2018 Clearing My Life: Father’s Day

             It’s Father’s Day!  I hope all the fathers out there who are celebrating with their families enjoy their day. We drove to our daughter’s in Oklahoma City for lunch and a little celebration.  It was just the four of us since the kids have all grown up, but the dogs made Papa feel welcome. Everyone was smiling just before I snapped the picture.

Our parents are gone, and the grandkids are not little anymore.  Life changes but we still get together for holidays. Today the restaurant was full of families, fathers, grandfathers, and a few great grandfathers. Babies played with spoons and grandpa; and dessert was free to all fathers today.  The cheesecake was delicious even if it wasn’t mine.

I got my husband a book and some coffee.  There are a lot of books in this house and it is just one more, but we both love to read.  And coffee is a staple. I think he liked both.

We’ve been married a long time and are parents of two children who went out and brought home more.  Kids tend to do that.  And with the newcomers came grandchildren and the family grew.  Even if it was just the four of us today, it was a fun time.

I hope your Father’s Day was a good one.  Tell your dad you love him and thank him for all the time he spent with you.  Happy Father’s Day.

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2018 Clearing your Life: Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!

If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Instragram, you may be sick to death of reading about my gardening – complete with pictures.  Here we go again.

It’s summertime (well, not by the calendar) and the livin’ is easy – or not. I get so excited at the beginning of each spring and buy countless plants.  Some come up from last year to add to the drama, and then the heat and bugs hit.  I’m currently doctoring a spider bite on my hip, so this morning I had the good sense to use bug spray before wading into the vegetation. 

Facebook had a post making the rounds recently about a black swan that pulled weeds from a garden.  I want to know how it knew the difference between a plant and a weed.  Sometimes I don’t.  But there it was, pulling away.  A friend suggested I needed one of those.  He was probably right.  Anyone know where I can get a weeding black swan? And what do they eat, in case it stays around?

As I transplanted ground cover and pulled crabgrass from the garden this morning my friendly yellow bird (I think it is some kind of Wren) came by to mention that the hummingbird feeders were empty.  I don’t feed hummingbirds evidently, just friendly yellow birds, aunts and the occasional wasp.  But I guess they need to eat too. I told him I’d get it done later. I had a blog to write.

 

I also have a nearsighted Robin that wants to come in the house.  It taps on the window, or bangs against the glass as it flies up out of the hedge and tries to join me in the bedroom where I write.  The other day it sat on the door to my husband’s pickup and tapped on the glass.  He said he thought he heard it at the bathroom window.  It seems to be attracted to glass.  Or maybe it heard about the air conditioning.

Anyway, I’m gracing the pages with pictures of my flowers this morning.  Notice I didn’t show you pictures of the weeds or failed hostas that come up, fall over and die.  You only get the good stuff.

Do you garden? Here’s to #oklahomagardening and the gardeners who try to make it work. 


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2018 Clearing your Life: Nescatunga Arts Festival!

    I was a vendor at the 49th annual Nescatunga Arts Festival yesterday. https://www.nescatunga.org/   It was a beautiful day on the downtown square in Alva, Oklahoma – not nearly as hot as Friday – though windy.  My daughter and I set up the canopy and then anchored it against the Oklahoma wind with four, gallon jugs of sand.  Otherwise the canopy might have ended op on top of the courthouse.  But we managed to keep the canopy upright. 

                                                                            

The day was lovely.  The small town of Alva has been having this festival for 49 years and they’ve got it down.  There was live music all day long.  The sponsors came around offering coffee and doughnuts in the morning to the vendors.  Later in the day, they sent the Rainbow girls around to table sit for you in case you needed a break.  The grass on the lawn was like a putting green, there were small bleachers set up for the music and dancing on stage and three different tents sold food.  We opted for the Taco salad which was wonderful.  Later in the day, my daughter checked out the cookie tent and found they were 2 for 1 so they could shut down.  


                              

We were set up beside an African potter and artist.  They were from Tulsa with Etudaiye Pottery and Fine Arts.  I bought a lovely soap dispenser molded in the shape of an elephant tusk. Their art work was fabulous.  I wished I could have afforded more. 

There were jewelry makers, leather workers, yard art and other things I didn’t get a chance to see.  My daughter made friends with a couple from Edmond – where she lives – that had paintings they made into t-shirts, mugs, puzzles, etc. 

