I saw a post recently about surrounding yourself with women you look up to, so that you can be inspired. I’m all for building up and supporting the women in my life who have made it in one way or another.
Beginning Sunday, April 24, this week for me is a week of recognizing the Empowered Women in my life who have chosen to share my journey. I invite you to come along and enjoy the week-long celebration!
The celebration began on Sunday with my sister Jeana hosting me me on her blog – http://www.simple-sweet-living.com. Standing all of 5 feet 2 inches, Jeana is the embodiment of kick ass. At 50 years old she not only earned her Bachelors’ Degree, she secured a job teaching full-time, and had spent the previous 18 years raising her two sons as a Single Mom. She is amazing and inspires me daily.
Tuesday, April 26, my future daughter-in-law and very talented silversmith and owner of NURTURED BY NATURE DESIGNS, Jolene Deanna Pierce, is releasing her next collection of jewelry. In honor of my upcoming release, Jo has named this collection “Life is for Living” after the book that inspired her, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, Book 2 of my Earth & Sky series.
If you all remember, Jolene honored me with the release of my first book of the Earth and Sky Series, LOVE IN THE FOREST, with a similarly named collection of jewelry she lovingly handcrafted herself.
Here’s some very cool news for you! This partnership has come to life in so many ways. It seems Jo has set up shop within the Earth & Sky Series with a brick and mortar shop in the heart of the fictional village Demilune, NY, where the stories are based. It’s where Josh Quinn shopped for Brooke in LOVE IN THE FOREST, and where Dan and Jayde’s love story unfolds.
Then WEDNESDAY, April 27 we have my release of BOOK TWO of the Earth and Sky Series, LIFE IS FOR LIVING! So far reviewers are saying FANTASTIC things about this story, so I just KNOW you all are going to love this one as much as you loved LOVE IN THE FOREST and TEN BUCKS AND A WISH!
This week ends (but the fun really begins) with the Launch of my 2022 Earth and Sky Book Tour, with Alabaster and Ash of Remsen, NY hosting my first event! Owner, Daniee, is a power house fit to stand beside myself, Jeana, and Jo, with the healing and teaching mecca she has established in the heart of Oneida County, just 20 minutes north of Utica, NY.
Joining me at my table on Saturday, April 30, will be a former YWCA MV co-worker, Donna Lambert, who has also ventured out into the field of publishing as a contributing author of My Secret Life. Donna will be on hand selling copies of her book, and will stand beside me as one more amazing, empowered woman I surround myself in this lifetime.
So if you find yourself needing empowerment, or if you are empowered yourself and want to meet like-minded women, discover a really cool shop, and pick up your next favorite romance novel, head on down to the April 30th Book Signing and share in my celebration.
If you can’t make it, be sure to visit amazon.com/author/janinagrey and pick up LIFE IS FOR LIVING, LOVE IN THE FOREST, and TEN BUCKS AND A WISH to meet the empowered women in my stories who overcome all the obstacles in their lives to do the healing they need to do to trust their hearts and find true love.
April 20, 2022 is the 15th anniversary of my big sister’s death. Janie was 47 years old when she suffered a stroke. Except for some jaw pain and headaches, she never complained about her health to me. She went to bed on April 6 and my brother in law found her in the morning.
I’d spoken with her two days before. We always talked on my rides home from work, at least once a week, so that was my very last 20 minutes with healthy Jane I’d get to share. I hold that conversation close in my heart like a favorite tattered quilt you just can’t let go of, no matter how frayed the edges or worn the print has become.
We talked about my new position at the Y, my new boyfriend, family stuff. I updated her on Ant and Allie. I asked if she was still packing, as she’d been telling me they were moving to North Carolina. She said she had been. I told her I wished they could move up here, up the road. There was acreage for sale and she could have horses. We laughed about how if that happened we’d be the two crazy old ladies living on the hill. She asked if David made me happy, and I told her he did. And she said she couldn’t wait to meet him. We laughed because we still had each other’s Christmas presents to exchange, and I had her birthday presents from January.
We’d not seen one another in a while, the year before. She’d take the train up here a couple times a year and we’d spend a week or so drinking wine and catching up. We’d do Pizza Hut for breakfast, even though it freaked me out. But that was her thing, and hey, this was her vacation. We’d go to Denny’s for lunch and sit for hours, until we’d have to get home before the kids got home from school, drinking Denny’s out of coffee, yakking away.
