New Release: Her Timeless Gamble by Nancy Fraser

Her Timeless Gamble book cover
Bestselling Author Nancy Fraser has a new book publishing today.

For a change of pace, this novel, Her Timeless Gamble, is a historical romance.

Get to Know Nancy Fraser

Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon is how Nancy, an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author, describes what she writes.

She says she "can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all." 

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

To date, Nancy has published over 35 books in full-length, novella, and short format.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her 5 wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Sign up for Nancy's Newsletter.



When Matthew McAlister pulls a nearly-drowned woman from the mucky waters of the Mississippi, he has no idea what's in store for him.

Nor does he know how easily he'll willingly give up his carefree, love-em-and-leave-em lifestyle for a chance at real happiness.

Kathryn (Kate) Lowell can't believe her bad luck. Or the fact she's somehow been transported from the twenty-first century back to the post Civil War south. Worse yet, into the arms of the one man she grew up hating. The man she blames for her father's recent demise.

Can these two off-kilter and infinitely stubborn individuals fight their mutual attraction? Or, will they give in to the inevitable? And, when the time comes, will Kate choose to stay with Matt in the past, or return to her former life?

Excerpt from Her Timeless Gamble

Kate shifted the neon green tote bag higher on her shoulder. The added weight of the strongbox containing her father’s few possessions made the short walk to the end of the pier more difficult than it should have been. Behind her, the sun beat down mercilessly, its searing rays reflecting off the water and heating the dock’s wooden planks, until Kate could feel their warmth through the soles of her canvas shoes.

Less than a dozen feet separated her from the ghostly remains of the devil her father had chased for the majority of his life. The only visible signs of the Lucky Lady’s existence were the tarnished hull and splintered railings that shone as she listed on her side in an unforgiving river.

She stopped at the end of the dock and surveyed her surroundings. The waters of the Mississippi River were a sickening muddy brown, their banks strewn with broken bottles and empty fast-food containers. Graffiti covered the retaining walls, scribbled in vibrant shades of red, black and orange, a painter’s palate of obscenities intensified by the bright sunlight.

Kate lowered her head, intent on one last moment of reflection, one last farewell. She rummaged inside her pocket for the envelope of flower petals she planned to scatter across her father’s watery grave, encountering instead the cool surface of her father’s silver dollar. A treasure from the early 1860s and Joseph Lowell’s second most prized possession, the coin had been found at the water’s edge by the coast guard recovery team and given to Kate when she arrived to settle her father’s affairs.

Clutching the large coin tightly in her hand, she whispered, “Why daddy? Why didn’t you get off the boat while you still could? I wish I knew where you were.” Kate tucked the coin in her pocket, and drew a deep breath for strength. “I wish I had one more chance to tell you how much I love you.” 

“Come back, my love.” 

The voice…the one from her dreams…echoed around her, through her. Kate spun quickly, bracing herself for a face-to-face encounter. The weight of the tote bag threw her off balance. She did her best to compensate, stretching her arms out at her sides for balance and dropping her purse in the process. 

Too late she realized how close she’d wandered to the edge of the dock. With barely enough time to draw a breath, Kate fell backward into the water, the rock-like weight of the strongbox dragging her deeper, the murky water of the Mississippi River swallowing her whole.

To learn more about Her Timeless Gamble by Nancy Fraser, visit: BookBub  OR  Goodreads.

To get your hands on Her Timeless Gamble and read it now, go to:


OR

Books2Read to select your favorite retailer from several ebooks sellers.

Takeaway Truth

Nancy Fraser writes romance that always promises the reader time well-spent.

6 Beauty Tips

The winter is harsh on one's skin. If you feel as dried out as I do, here are some tips to help you. Don't worry. None involve black mud on the face.

1.  Looking younger starts the night before.

Yes, you hear it all the time. Get a good night's sleep. Here's one way that might help you achieve that. Spray your pillow with a light lavender scent. Lavender has been proven to relax and soothe anxiety.

