’s why I sweep up so much from the floors. All the cookie crumbs.

But I just wanted to say to you all today, that I wish you a spring full of positivity, energy, fresh air, lovely blooms, blessings, and new beginnings. I really do.

Stay Inspired.

Kind of, Amazing…

I was thinking this morning, about cheese. A specific photo that I took, in fact.

Of cheese.

In Paris.

{Cheese in Paris food shop}

I love cheese.

I also love abundant food scenes. Pictures of fare from everywhere I have ever been. Or even, just at home. Photos of my dinner plate. I’ve captured hundreds, I’m sure. I guess, I just think it’s beautiful. The place. The moment. The taste. The smell. The memory.

My life.

{Eiffel Tower}

I’ve been deeply introspective these last handful of years, and live a very quiet, simple life. A dead stop almost, to the more outward person I used to be. To the more vibrant life I used to live. With so many experiences. This shift began even before the word pandemic was in my vocabulary.

But, perhaps that is just natural in our journeys….once I was like this, now I am like that. Once my life was like this. Now, it is like that.

{The Palais Garnier – Opera national de Paris}

But certainly, I never knew life could deliver such juxtaposition! Did you? It makes me feel I’ve lived multiple lifetimes in one. I have. I really have. And I only knew this just now, in these introspective years, as I’ve looked back.

Looked back…at pictures of cheese. And my memories.

{A Parisian kitty-cat}

And someday my life will be something else. And I will be someone else. Maybe even somewhere else. Who knows.

{Notre-Dame de Paris}

Will I reunite with friends and readers this summer, at The Quill and Brush? Will I go to live with Bigfoot in an off-grid cabin next year, and leave city life behind (as long as there’s dependable internet and a stash of lime La Croix…and cookies…I’m good). Will I resume traveling someday, such a great passion (let’s not think too hard on whether I will be able to afford to – ha!)?

{Shop in Paris. I swoon for this desk. I see bugs.}

When will I embrace my beloved Venice again? Who all, will be alongside me in life? What friends, have I yet to make? What rocky times await me, that I must be strong to overcome? What books will I still write, that I haven’t even begun to imagine? What else? How different will it all be, from before?

{C’est moi – Cafe in Paris}

And who, will I be?

It’s kind of exciting. Kind of baffling. Kind of intriguing. Kind of scary.

Kind of, amazing.

Remember your journey. Hope for your future. Stay Inspired.

It Lightened My Heart…

Good Day, Good Friends!

What are you up to these days?

I’ve been quite focused on my work weeks, and in keeping my quiet little home life. Days of focus, simplicity, peace, and good health – this is my daily goal at present.

And also, to be consistently thankful for my blessings!

Some of my favorite things lately?

I’ve been fitness walking and then stretching in my living room some days – always followed up by a cold sparkling lime La Croix! I love my outdoor walks, as you know, and still traipse about in the snow and ice. But my indoor exertions have been a convenient, healthy, and inspiring lift to life! You know, there are so many videos online. I personally look for low impact, and positivity. These days, I’m not interested in giving myself miserable follow up soreness (no extreme exercising), nor in doing a session that makes me, however unintentionally, feel ‘bad’ about myself (my abilities, or level of fitness, or imperfections).

Let’s just say, I like to smile and feel silly and have fun when I’m swaying my hips!

I’ve also been enjoying reading, which I have been strongly craving lately. I anticipate reading more books this year than usual. I also crave the Bible’s words (Proverbs is my favorite – I nod at the wisdom in every verse). I’ve too, been delighting in several interesting programs and movies. I especially like those that expose me to new places, or experiences. Culture, or past events – things which I may never see, or directly understand myself, but get to learn something about. And, I am writing. Not a lot, but even slow progress gets you to your goal eventually! It is my hope that Still and Dragons At Dusk will belong to the world, and no longer to me, before long.

By the way, have you ever put sugar snap peas on your salad? Lovely. They are so fresh, crunchy, and earthy. I like to munch on a handful with my lunch – and then spend the afternoon with green in my teeth. That’s my pretty look.

Yesterday morning, I heard a bird singing outside my window. It was the song of spring, which if you have known decades of winter like I have, you can decipher. It didn’t matter the feet of snow on the ground, or that it is yet icy. The birds know what’s coming, and that song was filled with hope.

It lightened my heart.

