Memorializing That Whirlwind of a Wedding

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, University of Colorado, photographer, videographer, Laura Grace Petersen, Jackson Dorfman
The Wedding – Courtesy of Laura Grace Photography

 

Memorializing that whirlwind of a wedding is critical, especially when you’re the bookworm acting as wedding planner. Since relying on iPhone photos and videos from attendees was not an option, I had to find just the right photographer and videographer; a task much harder than I ever imagined.

First Stop
wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, University of Colorado, photographer, videographer, Laura Grace Petersen, Jackson Dorfman
Our Lady of the Mountains

My first stop in my wedding planning process was securing the church and meeting its wedding planner. Since her grandson had just gotten married a few months earlier in Estes Park, I asked her about the photographer they used. She pressed her lips together and shook her head “no.” She could not recommend someone who wasn’t any good (nor did I want such a person). Videographer? No.

Preferred Vendors List
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO, wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, University of Colorado, photographer, videographer, Laura Grace Petersen, Jackson Dorfman
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

I then turned to my trusty (?) Preferred Vendors List. There were quite a few photographers and videographers on that list, some companies handled both. After I emailed them all and requested a quote, I had to blink twice as I read the quotes coming in (none of them included printing). Amazingly, with the exception of one, they were all $2,000. My first thought was a wedding monopoly. By the way, the one different quote was $6,000. Yup, that’s not a typo, $6,000. With my science background and logical legal mind :0) I performed an experiment. My original quotes went out under my married name, however, I write under my maiden name, Karen Van Den Heuvel. A new and revised request for quotes went out under my writer’s name — a quote for a 4 hour family reunion involving 50 people in Estes Park. Alas, the quotes were half the price.

A Monopoly

My son had gone to school with someone who was now a professional photographer so he asked her for a quote — $2,000. He asked if she could give him a discount due to their long friendship. She could not, because of a contract she entered into with a third party — all her bookings go through them at their required pricing, as all of these photographers did. Aha! Sounds like a monopoly to me!

The Perfect Professionals
wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, University of Colorado, photographer, videographer, Laura Grace Petersen, Jackson Dorfman
J.C. & Jane

My goal was to find an excellent photographer and videographer not bound by a third party contract for pricing. That’s where Jane came in. Jane is my son’s beautiful girlfriend who went to school with a photographer using her talents and running her business while she worked on her degree. I checked out her website and FaceBook, and was thoroughly impressed with Laura Grace Photography. Her photographs were beautiful (as you can see through my posts) and I’d put her up against any of the other “professionals” I encountered to date. Her rates were very reasonable and I met her for lunch to discuss the process, wedding, expectations, etc. She was an absolute delight and she found me a videographer — a university student working on his degree in videography — Jackson Dorfman. Once I checked out his work and found it exceptional — as good if not better than most of the other videographers, I asked for a quote. His rates were also very reasonable and I was set.

These two professionals arrived early, blended in, and captured beautiful memories. I can’t recommend them highly enough! If you are looking for an excellent professional photographer and videographer, here is their contact information:

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, University of Colorado, photographer, videographer, Laura Grace Petersen, Jackson Dorfman
Laura Grace Petersen
Laura Grace Photography

Laura Grace Photography: lauragracephoto.com, 970-227-0025, lauragrace.151@gmail.com

 

 

 

Jackson Dorfman: Jackson.dorfman@colorado.edu  970-306-2775

Jack provided not only the full video, but a second with highlights as well. You had a glimpse of the head table decor in Jack’s short trailer, but you won’t believe the story behind it! Stay tuned next week… .

The Wedding Planner — The D.J. Is Key to a Great Wedding

wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
The Happy Couple                                               Courtesy of Laura Grace Photography

 

The D.J. is key to a great wedding — no doubt! But how do you find that great D.J.? After I unsuccessfully contacted the D.J.’s on the Preferred Vendors List, I did what most people do; I asked  my friends and family for recommendations. However, with the wedding date, that was fruitless, especially for the D.J. — they were either out of business or unavailable at that time.

