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2019…New Year…New Thinking

New Year…New Thinking



This is a year of transition for me. My thinking is changing…slowly. Adjusting to “what is” rather than “what I wish it was,” has involved surrendering my thought patterns. Not easy for me. Even after my husband passed I continued to think in terms of “we,” of the way “we” did things. “Our” dreams, “our” plans for the future, “our” way of handling issues that sprouted. I clung to carrying on in “our” tradition. I was frightened of changing what “we” had established.


My sweet neighbor who’s been a widow for over ten years said to me one day, “That was the way the two of you handled it, but you can make a different decision.” What a concept. Such thinking had not entered my mind. After all, we’d been “we” for over forty-nine years.


Perculating for months, this thought, began to take hold, but not without severe bouts of tears and wrestling and wondering and fear. I’m still processing and considering and allowing myself the freedom to imagine life as “me,” not as “we.” Without a partner, alone and solely responsible for my life’s decisions. So when the word transition came to mind, I knew at once it was My Word for 2019.


How about you? What is your One Word for 2019? I’d love to hear if you have one and how you came to choose it.



Can You Write a Novel in 30 Days? 5 Tips to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

November is almost here! That means it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month…or NaNoWriMo!


Every year thousands of people–nationwide and internationally–sign up on the NaNoWriMo website to accept the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month! That’s a novel in some circles!

Have you ever tried to write a book in only one month? I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo three different times…never quite reached 50,000 words, but I always had more words at the end of the month than when I started…so I consider this a productive challenge!

Since we’re halfway through October, NOW is the time to prepare to write your complete story in the month of November.



Tip #1

Sign Up!

Just go there…and sign up! Here’s the link again: https://nanowrimo.org

Okay…that was easy, right?


Tip #2


Some writers are pansters. That’s a literary term for “those who jot a few notes and start writing!” In the other camp are those who are often referred to as plotters–“those who plan each step before they write.” I’m an in-betweener! I start with a basic outline…beginning, middle and end. And add to it as I write. Some novelist map out their stories or use the snowflake method. You can Google all these terms if you want to know more.

I make notes and do research before I begin a story. For the new idea that came to me the other day, I’ve begun to investigate certain types of human behavior. Another great prep idea is to create a secret Pinterest board! What could be more fun! Character look-a-likes, landscape, settings, even events or celebrations that might take place in your manuscript…all can be pinned for later reference.

Character lists and sketches are really helpful in the beginning. Remembering what color eyes your hero or heroine has is easily solved if you’ve made your personnel list with each one’s attributes.


Tip #3


If your computer needs updating, take care of it before you start.

Keep a pen and notebook handy!

   I keep a pen and journal on my nightstand. Sometimes I wake up with thoughts or ideas about a story and if I don’t write it down, I guarantee I won’t’ remember it in the morning!

It’s best to schedule a definite time to write…like every morning from 6 am to 7 am or something that works with your lifestyle.

If music helps you write, get your playlist set up before November 1st.



Tip #4


If you want to finish  50,000 words in one month you’d have to write about 1,666.66 words per day!

I usually set a 1,000 daily word count goal…I know that will only be 30,000 words, but it will be more than I had on November 1st. Hopefully, I can squeeze in more words on weekends or early, early in the morning. It’s more difficult to count on making a word count when you’re writing on the fly. Not saying it can’t be done, just that it’s problematic.

Now…once you’ve established a word count goal and a time to write…all you have to do is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!

Don’t stop to edit. No editing allowed right now! (LOL) Editing is for LATER! When you’ve finished the month…go back and do your edits.


Tip #5


Last Tip…find a few writing buddies! At NaNoWriMo   you can search for friends or writing buddies writing in the same genre. A buddy helps you stay accountable! Also, there is a place to check out who else from your area is participating in NaNoWriMo. Looks like this year we have a few participants from Redding, so we might all get together and write or have a social to encourage one another…or who knows!


Get your tea or coffee and some snacks and Let’s Get Ready To Write!!









“The Way You Smell”

My sweet cousin came to Redding to spend a day and evening with me. After catching up with the latest family news we took a little jaunt to downtown Redding.

First, we stopped for a fabulous late lunch at Woody’s Brewing Company.

Next, we popped over to the Oregon Street Antique Mall. 

