Blessed—When It Isn’t What You Think

I’ve spent the two weeks thinking about the future. It isn’t necessarily a “New Year’s Resolution” or even a “Word for the Year” kind of pondering. It’s more of a “what do I want to be” kind of processing.

2017 was hard. I spent a vast majority of social gatherings silently pleaded with everyone I met not to say, “Well, it could be worse!” Because life in the Tromp house always seemed to become worse.

But somewhere in the tears, exhaustion, and bracing myself for what would come next, I began to redefine a few things. Big things.

Like the words, “I’m blessed.”

Are there any two words more misused than “I’m blessed”?

Continue reading “Blessed—When It Isn’t What You Think”

Motivate—Life’s Curse

Life goes, clicking along, time slipping, easy until

lost, Lord, I’m lost


Solutions, ideas, suggestions, all well-meaning

Makes me scream silent





This was written in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt:  Motivate. It’s rather ironic that I struggled deeply with this week’s prompt. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing.

I pretty much destroyed all the rules this week.

This is the result of my fourth go at this prompt. I still hate it…and, in addition, I’m still in the quagmire of plot problems and writer’s block for a novel starring Sam and his wife Charlotte (you met them in short stories here and here).

I know all the suggestions, all the tricks, but every time I throw myself at this, it shatters at my feet.

But I sit behind the computer and cling to what I know and have a go again…

I’m learning that questioning yourself, your faith, your work, isn’t always a bad thing.

As scary as doubt is, it is often the doorway to new, unseen discoveries. Tweet This

How about you? Where are you struggling to motivate yourself?

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Finding the Different—and Seeing the Good

White stretches long reaching to the horizon where it curves seamless into the sky, over my head. A cocoon of monotone silence.

The frozen world can preserve, but it is cold welcome to stand static and alone…sense of self captured like some ancient beast in an iceberg—extinct and yet still here.

I snuggle my nose down into the collar of my coat, thankful for the heat preserved inside it. A short squeal and swish, and my son lands pell-mell at my feet. A mound of blue and grey against the snow. Continue reading “Finding the Different—and Seeing the Good”

Parental Sacrifice and the Hope It Provides

There is a core of who I am that is tangled in music. I grew up going to symphonies, playing in some of the best bands and orchestras in the state. I was through and through a clarinet-playing, band geek.

My house has a nearly constant musical score running underneath.

There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You'll just have to trust that I did.
There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You’ll just have to trust that I did.

My husband is forever noodling on his guitars. I write to music and sing snippets of Broadway, Mother Goose, Louis Armstrong, Simon and Garfunkle, and even “Uptown Funk” to my kids.

Music draws pictures and speaks words I cannot always form coherently. You know what I mean?

Continue reading “Parental Sacrifice and the Hope It Provides”

A Picture, a Girl, and a Reminder—Worth a Thousand Words

From the moment my daughter was born, she was most content when not inside. As a baby, the best way to calm her colicky crying was to snuggle her in a bouncy seat under the maple tree or, when it got cold, take her for a ride in a sled.

During her early years, I spent hours in the woods trailing a toddler looking for critters under overturned logs, disguised behind leaves, and lurking in the water. We amazed at how they were created to adapt to their environment and needs.

I started photographing the animals we found and put them into a book for my girl…and those little books became board books published a few years back. (Check out the All About God’s Animal series over here. They’d make a great Christmas gift.)

My girl is a tween now and doesn’t need me by her side as she builds tree forts and digs for fishing worms. And so it’s been a long, long time since I hunted the woods, beaches, and waterways for critters and nature to capture on film.

my-girlUntil now. Continue reading “A Picture, a Girl, and a Reminder—Worth a Thousand Words”

Excuse — A Poem of Responsibility & Perspective

Excuse (ik-koos) Defined

Something my girl uses to explain away—
Abandoned dirty dishes dripping in goo,
Forgotten homework completed but not turned in,
Shoes cast off in haste where everyone walks.

Excuse (ik-kooz) Defined

Grace given to cover— Continue reading “Excuse — A Poem of Responsibility & Perspective”

Why You Should Save, Celebrate, & Share Your Art

I met Pearl Allard through another writer friend. Pearl had driven a fair distance to be at my friend’s release party. And I knew right away I had met someone special—loyal, creative, and a kindred spirit in finding the beautiful in the not always pretty.

It’s a privilege for me to introduce you to her, and I hope you’ll love Pearl as much as I do. And, for the record, I didn’t know how much my little comments meant to her and I certainly didn’t she was going to write about it here. I’m still blushing 🙂

They were a lifeline from heaven; number twos drew me to Number One. How I don’t know, but those pencils were the only light during the darkest time of my life. I was desperate to see something, anything good, groping through blackness. Sketching brought meager solace.

I drew to learn to see. To cling to beauty. To escape. Though my soul anguished under the weight of oppressive darkness, I held a flicker of light. Something living, and good, still lurked when I looked at my imperfect rendering. It sparked hope—and guilt came galloping on its heels. Continue reading “Why You Should Save, Celebrate, & Share Your Art”

An Argument for Early Mornings—From a Committed Night Owl

It’s 5:30 am, and it’s still dark when I click on the lamp. The children are still all nestled in bed. No one needs snack or a drink or another kiss on the head. Not even the birds are awake—just me and my thoughts and the steady click of the clock.

Oh, I’d forgotten how much I need this time all alone. There’s just something about silence.

You see, silence breathes peace to my soul.

Continue reading “An Argument for Early Mornings—From a Committed Night Owl”

There’s Something About Shadows









Sometimes what my characters say take me by surprise with how appropriate for where I am in my life. It’s almost like they’re talking to me. A while back I caught my character, Ryan James, talking about shadows and I realized how right he was.

See there is something about shadows—that absence of light—that kids instinctively fear. Adults have a more educated view that thinks the dark patches really can’t hurt us. That there isn’t anything hiding inside trying to get out.

But if I’m honest with myself, there’s still something about the dark.

Perhaps the kids have it right.

But if there are shadows, Continue reading “There’s Something About Shadows”

The Face of the Homeless — Overwhelmed for Leo

His name is Leo, or at least that’s what he told me. He leans over the table across from me, and in mere minutes draws out a perfect manga character.

“What color should I make the shirt?” He asks me.

I hesitate, not quite knowing how to answer him. I’m careful in this world. I’m a visitor to this haven for the homeless and don’t know the rules yet. But his smooth ebony cheeks tell me he’s young, and barely a legal adult…if he’s even that old. Continue reading “The Face of the Homeless — Overwhelmed for Leo”