The Search
wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
The D.J. Is Key to a Great Wedding

One unavailable D.J. suggested that I check Thumbtack . Although I had never heard of it, I wasted no time, after all, the wedding was fast approaching and I knew an iPhone playing music would not be very helpful. According to their profile, “Thumbtack is an online service that matches customers with local professionals.” With my date and required professional entered, I received messages from a number of local D.J.’s with a wide range of pricing and experience.

wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
Gary Liebowitz with Sound Junction

I like to listen to my “gut,” and out of the list, only one stood out to me above the rest — he was experienced and I liked his work. He was from Monument and the wedding was in Estes Park, more than 2 hours away. I sent him a message and asked if Estes Park was too far and received an immediate response — definitely not, he handled the entire Front Range and did not charge for travel.

The Right D.J.
wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
Dancing to the Music                                             Courtesy of Laura Grace Photography

My “gut” does not disappoint and neither did Gary Liebowitz from Sound Junction, LLC. He was absolutely phenomenal! Although I had the opportunity to provide him with a selection of songs, I was so frazzled and clueless that I  only gave him 3 songs for 3 dances: the bride and groom’s, father/daughter, and mother/son. With an age range of attendees from 20 to 85, I asked that he handle everything and he did. I can’t recommend him highly enough!

wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
The Dance Train                                                  Courtesy of Laura Grace Photography

Gary:

  • Called prior to the wedding to offer help and assurances,
  • Arrived early,
  • Called when he arrived and started set up,
  • Handled my request to take care of all the music with a smile,
  • Acted professionally,
  • Dressed professionally,
  • Had a positive and upbeat attitude,
  • Was an outstanding MC,
  • Kept the party moving and lively,
  • Had reasonable rates and offered a military discount (he is retired Air Force), and
  • Went the extra mile above and beyond.
wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
The Wedding Train                                                  Courtesy of Laura Grace Photography
Contact
wedding, wedding planner, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors, D.J., Disc Jockey, Sound Junction, Gary Liebowitz
Gary Liebowitz with Sound Junction

If you are interested in an exceptional, professional D.J. who is more than willing to go the extra mile with reasonable rates, I recommend Gary Liebowitz with Sound Junction:

Phone: 719-351-8301
Email: gary@soundjunctiondj.com
Website: www.soundjunctiondj.com

Two months after the wedding, a number of people shared their nightmare experiences with the wrong D.J. Needless to say, I am very thankful my story is not one of them. I had the best!

What are your experiences?

Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists – OH MY!

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors
Pink Roses

Wedding planners and vendors lists create a fertile ground for weeds and more weeds… . What about that garden of beautiful flowers? The last article looked at whether the date made a difference, and the answer was a resounding YES. I felt good about securing the church and the Music Room at the Stanley, and thought the rest would be smooth sailing — NOT. Because of the date, the church and reception locations were available, but because of the date, the rest would not be as smooth.

Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists

Unbeknownst to me, most places have their own wedding planners and vendor lists that work with the bride or her wedding planner (in this case, moi). Easy peasy, right? Ahhhh, not necessarily so. Being a wedding planner for a church or popular reception location is not an easy job (I’m sure some of you either have personal experience with a bridezilla or seen popular bridezilla movies). As such, the wedding planner you start with may not be the wedding planner you end up with and lots can happen in the interim.

For the Church
wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors
Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists — The Church

In our case, the wedding planner for the church left half way through the planning. Fortunately, what we agreed to I had memorialized in writing, but there were a number of things she needed approval for and thought she could get because of her experience, and then she was gone… . I was left with a delightful person who knew absolutely nothing about weddings and all those other items that the experienced planner was sure she could get (like lighting up the white lights on the Christmas tree in the church), was not available.

For the Reception
wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, preferred vendor lists, vendors
Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists

For the Stanley, I was quite happy with the wedding planner assigned to me, but then a few months before the wedding she contacted me to let me know that she was taking a new job in Hawaii as an event planner. My thoughts … here I go again. Fortunately, they assigned me another great wedding planner, but there were still gaps that needed to be filled since she not only jumped in toward the end with me, but she was assigned at least half of the former planner’s weddings.

Then There’s that Preferred Vendor List:
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • D.J.’s
  • Bakers
  • Florists
  • Salons
  • Piano Players
  • Etc.

Go through it carefully, as I did, since it may or may not be updated. On the list I received, most were in business, but some were not. What I realized was that if you use the word “wedding” in any request for quotes for a wedding, you received a quote that was significantly higher than what you would otherwise receive. More on that in the next article … .

