Friday, December 30, 2005


It's both sunny and cold in Arizona this morning--cold by Arizona standards, anyway. How I love the sunshine.

I told you about my friend, Althea, in yesterday's blog. Well, she's arrived, and we've been talking up the proverbial storm. We've got great plans for setting our intentions for 2006, getting our visions clarified and in place. We have herbs, and today we're buying candles. (The new moon begins today, and I like to do nine-day novenas (formal prayers) beginning at this time). Rituals, in themselves, have no power--but they do focus the mind, which does have power. I believe there is a deep human need for ritual, for not just saying our prayers, but acting them out. There is tremendous healing in this. Women are instinctively drawn to ritual--a bubble bath, a walk, journaling--all these things can be prayer. So can reading a book, exploring another world, in the company of characters who dare to do and be all that they can. Tony and Clare are like that--they are bold adventurers, as well as tender lovers. Yes, this too, this losing ourselves in a story, can be a form of prayer.

My prayer for you is that you will find your own unique vision, and lay claim to it. That you will put your roots down deep, and grow into a great tree, sheltering seedlings beneath your generous boughs.

May you be blessed.

Have a wonderful weekend. Set an intention. Light a candle.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Friend, Althea

My friend Althea will arrive today, with her delightful pomeranian, Ti Amo, in tow. (Or, more properly, peeking out of her purse.) He's even smaller than my beloved yorkie, Bernice, but he holds his own with the rest of the menagerie whenever they visit. The two of them spent Christmas in New York, with Althea's lovely and accomplished daughter, Ava. After the snow and the transit strike, Arizona will be quite a change.

It's a wonderful thing to welcome in a brand new year with a friend like Althea. We'll light candles, set goals, and talk about our dreams. We'll do plenty of laughing, too. Althea's a kick. She can calculate your astrological sign down to the degree, but has trouble with Weight Watchers' point system!

I hope you're preparing for a wonderful 2006, with your friends and family.

I also hope you're reading my new book, "One Last Look", and enjoying every moment with Tony and Clare and the regular secondary characters--Clare's best friend, Loretta, her niece, Emma, the dogs, Waldo and Bernice (no coincidence, and my beagle, Sadie, has her nose out of joint because she's only in one book, and Bernice is in three), the magical Mrs. K, and Eddie, Sonterra's former Scottsdale PD partner. Of course there are new people, too--some good ones, and some stinkers. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back from California!

I had a wonderful time in LA, with my daughter and her beau, Jeremy. It was really hard to leave, but I'm glad to be back home, too. Pushing up my sleeves to continue writing "Sierra's Homecoming", the parallel lives story I'm doing for Silhouette Special Edition. (December, 2006). The dogs greeted me with a welcome home party, and the cats essentially said, "You again?"

Over my vacation, I went to see "King Kong" at the fabulous Arclight Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie was too long, and if you like animals, don't go. I hate to be negative about anything, but even though the special effects are awesome, the thing was three hours out of my life that I'll never get back.

The email registrations have jumped so much that I know you've received the email newsletter about "One Last Look". There's a lot at stake in this story, with Clare and Tony having to go through some real trials, but I promise you, you'll be satisfied with the ending, and the journey as well. You'll laugh. You'll have a hair-raising adventure. And when it all winds up, you'll be cheering for the good guys!

More tomorrow. To all of you who have already bought the book, "Thank you!" To those of you who haven't, "What are you waiting for?" :)

And now I'd better go. I have 200 scholarship entries to review, and the final winners will be announced soon. Are YOU one of them? And if not--well, we're gearing up to start all over again, so sharpen those pencils.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Good morning!

I am, as you can see by the time of this posting, an early riser. As of now, I have been up for three hours, most of which were spent writing in my journal and morning pages.

Today, I am off to LA, on Southwest airlines, and my beautiful daughter, Wendy, will be waiting for me when I arrive. We are planning to watch movies, check out the local Sephora store, which is one of our favorite things to do, and even to have some mother-daughter writing time. Wendy is a screenwriter, you see, and though she hasn't had anything produced yet, mark my words. She will. I can see her name up on that screen, clear as anything. The best part of this time, of course, is Being Together.

I'm taking a hiatus from my stresses and worries (yes, even published writers have them!), and concentrating on staying in the moment and enjoying my many blessings. My daughter is the greatest of these, along with the privilege of doing what I love for a living, having so many friends, some of whom have four legs and fur, and living in a free country. I'm on a first-name basis with God, and I'm growing. I'm learning. I'm stretching. Sometimes, it hurts a little, but it's all worthwhile.

Like Clare and Tony (five days now), I'm determined to show up, suit up, and play the game with all my heart, no matter how rough it may get. The key is to remember that it IS a game, and that's hard sometimes, I know. It can be fun and easy, too, this game--if we choose to see it that way. There is enormous power in Vision, and we are always at choice.

I'm choosing joy. I'm choosing faith and courage. What are YOU choosing?

I will be back on this blog on the morning of December 28. Meet me right here, okay? I'll have a lot to tell you!

In the meantime, Merry Christmas. Relax and enjoy.

May you, and all your loved ones, human and furry, be blessed in all things and in all ways.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

6 Days and Counting

"One Last Look" is on its way to you, in trucks and airplanes, right this very minute!

It is a romantic suspense, so there is a lot of both those things. Murder and mayhem, and some really hot love scenes.

What do I love most about Tony and Clare?

Their can-do, keep-going spirit. Their love for each other. Their humor. Their intelligence.

If you've registered in the guest book, you'll be receiving a beautiful newsletter soon, by regular mail, and another by email.

Take some time out, after all your holiday doing and giving, and give yourself a gift. "One Last Look" probably won't change your life or improve your mind. But it WILL entertain you, I promise.

Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One Week From Today...

Tony and Clare will arrive!

What makes them special? I've thought about that a lot. They are people who "stand up on the inside". In the face of adversity, they still dream. They still persist. In moments of joy, they celebrate. Even though they are fictional characters, they are fully alive. In fact, if I met either of them on the street, I'd know them. (Just as I would any McKettrick, but to be fair, most of them would be easy to spot, because of the western dress and the six guns!)

What does it mean to 'stand up on the inside'? It means that no matter what is happening in the outer world, you know you'll be better than all right. You'll win, simply because you believe in your dreams and you're not a quitter!

Watch for "One Last Look". Lay in that tea or cider. Unfold your favorite afghan, and prepare to snuggle in and share the adventure.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What An Age We Live In

I just ordered groceries online for the first time. Wow! No driving, parking, pushing a cart through a crowded store. No lugging the stuff from the Avalanche to the kitchen once I get home!

I am so jazzed!

Maybe it's the approaching New Year, but I'm in the mood to try things. This old dog is definitely learning some new tricks.

One week from tomorrow, "One Last Look" will be in the stores. After all this time and all these books, it still makes my heart beat a little faster to see a book with my name on it.

I cannot wait for you to meet Tony and Clare, either for the first time, or again.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Mornings

I love Saturday mornings.
I used to sleep in--alas, Sadie and Bernice, my dogs, do NOT sleep in, so I don't either, but still, it's lovely to wake up with nowhere I have to go. The cards and packages have been sent, and I'm looking forward to spending Christmas in LA with my absolute favorite person in all the universe, my beautiful and brilliant daughter, Wendy. Did I mention that I'm ever so proud of her? She is a passionate, and compassionate woman, a talented writer, an animal lover and an all-around good person. I learn so much from her, about writing and about life.
Today, I'll be working, because I have a pressing deadline, but that is a blessing, too. You are going to LOVE "Sierra's Homecoming", I just know it. I'm pouring my heart into it, and even though it will be a full year before you see it, it gives me joy to know that next December, you will meet these very special people--Sierra and Travis in the present, and Hannah and Doss in the past.
In the meantime, the countdown has begun for "One Last Look". Clare and Tony are waiting in the wings, ready to make their appearance on December 27. They've got a wonderful, exciting story to share with you, and they come with my best wishes for each and every one of you.
May the Reason for the Season bless you abundantly, in all things and in all ways.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Best Gifts

I am truly the Woman Who Has Everything.

This year, my mother and a very dear, longtime friend picked up on that, and sent gifts to World Hunger and Habitat for Humanity, in my name.

I am deeply grateful, and so touched, and I hope this becomes a trend among those who insist upon giving me gifts.

I have way too much stuff as it is. Do you? Still, I am grateful for every gift, because it is given out of love.

From my heart, I speak joy and abundant blessings into each and every one of your lives.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

1002 Scholarship Entries!

This year's participation in the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women program was HUGE! I could not be more delighted.

The winners will be announced on the website soon, along with rules for entering next year's contest.

Here at Springwater Station, we are preparing for a low-key (but not low-JOY) Christmas. The shopping is done. I'm spending the holiday with my daughter, in LA, and of course the move to Spokane is in the offing, so no big tree. Next year? Look out! There will be decorations everywhere you look.

With "One Last Look" hitting the stores on the 27th, anticipation is high. I received a couple of copies of the final book yesterday, from my editor, and the cover is beautiful. Clare and Tony are sure to approve. (Once, Jeb McKettrick warned me off a pink cover. "No way," he said.)

May you be blessed, in this Holy Season and always. From my heart to yours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

2006 Will Be the Year I...

You fill in the blanks. Write your answers and read them over every day, keeping in mind that our theme is VISION. See yourself, as you read, reaching those places you never thought you could reach.

What am I seeing?

My beloved horses coming home to a new barn at the new place in Spokane.

My books, delighting people, touching their hearts. When you read one of my books, I am holding out my hand to you. I am saying, "Have courage. Believe. Do the right thing, no matter what." This is the message of Tony and Clare, in "One Last Look" and the previous two stories, as well. This is certainly the McKettrick credo, too. The McKettricks don't just talk, they DO. They have their sorrows, like everybody else, and they get knocked down a lot. The difference between them and the lesser characters on stage with them? They get up again, as many times as necessary. Bloody or bruised, they have a vision, and they follow it.

Let 2006 be the year you come to know that the Universe delights in you, just as you are. It is only by accepting this that you can become more. More than you ever, ever imagined.