2. Once a week, give your complexion a good steaming. 

Pour boiling water over a couple of herbal tea bags and steep a couple of minutes. Then with a towel over your head to create a "tent" lower your face to within a few inches of the steaming tea for five minutes.

3. Hands reveal a woman's age more than anything.

Mix up an exfoliant paste of sea salt and olive oil. Once a day, plop a spoonful of the mixture into your palms and massage onto hands and forearms. Massage a few minutes then remove with a warm cloth.

4. Skin dries out as we age. Be sure to hydrate yours with enough water.

Drink at least 8 glasses of good, filtered water every day.

5. Don't resign yourself to dry, brittle nails. Once a day, soak your fingernails in a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil. Save the oil in a covered container to reuse.

6. When you buy hand lotion, be sure to get a product with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. According to dermatologists, those two ingredients actually can change skin moisture if used consistently.

The one I use is CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides. It's a 19 ounce bottle, and it's fragrance free.

Takeaway Truth 

Although genetics and environment play a huge role in how one looks after a few decades, there really is a lot a woman can do to improve upon what God gave her—or didn't give her. Try these and let me know if one or more makes a difference.

Happily Ever After Vs. Happy For Now

Happily Ever After or Happy For Now.

Those are the choices offered in modern romance novels.

As a reader, you may be surprised that there are endings in some romance novels that are "happy for now."

The matter of these 2 endings are still discussed by romance authors, but not as often as when the possibility of an alternate ending was mentioned by publishers several years ago.

To me, a "happy for now" ending means the couple really aren't made for each other. Since the primary focus of a romance novel is the relationship–the love–between two people.

Once, publishers of romance novels demanded writers end the story with a happily ever after. Then, in response to societal changes, publishers decreed that the ending could be, in their words, "an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

Hmm. Logically speaking, there's a huge difference between happily ever after and emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

I suppose the alternate ending for a romance novel was supposed to reflect the cynicism of contemporary times. 

After all, one often hears that more than half of marriages ends in divorce, but that's not actually true.

For the last 50 years, the modern romance has held sway as the most popular genre. It has matured and spun off sub-genres like romantic comedy, action adventure, mystery, paranormal which spun off vampires, angels, demons, ghosts, time travel, etc., and just about every kind of story you can imagine.

With all the changes and growth in the romance genre, I guess it's not surprising that happily ever after morphed into the optimistic and satisfying. But, I'm not willing to give up my happily ever after–in real life or fiction.

Takeaway Truth

With the romance novels I write, I aim high. I want that happily ever after for my characters, not just an optimistic, satisfying ending. 

I always say the premise of my books is: "It's never too late to live happily ever after."

Saturday Share: Common Remedies for Common Problems

Today I'm sharing some home remedies. My mom was big on home remedies. Here are some of hers, and a few I've heard about.

No, I'm not a doctor, and this blog post is not medical advice.

 At the least, it's entertaining. At most, it may be something that works for you, but that's up to you if you want to try something—at your own risk.

If you do try one of these, please leave a comment and let me know if something worked. 

Burn? Use a dab of Colgate toothpaste as a salve for burns.

Stuffy Nose? Try chewing on a couple of curiously-strong Altoids peppermints. They're  reputed to clear up a stuffy nose.

Aching Muscles? Mix 1 tablespoon of  horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil for relief for aching muscles. (I think it's the actually the massage itself that helps.)

Sore Throat? Take 1/4 cup of apple cider vingegar with 1/4 cup of honey and mix well. Take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria. (I drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning. It's a previotic cocktail that's good for you in several ways.)

Skin Blemishes? Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, and the Band-Aid keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Allegedly works overnight.

Toenail Fungus? Soak your toes in Listerine mouthwash. Of course, you must do this every night. So this is not an instant cure, but I've read online many times that it works.

Got a splinter? Put a drop of Elmer's Glue over the splinter, let it dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue and comes out easily.