What have you found with Preferred Vendor Lists?

The Wedding Planner – The Date

For the wedding planner, does the date really make a difference? The answer is a resounding YES! It makes a difference as to availability (especially if you are not starting one year in advance), cost, and accessibility among other things. In my case, because of my daughter’s schedule, she could not be flexible on the date, hence a Christmas time wedding.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

In an earlier article, I mentioned that the setting for my novel, Hidden Bloodlines, was inspired by the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Not only did my husband and I enjoy the hotel, but my daughter celebrated her 18th birthday there. She loved Estes Park and the Stanley and asked that her wedding take place at a beautiful mountain church with the reception at the Stanley.

Availability

A wedding the Saturday before Christmas has quite a few drawbacks, but it also has its advantages. With respect to availability, there are two sides — the availability of the choice locations and the availability of the attendees.

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado
The Wedding Planner — The Date
Photograph by Laura Grace Photography

A wedding Christmas weekend is not common, therefore, the church and Music Room at the Stanley were available. On the other hand, since it was Christmas time, not everyone invited could come. For some, that could be considered an advantage (one less person to cover), however, we missed those unable to attend.

Cost

Estes Park, Colorado is a summer resort. If it were a ski resort, it would be a winter wonderland, but it’s not — there is no skiing permitted despite the magnificent mountains. Therefore, a Christmas wedding is off-season, with off-season rates – a definite advantage. Moreover, it was Advent and we were not permitted to decorate the church. That was a large unanticipated savings. The church was so beautiful in its own right, no one even noticed it was not decorated for a wedding and I saved quite a bit of money on flowers.

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado
Rehearsal at Our Lady of the Mountains

The icing on the cake was that the Music Room was already decorated for Christmas, therefore, my only concern were the table tops and head table decorations (more on that later).

Accessibility

You never know what the weather brings at Christmas time in Colorado, especially in the mountains. It could be 70 degrees or subzero, and you can’t rely on the weather professionals (it’s the only career where you can be wrong on a regular basis and still keep your job). Fortunately the church and hotel for the reception were a mere half mile apart on the main road into Estes Park. In the event of bad weather, at least that route would be open. And, we definitely had very bad weather even though the snow was beautiful.

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, military discount, veterans, savings, cost savings, Our Lady of the Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado
A Traditional Wedding with Family Fun

The church and the Stanley were available Christmas weekend. We had the opportunity to pay off-season rates, and despite the snow, everything was accessible. It was a beautiful wedding with a phenomenal family reunion. Because of the distance traveled, the good times moved from the Stanley to my home. A truly traditional family wedding of fun, laughter, and good times.

Cost Saving Tip: If the bride, groom, or parent putting on the wedding is military or a veteran, always ask if there’s a military discount. You’d be surprised at the potential cost savings.

Do you have any cost saving tips to share?

The Wedding Planner — When Books Don’t Work for the Book Worm

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library
Loveland Public Library
Author Showcase

In the first article of this series, When the Book Worm Is the Wedding Planner, we established that I am first and foremost a book worm, whether it be reading or writing books. It’s reasonable for the book worm to go to her local library, peruse the wide assortment of books, and select two of the most comprehensive books as a guide toward a successful wedding. Right? That’s just what I did, but as I was reminded, never assume anything. A noted law school professor wrote the word “ASSUME” on the board the first day of class and then added hyphens after the second “s” and the “u” and said, “That’s what assuming does.” And, that’s just what it did. Hence the title, “The Wedding Planner — When Books Don’t Work for the Book Worm.”

Why Didn’t the Books Work?

If I suffered from panic attacks (which thankfully I do not), I would have had a big one. Yes, these books were thick, detailed, and quite comprehensive, but that was just part of the problem. The other part was that according to the books, I was too late…

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, library, too late
The Wedding Planner — When Books Don’t Work for the Book Worm
Too late to book
  • the church
  • the ideal setting for the reception
  • the DJ
  • the photographer
  • the videographer

And, too late to

  • have formal wedding invitations printed.

Whew. What a downer that was. Next, I returned the books, but not before I made my checklist.

A Critical Tool

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding, budget, checklist, timeline, organization, organization tips, libraryThe books did prove helpful to give me an idea of what I was up against. As a business lawyer, checklists are my strength. Checklists are critical to make sure deadlines are met and nothing falls through the cracks. Since I already missed the boat for their timeline, I had to create my own and pray it would all come together.