Well, I’ve a bit of reading – writing – hip swaying – dishwashing to do before my Sunday is up. So I leave you with the wish, that you are keeping well and staying inspired.

All of my best.

Whatcha thinking about today?

Good Day Good Friends! Whatcha thinking about today?

I’m thinking, there’s never enough time to read all the books you want to!

I’m thinking that apples have been tasting like candy lately – I don’t remember them tasting like that when I was a kid.

I’m thinking how one should never leave a chocolate croissant unattended in the toaster oven, even for a second. And about how sitting in a cafe in Paris with one would really sound lovely, no?

I’m thinking how nice the house smells after I peel an orange. And about how I like to sniff tomato vines – so fresh and spicy! And about how fragrant the basil leaves I just bought are…

I’m thinking how much I love to spy prints in dried cement. Wouldn’t it be fun to print a book of them? Of precious paws, and fallen leaves, and other natural impressions.

I’m thinking how I crave a green juice everyday – it’s like, a feeling. But what is a craving, really? What’s the difference between a wanting, and a craving? This is a curious thought.

I’m thinking that though the snow and ice crystals have been magical, they are getting in the way of my treasure hunts! For lost coins, feathers, and pretty insects for my collection.

I’m thinking about how I’m becoming an instant coffee connoisseur! And about how enchanting it would be to be drinking an espresso in Venice right now. Oh, Venezia – you are the beating of my heart.

I’m thinking about how wonderful twinkle lights are, when strung inside the house. Cozy-calming-indoor-fireflies.

I’m thinking about how there are several owls in my neighborhood. Sometimes they hoot and call not far outside my window. Aren’t I lucky?!

I’ve heard a coyote howling, too. I’ve listened to his call on a starry moonlight night.

I’m thinking about how God must have made cotton candy sunsets just for our delight.

And about how I can’t wait for the newest flower on my Christmas cactus to bloom. The last one looked like a twirling pink-red fairy.

I’m thinking how good it feels to have healthy food in my home, and a roof over my head, and to have what I need. I don’t need much – so I guess I could say I have it all.

But mostly, I’m thinking about how important it is to keep counting my blessings…

Let us cherish the good things in life.

Stay Inspired.

Beauty Sleeping – Audio Chapters 1 – 2

Greetings Dear Readers! I hope you are staying inspired?!

Maybe I can help? Let’s throw some fairy dust!! You’re about to get glittered!!!

And chased by monsters

Ok – maybe the sparkle and beasts don’t make an appearance until after chapters 1 and 2. But since nothing inspires me more than an enchanted wood filled with ogres, maidens, witches, goblins, and terribly fierce dragons, I turned through a few pages to record the first two chapters of my Beauty Sleeping, just for you. This tale might be my most magical. A little eerie – yikes! But so, so, so romantic.

A story of eternal love.

Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak – The author’s reading of Chapter 1
Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak – The author’s reading of Chapter 2

Here’s wishing you, all the love and magic there is!

And forever, Stay Inspired.

If you would like to be a fairy godpatron to the authoress – please be sure to whirl your wand in the bookstore! Enjoy the adventure!

A Little Differently…

So, I’ve experienced what I consider a bona fide miracle. Like, a Jesus miracle. No joke, I’ll be setting aside some on-my-knees-time to thank my Creator.

But, for the purpose of this inspired post, let’s just call what happened a breakthrough. I was struggling forever with something. I applied herculean efforts to hurtle over this roadblock, with little result. So, I’d throw in the towel. Become apathetic. Then I’d get upset with myself, try again, apply more herculean efforts. Still didn’t work. Many times over. Endless disappointment.

It got to the point where last week, I was feeling pretty fierce about it – bursting into exhausted tears one day, feeling really down about myself another, addressing God rather vehemently the next. I believe that was a first. The whole giving God some sass. But hey – I know He understood my frustration. I’ve only been praying about this forever.

Well – I’m certain you know Algernon Sidney’s words as well as I do.

God helps those…

Did you finish the sentence?

And how did I do it? Overcome my impossible? I acknowledged that my approach wasn’t working. And then I asked myself, what could I do just a little bit differently?

…and then I did that.

And now I am Hercules, in the flesh. Except without the muscles.

Unless the muscles in my brain count?!

HA-HA!!

But enough about my flexing my brain muscles. The point of this post is…

I bet there’s something in your life that you wish you could accomplish – improve upon – or overcome. And I’m here to holler all the way to wherever you are – you can. But if whatever you’ve been doing to get there isn’t working so far, take a real moment with yourself and ask…

What can I do just a little bit differently?

