Saturday, September 23, 2023

We'll be right back... by Liz Flaherty

Taking a couple of weeks off! Will be back sometime in October. Last night's signing at Gallery 15 was wonderful. Looking forward to signing on September 30 at the Monticello Library from 2-4 PM. 

I hope you're all having a great beginning of fall! See you in a few weeks!


Saturday, September 16, 2023

Eyes On the Ceiling by Liz Flaherty

I saw them before the nurse started putting drops in my eyes. Two eyes and a nose in what looked like a pen-and-ink drawing on the ceiling above me. "Who put them there?" I asked. She said it was an anesthetist (or anesthesiologist--I don't know which is which) who was no longer at the clinic where I was having the cataract removed from my left eye. "Cool idea," I said, and blinked because there were more drops. 

From the days of fun annual visits with the gynecologist, I remembered mobiles hanging from above the table-with-stirrups. I don't remember if they moved or what they were. The doctor's wife, a nurse who understood about stirrups and discomfort and cold specula, had chosen the mobiles for each exam room. 

Where I get my hair "adjusted" to keep me a natural blonde, a wall ornament with a message printed on it is on the ceiling above the shampoo bowls. 

I was always a reader, while the kids were growing up, I took advantage of every moment of non-activity to read. While the family watched TV, I read. While I fixed dinner, I read. In the car waiting for myriad practices to end, I read. I enjoyed what I read, but even now when my kids' kids are mostly grown, I wonder how much I missed because I didn't look up often enough. 

We live near a corner that has stop signs on the east-west road. Since I am always up before daylight, I occasionally watch the corner when I see vehicles approaching it. I have no statistics, but the number of vehicles who blow the red octagon sign is amazing. I don't mean they roll the sign or that they slow down to ensure no headlights are approaching from either the north or the south--I mean they disregard it entirely. Most of the time there isn't traffic from the other ways, but it only takes once. I wish they'd look up. 

This is one of those posts where I could give soooo many examples: sunrise, sunset, pretty moon, deer in the field, little kids laughing. babies, rainbows. Entreaties to heaven and "hi, Mom" to the same place. But I've probably given enough, and the whole thing only has one message. 

Look up.

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 

Rose, Debby, Joe, and I hope you'll join us for a book signing at Gallery 15 on September 22. Event host Sarah Luginbill will have music from Ryan Record and light refreshments. 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Sixteen Years...Really! by Liz Flaherty

Who knew I'd been blogging for 16 years? Certainly not me. Sixteen years ago, I was still working at the post office and had only published a couple of books. Six of the Magnificent Seven had already arrived to teach Duane and me the coolness of grandparenting. I was driving my very first SUV, which was a lemon and with which I hit my first deer in the 30 years of driving to Logansport every day. But it did convince me SUVs were definitely my chosen way to go. 

This came from September of 2007. My love affair with autumn is still going strong and I go into these next months with hope and determination. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week. Be nice to somebody. 

If you've never lived here in North Central Nowhere, where Nothing Ever Happens and there's Nothing To Do, well, hey, I'm sorry. We're slippery-sliding into autumn right now. Even though the temperatures are still climbing into the 80s on a lot of days, they're also diving headlong into the 40s at night. This means that if no one was looking, some of us would run the air conditioning during midday hours and turn on the furnace when we get up in the morning. (I can't do this because the boyfriend always notices things like that.)

But the colors here--I'm writing this in only one of them--defy description. I remember being so surprised that Vermont in October really does look like calendar pictures. So does Indiana. Plus I'm pretty sure our entire state smells like apples and cornfields and burning leaves. (There's a pig farm down the road that distributes an entirely different smell, but that's only certain times of the day, thank goodness--and carnivore that I am, I do really love ham and pork chops. Sigh.)

Well, I see I'm wandering here, when all I really wanted to do was brag about fall in the Midwest, where it truly is glorious. It sounds like Friday night high school football and crunching leave and feels good. Even though the truth is that things really do happen here and there really are things to do, those of us who were born here love the reputation we have. I think we like knowing something the rest of the world doesn't.

Except that I just told, didn't I? Oh, well...have a good day, everybody.

Four authors are selling and signing books at Gallery 15 on September 22. Ryan Record is providing music and we'll be surrounded by wonderful art. I hope you come. There will be cookies! And I heard maybe fudge...

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Texas Girls by Kristina Knight

I'm excited to have my longtime Word Wranglers friend Kristina Knight at the Window today. She's talking about writing and re-introducing her popular Texas Girls series.

If you read many ‘how to’ type of posts you’ll find a lot of different answers to the question ‘what is the most important part of writing’.

This is one of those posts, but it’s also not one of those posts.

For me, the most important part of writing is simply to write.

