Wow!

As the weekend comes to a close, I am so thankful and touched by the incredible response to Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude being available for purchase. While many copies have been sold here through this website, many others contacted me directly and bought copies that way. Wow! I am amazed and so appreciative of the support. Thank you all.

Available Now!

I am thrilled to announce that copies of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude are now available for sale in my bookstore on this website. Each copy ordered will be signed — please put to whom you would like it signed in the “order notes/comments” field when you order.

It is my goal to ship out books within 5 business days of receiving the order.

If you are local, please note that there will be plenty of local events and opportunities to buy them without waiting for them to ship to you.

To order a copy (and have it shipped to you), please visit “The Bookstore” at the top of the page.

 

The first copies have arrived!

Yesterday, a box arrived at my house. I knew it was coming. I had tracked it on the UPS site, watching it inch closer. When I got home, it was sitting there waiting for me.

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That box sat on the braided rug in my house, and for a moment, I was afraid to open it. I have worked for so long on this book, and the idea of actually holding it in my hands suddenly seemed scary.

Slowly I opened the box, and looked under the packing.

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Seeing it in full color, print copies took my breath away. They are so beautiful, and I am so proud and yet the grief is still so strong.

With slightly trembling hands, I picked up a copy and held it in my hands for the first time.

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Tonight, I will go through a copy carefully, making sure there are no printing issues. Once that is done, I will be able to order my copies so I can post them for sale on this site, and also have them for book events.

The thrill of holding a book I have written and has been published still hasn’t worn off. In less than a year, I have held four of them after they were published. But this one? This one carries an emotional weight that is hard to describe.

After I posted on Facebook that it had arrived, one of Sam’s friends posted that he (Sam) would have crowed in glee and pride that his mom had written a book — and that made me smile, and I can hear him boasting in my mind.

The 31 Days of Gratitude — October

Today is the first day of October. Until 2013, October was my favorite month of the year. Vermont is spectacularly beautiful in October — the foliage takes your breath away with its beauty. The weather tends to be great, apples and cider abound, and my birthday falls in October.

But since 2013? No matter how I try to not focus on this, October is the month we lost Sam. No matter how hard I try, October now seems dark and sad. That’s not to say there aren’t moments of joy, light, love and laughter in October, but I have to work harder than normal to remember the good things.

Therefore, I have decided that I am going to write a continuing post entitled “The 31 Days of Gratitude — October.” As I write the post each day, I will be actively looking for (and identifying) for what I am grateful.

Monday, October 1 — Today, I am grateful for the changing colors of the leaves as we come fully into fall foliage. The maple trees are a wonderful mix of greens, yellows, and the start of orange and red.

Tuesday, October 2nd — I am grateful for friends who support me, offering to do their own 31 days of gratitude with me. I am also grateful for Leicester Central School, where all four of our children flourished, so supported and loved — and how the faculty there continue to be part of our lives even now that our children are adults.

Wednesday, October 3rd: Today I am thankful for the humor of my children — they make me laugh.

Thursday, October 4th: I am thankful for the friends and family who remember and honor Sam in a variety of ways, letting us know how much they love him still, and help us keep his memory alive.

Friday, October 5th: I am thankful for seeing friends, delivering chickens (two of them) to a wonderful new home, and sitting in the beautiful weather watching a football game.

Saturday, October 6th: I am thankful for the amazing response to Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude being available in print!

Sunday, October 7th: I am thankful for listening to our youngest watching football with his dad while I make hot sauce and soup — love to hear them talk and laugh.

Monday, October 8th: I am thankful for being able to sit on a cool and damp evening with a steaming bowl of leek and potato soup, where every single thing in the soup except the salt and pepper was produced on our land, by our hands.

Tuesday, October 9th: love. I am thankful for love.

Wednesday, October 10th: Today I am thankful for a voice from the past reaching out to me. It mattered.

Thursday, October 11th: today I am thankful for the beauty of the foliage — even when it was grey and cloudy, the colors of the leaves are incredible.

Friday, October 12th: I am thankful for the amazing outpouring of support for Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude! Thank you all.

Saturday, October 13th: today for the incredible kindness of the people around us. Their love, support, humor, patience and guidance is so appreciated.

Sunday, October 14th: I am more thankful than I can express for standing in the sunshine with Paul and a friend, hearing about her cross-country trip.  

Monday, October 15th: I am thankful for the wood stove and a comforting homemade dinner.

Tuesday, October 16th: today I am thankful for great music — Twiddle, Arlo Guthrie and Yanni were the soundtrack of my commute today.

Wednesday, October 17th: today I am thankful for the wonders of technology. Being able to stay in contact with friends and family who are far away is a gift.

Thursday, October 18th: I am thankful for seeing great local theater!

Friday, October 19th: the beauty of Vermont, time with Paul, and seeing a friend I haven’t seen in years all made for a great day. And our youngest is coming home for the weekend!

Saturday, October 20th: the joy of seeing friends, harvesting lettuce and kale from the garden, and the gorgeous sunshine, all made for a great day.

Sunday, October 21st: today I am thankful for harvesting the last potatoes, making pizza, making two dinners for the coming week, and some time to write.