Additionally, most of these books assumed (there’s that word again) an unlimited or large wedding budget. Since our focus was always education, I got creative in finding ways to get the best out of our limited wedding budget.

What’s your preferred organizational tool?

When the Book Worm Is the Wedding Planner

I confess to being a book worm, not a wedding planner. When my daughter announced her engagement and followed it with, “You’ll have to handle everything Mom, I trust you…,” my voice crackled and I had difficulty breathing. “Are you sure you want ME to handle it?”

wedding, time, medical student, white coat
Medical Student

As a fourth year medical student on rotations that kept her in the hospital most of each day, she had no time. My sister inherited those event planning skills from our mother, not me. The problem was that the wedding would be in Colorado, and my husband and I with our son were the only ones here. My daughter had no choice, and neither did I.

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding
Wedding Planners
                           My Sister and My Mom
A Little Background

So that you can better understand my dilemma, I’ll share a brief story of a time when my daughter was just 4 years old and I was the Senior Attorney for a national organization located in 33 states.

A Little Background

I typically wore a suit, however, on this particular day I wore a knit sweater/skirt set. Although my daughter and mother had spent the day together, my daughter was dropped off prior to us leaving for a family dinner at an upscale restaurant. When my mother left, my 4 year old turned to me and said, “Mommy, you’re not planning on wearing that tonight are you?” When I answered in the affirmative, she responded, “No, mommy. That won’t work. Follow me.” She led me to my closet where she picked out a suit for me and I changed. “That’s better… .”

When we entered the restaurant, the first thing out of my mother’s mouth was, “Thank God you changed that awful outfit.”

The Start of Planning a Wedding

This is the daughter that trusted ME with planning every detail of her formal wedding. “God help me!” I prayed… . The first thing I did was go to the library and check out 2 of their best books on planning a wedding — what else would a book worm do, right?

With the most popular month for weddings just 6 months away, I thought this was the ideal time to share those do’s and don’ts of planning the perfect wedding, even if things don’t go exactly as planned. And just as important, is planning that elegant wedding within a smaller than desired budget. Stay tuned for those essential tips, tricks, and money saving ideas…

wedding, wedding planner, books, Hidden Bloodlines, wedding budget, Stanley Hotel, Christmas, Christmas wedding
The Engagement
Photo by Laura Grace Photography

What do you think is the best month for a wedding?

Burnout? with L.A. Sartor

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

Welcome L.A. Sartor as our guest today on Thyme for Writers! L.A. Sartor is a bestselling, award-winning author. She began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at L.A.’s insistence, wrote them down and L.A. illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action-adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation! She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date. L.A. loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. She has a blog and a mailing list.

Burnout?

Karen, thank you so much for having me as your guest. You’ve had a great line up of writers so far, I hope I keep the trend going. 😊

I thought burnout was for everyone else but me. I was on a tidal wave of producing books. Then something hit me while I was writing my seventh manuscript, Prince of Granola.

Nothing about writing intrigued me. Nothing. Not my blog, not my book. Nada.

Why? I still loved the story and my characters. I was super proud of what I’d accomplished with my writing so far.

My reaction: panic. I didn’t want to sit near my laptop, didn’t even open it for days. And when I did, I forced the writing. We all know that’s not a solution.

So, I basically ignored the dread of writing and fear of not writing, pretty sure other stress factors in my life were the cause. I couldn’t have burnout, writing was my ideal job.

Hmmm, job. More on that later.

Nevertheless, I avidly read articles on burnout or writer’s block as they appeared on my horizon; how to cope, how to push it aside, what it was. And I came to the conclusion that nope, I didn’t have burnout. I had something else. I think the word for that reasoning is denial.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, writers block
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

Months later, I faced it head on. I was experiencing burnout. And oddly acknowledging, even saying the word out loud to myself, then close friends and outward from there, made it seem fixable.

Fast forward a couple more months. Still not writing much and whining yet again to my buddy, Audra Harders, about how long it was taking me to get this blasted first draft done, she gently interrupted me and mentioned a concept. A very cool concept.

Writing in chunks.

