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Cousins, Nieces, and Nephew . . . Oh My!

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t2 Now don’t these three little girls look innocent? From left to right: Jo, Deb, and Dee (or Curley, Larry, and Moe) as their aunt, that’s how I had come to think of them. I was still a teenager at the time of this photograph, and having been the youngest child in the family, these girls were my first experience with ‘little children’. Yikes! It was an eye-opener, I can tell you that. I must confess I was not the neatest teenager in the world, and these little darlings were attracted to my bedroom like magnets to metal. Once I walked into my room and there was talcum powder  all over the room, particularly covering the two younger ones. Generally, it was Dee who master-minded these capers. One of my most horrific experiences was when they got hold of a white eyelet dress I had borrowed from my friend, Janet, and spilled pink polish on it.  I feared for my friendship on that one, but luckily, Janet forgave me.

These three cousins shared many experiences, and when they get together even now, they can tell even more horrifying stories than the raids on my room. I think the three of them could have taken Osama bin Laden down with little trouble. But as these cousins grew, three more cousins sprouted on the scene. In the pictures below: Deb, Dee, Jo, Tiff, Dan, and Carol. The cousins shared holidays, birthdays, and went to one another’s parades and school activities.

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I have many memories of the cousins and not all consisting of their forays into my room. I remember taking Deb to her first show and we saw Lady and the Tramp. We were sitting in the balcony and she started pacing, checking to see if there were any ‘holes’ in the floor. I’m not quite sure what she’d have done if she’d found any. I also recall the girls raiding Grandma’s cedar chest and playing dress-up with all the old clothes Grandma had saved. I recollect countless parades watching band members, cheerleaders, flag girls, and baton twirlers marching past in fine array.  A more embarrassing moment I recall, which the cousins will never let me forget, is when I asked them if they remembered when we went to a Hank Williams Jr. concert and he took off his shirt and some drunk told him to put it back on? They informed me with glee that I was that drunk! I guess all memories are not gold.

As people do, the cousins have grown up, many have moved away, and they have families of their own now. But as I have always felt with my first cousins, they are fortunate to have those wonderful childhood memories growing up, and the ties that bind families together are much stronger than they might suspect. I hope they  have the wisdom to treasure those experiences together and try to stay connected. Families are like gardens, and the more they are nurtured, the deeper the roots and the stronger the plants. As they grow older, these memories the cousins share will grow more dear and I hope they will treasure their moments they spent with one another growing up to be the fine adults they have all become.

Thanks for stopping by and I’d love to hear about any shared memories on being cousins with you.

Bren

 

Happy birthday, Jesus!

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I hope that you all have a wonderful, merry Christmas with your family and friends. In the busyness of preparing the perfect meal, (I didn’t have to worry about that, thank you Winn-Dixie!) and hooking up with our friends and family, sometimes we forget whose birthday we’re honoring. Discussion of religion is a very difficult thing for me because I’m willing to bet that my views of religion and yours probably don’t coincide perfectly, but to me that’s okay. I admire people who can quote scripture to prove their point, although I believe the interpretation of the Bible is between God and the discernment God gives each and every one of us as individuals. Right now I’m cringing because I feel like I’ve already offended some people, hence, that’s why I step away from religious discussion.

My prayer today is: My God, I believe in you, I adore the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I love you. I pray that all of you, whatever your beliefs, have a happy, safe Christmas Day and a blessed, peaceful year to come in 2014. May God bless and keep our men and women in the Armed Forces safe who are stationed around the world, protecting our freedoms and the freedoms of others. May the Angel of Peace touch the world in the new year.

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Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas and happy birthday, Jesus!

Bren

Here’s my Thursday Threads with fab author, Elle Hill, HUNTED DREAMS is like Sleeping Beauty, only a psychic vampire is feeding off her pain!

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Elle Hill’s Hunted Dreams

 

 

Genre: Paranormal romance

Heat level: Sensual.

 

Hook: A woman trapped in an endless cycle of nightmares. A handsome hero committed to rescuing her. It’s just like Sleeping Beauty – except the dreaming damsel is the sword wielder and the hero is a psychic vampire feeding off her pain.

 

Excerpt:

 

“The Leeches got their nickname from the way they eat.” Reed’s voice was even.

“They drink blood?” she breathed.

He shook his head. “A little less literal. The Broschi are empathic. They can feel and even evoke other people’s feelings, negative ones like fear, pain, horror.”

“Sun and stars,” she breathed. She got it.

