Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Beyond the Garden Gates 2017

I've chosen a few of the scenes that captured my imagination this year on the Beyond the Garden Gates garden tour held yearly in Frederick, Maryland.  Click the lower-right corner to enlarge the slideshow to full screen and enjoy Secret Garden's "Sleep Song" as you come with me beyond the garden gate to get a peek at several gardens. . . . .


                  


❤️Take Joy❤️

Monday, May 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 4

Welcome back!  It has REALLY been a struggle for me this month to continue with this project because my garden has captured my attention.  But I finally got the gardening bug-bite scratched and  illustrated the key scenes in this month's chapter.  Please remember these are just snippets of what is going on.  Since I've already decided not to pursue publishing the book, you will never get the chance to read the story in its entirety, so I certainly understand if you want to bail out at this point.  I'm only putting these snippets out into the internet world with the hope that serendipitously a publisher will come by and ask to read my manuscript.

As you may recall last month Gabriel found out from Conner Chipmunk that Poetry and her family had moved to Scotland.  Then the two cats, George and Molly, told him he should try to hitch a ride to Baltimore in the furniture truck that was coming later that morning. . . .



Chapter 4 – The Journey Begins

After the truck was emptied of the furniture George and Molly distracted the driver and his helper.  Gabriel scampered into the truck while the ramp was still down and hid in the back of the truck under a packing blanket.  

George and Molly stood in the driveway, waving goodbye to Gabriel with their tails. 

It didn’t take that long to get to Baltimore.  When the driver opened the back door to the truck he got a big surprise!


“Hey!” the driver shouted as Gabriel scooted from under the blanket and darted past him.  Gabriel leapt out of the back of the truck and did not look back.  He just kept running until he was sure the man wouldn’t catch up with him.  When Gabriel saw an alley he turned into it and found a large garbage container to hide behind.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wildflower Walk


Easter weekend was our weekend for wild things.  The day before the raccoon made its appearance in my Secret Garden we went on a wildflower walk along the C&O Canal with our guide Mary from the Potomac Audubon Society. . . .

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 3


This month Gabriel the little white dog canvasses the neighborhood to try to find one of Poetry's friends who might be able to tell him where she has gone.  I'd written my original stories about the Adventures of Poetry the Calico Cat and Gabriel the Snowman about 20 years ago.  The characters in Chapter 3--Gertrude Rabbit, Benjamin Bee, and Sandy the Do--were featured in those stories.  The cats, Molly and George, were real cats who lived in the real cabin that you can get to through our woods.  My neighbor, Edie, lives there.  I've featured her cabin in a couple of Take Joy Society posts when we've held our get-to-gethers there.  Connor the Chipmunk was another original character, named after Edie's first grandchild who was living in the cabin at the time.

The following are excerpts from the story that go with the illustrations.



Chapter 3 – The Adventure Begins

Gabriel didn’t go far his first day.  He wanted to visit all of Poetry’s friends in the neighborhood first to see if they knew where she might be.  His first stop was Gertrude Rabbit’s hole.  He found it under the bush next door.  He’d never met Gertrude when he was a Snowman, but Poetry had told him about her.  Just as he expected, she was not happy to be disturbed. “Who are you and what do you want!?” she scowled.  Gabriel, forgetting he was now a little white dog, introduced himself as Gabriel the Snowman.  “Harrumph!” Gertrude snorted.  “You expect me to believe that?!”  Gabriel blushed when he realized what he’d said.  After explaining everything to her, Gertrude said rather rudely, “I can’t help you,” then turned and high-tailed it back into her hole.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 2

Well, after a discouraging month of coming to grips with the fact that self-publishing involves many more upfront expenses than I'd realized, I've decided to no longer entertain the idea of pursuing this route! However, I've not given up on illustrating the story for my grandchildren and by posting excerpts here I'm hoping an agent or publisher might stumble onto them and offer to publish it for me!  You can see excerpts from Chapter 1 HERE if you missed it last month.

