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Fine. I’ll admit it. Starting with my poetry writing days in the 1970s, I’ve worked through “issues” with old boyfriends, bosses, co-workers, ex-spouses, family members, random acquaintances and people I once considered friends by writing – most recently, using my imagination to transform them into hopefully unrecognizable characters in my books who can then be tortured, punished, rewarded, inappropriately loved and even killed.

Writing therapy is a wonderful by-product of being an author. With apologies to my brother, the psychologist, I believe it’s saved me thousands of dollars in counseling fees.

Dad - creek

Seriously, though – this Thanksgiving, I have many reasons for which to be thankful. I also have cause to grieve, having just lost my beloved father to leukemia on November 7th. My month has been filled with final foot rubs, long remembered conversations, and last words. My time has been taken up, not writing or trying to make a daily word count, but sleeping beside my Dad in the double recliner, rubbing his arm in the night when he didn’t feel well, and talking about “things” when one or the other of us couldn’t sleep.

Dad - daybreak

Days were filled with driving Dad around to his favorite farms so he could watch my brother bring the harvest in – for the first time, without him.

Dad - harvest

After Dad made the transition to his new home in heaven (which I truly believe is trimmed out in cherry wood, with crown moldings and one-of-a-kind solid wood doors that have a few knots, because while most people consider them a flaw, Dad thought they were “beauty-ful”), my days were spent rounding up a bluegrass band to play “Life is Like a Mountain Railway” at his funeral, making 18 dozen eggs into Hansen family sanctioned egg salad, and proofing Dad’s obituary and memorial flyers.

Dad - grandkids

I wouldn’t have missed a single moment that transpired or a single word that passed between us.

Earlier this fall, I fully intended to do NaNoWriMo, a writing challenge that asks you to commit to writing 1667 words a day for the month of November for a total of 50,000, or in my case, half of a book.

About the time my brothers and sister and I held a “Funeral Rehearsal” party for Dad that was attended by almost 250 people (at his request – he kept saying it was too bad he had to miss his funeral because the bluegrass music was going to be good, and he would like to see all his friends), I designed a mockup of a book cover and wrote a synopsis for Seaside Daisy.

Seaside Daisy

I’ve accomplished my NaNoWriMo goal for the last two years with Sweet William and Golden Rod and assumed I would do the same this year. But Seaside Daisy had nothing to do with Dad, and he’s all I can think about. Dad had never been to Ireland, where it’s set. He’s never lived by the sea, and to be honest, he probably would have thought Daisy was a flake.

Daybreak in Denmark

On November 22, I made a new cover file and wrote a new synopsis for Daybreak in Denmark, a long-planned but still unwritten sequel to my first novel, Night and Day. It’s the right book for a time such as this. Dad was half Danish and traveled to the island of Als almost 20 years ago to search for his extended family, who we’ lost touch with after World War II. If Dad was still alive, I could ask him about the farming bits, and reminisce about the interesting things we did in Denmark.

Dad - porch swing

The father figure in both Night and Day and Daybreak in Denmark is a dear man, a retired farmer with a fun sense of humor. It will be my honor to incorporate snippets of my Dad’s jokes and quirky Minnesota ways into this book.

Dad - combines

As an added bonus, Jensen has a cantankerous stepchild to contend with in this book. Why this will be therapeutic for me is a whole other story, and one I shouldn’t go into here. But trust me, this character is going to be a well-drawn, expertly crafted antagonist.

If you’ve lost a loved one recently or need to work through another sort of emotional issue over the holidays, I highly recommend writing. Get it out. Put it into words, or at least try. Journal, blog, or write a letter to the person you’re having troubles with and then tear it up or throw it in the fire. Whatever. Writing about it helps.

Dad - funeral spray

I’m thankful I got to spend as much time with my Dad as I did. I’m grateful for the hugs, loving words, and other expressions of sympathy shown to me, my husband and my family since his death. I’m grateful to have been raised and loved by a man who taught me so much – by word and example. My dad wasn’t a writer, or even a good reader, but he was a great storyteller. He was also an expert at repurposing rejected “stuff”, and a talented creator of beauty-ful things. I miss him so much, but I treasure my memories and the gifts that he gave me, and for that, I am truly thankful.

Dad - casket


Sherrie Hansen’s Bio:
Twenty-six years ago, with the help of her dad, Sherrie rescued a dilapidated Victorian house in Northern Iowa from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn.  After 12 years of writing romance novels, Sherrie met and married her real-life hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. They now spend their time in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and Sherrie writes on the run whenever she has a spare minute. Sherrie enjoys playing the piano, photography, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with her nieces and nephew. “Golden Rod” is Sherrie’s 10th book to be published by Indigo Sea Press, a mid-sized, independent press out of Winston Salem, NC.
You can find more information about Sherrie Hansen here:






Amazon Author Page


“Be thankful for the bad things in life. For they open your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.”  I saw this quote on Facebook a few days ago.  The photo it was attached to was of Kermit the Frog leaning against a pillar. I don’t know if this is a quote from Kermit or if whomever posted it just thought it was a good match.

Zion 2013 Sunset shadows

It did make me think. At our community Thanksgiving service last Sunday, my husband spoke about a song called, Forgive Us, Lord, For Shallow Thankfulness, which came from a Missouri Synod Lutheran hymnal. It resonated with me because, probably like many of us, I tend to get excited about things like getting fiber optic internet access, my latest hat or earrings, a big night at work where everything goes smoothly and I actually make money instead of losing it, getting to play the piano with my musical friends, and things like having a whole day to myself when I can hang out in my nightgown and write all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but…

Sherrie and Mark 2013

I take the really good, important things in my life for granted. Shelter, enough food to fill my stomach, a family that loves me, a husband who is a dear, friends who care about me, my nice, blue PT cruiser and my nicely decorated homes and … how quickly I forget to enjoy  and give thanks for these very precious things.

Guest Room

And when bad things happen or things don’t go the way I’d hoped they would, like most of us, I tend to grumble instead of giving thanks.

Zion 2013 Stormy

If I go one step further and look at the really big picture – I am embarrassed that I don’t feel more gratitude for the most important things – the fact that God loves me and gave His son to die for me, and that He is always by my side, through good times and bad. The fact that I am loved by the Lord Creator, Risen Savior of all is certainly something to be thankful for, yet, so very often, I live my life as though the stone, unrolled, still lay across the door.

Zion 2013 Frost Close

When bad things happen, we’re often jolted into realizing what’s really important, and feeling appreciation for what really matters. My husband tells the story of a study about a man who won the lottery and a man who endured a horrible car accident and many months / years of healing and rehabilitation. The study looked at who was happier after ten years, and surprisingly, it was the man who survived the horrific car accident.

Zion - bowed head

I wish you nothing but happiness on this Thanksgiving Day, but the next time your day, week or month is frustrating instead of ideal, and your microwave dies and your glasses break and your blog disappears and won’t post, I hope that we are (I am) able to humbly give thanks with a grateful heart and remember I Thessalonians 5:18 – in ALL circumstances, give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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RAGGED ROBIN – New Release

PLUM TART IRIS – New Release

Seaside Daisy


Daybreak (Sequel to Night & Day)

Night and Day

Golden Rod

Sweet William

Shy Violet

Blue Belle

Wild Rose

Thistle Down

Love Notes

Stormy Weather

Water Lily

Merry Go Round

What You’ve Missed

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