lisamoniquekent

Finding Home

Just a few Evangelines.

Good evening from cold and snowy Vermont. Today I trotted out my extraverted self and almost sold out of all of my books at the Bishop Marshall School Craft Fair. When I packed up to go home, all I had were just a few Evangelines. I got lucky today, sharing the same room with Orah Moore and several other talented crafters. Every time I’ve been a part of this fair, it’s been a success–not only in sales, but in the wonderful conversations I’ve had with readers. I also sold at least 25 of Serena’s tees. I am humbled by how much you appreciate and support our family creations. Thank you. I’m supposed to do a book signing at the University Mall next Saturday from 10 to 1 PM, but I’m not sure I can order books in time to restock. Isn’t that a nice problem to have?

They say it takes 21 days to either make or break a habit. Well, I’m on my third week of living in the present, and I think it took. I find myself less of everything–less stressed, less worried, and less judgmental of other people’s actions. And I actually think I like myself more. Right now, for example, I’m appreciating the smells coming out of our kitchen. Tim is making puttanesca from scratch–garlic and tomato, lovely!

Finally, there’s been a change in our family traditions. This year we won’t be attending the revellion, a French Canadian celebration (lots of food and double kisses) usually occurring after midnight mass. I suspect I attended even as an infant, as did my mom, and her mom. But that’s okay. We’ll change our Kent routine to have a relaxing dinner and an early bedtime at home. Life gives, life takes, and we adjust. And how fortunate we’ve been to be a part of it all for so long.

Now I smell acorn squash baking in the oven, perhaps with a touch of maple syrup. This has been a really good day.

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Coffee, Food, Drink, Hottest, Leaves

 

 

 

 

 

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A lady slipper moon…

Good evening from cold, snowy Vermont. There’s a lady slipper moon in the sky; I noticed it as I walked home from church, so glad to reach the warmth and the glow of Christmas lights at Soft Landing. This week is the first week of Advent. The wait begins.

Today I had my book signing at the Mall. I saw good friends, a few family members, and met many kindred readers. Despite how nervous I was, the event was a success–ten books into the hands of potential and established fans. And the sweetest thing? Out of all the beautiful crafts in the store, two youngsters chose one of my books as gifts for their mothers. One of them wanted to be a writer one day. “Yes!” I said. “That’s the best thing ever!” Now it’s time to prepare for next Saturday’s Bishop Marshall School Craft Fair here in Morrisville. I have a whole week to psych myself up. Thankfully Tim will be there to help, as he was today. He makes the difference.

After work tomorrow, I start practicing for the concert of French and English Christmas carols we sing at my Mom’s on Christmas Day. It takes me exactly 24 days to warm up my wobbly voice and sensitive finger pads. The concert is both joyful and sad. Joyful because everyone sings or hums and it’s a lovely sound, and sad because my dad and I used to play our instruments together for this concert, and I miss him. I felt especially close to him during this time; sitting with our chairs touching, we took our turns finger picking for added flair or bungling chords that we knew in our sleep. Dad’s voice fell right between tenor and bass. He could add a harmony part to every song, and could whistle in three different keys at the same time. My talent in music is a mere shadow of his former self. But the concert must go on, and he handed the baton to me.

Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Candles, Advent Wreath, Advent

 

 

 

 

There are people just like you…

Good morning from cool and gloomy Vermont. Yesterday I wrote out a draft of my blog entry for the week, but this morning’s disturbing dream changed my direction. In the dream, a co-worker said she hated my books–they were floral. (Apparently, this was the worst insult I could get.) I’m interpreting that as anxiety because I’ve received little feedback on Quill Point since my book came out in late October. I just checked Amazon for reviews, and did find two new excellent five-star comments from total strangers regarding Peace Cottage. So they didn’t think that book was floral.

Anyway, I got up after my dream woke me, and everyone is still asleep here, except Scout, who is in my lap and dreaming of frozen peas. Since the students are on Thanksgiving break at school, I have another Sunday off, and the nice thing is I don’t have any great plans or projects that have to be done. So I’m knitting today and listening to the Christmas Carol on YouTube. Tim is heading to our craft booth at the mall; he’s got another order of long and short sleeve tees to stock, and even a new pattern to introduce–Serena’s Stay Wild design. We’ll know in a week how November sales were.

