Monday, March 10, 2014

What Puts You in Your Happy Place?

Since I'm new to the Mommy Author Blog-- I thought I'd share a little about what makes me tick. I love it when my children get along. I love it most especially when they play board games together and seem to truly enjoy one another's company. I love songs that extol the virtues of being part of a family...songs of men who love their wives and women who love their husbands. 

As a reader, I love stories about strong families, which is probably why as a writer--strong families are a main theme in each of my series. Some songs instantly transport me right smack dab into the middle of my books. I love songs like Dan Seal's: One Friend and Bop. Dan Fogelberg's: Longer, Craig Morgan's: This Ole Boy. I like lots of different kinds of music-- but my overall favorites are Country and Christmas. 

What appeals to me about country music is the plethora of ‘family’ and patriotic songs. What’s not to love about music that treasures home and country? Songs that celebrate hard work, loyalty, service to one another, helping out a friend, being there for another and faith in God? Life is NOT a ‘do-it-yourself’ project, it’s an “I’m-here-to-help-if-I-can” deal.

Helping can be as simple as offering to bring a meal or allowing someone to cry on your shoulder when they are dealt a rough hand. Sometimes it means coordinating the myriad of details when a surgery, illness, death, or accident disrupts family routine: child care, food needs, transportation and the never-ending piles of laundry. Sometimes a smile or a listening ear is all that is needed or required.

Being there for friend or family when they need it can be summed up with words from 2 country songs: "It’s just life." and "It’s what we do."

I am partial to ‘front porch’ songs: I haven’t heard one that I don’t like. My favorite two are Tracy Lawrence’s “If the World had a Front Porch”, a song that extols the virtues of treating people like good neighbors and kin, solving the world’s problems with understanding and enjoying the blessings of a front porch swing.

The front porch swing has set the scene for many a first kiss, a gentle scolding for bad behavior, a quiet moment between two people, rocking in peace and harmony with just crickets and frogs to play background music.

If the world had a front porch like we did back then
We'd still have our problems but we'd all be friends
Treatin' your neighbor like he's your next of kin
Wouldn't be gone with the wind
If the world had a front porch like we did back then

Lonestar’s : “My Front Porch Looking In.” is a song about prioritizing family, a song where a man has it all: a music career that provides well for his family, but he doesn’t feel complete until he’s home, looking in through his front door and seeing the important people in his world: his wife and children.

Both songs transport me instantly into the middle of my West books: a series about a family who has known many trials, but who come together and help and strengthen one another rather than divide and fall apart. The "Heart of the Wests" family farm is modeled after one I spent every possible moment I could as a teen ... and recently visited for the first time in 7 years.

I loved the front porch, I loved the swing, and I loved the steps as well. I often sat gazing at a small flock of white ducks playing in the nearby creek, shaded by huge maple trees. The smell of growing alfalfa or corn wafting through in the air. Good times. Moments that made all the difference in a hurried life.

If my house had a front porch, you can bet it would have a swing ... in hopes that many a memory will be forged and shared.

My blessing are in front of me, it’s not about the land.
I’ll never beat the view from my front porch looking in.

What real or imagined place makes you happy? And what does it take to get you there? Please let me know, I'd love to hear from you.

Laugh lots ... Love much ... Write on. :)

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