Bruised? Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Arthritis Pain in Hands? Oatmeal can help. Mix 2 cups of oatmeal and 1 cup of water in a bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute, cool until warm, not hot. Apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief.

Takeaway Truth

Once people depended on home remedies. Some people still opt to try a home remedy first.

Dozen Random Witticisms

At last, it's Friday. Even I, who work at home, have the Friday attitude.

So here's a random selection of funny lines to get your weekend started.

You can thank my friend Frank who is always sending me funny stuff.

Let the Smiles Begin

(1) A day without sunshine is like...night.

(2). I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

(3) 53.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

(4) I often feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

(5) You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.

(6) I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

(7) Honk if you love peace and quiet.

(8) Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

(9) Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

(10) Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

(11) The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

(12) If Barbie is so popular why do you have to buy her friends?

Takeaway Truth

Have a great weekend!

Thursday

A post for today. Hmm? I've been so busy updating documents for my Romance Gems blog group that my attention hasn't been on my own blog.

Late today, I realized I hadn't blogged yet. Ack! 

I racked my brain and the only thing I came up with was the meaning of Thursday. 

Actually, I often joke about Thursday, saying, "I'll see you on Thor's Day. That's actually the meaning of the English word Thursday. You probably know this already, right?

Thursday is named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor. That's in Old English of course. Thor is represented riding a chariot drawn by goats and wielding the well-known Thor's hammer. In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after Jupiter, the god and planet.

Takeaway Truth

That's it. That's all I got!

Things Men Want Women To Know

I'm still cleaning out all those little tidbits I save. Some are saved in a digital file and others are print clippings.

The one below was sent to me in an email by a friend. He didn't know who created it, and neither do I.

If you are the wit who made this up, let me know so I can put your name down as the source.

It's Wednesday, and we all need a chuckle I imagine so here it is.

Things Men Want Women To Know

  • You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done, but not both.
  • Sometimes, we're not thinking about you. Seriously.
  • Sunday is for sports. Accept it.
  • Anything you wear is fine. Really. We don't care.
  • You have too many shoes.
  • You have enough clothes.
  • Ask for what you want. Subtle hints never work.
  • Don't ask us if you look fat in anything. It's a no-win situation for us.
  • If something we said can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or mad, we meant the other way.
Takeaway Truth

Have a laugh and have a good day!

Terrific Tuesday

Why is Tuesday so terrific? Because it's not Monday.

Even though I no longer work outside of my home office, Monday is still a down day for me. The day one gives up the carefree weekend and gets the nose to the grindstone again.

The romance languages—Spanish, French and Italian—have similar names for Tuesday: martes, mardi, and martedi, all derivations of the Roman god of war name, Mars.

When the Anglo-Saxons adopted the 7-day week, they followed suit, naming the 3rd day of the week after their god of war, Tiu or Tyr as the Vikings called him.

In the business world of today, week's begin with Monday, but Sunday is actually the first day of the week. At least for now since all things seem to be changing.

Takeaway Truth

In any event, act like the god of war and attack your work load today. I intend to do so.

Snowing at Rancho Reeves

Saturday, Darling Hubby and I drove up to the rancho just to make sure the heating system was working properly.

Saturday was sunny and in the sixties.

The last time we'd been there, the heating system had to be worked on. The mother board had died. Poor thing!

Two days later, a new one was installed.

Since a winter storm was forecast for Texas, we decided to check to make sure the heat worked befor the storm arrived.

Fortunately, the heat worked fine.

Yesterday—Sunday—we slept late because the storm wasn't due to arrive until evening.

At 9:00am, it started snowing. We packed up quickly and headed to Houston amidst snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Arrived home with only the rain persisting. A few hours later, some friends who live near our country house sent us this photo of our house.

Wow! Glad we left when we did. I got snowbound there a few years ago. Couldn't get up and down those hills.

Takeaway Truth

You really can have every kind of weather in Texas!

