To every decoration, there is a season

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I knew I should have been taking more vitamins. Practicing those limber-up moves and establishing regular sleep habits. Repeating positive thoughts at regular intervals to myself.
Because the Big Day is tomorrow. March 1. The day that will require every bit of energy and organization and perseverance.
It is the day the winter decorations come down.

People, I have a lot of winter decorations. These are not to be confused with the Christmas decorations that come down January 2. After ditching everything attendant on that season, I perform a hasty cleanse and pull out the Winter Box.
Down with the Christmas tree, up with the Winter trees. Away with reds and greens and golds, in with silvers and whites. Angels are replaced with snowmen. So. Many. Snowmen. Poinsettias make way for greens and frosty pinecones.

 

For almost two months I enjoy the cozy season and my cozy decorations. Then, the last week of February, a strange restlessness sets in. The snow might still be up to our windowsills, the temps might still hover around freeze-your-nose-off, but I’m beginning to cast glances of disfavor at the snow globes, the ice fishing moose, the ice skating American Girl outfits.
That’s when I know. It’s time to strip my shelves and walls and tables of all things winter. The St. Patrick’s Day decorations, though paltry in number, will come out. The green reminds me that spring will come. In spite of the aforementioned sill-high snow.

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But before the greens and the shamrocks can claim their rightful places, hundreds of winter things must come down. Did I mention that a family of four could easily live in the Winter Box?
Tomorrow, March 1, you’ll find me chugging the coffee and repeating positive phrases and stopping for deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day nary a snowflake will be seen. Everything winter will be packed away, waiting, (Lord willing) to be greeted with shouts of approbation and great affection on January 2, 2020.

Version 2

Ode to a Germ

Two weeks ago, I WAS SO SICK. Every possible symptom of the flu attacked me, from the tips of my hair follicles to the ends of my toes, and every major and minor organ between. I was so, so sick that I couldn’t talk about how sick I was when I was sick, and now that I’m better I fight the urge to tell family, friends, casual acquaintances and our mail carrier about every symptom. In detail.

When I was sick I was too sick to really worry about how sick I was but now that I’m better I’m worried when a little grandson is down with fever and chills. This poem is for you, sweetheart. Get better soon and we’ll swap symptom stories.

 

THE GERM

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

Ogden Nash

 

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Ode to my Valentine

I found this poem…somewhere…when my husband and I were engaged. (Not on the internet/Pinterest/a meme—how did we stumble on things back in those prehistoric times?)

I wrote it out and gave it to him and I think he got a kick out of it. Hope you do too!

 

All Because You Kissed Me Goodnight

I climbed up the door
And opened the stairs
Said my pajamas
And put on my prayers
Then I turned off the bed
And crawled into the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

The next morning I felt normal again
So I picked up the eggs
And toasted the phone
Fed the dog papers
And threw dad a bone

Then came midnight
And the sun was still shining
So I hopped on the door
And opened my bed
Switched on my book
And read the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

Author Unknown

 

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Some salt with that sentence, please?

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Some of us have learned how indigestible our words can be when we have to eat them.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “eating your words,” here’s what happens.
We state an opinion or “fact.”
We learn the stated opinion wasn’t based fully on facts.
We learn our facts were not correct.
The subsequent admission of our error is eloquently called “eating our words.”

Seldom do those words taste as good coming back in as they did going out.
At best they are bitter, at the worst they burn all the way down.

If you were born in the pre-millennial days, you often could dine on those unpalatable words almost in private. No matter how big a mouth you had, of necessity, only a few people heard you.

Now, when we blab an opinion, when we share a link on social media, our platform is as big as our friend group. Bigger, if people share our opinion or link.
If that opinion turns out to be built on lies, if the story we share turns out to be less than honest,
and we learn the truth—what do we do?

Of course we could just move on to the next story and pretend we never said anything wrong. And our faulty opinions and false stories just pile up and rot and pollute and ultimately spread a malaise that makes everyone sick.

But we are bigger than that, aren’t we? (Probably because we’ve been eating our words for decades now.)

Of course you and I will admit that we didn’t take everything into account when we stated a heartfelt opinion. Or course we’ll confess that maybe we shared a link to a story before verifying it was factual.

We’re just that kind of people.

We’ve also learned the wisdom of that Scripture verse that says “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
(Colossians 4:6)

No matter how careful we are in choosing our words and opinions and stories to share, we will mess up.
So, we season everything that comes out of our mouth or social media sites with salt. Then, when necessary, we take a deep breath and eat the misspoken, mistaken words.

Himalayan pink or Morton’s finest, specialty blends or generic seasoning, I recommend we choose our words’ seasoning with care. Because sooner or later we will have to eat them.