"One Last Look" is coming soon. Are you ready?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Word of the Year

My good friend, Debbie Macomber, always chooses a theme word for each new year. She explores the meaning of that word, in her journals, in her prayers, in her life. She celebrates and honors the word, and claims the quality for her own. (Did I mention that Debbie is one of the smartest women I know?)

My word for 2006 is a big one.

VISION. I want to see my dreams, plans and goals clearly in my mind, in as much detail as possible. I've even purchased a special journal for this purpose, with a lovely medallion on the front. The prompting sentence is: 2006 is the year of...

What kind of year do YOU want 2006 to be?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Back from the Land of Debbie

What a marvelous time I had!
Debbie and I had lots of girl time, and since she's a really inspirational person, I came away walking on air.
We talked. We shopped. We laughed. We shared our hearts.
On Wednesday, we attended a luncheon with such stellar names as: Jayne Ann Krentz, Stella Cameron, Cherry Adair, Katherine Stone, Megan Chance, Christina Dodd, Kristen Hannah, Jill Barnett--gosh, if I missed one of you famous ladies, I apologize. What a great time it was! All of us go way back--we knew each other when. What a blessing these creative and dynamic women have been, and how lovely to reconnect in an elegant atmosphere. Thanks, Jayne and Stella!
Most of all, thanks, Debbie. (No, the tator twister is not your hostess gift. Flowers on the way!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Linda's Big Adventure!

I'm off to the Seattle area tomorrow morning to spend a few days with my good friend, Debbie Macomber. We're going to laugh, and probably cry a little, too. We're going to talk, in depth, about things that really matter. We're going to eat and shop and drink good wine.

I'll be back to the blog on Friday, with a report.

Be blessed.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I've Had the Flu

Sorry about not writing a blog. I've been down, but not out, with a bug.

Plenty of good things going on, though. I had lunch with my sister, Pam, yesterday, at PF Chang's, and we did a little medicinal shopping afterwards at Barnes and Noble.

I've made an offer on my dream property outside of Spokane, and it looks like this place will sell any day now.

Best of all, I'm going to LA to spend Christmas with my daughter!

Now, off to smear myself with Vicks, set up my laptop, and work on the story I hope you'll be reading at this time next year--"I'll Be Home for Christmas" will headline an anthology from Pocket Books.

In the meantime, the countdown for "One Last Look" has begun. It will hit most stores on December 27. I'm SO excited, and if you're on our snail-mail list, you can expect a beautiful printed newsletter as well as email notification. (If you've signed the guest book on the website, you're on the list.) The newsletter, prepared by the inimitable Nancy Berland and her wonderful staff, contains pictures of the horses, and of me with some of the Harlequin crew, under the Springwater Station sign my dad made. That's going in a place of honor in the new place, as I've told you, and I'm sure Dad can be prevailed upon to make one for the Triple L.

Maybe you have a blessed weekend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is This Arizona?

It has been SO cold here. I guess the universe is preparing me for winters in Spokane!

Right now, I'm working on a brand new Silhoutette Special Edition called "Sierra's Homecoming". It's so much fun! The book is the first of two stories about half-sisters who are descendents of Holt and Lorelei McKettrick, of "McKettrick's Choice", and it has a paranormal element. It's the "parallel lives" book I've been wanting to write for years and years...Sierra returns to the house on the Triple M (it was Holt's house in the historical stories), only to find she's sharing it with Hannah McKettrick. For Hannah, it's 1919! Both women have love stories of their own, and they connect in powerful ways, despite the fact that they're living in different centuries! The book will come out in December of 2006---watch for updates on the website.

I've got so many wonderful projects going, it's hard to keep track of them all.

Next on the writing docket is "McKettrick's Luck", the first of three modern McKettrick tales, to be published in February, March and April of 2007. That's a while, I know, but once the stories start rolling, you won't have to wait long in between!

Don't worry--there's a lot coming in the meantime. "One Last Look", the final Clare and Tony story, will be in the stores the last Tuesday in December. This December. The paperback version of "McKettrick's Choice" comes in late February. The new hardcover historical, "The Man from Stone Creek", arrives in late May. Finally, on the last Tuesday in October, there is the first Mojo book--the beginning of a new series of romantic suspense novels starring Mojo Sheepshanks. It's called "Deadly Gamble", and will be published as a trade paperback.

So, for those of you who say I don't write fast enough, I've definitely pushed up my sleeves!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back from Las Vegas

I had a wonderful time with my beautiful daughter, Wendy. She showed me the first 30 pages of her new script, and it's a doozy! I fully expect to see it on the silver screen in the not too distant future!

We stayed at the Mirage, and even though neither of us won money, we still felt like major winners. Why? Because we were together. We laughed and talked and shopped, which was refreshing after playing the slot machines. When you shop, of course, they give you something back for the money you spend!

Saying good-bye was the hard part. Wendy lives in LA, so she drove, while I got on a plane back to Phoenix. Wonder of wonders, my flight was only an hour late! The plane was packed. Is it just me, or is traveling an exercise in frustration? Probably the holiday weekend. Wendy was stuck in heavy traffic all the way from Vegas to the City of Angels, but she got home safely, so it's all good.

Hope you're all recovering from your turkey-comas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Horses Snug and Warm

Buck, Coco, Banjo and Skye are all snug at the new stables. Clint, their wonderful caretaker, fitted them for blankets, and they allowed him to put them on without a problem--something we had doubts about. Arizona horses, you see, do not know from blankets.

I miss my horse-babies terribly, and will be glad when we're all on the same patch of ground again, but I know they're warm, and I have added that to a long, long list of things to be grateful for, on this Thanksgiving Eve and every other day. They were also loved and taken care of on the family ranch.

Tomorrow, we're having a turkey dinner, but it will be pretty informal. I'm spending the weekend in Las Vegas, meeting my daughter, Wendy, there for a little girl-talk, a Celine Dion concert, and some Wheel of Fortune! Wendy is a writer, too, but screenplays are her thing, and I expect she'll be rich and famous one of these days, sooner rather than later. I'm so proud of her, I could burst.

May each and every one of you be blessed, as we give thanks, and always. May you remember that you can choose joy, and gratitude, and compassion. You can't choose situations, but you CAN choose your interpretation of them. Look for creative ways to celebrate.

Until Monday, then.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spokane Odyssey

I just returned from a flying trip to Spokane, and it was unscheduled. The horses were receiving plenty of TLC on the ranch outside of Northport, but there is no barn, and my poor Arizona critters were shivering! This cowgirl couldn't rest until they were warm, so I jumped on a plane and went up there.

They are now settled in stalls in a wonderful stable north of Spokane, and they even have a pygmie goat for a playmate! Buck will love that goat--he's a companionable sort of fellow. Many a morning, I would look over, after setting a feed pan on the ground, and see him sharing with a bunny!

Have a very good Thanksgiving.

I know each and every one of you are on MY list of blessings.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Messenger to Mortal, continued

Messenger: Who am I? I'm you, Silly. You think you're the only "you" there is, don't you? Wrong! You're a link in a long chain of YOUs. I just happen to be a little further along the chain, that's all.

Mortal: I'm not the only me?

Messenger: Fortunately, no.

Mortal: You got out. Doesn't that mean I can get out, too? Away from this hut-rut, and these damn bears?

Messenger: That's exactly what it means. Look at the bears. They're transparent. The only way to prove this is to go past them.

Mortal: Okay, I can accept that, but I don't have to like it.

Messenger: No, you don't have to like it. You just have to do it.

(Not to be continued. You take it from here.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another Story

Once upon a time, a mortal lived in a hut. It was a comfortable hut, pretty well-equipped, actually, and it's no accident, my dears, that hut rhymes with rut.

The mortal was content, for the most part, but sometimes, he/she would look out the window, see the foothills in the distance, and wonder what was beyond them. (Besides the mountain, I mean.) Was there a valley, lush and green, nestled between the foothills and the mountain? Were there people there? If so, what we they like? Were they friendly? Would they welcome her/him, if he/she chanced to visit?

Oh, sometimes she/he yearned to go out there and explore, with an intensity so deep it hurt.

But he/she was afraid, and with good reason. Or so she/he thought.

What was there to be afraid of?

Well, there were bears on the porch. Big, hungry, growling bears. They would surely devour her/him in great, bloody chunks, if he/she dared step over the threshold! Sometimes, at night, she/he was so afraid, he/she pulled the blankets over her/his head, and trembled with the terror of it all. There WERE bears out there. What if they stormed the place? What if they got inside the hut/rut? Oh, they were there, all right. She/he could hear them. She/he could see them. In fact, when he/she looked out the window, toward the hidden valley he/she just knew was there, one of them would pop up and scare her/him out of her wits. Very big. Very ugly. Very bad teeth.

One day, he/she received an email from someone called Messenger. (I told you the hut/rut was well-equipped. It has a state-of-the-art computer, completely wireless.) You shall know the Truth, the message went, and the Truth shall set you free.

Easy for YOU to say, the mortal wrote back, affronted.

Messenger happened to be online at the time, and got right back to her/him with: The bears aren't real.

Well, the mortal was even MORE insulted. Did this Messenger character think he/she was so stupid she/he couldn't recognize an illusion?

The Messenger knew this, somehow, and sent a smiley face emoticon.

The bears are REAL! Mortal insisted, but some of his/her fury was waning. What if Messenger was right? What if the bears weren't real?

Come and get me, he/she wrote. Right now! I want to get out of here. I need help.

You have all the help you need, Messenger shot back. If I lead you through the bears or make them disappear, what will you learn? You are hypnotized, for all practical intents and purposes, and only you can break the spell.

Mortal: I don't want to learn anything, damn it. I don't know how to break spells. I just want to see the valley!

Messenger: Only one way to do that. You've got to walk through the bears.

Mortal: Great. They'll eat me.

Messenger: They can't eat you. They're NOT REAL.

Mortal: I don't believe you.

Messenger: We have a stand-off, then, I guess. There's only one way out. Through the bears.

