Tag Archives: starting over

A New Day is Dawning by Sherrie Hansen

If one thing can be said of my life, it’s that I can’t go through a single day on autopilot. Some days, I wake up in the parsonage next door to my husband’s church in Hudson, Iowa to the sounds of tractors and trucks driving by on our gravel road, the creak of old farmhouse floors, or the sound of the wind whistling across the fields. Other days, I awake 85 miles to the north in a cozy, but comfortable cottage next door to my B&B in the small town of Saint Ansgar.

Sometimes I get to sleep in, or maybe even spend the day lounging around in my nightgown, writing or painting. Other times, I wake up to the demanding b-b-b-b-ring of an alarm clock reminding me that there’s breakfast to serve, lunch to prepare, or a church service to rush off to.

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The one thing that’s consistent about daybreak at my house is that when I wake up each morning, the past is behind me and a fresh day awaits, brimming with new opportunities and unique experiences. No matter which of our homes I wake up in, what’s done is done, and daybreak is a chance to start out fresh.

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I’ve been very fortunate in my life to work in a career where every day is different and filled with new challenges. I’ve always appreciated the fact that my work offers me the joy of interacting with a variety of people, the chance to participate in a broad assortment of tasks, and the opportunity to experiment with creative menus that I can change as often as my heart desires.

Food - melting moments

Since my first novel, NIGHT AND DAY, was released, I’ve been telling people it starts when it’s “midnight in Minnesota and daybreak in Denmark.” Since the sequel, coming out this summer, begins in Denmark, it seemed logical to call it DAYBREAK.

Night and Day (1)

Daybreak is about new beginnings. To begin fresh, you have to turn your back on the past and look forward. It’s a choice we make every day, in little ways, and every so often, with extraordinary, life-changing transitions. For Jensen, daybreak means leaving her comfort zone in Minnesota, moving across the ocean to a different country only to find out that Anders won’t be there to help her adjust. For Anders and his son, Bjorn, daybreak means suffering the indignity of losing a career and being forced to look for a new job. Both have to let go of their expectations and forge a new path.

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For the Christiansen family, it means moving on after an unexpected death changes the entire perimeter of their world. For Leif Unterschlag, it meant giving up the woman he loved, and starting over in Solvang, California, halfway across the world. If Leif hadn’t had the courage to walk away from his heartache and embrace a new love, Jensen never would have come to be. The choice to look toward the rising sun and move forward can have great repercussions!

Daybreak in Denmark (3)

I won’t say more for giving too much away, but I think if you’ve ever had to give up something familiar and beloved so that you have your hands free to grasp a new opportunity, you know what I mean about daybreak. Just like Jensen and Anders’ lilac bushes, sometimes our branches have to be pruned and cut back before we can grow. What does daybreak – or the dawn of a new day – mean to you?

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Twenty-six years ago, Sherrie Hansen rescued a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a B&B and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Sherrie grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota and has lived in Bar Harbor, Maine, Colorado Springs, CO, and Augsburg, Germany. She attended Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL. After 12 years of writing romance novels late at night when she couldn’t sleep, she met and married her real-life hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. Sherrie lives in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and writes on the run whenever she has a spare minute. With her Wildflowers of Scotland novels, “Wild Rose”, “Blue Belle”, “Shy Violet”, “Sweet William” and “Golden Rod”, she has ten books in print, most featuring a “second-chance-at-love” story. Daybreak, a sequel to Night and Day, will be released in the summer of 2018. Sherrie enjoys painting, playing the piano with the worship team at church, photography, decorating historic homes, and traveling. You can learn more about her books by visiting  http://amazon.com/author/sherriehansen

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Is It Too Late to Start This Year Over? — by Mike Simpson

So is it too late to start this year over?

Ever have a year that was just bad news? For me, 1985 comes to mind. That was the year our home was burglarized while we were 1000 miles away. When we got home, we discovered that the neighbor who was supposed to be watching the house had left six newspapers in the front yard. Later that summer she came over and said, “We’re going on vacation. Will you keep a better eye on my house than I kept on yours?” That was the year five members of my wife’s family died in rapid succession—the last being her five-year-old nephew. Tough year.

Then there was 2006. My grandmother died in February, the initial event of twelve months of misfortune. I got so depressed I thought about going to counseling that year, until I found out that—owing to changes in my health insurance—the first $2400 was going to be on me. Miserable year.