I saw old friends and made new ones as I talked about my books.  The day could not have been better.  You could even use the facilities in the courthouse instead of those blue port-a-potties (which might have blown over anyway).

I woke at 5 am to make the trip to northwest Oklahoma and then was taking down the canopy by 3 pm.  It was a great day and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for the 50th anniversary.  I know it will be great and I hope to be able to attend again.

First weekend in June – Nescatunga Arts Fest – put it on your calendar for next year.  Come to Alva for the fun, art and camaraderie. 

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2018 Clearing your Life: Estate Sale to End all Estate Sales

    My mother used to call it “junkin’.”  She and a friend used to “go junkin’” on a regular basis and after she died, I inherited some beautiful glassware.  Mom knew a good piece of glass and she kept track of what she spent and what it was worth.  When my sisters and I had an estate sale for Mom and Dad’s lifetime of accumulation, we first called in an antique dealer who was a friend of my parents and asked him for appraised value of the pieces.  We kept the good stuff in the house and the junk in the garage.  It was an exhausting yet fun couple of days and we got rid of a lot of things.  (We also took home a lot of things).

Mom’s been gone 18 years and Dad 17 and I have a houseful of stuff of my own.  But still I was talked into attending an estate sale yesterday with a friend.

I had no idea what I was about to encounter.

Our little estate sale didn’t hold a candle to the one I attended.  1120 Winona (over by the Champlin mansion if you’re from Enid) was a huge, fabulous old house built in the early 1900s and I was only allowed in the downstairs area.  There were rare books (some in Greek and Russian), handmade rugs, glassware from the ages, and art from around the world. 

The owner of the home was from Russia but had lived in California, Oklahoma, and exotic places around the world.  Her daughter lived with her for a time and was the US Ambassador to Tunisia. Her mother accompanied her on that tour.  The mother outlived the daughter and stayed in her house in Enid until she died at the age of 103. As world travelers, they had filled every nook and cranny with treasures. 

The basement was finished with hardwood floors and a fireplace.  The upstairs had beautiful oak floors and woodwork and a butler’s pantry where the glassware was stored.  There was a downstairs bedroom with a fireplace and a sunroom next door, and the garage had the old-style steam heat radiator up against the wall.  There were fireplaces on all floors that I could get to on both ends of the house.  And the most intriguing thing were the bright turquoise walls.  The lady from the estate sale said that was the Russian influence.  I’m sure if the house was mine, the turquoise would have to go.

I spent $21 and both things I bought were for someone else.  I’m cheap and kept asking myself where I’d put that thing I was holding in my hand once I got it home.  I wanted a glass sangria pitcher, but my china cabinet is full now.  So, I left it for someone else.

I hope the home goes on the market and I can tour it when they have an open house.  All proceeds were going to a couple of charities. Those charities were about to receive some huge checks.

Someday my children will need to clean out my lifetime of treasures.  I doubt my estate sale will be as glamorous as the one I attended yesterday. 

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2018 Clearing my Life: Sandhill Island

    Sandhill Island is a magical place.  The lives of the people on the island are linked to the sea and her bounty.  Meg grows a garden in a salty environment, Alex paints the ocean with Meg’s produce for medium, Paul fishes for shrimp, Sam cooks for his neighbors and tourists, and Billie sings the blues.

Having lived by the sea all their lives, these people know her moods and are affected by the environment around them.  The sea sooths their souls. But like the sea in all her moods, the people are not always calm and serene.  Sometimes lives are turned upside down.

In Secrets of Sandhill Island, Meg grows her garden while hiding out from the past and that of her family.  The father of her son died before they could marry and start a life together leaving her to raise the boy alone with a tyrannical grandfather making their decisions for them. Now that Jon is grown and Meg lives on the island alone, her past begins to catch up with her – and it is not all good.  There is a lot of money in Meg’s family and money brings out the worst in most people.

In Stones of Sandhill Island Billie sings the blues because of her love of music but also because of the loss of her family.  She comes home to take care of her ailing mother and Sam hires her to sing at the restaurant on the weekends.  But her past also followed her from Corpus Christi.  The man who caused the accident that killed her family wants redemption and is willing to go to any length to get it.

Sandhill Island is a real island in my mind.  There are lots of islands off the coast of Corpus Christi and cities dotting the Gulf of Mexico.  But Sandhill Island is the most beautiful and interesting.