On any given day, there are about a thousand things that crop up that I’m not ready for. Whether it’s my daughter coming home from school with marker on her shirt from art class, or my husband calling to say he won’t be home for dinner, which also means I’m on homework duty. To having a non-fiction assignment come up. To having first round edits and final read-through documents come in from my editors on the same day.

And all of those things can seem, in the moment, to be more important that getting the two or three thousand words on paper that I’ve set for my goal.

What I’ve found, though, is that putting off the writing has a snowball effect. Because the next day not only do I still need to write those words, I also need to write the current day’s words. And there are more last minute emergencies to deal with: like learning my mother-in-law is coming over for dinner, and that I have to fill out an art fact sheet for my cover designer, and I have blog and promo posts to write for my upcoming book release, and I haven’t updated my social media sites in too many days. And. And. And and and and and.

That’s why, no matter what else I have going on, what other items are on my to-do list, what little emergencies have come up that day, at 1 PM every day, I’m at my computer. Writing the new words. The emergencies wait. The to-do list waits. The new words get written, and then I go back to the errands and emergencies and to-do list items. Because if the new words aren’t on the paper, I can’t edit them. If I can’t edit them, I can’t turn them in to my agent or editor. If I can’t turn them in, I can’t perfect them. If I can’t perfect them (at least as much as I can perfect them), I can’t publish them to share with readers.

What about you? What is the most important part of writing, for you?

Kristina’s Texas Girls are back! What a Texas Girl Wants, What a Texas Girl Needs, and What a Texas Girl Dreams are releasing this month! 

About the Books

What a Texas Girl Wants
The last thing Jackson Taylor wants in his life is a down-to-earth girl like Kathleen Witte, so why did he just wake up next to her on a Mexican beach with a ring on his finger? Once they’re back in Texas though, this all-business marriage might just turn into an all-consuming love. Purchase on Amazon

What a Texas Girl Needs: Matias Barnes knows all about society women like Vanessa Witte. It’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. But while Mat knows she’s so not right for him, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go? Purchase on Amazon

What a Texas Girl Dreams: They are opposites in so many ways, but the more veterinarian Trickett Samuels gets to know footloose and fancy free Monica Witte, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher. Purchase on Amazon

Saturday, September 2, 2023

These Precious Days by Liz Flaherty

Welcome, September! We're heading into one of my favorite times of year right now, when the view out the west window changes every day, the air is fresh and crisp and smelling of harvested grain and apples and everything pumpkin. (If you don't like apples and/or everything pumpkin, that's fine, but we don't discuss that here.)

I took the title of this week's blog from "September Song." While the song itself doesn't fit, these are indeed precious days. All days are, something we discover when we realize how fast they go.

It's also the season of holidays. While big-box store displays would lead us to think Halloween is in June and Christmas is at the end of July, we know better. However, I admit to looking at holiday fabric and thinking of projects I'm not nearly skilled enough to complete. I print out recipes I'll never bake, although I'll look at the pictures a lot and sometimes I'll buy the ingredients. 

It's the best time of the year at the orchards! McClure's and Doud's are both open and perfect places to while away a few hours. 

It's a giving time, isn't it? Churches will be having soup suppers, harvest suppers, and bake-and-craft sales on their premises. There will be vendor sales  at every available venue, complete with food trucks. Anita's Boutique and Gallery 15  and other local stores will have so many pretty things and things that sparkle and things that you don't know how you can possibly go on without. I mean, things you know someone on your gift list wants or needs. 

It's time for Football Friday Nights, too. Be on guard for fundraisers. Be generous when they catch you. 

Have you noticed yet that I really don't have a subject this week? I do have a question for you. Readership on the Window is decreasing. This isn't a terrible thing; after all, it's been around in one incarnation or other since the 1980s, and I've talked a lot during those years. I'm not ready to stop writing the blog/column, but maybe it's time to write it less often. Or to change it. What do you think? Is it time? All ideas--including Just shut up, Liz; you're boring!--accepted. 

Speaking of the Window, the ebooks of Window Over the Sink and Window Over the Desk are 99 cents this week at all electronic retailers. I still have paper copies and so does Anita at the boutique. 

Then, just giving you a heads-up, Rose Cousins, Joe DeRozier, Debby Myers, and I are having a books signing at Gallery 15. Ryan Record will provide music and there will be light refreshments. The Gallery is always a treat to visit, and Sarah and Ron Luginbill are great hosts.

I hope to see you out and about and that you're having wonderful times on these beautiful, precious days we've been seeing lately. Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

It's the Little Things

I know that title isn't original, nor is its sentiment. I'm probably not the first person who's ever said it, who's ever discovered it. It's not even the first time I've discovered it. 