8 Myths About Romance Novels

Today, I'm tackling a touchy subject: the myths people have about romance novels.

Of course, those people are the ones who don't read romance. They're the readers who judge other readers based on what genre is reade.

They're the readers who eagerly take free romance novels, read the whole thing, then post reviews that are like left-handed compliments.

"Pretty good for a romance."

"Better than I expected."

"Good for reading while sunning at the pool."

Then there are those who get free or KU reads of overtly sexy romance novels. The book cover, blurb, and/or sample that can be read is an accurate presentation of what kind of romance the book will be.

The book will be read cover to cover, and the reader will leave a review that begins, "I don't usually read this kind of story, but I got it free. I don't know why there has to be so much sex in a story." Or something pretty much the same.

If you're an author who writes romance, you know what I mean. You've probably rceived some of those reviews too.

These are some of the most common myths about romance novels.

1. Romance novels are all the same. If you've read one, you've read them all.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Within the romance genre, there are many sub-genres such as the broad categories of contemporary and historical.

Beneath those two umbrellas, you'll find general romance, romantic comedy, romanctic suspense, and under those you'll find clean, wholesome romance, steamy romance, paranormal with vampires, ghosts, angels, demons, zombies, witches, and just about anything you can think of.

2. Romance novels are all fluff with no deeper meaning.

No matter what kind of romance novel you choose, it will have a theme or an underlying message or lesson to impart to the reader. In all of my fiction, there's one underlying theme: "It's never too late to live happily ever after."

Beyond that, each book has a more personal theme too. In The Key To Kristina, my latest romance, I actually had more than one message. The main message for the heroine was "You have to trust another's love." That didn't necessarily mean love from a lover. In my free ebook LuvU4Ever, the theme is "It's not what it seems." Or, you could say, "Eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves."

3. Anyone can write a romance because no research is needed.

Again, a myth. Most romance novels have an information plot as well as a romance plot.

I've read accurate descriptions of putting up a barbed wire fence, trekking through a tropical rain forest, and setting an explosive charge.

One can read about saddling a horse, following a suspect, mkaing biscuits, milking a cow, developing a perfume, loading a semi-automatic handgun, the procedure of sending an SOS signal, and so much more.

Then there's the research needed to make sure a character seems "real" in his/her occupation and in all aspects of his/her background. 

4. The characters in romance novels are fantasies because men and women as described in  romance novels don't exist in real life.

I've known men and women who, in real life, have the occupations I read about in romance novels. Not only that but I've known men and women who have faithful, committed relationships just like in romance novels. Not only that, but the men are romantic and know how to make their women feel special.

5. Romance novels are ridiculous because there's no such thing as love at first sight or second chances at love or friends who become lovers or any of the other popular stories you see in those books.

I personally know a dozen or more married couples who claim love at first sight—like my grandparents.

They grew up as neighbors in the country. They and their siblings played together. Time and distance parted them when they were young people, but they never married. 

Fortune gave them another chance when they were in their forties. They married and had one child, my mother. So that was love at first sight, friends to lovers, and second chance at love.

One of my best friends has a second chance at love story. Divorced, then remarried each other a couple of years later, and now they're happily ever after. Then there are several who were in love in high school, married other people, but years later, they ended up together. 

6. Romance novels are fantasies that mislead women because there's no happily ever after in real life.

Wow, is that one wrong! See #5 above, Most romance novelists have long-term relationships, and by longterm I mean 20, 30, 40, or more years. Darling Hubby and I have been married 43 years. The only regret we have is that there's only 1 lifetime to share.

Perhaps my author friends and I write romance because we live it. 

Romance novels don't mislead readers who are mostly, but not exclusively, women. 

They offer hope to women who want the kind of relationships they've seen in person.

Maybe it's the reader's parents who had that kind of relationship, or a sibling, a best friend, or a client who is living happily ever after. 

People read romance because they want that kind of relationship, and a good romance makes one believe it's possible.