Pick up a copy of Secrets of Sandhill Island http://tinyurl.com/gnjp94b (coming soon to audio) or Stones of Sandhill Island https://tinyurl.com/y9qp6qzp  and immerse yourself in the lives of the inhabitants. They ebb and flow like the sea and you will be caught up in their lives like a rip tide.  You won’t be able to get away from Sandhill Island like the inhabitants who live there.

It’s almost time for a beach read.

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2018 Clearing your Life: Happy Mother’s Day!

    I’ve been a mother for a long time and I may slowly be getting the hang of it.  I married young and had my first child much too early, but we persevered (That’s me in in the middle with the blooming belly).  Because as a parent, what else can you do?  The child is dependent on you.  And you will find you are also dependent on the child.  The bond between mother and child never ends.  I can’t imagine the pain of losing one, but I’m lucky to have never had to face that obstacle. 

I had two children, one girl and one boy, and then decided I’d filled the house up and it was time to quit.  They were the best thing I ever did with my life and somedays I wondered why.  If you’ve raised teenagers, that sentence needs no explanation.     

My life without my kids would have been flat.  They brought joy and tears, but it was never dull.  I had one that was a daredevil, so we often saw the inside of an emergency room. One was driven to dance and sometimes needed to be carried to the car with bleeding toes.

I worked outside the home, raised kids, and always put something on the table for dinner – it was not always delicious, but it was supper.  My kids knew they were loved and had a home to come to, and an ear to listen.  Sometimes Mom would blow, and the household wasn’t happy, but she was always there.

    Today my kids are middle-aged which makes me old, but we are still a family.  Last night my grandson graduated from high school and heads to college in the fall.  I remember this stage in life when my kids were that age.  A child in college, one in high school and my parents retired and left town six months out of the year.  “Here’s the key, look after our house and pay the bills from this checkbook. We’ll call later.”  I had lots to do with a job, teenagers and aging parents.  But I would do nothing different.  It was life.  It was family. And it was what I wanted to do.

Today, I’m a grandmother, mother, wife and author.  My latest adventure on this planet is writing stories – some true, others not.  But still it is another adventure.  I’m lucky to have been able to live my life the way I wanted; marry my sweetheart, have a career, look after my parents, but most of all be a mother. 

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Mother’s Day! 

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2018 Clearing my Life: The Apocalypse Sucks

    Years ago, I had an imagination flash and wrote a post-apocalyptic short story called Bra Wars.  A publisher who is no longer in business liked it and wanted 4 or 5 more stories in the world I created to e-publish.  I wrote them.  Eventually the short stories turned into a book titled The Apocalypse Sucks, a snarky take on civilization after a virus decimates most of humanity.  I mean if you can’t make fun of the end of the world, what can you make fun of?   Eventually that book found itself in the hands of the uber-talented Airship 27 Productions and with the help of Andy Fish http://www.andytfish.com/ and Zachary Brunner https://www.facebook.com/zachbrunnertattoo/ on cover and inside illustrations, it became a pulp fiction novel.

That book is still in print, e-published and on audio.  You can pick up a copy of the audio version on Amazon’s www.Audible.com. This week I received and newsletter from the publisher and found out something amazing.  The Apocalypse Sucks still lives!

Here’s what Airship 27 said about my little book:

PEGGY RULES THE AUDIO WORLD – A fun fact. While tallying sales from our books, Kindles and audio books for the first quarter, we discovered the one audio book that got more downloads than any other was THE APOCALYPSE SUCKS by Peggy Chambers.  Way to go, Peggy!  Obviously, you’ve a few fans among the audio book lovers out there.

The blurb on the back of the book tells the story:

There’s no apocalypse handbook.  Sandra and Molly were two typical office workers enjoying their lives, which consisted primarily of going to work, shopping and looking for cute guys.  Then their world came to a disastrous end brought about by a fast-acting, airborne virus that decimated the world’s population.

Now the girls live in the abandoned office building which they once worked in surrounded by a new and dangerous landscape; one where mutated animals roam the streets and giant birds soar through empty skies; where frightening humanoid bat creatures have appeared to challenge humans for supremacy of the earth.

What are two attractive, intelligent, single girls supposed to do now. . . other than merely hunt for food and try to stay alive?  Well, there are still malls, albeit much less crowded, and though rare, a few cute guys still out there.  So even if the apocalypse sucks, Sandra and Molly are not about to let it cramp their style.