Stay Inspired.

A Remark On Beauty…

Good Day, Good Friends! Are we staying inspired?

Don’t forget to say “Hello” in the comments! It always means much to hear from you!

I’ve only a few thoughts for today, but I’ll have more posts to share this week…

Tomorrow there is to be a blizzard in these parts. Many inches are expected. When this happens, this urban-dwelling street-parker has to move her car to a parking garage in advance, so that her old clunker doesn’t get ticketed or towed when the sirens scream and the city plows come barreling through…

The upside is that while I’m working from home tomorrow, I won’t be worrying about the weather conditions outside and feeling uneasy about my car. My tin can will be safe and cozy. And I won’t have to dig it out. The downside is that, city parking garages will cost you your firstborn. But what can I do?

Whether we are country mice, or city mice (one of my favorite childhood stories), we all have to deal with the weather. So I’ll just grab some goodies from my favorite grocery (a few blocks from the garage) after I park my car downtown tonight, enjoy the crisp air as I walk home, look up at the night sky and count my blessings…

But I wanted to share: I read an article I felt in tune with, in USA Today, by Alia Dastagir titled: Goodbye heels, hello ‘lady-stache’: Many women ditch beauty routines for good.

The article speaks on how women who have been working from home are taking a new look at their beauty practices, and thinking about the purpose of their past processes. I found myself nodding my head. So many women, spending so much time, money, and thought, in keeping up with standards, just to head to work.

My story is a little different. I haven’t really been too concerned about these things for a long time. The hair, and makeup, and nice clothes. Minimal has been working just fine for me these days.

{As a side note, just to embarrass myself…I don’t brush my hair, and never will. Once, I had to have a hair brush cut out of my hair. Perhaps even more than once. It was an awful affair. I still wince. I don’t believe in hairbrushes. They are from the dark side. Finger-combing is a much more peaceful attempt at managing my rebellious, knotty tresses.}

However, when I was younger, I absolutely did care about the way I looked – to the point of vanity. Mostly, I just enjoyed looking nice. But as we know, a lot of psychology revolves around this topic in our culture. And it is easy for a woman, myself included, to worry about whether she is ‘meeting expectations’.

These days, as long as I look clean (no stains on my clothes), respectable (a family term? about all of my wrinkly, non-ironed outfits? I embrace wrinkles – HA!) (or to not wear the sweater with all the holes in it – even if it’s my favorite sweater), and professional (most businesses have a dress code – fortunately my style easily falls in line), then I feel confident enough to head into work…

Only, my personal battle isn’t so much with looking glam these days…it’s with my allergies.

I have terrible allergies, that have only gotten worse over the years. Allergies to mascara, that make my eyes burn. Allergies to deodorants that make my underarms itch (there’s chemicals in everything friends). Even shampoos that though are more effective than ‘natural alternatives’, have too many loud fragrances that cause me issues.

I’m the canary in the coal mine. My body tells me when there’s something bad in a product. Whether my eyes start to water, or my skin gets a rash, or I get a headache, or start having trouble breathing. But God bless it – there’s lots of companies making amazing products nowadays – and they don’t cause these problems, free of the icky stuff.

But all of this to say – When I read that article, I thought about how it’s been a nice relief to not use these harsher items, which admittedly, often do get ‘better results’ than the natural ones I prefer (or to just be able to skip some products altogether in the daily routine). I’ve been thinking about this a lot. About all the worries I’ve been freer from – including others besides.

Funny, I wouldn’t be concerned about judgement on this topic from my present coworkers. Yet still, these items are ingrained in our brains since birth, and we hold ourselves to the standards we have cemented.

Look nice, smell nice, act nice, smile. Always appear on top of your game.

But…many days, that’s really hard.

Of course, I know the story is different for everyone. But as for me, the article struck me – extending beyond just mascara – and into the great many pressures we all put on ourselves.

Just remember – Love yourself. You are enough.

I love that while working from home, I’ve really been able to just focus in on embracing my work.

Now, isn’t that beautiful.

Stay Inspired.

A Teaspoon A Day, Sort of Way…

Hello Dear Friends! Welcome and cheerful greetings!

So, I have to say, however Grinch-like this may sound, I am glad that Christmas has passed.

Why?