 

 

Our Weekend

Our weekend was one of trying to get some rest, and trying to take care of some things we really needed to do.

First, we fully opened the beehives, making sure each one had a colony that was strong and healthy. If you have not had the opportunity to see a beehive in action, bees are amazing! Here we were, pulling frames in the hive, cleaning the hive, and the thousands of bees basically ignored us.

Then we needed to spend time in the gardens. We weeded, pulled dead plants, and then harvested as needed.

One of the things we needed to harvest were Sam’s hot peppers. Many of you know that the last Mother’s Day of Sam’s life, he brought me two hot pepper plants, knowing how much I like spicy food, and how much I like to make my own lacto-fermented hot sauce. After his death, I tried saving some of their seeds, first time I’d ever done that with anything other than pumpkins, and amazingly, the seeds germinated the next spring. Each year now, I keep some of the seeds, and replant them, and we all refer to them as “Sam’s hot peppers.” Here is a picture of one of the plants:

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We carefully picked each of the bright red peppers, and in the end, we had huge bucket full of them. Aren’t they beautiful?

 

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Then we had other things to harvest. We harvested one row of potatoes, our sweet potato plot, cucumbers, bell peppers, patty pan squashes, and basil.

 

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We also picked what may be the last of our plum tomatoes. After that was all done, the dehydrator is full of basil and hot peppers, the tomatoes were pureed and made into sauce, and we made a huge bowl of pico de gallo to have with our quesadillas stuffed with our vegetables.

By the end of the day, we were tired, filthy, and proud. How lucky we are that we share the love of farming as a couple, and how fortunate we are to be able to spend time digging in the earth.

 

 

Update!!!!

This week a very exciting thing happened. I received notification that Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude is ready for printing. This means that within the next couple weeks, my first author’s copies will arrive in the mail. I can’t wait to sit and hold one in my hands.

The second part of that news means that Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The pre-order is on the print (paperback) version only, which will be released on May 21, 2019.

Here is a screenshot of it on Amazon:

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Once I get my author’s copies, and I have checked that there were no glitches in the printing process, I will be adding paperback copies of the book to my bookstore here on this website.

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Those copies will be available for purchase by mid to late October, and will ship out in the mail within a couple days of placing the orders. Each copy sold here on my website will be signed.

The e-book will release on Amazon and other online retailers on February 5, 2019.

Once I have more updates on this process, or when they are available for purchase through my bookstore, I will post the information on this site.

If you prefer to order directly through Amazon’s pre-ordering process, you can do so at:

Pre-Order of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude on Amazon

As always, thank you all for your support of us!

Garlic?

Garlic is important to us, very important. It’s so important that it is in the title of my soon-to-be-released memoir.

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Why garlic? Because Sam loved garlic. Sam thought the idea of planting cloves in the beds in the fall, mulching them, and them coming up in the fall was just plain amazing.

After Sam’s death, the farm he worked for donated heads of garlic to decorate the meeting house for his celebration of life. These were heads of garlic he had helped to grow, and in our minds, they represented Sam. After the service, we planted them in a garlic bed on our land.

The first year, we planted one small box of garlic, and miracle of miracles, they did really well.

The second year, we planted two boxes. One and a half boxes were of Sam’s garlic, one half was of this high powered garlic we ordered from California, thinking we’d get some variety in our garlic.

Nope. That wasn’t going to happen. We planted those two boxes, and in the spring, one and a half boxes came up. The fancy California garlic? Not a head made it. We took it as Sam’s way of saying that we should be planting just his garlic.

So that year, we planted two boxes of Sam’s garlic, and again, it did well, as it did the next year.

This year, those boxes were about done. The lumber had aged, and so we decided to build new ones. After a lot of thought, we have made one big box instead of two boxes, moved it away from the alpaca fence so they can’t munch on the greenery, and it’s easier to weed.

The second week of October, on or around the anniversary of Sam’s death, we will once again dig in the rich Vermont soil and plant his garlic. As before, we will reminisce, laugh, probably cry a little, as we tuck those cloves in and cover them with mulch.

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The Why

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the why. Why did I write a book about my grief journey? What motivated me? Why, if it is painful to relive these memories, did I do it?

About six months ago, I saw this video:

Video about The Why

Do yourself a favor and watch it. This video made a huge impact on me, as the need to understand your reasons for doing something became clearer to me.

My why? As I wrote before, thousands and thousands of incredible lives are snuffed out each year by overdoses. Beyond that cause of death, people die all the time, and all of us experience grief at some point, and I thought that maybe my experiences would help someone else feel that no matter how great the darkness they are feeling, no matter how profound the grief, finding hope and joy again is possible.

But truthfully, that wasn’t my only why. My other why is the subtitle of my memoir, Sam’s Love Story. Sam’s love shown from him all the time. He loved people, he could see the beauty in everyone he met, even when they couldn’t see it, or when society said that person was trash. Sam saw the wonder, and loved unconditionally. My why? I needed to show that sort of love is possible, and maybe right now, when the world seems to be struggling with even reaching the point of civility, let alone love, I needed to share a message that at the end of the day, what matters is how much love we have given.