7. Romance novels attract women who aren't very smart or educated.

Nope. Who's reading romance? Men and women. People from every educational background from high school to college professors, PhD's, lawyers, judges, military enlisted and officerss, and every career one can imagine. Writers of romance also come from those same backgrounds. 

8. Men don't read romance.

Wrong again. See #7 above. Ebooks have been a boon for men who like to read romance. No one to judge what they're reading as they commute to work or lying in a hammock in the backyard.

I get email from men who read my books. Nope, not pervy stuff but real fan mail. A lot of retired couples read my books together. (I've always said if a man wants to know what a woman wants, he should read a good romance.)

A good book is a good book—whether it's mystery, romance, science fiiction, western, or whatever.

Takeaway Truth

The old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover," should be rephrased to say, "Don't judge a book by its genre."

FOLLOW ME...Find all of my books listed on my Amazon Author Page.

Follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Remember, if you want to be the first to know about new books, sales, and giveaways, please be sure you've signed up for my Free Newsletter.

I promise I'll never share your information. When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive a link for a free ebook which is just my way of saying thank you!

Saturday Share: Recipe, Salisbury Steak

We go out to fabulous restaurants for special occasions, but for the most part, I cook most of our meals.

Chalk it up to following my mom's example which resulted in my spoiling my own family.

They like what I cook better than the average restaurant fare.

Much of what I cook are from family and friends' recipes.

The recipe I'm sharing today is an old one that comes from the day when people cooked Salisbury Steak, that staple that now seems to be found in mediocre frozen entrees. Trust me, homemade Salisbury Steak is awesome!

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground feef

1 small onion, minced finely

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup bread crumbs (if you don't have a can of breadcrumbs, toast a slice of bread and grate it on a box grater)

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 pound sliced baby portabella mushrooms

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup beef stock

Directions

(1) Mix ground beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, egg, and bread crumbs.

(2) Form into 4 oval or round patties.

(3) Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the patties into the pan and brown on each side which should take about 6 minutes on each side.

(4) Place the patties in a single layer in a baking dish.

(5) Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms in the remaining butter for about 5 minutes over medium to high heat.

(6) Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook a couple of minutes so the flour is no longer "raw." 

(7) Gradually add the stock, whisking until the gravy is thickened.

(8) Pour the mushroom gravy over the beef patties.

(9) Bake about 15 minutes at 350 degrees to heat the mixture through and blend the flavors.

Delicious served with homestyle mashed potatoes.

Note About Whisks

Some cooks don't use a whisk for blending. I think, for sauces and gravies, a whisk is a better utensil than a spoon.

It helps eliminate those lumps that sometimes appear in thickened gravies.

I have several sizes similar to the picture shown at left which is a 3-piece set of varying sizes sold by Amazon for $10.00. (Prime shipping.)

Takeaway Truth

You won't believe how delicious this easy entrée is to make. Bon appétit!

January, a Month of Firsts

We're one week into the first month of the New Year. 

It's still shiny and new despite the disgraceful actions of crazy people on both the right and the left.

Our country has a proud history that I hope won't be tarnished by people who seem to have forgotten that this is the land of the free.

Let's celebrate some of the historical firsts undertaken by Americans.

Some of these remind us to be proud of our country. Some are scientific or technological achievements. Others remind us of our popular culture and the lifestyle we grew accustomed to.

At the same time, let's pray that the Rule of Law is upheld and people quit trying to tear apart our country.

Firsts in January

1776 — During the American Revolution, George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America.

1863 —The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.

1892 — Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals to America were processed until its closing in 1954.

1909 —Automobile hearse was used first time in a funeral procession

1933 —Work is started on The Golden Gate Bridge across the San Francisco Bay.

1935 — First Orange Bowl Game

1937— Federal Old Age Pensions Started1938 March of Dimes Foundation Created

1944 — GI Bill Signed Into Law and millions of those who served in the U.S. military found it possible to obtain higher education.

