The Ghost of Thanksgiving


When Nate still had brown hair and wore glasses, and I had a 24 inch waist and the courage to go sleeveless.

When Nate still had brown hair and wore glasses, and I had a 24 inch waist and the courage to go sleeveless.

 The holiday season is here again. I don’t know who originally set the dates for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, but I do wish he or she had spread them out a little. In the stores, the paper turkey centerpieces set across the aisle from rows of lighted artificial Christmas trees. Several stores have their plastic 2015 champagne flutes stacked neatly in a bed of confetti. Thus, it gets harder every year to give each holiday its individual significance. After considerable time spent pondering this commercial symbiosis of holidays, I conjured up a way to separate them evocative of Scrooge’s three Ghosts.

New Years represents the futureIt’s time to make the list of resolutions, knowing most will fall by the wayside by spring thaw. Still, we plan, we hope, we resolve, we look forward to a new year as a reboot of our dreams and desires.

Christmas time represents the present. However you celebrate the season—Christmas, Hanukkah, or other—this is the time we rejoice in the company of family and friends, wish glad tidings to all, and open our hearts and wallets to those we love, and hopefully, to those in need.

Thanksgiving represents the past. Why? Because this is the holiday we look back over the past year and give thanks for both the strength to get through the tribulations that came into our lives, as well as the many blessings.

This Thanksgiving, I can look back on trials like my father’s death and my brother’s battle with cancer, as well as the blessings. Our children are grown (too soon) into educated, loving, responsible adults, and Nathan has retired and is home for good. We celebrated our 31st anniversary in Oct. and I’m still wondering how the years went by so fast. And I’m happy to say my aging BFF and therapist, Jasmine, is still here snoring away right beside my chair. 

Thanks for stopping by and y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.      Jasmine (ready for therapy work) 001

Deborah Epperson
Deborah Epperson
Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG

Gratitude with Attitude!

By Kathy Dunnehoff

Maybe we all have a picture in our heads of the ever-grateful doormat.

You know what I’m talking about. She’s the woman who smiles and says thank you with that eternal kick me sign on her back.

Well, I don’t think that’s gratitude at all. I think that’s lowering the bar on what we’re willing to live with, and using our thank you’s so we don’t have to speak up and say what we really feel… “I don’t think so.” “No.” or “Hell no!”

I think gratitude is a place of strength. To me it’s appreciating what’s both lively and nourishing in our lives.

Something I can learn from? Lively. Something I can relax into? Nourishing.

And with those guides, I’m grateful for my teenage daughters – lively! For the tea my husband brings me in bed every morning – nourishing. My writing life – equally lively and nourishing. And the Montana Woman Writers – two parts lively & 3 parts nourishing… a perfect combination!

Happy Reading & Happy Thanks- giving!


Spring break 2013

Dreaming of anything but buttermilk


By Leslie Budewitz

I adore the movie “White Christmas.” Love every scene, every actor, every song. Can sing most of them—but I’ll spare you. I watch it at least once every holiday season, to Mr. Right’s amusement—unlike him, I usually consider once enough for most movies.

You know where I’m going, don’t you, since this is November, the month of Thanksgiving and gratitude. To the scene in the Lodge where Bing and Rosemary bump into each other in the middle of the night, and sing “Count Your Blessings,” which got an Oscar nomination in 1954. “When I grow weary and cannot sleep, I count my blessings, instead of sheep.”

Sappy and corny as it is, it works. On those (happily) rare nights when Irksome Thoughts and Bad Ideas keep me awake, and won’t be quieted by me getting up to jot a few notes, I start first thing that morning and identify everything I’m grateful for. Start small. Really small. The pettier, the better. Be grateful for the warmth of your bed, the one you didn’t want to leave this morning, that feels so darned brick-like now. Be grateful for the toothpaste, that there’s still some in the tube, and that you actually remembered which flavor you dislike least last time you bought the stuff. Express gratitude that  you didn’t slide down the steps on your backside this morning when your slipper hit that thin spot in the hall carpet, and that you didn’t trip over the cat—why does he have to nap on the landing?—and crack your braincase.  I run back through the day that way, and rarely get past mid-morning before conking out.

Try it. I all but guarantee you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night, like Bing and Rosemary, for a song and a glass of buttermilk. (Okay, so there is that one thing I don’t like about the movie—but it is great in cornbread and scones!)

Readers, any tricks to share about those occasional sleepless nights? 

Death al Dente

Leslie’s first mystery, Death al Dente, is set in the fictional NW Montana village of Jewel Bay,and features a kitchen full of tasty recipes—none calling for buttermilk. Read an excerpt on her website, 


Graditude by: Deborah Epperson

Over the past fifteen years I have had the privilege to know, socialize, and work with many women writers. I met some when I joined the Authors of the Flathead, a local group of writers from all around Northwest Montana. Others I met through critique groups, our Montana Women Writers group, and writer conferences. It is an eclectic group, writing in various genres, and coming from diverse backgrounds. Yet they all have one thing in common. They are all women with a can-do attitude.

The theme of attitude verses gratitude brings to mind a quote by the famous physician and missionary, Albert Schweitzer. He said,

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

This is so true for writers. Whether it is writer’s block, a plethora of rejection letters, or just the sense of being overwhelmed that comes from trying to carve out a few minutes to write while holding down your “day job” and caring for a family, I wager there are few writers who have never thought about just giving up and getting out of the business. Sometimes, I’ve felt that I was running on fumes. At these times, one or more of these wonderful women with attitude stepped in to rekindle my fire for writing and reignite the hope that the elusive perfect prose is within reach. I am forever grateful for their supportive attitude and generosity of spirit.

Thanks for stopping by,


by Deborah Epperson


Breaking TWIG:

Happy to Be Here

Ann headshot

By Ann Minnett

Much of my attitude about gratitude derives from the well-being of the ones I love. Yours, too, I’ll bet. I’m grateful to announce that at this precise moment, everyone in my family is healthy and as far as I know, content with their lives. Whew!

That lovely blessing allows me to examine more personal attitudes about gratitude. No one is more surprised than I that I’m most grateful about being 65. Right. I can’t believe it, either. Sixty-five sounds ancient compared to the perennial vision I carry around of 35-year-old Ann.  I forget my gray hair until a photo reminds me. When people wish me Happy Birthday, I always respond with, I’m just happy to be here.

Here’s the truth:  I’ve never been more content with my life in my life. This age allows for less self-consciousness and more time to notice the world. I’m more likely to give myself a friggin’ break and less likely to martyr through hard times. I express hidden feelings in my fiction, and my age makes me far less apt to fall apart if what I say displeases you.


Ann Minnett MWW photo