Fourteen years ago Wayne and I took an amazing trip to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. On the island of Rarotonga there were no big hotels or fast food restaurants. The entire island closed down after noon on Saturday to get ready for Sunday church services. In fact, we were hard pressed to find restaurants open on Sunday. The people were amazing. I brought candy to give to the children and they gave me the oddest looks and said, "Why would we want candy when we can pick fruit off the trees?” Why indeed. The Cook Islands are unspoiled and beautiful with some of the most amazing plants and animals imaginable. It was a totally relaxing vacation and I would return in a heartbeat.
From the time I was a kid I was a dreamer and a list maker. I rarely shared my hopes and dreams with others. I mean, really, what would people say to a dyslexic young girl who barely scraped through school when she said she wanted to write books? Such is the stuff of… well, dreamers. Yet dream I did.
Although I must confess that seeing my Cedar Cove series come to life on the screen was above and beyond anything I could have ever hoped or imagined. To have such an incredible and amazing cast is a blessing beyond measure. And now here we are ready to launch season two. Season two… wow!
I can hear the clatter and excitement now. Everyone is talking about it. Olivia and Grace, Justine and Seth, Cliff and Warren… everyone at Cedar Cove is eager for you to catch up on what's been happening! You're gonna be enthralled!
One of my joys is to pull out my latest knitting project, slip a DVD in the player, and settle back to enjoy a carefree afternoon or evening. Usually Wayne will make popcorn and Bogie will nestle between us and snore through the movie. (You’ve heard what they say about dogs and their masters taking on the same character traits?)
This week will be fun and incredible for a couple of big reasons. First and foremost, Saturday night is the launch of the second season of Cedar Cove starring Andie MacDowell and Dylan Neal. I can’t wait to see it! Secondly, the release of the Cedar Cove DVD for the first season happens today... reviewing the first season is a great way to dive back into Cedar Cove. Wayne's got the popcorn ready and I have my knitting project in hand!
The premiere will air this Saturday night, July 19th at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel. Don't miss it!
Wayne had a special birthday last month. One with a big fat zero in it. He kind of hates to think of himself as getting older and in order to cheer him up I held a surprise birthday party for him with family and friends. (The party included a Marilyn Monroe look-alike jumping out of a cake.)
My gift to Wayne is a Mediterranean cruise to the Greek islands, a trip he's been wanting to take for years. And so the adventure begins. Wayne and I leave this Sunday, Father's Day (that's a 2fer for sure, birthday and Father's Day!) for Rome and then on to Florence and Venice before we board the cruise ship. I'll be sending messages along the way, and photos too.
My Dad has been on my mind a lot lately, mostly because of the 70th anniversary of D-Day just recently. He was part of that great invasion and as I've mentioned before, was later captured and held as a POW inside Germany until the end of the war.
We'll be celebrating Father's Day this weekend. My father was a special man, full of personality, laughter and warmth. After I moved away from home, my dad wrote me a letter, one I treasure to this day. It was filled with love and wisdom as I ventured into the world. I tucked it inside the pages of my diary and have kept it all these years. It's one of the most beautiful love letters I've ever received. Thank you, Dad. I hope you're celebrating Father's Day in heaven.
As you might have guessed, I'm a romantic at heart, which is why the topic of love letters intrigues me so. As a kid, my mother worked nights as a waitress for a downtown hotel, which meant my dad saw my brother and me to bed each night. I missed seeing my mother and so we started exchanging short letters. Before I went to bed I would leave her a note on the kitchen counter and in the morning, I would find one from her. Years later, after mom passed, I found the tablets of notes. She'd kept them through the years, through all the downsizing, through all the moves. They were, in essence, short love letters that she shared with my brother and me.
Recently, I was able to attend our oldest granddaughter's graduation from college where Jazmine has completed a course of study to become a dental assistant. It seemed impossible that just a year ago Jazz graduated from high school. At nineteen she's ready to take on the world. I'm sure many of us can identify with that feeling of confidence and adventure, convinced we have what it takes. And while we might be older and wiser, I'm fairly confident we still have that feeling. I, for one, feel I do because life is still an adventure and a joy.
As a kid I can remember the big Memorial Day parade in Yakima, Washington. My father, a WWII veteran, was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a vocal advocate for veterans. Dad rarely spoke of his war experiences. In fact it wasn't until our son, Ted, became an Airborne Ranger that I learned that my father had been a German POW. Every Memorial Day Dad proudly marched with his friends carrying the American flag. He would be the first one to say God Bless America. Today let us all remember those who served us so honorably and sacrificed so much for the very freedoms we enjoy.
I am blessed nine times over with grandchildren. Jazmine Lynn is the oldest grandchild and the day she was born my entire life's focus changed. Our daughter, Jody, was pregnant and we watched as her belly grew and helped her gather the necessary items for the baby's arrival. While we were happy and excited for her, there was a certain distance. Then Jazmine was born and I was in the delivery room. The baby, just minutes old, turned her head and looked directly at me. Our eyes connected and I swear I actually felt as if she sank hooks into my heart. In that moment I recognized that I was going to love this child. I mean love this child with my entire being, heart and soul. She was the first but I've experienced that same feeling eight additional times.