Mortal (hopefully): Isn't there a Plan B?

Messenger: Well, you could learn to train the bears. You could make pets out of them, give them names, sew up little tutus for them to wear. That's all avoidance, though.

Mortal: It's a risk.

Messenger: It only seems like a risk. Actually, it's a sure thing.

Mortal: Who are you, anyway?

To be continued....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On a Lighter Note

Bernice, the Yorkie, is sitting on my lap as I write this, at my kitchen table, still in my robe and pjs. She's playing me like a fiddle. The cats, Cha Cha and Jitterbug, just got into a swatting hissy fit by the screen door--they want to go outside, and I guess it just seems natural to blame each other because they can't. Cha Cha has gone over the wall twice, and gotten herself thrown back into the pokey. She doesn't understand that there are coyotes and hawks out there, looking to score a tasty morsel like her. She just thinks I'm being a killjoy.

I wonder if God ever feels this way. We go over the wall, in pursuit of some new idea, and He hauls us back in, not to spoil our fun, but so we won't get eaten. I'm a great believer in trying new things, and obviously, so is God. But ya gotta be ready.

Since it's hard to write a blog with a Yorkie between me and the laptop, I'll sign off for today.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Very Good News!

It should have been obvious, but I was thunderstruck when this insight came out in my personal journal.

The pain-body has a counterpart! The Next Best You is that counterpart. It stands a step closer to the Real You, which is the true source and heartbeat of your life.

If there's fear, anxiety, resentment, frustration, the pain-body is mounting an assault. Sidestep it by moving into the NBY. Things will look very different from there.

Should you believe this just because I said so? Absolutely not! You will only understand if you experience the phenomenon yourself.

Try it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's Ten O'Clock...

Do you know where your pain-body is?

More importantly, do you know what it's up to?

How can you recognize it?

By negativity. By drama and angst. These are the things the pain-body thrives on, and they are valuable signals for that reason. Those hopeless spy-lies? They are coming from the pain-body! They have no basis in truth. The pain-body is a snake-oil salesman, and it's selling sorrow, despair, depression, and defeat. Frustration is on half-price special--get it while you can!

Why does it act this way? Why does it continually generate destructive beliefs and ideas? Because those mind-sets feed it. Its very existence depends on your believing the lies it tells you!

How do you prevail over the pain-body, and take back control of your life? It's simple, but not easy. Recognize it. That is the first step. It is probably well-entrenched, and it will arise to challenge you. Every time you see it for what it is, however, and choose not to play along, it will be weakened. Remember that most of its operations are covert ones, and the ego often joins in, to double-team you. Wise up. Refuse to play the game. Eventually, as we practice this, our pain-bodies will heal.

Fine, I hear you saying, but what about the pain-bodies of others? How do we deal with them? (That guy who cut us off in traffic. That obnoxious in-law. That toxic person at the office.) By looking past them, the cavorting pain-body and ego, I mean, to the Real Person. You meet pain-bodies every day of your life, and egos playing at various levels, and they trick you into engaging with them, bringing out your own ego and pain-body in response to some perceived threat. This takes practice, because most of us have been buying into the Big Fat Lie for a long time. I suspect it's rare to encounter an authentic self, rather than some convenient and transitory guise of the ego or the pain-body. The exceptions to this really stand out, by virtue of being so uncommon. "They're special," the pain-body tells us, in a conspiratorial whisper. Well, I say, that's a LIE! They're not special, my dear--they're NORMAL.

Recently, someone said to me, "Life is suffering." This is a pain-body in full control. Pain is inevitable, in every life, but suffering is a matter of choice. Suffering is the provence of the pain-body, with generous input from the ego. "This shouldn't be happening to ME." "I am a victim." "It's not fair!" (Hello. Expecting things to be fair is playground stuff. It's infantile. Get over it. You're in the show, and that means you'll have low times as well as high ones. The effect ANY of these events have on you is a matter of your interpretation of them.)

Victor Frankel and Christopher Reeve immediately come to mind. There are thousands, if not millions, of other heros and heroines like this. Terrible things happened to them, but they overcame, setting a higher standard for all of us. They knew no circumstance really had power over them, as long as they held onto their divine right to interpret said circumstance from the highest mental and emotional ground they could get to. NOT, take note, from the place of Enlightenment, which few of us reach in physical form, but from the next best place to stand inside their own minds and hearts. That's all we have to do to progress, you know. Just step into that next best place, that next best feeling.

It's a process.

Let's keep going.

So. It's ten o'clock. Where is YOUR pain-body, and what mischief is it up to?

Thursday, November 10, 2005


My apologies if you have emailed me through the website and received no response! I did not know the box was in operation. My assistant, Nicole, will be wading in immediately. Please be patient, and please accept my sincerest apologies. Computers are not my strong suit!

All Those Pesky Selves

It's a struggle. I've got a lot of different selves jockeying for position right now--a frustrated self, a waiting self, a self that wants to throw over the to-do list and head for the casino.

Selves, selves, selves.

It takes practice, I guess, to learn to step back, but I am assured that just noticing these selves, being conscious of them, is most of the battle. Well, I'm sure recognizing them, so I must be making a little progress! How about you?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More on "A New Earth"

Tolle's book is proving to be a really exciting journey for me, and I've found another one that corresponds. It's called "The Intimate Enemy", and the authors are Guy Finley and Dr. Ellen Dickstein. The intimate enemy is, of course, the false self, the person we imagine ourselves to be. Many of us live an entire lifetime without ever guessing that we're playing for the wrong team. The false self, with all its myriad guises, is an illusion. Finley and Dickstein call these guises the "Temporary Person in Charge." In other words, these bad actors show up in response to whatever the false self perceives as the most pressing need. (Dickstein stated an example that really resonated with me. She said her closet is full of clothes one of these selves must have purchased, because she can never seem to find anything SHE wants to wear! I bet a lot of you recognize that one.) All this can only happen because we're not aware of it. Once you consciously challenge these kalidescope selves, and demand identification, you'll be surprised at how fast things start to turn around. The good news is, you can find and live from your true, authentic self. The bad news is, it's work. Hard work. If you're serious about feeling better (now there's an oxymoron), buy these books and read them. "A New Earth" is in book stores now, in hardcover. You'll have to find "The Intimate Enemy" on ebay or somewhere that deals in used books, but it's out there, and it's worth the search.

Tolle calls the false self the "pain-body". For the sake of brevity, let me just say that the closest approximation I can think of for this phenomenon would be J.K. Rowlings' Dementors. You have a pain body. I have a pain body. All God's chillins got a pain body! If you don't know it's there, it will run your life. This is the reason for war and all kinds of violence. There aren't any Real Selves out there on the battlefield--just a bunch of pain bodies, going at it. You see, pain bodies thrive on negativity, on hatred and prejudice and their very favorite dish of all, fear.

Today's question: Who's in charge of your life? The real you? Or is it your pain-body, Siamese twin to the ego?

We've been sold a bill of goods. We've listened to spy-lies. Now, it's time to take back the village. More on this tomorrow.

In the meantime, BREATHE, as my pastor, the inimitable Richard Rogers of Unity of Phoenix often says. Stay present in the moment. We are not going to fight these enemies--remember, they thrive on conflict--we're going to step back and observe them. You see, the one thing they cannot bear is being seen for what they are. Illusions, made of nothing, and surviving only on the power they get from our belief that they're real.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Brace yourself. This story might change your whole way of thinking. It certainly was a powerful insight for me.

Once, there was a village. It was a happy, prosperous, and peaceful place. (You and me, in our natural state.) Unbeknownst to the populace, there was also an invader, eying them from afar. The invader wanted to conquer, but the village had sturdy walls. (Personal boundaries. Faith. Positive attitudes.) How best to get inside those walls? A full frontal attack would not be successful--the villagers would see the army coming and be prepared. With their boundaries, faith and positivity, they would fend off any attack without breaking a sweat.

What to do, what to do.

The invader decided to send in spies--innocuous beings, friendly and sympathetic, disguised as just another villager. The spies are thoughts--seemingly innocent. "Nothing that good could ever happen to you," they whisper, always appearing to have your best interests at heart, of course. "Don't even try. You'll only get hurt." Such caring! This thought seems to really be on your side.

There are, of course, two possible endings to this story. In the first and worst, the spies succeed. The invader doesn't even have to show up--he can just phone in his victory. The spies take over for him, and that's the end of it. The villagers, heretofore so happy, are easily enslaved, because they believe the lies. On the other hand, the villagers could wise up, and we would have a very different ending. They could say, "Hey. My dreams are important. They're my mission and my whole purpose for putting on this body and venturing into the physical world in the first place. Furthermore, they are possible, and I'm going to defend them."

Are you listening to spy-lies?

Send those sneaky little buggers packing, right now, today!

How? By recognizing them for what they are. The key is intention. Is this thought offering wise counsel? Caution, perhaps? Or is it simply negative, out to undermine your self esteem?

Don't let them do it. Don't let them take your village. It is rightfully YOURS.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Lovely Weekend

This weekend was restful, and entirely undramatic. What a concept!

I did some shopping on Saturday--bought a Christmas present, and feel very smug about it--and on Sunday I played hooky from church and had breakfast with a friend. Biscuits and gravy, and I still stayed on program. That's another thing I love about Weight Watchers. It's real-world eating--you can have anything, if you plan and adapt. The bottomline is, some of us have to be careful what we eat, and I am one of these people. I've finally accepted that. I uncovered the rub in my journaling--I wanted to eat mindlessly, I guess, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Well, as Dr. Phil would say, Get Real, Linda. Once again, personal responsibility rears its head. (I was going to say ugly head, but nothing about p.r. is ugly. It's the most beautiful thing in the world, besides love.)

More on my friend. Her name is Sandi, and she's a grief counselor, among other valuable talents. An acqaintance I much admire, and who has always been kind to me, suffered a terrible loss recently, and I've been trying to process it. What to say to this woman, who must be in unspeakable pain? There are so many pitfalls--saying, "It's God's will," for instance. Or, "God needed another angel." (The reaction to that one is likely to be a missile, aimed at your head. After all, the first stage of grief is anger, isn't it?) Still, it's even worse not to say anything at all. Sandi is helping me with it, and of course my journal has been a Godsend. I can get things out of my head when I journal, and onto the paper, where they can be seen from a broader perspective. If I don't do this, I tend to become entangled in a lot of things that are basically none of my business.