1952 —  first effective polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by American Jonas Salk and a team at the University of Pittsburgh

1954 — Elvis Presley Records First Demo Record

1954 — US launched the world's first atomic submarine, Nautilus

1959 — Alaska became the 49th state of the United States of America

1970 — The Boeing 747 makes its first commercial passenger trip to London

1977 — The Alex Haley book, Roots, was turned into a TV Mini Series

1983 — Apple announces "The Apple Lisa" the first commercial personal computer to have a graphical user interface GUI and a computer mouse.

2007 — Apple introduces the 4.5 inch X 2.4 inch Apple iPhone

2009 — Barack Obama, the first African-American president, was inaugurated.

2011 — U.S. Navy S.E.A.L.s found Osama Bin Laden. You know the rest of that story.

2012 — US Swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time.

2016 — Simone Biles conquered the Olympics

2016 — The Cubs finally won the World Series.

2017 — Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and Texans and others who arrived with boats risked their lives to save strangers.

2018 — In the U.S. the economy continued to grow, wages increased, and unemployment fell to 3.7%, it's lowest level since 1969.

2020 — If you're reading this, it means you survived the first round of CoVid19. Keep taking precautions until this disease can be conquered the way many others have been.

Takeaway Truth

I think it's appropriate to say, "Happy New Year." Don't let the dissenters eat away your optimism.

Thursday3Some: 3 Apps You'll Want

3 FREE Apps you'll absolutely want to download!

Bitmoji

Create your own Bitmoji and be yourself wherever you go—at least, that's how it's advertised.

Bitmoji is a personal emoji app available for both iOS and Android that helps you create a cartoon avatar that's a rather realistic depiction of yourself.

Bitmoji is free to download, but it includes some in-app purchases. Click the FIND OUT MORE button on the landing page to watch a video.

The next 2 apps are for the computer.

Audacity

Want to get into podcasting? Need an audio editor and recording software. Believe it or not, Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software, and it's an excellent one according to PC Magazine. Good for amateurs and pros, and it's available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and other Unix-like operating systems.

CCleaner

I used to run this clean up utility, but I guess I forgot to install it the last time I was forced to buy a new computer. The C in CCleaner is for crap. It's a utility used to clean potentially unwanted files and invalid Windows Registry entries from a computer. It is one of the longest-established system cleaners, first launched in 2004. It was originally developed for Microsoft Windows only, but in 2012, a macOS version was released. In July 2020, it was still rated by PC Magazine as excellent.

Takeaway Truth

Who says you can't get something for free that works like an expensive software package?

Lighter Side of Doctors and Hospitals

I had hospital duty today which meant taking my daughter in for an appointment and a pain abatement procedure.

In the past, we'd go together to the reception room. I'd go back with her to the treatment room. Or, if surgery was involved, back to pre-op, post-op, and recovery.

Wow. Have things changed. Today I dropped her off at the door in what was once the valet parking driveup. I drove around to the parking garage and found a spot to wait. I worked on my latest novel, while she was treated.

When she was finished and ready to be sent home, I received a text and drove to the exit, paid the humongous amount of money required for parking in one of Houston's major hospital garages, drove to the valet parking entry to pick her up. Then we started the drive back to her house.

Usually, I try to make her laugh. We tell jokes and discuss the various doctors, staff, etc.

Saluting Doctors and Staff

I can't tell you how many appointments for doctors, hospitals, physical therapy, and such that she's had in the last 10 years. It's just part of our lives. For the most part, she has wonderful doctors. There have been a couple jettisoned along the way—wish we'd done that sooner because they did more harm than good.

So, today, I salute those doctors who are kind, patient, compassionate, and, most importantly, have a sense of humor that helps patients relax.