But I bought these salt and pepper shakers for $16 and change, which I found shocking. I don't ordinarily spend that much on things like salt and pepper shakers that someday my kids are going to shake their heads over, but I loved them. They made me think of the red glass sugar bowl and vase that are in my east window that my mom always loved. And the red stained-glass lady Martha Roberts made and gave to me that I love. She hangs in the north window where I see her whenever I stand at the sink and think of Martha. I hope she knew how much I enjoy the glass lady. 

For a long time, there was a box of green army men in the closet upstairs. It was what made me stop cleaning my younger son's room after he left for college. Eventually, I went back and cleaned it, I guess, and I'm not sure what happened to the army men, but it's been 31 years since I opened that box and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was the first day of the empty nest, which wasn't nearly as funny as the jokes about it were. 

I have a bottle of my favorite Hempz lotion on my desk. My daughter gave it to me for her birthday. It smells like peppermint and vanilla. 

On the shelf of a cupboard where I can see her easily is the Hummel figurine my son and daughter-in-law brought me from Germany. I still have her box, too. 

Our friend Brad sent Duane a snapshot from their  younger days (okay, much younger) and I keep looking at it and remembering the boy I first met. 

Going through pictures, I found one of my brothers, sister, and me all dressed up. I wondered whose funeral it was, and I missed when there were five of us. Today, Friday is my sister's birthday, the second one without her. 

No moral to this story today. My friend Cindy's Uncle Estel passed away this week. He lived a long and good life and was well loved in it. He gave joy and friendship and he made people laugh. Cindy saw him just a few days before he died. She said, as a reminder, 

"Lesson learned…. Don’t skip opportunities to connect with people you love because they may not be there if you wait."

Cindy's right. Don't miss those opportunities. Never miss a chance to say good and loving things to people. Share memories. Laugh with them. Let them know you're thinking of them. It is, in the end, the little things.

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Bringing the Magic by Nan Reinhardt

The Weaver Sisters turned up in Max Lange’s book, Falling for the Doctor, when they brought Max’s love Lauren out to the showboat so they could have their reunion, and I was immediately intrigued with the idea of identical triplets. It’s funny how character surprise us, first by appearing in our heads, then by going off on their own to tell their stories. Jazz’s story, Home to River’s Edge, book 1 in the Weaver Sister series was pretty much in my head when I sat down to write it, although it took some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting.

Meet Me in River’s Edge, Jo Weaver’s story, was different. First of all, I knew my premise—a female boat mechanic who had no use for the rich, entitled “river rats” who cruised the Ohio River in their expensive yachts all summer long suddenly falls in love with one of them. I also knew that Alex, the hero and heir to a vast hotel fortune, had to bring his own special magic to win Jo over.

Adding a touch of magic to a contemporary romance was a tricky business for me because I’m not a paranormal writer, but I knew that Jo and Alex’s romance would get a little push from a very unusual and other-worldly source—Alex’s dead twin sister, Arianna. She’s not a ghost in the book, but rather a presence that Alex feels driving him toward Jo, a woman who is so not his type. The scientist in him might ordinarily have eschewed the feeling that his sister’s spirit was close, but Alex was used to feeling Ari near. He knows Jo is the one and it only takes a little nudge from the other side to convince him to pursue her. He wins Jo’s heart, but relinquishes it when he realizes that he may not be able to give her a forever. They are both devastated by his decision to separate himself from Jo, but Ari is there, pushing him toward his happily-ever-after.

The magic was fun, I loved creating subtle, not creepy, ways to bring Ari into Jo and Alex’s story. I hope you enjoy Meet Me in River’s Edge and that you can find the magic, too! Welcome back to River’s Edge, Indiana!

Meet Me in River’s Edge, book 2 in the Weaver Sisters trilogy

He ticks every one of her “never again” boxes…

Jo Weaver loves her job as a boat mechanic for her family’s marina in River’s Edge, Indiana. But when she’s pulled away from her high school reunion with her sisters to fix a stranded yacht, she can’t restrain her irritation. Jo doesn’t like wealthy men who think they can have whatever they want, and she has no intention of falling for rich and charming again.

Born into the international Briggs Hotels empire, Alex Briggs has never felt comfortable with his life of privilege. Abandoning his family’s business to pursue medical research, he’s far more at home in his lab. When the yacht he restored himself breaks down on the way to an important conference, Alex begrudgingly goes in search of a boat mechanic and falls, literally, into Jo Weaver’s arms. The fireworks he feels are impossible to ignore.

Jo does her best to keep Alex in the business zone, but he keeps slipping into something more. Can she trust her fragile heart, especially when Alex and his life-altering research are so far from River’s Edge?