My first book signing at the Mall is at 10 AM on Saturday. Most of you know that I’m not conducive to mall environments–the noise, the crowds, the artificial lights, the smells. But this is what I figure: Chances are, amidst the cacophony, there are people just like you who are kind, supportive, and like how I write. Those people are who I want to attract and establish a relationship with. My goal is to sell eight books in three hours. I can do that. And before you know it, I’ll be home in time to attend the church service for the first week of Advent.

I hope to see some of you on Saturday. Thanks in advance for being my security blanket. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Pumpkin, Autumn, Autumn Decoration

 

 

 

A little green shoot of mint.

Good afternoon from sunny, cold Vermont. Today I’m writing around the shape of my dog’s ear. He’s planted squarely onto my keyboard. As  I type around him, his little pointed nose is sniffing and sniffing at the bacon cooking in the fryer. He remains ever hopeful. I reach over and nuzzle the crown of his head. He smells like cookies.

It’s  strange thing to have a book out since late October and not have feedback. This is the part where I have to be brave, patient, and stay in the present moment, not thinking the worst. Staying in the present moment in my daily life is quite a challenge. Usually my mind focuses on creating possible endings, imagining different worlds, and developing scenarios to help me prepare for EVERYTHING. Reality is not my default. So this last week, I gave it a try, staying alert to the present, and it was–nice. Every time my mind would send out a little green shoot of mint that wasn’t real or current, I’d ask it, “Is that today?” And it would answer abashedly, “Well, no…” And then I’d answer back, “Let’s try just today, shall we?”

As I enter another week, I’m continuing the experiment. Today I’m thinking today things, like blogging, playing my dad’s guitar, visiting my sister, and a friend’s visit to me. I’m thinking about the new prayer shawl I’m knitting up on the sofa, and reading Pilcher’s Winter Solstice for the umpteenth time. Later this afternoon I’ll have a cup of my new beverage of choice, strawberry kefir. And all of today, I’m grateful that I have taken this day off as a personal day, that this tiny fraction of life we call Sunday is mine to enjoy in comfort and without fear.

If you have completed Quill Point and care to comment, I’m at lisamoniquekent@gmail.com or right here blogging. Otherwise, check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Peppermint, Garden, Green, Leaves

 

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If you want to pick up a book…

Good afternoon from sunny Vermont. Though we still have some black ice on our driveway, the roads are clear, and after this past week’s early snow, that’s a blessing. In a week, Mrs. Potts will sport winter tires, and we’ll both sigh in relief. I waited too long.

My book order arrived yesterday, so I now have Quill Point in hand. I delivered a stack to my mother’s last night; all my family orders have been satisfied. I’ll bring a few to work this week, and the rest will go to the mall or in storage for the Bishop Marshall craft fair. Meanwhile, Tim is placing an order for more tees so that we will be well stocked for the holidays. We have a ways to go before we turn a profit on our business venture, but most of the pleasure I get is to know that people are happy with our products. I haven’t heard any comments about Quill Point, so I don’t yet know if people like it. Maybe I’ll hear by year end. We do know that customers have been wowed and pleased with Serena’s art work. In any case, if you want to pick up a book, just email me at lisamoniquekent@gmail.com

Do you remember the red corduroy pants I blogged about several years ago? How wearing them cheered me? Well, because I was paring down, I passed them on, and now I have severe regrets. The sun pouring into the windows here at Soft Landing, the dog on my lap, all these sweet life touches need red corduroy pants. I blew it. I’m looking again though. Perhaps the thrifting universe will give me a second chance.

Here’s what is rattling around in my brain this week: What if regenerative agriculture took over the planet and saved it? Is living on an island off the coast of Maine a possibility–or would I feel too isolated? Does the word “context” come from early French or English? (There’s some disagreement.)

With that, I bid you a good week. Check in next Saturday for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

Fabric, Pattern, Desktop, Textile

 

 

 

 

 

Give yourself a present this year.