Laughter, the Best Medicine

My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more. —Walter Matthau

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. —Erma Bombeck

I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places. —Henny Youngman

A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running. —Groucho Marx

The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing. —Dizzy Dean

You may not be able to read a doctor's handwriting and prescription, but you'll notice his bills are neatly typewritten. —Earl Wilson

I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso. —Rita Rudner

Takeaway Truth

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. —Isaac Asimov 

Stressed Out? Get the Bob Ross Effect

I know a lot of people have struggled emotionally in the pandemic. Many struggle silently because they don't or can't talk about their feelings. Maybe they don't feel free to unburden themselves.

I guess what prompted this post was binge-watching some Bob Ross videos on The Joy of Painting. Quite a leap, huh?

Actually, not so much. Darling Hubby and I started  watching because he wants to start painting. His mother was an artist, and he's always thought about it but didn't know where or how to start.

I began giving him artist supplies a couple of years ago. He's done nothing with them. So I remembered Bob Ross from PBS when I was young. I went to YouTube to see if maybe there were some videos featuring the artist.

We found his channel and started watching. We were spellbound. Curiously, we found watching the videos and listening to his quiet, encouraging voice made us feel...different. Relaxed. Calm. Not frazzled by the day's frustrations. It was weird!

I Discovered What Millions Know

I was interested in the effect his videos had on us so I did some research. It turns out that millions tuned into the Bob Ross Channel on YouTube once the pandemic got under way.  He had that same calming, de-stressing, relaxing effect on everyone!

For the last six years, the late artist's fame and demeanor have won him millions of fans all over the world, and that increased exponentially with the pandemic.

I discovered that scientists have studied this phenomenon. 

Apparently, the sound of his whispery soft voice and his optimistic commentary made him an accidental pioneer of ASMR which is Autononomous Sensory Meridian Response.

This term describes the physical and mental sensation of becoming calm, relaxed, and stress-free that many claim to experience. You can learn more about it on this ASMR Wiki. Or you can just do a Google search for Bob Ross.

Some people are even going to sleep to his videos because of the relaxation effect.

 Takeaway Truth

If you're emotionally wrung out and stressed, why not give this a try? Tune in to his YouTube channel even if you have no inclination to get an easel, paints, and brushes. Let me know how it makes you feel!

Pandemic Orchard

Darling Hubby and I are lucky to have a place in the country where we indulge our love of gardening and growing fruit trees.

However, we're probably going to sell the ranch sooner or later. 

With that thought in mind, we're looking at alternatives to growing fruit trees and fruiting bushes in smaller spaces. 

After all, we have a Meyer lemon tree in our backyard that produced well over 300 lemons this year.

Our much smaller yard in town plus the front and back patios should be perfect for growing fruiting shrubs and trees.

We've both become big fans of Dave Wilson Nursery Channel on YouTube.

This nursery in California has been a pioneer in teaching homeowners about backyard orcharding. The amazing thing is you don't need a huge plot of land in order to grow several fruit trees. You don't even need to buy dwarf varieties which usually cost more than standard-size trees.

If you started a pandemic garden in 2020, take the next step and start a pandemic orchard.

You control the size of the tree by pruning. You also can plant 3 or 4 trees in the same hole, and that enhances pollination.

I Love Berries Berry Berry Much

We watched a video on growing blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries—in pots! Like the video showed, we want berries from spring through summer so we're going to implement the method as seen in the video.

I accidentally started this when my backyard was dug up this past summer in order for a new underground power cable to be laid.

I had a row of blueberries that had to come out. We put them in a giant pot where they have happily thrived ever since. What we learned from the video was that we need to add a couple of other blueberry varieties to those pots. 

We're selecting an early fruiter and a late fruiter because we already have a mid-season fruit harvest. That's how you have fruit from spring to fall. We're looking for a variety called Baby Cake that's a black and red berry thornless shrub to join our berry "orchard."

Takeaway Truth

There's something emotionally satisfying about growing your own fruit and vegetables.

Forget Resolutions—4 Secrets to Making Changes

If I asked you what the most frequent New Year's Resolutions are, you'd probably nail it in one try.

Save more money. Avoid more debt. Eat healthier. Lose weight. Exercise more.