Buy Links:


Excerpt - The Girl Mechanic

“But my dinghy’s tied up at the showboat landing.” His tone wasn’t whiny, not at all, although the slight undercurrent of anxiety that he’d clearly been trying to stave off since he’d fallen into the party at the winery was starting to show.

Jo’s sympathy grew slightly since his concern seemed to be for other boaters and not strictly himself, and he was a customer—a potential customer—so she gave him a smile. “Chill. It’s safe there, and I’ll take you to get it once we figure out what’s going on.” She pulled into the gravel drive and then stopped the truck in the parking lot by the marina shop.

Alex’s brow furrowed as she opened her door. “Are you going to call the mechanic to come out with us?”

She held back the retort that immediately rose to her lips and instead merely replied, “The mechanic is already here.” He had no way of knowing, after all.

Alex hopped out of the truck. “I don’t see any other cars and the place is dark.”

“I’m the mechanic, Mr. Briggs.” Jo slammed her door harder than was probably necessary, but it eased her urge to smack him.

His jaw dropped. “You?”

She hit the remote locks on the truck and strode to the service door, punching in the key code and tapping the light switch before giving him a cool stare. “I promise it’ll be more believable once I get into my coveralls and hat and collect some tools.” She turned, deliberately not holding the door open for him.

Alex had to rush to catch it before it shut in his face, which gave her a smidgen of satisfaction. “Look, I’m sorry. I got no problem with a girl mechanic. I’m a millennial—we’re open to anything.”

Jo stopped in the middle of the shop and spun around, hands on her hips. This guy was something else. “A girl mechanic? Did you seriously just say you had no problem with a girl mechanic?”

Defensively, he raised both hands, managing to look innocent as a lamb and rocket-hot all at the same time. Damn him. “Don’t shoot me. I’ve never met a woman boat mechanic before. It’s . . . unexpected, that’s all.” Somehow, his open expression reminded her of a golden retriever, all eager and wide-eyed and trying desperately to please, so he could get what he wanted.

She shook her head.

Don’t try to disarm me, buddy. I’m immune to river rat charm.

“Well, that’s who you’ve got tonight.” She held up her hand. “Wait here. I’ll go throw on my coveralls and grab some tools.”

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet, small-town romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 50 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.

Talk to Nan at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tule Publishing | BookBub | Goodreads

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Cottonwood by Liz Flaherty

You've probably heard me mention the tree before. It's a cottonwood in our side yard. When we first moved here in 1977, she was hardly more than a sapling, but cottonwoods grow fast. They irritate a lot of people, and I've heard them called "junk trees," especially when they're spraying their cotton far and wide, but I've always loved ours. Two of them have come down, and it was good they did--they were too close to the house for safety. 

However, the one in the side yard is still there. She--yeah, I'm almost sure she's a girl--has been struck by lightning more than once, so her main center trunk is dead. Other, lesser trunks have risen around it, though--although we lose one once in a while. The cottonwood is unsparing of herself when she does her spring cleaning.

Take it down or leave it an argument I've won, so far. Cutting the tree down is mentioned occasionally at our house. So far, my saying, "Let's just wait until we have to," has worked, and she's still standing there with her center bare and dead and life climbing all around her. 

The birds love that tree. In the morning, they make excited swoops from it to the suet feeders. The squirrels run up and down and all around it, leaping from the live trunk across the dead center to another leaf-laden branch. If I were a mother squirrel, my heart would be in my mouth the whole time. 

I have always loved trees. We had boxelder trees in our backyard growing up. One of them had swings hanging from a strong, low-hanging branch. It also had a wonderful arrangement that was perfect to sit in, hidden from view. When Mom urged me to stop reading and go outside, that seat in the tree was as far as I got--I took the book with me. 

Speaking of Mom, I was as brokenhearted as she was when they cut down the trees beside our road for the purpose of widening it. The road never got that much wider, but the roadside became silent and unstoried. We no longer picked up windfall apples for pies, no longer gazed in amazement at the tree shaped like an egg, no longer picked up walnuts. 

It gave me the same feeling I get looking down State Road 16 in Denver where trees were taken down. The street looks nice. The curbs. The porches on almost every house. But it's not a pretty street anymore, not sheltering, not do-you-remember? 

But our cottonwood is still standing there in the yard. When leaves are on, she looks like a one of those trees gnomes live in in storybooks; all that's lacking is the door. And the gnome. 

The deer who use our yard as a passthrough appear from behind its wide trunk. The orioles and cardinals make bright spots in its leaves. The evening sun, spectacular on its own, silhouettes through the branches and makes you stop and look, breath suspended for just a glorious moment. 

