Good Bye, Old Friend…

Yes, a new year is just around the corner and I greet it with open arms, eagerly willing to accept anything is has to throw at me. It will be an adventure, as always.

I will not miss the crazy hours I kept for most of 2013. I do know there will be more of that, but thankfully, less–at least, I’m hoping so. Protracted stretches of time into the wee hours of the morning, when my creativity decided to dance in my head, begging to be released will always be there, but the need to respond will not be as strong. That’s the plan, at least.

I look forward to more time behind the camera and in my studio, creating art. Though 2013 was a year of discovery for my artistic side, very little came of it. Mostly, old works, newly framed and hung, languished on the wall. I was delighted that a few pieces did sell. In 2014, I want to give wings to my Painterly side, allowing it to soar.

Hunkered in the confines of my house, writing and editing for most of 2013, left little room for travel. Oh, yes…I did manage to get away by train to Seattle for a few days to celebrate the retirement of a friend, then to Vegas to witness the union of my geeky (said lovingly) nephew to a lovely young lady. I sneaked off to take photos in the desert for short periods during my stay, which filled my heart with joy. Plus some local photo shoots resulted in some decent work. This new year will find my calendar filled with dates of travel–for the sheer joy of travel. And with photography. My heart will be bounding with joy.

Writing will always be important. I still have two books–my second and third in the series, to edit and publish, a fourth manuscript to finish so I can begin the first edit and there’s always this blog that will keep me busy.

I will be busy in 2014. I’ll be doing what I love–writing, traveling, photographing, creating art and keeping you apprised of the amazing, funny and surprising things that happen in my travels, and with my Writerly and Painterly sides.

I can hardly wait.

Until then, my faithful followers, I wish you a Happy New Year’s Eve and an amazing New Year.

May it unfold in surprising and wonderful ways. Have a joyful and blessed New Year!

A Christmas Story

 THE FOLLOWING IS A CHRISTMAS STORY I wrote in 2010 for a 101 Word Short Story project (yup, just 101 words long). For my Christmas card that year, I shaped it into a Christmas tree with a star atop. Obviously, this blog site makes adding a star difficult, so just use your imagination and see a star atop the Christmas tree.

My gift to you:


strides crunch

in the morning

snow, meandering.  Searching.

Chopping wood in the stillness

of the morning, chips fly in all directions.

    Deep footsteps trudge with the prize as the

      tree gently sweeps his steps, heading homeward.

The fire snaps and pops quietly, enveloping the room in warmth.

The piney scent of the freshly cut tree seeps into every corner as it is jostled

into place.

Ornaments, lights

give the room a

warm and festive

look.  Triumph.

And now, ready for yet another Christmas.

   But in truth, perhaps a little sadness at the loss of another beautiful tree from the woods.

101 Word Story by djamesonsmith ©12/2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May it be blessed abundantly.

Icy Touch of Winter


Here in California, we are getting a taste of what the rest (well, most) of the country is dealing with on a daily basis with this early, icy cold winter. Right now, it’s an unusual, chilly 30 degrees outside in this “Sunny California” coastal clime.

As I write this, sipping my nice hot coffee, I have a little portable heater blasting on my shins and feet. I can’t seem to get them as warm as the rest of my body when I’m sitting at the computer. My single-paned windows certainly don’t help one bit–the cold pours in, depleting what the forced-air heater pumps into the house.

I’d rather not think about how cold and snowy it is in other areas (some of my Facebook friends from various parts of the country have let me know–brrrrr). And all of the news reports on the TV of rain, snow–and icy cold weather coming down from the north. I do think about those unfortunate homeless people–it’s no longer just adults. Entire families are living in cars and on the streets. Or those that cannot afford to turn the furnace on to heat their home–or do not have heat in their home. This weather may be, literally, their death. I’m keep everyone’s health and safety in my prayers.

Clouds (and rain) are on their way to give us, here along the coast, a brief reprieve from this cold snap. The mountainous areas are bracing themselves for a good snowfall. Ski resorts are looking forward to this. Sunday morning will probably bring snow to the highest of our ‘mountain’ ranges, creating a broken snowy ring around our agriculture laced valley. It will be beautiful.

Children will cheer. A weekend to go up into the hills and play in the snow. Adults–especially those in the ag industry–will grumble. This weather is not kind to the crops that grow in our area. Others will grumble about the roads–driving on icy roads is hazardous at best, but when one is completely unaccustomed to the sheer magnitude of ice (it’s going to be everywhere!), it becomes downright dangerous. Homeless will vie for the few beds in a warm room. The rest, stuck in the damp 20-30 degree weather will do their best to stay warm.

I’m not sure what the next few weeks weather will bring us (I choose not to look at the forecasts), but I will welcome whatever comes our way and pray for those that cannot escape the bitter cold.

I have the appropriate attire…but–please, please keep those less fortunate than you in your prayers. Be a blessing to others: if you have warm coats, socks, gloves or blankets you don’t need, please, please give them to your church, local Shelter, Goodwill, or Salvation Army. They will make sure someone in need receives them.

Have a blessed day and be a blessing to others as you go through your day.