Archive | February 2013

Lists. The possibilities are endless.

Hi, I’m Susie Hollaway. And I am a list maker.   Or is that maker of lists?  No matter. I just like making them.

List cartoon

I think I’ve always made lists. Hand-written is my preference, but if it’s an exorbitant amount of information, I’ll type it up on the computer.

I’m not sure why I like lists so much. I suppose it’s because I’m a planner. Or because I’m visual. Or maybe it’s because I daydream a lot. Perhaps it helps cement things in my mind. And to be totally honest, sometimes I make them and then mislay them. (Okay, sometimes I just plain lose them.) If you like to plan things out… a list can be a really good tool.

Even if you’re not into writing lists, there’s all kinds of mental lists. There are those only in your head and remain a bit secretive, unless you choose to share. Some lists you wouldn’t necessarily write down, but you know. Some may not even be intentional, but they’re there. Tucked back in the far corners of your mind.

Everyone has them. Everyone makes them.

Writers are no exception. We might even have character lists.  Ahem. “Be nice to me, or I’ll put you in my novel someday.”

Oh, my actual list for the blog this week?


1. I’m cold.

2. I’m really a spring/autumn temperature kind of girl.

3. I’m tired of weather that makes the roads icky. Even though technically, we haven’t had that much spread out over the course of the winter.

4. I’m cold.

5. I’m tired of scraping my car windows.

6. I’m tired of snow.  I’d rather have warmer temps and rain for the moisture we need.

7. I want to be able to ride my bike outside and enjoy the weather.

8. And I’m cold.

This week has been so much fun reading everyone’s lists. We welcome your comments. Please feel free to share any lists of your own.  The possibilities are endless.


Susan Hollaway


Things My Grandchildren Have Taught Me (in no particular order)

1. Towels and washcloths do not have to match.

2. Cake does not need frosting.

3. Frosting does not need cake.

4. Tortillas belong in every food group.

5. 65 degree weather, on spring break, is not too cold to swim.

6. Wrapped in a blanket, lying on a trampoline in the dark is as much fun as jumping on one during the daylight.

7. Watching grandma step on a marble is a hoot!

8. Sleep is highly overrated.

9. So are showers.

10. Memories aren’t planned, and can’t be manipulated.
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My Top 5 Dr. Seuss Books

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, published 46 children’s books which are celebrated for whimsical characters, rich language and rhyme. His birthday, March 2nd, was chosen by the National Educational Association (U.S.) for the Read Across America Day for the promotion of literacy. This year it will fall on March 1stClick here to read more.

So in honor of this day, here are my top 5 Dr. Seuss Books.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This book created an iconic figure to rival Ebenezer Scrooge for being a holiday kill-joy—“The Grinch.” And who could ever forget the darling Cindy-Lou Who? A delightful story that sends home the message that Christmas is about love, not things.

4. The Sneetches

The SneetchesThe Sneetches is a lesser known story which is part of a collection (The Sneetches and Other Stories). It is a tale of prejudice between the star-bellied Sneetches and the non-star-bellied Sneetches. But along comes a Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the fix-it-up-chappy, who becomes rich by removing the stars from the star-bellied Sneetches and adds stars to those without…only to reverse the process until no one knows who is who! Another Dr. Seuss’ cheeky commentaries on society.

3. Oh, the Place You’ll Go!Oh the places you'll go

It’s an inspirational tale of a person who can do great things when obstacles are overcome.  One of the most famous lines is, “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed. (98¾% guaranteed).”  According to Wikipedia, this book spikes in sales in Canada and the United States every spring (around 300,000) since it makes a great graduation gift.

2. Green Eggs and Ham

green eggs and hamA character named “Sam I Am” persists in trying to get another to try green eggs and ham. This unnamed character refuses Sam’s multiple offers, but in the end gives in and tries the odd dish. To his great delight, he discovers that he likes green eggs and ham…he only had to give it a try.