When we moved here, we talked about moving that cottonwood and its neighbor to the north to different places, but we never did. Now one of them is a cornerstone of our property--although I'm not even sure if it's on our property--and the other is the one in the picture. Beaten and suffering from the involuntary amputation of its strongest limb, it still gives shelter and beauty and pleasure every day and asks nothing in return. 

Relationships are like that. If friendships have lasted a long time, they probably have some bumps and bruises on them. Long marriages are held together not only with love, but with scar tissue as well--many of the branches get broken along the way, and sometimes it's as if lightning has indeed struck. 

Like the tree, relationships offer shelter, pleasure, and respite for the soul. And like our cottonwood, relationships are often messy and require more upkeep than seems fair. But you can't have one without the other, and I don't want to give up either.

Our tree can stay for a while, at least. She seems sturdy to me, and the wildlife and I all like her. It's another thing to feel grateful for, that relationships and trees prosper even when they're not always pretty. 

Have a good week. Plant a tree. Be nice to somebody. 

P. S. I’m assembling a surprise package for a newsletter subscriber, a Window Over the Sink blog commenter, or someone who reviews one of my books prior to September 15. Just drop me an email at with "Prize Package" in the subject line. (A separate entry for each review!)


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Newsletter by Liz Flaherty

I don't usually share my newsletter here, but here it is anyway. I hope you enjoy and comment for a chance at the prize package! See you Saturday!

Hello! The corn’s tall and tasseled and smelling sweet and the school buses are back on their routes here in rural Indiana. This summer has gone so fast, hasn’t it? And that’s okay with me. I’m absolutely an autumn person. The sights, sounds, tastes, and smells are like a new beginning to me.

I do love new beginnings, don’t you?

Because of Joe is a favorite from my backlist. I love its setting—Pensacola Beach—and its premise—marriage resurrected—and its theme—family. I imagine my writing has matured in the years since Because of Joe was first released, but the heart with which I wrote it is still the same. I love family, and it doesn’t matter at all whether you’re related by blood or not.

Anyway, a few people have asked for the book lately, which made me happy. However, it hasn’t been in print for…well, a really long time. When I asked Rhonda and R.J. at The Wild Rose Press about it, they were happy to give it a new cover and put it in print. This also made me happy. Find it on Amazon here.

I am re-releasing the Second Chances series with my own Singing Tree Publishing. I have new covers and the series has a different name, A New Season. Remember what I said about new beginnings? I’m excited to have these books back out there. I plan to have them all released by November. Wouldn’t the set make a great Christmas gift?

Book One, A Year of Firsts, is on Amazon in both ebook and in print. If you’d like a signed copy, email or PM me. Here’s the Amazon link.

Speaking of bargains…oh, weren’t we? Well, if you’re looking for one, the eBook edition of A Soft Place to Fall will be on sale for 99 cents on August 26-31! You can find it at the retailer of your choice here or on Amazon here. It’s one of my favorite stories ever and Early McGrath is one of my favorite heroines. I hope you like her, too.

Coming right up!

Well, on October 10, anyway, Harlequin Heartwarming authors—past and present—are going back to Christmas Town! This year’s offering, from authors Melinda Curtis, Anna J. Stewart, Cheryl Harper, Beth Carpenter, Cari Lynn Webb, Tanya Agler, LeAnne Bristow, and me, is Lights, Camera, Christmas Town! We are having such fun with it and hope you like it, too.

We’ll be looking for reviews. Email me or PM me and I’ll put you on the list!

Wishing you the best autumn ever, whether you spend it with football, pumpkin spice, or reading a good book…well, many good books…in your chair with a blanket and something good to drink.If you haven't subscribed to the newsletter, here's the link:

I’m assembling a surprise package for a newsletter subscriber, a Window Over the Sink blog commenter, or someone who reviews one of my books prior to September 15. Just drop me an email at with "Prize Package" in the subject line. (A separate entry for each review!)

See you soon!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Break Time by Liz Flaherty

I'm taking the week off! I'll be back next week. 

Don't forget to visit Denver Days today, Second Saturday music at Gallery 15 tonight, and whatever other "doings" that are going on.

I'll have a newsletter out this week. If you've never subscribed, please do! It only comes out a few times a year and there's usually a prize included!

Have a great week and be nice to somebody!


Saturday, August 5, 2023

Memories and Good Times by Liz Flaherty

It has been a busy, busy, fun, fun week. As I write this, I have a grandboy sleeping on the couch, need to be at church to dispense school supplies at noon, and have my class reunion tonight. My hair's a mess and I don't know what to wear. And I'm a year older--let's not forget that. 

But having a grandkid in the house--that's the best thing.

