A Short Story About Story

This short story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Story. There’s some irony in this, but I won’t go there…at least not today. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all…and this one actually took me longer than 5 minutes. There are bossy characters involved. You’ll see.). I’ll see you on the other side. Hope you enjoy it.

Last night Mama cried out again in her sleep. The moans grinding deep into the floorboards until rising into a holler so sharp, it nearly raised the dead.

In the past, I might’ve gone to comfort her. Asking about her dream, smoothing back her damp hair. But she never did answer, the glass-eyed look never wavering until the rhythm of my hand on her head soothed her back to sleep.

I was eight the one and only time I asked her about the dream in the morning. The slap following convinced me to never ask again. Continue reading “A Short Story About Story”

The Story of Hope: A Short Story

This short story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Work. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all). I’ll see you on the other side. Hope you enjoy it.

Her name is Hope, and she sits bowed in the corner, pouring herself into a painting. A cord sprouts from the base of her enormous earphones and tethers her still…at least for the moment.

Voices leak through the music, and she swats them away.

Not real. Right? They’re not real.

She glances from the angel emerging from her canvas to the community room, expecting it to be empty. Instead, a woman glances up from her sketchpad, breaks in a sunrise smile, and then returns to her sketch.

Hope knows what most everyone sees when they look at her—crooked glasses, hair so bleached it’s broken uneven, sharp uncontrollable movements that make even the most compassionate volunteer nervous.

But this woman smiled. Continue reading “The Story of Hope: A Short Story”

Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For

There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.

I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.

So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.

The view from our cottage just as the golden light bends across the horizon. There’s a reason they call this time of day the golden hour.

Continue reading “Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For”

Support: A Moment to Say Thank You

A beam, a girder, something that holds something else up. It’s underneath, hidden, not always noticed, but beautiful in its own right.

Without it, the whole structure would fall—a pile of random pieces with nothing to hold it together. Continue reading “Support: A Moment to Say Thank You”

Work: A Short Story

Sam climbed the ladder, his sore back muscles protesting each hand hold. It was the last tree to trim out and he’d be done. Well, at least for this season.

Down the hill, he could hear Marie calling the cow in for the night and groaned at the gathering darkness as if he were Moses and the Almighty himself might just stop the sun in the sky.

Farm chores couldn’t compare to conquering an entire Philistine army. But they were as necessary as drawing breath…least that’s what Ma always said.

Sam hacked at an overlapping limb and corrected himself—would have always said. It’s something Ma would have said. Continue reading “Work: A Short Story”

The Water Droplet: A Poem

I hang suspended
.          Stretching away from my design
.          Wrapped tight within myself—my natural tendency
.          Clear shimmering, promising help
.          But void.

.          My neighbor slips down
.          Bumping my tight skin, breaking the meniscus,
.          Binding with me, pulling, stretching

And we dance to the ground.
Splash, jumping with the others
Filter through the dirt
Nourishing, becoming.



This poem is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Neighbor. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all). And yes, I know it isn’t Friday anymore. I was up enjoying Lake Michigan and my family and purposefully left my laptop at home. But I did take pics. If you’d like to see some, head over to my Instagram account.

Like the little water droplet in the poem, I so often fight joining with other folks. But when I do allow myself, I find a whole new purpose.

So this fall I’m back to leading a neighborhood study and hanging with my writer’s group. But I’m also presenting at two writer’s conferences and volunteering downtown at a fabulous outreach that uses art to reach the homeless population. I’m nervous and excited as I dance into this new season. Hoping to be nourishment to my fellow neighbors.

How about you? What are you tackling this season?


The post pic is mine.

When You’re Desperate and Afraid

It’s 3 am. And I’m awake…again. The darkness sits heavy on my chest as the sound of the air flicking on echoes hard.

It’s 3:30 am. And I’m too exhausted to function. My kids will be up in a few short hours. Ready for the day when I’m anything but.

It’s 4 am. And I’m brittle, fragile, pieces chipping off as each minute ticks away. Continue reading “When You’re Desperate and Afraid”

Guide, One Last Time: A Short Story

This story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Guide. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all).

The breeze through the window whispered across Sarah’s bare arm making the hairs her skin bump up against the cold. She smiled, lifting her face to catch the warmth of the sun, wishing it was more than just a blur of light.

At her movement, Geronimo lifted his head from her lap and dropped it, heavy. Too heavy. Too weak. Continue reading “Guide, One Last Time: A Short Story”

Extraordinary Ordinary

I have a confession to make. I adore a good superhero story.

Spiderman? Love it.
Dr. Strange? Down with it.
Frodo? Absolutely, completely in love.

And I can’t stop at story characters.

There’s something about real-life heroes like Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, C.S. Lewis, Rosa Parks, the former Marine I chatted with the other day, and a little girl I know who’s confined to a wheelchair who raised money to help the refugees in my town.

While all these heroes seem totally different from each other (and different from me and you), we ALL have one thing in common:

We are all ordinary. Continue reading “Extraordinary Ordinary”

Words and a Life Lived

For Five Minute Friday, I usually write a short story. The character “magically” appear in my mind along with how they feel and what’s happening. Normally, I can see a scene—a rise in the action and the fall. (It’s a lovely byproduct of telling stories for YEARS…until someone catches you actually talking to yourself.)

But this week, the prompt speak has left me scrambling. It has, ironically, stripped me of words. Bits and pieces of thoughts & characters tumbled through my mind—images of my daughter speaking up for a fellow student, a gentle word from a friend, the struggle to tell the truth—but they’re void of the rise and fall.

And I wonder if there might be a reason for that. Continue reading “Words and a Life Lived”