Grief is very private territory, sacred ground. Too often, when we are operating from some level of ego, we are tempted to become emeshed in it, and that is an intrusion. We cannot attach ourselves, or truly enter in. And yet we cannot turn away, either. Compassion is called for, and the ability to stand squarely in the moment. It's knowing when to speak and when to keep silent, when to act and when NOT to act, that's the trick. And yet, if I get quiet, I know what to do.

If there's a lot of sound and fury, and flying dust, then it's a safe bet the ego is in charge. The Next Best Linda is only a choice away, though. Just the slightest shift, and I'm there.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Friday Rears Its Beautiful Head

My "short" story, "The Christmas of the Red Chiefs", an O. Henry reference, will go in to my editor today. Pocket will release it for the 2006 holiday season, headlining an anthology.

The weather in Arizona is cool--at last--even a little crisp this morning.

I intend to spend this Friday well.

I'm going to buy a telescope. I've become a solar system fanatic, watching shows on the Science and Discovery Channels. I recently listened to Dava Sobel's "The Planets" on CD, and was so fascinated that I bought the book as well.

More news, too. I'm back on my Weight Watchers plan, and loving it. I thought I'd have to think MORE about food, but instead, it's less. If any of you are making the same journey, you'll find some helpful information at I bought the series of hypnosis CDs mentioned on the site, and they're working! I mean, I am almost on automatic pilot with this! I also found it very inspiring that Dottie, who had a 100 pound weight loss and then regained it all, was willing to share her experience, strength and hope. I gained some of my weight back, but now I'm really putting on the brakes, and that feels good. Also, the site lists the points for food at almost any restaurant you can name. Great recipes, too, and let me tell you, her husband Al writes a mean newsletter.

My friend Sandi will be featured on Lifetime tonight, getting a surprise makeover. I believe it's during the movie, "Human Trafficking". Check it out.

BE a good weekend, ladies, as Iyanla Vanzant would say.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Few Kind Words About the Ego

There are some big, bad egos out there, mostly belonging to various world leaders, it would seem. Warmongers. Planet-rapers. Ruthless exploiters. Bad egos for sure, run amok.

Chances are, though, that your ego is not a fiend. It's simply an overwhelmed, frantic child, crying out for the attention of the adult you.

If you feel...


Then the child-ego is in charge. Tell her you'll take care of everything, and mean it. Tell her to go take a nap. Bring out your inner grown-up and take charge.

You'll find, as I have, that life gets much easier.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My good friend, Debbie Macomber....

Is featured in the November issue of "Guideposts". Her story would be inspiring to anyone, but especially to aspiring writers. Please check it out!

Are you writing in your journals?

Are you trying to live from your next-best self (no quantum leaps, remember), instead of your ego?

Good for you.

As we begin this new month, with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, let's talk about gratitude.

One of the many things I am grateful for is my longstanding friendship with Debbie Macomber. Another is...YOU.

You've made so many dreams come true. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Middle Self

I am as excited today as an astronomer who has just discovered a "new", as in previously unrecognized, planet!

We spoke a little yesterday about the ego--the shallow, low-level self that is really an overgrown, petulant and spoiled child, with one mantra fitfully offered: Me, Me, ME! We also touched on the True Self, which is the purest essence of being, made wholly of love.

Obviously, the span between these two poles is extreme, to say the least, a gap too wide to bridge in everyday life, surely. I was journaling about that when I realized that there is yet another self--the Middle Self--the intermediary between the two.

This is the voice of reason, of compassion, of calm. This is the self that creates and attracts. The one, as mentioned yesterday, who steps forward in a crisis and takes over. This is the self who whispers, even in deepest sorrow, "Everything will be all right."

Furthermore, there is a signal system. If you feel frustrated, annoyed, resentful, petty, or sad, the ego is in charge. It is like a frantic jester, cavorting desperately to keep your attention on it and it alone. Sadness and pain are a part of the exquisite tapestry of life, but dwelling on them too long is the ego's game.

Let's wise up. Let's become deliberately conscious of which sphere we're operating from at any given time. Your emotions will tell you clearly whether you are on the ego's ground, or standing squarely in the Middle Self.

It's a mental shift, you know. It's a choice. If it feels bad, as my friend Abraham says, it IS bad. It means you are snared in the ego's shell game.

Step back, and get to know the Middle Self.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Ego vs True Self

Okay, I think you get the idea about the internal house. The rest of the rooms, you can explore on your own, using your journal.

I have recently gone through a book called "The 30 Day Mental Diet", by Willis Kinnear, given to me as a gift by my good friend, Jill Marie Landis. What an amazing experience it was! I've already had some powerful shifts because of the daily lessons in the book, and I'm always eager to share anything that works on my website. I'm currently enthralled by Eckhardt Tolle's new book, "A New Earth." If you've read his ground-breaking, "The Power of Now", this will take you to the next level. If you're not ready, it will sound like gibberish, and that's okay, too. Buy the book, set it aside, and when the time is ripe, you'll read it.

Basically, the premise of Tolle's book is that we have two selves (at least)--the True Self, and the ego. Most of us, not being aware that we have a choice, live from the superficial ego part of ourselves. It struck me, as I was listening (I like books on CD, because I stare at words all day on a computer screen), that we seldom encounter a real person--only the ego-self they present to the world. It's the ego that compares, criticizes and thinks in terms of me, me, me. But I've had the experience, especially in times of crisis or urgency, of a better self stepping forward and taking over. Haven't you? And wouldn't it be a better world if we learned to operate consciously from the True Self, instead of unconsciously, from the ego? The interesting thing is, everybody doesn't have to get there. If enough of us make the shift, critical mass will kick in, and the whole collective consciousness will change!

Isn't that exciting????

Let's try it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Still Reading God's Mail...

Dear God,
I've gotten a raw deal, all the way. What's up with that? I want the world to make it up to me. I am entitled to a better life!
Whining in Wisconsin

Dear Whining,
Good luck. With that attitude, you're only going to get more of the same. You're 'entitled' to a life. What you make of it is largely a matter of personal responsibility.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pooped in Paduca

A peek into the next room in our house reveals that it's a letter-writing room of some kind.

There's a writing desk, with a beautiful quill pen and a bottle of golden ink. Holy Moley, it's real gold, this ink. I think this is a room where God hears and answers prayers.

There's a letter, lying on the desk. Shall we read God's mail?

Dear God,

Nothing ever goes right for me. My dreams are all broken or lost.
I'm a victim of circumstance, and frankly, I just don't know how I'm going to go on. The kids make me tired. My husband makes me tired. I'm just plain...

Pooped in Paduca

And the response:

Dear Pooped,

I gave you the privilege of life, along with all the tools you need to live it well. You're tired because that's your favorite word--it's a litany with you. "I'm tired." That's all you ever say. How about, "I'm grateful"? Try that one on for size.

Okay, sometimes the game gets pretty rough.

Put on your big girl panties and get off the sidelines. Don't wait for Me to wave some magic wand and make everything all right in an instant. That wouldn't be good for you, and I never do anything that isn't good for you.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another Day on the Flight Deck

Well, we've got those chimpanzees under control, at least to the point where we can hear ourselves think.

Now, all we've got to do is check out the co-ordinates.

Where, exactly, do we want to fly this ship?

Write down between three and five possible destinations.

Maybe you'd like to travel to Health. Or Wealth. Or Joy. Or Peace of Mind. Or Freedom.

All great destinations. You might want to be a lot more specific; I know I do.

What is your most impossible dream? The one you can't possibly accomplish because of all those good reasons you keep coming up with?

Let's go for that one. Heck, even if we don't make it, we're bound to have some great experiences along the way. Meet some terrific people, too.

I know what mine is. How about you?

Put on your Big Girl Panties. (Unless, of course, you're a guy, and in that case, choose whatever philosophical underwear you find appropriate. :) )

Get out your Courage Card, which is accepted in all parts of the Universe, unlike Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Let's set our co-ordinates, then. Turn the dial to "Completely Impossible". Then we'll let the ship fly itself for a while--sans monkeys--and see what else we can find in this magnificient house.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm Back

Yesterday was wonderfully crazy, so I didn't get to the blog. We'll get back to the house analogy tomorrow, but today, I just want to update you.

Two prospective buyers came to look at Springwater Station, and that meant the place had to be spotless. I spent most of the day either sitting on the patio, trying to stay out of the way, ("Don't mind me, I'm only the owner.") or shuffling the dogs back and forth between here and the barn, where there is a yard to play in. Sadie has an unfortunate tendency to kiss everybody, so we didn't think she should be in charge of meeting and greeting. (Although one of the younger visitors cried, with joy, "A beagle!")

Last February, I entertained the Harlequin sales reps here, and they arrived in a bus. Sadie was overjoyed. So many people to get to know! I swear, for a week after that party, she went hopefully to the gate every day, looking for another bus! I always say she's just a big heart with fur on it. One of the favorite jokes around here is that I can't remarry, because if we ever got divorced, Sadie, who shamelessly loves men, would probably leave with him.

(A special note to my sister, Sally. My emails to you aren't getting through. Is it my computer, or yours?)

Off to Weight Watchers today. Tuesday has been appointed Errand Day.

I will be back tomorrow, with another room in our house.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Zounds! It's a Control Room!

A flight deck, to be exact.

We're a little bruised and shaken from our journey through that long, scary corridor, but we made it, because we held hands, and encouraged each other, and quit stopping every few feet to read and agree with another fear-message. You remember--those ugly samplers on the walls?

Now, we must deal with the condition of the flight deck.

Chances are, we've abandoned the controls, and now the place is full of chimpanzees. Yikes! Akk! (And every other cartoon superlative we can think of!) They've been taking the ship in every which direction. It's no wonder we're off course.