Friends and neighbors have suffered losses this week. I am so sorry for that, but I keep thinking of the memories that are floating around the community. When Ronnie, Phil, and Matt went to visit someone from the church, how she loved seeing the "three amigos" and how much good they did for her. When Bob teased Teresa at the community garage sale at the fairgrounds and she called, "Security!" and made everyone laugh--Bob harder than anyone else. The loving obituaries written for them that made people laugh in their sorrow.

The corn is soooo tall, isn't it? Tasseled out and with dark silk spurting from the ears. I love the sweet smell in the morning. 

My favorite woodpecker, the one with the dark read head and the markings that look as if they were delineated with a teeny-tiny paintbrush, is hanging on the suet feeder. I love the side yard and the animals that visit it. 

Three Old Guys played at the Lewis Cass Alumni Association Pavilion in Walton on Sunday. The pavilion is so nice and the crowd was even nicer. Sometimes it's fun being a groupie. 

I hope memories gentle the losses of the families who're saying goodbye to their loved ones. Have a great week. Be safe, be well, and be nice to somebody. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Room to Grow by Liz Flaherty

I read an essay by journalist Connie Schultz this week. It was about her decade as a single mother. She touched on so many important places. One of them was when her daughter referred to the time of her mother's divorce as "Mommy's growth spurt." I laughed, but my eyes were wet, too. 

Ms. Schultz's growth spurt was in the 1990s. Mine was in the 1980s, which makes sense--I'm older than she is by about that much. 

In the 80s, like a lot of other women I knew, I had it all. That was a big thing then--having it all. We could do it, we were assured--we could take care of our families, our husbands, our houses, our jobs, and ourselves. And that's exactly what we did. But we paid a price. 

Those of us who worked outside the home were still catching heat for destroying the American lifestyle. Many men resented us for taking jobs that had always been theirs. Many women who chose or were able to not have outside employment looked down on those of us who couldn't always be room mothers, whose kids went to daycare, and whose husbands couldn't quite be the center of our lives because it was too crowded in there. 

Some of us who bought into having it all rolled our eyes at mothers whose houses were always neat and clean and welcoming at any time. We stiffened with resentment at any indication they loved their families more than we did because there were always there for them. We made snide comments about narrow minds and narrow lives. 

My mother was one of the generation of women before us who disapproved of many of the changes that were taking place. Although she supported my choices and those of my sister and sisters-in-law--sort of--she disliked them, too. Our priorities didn't mesh with hers.

Our family survived the "having it all" decade. I think we even thrived, but if you asked my kids, I'm not sure how they'd answer--it probably didn't always feel like thriving to them. If you asked my husband, I'm not sure what he'd say, either. I think the kids would have liked more patience and better attention and Duane would have liked a cleaner house and better cooking. 

In retrospect, I failed a lot. I'm sorry for it, but I'm not sure how I'd fix it if I had the opportunity. I believe that you don't fail if you don't try first, but I still wish I'd been better at some of the parts of that all I had.

All of our "growth spurts" have resulted in gains...and losses, haven't they? Over 100 years ago, women got the vote because of them. In the 1970s, we became entitled, albeit shakily, to have credit ratings and to borrow money on our own. When I went work at the post office in 1981, I was paid the same hourly wage as the men I worked with. We were that generation's version of woke, and the growing pains were intense. 

Growing spurts--and pains--are almost always intense. And, usually, they're worth it. 

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Give the Woman A Throne by Selena Jones

I'm happy to welcome Selena Jones to the Window. I've always said Mother's Day isn't just one day in May, but a whole bunch of others. This one is for Georgina McClure. Love you, Georgina--but I think Selena probably loves you more. 

As the weather grows colder and I watch the leaves bounce across the yard in the breeze, I start to get a bit reflective.

I think about my mother's slightly burnt and perfectly buttered popcorn and think about all the times I craved it, made it like I had seen her make it a million times before, and it somehow still didn't taste like hers no matter what I did. I search for a book to read, maybe a thriller, maybe a romance, and realize my love for reading also came from my mother. 

When I really think about it, I got a lot from my mother whether hereditary or learned. Aside from my love for reading and my popcorn making skills, I learned how to be strong and independent. I saw her pull herself together and recover from a divorce that not only rocked her world, but mine. I saw her stand up, watched her study constantly, save money like crazy while she worked at Subway or the apple orchard. 

She's a champion in frugality. I watched her go without and never thought anything of it until years later. I watched her hold her head high and be an "adult" while others acted childishly and actively tried to get a rise out of her. I learned honesty, integrity, and class. I learned maturity on a different level, seriously, get this woman a throne, she's a fucking queen for handling some things the way she did. 

I watched her become a nurse and care for others and I learned compassion, understanding, and drive. I saw her go above and beyond for patients. I saw her pick green beans from the garden and buy root beer because she knew someone needed it or it was a nursing home patient's favorite. 