Well, of course I love Christmas like anyone else. And I especially love the true messages of Christmas. But it’s sort of like this…

Once upon a time, when I was in my young years, around the early-teens, someone in my extended family got married. Now, I’d always lived a quiet, simple life. And I was an only child. And yes, I had a few friends, and a sprinkle of family. And yes, occasionally exciting things happened. But generally speaking, life was just quiet and simple.

Well, this wedding was something new and interesting. I don’t recall there being much of weddings before that point, and to admit, even to this day, I haven’t been involved in or attended, all that many. And, I wasn’t involved in this one either. More, just a young lady watching the excitement of others from a distance, and thinking it was all quite different. Again, my family is small. And my life was always quiet.

Funny, just now, I’m not even certain I attended this wedding! I have some photos, but I didn’t take them. I don’t think. Was I at this service? I must have been. For why did it all make such an impact on me, if not?

How strange, our memories.

But here is what ultimately happened. Right after this wedding day, my spirit plummeted like a swallow falling down through the sky to smash into the earth. It was immediate. I don’t even know that I ever told anyone how I felt? I didn’t even have any crushing emotional attachment to any of the events surrounding the occasion, except as a happy observer of some special-goings-on.

I eventually recovered. But yikes. I was…shall we say…crestfallen and sullen. And what I learned about myself is…I don’t like a shaking up. I don’t like too much excitement. Soaring too high, and crashing too hard. I don’t like surprises either…unless they are very quiet and gentle surprises…and even then, I don’t prefer them.

HA! I’m so weird.

I have since pinpointed other scenarios from before, and many after, that time. After a largely anticipated happening. Full of sparkle and magic. Christmas fits the mold. Or rather, the whole bundle that is the holiday season. The swallow of my soul soaring too high. And even still…this being the quietest season of all times. It’s just the holidays. They can make one overly sentimental, or analyze too closely. Or expect too much. Or become sullen when the glitter is gone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I live cheerfully and with delight in my life! But more in the a teaspoon a day, sort of way. I think each day should have simple pleasures, gratefulness, amusement and happiness in it. Just nothing to stir my pot too mightily.

Of course, if you’re the type that embraces a good shaking up, and as much as you can handle, or are someone somewhere in-between…that’s awesome. LOVE YOUR LIFE!!!!! And the opportunity to have that again, is just around the corner, I’m certain.

But all I’m saying is…I think the best magic and inspiration really is, just in the every day. When your eyes are open, you see it. And it’s stinking beautiful. That’s my favorite. And it’s enough for me.

Stay Inspired.

Peace and Good Will Toward Men

Good Tidings, Dear Friends!

Today, I am wishing you all of the peace and good will in the world. I hope for you a healthy and blessed holiday season, and a Merry Christmas too!

Today, after clearing my poor-little-cracking-allergy-ridden-throat to the best of my ability, holding back tickles that threatened coughs, I got my reading voice going. Because…I wanted to give you dear readers a gift.

At least, the only gift I have to give you today, wherever in the world you may be.

It’s the Christmas story, selections from the King James Bible. The readings are taken from chapters Matthew and Luke.

I know it’s been a terribly difficult year for so many. So, I thought, perhaps a listen to this Christmas miracle might offer peace and gladness. I hope you will enjoy hearing about the birth of Jesus as it is written, of the wise men, and that star in the sky. Of the shepherds, and the manger. Of praising angels, and God’s love.

It’s a beautiful story.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:14 KJV

Luke 2: 1-39 KJV
Matthew 2 KJV
Luke 1: 26-38 KJV
Matthew 1: 18-25 KJV

A sip of sunshine…

Though I was tempted toward something sweeter to follow up my lunch bite today, I had an orange instead, and it was perfect. After, my house smelled like oranges, and that was perfect too.

I love anything citrus.

Some years ago, while out at the antique shops, I had in mind that I wanted a vintage glass juicer. But though I saw some transparent ones, and probably some other colors too, when I happened across this delightful yellow piece, I knew it was mine. There is nothing like a fresh glass of orange juice.

I can say however, making a glass takes a lot more oranges than you’d think, which can get rather expensive. A bag of oranges hardly gives you a few glasses. But, once in a while, it’s worth it for a sip of sunshine.

Stay Inspired.