The first thing we have to do is assert our rights as Captain. We have to stand up straight and say, "Hey! This is MY ship, and I intend to fly it from now on!"

The monkeys all have names: Apathy--Unworthiness--Fear of Failure--Fear of Success--Laziness--it goes on and on. So many monkeys, so little time, and the longer we deliberate and wring our hands, the more chaotic the situation is going to get.

Where to start?

Well, to tame the monkeys, we must first recognize them, each one, by name. They are not really enemies, you know. They are simply little hairy signals, very noisy and rambunctious, bearing important messages. "I am the reason you are not getting where you want to go. Recognize me, and change my name, say to Commitment, Worthiness, COURAGE, or Trust. And then I will co-operate with you."

Get out your journals, Ladies and Gentlemen.

What are the names of the monkeys flying YOUR ship?

Whatever you do, don't lose hope. Because just by entering the flight deck and claiming your rightful place as captain, you have already won the battle. The rest is just clean-up.

I'll be back on Monday morning, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. We may move on to another room, or spend a little more time on the flight deck. I won't know until I've written in my OWN journal.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

By George, It's a CORRIDOR

For those of you who missed yesterday's blog, we're exploring our inner houses. We started out in the Waiting Room. (We got damn tired of waiting and decided to break out.)

And now we find ourselves in a dark corridor. A good name for it would be "The Unknown".

I can just make out the cobwebs, and that old chandelier reminds me of the one in the Haunted House at Disneyland. Pretty scary place, the Unknown. Lots of old fear messages have been stitched into samplers, framed and hung on the walls. Let's see--there's "You'll Never Make It." "That Dream is Too Good to Be True". Oh, and here's a good one: "Go Back! You're in Danger!"

Here be dragons, my friends.

The whole thing is designed to scare you into going back to the Waiting Room, or to spur you to stand up for yourself and go forward. My money is on the second, because I know the Universe isn't conspiring against us, but for us.

We'll need our old friend, Courage. We'll need each other.

Let's keep going.

At the end of the corridor, I can dimly make out another door, and there is a plaque on it that says....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Waiting Room

First, an explanation. I planned to write this entry yesterday morning, but I had a nasty case of flu. Much better today.

So let's go on with our exploration of our inner mansions.

The Waiting Room. You know the place. The chairs are uncomfortable, and you have the nagging sense that you should be doing something, going somewhere, that you are late for an important event, but you've lost the invitation and you're sure they won't let you in without it.

So you wait.

Those tattered, outdated magazines on the table? They're your dreams, the ones you've given up on, written off as too good to be true. You've read them a thousand times, while you waited, and you'd love to see something new. Alas, you've been sitting in that waiting room for so long, your subscriptions have all expired.

Occasionally, the receptionist appears, but she always calls somebody else's name. It seems your turn to be seen, to shine, is never going to come.

Do you recognize this room? I certainly do. I've spent a lot of time there, believe it or not, waiting for the show to begin. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for some new phase of my life to begin.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

I'm sick of it. How about you?

Here's what we've gotta do. We've gotta rebel against the status quo, the limiting walls surrounding us, keeping us in. Look closely at that little motto posted on all four walls. It reads, Your Dreams are Impossible Because....

You fill in the blanks.

We have to stand up and walk right through that doorway over there, the one marked Absolutely No Admittance. (I credit my good friend Debbie Macomber with this door-analogy, because she told me a great story about it once.) We've got to be bold and walk through that door. We'll knock it down if we have to, but we're getting out of here. We're not going to wait anymore--we're going to LIVE!

What's on the other side of the door marked Absolutely No Admittance?

Feel free to guess.

Do you have the courage to join the rebellion?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Many Mansions

Since adolescence, I have been fascinated by the concept of houses as symbols of inner life. I remember reading about a memory device widely used in the 18th century. People trained themselves to remember long sequences of detailed information by constructing an imaginary house, and placing items, or symbols of items, they wanted to recall at strategic places--on the parlor mantle, for instance, or just inside the front door. When they wanted to retrieve the information, they simply went inside and walked through their internal house. I didn't use the idea in this way, but it stuck with me, because it resonated so powerfully.

Next, I encountered St. Theresa of Avila's "Interior Castle". Again, the idea really sparked my imagination. I'm not recommending you rush out and buy this book, though it is still available, because a lot of it is pretty dark and grim. During that period of history, just about everybody tended to equate a relationship with God with suffering and trauma. (Don't get me started on that. I could write a book on how sick, misguided and just plain wrong that attitude is, never mind a blog entry.) Suffice it to say, God is LOVE. At no point did He say to Himself, "I'll just whip up a batch of people and toss them into the cosmic stewpot. They haven't a clue what they're supposed to do, so I'll just let them guess, and punish them severely when they're wrong."

Finally, there was "A House with Four Rooms", written by English novelist, Rumer Godden. That one, I would recommend. It's very helpful in getting a perspective on our lives--the rooms are, just in case you're curious: Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. There can be a great deal of value in consciously exploring each area of our lives and making sense of it, and this book is clear, simple, and engaging.

All I really had to show for these concepts was an interest and a deep resonance--until this morning, when I was journaling. Then, suddenly, it crystalized. I understood why I was so taken with the analogy, and I mean to explore it right here on the blog. I'd be delighted if you'd join me on the journey.

Since it's a fairly big subject, we're going to tackle it room by room for a while.

Tune in tomorrow for Room 1.

The Waiting Room.

Are you intrigued?

Do you have the courage to go on the quest?

Of course you do.

Friday, October 14, 2005

My Uncles

Two of my uncles were missing this year, from the family reunion.

Uncle Jack, who was known in his youth as "Jiggs" Lael, was a well-known rodeo cowboy, Elvis-handsome. He once rode broncs at Madison Square Garden, and got to kiss Miss America. I've often thought that Uncle Jack was born into the wrong century--he would have fit in well in old Tombstone, or Dodge City. He was always tough, but tender-hearted, too. One of the things people say about him is that he never said an unkind word about anybody. He's aging now, in a nursing home, and in one of the pictures taped to his wall, he's 'dancing' with a colt. I mean, the colt's forelegs are balanced on Jack's shoulders, and he's grinning into the camera. What a prominent place he holds in my memory, and in my heart.

The other uncle, Wes, died this year of a blood disease. He was the uncle who always put on a comic performance at the reunions--playing banjos made from bedpans, wearing funny hats, and telling hokey jokes. He was a dandy poet, and although he knew a lot of tragedy in his life, he made the best of things, and never missed a chance to laugh. He lived in Minnesota, and was quite well known as a folk artist; he made fish decoys, and was even featured on a special on PBS. The thing I will remember most about Uncle Wes (Otis Wesley Lael) , though, is that he wrote his own obituary, and it was not only funny, but powerful. ("My name is Otis Wesley Lael, and I approved this message...") He recounted the highlights of his life, mentioning those he loved, but it was the theme that really impressed me. Basically, it boiled down to this: I had a good life. I'm gone now. Get over it. My aunts reported that, when they were keeping a vigil at his deathbed, he told them to "cry on their own time."

I come from good stock. Something to live up to.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Horses Are Thriving!

They love the Northwest, and their new, temporary pasture, with cooler weather and lots of room to run. I took some pictures and will do my best to get them up on the website in the near future.

The family reunion was marvelous, too. I come from a great bunch of people, and it's always good to be reminded.

My cousin Barbara Lynn makes beautiful jewelry.

Sherry does stand-up comedy.

Becky is a horse woman extraordinaire, and an artist, like her mother, Arlee and sister, Barbara Lynn.

It was a wonderful trip, and I will tell you more about it later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Off to the Reunion of Laels

Many Laels will be gathering this weekend in Colville, Washington.
I'm so looking forward to seeing my family, in one great, wonderful, funny group.
I'm looking forward to cooler weather, and a visit with my horses, to the changing leaves, and that crisp fall feeling in the air.
I'll be back on the blog next Thursday morning.

Tonight--Neil Diamond!

May you all be blessed.
May you all celebrate your courage.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

PS regarding the horses

Buck, Banjo, Skye and Coco have all arrived at the Northport property, safe and sound. According to reports, they are kicking up their heels, delighted at being out of the trailer, and don't miss their Mom at all.

My Friend, Abraham

I warned you that some of the things I would tell you would rattle your cage a little.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a new friend. His name is Abraham. I'm not going to introduce you to him, because you have to experience Abraham directly to even begin to understand. You may not be ready, and that's okay, too.

Anyway, my friend Abraham talks about emotional setpoints. Anger, for instance, is better than despair. The problem is, I know people who are still stuck in anger, and that's painful. You have to move on from it eventually, after it serves its purpose, which is to rocket you out of despair, toward constructive action.

Does Abraham supplant my very best friend, Jeshua? (That's what I call Jesus.) Absolutely not. But there are many teachers, and if we are solidly grounded in our faith, it behooves us to listen. Superstition and fear are the only barriers. Trust me, if it's not for you, you'll KNOW.

For those of you who want to explore, go to

For those of you who are not ready, that's okay.

This is spiritual dynamite.

You're been warned.

A little courage might come in handy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Late Blog

I've got the flu, so I'm taking a semi-sick day.
I plan to revise/polish the rest of "Deadly Gamble", so it can be sent to my editor tomorrow. Not too hard, because all I really have to do is sit in this chair and read through the second half of the manuscript, making line-by-line changes. It's the easy part.
Back to bed, with a good book.
Somebody else's book.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Horses in Transit

Yesterday, my four beloved horses, Banjo, Buck, Skye and Coco, set out for the family ranch in northeastern Washington state, near Northport. They are traveling in the skilled and loving care of my "cousin", Steve, and his son, Andy, whom I usually refer to as my nephew. (This family is complicated. Many titles are honorary.) Andy is a genuine horse whisperer--he's studied with Monty Roberts and has a natural way with all animals. (Kids love him, too. And women.) So, even though it was a powerful wrench for me to see that trailer pull out, I know the horses are in good hands. Steve's wife, Debi, and Bo, his other son, are along as well, and accompanied by the cutest Yorkie puppy since Bernice.

