Alwine Now…

,,,writing to encourage reflection and inspire action.

A happy little introduction…

The blog is about things that make me happy. I introduce a new topic every other Thursday, or so, and invite you to comment. Some have been prompted by a little book I tell you about in my "Welcome" which you can read by clicking on the tab above. I'll tell you where my other "prompts" come from as they happen.

The book I've recently written with Dwight Storm Halvorsen, "A Tale of a Different Color: Good Lookin' Out" is officially published! Click on "Works in Progress" if you'd like to learn more.

Choose humor over humiliation

Six of us sat around the table at a restaurant.  We were all good friends.

Conversation had been pleasant when one of my friends started to tell a story which I had been a part of.

Early on, he left something out of his “telling” that I thought was important for others to appreciate the context; I interjected those details.

He was instantly indignant and curtly stated with furrowed brow, “If you can tell it better, go ahead!”

I knew I was in deep doo-doo.

I had no interest is telling his story and could appreciate his annoyance.  He saw my interjection as extremely rude.

The mood around the table became tense; all wondered what was next?

Having known this friend a long time, I knew it would do no good to go ahead and tell the story.

Inspiration hit!  Immediately, I put my thumb to my nose, waggled my fingers at him and stuck out my tongue, crinkling my nose with a smile on my lips.

The mood around the table lightened at once as he laughed and we all joined in.  He gave me a knowing look and resumed his story.

What could’ve been a humiliation and discomfort to everyone around that table was changed with one moment of humor.

Look for ways to choose humor over humiliation to be happy.

I Choose Love to be Happy

Our “Pop” – F.W. Canning III – “Wild Bill”

It’s been 9 months since I’ve posted anything in this, my “I-Choose-to-be-Happy” Blog.

My mind and efforts have been concentrated on other areas of importance in my life.

For the last six years, my husband I were primary care-givers for his parents. When it became clear the extra help was needed, they reached out to us with a plan. We were happy and honored to be able to respond affirmatively.  Mom passed four years ago and Pop’s health went downhill quickly in mid-March last year, after which he passed on into eternity on April 1st.

They are both greatly missed.

During April & May, we prepared, with my sisters-in-law, two meaningful celebrations of Pop’s life.  One was held with his Southern California friends.  The other was with extensive friends and family who had known and loved him around Central and Northern California.

 To hear the stories told at each event, of how he’d touched the lives of those who attended, was the most healing of all experiences.

It helped ease my sense of loss.  He had been like a second father to me.

 He lives on in the lives of those who were influenced by his character.  He was a man of deep integrity, calm enthusiasm and quiet generosity.

I’m so grateful to those who participated in celebrating his life with us.  They all spoke openly of the love they felt for and from him.

It brings to my mind a saying:

 “Just one life will soon be past.  Only what’s done in Love with last.”

Let me encourage you to look for ways to love those around you. You’ll be amazed how happy it makes you feel and how deeply you’ll experience love in return.

A Footnote:  Pop was a cattleman and, at play, a man of the mountains, who also helped save some of the “wildness” of the wilderness for future generations.

For years we’d asked him to write down some of the many stories, from his life experiences, which he always told so colorfully around the dinner table or in mixed company.  He finally did, the last 18 months of his life.  He ended up with over 86,000 words woven into his masterfully written stories.

I have the pleasure of helping our family publish them into a hard-covered book, and an e-book.  Complete with many pictures from his real-life experiences, it will be called, “Wild Bill & Other Stories.”  Look for me to highlight it, here, sometime later this year.


Life gets sketchy without a plan, 

but don’t

let that fact

keep you

from sketching


To draw a picture, an artist will start with a sketch.  The sketch helps the artist get started. A sketch has many lines in it that will never be used, but those lines help put form to the idea in the artist’s mind and will help guide the final outcome.

A sketch is an important step in the process of creation, but it is not the creation itself.  It is a shadow, of sorts, of what is yet to come.

So when I say, “Life gets sketchy without a plan,” I’m not telling you to never “sketch.”

A sketch can help us put form to our plan.

Granted, in the final picture we’re not going to use all the lines we originally sketched.  The beauty of the sketch is in how it directs us to the true form of what we want to bring into reality. A sketch can take what is inside our head or heart and help direct us to the realization of that idea or thought.

Remember, the sketch may seem rough, meager, or even crude.  That’s okay, because its imperfect, incomplete or even superficial rendering can direct us to the next step.  Each step we take toward our goal teaches us something we’ll need when we finally arrive at that place of fulfillment.

The sketch helps us take the next step.

When it became clear to me that I wanted to be a writer, it wasn’t clear what kind of writer I wanted to be.  I just knew I loved the power of the written word, and wanted to use that to bring goodness, joy, and happiness to people’s lives.  So what did I do?

I started “sketching.”  I set up a work area for me to write.  I pulled out old files of things I’d written previously, things I’d written when I was busy doing other things but had an idea or story in my head that just HAD to be put down on paper. I started by re-writing some of those previous works.  Then I wrote new works.

One of the “lines” in my sketch took me to seek feedback from other writers. I found the local Writer’s Guild, Writer’s Conferences and joined several Critique Groups to start getting feedback on my work.  As I immersed myself in what writer’s do, it became clearer what kind of writing I enjoy most.

My “happy” story is what I write for this blog.  But I’ve found I also love writing other people’s stories.  Attending Writer’s Guild functions exposed me to my first project writing another person’s story, “A Tale of a Different Color: Good Lookin’ Out” by Dwight Storm Halvorsen, which I highlight here on my website. He so loved my contribution to the writing of his story that he shared his byline with me.

Currently, I’m helping a man I deeply admire, my father-in-law, Bill Canning, write an autobiographical narrative called, “Wild Bill and Other Stories.” What fun!

Being faithful to follow my imperfect, sketchy plans has brought unexpected dimension to the overall picture of my life and happiness that I never could’ve anticipated. 

Sketch those plans!  Then be faithful to yourself and follow your “sketches” wherever they may take you.  You’ll be happier for it!



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This is not just about me…

What do YOU think? If something comes to mind from your life while reading my blog entries I hope you'll share it. If you subscribe below (no charge, of course), your email will notify you when I make a new post, every other Thursday or so. Thank you for joining me on my journey.

Time Line

October 2016
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