About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water. After twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live and work in the Ozarks and visit the mountain often. These are stories about the Ozark Wilderness written from a women deeply influenced by this special place.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Short Story will be Published!

     A short story I wrote entitle "Felling a Friend" has been accepted for publication in an anthology! The book will be a collection of short stories by women about nature. It is the first part of a series called WIN: Women in Nature. Because of the earth conscience material that makes up the stories, the publisher wants the paper that holds the stories to also be earth conscience. So it will be printed on eco-friendly wheat and straw paper. To get the printing wheels turning, the publisher has started a kickstart fund. If you pledge just $10 you will get an e-book, if you pledge $20 you will receive a copy of this book, and for $30 you get two copies of the book! So basically it is like buying the book in advance. The book will be printed in spring and is estimated to be shipped out to costumers in June. If you would like to see some of my writing in print and order a copy of the book in advance, click on the link below. And Thank You!!!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/948518643/win-women-in-nature

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Moment

Yesterday I devoted the day to my kids. I turned off my phone and even left the camera behind, (because all those pictures are really for me, not of my boys.) I did not bring along my journal or even my purse. We went to the river with a picnic and met a friend with kids the same age as my own.
The sun was shimmering on the water. "It looks like snow," the children said.
The sunlight was reflecting on the blades of grass. "It looks like ice," I said.
We sat beside the Buffalo River on a moss topped cliff overlooking the water. We hiked a trail that followed the river. It stayed close to the cliff that rose high above the water and meandered through naked trees, evergreen groves, thickets of river cane, and moss covered rocks. We found a stream where the children could explore tiny waterfalls, swirling pools, and icy caves that were still untouched by the warm winter sun.
Yes it was a perfect day. But it is all so fleeting! The children were growing right before my eyes. The day was so short, the sun so brief. I had missed so much already while stressing out and being overly ambitious. On the drive home I remembered my last blog post, "How do you do it?" and suddenly felt ashamed. This morning I got up to erase it. Embarrassed with my rash, stressed out, over zealous outlook in the past few days.
But I have decided to keep the post. Because we are not perfect. So often we write about our successes. We post pictures on facebook that show us in all of our beauty. And we see each other in this light. But it is healthy to see that people have boring days, bad days, faults, and moments of weakness. It is good for us to not only write on our good days and not only write about the good times, but to also express our fears and faults. So my last post was me in a moment of overwhelming weakness. My fault is evident, I am too ambitious and forgetting to be in the moment! Today I feel strong and focused upon the beauty of the moment. Today I will just enjoy the day with my children while we will do nothing special and get very little done!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How do you do it?

     A fellow writer and mother recently asked me, "How do you do it all?"
     All I could do was cry out, "But I don't do it all!"
     Oh yes, I try so very hard, and in some ways (sure) I succeed, but lately I feel like I am failing...
     Once I had a goal to write on this blog every week. I never managed to do that, even in the beginning. So my goal became to write every other week... Now I am content to maintain a monthly post.
     I started a new blog called A Simple Natural Home. I had hoped to fill it full of recipes for soaps and healthy muffins, cloth diapering tips and gardening advice. Today the blog contains only a few pages of material.
     Almost five years ago I started writing a historical fiction novel. People have praised me when I tell them that I am on page 78 of my first draft. But I just want to cry because it took me five years to push that out! And now I have another baby. And now my older son is having problems with authority. Will it take ten, maybe twenty, to complete?
     I was so determined to have a winter garden this year. But we got a foot of snow and it sat around for a week killing my broccoli plants. The plants I sat hunched over in autumn picking tiny caterpillars off of. I still have fruit trees to prune, a chicken coop to clean, and a fence to build. But I can't dig my way out of the dishes and laundry.
     The baby is constantly pooping again. Or chewing and trying to choke on some random scrap of paper he found on the floor. The older child is constantly climbing onto the desk to turn the TV screen on so he can watch Felix the Cat on Netflix. Or melting down because I said, "Not right now."
     I pour my all into my children. I am the mom who reads to their kids, who listens to their stories, and who plays as well as disciplines. I am constantly reading new about positive parenting and early childhood development. Embracing motherhood has become my art. It has replaced much of who I am as a person. And I know that is ok. In fact, I dare to say that is how it should be when you have young kids. Still, my children are so far from perfect. You would think I had it all figured out with all the research I have done, but they have behavior problems galore. We struggle.
      I set an alarm and woke up early this morning early. My intention was to get up and finish writing what I was too tried to write last night. But the baby was sleeping at my breast. I tried to get up so very carefully. I let him nurse until my milk let down again. It took three patient tries to get my breast out of his mouth without waking him. Then I eased him off and patted his back until he fell asleep again. Slowly I inched away from him, tucking the pre-warmed blankets around him to fill my void. I rose from the bed and stayed very still. Twice a resumed the lying position. Finally when I thought he was sound asleep a turned to the window and adjusted the blind so that the sun would not come streaming in and wake him. I did so silently. Nevertheless, when I turn back to my baby, his sleep eyes were open wide. I groaned. He smiled.
     How am I doing it all you ask?
     I am not doing it all! I am just trying very hard to juggle everything. Perhaps my problem is too much ambition. Maybe I need to kick back and relax more. So I try to take time to do nothing. Surely I would do better to do less.
      I truly hope that one day I will do better. Not more! But better!
     So... How do you do it? How do you do better?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Ambition

Last year I was five months pregnant on New Years, so my only New Years resolution was to have a kid! And I did it. I became a mother again, a mother of two. I had the home birth of my dreams and my sweet baby boy is just perfect. Still, this year has kicked my ass! It is much harder than I had imagined to be a mother of two. Adding another child to my life complicated everything. This has been a selfless year.  I have focused on my boys. It hasn't been a bad year, just a trying one.
In the coming year I am going to focus on myself a little more. In July I will turn 30 and for some reason I feel like it will be a different decade for me. As the year unfolds I want to focus on things that make me happy, like writing and nature. I want to chisel out more time for sitting alone in the woods with a pen and paper. Even if it is just for a few minutes in the backyard.
I also plan to make a major push towards publication. If you like Owls' Knob as a blog, then you will love my book: Owls' Knob: Tales of an Ozark Mountain. I wrote it years ago, while I finished up college, about the time I started writing this blog. But it just sits and gathers dust. I get inspired occasionally and submit a chapter as a short story to some random magazine, but never with much luck. I need to try to get published harder. I have been working on a website and I will get it up and running soon. I feel like this might be the year I get my first breakthrough. I think it is time. I hope I am ready!
So, regular readers, if you know or come across a magazine or publishing company that might appreciate the type of nature writing I often feature on this blog, please send me information or comment here. Thank you!
Happy New Year!