Jill Weatherholt

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


Welcome Merril Smith #wouldyourather

Today I’m happy to welcome friend, poet, author and blogger Merril Smith. For several years, Merril and I have followed many of the same blogs. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her. Since she’s the first poet to play along, I was excited to read her answers. Thanks for playing, Merril!

Thank you very much, Jill, for inviting me to play “Would you rather?” I always read these posts with great enthusiasm, and I’m pleased to be on this side of things today. I see the world in many shades rather than simply black and white, and as you’ll see from the way I’ve answered these five questions, I’m not good at answering survey questions because I want to add disclaimers or ask, “but what if?” to every response.

I guess I’m full of contradictions though because I’m also good at taking and writing tests.

Would you rather be able to freeze time or travel in time?

I would never want to live in one moment. Wouldn’t that be boring? I would love to travel in time, but I would only want to be an observer. I wouldn’t want to risk changing any timelines, and I enjoy my comforts: running water, indoor plumbing, coffee, and chocolate. I also wouldn’t want to risk being hanged as a witch because of the things I know. However, I would love to be able to go back to see some of the couples I wrote about in my dissertation/first book, Breaking the Bonds. History is written based on the facts we have—but there is generally little documentation for ordinary people of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century. Of course, I’d also like to “go behind the scenes” with famous people—Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Ben Franklin, and others.

Would you rather always have a healthy heart or always have a healthy brain?

This is a tough one. I don’t want a mental OR physical decline. But it was sad to see my mom not really with it, and I don’t want to be like that. I’d have to say I’d want a healthy brain, and hope that I’d also have a healthy body till my heart stops.

Would you rather speak all languages or be able to speak to all animals?

Hmm. . .if I spoke all languages, wouldn’t that include animal languages, as well as those of alien space creatures? If not, I would still choose to speak all languages. I’m only fluent in English, which is just sad, and makes me feel like the Ugly American. I do my best to communicate with animals, even if I don’t speak their language.

Would you rather live in a museum or a zoo?

So . . . anyone who knows me, knows that I love museums. I love animals, too, but I don’t like to see them in cages (though I know that’s not the standard now). I’d pick a museum with gardens, and I’d probably pick an art museum with a large and varied collection. And if I also have that language skill above, it could be anywhere in the world! I’d certainly have lots of material for ekphrastic poems and stories.

While answering this question, I was reminded of a StoryCorps story of a man who grew up living in a library because his father was the custodian. He could go and read any book after hours. I love this story, and I think living in a museum would be a similar situation.

StoryCorps story:


Or there’s this animated video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNeFhMnP7dA

Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly?

Breathing underwater would be a very useful skill, but I would love to see what it’s like to fly.  I love watching birds fly, and it looks so easy for them, but it seems incredible, too. Of course, since I have no sense of direction–and I get motion sickness–flying could be a problem.


Merril’s Bio:

Merril grew up in the Philadelphia, PA, suburbs and now lives in New Jersey, near Philadelphia. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, Doug, and they have two grown daughters. She taught pre-school for a few years, then went back to school to get a Ph.D. in American history. She’s written and edited many books on history, sexuality, and gender, and she is also a freelance test writer for TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). She began a blog several years ago, vaguely intending it to be a history blog of some sort, but the poetry muse took hold of her, and the blog has become a mostly poetry blog. Some of her poems and short fiction has been published in Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Wellington Street Review, Twist in Time, Vita Brevis, and Ghost City Review. She is working on a poetry collection.

Connect with Merril D. Smith:

Blog: Yesterday and Today https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @merril_mds

Instagram: mdsmithnj


Welcome Irene Olson #wouldyourather

Today I’m excited to welcome friend, author, blogger and advocate, Irene Olson. Honestly, I can’t recall how or where Irene and I connected, but she’s been a tremendous support to me and my father during our caregiver journey. I admire Irene for her willingness to share her own personal experience with Alzheimer’s and its ever-changing effects on family dynamics. Thanks for playing along, Irene!


Would you rather live in the middle of nowhere, with no people or stores within a 10-mile radius, or live in a busy city?


That’s an easy one for me because I currently live in a rural area 10 miles from Seattle, WA in a neighborhood where I can’t see my next-door neighbors’ houses because of the forest-like environment that surrounds me. My husband and I love to hike but when we are not able to do so, our 3-mile walks through our neighborhood give us the sense of being in the wilderness without having to get in a car to travel there. But I am also a sociable person so knowing that many of my family members reside in the same state where I live, gives me warm fuzzies because I know a hug with them is just a short distance away.


Would you rather have someone clean for you or have someone cook for you?


I really don’t mind the process of cleaning as it gives me great satisfaction to witness the transformation from dust bunnies that hide in every corner of my house, to nary a dust particle in sight. And I’ll let you in on a secret…our three-year-old grandson’s fingerprints on our windows bring me joy, a joy that prevents me from wiping their existence from my purview more often than not. Someday the little guy’s fingers won’t be so little and most likely the joy in discovering bigger prints won’t compare to the feelings upon coming across them now. COOKING is something I really don’t enjoy so if someone could create menus and dishes that knock my socks off, I would sign up for that service faster than you could imagine. I am blessed, however, with a husband who cooks far better than I – a feat I attribute to him being an engineer by trade. He just knows how to combine ingredients to make them shine almost as bright as my smile when I taste them!