Yep. Those are resolutions are also the ones that usually fade away before the month of January ends.

Resolutions may be a tradition, but making a resolution or a goal doesn't necessarily equal change.

So what's the secret to making lasting changes?

Four Secrets to Making Changes

1. Make a decision to change.

How do you do that? Literally say to yourself, "I decide to eat smaller portions at meal times." Or, "I decide to write 2,000 words every day." Every change starts with a conscious decision of "I will no longer do X. I will do this new thing."

2. Take action immediately, no matter how small, to work toward that change.

Consciously think of your decision to change and figure out 1 thing you can do immedidately, that if done every day, will bring about the change.

3. Every day take an action to work toward the change.

4. Then write up the most important plan you've ever created.

Sit down with a pen and a journal or notepad or open a document on a device. You will now prepare a plan of attack. You are the general in the battlefield of your life.

You know what you want to change. You've decided to make that change. You've taken an action to change already. Now think about all the steps that must be taken from now until next year when you want to have made that change.

What do you have to do every month? Break that down into what must be done every day.

Takeaway Truth

Stop doing the same old thing that doesn't work. Try a new way to make changes.

Follow Joan

Review: Ted Lasso on Apple TV

During Christmas, we binge-watched Ted Lasso, an Apple TV offering.

Ted Lasso is an American sitcom TV series developed by Bill Lawrence and Jason Sudekis (who stars as Ted), Joe Kelly, and Brenda Hunt.

The series is based on a character of the same name that Sudeikis first portrayed in a series of promotions for NBC.

The Apple TV series premiered with the first 3 episodes on August 14, 2020. Five days later, the series renewed for a second season consisting of ten episodes. Then in October 2020, the series was renewed for a third season.

After watching the series, spellbound by the characters and the feel-good optimism that underscores every episode.

I can't remember the last time I found a series that had everything—likable characters, good stories, great theme, great acting, etc. The subtle characterization of Lasso, the character growth many characters undergo—I could rave on about this series, but I hope you'll find a way to watch it yourself.

We watched at our daughter's home. She had signed up for a subscription to Apple TV+.

Details on Apple TV+

Learn more about Apple TV+. You can sign up for a free 7-day triall of Apple TV+. After that, the streaming service will cost $4.99 per month.

Good news for those with an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you can download the Apple TV app. Just do a search for it and then download it. When you click "Start Watching," it will ask you to sign up for an account. If you cancel before the trial period is over, you pay nothing.

Takeaway Truth

If you need a shot of optimism, definitely watch Ted Lasso. You'll love it!

Happy New Year! Get a FREE Ebook

Like many others, I'm delighted to say goodbye to 2020.

While it had its bright spots, there were so many blighted moments that the year will go down in history as a real downer.

One of our sons and his wife and children had CoVid so did one of my brothers and his family, a cousin and his wife, and a nephew and his wife.

Thankfully, they all survived, but still feel the effects of the battle.

I wish you not just a happy New Year, but an amazing 2021 filled with the best of God's blessings. May you have Joy, Good Health, Happiness, Optimism, and Prosperity.

Start the New Year With a Free Romance

If you don't read romance, you should start. Romance is the genre where optimism and hope triumph over negativity and despair. Here's a short romantic story of unrequited love that gets, well, requited I guess one could say.

Last Chance New Year is free at the booksellers listed below until midnight CST, January 4.

When? New Year's Eve.

Where? The company party.

Who? A woman seriously crushing on a co-worker, and the man who's oblivious of her desire for him. Or is he?

What? A sizzling hot romance short story.

Cheyenne Smith, better known as C. D. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

Will Luke be her safety net?

Book 2, A Moment in Time Short Story Romance Series is FREE, Jan. 1 until Jan. 4, midnight CST. Make sure the price shows as free because some retailers are slow to reprice. Find it at these booksellers:

Apple

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Scribd

Smashwords


Let's wallow in optimism and read good romance, the genre of hope and optimism.