In Chapter 2 Gabriel spends his time trying to figure out how to escape the house so he can start looking for Poetry and meets an unlikely accomplice.  Here are excerpts that go with the sketches in the next chapter. . . . .



Chapter 2 – What’s Going On?

Then, out of the corner of his eye [Gabriel] saw it—a tiny little creature—furry and grayish brown.  It had a pink tail and beady little eyes.  Gabriel rose slowly and pointed his nose at it, his tail as straight as a stick pointed in the opposite direction. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I've Been Up To

Hello everyone!  If you haven't been visiting my other web journal, Another Perfect Day 365, you may have been wondering what I've been up to!  I thought I'd show you my illustrations for the first Chapter of "Gabriel's Tale."  I have spent much of the month of January drawing, redrawing, painting, repainting these illustrations.  Plus, I've done research on layout, learned how to use my computer's software better, and watched drawing tutorials on perspective and snow, to name a view.  I've checked into printing and the needed specs.  Read up on the pros and cons of self-publishing and the various ways to do it.   I came to the conclusion that this project may end up being just for my grandchildren,  printed on my computer, and hand-bound by me.  But who knows....maybe by the end of chapter 14 I'll have had so much practice that my illustrations have improved dramatically and I'll have learned all the tricks of the trade to produce a professional-looking book!  You could say I'm sharing a "before" picture so that when I get to the end I'll have something to compare it with.

I'm only including the text that goes with the illustration so the story will not make any sense to you.  Hopefully, though, it will peak your interest and you'll want to read the whole story by the time I'm done. . . .


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcoming in the New Year - 2017




Dear Friends and Readers,

I've had a full day writing New Year's posts for my various web journals.  I hope you will look in the side bar to check them out and join me there.  I have a new series started for Another Perfect Day 365 called Thanks-Living.  It is an adjunct web journal to Another Perfect Day where I introduced what I will be doing on APD365.  I will continue to post once a month on Another Perfect Day, and as the spirit moves me on I Come In The Little Things.  Freedom in Christ is a daily devotional I posted in 2011.  You can't sign up for it since it is not "active" but you can go to the site and read the devotionals each day.  Take Joy Society features the group's get-togethers as well as a monthly piece on Susan Branch this year on the first of each month.  I also add links to the tabs at the top of the page that I hope will inspire and uplift the reader.  That leaves this web journal, Morning Musings.

I started this web journal so that I could connect with people out in the world.  I've grown quite fond of you all and appreciate the feedback you give me in the comments.  I say all this because I hope you do not jump ship if I do not post as often as I have in the past.  I have no plans to continue with the monthly artist feature.  As for the other monthly features, they may also go by the wayside, as well, if I find I do not have any ideas left after I've spent them on the other web journals.  I'd rather not post, than post something not up to my standards.

The Annie Dillard quote above expresses what I hope this year will be for me--a time of discovering how to get in touch with who I really am and live that life.  Writing helps me do that--writing about what matters most to me.

Part of that will be to finally illustrate my Gabriel's Tale story and self-publish it.  Along with that will be an updating of my Poetry & Gabriel website--the ever-changing technology has rendered it's features inoperable.  It contains the prequel to Gabriel's Tale.  I've already written a second adventure and have ideas for a third.  In addition, I have a dozen other children's stories I could illustrate eventually.  This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I feel the time is right to put all my energy there.

Until later,

❤️Take Joy❤️


Saturday, December 31, 2016

This & That - December 2016

December had us out and about more than usual.  Here are a few of them, including a few animal encounters.  Our first outing was to attend a retirement party for a friend on a restaurant boat as it floated up and down the Potomac River.  You can see the lights of Washington, DC here when we took a short, brisk walk around the deck.  Because it was dark outside and we were moving slowly you could hardly tell you were on a boat from inside.  This was empasized when putting on our coats to make this little jaunt around the deck--our hostess asked us if we were leaving already 😊. . . .