I value family because of my mother. I've learned that you do for family, you show up for family, because they're family and would do the same for you in a heart beat. I think about the times my mother went out of her way to make sure we didn't miss out on family we wouldn't otherwise get to see. I remember family ball games, cook outs, birthday parties, mushroom fries, and time spent eagerly searching for those morels. I've seen her offer countless hours to help, open her home, and give freely to family. 

She's thoughtful, beautiful inside and out, hard working, dedicated, and a role model. As a child, I was quick to blame my mother, give her grief and argue with her just for the sake of arguing, but as I got older things gradually became clearer and I realized that my mother is a treasure who has inevitably shaped me into who I am today.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Different Gifts by Liz Flaherty

I watch birds through the window beside my desk. And deer. And squirrels and rabbits and even the occasional galumphing groundhog. I watch the corn grow beyond the fence row--no fences anymore, but the row is still there, punctuated by nettles and a cottonwood in the corner. I watch for purple flowers--they're always my favorites. If I look away, the corn has grown another foot--at least, that's how it seems. I wonder what's going on with the field beside the road. If all our neighbors are okay. 

I write in the morning, starting by reading over what I wrote the day before and wondering what I was thinking. It's my favorite time of day, these hours in here by the window. My kids are always asking what I want done with my ashes when I die. I've asked them to plant me with a tree--I love trees--but maybe a Mason jar in a west window would be okay, too.

I scroll on Facebook when the words aren't coming, which still entertains me. My feed isn't overtly political or profane--more like neighbors talking about corn crops and rain know, what's going on in the field by the road. They post pictures of purple flowers and kittens and front porches. 

There are, of course, cranky ones there, who don't want to be disagreed with but don't mind disagreeing with other people. They remind me of a review I got on a book once (you always remember the bad ones), wherein Diane M. said, "I don't get the five star rating others gave it but if you like really dumb stories - go for it!" (The book in question is Because of Joe. I'm still wounded by the review, which I can only assume was her point.)

But that's the way neighbors are in real life, isn't it? They have eccentricities, but they're still your neighbors. You still like them. You may think they're grumpy or that their politics are pretty awful or even that they write dumb books, but you still worry when they're ill. They still check on you after surgery. You pray for each other. You celebrate each other. 

"We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are," said Fred Rogers. 

We do. As always, Mr. Rogers had it right. Our gifts are like our opinions; some are better than others, more appreciated, better for humankind. We need to know the differences and accept that we are not all alike. Sometimes we have to walk away, but we don't have to slam doors on the way out.  

The animals were active in the yard this morning, with the resident doe standing still and staring at the squirrels. I wondered if she was doing like we do when we see deer on the road and stopping to let them cross because if there was one, there was likely a dozen. The birds visit the suet feeders in turn. The starlings are first, then the brown ones I always call sparrows but are probably several different ones, then the blue jays, and finally the woodpeckers. They're my favorites to watch. They all scold sometimes, grumpy and discordant, but not often. 

Like the rest of us, they all have their own gifts. 

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages....

This was written in 2015 and last published last year. Much has changed in that time and much has stayed the same. It's about writing and about the circus. I thought about rewriting (see? writing again) to make it all about the circus, but since I write about things from the heart, I decided I'd leave it in. I hope you enjoy the visit back. May all your days be circus days!

Photo by Dianne Stoner Gustin

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages...welcome to Peru, Indiana, the Circus Capital of the World, and Miami County's own permanent big top! -
Michelle Enyeart Boswell, Ringmaster

Peru, Indiana is the county seat where I live. It’s also the Circus Capital of the World. It’s the home of the biggest amateur circus anywhere, has had a TV special made about it and books written about it, hits USA Today occasionally, and has an ever-evolving band I could listen to all day long. There is an annual circus parade—one of the largest seasonal parades in the state—and sometimes it seems as though every kid that’s not on a baseball diamond or a soccer field is in one of the circus building’s three rings. When I wrote for the newspaper, my favorite assignments were always interviewing performers. If you want to find out more, go here and if you want a nice place to spend a few days next summer, go ahead and make plans—we don’t have a lot of motels around here, and they fill up fast.