Good evening from dark and cold Vermont. It snowed today, the first of the season, at least for me. I was taken unaware (still driving summer tires) and also enchanted. First snows move me right into the holiday spirit. And they remind me also that another year has slipped by without my ability to control it. There’s that David Bowie’s line, “Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.” I’m sure he wrote that for me.

Yesterday our family got hit hard with the news that Serena’s application for disability benefits was denied for the second time. We will get a lawyer and appeal, of course, but we feel bedraggled and exhausted at this stage.
A reader asked me last week about the linguistics work that’s on my bucket list. Here’s what I want to do: With the help of dictionaries, verb books, beginning level texts, and intermediate fiction (all of which I have on-hand in my trusty bookshelf) I will relearn Latin, increase my fluency in French, and start learning Spanish and Itallian, all through the lenses of linguistics and hermeneutics. There is no “end” or “goal.”  I’m doing this for the pure joy of “messing about with words,” to misquote Kenneth Grahame.
Tonight I need to draw up language that Tim can throw onto a poster for our booth at the mall. I need to convince people to come to my book signing, move them enough to get out of their homes, into their cars, and into the mall just to see me. I’m thinking this:
In every season there’s room for a good book in hand. This holiday season, find a quiet spot and a cuppa and lose yourself in the heartwarming, contemporary love stories created by Lisa Monique Kent. She’ll be here signing and talking about her newest and just released book Quill Point, as well as Peace Cottage, Raising Evangeline, and Vinehart Farm.
  •  Saturday November 30th from 10 to 1 PM,
  •  Saturday December 14th from 10 to 1 PM.
Give yourself a present this year–a genuine Vermont story is the very best kind.
Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

I know it’s not Sunday…

Hello from crisp, sunny Vermont. I know it’s not Sunday, but this time corresponds with my remembering to write and having time to do it. Big news–my book Quill Point is published! It’s available on Amazon as an eBook now, and will be available as a print book on Amazon by November 2nd. I will have books in hand for both the BJAMs craft fair and our booth in the University Mall. If anyone local can’t get to these places, please contact me at lisamoniquekent@gmail.com and we can figure out how to meet. I’ll order and receive a book shipment by the end of next week. Am I ready to sign books!

Yesterday, my friend Amy and her husband Steve brought me to the Champlain Valley Expo to walk through the huge craft and antique fair. I saw sets of silverware for hundreds of dollars, old milk pails just like the kind my dad lugged against his crooked knees, stunning earrings made out of all kinds of material–wood, silver, paper. There were Christmas wreathes that smelled of balsam. (My nose got wistful). Someone was selling homemade bees wrap. I found so many things I wanted to replicate at home using what I had on hand. Mostly, I appreciated getting out and about with a good friend. This was a best day.

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of visiting with my uncle on my mom’s side  and three of his kids and one of his grandchildren. They came down from Quebec. We were quite a group at the lunch table, duel language the whole way. I held my own. I can’t wait to start my self-study linguistics master’s. But I need a desk first, or just the right container.

Okay, time for church. Check in next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisapumpkin-2754225_960_720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good afternoon everyone from chilly, rainy Vermont. Just this morning it was Alleluia Chorus Autumn, so pretty, with all those fuzzy caterpillar colors mixed in with reds. I love the foliage. It’s the cold I dread.

This is what I’m learning about: regenerative agriculture, courtesy of Anderson’s One Size Fits None, fungal balls in sinus cavities, and how to darn. Mom said she used to have this wooden thing that she stuck in the bottom of socks. I guess it made her work easier, and the stitches lasted longer. I couldn’t visualize this contraption so I Googled it. My goodness–it looks like a rattle! Of course now I want one–with my zero waste push, I thought I was done with wants. Still, a nice antique darning egg in my stocking at Christmas? It sure beats fungal masses!

There’s progress on my book. My publisher sent me “the files” (the final draft, the cover,etc.) but I can’t find them in my email. I’ve asked him to resend, and hopefully he’ll see the message soon. I’m still looking to get these in my hands and available on Amazon by the end of October. Oh, and great news about how we are doing at the Mall. We just got our first check and sales breakdown and we sold lots of tees and books. I’m trying to set up two book signing dates, one Thanksgiving weekend, and one in December. Hopefully I’ll work the logistics out this week.

