Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


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March Moon

fullmoon20120505

“For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one.”  ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I have a fear of oversleeping. I’ll often check my alarm clock 3 or 4 times before I fall asleep, that’s just me. Yesterday morning, I opened my eyes and the room was full of light. It’s never light when I get up for work, I knew I  had overslept. I sprung out of bed, put on my slippers and glanced at the clock, it was 4:00 a.m. As I took a peek through the blinds, like a beacon directing the sailors, there was a full moon.

The full moon dates back to Native Americans of a few hundred years ago. In order to keep track of the changing seasons, tribes gave each recurring moon a distinctive name. The names applied to the entire month in which it occurred. Although there have been some variations in the moon names, the same ones were used throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England and continued west to Lake Superior.

The full March moon that woke me from a peaceful sleep is called the Worm Moon. Native Americans referred to this as the last full moon of the winter after worms left a trail on the newly thawed ground, inviting the return of the robins. The Worm Moon is sometimes referred to by other names associated with the signs of spring. When the cawing of the crows signaled the end of winter, the more northern Native American tribes referred to the full moon in March as the Crow Moon or the Sap Moon, marking the time when maple sap begins to flow.

Despite the arrival of spring last week, winter has not released its grip on Charlotte. We’ve covered our sensitive plants at night as temperatures dip down into the low 20’s. I would venture to say, there won’t be any worm trails this month, but April’s moon is the Pink Moon, an affirmation that winter is finally over.


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Spring in the South

Bradford“Spring is when life’s alive in everything.” ~ Christina Rossetti

In the Northern Hemisphere, the official start of the vernal equinox was 7:02 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20th. That’s the moment when the sun is exactly overhead, as seen from the point on the Earth’s equator directly facing the sun. In the Southern Hemisphere, the winds turn colder, as the autumnal equinox sets. Here in Charlotte, the Bradford Pears are flowering, daffodils are in full bloom and the pollen is beginning to make people sneeze and sniffle. The change of seasons is a powerful force in our lives. It affects what we wear, the activities we do, our health, the foods we crave and many times our overall mood.

As for me, there are few sounds on earth as wonderful as the melody I hear when I step out the door at the break of dawn, to get the newspaper. The variety of springtime birds sounding so happy makes for a great start to my day. The ubiquitous rabbits forage before daylight, cross my path as they run scared into the neighbor’s yard. By the time I retrieve the paper, I have an extra pep in my step.

Spring is a time for renewal. As the changes occur that coincide with spring, it enlivens me as well. I feel more energized. I can put away all of the heavy coats, sweaters and wool pants, replacing them with lighter clothes and brighter colors. Winter is dull, spring is alive! Next comes the temperatures that allow for shorts and sandals, my favorite attire. There is nothing better than feeling the warm spring sun on my skin. It’s Mother Nature’s invitation to come outside to her house.

Unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the rules. This weekend it’s going to be in the low 40’s with a chance of snow showers. In spite of the sudden dip in temperatures, my mood stays light because I know next week the temperatures could be in the 70’s. That’s just how spring behaves when it first arrives.


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Where’s That Sock?

sock“Life is too short to waste time on matching socks.” ~ unknown

It never fails, almost every time I do laundry a pair of socks end up missing its match. It’s become a joke around our house because it happens so often. We refer to it as, “The case of the missing sock.” After folding all of the laundry, I’ll realize I’ve got a sock with no match. I’ll usually check the dryer first. If the dryer is empty, I’ll check the washing machine as well as the route I took when I carried the basket to the laundry room. Sometimes I’ll have to unfold shirts and towels just in case the dreaded static cling is holding the sock captive. Despite my thorough search, many times the sock doesn’t show up for a few days. Some end up in the sock “black hole” and never return. Often I feel my writing time is like that missing sock.

Since I have a full-time job outside the home, most of my writing is done during the weekend. Occasionally I’ll have a large block of free time to devote to writing either on Saturday or Sunday. However, even with a large block of time, if I don’t exercise discipline, the time will disappear like one of our socks.

Reporting to duty, otherwise known as, butt into the chair has never been an issue. My problem comes once I’m in the chair and faced with multiple distractions. Here are some rules I try to follow so my writing time doesn’t pull a disappearing act.

1. Turn off my phone or let calls go to voicemail. Often the weekend is a time to catch up on the phone with long distance friends. I’ve been known to “catch up” for over 3 hours at a time. This definitely eats away at my time, so I turn off the phone and return calls later.

2. Disable the internet. I’m not a big Facebook or Pinterest user, but reading and commenting on the blogs I follow can turn into a huge time suck. Telling myself I’ll only read a couple never works, so disconnecting is my only option. This also prevents me from obsessively checking my e-mails and reading the latest headlines.

