There’s Something About Shadows

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”

Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped

I’d gone into the doctor’s office for a persistent irritating rash under my eyes and on my neck. I expected to hear eczema or some other small, albeit annoying, diagnosis.

The doctor walked in, took one look at me and sank to a seat. She paraded through all the diagnosis I’d hoped to hear, but she knocked down each one.

She was so calm it was unnerving. Just like the eye of the hurricane. Continue reading “Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped”

Support: A Moment to Say Thank You

Support:
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”

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”

Ode to Garage Sales—Mom Life


This week my friends and I hosted that glorious thing that is a garage sale—where folks paw through my abundance of junk priceless treasures to add to their homes.

It’s key to excelling in Mom Life to both host and attend one of these circuses for a bonanza of deals. So to all of you out there who pack an extra $20 bill in your purse just in case you spot a sign on the street, I give you:

Ode to Garage Sales

Continue reading “Ode to Garage Sales—Mom Life”

Unstuck

Unless you’ve been living in Antarctica, under a rock, 100 feet under the ocean, you know it’s January.

Most folks out there are blogging about their goals for 2017 or their review of 2016.

But somehow, I got stuck in November.

My mom has been having some health issues, I’m having some health issues, my good friend has had more loss than anyone should have in a handful of months, work has sent me a few difficult projects, and I’m pulled between two of my own book worlds: One that I semi-finished about a year ago, and now I’m knee deep in edits. And I started the other by writing 50,000 words during November.

In the last few weeks, every time I sit down to write, my brain freezes. It’s terrifying. I have no words. I’ve started a host of articles, blogs, letters, and left a ream of blank paper, hours of blank screens in my wake. Continue reading “Unstuck”

Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping

footholdThere’s an enormous rock that thrusts into the creek behind my childhood home. I remember lying on my back, stretching fingers and toes long and not even touching the edges. Above it, the sky hung endless blue with the tips of the trees a dark parenthesis on either side.

The rock was my younger brother and my pretend house when we played castaways, our kitchen table when we played house, and my refuge when I was escaping the terrors held inside my real home.

I’ve always been a collector of stories so I know that my “real” story is better and worse than everyone else’s. It isn’t in me to compare anymore. My past made me who I am.

It isn’t my past that scares me. I’ve moved beyond it…mostly.

I have this random file of character sketches, snippets of scenes. In my file there’s pages and pages of a character I’ve resisted for years now. She scares me because I recognize her. She’s trying to pull back from the edge of insanity and her feet are slipping. The hot breath of evil tickles her neck. She needs a rock, a refuge and I don’t know if she’ll find one in time. And I’m afraid of what that means for me, for my kids, and my marriage. Continue reading “Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping”

Life Between the Snapshots

Between SnapshotsThere are a stack beautiful picture books nestled into a tray on my coffee table. They’re my kids favorite books. Probably because the books are actually family albums and full of reminders of the fun times we’ve had together. There’s the rare picture they hate (like the one of my son crying because he’s covered head-to-toe in permanent marker) or prefer the world not to see (like the one with the goofy expression).

Mostly the family albums portray me and my world the way I wish they were–Picture Perfect.

But there’s more to the story. There’s life between the snapshots. Continue reading “Life Between the Snapshots”

Calling Mommy Back-Up

Mommy Back-UpA friend of mine emailed me the other day. She’s pregnant, her job is going haywire, her husband is in full-time school, and just that day, her son figured out how to climb out of his crib . . . and forgot how to sleep.

Yeah. One of those times.

And I was her about 5 years ago when my son (then 2-years-old) climbed out of his crib and promptly refused his nap, bedtime, and every other structure we had in place at the time. Did I mention that I work from home? And the only time I had to work was during nap time. Um. Problem.

So I identify with my friend. I emailed her back giving her a few hints, ideas, and thoughts. And she’s been on my mind ever since. I dropped her a line a few days later wondering if there’s something I can do to help—bring a meal, babysit, conjure sanity from thin air.

I hope she takes me up on it. I’d be happy to help, and she could use the Mommy back-up.

But I’m afraid she won’t. Because let’s face it.

When I was there I didn’t want to ask for help. It felt too, well, needy.

In fact I didn’t want to take help or in any way look like I couldn’t handle it. I should be able to do it on my own. Right? Right?! I can still see my hands shaking from too much caffeine and not enough sleep. I was so tired, I literally walked into walls.

While I’m not walking into walls these days, I am overwhelmed. Partly because I stupidly said yes to too many things. And partly because my oldest is entering teenhood, trying to figure out life, and she needs her mom (and I refuse to be anywhere else).

I hope I learned something in the last 5 years–learned to ask for help and receive it when someone offers. I know I’ve shuffled my kids to friend’s houses, ordered pizza, and broken down and let them have more screen time than I’d like. It’s what I need to do for right now. And that’s okay.

What are the things that other people have done for you that have made your life easier? What are things you wish someone would do to give you Mommy Back-Up?

There’s Something About Deadlines

It’s time for one of the two Thursdays of every month where I give a nod to the things that make us stop and say, “There’s something about . . . ”

Deadlines Twitter

It’s spring break week here in Michigan.

I’m joining my friends, neighbors, and family in the water. Theirs is of the Florida-like, warm water beach variety and mine is, unfortunately, strictly metaphorical.

My fabulous kids are home and doing a great job of entertaining themselves while I work. So it isn’t their fault that I’m near drowning and the sharks are circling.

I have an overloaded schedule.

We’ve all been there. We’re happily going through life and we think, “Yes, I can take that project on . . . and that one . . . ” and then suddenly: Continue reading “There’s Something About Deadlines”