That’s it for me. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home. (Photo courtesy of Serena)

Lisa

Image preview

 

 

 

 

Under the radar.

Good morning from bleakish Vermont! Yesterday we were at almost peak foliage here, and what a thrill it was for our senses. I sat out back on our red bench with the dog bundled up in my lap. He sniffed, I saw, and then we switched. (Neither of us barked.) I’m in a great mood, my brain is spiffy, and I’m ready to write. It helps that I have the day off, since the students are on break. Anyway, Friday my sister and I attended the University of Vermont’s Women’s Health and Cancer Conference, my first time, her zillionth. In one of the sessions, I heard a survivor’s philosophy that cancer is a lifestyle change, like starting a new job. I thought of Serena, with her chronic illness, and my perspective shifted. She too has had a lifestyle change–this seems to me a more positive way to think of it. And then at a session on mindfulness, I heard this wonderful equation:

Suffering = stress x resistance. Isn’t that spot on?

That got me thinking about my bucket list, and how I had never made one. So right then and there, as the words of the presenters wove their way in and out of my ears, I started one. I even gave it a formal title–Lisa’s Bucket List (I know, pretty original).

  1. Live on the Maine coast and explore it with joy for at least ten years.
  2. Visit France, England, Scotland, and Italy.
  3. Tour parts of the United States and Canada with Tim in an RV.
  4. Learn how to play pickle ball and become part of a sports community again.
  5. Finish our wedding album.
  6. Finish my photojournalism autobiography project.

Notice there’s no “write another book” or “clean the garage” or “attain zero waste.” Those are all things I expect will happen over the course of my remaining years, so they aren’t bucket list material. But the six I have, they’ll be a stretch. They’ll be major; yet, from where I am right here and now, they are attainable.

I also attended a cooking demonstration on digestive health (which is why today I will make a Superfood Quinoa Salad). And this is the nugget of information that I gleaned: Be more consistent with your fiber intake and your stomach will have an easier time digesting. I thought I’d slip that in under the radar.

My book is happening but I’m being quiet about it just in case. We should know soon how our sales have been at the Mall. And finally, last year, a bit damp in the heart, I started listening to Christmas music at this time. This year, I think I can wait until November.

I leave you with a photo of a bucket. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home (if I remember, because last week I plain forgot).

Lisa

Old, Rust, Boiler, Metal, Rusted, Door

 

 

 

 

 

A large glass of wine.

Good evening from hazy Vermont. I miss blogging in the morning when my mind is clear and fresh. At this point in my life, I can’t seem to manage getting up before 6:30 AM to write before work. My mother–now she’s an early bird, often waking around 4 AM. I suspect when I’m older I’ll need less sleep myself. For now, I’ll keep to Sunday afternoons after work, and you’ll just have to deal with my brain fatigue.

This week we have two guests coming to the library, Rick Prashaw, the author of Soar, Adam, Soar, and VT Attorney General TJ Donovan, who will speak on the criminalization of poverty. Responsible for their both visiting and the success of the events, I’m imagining worse case scenarios in all directions. I will live through it, and maybe even enjoy it and learn a thing or two. But planning events? Not my ken. I suspect by Friday I’ll be ready for a large glass of wine.

Here’s the latest on my zero-waste journey. No more toothpaste or deodorant tubes, no more shampoo bottles, no more plastic toothbrushes. What I’m really struggling with is remembering to bring containers to grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes. I need a special travel kit that’s always with me. I’ll see if I can assemble it from bits and pieces here, and report back next week.

Not much news on my book, except that its Welcome to the World date is October 15th. I’ll do a cover reveal in a few weeks. Things at the Mall have been quiet–not too many books or tees sold. We are hoping that we’ll get more sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As backup, I’ll participate in the Bishop Marshall School craft fair again. My local readers always come through for me.

My writing today seems so drab. That’s the difference for me between writing in the morning and writing in the evening. In the morning, I’m ready to explore new words and magically turn a phrase. At night, I can barely articulate. Darn.

I leave you with Serena’s shot of Lake Elmore. Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.

Lisa

elmore photo fall

 

 

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