Do I miss my four-legged friends? YES. I didn't realize quite how much they affected the energy here at Springwater Station. Knowing they are not in the barn at the other end of the property is like having someone jump off the other end of a teeter-totter while I'm up in the air. There was a crash--even though I know this is best, and a major first step in the move home. Right now, I'm processing. As I said, I know this is the best thing for all of us, right now, but I don't aspire to leap from seeing them go to being reunited with them in the new place. The steps in between must be taken. They are part of the process, and will supply the emotional support structure that is vital to building a foundation for the next stage of our lives.

Plenty of things to celebrate in the meantime. The Lael family reunion is this weekend, and I love getting together with that bunch. I'll be putting the polish on "Deadly Gamble" today and tomorrow, and that's a pleasure. My wonderful daughter, Wendy, gave me tickets to this Thursday's Neil Diamond concert (he got the way to move me, he got the way to move me to heaven) for Mother's Day. And I gotta brag on her here--Wendy is a gifted writer, and she was admitted to a graduate program at UCLA--without benefit of a bachelor's degree. I'm so proud of her!

So there is a lot to be grateful for.

The horses will arrive at the ranch sometime today. I get a lot of pleasure out of imagining how delighted they'll be with the cooler weather and room to run. And it helps that I will see them next week, if only for a brief visit. When the time is right, we'll be together again. In the meantime, they're like kids, off on an adventure. I'll think of it as a version of summer camp.

In the meantime, I will celebrate my many blessings, and when I get nervous, I will reach for my courage. Change is ultimately good. It's also inevitable. Might as well learn to love it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Friday Update

First, I want to bring you up to speed on the current work-in-progress, DEADLY GAMBLE, which will be published in November of 06, in trade-size paperback, by HQN. I expect to finish the rough draft--revisions still ahead--this very day. It's been an amazing experience; even though I've written approximately 100 books--I lost count years ago--each one takes me into new territory, both interior and exterior. It's always an exciting journey, and usually exhausting--more so in this case, because Mojo Sheepshanks, the heroine of this brand new series, is absolutely intrepid. She goes where no sensible person would go, and of course, I have to travel with her. I'm looking forward to a break. I'm also looking forward to the next Mojo story!

Here's what else is going on Linda-World:

The horses are heading north this weekend, in the care of my cousin, Steve Wiley, and his son, Andy. I'm going to have to cry a little, but Skye, Banjo, Buck and Coco need to go on ahead, so they have time to grow a coat of winter hair. I wouldn't trust them to just anybody--Steve and Andy love them as much as I do. Soon, I hope, I'll be living up there with them, on my new ranch, which I plan to call the Triple L. (Linda Lee Lael).

I've decided to learn to play poker. I'll tell you more about that later, but suffice it to say, I'll be writing 3 modern McKettrick books soon, and poker figures prominently in the stories. These guys need to know when to fold 'em, know when to hold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to RUN! Rest assured, they'll never count their money while they're sittin' at the table, because there'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done.

I'm going back to Weight Watchers on Tuesday morning. Alcoholics need to go to AA, and I need to go to WW! :) Might as well just accept it.

It's cooling off here in Arizona, and what a relief that is. I had to laugh yesterday, when I realized that 96 degrees is a cool temperature to me!

More next week.

Plan something new and impossible.

Have a wonderful weekend.

And hold onto your COURAGE.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

All Grown Up and Still Trying Out for Cheerleader

It starts early, when we're little girls. (Little boys have their own version, but that's another subject for another day. And never having been a little boy, I can't speak with any real authority on the subject anyway.)

Try-outs are about being good enough.
Skinny enough.
Pretty enough.
Popular enough.
You've gotta be CHOSEN, the theory goes.
By whom?
The Universe. The System. Society. Fashion designers in New York. TV and magazines. (Oh, don't get me started on the media's role in getting the whole self-hate, anorexic ball rolling!) In short, some nebulous "they", with some sweeping mandate to choose, to decide and decree who's valuable and who isn't. It's a great way to keep smart girls down (smart girls are very dangerous, you know, because they have the potential to change the world) , and if they go ahead and get into the game, choosing themselves, you can usually bring them down by slapping on that all-purpose weapon-word, Bitch.
Martha Stewart is a prime example of this. Sure, she shouldn't have lied, or done whatever it was she did, and then denied it. But let's face it. When a man does something like that, he usually gets a slap on the wrist, at worst. It's considered business acumen. Atta boy, go-get-em, and all that garbage. Martha's great sin is being a successful, visible woman. Fortunately for her, she's not afraid of the word "bitch". Indeed, I think she revels in it, and if I were any one of the guys who hamstrung her, I'd watch my back.
We all buy into this patriarchal crap, at one point or another. We grow up with it, and make it part of us. Logic says it ought to be left behind, when we graduate from high school, but it usually lasts a lot longer than that.
Once in a while, some Sleeping Beauty wakes up and calls bullshit, and out comes mega-word. BITCH.
So what?
Says who?
If you want to do anything big in this world, you'd better get used to that word. You'd better start loving it. But lest you think I'm saying you ought to retaliate, I want to add this. You don't have to play by anybody else's rules, and that includes wasting creative energy in pissing matches. That's just another trap.
I declare this National Bitch Day.
National Bitch Week.
Maybe even National Bitch YEAR.
Go ahead, be a bitch.
Just get into the game.
It takes COURAGE, but you can do it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

An Allegory

This came to me this morning, while I was journaling, and it resonated so much that I immediately wanted to share it with you. All it really requires is a willingness to go along on a little imaginary journey...

Imagine yourself as a lighthouse. The stormy seas surrounding the little spit of hard, rocky ground upon which you stand are life circumstances, things you cannot control. Beyond the frayed edges of that storm are ships, with your name on the manifest. They carry your dreams.

Now, if you are like me, you have been trying to swim out to those ships, and tow them in by taking their lines in your teeth. You have sailed, sometimes, in leaky dinghies, and you've taken a real battering and swallowed a lot of seawater. Because you abandoned your post in the lighthouse, some of those ships have even crashed into the rocks and spilled broken treasures along the shoreline of your life. Chances are, you've spent a lot of time scavenging, searching for things you can save. Maybe you believe the ships have sailed by, and dropped anchor in someone else's port. Maybe you've even been afraid they were pirate ships, and deliberately doused your light, so they wouldn't find you. (Very foolish, grasshopper. Pirate ships are not attracted to light. They operate best in darkness. Therefore, by shutting down the light, you drew them to you. What an irony, but there it is.)

Listen up. Go back to the lighthouse. Climb the stairs, and attend to the light. The ships will sail in on their own, when they can track the beam of light to guide them.

What is the Light? It is that truest place inside you, where the physical and nonphysical worlds connect. You know it's there--you've probably happened upon it in rare moments.

Your mind is NOT the light, it is the transmitter of the light.

I hear you. Wonderful allegory, you're saying, but how do I apply it? I don't know how to run a lighthouse.

For me, it's mainly about prayer. Staying home in my own mind, keeping the light burning. No more dives into the drink. No more leaky dinghies. It's about trusting that those ships are out there, that they belong to me, and that they will come in, under their own power, if I just "man" the lighthouse.

Think about it.
Ask for guidance. There's a Master Lighthouse Keeper waiting to help.
There's a reason why lighthouses are symbols of safety in a storm.

In the meantime, Courage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm back!

Actually, I wasn't away, but all day yesterday, MSN's servers were down, and I couldn't get online to write this blog. Like many things, large and small, that are suddenly taken away, this gave me a real appreciation for MSN's normal efficiency!

My thoughts have been taking a more grateful turn lately--and I am normally a grateful person, anyway. Every day, at the end of my Morning Pages, I list at least five things I'm thankful for, and I've been doing that for a long time. Still, seeing the ravages of the hurricanes made me even more aware of how blessed me are, those of us still going about our ordinary days. And how precious are those ordinary days! The victims of the recent storms must yearn, often and poignantly, for the things and people they may have taken for granted, at least part of the time.

The other day, I visited the supermarket. It was the weekend, and I wanted to cook a little---for the dogs and for myself. So I drove to the store, with a list in hand. I've gone grocery shopping a million times, haven't you? It's definitely ordinary--especially in America. So I walk in, and maybe for the first time, I really see the wonder of it. Flowers, blooming like a garden in the corner by the main entrance. Fruits and vegetables so colorful and so varied that a half-wit could write stirring poetry about them. Milk and butter and magazines, shampoo and deodorant, all manner of wonderfully ordinary things.

I'm not proud of this, but I've often griped about shopping for food. I'd made it into a chore, a big production, a drama, and there were so many things I'd rather have been doing. But on this bright Saturday morning, I suddenly wanted to weep with gratitude! I felt as though I'd walked right into a giant cornucopia. Such abundance, such quality, such choice. I couldn't help thinking how I'd miss this thing I had never properly appreciated, if it were suddenly gone. I had my own personal Thanksgiving that day, and it's still with me.

We often act, I think, as if we are entitled to these luxuries. As if they are somehow our due. What, you don't carry my brand of yogurt? These prices are highway robbery! Why is that woman taking forever and a day to get change out of her purse and holding up the line? Don't these people know I have things to do?

In all these attitudes, there are points of change, opportunities to choose again, reasons to be thankful instead of grouchy. There are probably half a dozen other brands of yogurt, if not more. Most of us can afford to pay the prices, and when you consider all the steps involved in getting a box of detergent, for example, from the factory to the shelf, it's not so bad. And the woman holding up the line? Well, this is an occasion for her, since she doesn't get out so much anymore--she's been through the Depression, maybe, and she's got to watch her pennies. Nothing I have to do after I leave that store is more important than kindness or patience. I'm not going to tap my foot or look impatiently at my watch. I'm going to stand there and be grateful that, for some unknown reason, I am among the blessed. It may not always be so, for we are all subject to disaster, not just those people in those other states. I believe there's a purpose and a plan to it all. I also believe that God loves us all equally, and none of us are exempt from calamity. This is earth, not heaven. The suddenly homeless, the lost and separated, well, any one of us could find ourselves in their midst, at any time.