Commercial over, and circus week is over for the summer, too, but those three rings make me think of not only raising kids—yes, it was a circus, the most fun and exhausting one in the world—but of writing books. Specifically romance novels.
The Center Ring, obviously enough, belongs to the protagonists. It is the story of how they meet, overcome conflict, and live Happily Ever After. But then there are the rings to each side, too. The ones with—you know what they are—subplots! Where you get to have secondary characters with stories and pains and glories of their own. The rings aren’t as big, but they either bump up against or intersect with the edges of the center ring to where things are moving all the time and the performers are dependent on each other—and on you, their audience—to make it a good show.
The Center Ring garners the most attention, it’s true, but the acts in the side rings require as much work, as much thought, and as much heart as the ones in the middle. You get to add some idiosyncrasies to those performers that might not fly with the hero and heroine, which can sometimes make them more fun to write but they must not be more fun to read! This is a rule I’ve heard my entire writing life. It’s one I still don’t like and, as a reader, don’t entirely believe, but I admit I’m probably wrong about it. So, as I undoubtedly said to those kids I was talking about raising, Do As I Say And Not As I Do.
There are gaspers in the circus, things like human cannonballs and doubles from the trapeze, just as there are black moments and aha moments in books. They are the connecters that keep you going from act to act or chapter to chapter.

There are the clowns. In the amateur circus, there are tons of them. Peru, after all, is where Emmett Kelly, his sons Emmett, Jr. and Pat, and his grandson Joey—clowns all—are from. If you’re scared of clowns, you didn’t learn it here, because Peru Circus's jesters are fun and funny and heart-melting. The late Doc Sprock’s day job was as a physician—he delivered a good many of the audience! The Kiddie Clowns are so cute you spend a lot of awww time when they’re in the rings. They choose their own faces and names and they work hard at their craft.
Back we go to secondary characters. While their primary job may be bringing attention to the Stars of the Show you’re writing, their faces and names need to be distinctive. Avoid stereotypes. Let me say that again for the 400th time this week, avoid stereotypes.
At the end of the show, and the book, it all comes together. It’s the big payoff. You leave the arena, or close the book, with both pleasure and regret. Oops, that’s important, too. Circus performances are long—there are 200 performers in the Peru one—and books are often long, too. Sometimes because that’s how long it takes to tell the story and sometimes because publishers have length requirements. So it’s up to the ringmaster and the writer to make sure there is more regret than relief that it’s over. Because the circus performers want their audience to come back next year and the writer wants her readers to look forward to the next book.
Have a great week. Read a great book. May all your days be circus days! Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Some Liz Flaherty

We dropped off recycling the other day on Logansport Road. Just as they often were at Macy, Denver, and the school--all places we normally dropped off because they were within five miles of where we live--the bins were pretty stuffed. I will admit there was no furniture sitting around them, no mattresses, no electronics or dead appliances. That was nice. 

But it's 15 miles to drop off our blue recycling bags now. Does this mean our $30 annual fee will be reduced? I've always thought the cost per household was reasonable, especially when we used to have pickup for those dead appliances--which went by the wayside years ago; however, when every trip to drop off on Logansport Road requires a gallon of gas, it's not as reasonable as before. 

In all honesty, we combine trips to the recycle bin with other errands, so I'm indulging in a little ticked-off hyperbole here. 

Just as I do when I think of the uber-expensive limited access highway State Road 31 is apparently going to become when INDOT and its supporters are finished. (Yeah, I know, roadwork is never truly finished, but that will be another disgruntled column at another grumpy time.) Truth is, I can take county roads to get almost anywhere I need to go without accessing 31 where I've been crossing it or turning onto it where I have for the 46 years we've lived here. But I don't want to. It will be inconvenient and annoying. If I want to simply get to the other side of the highway without turning, it will also be farther. More gas and more time. 

Maybe, if proportionate funds were spent on those county roads to keep, to make them smooth and easy to drive on, I wouldn't mind it as much, but I'm not totally sure of that. 

I get a little hyperbolic when I think of how much a family must pay for a library card in Peru. It's okay for me--I have a card at a library in a neighboring county where it costs less. I get books from the Libby app on my phone for my Kindle. While I think Peru has a beautiful library, I remain disappointed that it is a city rather than a county entity. Years ago, I wrote about it, and the headline of the article said the library was "more than a building." It is. No hyperbole there. And it's a shame it's withheld from county users for reasons not fully understood or explained to taxpayers' satisfaction.

Okay, I have to admit, I'm reminding myself of the social media commenters who complain about Dollar General stores as if they are the single cause of Peru, Indiana's lack of retail growth. I am, as are they, failing to appreciate the effort put forth to make our area welcoming. I guess that's the thing with complaining, isn't it? The voice used for being upset and disappointed is much louder than the one proclaiming the good. 

I do think reduced recycling sites, limited access, and expensive library cards for rural county residents are problems that should be addressed and fixed for more of the county population than are considered at the present time, but I don't really expect it to happen. While I don't believe ignoring what I consider to be iniquities is the way to go, I do think I need to keep my voice at the same level as the one I use when I'm talking about the good. 

Because there's a lot of good. Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.