The Lost Garden…

On my daily walks, I have appreciated seeing an increase in people taking walks. Even after dark. Even in the cold. I think walks may be on the rise, since convening elsewhere is not an option. As a matter of fact, a sprinkle of folks have even embraced taking a bite at the local restaurant at outdoor tables (no eating inside), in December. One evening on my walk, I saw three ladies together around a table with a small fire in its middle (installed for outdoor winter dining). Coats, hats, even a blanket. I wonder if they’ll still be doing this in January? I think it’s fun! But brrrrr…..

My philosophy? If you dress warmly enough, winter is just as delightful for outdoor activity as any other season. Which reminds me, I need to order some boots. Today. Snow and ice will be here soon and my toes have lately been getting numb!

Ambling over to Lighthouse Beach here on Lake Michigan, I passed Evanston’s Harley Clarke Mansion, some few blocks from my home. The mansion is a historic site, and has in recent years, been much in the local language concerning its maintenance and fate. Old mansions are expensive to take care of. And when the city owns them, it’s difficult to find the budget. Especially now, I would gather. Fortunately, it is at present still standing. Let’s hope the best for its future.

Someday, I’ll post some photos of the gorgeous beast itself. I understand it has been vacant for some years, the Evanston Arts Center its last tenant. But today, I wanted to share the mansion’s decrepit greenhouse.

I have quite the imagination. So of course, while tromping past, I had to go peek inside. The dirty windows and inner-neglect were calling to me. Screaming, in fact. I needed to imagine the greenhouse as it once was, and what it could be again…

Greenhouses are magical places, where wonderful things are grown. Some delicate and needing shelter. Some, which could not survive our climate otherwise…

As I gazed in, I saw the precious rows of emerald. Boxes of wholesome vegetables to feed a table were before me. The excitement of a yield of ripe fruit, and the splash of cheerful scented flowers too. I felt the humid warmth, and smelled the dirt. I plucked a green bean and ate it right then, tasting the earth…

I wanted to be there, in that lost garden.

I thought of how I would have visited the greenhouse everyday, if I’d once lived in that house. That mansion by the waves. Stopping in to clip a flower to carry with me, to sniff every three seconds. Sneaking in at night to gaze at the full moon through the glass above, and to see the garden at midnight…

How many times I would have passed through this door, the key around my neck on a chain, so that I could always be in the garden…

Do you see it too?

What would you grow in the garden?

I would grow lots of lettuce. And radishes, and cucumbers, and melons, and beautiful pink peonies and periwinkle hydrangeas. And raspberries, and snap peas and snow peas. And squash. And there would be a citrus tree in the corner. Lemons. And there would be ivy vines clinging to the windows, and rose bushes all around the greenhouse outside. And lilies too. Stargazer lilies everywhere.

And I would salute the Grosse Point Light just overhead everyday, guiding the ships out on the lake. And in winter, I would attempt to make a snow sculpture that looked just like it. And then I would go drink hot chocolate and eat cookies, in the warmth and shelter of the greenhouse.

Stay Inspired.

Charity Never Faileth

~ A Message of Charity ~

I will ever be fascinated with the Bible. And not simply in the sense of religion. Let’s just say, it’s the book of everything. It makes you think.

And whether or not you are of the Christian faith, upon reading it, you may be surprised to see just how much it is a book of today, as it was, a book of times past. For those who may say the book is ‘outdated’…well, I wonder if they’ve really read it. Or more particularly, considered the ways it applies to life.

It’s a book about humanity. And as for me, that book is eternal.

But to be specific, I sometimes come across a verse that quite literally changes the way I see life. That’s pretty powerful. Because, you know, I’m not a youngin’ anymore. I’m pretty much set in my pattern of thinking at this point. Deduced from decades of experience.

But here, I am to be humbled.

I recently heard a preacher speak the words: Charity never faileth (1 Corinthians 13:8 KJV). I didn’t even catch the context. But apparently, just hearing the words was enough to impact me indefinitely.

For certain, I’ve heard that verse a zillion times before. But this time, I was struck. Struck hard. Charity never faileth. Hmmm….

Never faileth.

But let me put this into substance. I am not particularly charitable, at present. I can however, look back at periods when I was, and my heart is moved to recall. Visiting the nursing home on Sundays to sing and deliver homemade cards to very lonely elderly (how about I start weeping right now). Volunteering time with youth with disabilities. Volunteering time with disadvantaged children. And all those other times, I simply gave.