The concept immediately hit me as right. You all know the feeling. It’s almost euphoric. Moments later my email dinged and I was gifted by her The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.

Immediately after opening the book—well, after I emailed a thank you to her—my anxiety began to dissipate.

And then I realized a few things. I had been writing as though it were a job. I’d retired a few years earlier and hadn’t fit in well with the retirement scheme of no schedules. So, I wrote as if it were a job instead of a gift and a joy.

I pushed through hours of computer time, knowing I had a goal and had to make it. Doing that served me well until it didn’t. I sold a lot of books, made it to #1 on Amazon, both on free and paid books and felt on top of the world…until I didn’t.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, Burnout, writers block
Reach Your Goals!

I knew instinctively that setting limits to my goals wasn’t me. I’m a goal oriented person. But changing my perception of goals, in this case allowing myself to write 400 words in a chunk (you learn what your chunks are), and meeting that chunk (goal) really changed me. It set me free. I was successful again when I hit my chunks and I could write as many chunks a day as I wanted. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t beat myself up, because I knew I would another day, or even the next hour.

I started being productive, and again loving what I was doing. The concept allowed me to be … me.

Back to the job issue. I also realized is that writing isn’t a job for me. And no, I’m not a full-time writer. I don’t want to be, nor frankly, do I have to be. I am a writer who believes in her story and her characters one chunk at a time.

And believe me, the chunks add up quickly, far faster than I could have dreamed. I don’t force it, I let it flow good or bad from my fingers.
Because we all know, if it’s not written down, you can’t fix it and make it better.

Prince of Granola will be out in the spring.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Believe In Me This Christmas Morn by L.A. Sartor

LA Sartor
Love the Romance ~ Live the Adventure
Bestselling Author and Winner of the International Digital Award

Believe In Me This Christmas Morn

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1Ui8Y6t (shortened)
iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/believe-in-me-this-christmas/id1147295728?ls=1&mt=11 (full)

Titles published:
Dare to Believe (2012)
Stone of Heaven ( 2013) Carswell Adventure Series Book One
Be Mine This Christmas Night (Holiday 2013) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book One
Forever Yours This New Year’s Night (Holiday 2014) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book Two
Viking Gold (July 2015) Carswell Adventure Series Book Two
Believe in Me This Christmas Morn (Holiday 2015) Star Light ~ Star Bright Series Book Three
The Prince of Granola (Coming 2018)

Social Links
Website
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

Peppermint Bits—Words Spun, Broken and Sweet By Kathryn Ross

Kathryn Ross, cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, When Cinnamon Bark, clove, peppermint, Christmas, Thanksgiving, spice, words, peppermint oil, The Gatekeeper's Key
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
The Clove Principle: Puncture Your Writing with Warmth by Kathryn Ross

Welcome Kathryn Ross to Thyme for Writers. Peppermint Bits — Words Spun, Broken and Sweet is Kathryn’s third in the The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words series! What better way to bring in the Christmas season than with Kathryn’s words of wisdom…

Like a good book, the sense of smell possesses the power to whisk a person into another time and place.

 

Memories

Memory connects a life experience stored in the brain to our senses, ready to unleash it upon our being should we come in contact with that particular sense trigger again. We flood with remembrance as nostalgia works a spa-like treatment upon our hearts—if the memories are sweet.

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins, cloves, Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key, Pageant Wagon Publishing, The Writers Reverie, publishing, peppermint, Christmas, peppermint oil, words, spun, blessing, broken, memory, sweetness
Peppermint Bits—Words Spun, Broken and Sweet
By Kathryn Ross

Christmas may come but once a year, yet when I smell pine and peppermint in July, I have a momentary urge to string lights and plug A Charlie Brown Christmas into the DVD player while consuming sweetness in a cup of hot chocolate stirred with the red and white swirl of a fragrant peppermint candy cane.

But, what if the scents that stir us connect to less than sweet memories? Brokenness. Heart sick moments in our lives we’d rather not return to even in the fleeting imagery of the mind. Sometimes, we don’t want our memories stirred. We don’t want to return to painful moments.

As writers, our words act like the power of scent whisking us to another time and place—both broken and sweet. We stir within our readers either a curse or a blessing. How we balance the ingredients of the words we write and the messages we convey by knowing and targeting a specific audience, determines the value our work is to those we hope to influence.

