I hope you noticed the blog posting I shared today from Rhonda Cratty.  Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes!  Today is the date that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born, therefore it must be Sherlock Holmes birthday too.  I have another reason to celebrate.  Today is my niece Mandy’s birthday and she turned thirteen!  Fortunately for Aunt Miriam she woke early and emailed me.  Here is what her email said:
It’s my birthday!  It is 6:14 and I am still not completely awake.  Mom, still with her eyes closed on the couch, says, “Happy birthday.” It sounds more like she’s saying it in a dream.  I hope the rain will leave and my friend Scufflen will show up!  Scufflen is my squirrel.  He’s really sweet and likes potato chips.  Yesterday he let me get half a foot from him.  He sat there and ate a pine cone and watched me.  He is a great listener!  I can tell him anything at any speed or loudness and he won’t mind.  He’ll just eat and make a few squeaks now and then.  I found out something last week.  Squirrels would rather you talk and let them know you’re around than when you’re quiet. This is because that tells them you aren’t trying to sneak up on them. 
Bye, Mandy
I say it was fortunate because I had lost a day by working Thursday night, and I wasn’t expecting her birthday until tomorrow.  I would have felt like a terrible aunt if I’d forgotten.  My nieces and nephews are my muse.  When I was writing my first book they were the children in my head.  They were the voices that kept my book true.  Oh, I remember being a child but without their voices the book would have sounded like an adult telling about some children! 
Mandy is an aspiring author and is working on a chapter book as well as some children’s humorous stories.  She has more imagination in her little toenail than I have in all of my being.  Now that I live half way across the country it is wonderful that I have writing to connect me to her.  She, along with my other nieces and nephews have been reading the rough draft of my second book and are a valuable critique group.  They are noticing things I didn’t think children would (silly me) and finding gaps in my plot. 
So, while the rest of the world may be remembering today for Sherlock Holmes birthday, I’m remembering it for the fact that God gave me twelve nieces and nephews and today, most especially a niece named Mandy!

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