Would you rather be able to take back anything you say or hear any conversation that is about you?


If it were possible to take back thoughtless or ill-conceived words, that would be a gift I would choose above all else. I have certainly grown wiser and more careful in my later years but my earlier years weren’t nearly as thoughtful. Full transparency: as a college freshman, I was missing my family and my then boyfriend very much. On a Friday night while studying with my dorm room open, three young men knocked on my door and one of them exclaimed, “Why is someone as pretty as you stuck inside tonight?” Instead of accepting that very generous compliment, my emotions got the worst of me so my response to this innocent young man was, “I babysit kids taller than you!” Hurtful and inexcusable words that cannot be taken back. I still grieve having said those words forty-eight years ago; I just hope he hasn’t had to live with those same words all these years later. I hope you all won’t judge me for my past sins – I have judged myself far worse than any punishment you could ever mete out.


Would you rather publish one insanely great-selling book and never write again, or publish a string of 15 average-selling books over a 20-year period?

One best seller would really float my boat, especially if the title was Requiem for the Status Quo, written to honor my father’s Alzheimer’s journey, and those similarly taxed with the disease as a patient or a caregiver. I am friends with several authors who say they can’t help but write – I am not one of those authors. I am working on a project right now that greatly inspires me to get it out there for public consumption – but unless another idea/theme enthuses me as much as Requiem or my current work-in-progress (WIP), that novel may be my last published piece. Perhaps if I started writing for publication in my 30s or 40s I might feel differently, but that was not the case, so I’m quite certain my WIP will be my publishing swan song of sorts.

Would you rather never be able to write or never be able to read?


Write. Hands. Down. I read non-fiction and fiction every day and have done so for more decades than I can count. Reading brings me joy, even when its offerings sometimes bring me to tears. I don’t necessarily read to escape, but I most definitely read to re-situate myself elsewhere. I think there’s a difference. I love my life, but I am not averse to experiencing something other than my personal journey. If I can learn from the successes and mistakes of others, just as I have learned from my own peaks and pitfalls, then I have complimented the writings of others, just as their words have complemented my own life.



Bio: Irene Frances Olson writes from passion and experience. She was her father’s caregiver during his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Having previously worked in the assisted living and memory care industry, she was not new to the disease—nor was her family immune.

After her father’s 2007 death from Alzheimer’s disease, Ms. Olson worked as an Alzheimer’s Association support meeting facilitator and concurrently, she worked for the State of Washington as a Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTC) – an advocate for adults living in LTC settings. The author maintains a blog www.babyboomersandmore.com, also known as Living: the ultimate team sport, focused primarily on elder issues, and her writing journey can be found on her author website: www.irenefrancesolson.com. Irene hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by writing novels that encourage those who just might need another cheerleader in their corner. Her latest and most joyful role as of late is as a grandmother to her grandson and a future grandmother to his sister or brother that will enter her world in September.



Welcome Jacqui Murray #wouldyourather

Today I’m excited to welcome friend, author, teacher and blogger Jacqui Murray from WordDreams. Most of you know Jacqui, and you’ll probably agree with me when I say she is one of the hardest working and busiest writer and teacher out there. I know you’ll enjoying learning more about her. Thanks for playing along, Jacqui!

If you were reborn in a new life, would you rather be alive in the past or future?

I have an unrequited love of life lived in the wilds, when survival depended upon wits, being able to turn the impossible into the norm. Since my books are set 850,000 years ago, I’d definitely choose in the past.

Would you rather be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?

That’s easy–the funniest. Intelligent people can save the world and solve the impossible but my experience is their intelligence isn’t always appreciated. I mean, who wants to be around someone who’s always right? But the funny guy–she entertains, makes you laugh, and you want more. I’ll choose that.

Would you rather speak all languages or be able to speak to all animals?

Oh of course–speak to animals! I read a lot about the body language of horses, dogs, wolves, and all sorts of animals. It is amazing to understand that their laughs (chimpanzees) and tail wags (dogs) don’t mean what they would if we did it. I love it!

Would you rather have a lifetime subscription to Netflix or an unlimited gift card to Starbucks?

Since I don’t frequent Starbucks, Netflix it is! I’m way to frugal to spend so much on coffee. I don’t mind others doing it, it’s just not for me. I also rarely eat out. Another frugality. For that one, it helps that my husband is an excellent cook.

Would you rather live in the middle of nowhere, with no people or stores within a 10 mile radius, or live in a busy city?

If ‘the middle of nowhere’ included an internet connection, I’m there! I am looking for a retirement home and have found several that were perfect—isolated, mountain views, lots of space around me—but lousy internet. I kept looking.

Just a few of Jacqui’s books:

Born in a Treacherous Time – on Amazon

Survival of the Fittest – on Amazon

Quest for Home – on Amazon

Against All Odds—planned publication: late Summer 2020














Blurb for Jacqui’s latest book, The Quest for Home:

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life. 

The story isset 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.  

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Connect with Jacqui:

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/2XcIVZ1

Blog:    https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net


Jacqui’s Bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.