Strolling the aisles upstairs and down we giggled and pointed to objects recalling favorite childhood memories triggered by all the wonderful vintage treasures in every booth.  


My kids had moved into their new home. I texted my daughter asking if I could bring my cousin to visit.

With a “sure, come on over” we headed to Palo Cedro and were greeted by my young grandson, daughter and son-in-law and their sweet little puppy, Oakley. 


Touring the house, my grandson, Hudson, happily trotted ahead giving us a running commentary on each room.

When we got to their guest room my grandson said, “This room smells like you, Nammer.”

I gasped.

Yikes. A room smelled like me.

I held my breath. Oh, no I thought. It’s happened.

Old people passed through my mind…faces flashed with their identifying smells. I remember my cousins joking about having to sleep in the same bed with their “stinky” grandma.

Egads…I was now part of the smelly generation.

My heart thumped frantically…my cousin had just heard my sweet darling grandson declare I carried a fragrance that lingered.

I had spent five days in their very lovely guest room after being evacuated from my neighborhood because of the Carr Fire.  But, that had been weeks ago. Wow, I must be an odorous old person, I lamented.

“It smells pretty, like you,” he said with a big grin.

Startled, I repeated his words. “Pretty, like me?”

My daughter smiled…”It smells like your perfume.”

My heart melted.


I felt a twirl coming on! I wanted to shout and dance! I rejoiced!

A reprieve…a relief…a respite. Not yet. I’m not yet relegated to the dreaded stinky elderly category.

(All I could think about was…Thank goodness for Chanel Number 5.)


May your days be full of rejoicing…

Rejoice always… 1 Thessalonians 5:16


(Photos of the puppy and Hudson playing with Oakley in the house are my daughter’s…I borrowed them from her.)

The Incredible Versatile Vegetable: The Zucchini














Q. It’s summertime! So how can you tell if a Redding-nite has no friends?


Here’s one answer…

A. She’s buying zucchini at the grocery store.



Really, though, it’s not a laughing matter. If your neighbors and friends are gardeners and their zucchini seeds have properly propagated you’ll notice.


You’ll observe “The Desperate” ones, lurking about, smiling and ready, like a quarterback, for the hand-off. But it’s not a football they want you to snag. They’ll be trying to hand you a bag…full of oblong green veggies…. those ever-loving, prolific little bombs known as Zucchini.


Yes. Your farming family will come. Knocking at your door, toting large brown bags overflowing with long green logs…begging you to take “just a few.” You like your neighbor. You think, ” Well, I could use a few.”


And then your friend, who loving tilled a backyard patch of dirt and planted a tiny urban garden, greets you. Bulging recycled plastic grocery bags hung over his arms, shades of green peeking out, he suggests your family has to try “just a few” of these healthy squashes he’s managed to produce.


And your cousin decides to bless you with “just a few” garden fresh zucchini.


A little clarification here: The words “just a few” can’t be used in the same sentence with zucchini. That would be an oxymoron.


The first year we planted a garden at the ranch, I labeled myself an authority on the “How To” of successful small crop management. After all, I pointed out to our family and visitors, look at those zucchini plants. There was not one, but four hills of maturing zucchini vines, weaving their way towards the garden gate, encroaching on the carrots, corn, and tomatoes, heading south into the cattle pasture. I was thrilled. Inflated with pride, I bragged about our good fortune and discussed the benefits of “hilling” vs “rows” in zucchini raising. They listened. They nodded. They smiled, indulgently. (That was Not a smirk…there were no smug smiles, I’m positive).


No one shouted, “What the heck? Four hills of zucchini? Are you nuts! Are you trying to feed the entire Marine Corps?” ( Oh no…that was me…months later….screeching at the cows, grabbing zucchini from an overloaded wheelbarrow, tossing them over the garden fence, trying to entice those bovines into eating the big beautiful green zombies).


In our small rural town we leave our vehicles unlocked while grocery shopping, picking up mail at the Post Office or standing around gossiping. But, in the summertime, we watch for “The Desperate.” “The Desperate” are not difficult to identify…they’re the ones skulking in the shadows, dodging in and around parked cars, with their loaded brown bags, attempting to share their harvest when they locate an unlocked vehicle. If you are spotted casting about, like a zucchini Good Samaritan, friends and neighbors have been known to lock their car doors.