This book was written as a result of a bet between Dr. Seuss and his publisher to see if he could really write a book using only 50 words. Go ahead and dig up your childhood copy…really, there are only 50 words.

1. The LoraxThe Lorax

Years ahead of its time, this story illustrates how corporate greed can ruin the environment. Sounds like a kids’ book? Dr. Seuss, in his own way, does indeed deliver story to captivate a child’s (and parent’s) attention.

Cherie Gagnon– Cherie

Which is your favorite Seuss book?

Things I can’t throw away

1. Sunday school quarterlies

2. Coffee cans

3. Birthday cards

4. Craft and cooking magazines

5. Cool Whip containers

6. Proof of insurance cards

Susie-4028-EditPS 727. Draft copies of my manuscript

8. Flower pots

What would you add to this list?

It’s okay, we can admit it together.

~ Susan

Really? How interesting.

I met her in the grocery aisle, condiments to be exact. Hadn’t seen her for ever so long, and I’d grown…older, and certainly more rounded. I know–because she told me, with a chuckle and a wink.

“So, tell me–what do you do with all your spare time now that you’re retired?” (said while she brushed something off my shoulder. Obviously I didn’t spend much time checking in the mirror.)

And before I could tell her, she began a litany of her very worthwhile activities. We stood for quite a long time–long enough, it seemed, to actually make the pickles that lined the shelves behind us. And I listened while she wowed me with the accomplishments of her quite successful children and exceptionally talented grandchildren. Her marvelously loving and still handsome husband–“you remember him of course. Oh, are you still married to that…that, oh silly me, I’ve forgotten his name”–and the woes of white carpeting in such a LARGE home, though their vacation home had hand-hewn walnut flooring.

And, about the time I was read to open a jar of Famous Dave’s signature spicy spears (so I’d at least have a good excuse for my left eye closing while my top lip twitched) she asked again…”and now-what was it you said you were doing with ALL your spare time?”

“Well, actually I’m writing a novel.”

“Really? How interesting. My, it’s good to see you again. I must run, (ring-laden fingers waving like she she was drying her manicured nails). Have a million things to do today. We have guests for dinner. Let me know if you ever get that book done. What did  you say it was about?”

“It’s a Prairie Romance”…I HAD to yell, she was rounding the corner.

Three cans fell off the end display as she whipped her cart around.  “Realllyy.” No question this time. A flat-out statement, and she actually shivered when she said it. “How interesting. I just never read cowboy stories but I’m sure it will be…cute.”

One just never knows when inspiration will overwhelm one…and a new character is born right before your eyes–and ears.

Oh, there will be a disclaimer, of course–any resemblance to anyone living or dead–but I’ll know!! And oh, what joy will fill my soul!!

Never look down your nose at a writer!!!
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Spoken Gifts

001 Do you see the italicized words? I couldn’t have finished writing the book without your encouragement. A dictionary doesn’t lie. The truth is in black and white!

This week I ran into someone I haven’t seen since high school. Out of the blue, he asked if I was still writing. He remembered that I loved to write in high school and they’d pass my stories around to be read. He said they were really good stories. I was shocked by his memory.

One other time this has happened. It was at the very beginning of me working on my first novel. I hadn’t seen this friend since high school either. I hadn’t told ANYONE I was writing. Just the thought of telling anyone made me shake! We’d already said our goodbyes and I was walking away when he asked if I was still writing.

What a gift these two old friends gave me. The words spoken at the beginning of this writing journey have echoed in my mind for five years. The encouragement I was given on Wednesday will stay with me for the next five at least! Those encouraging words were gifts from God.

I’ve been given so much encouragement over this writing journey. So many have asked about my writing, shown interest, asked to read my stories, prayed for me and have offered encouraging words.