3. Go to my quiet place. Sometimes I’ll take my favorite pen and my notebook, go into a quiet room and write by hand. This ensures the internet won’t be a distraction. Also, writing by hand puts me into a calm frame of mind where thoughts come more freely.

4. Remove tempting books from the room. Being the voracious reader that I am, I can easily be tempted by the latest novel I’m reading. If the book is anywhere in the room, the moment I can’t decide if my character will live or die, I’ll head straight for that book.

5. Ignore the dust bunnies. One of my biggest distractions when it comes to my writing time is cleaning. Normally when I’m writing, I feel guilty because there is always something to be cleaned or straightened. My eyes will scan the room, taking notice of that cobweb way up in the corner of the ceiling, so I’ll pop up to get the duster. To prevent this constant up and down, I’ll usually do some cleaning before I sit down to write to prevent the guilt.

These are just a few things I do to ensure my writing time is used efficiently. As for cracking the case of the missing sock, it’s still under investigation. For now, I’ll blame it on the leprechauns.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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Hickory Dickory Dock

This image comes from the Project Gutenberg archives.

This image comes from the Project Gutenberg archives.

“How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Seuss

On Sunday morning, it’s time to spring forward. This is my favorite time of the year because I know winter will soon depart. Until recently, I never realized how upset people get at the idea of losing one hour of sleep. Studies have even shown there is an increase in heart attacks during the first week of DST.

Approximately 70 countries utilize daylight saving time in at least a portion of the country. India, Japan and China are the only major industrialized countries that don’t observe some form of DST. In the United States, all states recognize DST, with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii.

Benjamin Franklin is widely credited for being the first to have the idea, but he did not implement Daylight Saving Time. In 1784, as an American delegate in Paris, he suggested the late rising French could save money in candles if daylight could last an hour longer for half the year. He also believed it would increase summer daylight work hours. The modern idea of DST was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson. However, the first official and established use of the idea occurred during World War II when Germany and its allies implemented changing clocks to conserve coal.

Originally the idea behind the change was to save energy, however there are mixed results showing any reduction of gasoline or electricity consumption. Some argue the energy savings by DST is offset by the energy used by people who reside in warm climates to cool their homes during summer afternoon and evenings. In addition, the argument can be made that more hours of light in the evening results in more people out doing errands, thus consuming more gasoline.

The assumed benefits of daylight saving time go beyond energy conservation. Advocates suggest that DST prevents crime since many crimes are committed after dark. They also argue commuting home during daylight hours, reduces the number of traffic accidents in the evening. The sports and recreation industries are big proponents of DST, especially in the golf industry. People can work a full day at the office and still have time to get in nine holes of golf before sundown.

Personally, I don’t care much about the studies that show the benefits or the downside of DST. If I lose an hour of sleep it’s just an excuse to drink more coffee or tea. For me, DST takes me back to my childhood and summer vacation, playing kickball in the cul-de-sac at 8:30 p.m. and still being able to see the ball. It’s hanging out with friends waiting patiently with our jar in hand, to see the first firefly of the night.

I no longer play kickball and I can’t recall the last time I caught a firefly, but my mood is  better with those extra hours of daylight in the evening. To come home from work and have several hours of daylight to do chores or just relax on the back patio with a book or do some writing, reminds me spring and summer are on the way and so are my hummingbirds.

How about you? Daylight saving time, love it or hate it?


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A Fuse for my Muse

Books1“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ~ William Faulkner

I have a confession. Since the holidays, I’ve lost my muse. Other than my blog posts, my journal, and the hundreds of e-mails I write for my day job, I’ve been full of excuses when it comes to reasons to not write. As I mentioned before, I am easily distracted and can lose my focus in an instant. This past weekend that all changed. I pounded out a short story for an upcoming contest and it was exhilarating. Once again the motivation and desire to make up stories is pumping through my veins.

What sparked the turnaround? Since the New Year, I have been reading like a madwoman. I’ve been plowing through books at a top rate speed. I’ve always been a voracious reader, that’s nothing new. It started when I was a child with the Little Golden Books and grew from there. I always have to be reading a book, sometimes I’ll read several at the same time. I’ll never leave home without a book in my purse. So the fact that I read a lot has always been a constant, but it’s the volume and speed of my reading that changed.

Lately I read to avoid writing. I read to keep my mind busy to avoid the truth; I wasn’t writing. I told myself if I was reading I was entertaining myself in a creative way. In the end, all of the reading I’ve been doing in January and February helped get my creative wheels, that had become so rusty, spinning again.  Last weekend, my laptop was smoking and it felt great!

Do I plan to continue to read at this fast and furious pace? Probably not, since I was using books to fill the hole my missing muse had left. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be reading because I am a reader and as a writer, I can’t afford not to. Not to mention the fact that my TBR bookshelves are filled with over 100 books.