So, after you’ve given away all you can, taken boxes to the homeless shelter, and sold bags and bags at the local farmer’s market, what then? Well, you ask friends, rummage through cookbooks and surf the net for zillions of new zucchini recipes. And then you make and bake and freeze anything and everything you can dream up that could possibly include zucchini: chili, soup, spaghetti sauce, quiche, marmalade, pizza sauce, chips, bread, muffins, scones, cookies, cakes and when quite frantic, ice cream!


One of my favorite recipes is Chocolate Oh Chocolate Zucchini Cake. It’s quick, easy and freezes beautifully. If you are one of the lucky ones, with an over-abundant zucchini plant, or you have a friend who gardens, or if you’ve purchased this incredibly versatile vegetable, you’ll enjoy this delicious sweet zucchini treat.



  • 2 cs sugar
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda dissolved in..
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cs flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 1/2 t salt, baking powder, cinnamon
  • 2 cs grated zucchini
  • 2 cs semi-sweet chocolate pieces Hold one cup in reserve.
  • 1 c chopped pecans (optional)


Cream sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.

Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and add to the creamed mixture.

Blend dry ingredients together and stir into creamed mixture.

Fold in the zucchini and chocolate pieces and nuts.

Pour batter into a 9X13 greased and floured pan. Top with remaining chocolate pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar.
Serve with ice cream if desired.


One Word…for 2017

Be GONE Resolutions…Hello, ONE WORD!

Why only One Word?



With a long line of resolutions, the crowd factor numbs the focus on change, and soon each idea merges with all the others and next thing you know, they all become one overwhelming list to be stuck in a drawer and forgotten until the New Year rolls around again.

This year, encouraged by several blog posts I decided to embrace the One Word concept. Choosing my Word took several days as I pondered various choices, “tried them on,” and prayed for wisdom.


Last year had its moments….sometimes I felt I was soaring….img_1789









only to find myself overturned and upside down….


wondering how the heck I was gonna get right-side up again.

Of course, always and forever, I was rescued by the Steadfast Love of the Lord…leading, comforting, embracing, waiting, encouraging and speaking into the deep places of my spirit I thought paralyzed in anguish.



And so, I believe My One Word for this year is FORWARD! I am choosing to move and to focus on a forward direction…onward…trusting the Lord to be by my side…always and forever…and no matter what 2017 brings…I’ll be able to cross that bridge with assurance!!



I pray each one of you finds your ONE WORD this year that will bring you peace of mind and joy in your heart! I’d love to hear what you choose! Let me know either in the comment section of this blog or on Facebook!!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

With love and faith,





4 Reasons to attend a Family Reunion


My Sweet Husband and I love family reunions…especially now that we have more time to attend! His Rinehart family has had a yearly reunion for over one hundred years…yes, 100 years!

One side of my family has a reunion every three years–in Springfield, Missouri. And, another branch tries to have one every two years…but sometimes it’s been longer between our cousin’s gathering. Fortunately, these reunions are held on the west coast, but still involve travel!


Why do we bother spending time and money? Why travel distances to see people you haven’t seen in years or maybe have never met? Why are family reunions important?


There are many reasons. I think these four sum it up for me.

  1. To Reconnect-To RememberIMG_3717 My cousins and I enjoyed many a happy time together…and we still savor our time with one another. (Our mom’s are in the photo below).13923526_10208373098138334_4007946238664451685_o
  2.  To Maintain our Family HeritageIMG_3728This wonderful couple, Dora and Nick Souder had six children. IMG_3708

There are only five living first-cousins. Three of them made it to the reunion!! We are inspired by our octogenarians!! IMG_3691 IMG_3690

3. To Sustain Family Traditions. Good Food and Funny Family Stories! (My cousin Carolyn took the gals in the kitchen photo and the “aunties” enjoying a laugh).13912607_10209410348634167_5520019314675936656_n


4. To Make Memories and More Memories…IMG_3719



Families can be like a great-big-beautiful tree–with deep roots and strong robust limbs and an abundance of leaves! It takes work to preserve a family tree…it takes everyone’s help and support. We’re so blessed to have those willing to take on the task of organizing a reunion and we’re fortunate that our family cherishes their time together!  Wishing all my Souder cousins a wonderful year!!