I’ve been humbled time and again. How many times have I held back an encouraging word or not shared a memory? How many times have I not said anything because I think that person’s dreams are unrealistic? I’m learning it isn’t for me to decide. God has a huge plan for each one of us and if He can use my mouth to encourage, I should let Him!

To encourage someone is free. It doesn’t cost a thing.

To receive encouragement is PRICELESS. Those words will never be forgotten!

Encourage someone today!!

Sara MSara

My Josie

We spent the week at Disney world and as usual it doesn’t go without a Josie story. I wish you all could know my little five year old grandgirl who says things like “confidentially, Lily is shy” and “apparently we didn’t get enough cheese”.

It’s impossible to know what really is going on in her little head. With two big sisters, and Dora and Diago, she knows about as much as a sixth grader, but she has no qualms about using words whether she knows what they mean or not. If you ask “Josie, what does that mean?” she just shrugs, says “I don’t know” and off she goes.

We were on our way to supper after a long day at fantasy land the other night. Josie is sitting way in the back seat. I, in the middle seat, am telling Mike and Emily this long tale about this tree we had been seeing–I called it a NAKED tree because it had no bark. It was slick as driftwood. I had been talking all week about finding out what that tree was, and today, I saw one with a plaque in front of it. It was a Crepe Murtle from China.

“Now I know what a Crepe Murtle tree is”, I say, ” and it doesn’t look like that”

We discuss this a bit, when finally, in a break in the conversation, from the back seat and my sweet little Josie comes

“Now, Grandma, What is it that we are suppose to be worrying about????”

Guess I need to work on getting my story telling skills!


I love color…and red is my favorite. Yet today, I am loving the grays and browns outside my window.

I don’t like change…yet today I love watching the little gizmo hanging in the redbud tree turn and dance with only the merest of breeze across its face.


And I especially don’t like to ….wait.

But I don’t know how to picture it.

Help me, won’t you? Play the game with me.

How does…waiting…look to you?

road 2 we like!

I Am Rich

I am rich.

No, I’m not bragging about material wealth. In that sense, I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination. Nope, I’m rich because of the beautiful relationships in my life.

As you might have seen on Friday’s post, I turned 40 this past weekend. And I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect celebration.

It started when Sara actually came to Canada as a surprise to me worked out between her and my husband. Many miles separate us so it was a real treat to spend time together outside of a writer’s conference. That was the first of several surprises my husband had up his sleeve!

The next day was beautiful. My little family spent a wonderful afternoon with relatives and close friends. At one point, my husband and I looked around the room and just sensed the love that people not only showed to us, but to one another. At that moment I felt like the richest person in the world. It’s such an honour to know so many amazing people who genuinely care about each other.

It wasn’t possible for everyone we love to join us, but it was wonderful to share the day with some. I stumbled across the quote below and I thought it captured my feelings well….

Rich in Friends

Take time today to appreciate the people in your life.


Cherie & Sara

Cherie with Sara at the 2011 ACFW conference!


Pearl Snap Shirts

My dad wears pearl snap shirts, Ely brand.pearl snap

As a teenager, I was convinced this was the ultimate in farmer geek wear. The look is accented with $10-a-pair Rustler jeans and a seed cap. Yellow chore gloves in back pocket optional.

Who’d have thought my dad’s going to town duds would one day be paid tribute in a country song?

This week, I’m getting ready for a big shindig. The Agri-Business Expo Center where I work is hosting cowboy poet Baxter Black in a benefit performance. It feels kind of like having 400 people over for dinner.

And for a female, this requires a new outfit. Where else would I go but the iconic St. Joe Boot? Opening the door, the intoxicating scent of leather took me right back to the summer of 1992. My mom and sister went with me to the store where I bought a pair of slip on burgandy Roper boots so I could start college in style.

Susie PinkThis time, I found the perfect cowgirl top.
Complete with pearl snaps.

Get your boots on – we’re going out in style!

~ Susan

Your vote: string of pearls or pearl snap shirt?