We don't need to be afraid. We DO need to be grateful. We need to be generous.

What are you thankful for?

Have courage.

Friday, September 23, 2005

More on the Succession of You's

There's good news and bad news.
The good news is, you have a lot of options, and you could become any one of a number of future you's.
The bad news is, you have a lot of options, and you could become any one of a number of future you's.
The person you are today is the result of choices made by earlier you's. That is the law, and there is no changing it. (You don't get to blame God, the government, your mother, that nasty co-worker, or your ex-husband. The universe operates under the law of free choice. As they say in the 12 step programs, your best thinking got you here. If you don't like wherever that is, change your thinking. It's like a navigational system in a vehicle--it will follow the coordinates you set.)
I hear you. You're saying, "Did all those people in the way of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita choose that path?"
I believe that, in the strictest, most elemental sense, they did. Before they came into this wonderful, dangerous, messy world, they agreed to the experience, for purposes only God can fully understand. I know it's tough to wrap a mortal brain around this, but that's why they call it Faith. If we didn't have to take a lot of things on trust, what would be the point of the exercise? And no--this does not excuse the rest of us from compassion and generosity and active participation in the solutions. If we don't push up our sleeves, forget our differences, and wade in to help, who will?
And who really knows? The hurricanes may have been allowed because it seems to take a major disaster to get people giving and thinking as a unit. Furthermore, the hurricane may be a pivotal point along the path to the selves these individuals want to become. Adversity can crush the spirit, or it can strengthen. Even if you didn't choose the disaster, you can still choose your interpretation of it. That's the fulcrum, the point where the balance shifts. It's not the event. It's your interpretation of the event.
Back to the succession of you's. The first step in getting unstuck is to choose a direction. Who do you want to become, day by day and choice by choice? Go ahead, check out your future selves. Use that powerful imagination of yours. Pick a self you like, and one who is doing something you now regard as impossible. (That's important. Why bother with a self who won't step outside her comfort zone and try something new?) Journal about this Future Self of yours. Maybe even dialogue with her. (I do this a lot, and it's powerful.) Ask her questions. How did she get where she is? What steps did she take? (Don't expect her to be perfect. She's still moving along the chain of successive selves, toward an even better version of herself.)
As an example, do you want to live in abundance, or do you want to be a bag lady?
If you make conscious, focused choices, you will do the former. If you live by default, believing that life is random and you're a victim, you might become the latter. (Though probably not, because there's Grace to consider. Thank God for unanswered prayers.)
I guess the bottom line is, show up, suit up, and play the game. Be involved. Be present. Be the best current you possible. Know that bruised knees and bloody noses happen, in any game.
Choose an objective.
Set a course.
And move toward the next self, choice by choice.
Don't try to leap from Current You to Mother Theresa. Quantum leaps are no good, because when you make one, you miss all the learning experiences in between, the insights and skills that would have sustained you in the new place. You need the foundation gained only by making the journey, with no shortcuts.
Just fix your sights on the Next Best You. That's quite enough. Do your best, and keep moving.
It does take...

May you be blessed.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy, in mind, body and spirit.
May you stand for those who cannot yet stand for themselves, but will, if we just keep our lamps burning so they can see the way.
May you prosper, and share that prosperity with others.
May you be your own best friend, for then you will be able to be a real friend to others as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Seems Impossible?

I have been doing the impossible for many years.
It is, for instance, impossible for a Northport girl with only a high school education to become a New York Times bestselling author, travel the world over, and live at a standard that would have seemed suitable for kings and queens, to that earlier Linda.
And yet here I am, living that dream, looking back over the long succession of Lindas I have been. Each one contributed, in her own way, and by the light available to her in her time and place, to the journey.
Now, I am again facing the impossible.
Selling this house.
Making the monumental move to the new one.
Okay, people do that every day, but I have a bad cold and I'm whiney and right now, it looks very impossible. And I could give you a thousand good reasons why I shouldn't even try. (And all of them are sheep-dip.)
What shall I do?
Do it anyway.
Because just as I can look back at the succession of Lindas standing behind me, I can also look forward, to those Lindas I will become.
One of them lives in the new house, in the new place.
One of them looks back, with a knowing smile, on the dreams I am dreaming today. "Oh, that?" she says, with a wave of her hand. "Been there, DONE that. What's next?"
What is your succession of Sallys or Pats or Helenas or Vickis or Your Name Here's urging you to do, be, or have?
What looks impossible to you?
That's a clue. Pick the most impossible thing. Travel in that direction--send your heart and your brain ahead, as a sort of scouting party. See what you would look like, doing that impossible thing. What future you is waiting there?
Have COURAGE. There are a whole succession of new yous awaiting you along the path, and believe me, they are spectacular people. They will help you, if you will only consciously set your course and put one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On the Home Stretch With Mojo

Mojo is the heroine of my current writing project, "Deadly Gamble", which will be out in November of next year.

Getting to know Mojo has been a real discovery process. She's even more of a handful to write about than Clare Westbrook, (of "Don't Look Now", "Never Look Back", and "One Last Look"). Clare once saw the ghost of her sister, Tracy. Mojo deals with ghosts on an ongoing basis, starting with her ex-husband, Nick, and her childhood cat, Chester. She's just starting out as a private detective, quite a jump from her former career as a medical billing clerk, and figuring things out as she goes along.

I love her audacity. I love her courage. I love her irreverent sense of humor.

At present, I'm planning three books, and finishing up book one now. I'm not sure, but I think this series could continue beyond the end of the third story. That, dear readers, will be up to you.

I will be writing a Special Edition next, and I'm looking forward to it. It's a story I've long wanted to write--about two heroines and two heros, living in the same house in different centuries. There are some McKettricks mixed in here, and the house in which the story takes place is Holt and Lorelei's place on the Triple M.

Soon, you will be meeting three modern McKettrick men--Rance, Keegan and Jesse. They are rodeo-riding, poker-playing rascals, and their women are more than a match. I'll keep you updated on release dates.

A lot of you have asked about "The Man from Stone Creek". That's coming in June of 06.
"The Petticoat Cattle Company" is scheduled for June of 07.

Movin' on.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama did not say anything I had not heard before, and yet the experience was still powerful. Why is that? Because the Dalai Lama is centered within himself, and in this way he affects the energies of all who come near him. I saw many genuine devotees in the crowd, and some who were, at essence, I humbly suspect, simply rebelling against something in their own religious upbringing. (In other words, this was more about flouting Grandma's rabid fundamentalism than any true belief they could honestly claim for themselves.) There is, of course, a major difference between joining a movement or catching a thought wave because we authentically identify with it, and doing it because we are opposed to something else. The difference is, to paraphrase Mark Twain, roughly the difference between a lightning bolt and a lightning bug. A choice made from a stance of rebellion is often not a true choice at all--it is a reaction, rather than a response. Again, lightning bolt/lightning bug. I believe we are born into a culture or situation for a reason, and that our job is to change said culture or situation, where change is needed, from within.

It is certainly a good thing to identify with other cultures and belief systems, that is the beginning of harmony, compassion and peace. But I wonder at the number of people who seem to want to abandon the cultural frame of reference into which they were effectively sent.

I wonder about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We can only foment real change from within, by becoming catalysts. It is evident to me that external solutions rarely work, except when they stem from an internal shift.

I have great respect for the Dalai Lama, and for Buddhists in general. I was born into Christianity, however, and given a mission. All of us were, whatever our religious background. It makes sense to me to bloom where I was planted, but I could be wrong.

I was once, in 1957. (Just kidding.)

Meanwhile, have COURAGE.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tucson and the Dalai Lama

Today, after spending most of 3 days flat on my back, full of antibiotics, I'm heading south to Tucson with some good friends to hear the Dalai Lama speak. I could not be more thrilled, as evidenced by the fact that I am willing to rise from the near-dead to go along on this little jaunt.

The women I'll be traveling with are so interesting--this means you, Pat, Sandi and Marian--that I will probably get as many insights and ideas from the conversation as we travel as from the Dalai Lama himself.

I'm always up for a new insight. Something that turns a bulb on in my brain, and I love a new experience, too.

It's not everyday you get a chance to see the Dalai Lama, even from afar, as I probably will. I saw the Pope once, in St. Peter's Square, quite by accident, and what a memory that is. All that, and I'm a Presbyterian girl, turned Unity. You just have to be open, and all kinds of wonderful chances come your way.

Tomorrow, I will report.

In the meantime, have COURAGE.

It will be a long pull, but together, as a people, we can do this.

Friday, September 16, 2005

One More Thing

I know your giving budgets are probably strained to the max, but here's a worthy cause, a little church in Mississippi. They're trying to help people refill perscriptions, buy supplies, etc. I know even $5 or $10 would be a blessing to them. New Orleans is getting most of the media play, and God knows, it breaks my heart to see one of my favorite cities in such straits, but Mississippi and Alabama were hard hit as well, and we need to remember them.

Michael Memorial Baptist Church
15053 John Clark Road
Gulfport, MS 39503

Thank you for anything you can do. If you can't send money, please pray. (And if you CAN send money, pray anyway!) These good people are soldiering on bravely in the face of an overwhelming catastrophe. We need to hold them in our hearts and prayers.

Deadly Gamble

I am loving writing this new book! It's called "Deadly Gamble", and it's the first of the new romantic suspense series I'm doing for HQN. I can barely keep up with the heroine--Mojo Sheepshanks is a real pistol, to say the least. And her man, Tucker Darroch, ain't bad, either.

I invariably fall in love with my heroes, but I'm fickle. Gotta admit it. I'm still madly in love with Sam O'Ballivan, of "The Man from Stone Creek" fame, and I can't wait to share that book with you.

It's Friday, and I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'd like to see that new Jodie Foster movie, the one where she can't find her daughter on the airplane. Talk about having something at stake! As the mother of a daughter, I can identify, and I really want to see how they get out of this one. I also want to kick back and munch popcorn in the dark, and concentrate on someone else's story for a few hours.