The benefit of having lived through a bad year is recognizing it will come to an end. You learn that, eventually, “this too shall pass.” That’s what I kept telling myself last year. Not that it didn’t have its beautiful moments, like my daughter’s wedding. But, whoa, 2011 was a bad year! An absolute bummer. I was diagnosed with colon cancer and the trip back to good health was harrowing: three major surgeries, four hospital stays, nine days living on ice chips (I’ve discovered the secret to rapid weight loss, by the way). Then I realized my life had permanently changed even if the disease never returns. I realized, for instance, that insurance companies now consider me a pariah. I was so glad to see the end of 2011.

Then, late in January, 2012, a startling realization hit me. It is theoretically possible to have two bad years in a row. This occurred to me while I was following the ambulance that was taking my wife to the emergency room. Late on the night of January 26, she tripped over a pet barricade in our bedroom door and suffered a displaced fracture of her ankle. Lying on the floor while I grabbed the phone to call 9-1-1, she gritted her teeth and said, “Don’t tell anybody how I did this.” So obviously the emergency operator had to know what happened; the two medics who showed up had to know; the trauma doctor and the orthopedic doctor wanted to know. So here we are three weeks, three casts, three days in the hospital and one surgery after the fall. Nancy has been told in no uncertain terms: no weight on that foot for six weeks after the operation. In our bedroom and living room are a wheelchair, a walker, a pair of crutches and knee walker, all of which have been used to some degree.

As for me, I’ve turned out to have been fairly observant when it came to where all the dishes and the laundry go. Nancy has had lots of visitors, so I’ve had to keep the place picked up. Apparently the rumor is I can’t cook. We’ve had more chicken casseroles, tubs of soup and canisters of beans and plates of corn bread than I can count.

I struggled, especially in the first week, to keep up with my Second Wind responsibilities. Our goal in 2012 has been to bring forty new titles to print, dozens of them in the first few months of the year. The accident really complicated things, but I redoubled my focus and determination. Last year was the bad year. This year can’t help but be better.

Last Thursday my nine-year-old grandson rode the bus from his school to our house. It gave him the chance to see his grandmother and wolf down a bunch of snacks while he waited for his mother to pick him up. His first stop was the kitchen, after which he went to where Nancy was lying in bed and asked, “Grammy, why is your ice cream all melted?” Yep, our 1994 vintage refrigerator had given up the ghost. I went out the next day and got a good deal on a new one—that could not be delivered for a week. That made it official, 2012 is a bad year.

Only I’ve been thinking of a favorite slogan often repeated by counselors and others interested in mental health: “If you’re having a bad day, you can always start your day over.” That’s what I’ve decided to do on a larger scale. As of tomorrow, I’m starting my year over. And it’s going to be a good one.

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Mike Simpson
Executive Editor
Second Wind Publishing

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Older Heroines, Younger Heroines – Which Are Best?

I grew up reading romance novels with 20 year old heroines, virgins, whose mother and father were conveniently vacationing in Europe or dead. While I loved embarking on an adventure of first love (and first-time sex) with these all-alone-in-the-world, pure-as-the-driven-snow waifs, my tastes have changed as I’ve grown older.

I find a complex, mature heroine with a caring (okay – meddlesome) family, who has experienced love and been disappointed (okay – burned), who finds it in herself to take a chance on love again, to be more appealing. To me, when a person with baggage and a less than ideal background finds true love — finally — it makes for a truly rewarding reading experience.

How do you feel? If you are older than 40, do you like the reality turned fantasy of reading about what other women (and men) your age are going through, or do you prefer to relive simpler, less complicated times in your life, to dream about what it would be like to be young again, to start all over?

If you’re young, would you even pick up a book with an older heroine? Or is reading about close-to-forty year-olds involved in a steamy relationship akin to thinking about your parents having sex? Does a good love story, and wonderful characters, render age irrelevant?

In Night and Day, my heroine, Jensen, is 38 years old. She is not a virgin – in fact, she’s involved in one relationship when the book begins, and becomes involved in another (via the Internet) soon after. Her family is alive and well and very opinionated.  I’ve heard from a lot of readers that they like the complexity of my characters. Some hope she’ll end up with Ed – some with Anders. I think that means I’ve done my job well. Nothing in life is simple and clear-cut.

I’ve heard from some younger readers and they say they like the book. Maybe age doesn’t matter.

If you’re a writer, and knew that books with a heroine of any age would sell as well as the next, would you rather write about someone your own age, or do you prefer to write young, first love, first career stories?

I’m curious to hear which you think is more appealing in a story line – age and experience, or youthful exuberance?

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Filed under fiction, life, musings, Sherrie Hansen, writing