Tis the Season: Football and Pumpkins

We boarded the Boxer



IMG_5949and the Chiweenie….

Riding Shotgun...

Riding Shotgun…

And set off for a Very Busy Weekend!!

Our son is the Head Coach of the East Nicolaus Spartan Football Team and they played like the courageous scrappy team they are!! Won their game hands down!! IMG_9734

On Saturday, we traveled to Dixon to watch our grandson play football too…



Grandson’s number is 34…he plays offense and defense!





Halftime pep talk!!








And on Sunday, I drove my sweet mother, my granddaughter, my sister-in-law and my grandniece to a crowded Pumpkin Farm in Citrus Heights. The younger ladies picked out pumpkins and rode a train. Mom and I guarded the chosen pumpkins and watched families take photos on the hay wagon!


Choosing the perfect pumpkin!
IMG_9774The Pumpkin Farm photo hay wagon!





My adorable eighty-seven year young Momma…guardian of the pumpkins!




And then…dusty and tired…I happily let My Sweet Husband drive me home!!

Hoping you all are enjoying this wonderful Fall Season too!! What a blessed time of year…and so much to be thankful for…we need to celebrate each day with our loved ones!



The fun Pumpkin Farm in Citrus Heights, California is…Pumpkin Farm

Another fabulous pumpkin farm is Bishops Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, California…

Customer First…Now, A FaceBook Friend and More!

How many times have we met people and then become Facebook friends? Lots!!

But once in awhile you meet someone you connect with because you share so many of the same passions!

Julie June Stewart wandered into our shop almost a year ago to the date…in August 2014.


She found this gorgeous purple hat…said she wanted to wear it to the races. She’s crazy about horse racing!! Me too!! And I’m very fond of  hats also! I’ve tucked my Kentucky Derby hat in a closet, ready for the day I finally get on a plane for Churchill Downs.


We hit it off right away. As she wandered around the store we visited about our love for antiques, horses, hats, animals, and writing.  She’s an accomplished writer. One of her latest articles features animals on the backside (of the track) who live with the horses. Her delightful essays always include adorable photos.

Last year, after she returned home, we became FaceBook friends, and we’ve stayed connected.

When Julie messaged me she was in town and wanted to come by our shop, I was overjoyed! She’s an Airspace Program Manager for Disasters and has been extremely busy with all our fires here in Northern California. I knew her time was limited, but feel privileged she took an hour or so to visit…and shop with us!




I’ll miss her, but know we’ll stay in touch via FaceBook…and of course, I’ll be able to read all her wonderful columns! Thanks Julie for stopping by!


You can follow Julie June Stewart on Twitter and read her essays in America’s Best Racing.

A Sweet Read…


Get your cuppa tea when you’re ready to read Cathy Elliott’s new cozy mystery, A Stitch in Crime. It’s a delightful who-done-it tale. Thea James, antique storeowner, is co-chair of Larkindale’s first quilt show pageant.

When the town’s matriarch is knocked-out, a diamond brooch stolen and a heritage quilt snatched, Thea resolves to bind up all the loose ends before something worse happens.

With a marvelous ensemble of characters, an adorable cat, humor and wit, Cathy Elliott weaves a story perfect for a quiet evening with that delicious cup of tea! I really enjoyed all the interactions of the small town characters…some so real it was like being there. And then there’s Cole Mason…a light touch of romance for Thea. A sweet read.

I’m anxious to read other books in the Quilts of Love Series.

A New Season….

rsz_dsc_0087Dear tea4kate subscribers,
Over this last year, I have taken a break from blogging on the tea4kate site. I intend to revive my blog on an occasional basis.
In this new season of my life, my Sweet Husband and I have become the new owners of the Oregon Street Antique Mall in downtown Redding.  (Find us at:  

We invite you to connect with us in our new endeavor by going to the Oregon Street Antique Mall website and subscribing to our newsletter. We would love to include you in any store sales, special offers and just general news. We intend to start having tea for sale in the store soon. If you’d like to remain in contact with us, please sign up here….Oregon Street Antique Mall 

We look forward to reconnecting.  As always, thanks for being part of our amazing journey. 
May your day be Tea-lightful, 


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