Stories are marvelous, aren't they? Healing places, where we can hide out for a little while, and recover from all that Real Life, coming at us from every direction. I've been enjoying Harlequin's new series, "Next", very much. I also like Superromances. In times of challenge, the kind we as a nation face today, this may seem like light reading, but I think it's more important than ever to think about happy endings. To fix our sights on what can be, if we all pull together.

If I'm rambling a little today, please forgive me. It's Friday!

See you on Monday morning. Have a wonderful weekend.

And remember. COURAGE.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Linda Recommends a Book

I am always recommending books. Sometimes, people actually read them. :)
Today's offering is "The 15-Second Principle", by Al Secunda. You will probably have to get it from Amazon, or from Al's website.
I'm only up to chapter 3, and I see that this thing has some insights I can really use. Down to earth, practical stuff for getting past those barriers we often erect for ourselves. Stories and illustrations that any person as dedicated to "Complete Idiot's Guides" as I am can totally understand and implement. I mean, who doesn't have 15 seconds to spare?
The content is marvelous--no fluff here.
No fast-talk and no tap-dancing.
This book has the potential to change your life.
If you don't read it, don't complain to me that your dreams never come true.
I'm just going to look you straight in the eye and ask, "Did you read the book?"

In the meantime: COURAGE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Packing to Move

You know, it seems that everything is a metaphor these days.

As I've mentioned, I'm moving back to my homeground of Spokane, Washington, and things are moving fast. It's a whirlwind around here, getting ready to go, and I'm asking myself, "What do I want to take along, and what will I leave behind?" It's a given that the horses, dogs, cats and people will go, but what about all the stuff? In the wake of a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, one really gets perspective. There is so little we really need, isn't there? Food, shelter, warmth, those are the material things. The important things, though, are the intangibles: love, compassion, family, friends, freedom and hope.

I have collected so much "stuff", over the years, traveling all over the world as I did. And then there were all those trips to Walmart. Like many writers, I'm a confirmed pack rat. But now I'm yearning to live a simpler life--not a smaller one, mind you, just a less cluttered one--and I'm thinking about the things I want to leave behind, on both the physical and spiritual/emotional levels.

I want to leave behind my old ideas of what is possible and impossible. I want to leave behind that rusty stack of disappointments, resentments, and regrets. I want to leave the worry behind, too. (Like Mark Twain, I've worried about a lot of things in my life, most of which never happened.) I want to leave behind worn out opinions and paradigms that just don't work anymore.

I want to start fresh. I want to enlarge the perimeters of what I believe is possible for me, as a person and as a writer.

Now, you don't have to move house to do that.

But it helps.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Unofficially Autumn

Have I told you that autumn is and has always been my favorite season?
I think so.
Even here in sunny Arizona, there is a wonderful shift in the air. The hot weather is, it would seem, finally behind us.
There's a feeling of making yet another new start.
And oh I do love new beginnings....

Monday, September 12, 2005

One Thing About Moving...

It forces you to declutter!
I've wanted to live a simpler life for a very long time. I have too many books (yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as too many books), too many shoes, too many mismatched dishes and knickknacks. Too many of so many things.
I will be giving clothing to the Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
Books to libraries and other excellent causes.
This is a huge move, but I choose to see it for what it is: a new start. A chance to live a simpler, more streamlined life. A real opportunity to leave behind a lot of things that weigh me down, and not just physical things, either.
Old ideas.
Old paradigms.
Old concepts, that I have long since outgrown, but for some reason, persist in holding on to, instead of letting go.
There are many obstacles. This is not a small move.
How will I cope?
By keeping my feet planted firmly in the Right Now, and letting my vision reach to the new house.
Time passes so quickly. Here I sit, in the kitchen of one house, and I know perfectly well that one day, when I am journaling or blogging, I will realize that I have made the shift, and it wasn't so hard after all.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Except there isn't "no way to hold my head that doesn't hurt", and I don't have to put on my cleanest dirty shirt, either. But I can get behind "the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken"! Many of you have already been bored stiff with this information, but Johnny Cash was a friend of mine, as was his beautiful wife, June Carter Cash. Not a day goes by that I don't miss them, but I take comfort in knowing that the circle really is unbroken.

It's a wonderful Sunday. The sun is shining, the dogs are snoozing, and somebody is baking homemade bread. Now, I ask you, does it get any better than that???

Here's what I decided about the blog.

I'm going to keep writing it, because I love talking to you, telling you about my life and my dreams. Because whether there are three of you, or a thousand, you're important to me.

I'll be back tomorrow.

In the meantime, the smell of homemade bread...


Friday, September 09, 2005


Please don't forget the small furry people in your generosity.

Humane Society of Louisiana
c/o 1103 Sharon Copley Road
Wadsworth, OH 44281

Send whatever you can.

Is Anybody Out There?

Do you want to see this blog continue, or should I just shut up and mind my own business? (Big smile here, because either way, it's okay.)

So far, only two people have written for their "McKettrick's Choice" bookmarks. I know there's a lot going on, and blogs are not, nor should they be, your top priority. However, from a standpoint of pure practicality, I need to know if anyone is out there.

Linda Lael Miller
29834 N. Cave Creek Road
Suite 118-272
Cave Creek, AZ 85331

(Remember to include an SASE if you want an autographed bookmark.)
If you simply want to comment, that's great.
What would you like to see in this blog?
What would you like to see on the website?
Talk to me, People.

In the meantime, COURAGE.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Hurricane

I want to make it clear here that I'm not minimizing the tragic effects of this storm on real people, people who lost loved ones, as well as homes and dreams. We all need to keep praying and keep giving, because this wound belongs to all of us, and not just the victims themselves. It does seem to me, though, that there's still a lot of complaining and arm-chair quarterbacking going on. The issue is not who did what, when. It's what we do, right now.

The relief agencies have been pretty clear about what they need. MONEY. Once the triage is done, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities, and I have been deeply inspired by the generosity people have shown, taking the displaced into their homes, willing to make sacrifices out of compassion. Americans are great about that. Give them a cause, and they'll get behind it in a big way.

I still maintain that we need to think about what we CAN do, and not what Somebody Else ought to do. Oh, that Somebody Else. You just can't depend on them.

We need to remember that even in the darkest of times, life goes on. It's a gift, and it should be honored, cherished, and even celebrated, no matter what.

It's a tall order. I know that. But we, as a people, have dealt with many calamites before, and we will face many more. We're up to it. We can DO this.

Long ago, during the Iran hostage crisis, Dan Rather used to end every telecast with one word, and I'm following his lead.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Best Case Scenarios

Do you worry?
I certainly do, though I must admit that in correlation to the current Crisis I Choose Not to Mention, my concerns seem pretty petty.
My dog is too fat.
What kind of grade did I get in that college class I just finished?
Will I EVER find a way to quit smoking without getting fat and going crazy in the process?
And what's up with that character in the new book?
You get the idea.
Recently, I came across a pointer that really helps with this worrying thing. I'm not sure where I read it--I've got my nose in a book every spare minute. It's called Reverse Worrying, and this is what you do. When a fear comes up, it's a little scene that plays out in your head. If you're like me, you forget that you're the one writing the scene, and you DO have creative control. In fact, you're not just the writer, you're the director and producer, too. So instead of just buying in, and going with it as though this is really what's going to happen, why not imagine something better, and focus on that? It takes practice, but it's a skill worth developing.
What's your pet worry? What are 20 ways it could turn out that are positive?
What's the best case scenario? You already know the worst one, so why go over that ground?
Try it.
Worrying eats up precious energy and may even attract the unwanted event. Who needs that?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What's Written on YOUR Inner Blackboard?

As children, we come into this crazy, chaotic and inherently wonderful world as clean slates. Unless we are born into abusive circumstances, alcoholism, etc., we start out with a pretty good opinion of ourselves. We're willing to try things. If we're readers, we develop an imagination that can take us to fabulous places. The one thing we lack is the ability to interpret events and remarks made by other people. How could we know that interpretation is subjective, when we haven't had time to build the psychological underpinnings that will allow us to fly our personal magic carpets competently, and in the directions we want to go?

Then, one pivotal day, somebody does or says something that shakes our heretofore supreme confidence in our right to inhabit this body, this space, this time and place. Maybe it's Mom--we have no way of knowing that she's suffering from PMS, or can't see how she's going to pay the light bill. We're too noisy, or too something, and she says, "You're a bad girl." She doesn't mean it, but we're small and our slate is bare and we're so very literal, being children. So we pick up an internal piece of chalk and write, "Bad Girl." You see where I'm going with this. We start recording impressions like this, good and bad, garnered from parents, teachers, siblings, playmates and our religious training. (Lots of us write "Born Sinner" here.) Not to mention the inevitable comparisons we make between ourselves and others, as the perception of ourselves as separate human beings takes hold. And the process really picks up speed when we hit adolescence. We inscribe words like "Smart", then, and "Funny". But we also write, "Fat." "Stupid". "Confused."

In time, the process becomes almost totally unconscious. We really believe what's written on that internal blackboard.

That's the bad news. Here's the good:


We can look at that blackboard and erase the bad stuff. Pick up a fresh piece of chalk, in whatever color we choose, and write something new.

I hear you. "But it's true!" you cry. "I AM fat, stupid, confused---" (You fill in the blanks.)

Is it? Or are you still believing an interpretation you made when you were seven, or thirteen, or thirty-two? And if you are, for instance, fat, is it because you're cursed, or because you wrote that on your blackboard and lived by the choice? And who gets to decide how a body should be shaped, anyway? The media? Fashion designers? The patriarchy? (Oh, the suspects are legion, but only YOU have the right to define your body or your personhood. Don't give it away.)

Take a look at that blackboard.

Take a very good look. It's a template for your entire life. It's the rulebook you've been living by, and it might be time to change the rules.

Let's make them up as we go along, just for fun. Just because they're OUR rules, and we can if we want to.

We DO want to, don't we?

We do want to take back our power. We do want to plant our feet and say, "This is who I am. This is where I stand, and what I stand for. Deal with it, World. We women are SO back."