I think back, and let me say. It wasn’t just what I was giving. It was what I was getting back in return. My life was permanently changed by those experiences. And remembering, I am deeply humbled. I am also ashamed to wonder, where has my giving gone?

To point out, charity isn’t just money. It doesn’t have to be money at all. It can just be time. Even some small effort. A little cheer. A bit of lifting up. Just giving to someone else. Caring about someone else. Or even, something else, that makes the world better. Animals, the environment, community buildings in need of repair; of course, the list is endless.

Further to mention, I’ve now lived in an urban environment for two decades. Therefore, I regularly encounter people in need as I go about. And though many instances of privation have spoken to my heart, others have hardened it.

And as this message is an honest one, I will say, I’ve often been wary to give to others, wondering if in some cases, I’m not being tricked, or manipulated. Or if my giving will be misapplied.

But then, that verse.

Charity never faileth. And I realized, in an instant, softening any hard part I’d ever allowed to grow in my heart…

No matter what, if you give, it is never, ever, in vain.

Perhaps some efforts appear they will be a loss. Or, a giving put to poor use. Or, why bother. But that is not so. Charity never faileth.

Each of us knows, in what ways, and when, we can give. Just always remember, it will never be in vain.

Please pass along the message ~ I think it is one worth sharing.

Stay Inspired.

The gift that it is, to be…

Greetings Kindred Spirits!

This morning, while running out for some necessary items, I decided I also needed some chocolate doughnuts. Needed them. I also grabbed some chocolate chip cookies, and some chocolate candies. Because, you know, I needed those too.

Humans. Aren’t we something? Ha!

{Starting Catherine Steadman’s Mr. Nobody. Her Something in the Water was a real page-turner. Loved it!}

Have you ever spent an entire day reading a book? I have. As if under a spell. Yes, I’d have been reading a good book, or splitting the time between several. But it wasn’t so much the book. Rather, the place I needed to be in at the time.

Just to sit very still. Very quiet. And give myself away to something other than every other thing we focus on.

I do this with writing too.

Is there something in this world that you do this with? Tinkering, gardening, cooking, binge watching (hey, it has its value)? Something that takes you to another zone?

As I took my evening walk yesterday, I thought…

I love being outside more than anything, at all, ever.

I just feel, better. And not that I’m feeling bad. It’s just, when I’m outside, it’s very right.

I say, thank God for shelter and modern conveniences. I embrace cozy. I love a full cupboard. A cushiony place to rest my head is a blessing. But you know, we weren’t made into that. In the beginning. We were formed in the wilderness. We are nature. And whenever I go outside, I feel it.

Once many years ago, I told my mother that if we ever knew the pending hour that I would pass, that I would want to be outside. You know, if I got sick or something. A lawn chair, the sky, and some trees. Just, outside. She said she’d do her best. I love my mom.

I know that may sound gloomy. But it isn’t. It’s spiritual. I simply share the sentiment, to illustrate what I feel, when I am outside.

What in this world inspires you that way? The sound of your family’s laughter? Moving song? A soul-warming meal? Painting? Running?

Isn’t it beautiful? All the different ways we can sense the gift that it is, to be?

Stay Inspired.

Thanksgiving

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 ~ KJV

Happy Saturday!

Hi, Hi, Hi!

How is everyone doing today? I hope you are staying inspired?

If you’re a new reader, I just want to say welcome to Inspired By Venice! Be sure to say Hello! So glad you’re here.

In the news this week, I received a care package from my mama on Tuesday.

Doesn’t a care package just warm your heart? Whether filled with treats, or things needed, or in my case, office supplies and Covid survival goods (including a bundle of pink face masks…so I can feel pretty), it’s always a blessing.

Thank you Mom!

In said box, was a huge magnifying glass. Because I have that mom that just sends cool stuff like that!

The thought of smoking ants on the sidewalk crossed my mind (you know I would never – ever), and also a cozy reverie of skimming piles of dusty books fireside with said magnifier. I’d need a pipe, and some fuzzy slippers, and a cat or five, in this dream…

But then I thought…I will magnify all my bugs! So, the glass has an important purpose now. It’s my insect magnifying glass.

With this said, I think my bug book, however faithfully it has served me over the years, and how beloved it is, is not enough.

Christmas present to self – I need a spider book. To start.

You know, spiders are very aware of you. Maybe they think we’re monsters. Maybe we look good to nibble. I think some are curious (jumpers to be specific). I’ve had some pretty awesome interactions.

