Bittersweet September #mgtab

Ah, September - quote by Peggy Toney HortonSeptember, with its summery days, but foggy mornings and chilly nights, is a bittersweet month for me.

It always feels like both a fresh start—no doubt because of all my years as a student—and an obvious, undeniable end of a season. This year the contrast seems extra poignant.

I’m about to launch a new story into the world, plus I’m excited and gearing up for new writing projects, yet other things that have kept me busy the past few months are slowing down.

My flowerbeds appear to be at the height of their glory, but a closer look reveals the beginning of their end, softening stalks, a gentle wilting, the slightest touches of brown on the edges and undersides of leaves. . . . The balmy air carries a cool undertone, and if a breeze kicks up, it has bite. The forest and grassy areas around my home hold the lightest scent of earthy dampness and decay. The toads are on the move. . . .

I’m excitedly anticipating the birth of my second grandbaby, who’s due any day—and my own wonderful grandma just turned 87. She’s healthy, strong and incredibly sharp minded, and I suspect and hope she’ll be a centenarian—but can’t help thinking about new beginnings and autumn seasons, all the same.

September 2017 Yellow Rose photoI’m looking forward to cozy fall nights and preparing my garden, yard, and freezer for winter—but I’m heavily conscious of all the folks across BC, the province of Canada where I live, still in danger from, or suffering the results of, the terrible, ravishing fires that blazed out of control all summer and are still burning. Likewise, I’m sad and worried for all the people in the south, fleeing, losing everything—or being afraid that they might—in the extreme flooding and/or hurricanes that have hit (and are continuing to hit) so hard.

Jodie Esch, an author friend of mine, finished a recent blog post with this observation, “during these precarious situations in the world, isn’t it time to take a few moments out of each day, to focus on the idea of love?”

It absolutely is—and not just in this season, but in every season, those that are bitter, those that are sweet, and those that are both simultaneously.

I hope wherever this September finds you, you are safe—or on your way to safety—and surrounded by love from friends, family, or pets, with a roof over your head to shelter you, enough food to sustain you, enough clothes to keep you warm, and enough books to keep you comforted and/or entertained.

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

The Top 5 Most Stressful Experiences: A Lesson from a Pup

Experts tell us that the Top Five Most Stressful times in life are:

  1. Death of a loved one
  2. Divorce
  3. Moving
  4. Major illness
  5. Job loss

And any combination of the five, or added stress from another source, can only make matters worse.

476384_4161496656214_67194810_oApparently, not only humans recognize that relocation is traumatic. (It’s #3!) My daughter has a pug in her menagerie. When I arrived at her new house to help her unpack, she (my daughter, not the pug) looked a little disoriented but was putting up a brave effort. It was the little dog that reminded us of how we humans felt. Poor little fellow was hyperventilating big time.

Joe’s big soulful pug eyes were bulging with terror, and he kept staggering around in circles, trying to catch his breath. It wasn’t until we sat down with him in the middle of the empty room (furniture hadn’t yet arrived) that he slowly calmed down, sprawled on the carpet beside us and, apparently, began to accept the idea that this was his new home.

The humans took a little longer to adjust. What had been planned as an easy, one-day move was quickly reformulated as a one-week move. Truck rentals were extended. Unpacking and cleaning rescheduled on a more realistic time frame. Slowly, blood pressures lowered.

Sometimes human beings need to take a lesson from our animal friends. Sudden changes can send us into a panic. Our bodies and emotions overload. We need to make fewer demands on ourselves during these times and just…take it easy.

Granted, there is a lot in life that we can’t control. Death, the loss of love or deteriorating health or even keeping a job–are all too often the challenges we face with the most difficulty. But if there is a way we can give ourselves a little breathing room, the time and patience to recover, it can help.

When life gets complicated and comes at us in a way that knocks the wind out of us, that isn’t the time to put yourself on a schedule and demand that we “get over it” and move on. Whether mourning a loved one, acclimating to a new home, healing after being ill, or finding a new job–we sometimes need to just sit still and let the newness of the experience sink in. We have to learn to breathe again, to trust ourselves and the future. Yes, things will be different from now on. But we definitely will be okay. Right, Joe?

Your friend, Kathryn

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I guess stress is one reason I love to write fiction. Escaping into a story helps me take life a little less seriously, or at least understand that others have faced challenges just as difficult as my own. If you want to share my escape plan and chill out with me someday, you might want to check out one of my novels. Here’s one of my favorites.


Alicia Street

Alicia Street is a USA TODAY bestselling author and Daphne Award-winner often writing in collaboration with her husband, Roy, as well as on solo projects. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. A compulsive reader of every genre, she also loves watching old black-and-white movies and inventing new recipes for soups.
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