The Gate of the Year

If you seem to see this poem everywhere, I will take partial blame. Or credit. It is so wonderful that I’ve blogged it before, put it on our Christmas letter, mumbled it in the grocery store. Because 2019 is looming and I’m not prepared for it.

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THE GATE OF THE YEAR

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

 

There is a quite lovely story behind this. It was written by British poet Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957)—actually part of a longer poem called “God Knows” and published in 1908.

1939 was a bad year for England, in the bitterest throes of war, and 1940 didn’t look to be better. Young Princess Elizabeth shared “God Knows” with King George (aka her papa). He chose to share the preamble in his Christmas radio address to his anxious nation.

I choose to share it with you. With a confession that I am moderately hypocritical in doing so. I want the light shown on 2019. I want guarantees for my loved ones, my nation, my church. And guess what? God refuses to give me any guarantee except His presence and everything it entails. And He guarantees me that it all shall be well.

Happy New Year, dear ones. I’m praying that health and strength and blessings galore lie beyond the door to 2019 for us all. I’m confident of this though. God is there already.

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The Doctor’s Daughter (by the hobbits’ mother)

Susan Baganz is a personal friend, my very own editor, the reason I am published, and an inspiration! She is mother to 3 curly-haired young’uns and with a last name like Baganz—you can see the connection to my favorite Middle Earth folk!

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In the middle of preparing for a wedding to the man of her dreams, and packing and moving and all the crazy things both entail, Susan agreed to visit the Tuesday Prude with a bit on her Christmas novella, “The Doctor’s Daughter.” It is a Regency-era story of the challenges faced by doctors and the even greater challenges faced by women who practiced healing arts! And since it is written by Ms. Baganz, there is a healthy dose of romance and proof that “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

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Blurb:
Miss Silvia Burnett is left without a home after her father, a local physician, passes away unexpectedly. She appeals to a friend from boarding school, Mrs. Katrina Tidley, who resides in the same area where her father’s mentee set up practice. With a calf-love on her part, they’d once agreed to wed each other if she remained unattached at a certain age. But are youthful promises meant to be kept? Would the handsome physician want her now?

Dr. Bruce Miller has watched all his friends from university marry and begin their families. Living in the village of Didcot did not provide him with a wife. When a letter from the daughter of the doctor he interned with in Bristol arrives at his door, hope soars within that maybe this woman is the answer to his lonely nights.

As influenza spreads and Silvia uses her talents in medicine to aid the doctor, will he find her competition or a viable companion? With Christmas dawning, will dreams be shattered or fulfilled?

 

I had a few questions for this busy bride-to-be:
You write contemporary dramatic romance and Regency era novels. Which is your favorite? And if you ever branch out to another time period to set your books in, what would it be?

Which is my favorite? They both have their fun aspects and challenges. Regency is fun because of the language and the culture. I can use a wider vocabulary and the moral strictures on women and men make it fun to play around with. The challenge is to get the details correct and to not let contemporary slang slip in! Contemporary romance is fun too, because you can delve more into the emotional pain and lingo – the technology makes it more challenging to keep a story relevant and accurate as anyone can fact check so many things I might choose to write about – so one needs to be careful there as well. Another challenge is not to hit too close to home to people and experiences you want to put in your stories, even in a veiled way.

A different time period? I don’t know. I did write a novella set in the last 1800’s in Wisconsin, kind of a “prairie romance.” I’ve dabbled in romantic suspense (contemporary) and hope to co-author some military romances in the future.

 
Your contemporary novels involve real people with real pasts and honest problems who find love. Yet even then, they don’t necessarily live “happily ever after,” but rely on God to help them work through knotty problems and even heartache. (The question is coming. Honest) How much of your own love story is identified with the lives of your protagonists?

When I’ve done workshops at writer’s conferences, I’ve confessed that there is much of our history that shows up in our fiction. I think I’ve lived vicariously through my characters and some of their struggles have been ones I’ve had at some level. I, however, have not until now, had my own real-life romance. I wrote romance to fill that need and because I believed at my core that even though I had not experienced it, that it existed. Yet for all of that I sometimes feel like I’m living a fairy tale with my new love. It will be interesting to see how a real-life romance impacts my writing from here on out!

 
Tell us how you came up with the idea for “The Doctor’s Daughter.”

I had the last of my Black Diamond Gothic Regency Romances release this year and knew I wanted to do a novella for the Pelican Christmas Extravaganza – so I figured I’d take a recurring character, Doctor Bruce Miller, and give him a sweet romance – no gothic but plenty of drama! It is fun is to see some of the characters from the series playing a part in his romance.

Bio:
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, http://www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz.

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I pray for every happiness for this godly, genuine woman. And if you are looking for a quick, inspiring Christmas read, grab “The Doctor’s Daughter” available on ereaders.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Doctors-Daughter-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07JHPWV2L