Tag Archive for: thankful

Thankful for Words

by Paula Gail Benson

My mother told me when I was a baby, I was fascinated by words. She said, as I rode in the car, if I saw a sign with a message, I would point to it and say, “Read.”

I remember having many favorite Little Golden Books (including retellings of Walt Disney movies) that my father read to me. Very often, when he reached the end, I turned the book back to the first page and said, “Again.”

As you can see, I was a demanding child. To my parents’ credit, they were indulgent in reading (multiple times) to me.

There is something about words that is magical. Words allow us to share a connection over distances of both time and location.

So many have been delighted by the musical Hamilton. While it employs some “modern” techniques to convey the history, the bond with the characters is established by the use of their own words taken from contemporaneous documents.

Hearing or reading a story in a safe environment lets you experience it all the more vividly and consider the emotions and reactions of the characters involved. Theater and movies make an impression because the audience members allow themselves to become captivated by the story being presented.

In school, I learned about the cave paintings found in Lascaux Caves in France. Sometimes called the “prehistoric Sistine Chapel,” these drawing are estimated to be 17,000 years old. The people who by candle light, discovered them thought they were encountering real animals and were amazed by the size and accuracy of the depictions. I think those drawings were significant for both the tellers and the listeners. The hunters, in remembering the events of the day, could take the time to reflect on how they had been challenged and used their skills to be successful in the hunt. (Maybe even embellish the tale to celebrate their return!) Through the telling and depictions, the listeners, who had remained behind, hoping for food for nourishment and skins for clothing, while worrying about the hunters’ safety, could relive the excitement of the chase, knowing that their loved ones were safe among them.

Recently, I’ve become involved with My First Books SC, an initiative of the Palmetto Project and affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The purpose of the organization is to send books to children free of charge from birth to age five. The books selected contain questions in the back to provide discussion topics for the parents or others reading to the children. Any child registered for the program receives the books without charge. I’m so happy to be part of this effort to continue the tradition of helping children realize the importance of words. Do you have a similar or affiliated program in your state? It is a great way to encourage literacy.

During this Thanksgiving week, I’m grateful for so many things, but near the top of that list is the appreciation for storytelling and the joy of reading. Thanks to Dolly Parton and so many others who pass that joy to a new generation.


With Thanksgiving right
around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. I’m one of those “glass-half-full”
people who likes to live in the now and focus on the future, but at times like
this, a look back feels right.

It might be a cliché to
be thankful for family, friends, health, and home. The horrible fires in
California and the loss of life and home, however, are a reminder of how
quickly both can be lost. 

Here is Washington state, our fires rarely rate a
mention on even regional news. I remember the fear of watching the fires on the
ridges around our mountain cabin. Packing a “go” bag for the dogs and me each
night. Waiting for the firefighter’s knock, the order to “Get out.” Feeding the
refuges who were burned out of other valleys and took shelter in ours. 

But we
had warning, time to prepare, while the residents in Paradise had only minutes
to flee.  

So today, I’m grateful
for the ebb and flow of both good and bad things that have happened throughout
my life. Some blessings have been given and others hard-earned. The tragic or
sorrowful things have taught me resilience, faith, and provided opportunities to learn
and grow. Painful losses and situations showed me by contrast how valuable and
cherished the good things are. 

And the good things are wonderful. 

Next week, as I look
around the chaos of my kitchen and laugh over the antics of kids and dogs, I
know I’ll take time to be thankful. Thankful for family, friends, food on the table, a job I
love, and the time and support to pursue creative outlets.
I leave you with a long-distance
hug and a reminder… be thankful.

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at http://cperkinswrites.com or on Facebook 

Sign up for her new release announcement newsletter in either place.

She’s hard at work on sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award. 

Memorable Moments

Posted by Sparkle Abbey

Hello, we’re
“Sparkle Abbey.” There are actually two of us, Mary Lee (Sparkle) and Anita
(Abbey). We created our pen name by combining our rescue pets’ names, Sparkle
(ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). If you’ve seen us at a mystery convention
or a book signing, we make it easy–we wear shirts with our names. 

If you do see
us, we hope you’ll stop and say hello. One of the very best things about
conventions or signings is getting to meet in person those of you we’ve already
met out here in cyberspace. We also love to hear about your pets! You see our
current series, set in Laguna Beach, features two former Texas beauty queen
cousins, Caro & Melinda. Caro is a pet therapist and Mel owns the Bow Wow
boutique and though you’d think that would be enough to keep them busy, they
also frequently find themselves in the middle of murder investigations. 
So that’s us!
We’re excited to be here every first Thursday.

Our fellow
bloggers have been talking about fall. For us, November is a month of

We’re so
very thankful and blessed to have amazing families, our health, steady jobs and
our love of writing. November is also one of our busiest months. Between the family
birthdays (ten between the two of us), Thanksgiving, Christmas prep, and the day
job, we’re so busying doing that we sometimes
forget to pause and treasure the truly important things. Some events in your life are so
important that the magical moment is imprinted in your memory forever. Marrying
the love of your life, the birth of your children, the birth of your

Then there
are other times. You know the ones. The times when you’re so busy you know you
can’t possibly add one more item to your “To Do” list. That’s when it takes a
little more effort to realize that you’re making memories.

We’ve found
those types of memorable moments often involve laughter. Sometimes the laughter
comes right away, other times it comes later. Like the time we were
road tripping to a mystery convention in Cleveland by the way of Iowa and
somehow managed to wind up in Michigan. Oops. Probably too much talking. Still, it turned out to be a wonderful scenic route filled with beautiful woods and
winding rivers and we’re still shaking our heads about how it happened.

Once you start
talking about one memorable moment you’re flooded others. Some more emotional
than others, like when we sold our mystery series. Our families wearing their
Team Sparkle and Team Abbey shirts to our first book launch. The first time
someone told us they came to a book signing just to see us. Others are more
light-hearted. Like when we had our picture taken with an Elvis impersonator,
or the time we just wanted to take a picture of our feet in the sand at Laguna
Beach and almost got swept away by a huge wave. And still others add to the mix
of memories like dinner and plotting with our critique group, swapping stories
with Lee Goldberg in Chicago, as well as the opportunity to meet wonderful people like fellow
Stiletto Gang members Dru Ann Love and Linda
Rodriguez and so
many others who we now count as friends.

So before
November can run us over like road kill, we’ve decided to pause and enjoy our
first blog with The Stiletto Gang. We are thrilled to join this talented group and we look forward to making new friends here.
Now that you
know some of our memorable moments, we’d love to hear one of yours. It’s a
great way for us to get to know you. And it’s always fun to laugh, or cry, with

Five Things I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Stiletto Gang!

On Thanksgiving, do you stop to think about all the things you’re thankful for? I do. There are so many, but most can fit into these five categories.

The top five things I’m thankful for:

5. Health and Happiness (knock on wood; we have obstacles, but overall, we’re good!)

4. Writing for a Living (to earn *a meager* living doing what you love is fantastic)

3. The writing and book loving community (truly, they are an amazing group of people)

2. Good Friends and Family (because what would life be without them?)

and number 1 on my ‘Thankful’ list is…

1. My wonderful kids and husband (because they really do give my life meaning)

Have a wonderful day!!