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”

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”

First Steps—A Short Story

He stood, flanked by metal bars that stretched long in front of him. The sweat of his hands threatened to break his grip, spill him pell-mell onto the floor. This, the first time he’d been out of a chair or bed since the accident, and he was destined to make a fool of himself in front of every single person in the room.

“You can do this, sir.”

Sir. Everyone here called him sir…as if his long ago rank was still settled in stripes on his shoulder. Continue reading “First Steps—A Short Story”

Backstory, Life, and the Not-So-Bitter End

I am, at my core, a storyteller. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I think we all have a story. We all have a family of origin. We all have some blend of disappointments and accomplishments, loves and hates, comforts and discomforts.

It explains why I still sometimes cringe away from someone moving a quick hand and love the smell of orange-spiced tea. It might explain why the sound of moving water comforts or frightens you. Why the smell of cherry pipe smoke makes you smile or spikes your heart rate.

But that mishmash of singularities is only a sliver of who we are right now. Our stories certainly influence, mold, and shape, but we also all have a choice. Continue reading “Backstory, Life, and the Not-So-Bitter End”

To Caregivers

For anyone new here or doesn’t follow me on Facebook, my daughter had surgery 2 weeks ago to rebuild the ACL in her knee. We went into surgery expecting her to be able to start walking without crutches 10 days post-surgery. That all went sideways and she came out with the additional diagnosis of 2 meniscus tears, a brace that made it difficult for her to get out of a chair unassisted, and the news she wouldn’t be able to start therapy until after the 2-week mark.

That all went sideways and she came out with the additional diagnosis of 2 meniscus tears, a brace that makes it difficult for her to get out of a chair unassisted, and the news she wouldn’t be able to start therapy until after the 2-week mark.

Well, my girl had her 2-week check-up…and more not-fun news. Because of the tears in her meniscus, she can’t start physical therapy next week or the week after…for another 4 weeks. Which means crutches more time on crutches.

To recap, she injured her knee 2 months ago and we have 4 more weeks before we can start working on getting back to normal. Six weeks. Including the time she spent waiting for surgery, that’s a total of 12 weeks on crutches. Twelve weeks.

Continue reading “To Caregivers”

Sketches of Light

The other day, I was out for a walk. Despite the bright sunshine, darkness hovered close, stalking the cracks and crevices of my mind. This nebulous shadow is nothing new. And I found myself fighting it, once again.

If you have never tried, doing battle with a substanceless thing is tiring work on a normal day. But I’d also just had surgery, and my daughter had hurt her knee…really hurt it.

So we were living with a mom who was recovering and a girl who’s broken—a gaping black hole on the MRI where her bright white ACL should be.

 

But as I walked, my crazy dog running circles around my legs, I started noticing the shadows, the sketches of blocked light.

I suddenly started seeing the light playing inside the shadow—the interplay an exquisite balance.

Continue reading “Sketches of Light”

How Control Creates Fear

Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t.” ~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A few weeks ago I told you about the conversation jar my son brought home from school, and told you I’d be asking and answering some of those questions here. So, without further ado:

This week I pulled a rather “easy” question from the conversation jar: Would you rather dive off a high cliff into the ocean or do a book report in front of 500 kids?

In my current, adult, know-it-all state, I would choose the book report without thinking twice. I’m a bookworm, and always have been. But as a kid?

Continue reading “How Control Creates Fear”

A Few Weeks ‘Til Christmas—A Gift for the Weary

Weary‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas. Not a creature was stirring, except for the mother. There were clothes to be folded, parties to plan, stores to be shopped for 52 people, plus the school bus driver and kind widow next door.

Though the world was all nestled knee-deep in the snow, nightmarish to-do lists danced ’round in my head.

My pillow, cold and lonely, was waiting for my long winter’s nap, but there was, quite simply, no rest to be found.

Deprived of sleep, my brain went all wonky, my temper was shrinking, while my waistline expanded, and I’m dead certain it was torture.

Cookies to bake, but my brain’s on log sawing. Was that one cup or two? One and a half will do.

I’m waiting for St. Nick to pop from the chimney all jolly and droll. But I’m afraid he’s not coming and I’m all on my own.

I may have to rethink the ban on his shelf elf’s patrol…if only it means he’ll help fill the stockings.

I can’t keep my eyes open.

My head falls to the counter with a jerk. And I turn with a lurch, while laying fingers aside my noggin, I fall into my bed, eyes closed in an instant.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

May you find a smidgen of peace…
and perhaps a nice nap.

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Conquering Fear and Following Your Calling

conquer-fearSome of you probably know that I spent the 30 days of November writing 50,000 words on my next novel—that’s about 200 pages…basically an entire book. It was a challenge for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Writing with that kind of speed is NOT how I normally write. I’ve always been a little like Ernest Hemingway—reading over what I’d written and editing that before moving forward bit by bit every day.

I thought going for speed might be a good exercise. Help me learn new skills. Stretch me. You know, make me better.

And it might do that yet. But at the moment, with everything that was going on in my family, I wonder if the story I started was worth it.

Every novelist knows that there are points along the way where you hate what you’ve written. But I fear this is different.

Did I push myself into a place I wasn’t called to go? And now I’m overwhelmed in the quicksand that is my book. I’ve too many elements, perhaps not enough research.

I feel as if I didn’t give myself the space to do it right. Sure, I can go back and fix it… maybe.

fdr-quoteIf this character hadn’t been haunting me for 5 years, I might give up. But the more I think on it, the more I think my fear of the character has everything to do with why I veered off in a direction I hadn’t intended on.

Isn’t that like life?

The things we fear most are often the things we’re called to do. Tweet This

So today, I will again tackle the book. Reworking, rewriting, replotting.

I will look straight into fear and walk into it, if for no other reason than most fear runs when it encounters confidence.

I will hunt fear today and invite you to do the same. Tweet This

Did you like this blogpost? I’d love to have you and your friends come along with me. Please click one of the links below to share with others. Or click the follow tab in the bottom right corner and subscribe to Beautiful. Ugly. Me. I’d love to have you with me. Have a Blessed Week!

 

Emerging Butterfly—Beauty of Struggle

butterflyWe live near one of the most beautiful places I know, Frederick Meijer Garden. It’s a world-renown sculpture park and botanical garden.

Every March and April this organization bring in hundreds of butterfly chrysalis and moth cocoons and allow them to hatch within the confines of the tropical garden. The visitors walk inside a dreamland of fluttering color.

Awhile back, I took my daughter early specifically to watch a different display than the flying butterflies. We came to watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis.

It’d been a rough not the night before. Emotion overflowed my senses and my girl and I needed the retreat. Continue reading “Emerging Butterfly—Beauty of Struggle”