She got it.

“They’re eating me,” she said, and laughed, but not humorously. “These superhuman, psychic Leech people are keeping me trapped in nightmares, eating my feelings.” Her chest felt heavy. She pressed her left hand against it and felt its gentle rise and fall.

None of this is real. All this drama, all this fear, all the pain and anger and malice. None of it exists except in the form of juicy brainwaves that these beings sip like mint juleps. No wonder she couldn’t die, couldn’t escape, couldn’t ever wake up.

Reed’s face was flushed, his nostrils wide. Her handsome hero. For a minute, she hated him, hated that he got to wake up, hated this situation, hated everything boxing her in this narrow world.

Katana glared at him for a moment. “I’m trapped in here,” she grated.

His face relaxed into compassion. Hers hardened.

“I know,” he said.

She stared at him for a moment longer. Finally, with a sigh, she leaned her head against the glass. “Who are you, Reed?”

“I’m a Leech, too, Katana.”

 

Links:

Blog: http://ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/

 

Website: http://www.ellehill.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Elle-Hill/155409064486649?ref=hl

 

Purchasing the book: http://www.amazon.com/Hunted-Dreams-ebook/dp/B00CHUEIIG

 

Twitter: @ellehillauthor

My Jane Austen pilgrimage was legen–wait for it–dary!

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??????????????????????????????? Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, we’re not–but we had a great time visiting the Jane Austen Museum in Bath.

Even though it’s been two hundred years after the death of Jane Austen, women still adore her. I don’t mean to snub men in this article, but I have to say there weren’t too many men making the trek to Jane’s homes or burial place except to be supportive of their wives or girlfriends. Joan Trollope has published a modern version of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and I know I can’t wait to read it. While in England, my friend June and I watched the 2008 mini-series, “Lost in Austen” where a modern-day woman exchanges places with Elizabeth Bennett, making a clever story of a contemporary woman, Fanny, trying to fit into the world of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I know I’m not alone in loving all those Jane Austen books that were made into fabulous period movies.

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The museum in Bath was entertaining, but it wasn’t really a place where Jane Austen lived–it’s a house that was like the home she stayed in when she lived at Bath. It was a little distance from the main part of Bath where the Pump House and the Roman Baths are located. An interesting fact in England is that no matter what you’re looking for there–according to the person giving directions–it’s always just ten minutes from where you’re at. My friend June and I enjoyed looking at the different costumes from the Jane Austen movies in the museum.

1047a This was Jane Austen’s last home where she lived with her mother, and her sister Cassandra from 1809 until 1817. It’s here she revised her earlier manuscript novels SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and NORTHANGER ABBEY. She also wrote MANSFIELD PARK, EMMA, and PERSUASION in this house, so it’s easy to surmise that this village of Chawton is where she did her major work. Of all the spots we visited, this peaceful village of Chawton  was the easiest place to feel the soul of Jane Austen.

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Above are pictures of the parlor and bedroom of Jane Austen in her Chawton home.

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June and I couldn’t resist reading in Jane Austen’s garden. I’m standing on a village street in Chawton and Mike, June, and Steve are having tea at Cassandra’s Tea Shop.

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Above is a memorial to Jane Austen located in Winchester Cathedral and her gravestone is on the right . She’s buried in the north aisle nave in the Winchester Cathedral.  Below is the outside of the Winchester Cathedral.

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The picture above is the house where Jane Austen died at the age of forty-one. The cause of death is still debated. She was taken to Winchester for medical treatment and two months later she died. The house is located behind Winchester Cathedral and we were warned not to peer into the windows because people still live there. In today’s market, the house would sell for over one million pounds. Yikes!

Our pilgrimage to walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen was definitely the highlight of our trip to England–beating out even Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral.  I would have to say thanks to our good friends in England, June and Mike Horbury, for making the journey possible. Thanks so much guys!

As a writer, I can’t express how much Jane Austen means to me and probably all writers and readers of romance. It’s amazing to read her books and to think, I know that character, or, I’ve gone out with that bad boy! Jane’s humor shines through her books and to say she brings her characters to life is a wild understatement. Her universal themes of money, class, and romance are powerful and they can absorb us still. I believe Harper Collins is planning to update the six Jane Austen novels, and Jane Trollope’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the first in the series. I hope these authors do justice to these wonderful books and only enhance the genius of Jane Austen.

Thanks for stopping by to share my Jane Austen pilgrimage. It was a pleasure having you.

Bren

 

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