We loved to smell each other. Crazy, I know. But when you love someone, you want to imprint them in your mind forever, so you smell them, and you recognize their scent so that they stay with you in as many ways as possible when they are not nearby. We’d hug each other and bury our noses in one anothers necks, breathe deeply, and say, “I love your smell.”
Jane had a hard life. She was a lover. She was a fighter. A nurturer. A Protector. A Path Forger. A Caregiver. A Singer. A lover of animals. A lover of music. She was short, but fierce. Tiny, but mighty. And when a law needed to be laid down, you went to Janie.
Jane left home at 16 years old and moved in with her best Pal, Patty.
Jane went on to graduate high school with her class and finished her nursing certification, even though some people said she wouldn’t. In a way, Jane was continuing a cycle (my mom left home at 16 years old) but also breaking it (Jane completed her education, my mom never got the chance to). And she was determined to finish her schooling to show people she wasn’t quitting or giving up on life, she was doing what she needed to do to survive. And she did.
I miss her terribly, but she is with me still to this day. And she makes her presence known now and then, although not as frequently as when she first passed.
One of her most memorable (after life) visits was captured on a recording. I’d gotten David a new trail cam for Yule, and we wanted to see if we could capture any ghost activity in the house. So we set it up in various places. One video caught both of us sleeping, and you can hear in the background a guitar plinking. The second that happened we both (in our sleep) sighed very contentedly and loudly. The picture of Jane playing the guitar I posted at the start of this blog was on the corner shelf in our bedroom.
Jane loved music. She introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and Foghat. A few years after Jane’s death, me and the girls and David went to see Foghat at the Turning Stone in August 2008. I’d been lucky enough to snag a pre-concert telephone interview with Roger Earl for the paper I worked at, The Mercury, along with tickets and press passes for the concert. While there, we kept talking about how we wished Janie had been there to share this experience with us. Afterwards, there was a Meet and Greet with the band. We asked for a group photo, and they happily accommodated us. So Joy and Jeana and myself gathered around the band and David took the photo. And lo and behold, wouldn’t you know it. Look who showed up next to me and Roger!
There are lots of other great memories of Janie, but I thought I’d share these more obscure moments as we honor her today. I’m saddened to say I don’t have a lot of pictures of the two of us as adults, or pictures with my son Anthony, who adored her. She didn’t like pictures because she thought she was ugly, a horrible practice I took up as well for a good part of my life.
One thing is for sure. She was and always will be my inspiration and often encouraged me to never give up on my dream of becoming a published author.
I love her and miss her so much. And that is something I know will never fade. Blessed DeathDay, Janie Louise Solicito Snow. I love you.
The unseasonable snows are the big picture, and we are not the artists. We are part of the canvas.
Our ancestors used to divide the year up into two parts – the light and the dark. The light would be summer, which began at the Vernal Equinox (Springtime, Mid-March) and end at the Autumnal Equinox in September (Fall). Midsummer is now called “the first day of Summer” in June, even though the Sun is at it’s peak and the days begin to grow shorter.
Winter would then begin at the Autumnal Equinox (Mid-September, Autumn) and end at the Vernal Equinox in Spring. Midwinter would be marked in December, on the day now referred to as the first day of Winter. And thus the year would turn.
So, even using this logic, the snows are out of season. But not for Upstate New York! Back in 2002 we had snow on May 18.
Don’t worry, it will melt in a couple of days. Get your kayaks ready!
The snow is beautiful, while the timing is inconvenient. But it’s a reminder that we are a part of nature, we are not the main part, just a small part.
In a few hours a snow storm can wipe out the power for thousands of people. A flood can destroy neighborhoods. A tornado can wipe out a town. And people hate it and curse it. But yet, we fund billions of dollars for war, and war wipes out millions of lives, and we just keep funding it.
Who are the savages here? Mother Nature or humans?
So while the snows are troublesome, they remind us to slow down. Appreciate life. And understand that we are a part of the big picture, we are not the artist.
Welcome to Bicolandia! A region located in the Southern part of the Philippines. This blog is dedicated to anything and everything we love about Bicol. Let me tell you about the things that I find interesting in my side of the world.