A jumper who was browsing my books.

Because, spiders like fairy tales too.

It’s true. This one told me.

In other news, and as I have stated here before, anything minty and chocolate is on my list of top favorites in life. Therefore, every holiday season, I go bonkers over the selection of seasonal delights.

These dark chocolate peppermint cookies from Whole Foods? Let’s just say, I’m going back to the store, I’m going to fill a basket, and become a pandemic toilet paper hoarder…only with cookies.

In other, other news…I’ve been a vegetarian for about a decade now! That’s pretty committed for a meat lover.

Yes. I said it. Meatloaf, bacon, and ribs are delicious. (Shhh…don’t tell the other vegetarians I said that). But I don’t eat it. In all these years, the few bites I’ve had has amounted to no more than a plate. And, at least for me personally, I believe my body thanks me for that every day.

I have a love affair with salad. It’s date night every night!

{An American Greetings card I’m displaying in my kitchen for some cheer}

In other, other, other news…Is there anything better than glitter? Can I just roll in a pile of glitter and run down the street skipping, and twirling, just once in my life? Just saying.

Well now, I’m off to other writing. I hope to get Still out to the world very soon. And I sincerely can’t wait.

Stay Inspired!

Are we ready for some cheer?!

Who is already ready for some holiday sparkle?!?

Me Me Me – ME ME!!!

But really? Will some mini jingle-bells and glitter applied to my face mask be too much?

Ha – HA!

For the record…I looked up how long candy canes last, since I just happened upon a forgotten one on the shelf in my cupboard. And guess what?

I’m eating it!!

Stay inspired friends!

All the thoughts…

Evanston has entered a new Stay-At-Home phase, alongside Chicago, to last at least 30 days. No Thanksgiving gatherings advised, of course. I wouldn’t have been gathering anyway, too risky. But that we’re slipping backwards instead of moving forward…well, I felt that.

All the thoughts, right? About it all.

I have been reflecting on all the ads that pop up for fashion items on the internet. It never ends. Buy makeup! Buy perfume! Buy nice clothes! Buy some stuff! And, I sit there and wonder…what are they trying to sell here? An illusion of normalcy? People aren’t really going anywhere. Where would they be showing off their style? Online? At the grocery store – all masked up?

And this isn’t me being negative. Not really. Because the truth is, I love pretty things too. And it’s natural for people to want to look and feel good, no matter what is happening in the world. I support that. But when I see those ads, I think, that stuff doesn’t feel so, important. At all. It wouldn’t even be fun to buy any of it, even if I were inclined. Not right now.

I’ve been pondering the last pair of sparkly heels in my closet…and friends, I once donned so many fashionable pretties. And I’ve wondered, will any such thing ever be important to me again?

For now, I think I’ll be looking for the beauty in life elsewhere. It is certain I won’t find it in one of those ads.

All the thoughts.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:28-29 KJV

Stay Inspired.

Black Widow…

Do you have any strange aspirations? Something you hope to do in life? Some place you want to see? Something out of the ordinary?

I do!

Among my list of I hope to’s, I would like to find a Black Widow Spider in the wild. A Northern Black Widow, to be specific. And take its picture. And have a chat…because I’m a bug whisperer and all.

From a distance, of course.

From my insect guide: Insects spiders and other terrestrial arthropods by George C. McGavin

The truth is, I wonder if I haven’t already, and didn’t recognize it. I’ve seen a lot of spiders in my life, and hope I didn’t miss my chance! An acquaintance told me that she’d seen a Black Widow in the neighborhood. Hanging out on a door frame, I believe. That means, assuming no misidentification, I should keep my eyes on the webs in the area.

While I’m at it…we should add the Brown Recluse to my list.

Don’t play with spiders friends. That’s dangerous. But don’t squish them either. That’s bad karma.

Stay Inspired!

Look Up, Gaze Out…

We had been experiencing some days of the most beautiful, warm weather for this late in the season. And even though it is already dark when I leave my desk on a weekday, a walk, however brief, is a gift…

As I looked up into cloudless night skies, to the stars, and to the bright beautiful moon, all the trees filled with fire red, tangerine orange and rich yellow leaves, I was amazed at this world.

I forgot everything, and just felt like a natural part of it, all else melting away. That is a priceless feeling.

I love to look up, and gaze out. Even if sometimes, it’s just by opening my window for a few minutes with my coffee…