Powerful vehicles, our senses. Much like trigger words in a story. Swirled together like the red and white of a candy cane, they become effective communication tools for the writer and speaker, spun wisely.

The Blessing Comes through the Broken
cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins, cloves, Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key, Pageant Wagon Publishing, The Writers Reverie, publishing, peppermint, Christmas, peppermint oil, words, spun, blessing, broken, memory, sweetness
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
Peppermint Bits—Words Spun, Broken and Sweet
By Kathryn Ross

In the late 1800s, America was growing with European immigrants from many diverse Western cultures. Christmas was a holiday marked by all, though celebrations differed. One thing many did hold in common from the Old World was to see the pig as a symbol of good health and prosperity—something all families hoped for as the new year approached. A candy maker in Saratoga Springs, New York created a unique trinket, to bolster his sales, built on this commonality. He mixed sugar and peppermint into a bright pink concoction and poured it into small molds of a pig. Then, cleverly, he packaged it with a cloth bag, a little metal hammer, and directions for instituting a new family Christmas tradition. After the meal on Christmas day, the pig was placed into the cloth bag and hammered to broken bits. Emptying the bag onto the table, chucks of fragrant peppermint candy poured out—enough for everyone to eat and enjoy,making memories bathed in the scent of peppermint and a wish for good health and prosperity in the new year. Only in brokenness came the blessing.

The Sweetness Comes through Consumption
cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins, cloves, Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key, Pageant Wagon Publishing, The Writers Reverie, publishing, peppermint, Christmas, peppermint oil, words, spun, blessing, broken, memory, sweetness, candy canes
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
Peppermint Bits—Words Spun, Broken and Sweet
By Kathryn Ross

The scent of peppermint has long been connected to Christmas celebrations. As far back as the 1670s in Germany, folkore tells us about the choirmaster petitioning a candy maker to come up with a sugar stick to keep noisy children silent in the solemn part of their worship service. The clever candy maker designed the peppermint flavored candy cane we still use today in the shape of a shepherd’s crook. He swirled the sugar mixture with red and white colors in remembrance of the blood of Jesus shed to make us all whiter than snow. Story spun with tangible stimulants for the senses spoke directly to the youthful audience it was meant to still, as they consumed the sweet. Sticky and forever connected to Christmas, we consume tons of peppermint candy cane confections each year. Only in consumption comes the sweet.

As a writer, I compose my most effective words from a place of brokenness because of the bitter, and the consumption of a sweet remedy discovered. Memories I prefer to tuck away must be stirred to the surface to remember well the sour moments in time, so I might write the way to find the sweet blessing there. For me. For my readers.

Scent, like words, heal. Medicinally, peppermint oil is used to invigorate the mind and senses. It tingles the skin with coolness, aids digestion, comforts stomach upset, and washes over one with an inspiring a sense of peace.

Do the words you write and speak do the same? Are they flavored to draw to the surface bitter things and so heal with the sweet? How can you add a dose of peppermint to your work and minister peace to your readers?

clove, cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bite
By Kathryn Ross

Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross, ignites a love of literature and learning through Pageant Wagon Productions and Publishing. She writes and publishes homeschool enrichment and Christian living books for home, church, and school. Her passion is to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle, producing readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview. She blogs and podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and PageantWagonPublishing.com. Connect with Miss Kathy on Facebook.

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins, cloves, Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key, Pageant Wagon Publishing, The Writers Reverie, publishing, thesaurus
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bit
Kathryn Ross

Writer, speaker, teacher, and enrichment artist, Kathryn Ross, sweeps readers into the story-worlds of Jane Austen, C. S. Lewis, Hannah Hurnard, Marguerite de Angeli, John Bunyan, and others, exploring powerful truths to fulfilling God’s plan for your life in her latest publication, The Gatekeeper’s Key. Discern your place and season, with encouragement to see purpose in boundaries, find comfort in trials, and gain fortitude in going forth. Short story, personal testimony, excerpts from classic literature, visual imagery, challenge questions for discussion, and journal prompts for writing assignments draw you before the Gatekeeper. It’s quite a journey—but you’re never alone. Always in His Presence, with an Invitation, a Gatekeeper, and a Key. Perhaps more than one. Purchase on Amazon or direct from Pageant Wagon Publishing.