Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: April 20, 2014

Happy Easter SundayHe is risen; He is risen indeed!

Reading:  I have not done much reading this past week, but I have collected several library books to begin reading (hopefully) soon.  I am trying to focus my attention on books that emulate the genre that I want to write.  To that end, I have two books lined up to help me learn the craft of travel writing:

  • A Woman’s Europe – collection of travel articles written by women and collected for this anthology by Marybeth Bond.  The articles are relatively short and my plan is to read one each night before going to bed.  Even at that slow pace, I should complete the book in less than a month – and learn how to focus one specific into a 900-1,200 word essay.
  • Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin.  I referenced this book in my last Salon post.  It arrived this week and I am hoping to delve into their retirement adventures this afternoon after the family dinner.  While I know that I could never permanently  uproot myself from family and friends, their story does give me hope that I can adapt their dream to meet my own.


Last week I solicited recommendations for Middle Grade novels, the genre of my NaNoWriMo 2013 piece.  Based on those recommendations, as well as some internet research, I have a few on reserve at the local library.  It is my hope to read one MG book a week, and take notes on writing style and subject matter that appeals to this 5th-8th grade group.

  • The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carman Agra Deedy and Randall Wright.  I chose this book because the subtitle reads, A Dickens of a Tale, and the author commented that he enjoyed writing this book because it offered him “the opportunity to return to the great novelist for inspiration.”
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein.  I was first attracted to the title because it is reminiscent of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, the novel that my NaNo work is most similar.  The review compares this book to A Night at the Museum, which is also a comparable piece.  Are any of you familiar with the story?
  • Mister Orange by Truus Matti, a dutch author and translated into English.  They say: you can’t choose a book for its cover, but I must admit that I broke that rule with this book.  While my novel focuses on French Impressionism, I admire Piet Mondrian’s geometrical paintings and was immediately attracted to this novel for that reason.
  • The Trial by Jennifer Bryant.  My reason for selecting this novel is quite personal:  Jen and I were both French majors at Gettysburg College, roommates our senior year, and bridesmaids in one another’s weddings.  We lost contact shortly after graduation, but I recently read the publicity for her newest book, A Splash of Red:  The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, which has earned many children’s book awards.  She is quite an accomplished author of Middle Grade fiction and non-fiction works, and I am anxious to learn from her…. once again.

Writing:  I feel as though I have been rather inconsistent in this area.  On the one hand, I did manage to keep to my blogging schedule, writing a weekly post for all three blogs.  And I did continue with the personal timed writes.  The  “real” writing however, drafting an 4,000-5,000 word article for the Travel Anthology, I have dropped the ball.  While I have brainstormed and thought of a number of different angles, I have yet to write a single word.

My writing coach has urged me to complete two pages by Wednesday’s critique session.  I am a “good student” and anticipate I will achieve the writing goal; whether I am brave enough to share the writing with others is a different matter.

Blogging:  As I mentioned in last week’s Salon post, I have developed a blog schedule that hopefully will help me maintain a consistent writing practice.  I managed to keep to that schedule this week (yahoo!)


  • Travel TuesdayDreams Do Come True (part 1) – where I discuss the student trip I led to London in 2007 – realizing a dream that had lain dormant for over thirty years.
  • Writing WednesdayWriter’s OCD:  What Works for Me (part 1) – where I continue the theme of the Left-Brained Writer, detailing my use of multiple journals for writing projects.
  • Photo FridayS-L-O-W Down – the first post in my series of Finding Joy in the Moment:  Spiritual Lessons Learned through Photography.



Camera shy Jude ... taken December, 2013.

Camera shy Jude … taken December, 2013.

On a Personal Note:  Those who know me, know that I LOVE dogs – their exuberance for life, unwavering loyalty and ability to express true, unconditional love.  Yesterday I had to say good-bye to one of my family members:  Jude.

Jude was special for so many reasons, and perhaps one day when the emotion is not quite so raw, I will write a tribute post, but suffice it to say, we have known Jude since before he was conceived.  He was in the last litter of Ralf (who is now ten) and Mia (who died unexpectedly about six years ago.  My tribute post for Mia is here.)

Originally Jude was to be my son’s dog,  a companion for Brian as he transitioned from our house to his own in Nashville.  But it is difficult to keep a 100+pound dog in an apartment, and Jude remained with us.

Jude was the carbon-copy of his mama:  always affectionate, could never give enough snuggles, more of an inside dog than an outdoor adventurer.  In fact, Jude would rather play with the wildlife than hunt them.  One time he brought a squirrel into the house – wanting to show us his new friend.  Trying to capture the stunned squirrel and release into the backyard again was nothing short of a three-ring circus.

Jude seemed fine this time last week.  In fact, it wasn’t until Wednesday that I noticed anything out of the ordinary.  He threw up a couple of times that afternoon, but his personality was not affected.  Thursday he threw up again and I called the vet.  Try limiting his water and give him just a bit of boiled chicken, I was advised.  If he isn’t better by Friday, bring him in.  He was not better.  And his deterioration was rapid.  Friday night x-rays showed an enlarged right kidney; Saturday morning blood test results revealed diabetes.  And at 5:00pm that evening Jude passed away – at home – surrounded by his human and canine family.

It is Easter Sunday – the day when Christians rejoice that our Lord and Savior conquered death once and for all so that we may have everlasting life.  The hope of that message is the focus of today… but the joy is tinged with a temporary sadness of losing a beloved pet … and dear friend.




  1. joyweesemoll

    So sorry for the loss of Jude. Take care of yourself at this time.

  2. Liz Coleman

    Oh, Molly! I’m so sorry about your loss. I’m thinking about you and sending much love. -Liz

  3. Cathy Ensley

    So sorry about your dog. We lost our first long-time pet soon after the kids all left home. We lost our second one a month after I retired. Still miss the second one.


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