A truly unique, twisty adventure with two of the most likeable heroines you’ll ever meet.  “The Apocalypse Sucks,” is a pulp mash-up readers are sure to enjoy from cover to cover.

The Apocalypse Sucks is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere in paperback, electronic publishing and now on www.Audible.com.  

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2018 Clearing my Life: Gambling on Wine

    I’m not a gambler.  My version of gambling is – do I have to shave my legs today?  What are the odds of my pant leg hiking up, so anyone will notice.  So, with that mindset, I went to the casinos this weekend.

My husband’s cousins from Texas came to town and we tried to show them a good time.  The first day we took them to Bricktown and walked until our feet were screaming.  The cousin’s Fitbit said she had the best day ever!  We rode the water taxi, visited a winery/tasting room, roamed the Festival of the Arts, ate too much, got sunburned, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. 

The second day was once again wineries in northwest Oklahoma. We tasted and purchased a lot of Oklahoma wines. I was amazed at some of the wineries that showed up in the middle of nowhere and were wonderful. My husband’s family is originally from the Fairview/Isabella area and we went to the old cemetery where the cousins used to be dragged by their mothers when they were boys. We found lots of headstones with names they recognized.  It’s a tiny rural cemetery and a pickup pulled in and a woman got out.  “What are you doing?” she asked kindly but firmly.  Turned out she was a shirt-tail relative we’d never met.  

Today it is casinos in the Ponca City area with a steak dinner promised.  On Saturday after the Bricktown tour on the way home to Enid, we stopped at Lucky Star Casino near El Reno.  Big gambler that I am, I put a $20 bill into a slot machine.  I managed to bet on it for about an hour and came home with a voucher too small for anymore bets.  Oh well, I could have bought more wine instead of pugging the machines, but I didn’t. I was on vacation.

We promise not to eat so much today.  We might not last at the gambling casinos. The cousins are high rollers unlike my husband and me and they are used to the life style.  But I could feed the machines $20 bills, or I could hand them over to a winery and put on weight.  Either way, it will be fun just because of the company. 

We are reconnecting with family after almost 30 years and we know we don’t have as many years ahead as we did behind.  We’re making the most of the adventure.

Wish me luck at the casinos today and I’ll try not to eat and drink as much today or get sunburned.  But those casinos can really make the Fitbit happy.  Some of them are huge!  Maybe I’ll get a little exercise.

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2018 Clearing my Life: Island Life

    Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case.

Billie Stone felt she was a victim of life.  A beautiful woman with the voice of an angel living on an idyllic island with the artistic mother she loved. Even with the beauty around her she felt alone after her husband and son were killed in an accident. Her music was the only thing that got her out of bed some days – that and her aging mother. And she wanted her life back.

Joe Franks felt like a victim of life when everything he’d ever worked for was taken from him and he was forced into pizza delivery to make ends meet.  He never meant to hurt anyone on that dark Texas highway. Suddenly the minivan was in front of him and he couldn’t avoid it.  He went to prison, lost his house, car, and job. Society was determined to keep him down.

Who was the victim and who was the victimizer? 

Franks saw Billie as the lucky one.  She had a job she loved, a beach house on an island to live in, and he wanted his life back. So, the man who killed her family approached her wanting her help – and when she wouldn’t give it, he tried to take it from her.

Stones of Sandhill Island picks back up where Secrets of Sandhill Island left off.  Some of the same characters make an appearance, but the main character – Sandhill Island – is once again in the forefront. The island is home to a handful of inhabitants who are wooed by her beauty and live their lives loving the calm and isolation it brings.  The people are kind – except when exploited – and take care of each other and their island. 

Billie Stone would get her life back if it killed her.

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2018 Clearing My Life: Two New Reads!

Check out my two new reads!

Peggy Chambers "Views from the Hammock" site

      I’m clearing my life of unwanted clutter and offering up new and inventive ideas this year.

I’ve put out two new books in the last six months. Sometimes months of hard work on individual projects end up coming to fruition at approximately the same time and that is how it worked for me.

In the fall I released a fantasy YA book, Return to Glome’s Valley, which takes place in the valleys of southeast Oklahoma near the Heavener Runestone.  It is the sequel to Glome’s Valley and takes place 14 years later when Ethan has become a man.  He returns to the place he played as a child and finds escapades and secrets that only an adult could handle. Some mysteries should remain simply that. There are new adventures for some of the old characters and you might meet a dragon. It is available on Amazon at

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