Sunday, July 29, 2012

New book is now available on Anazon!

Fate? Destiny? A predetermined life? Whatever you believe, somehow we get from one event in our lives to another. Why do we often give credit to unfortunate situations as being the best thing that could ever have happened to us? Do we want to somehow believe that even those times are within our control to edit the outcome?

Sandra Bloom never dreamed that coming face to face with fate, would be during a trip to the store for pretzels and beer for a husband who she might have shared a home with, but not really a life and definitely not her heart.

I am such a Crybaby

I am such a crybaby
I know that I'm supposed to not be such a crybaby at my age, but I can’t help it on days like this. Finding myself once again staring into the screen of my computer at my new book as I hit - Save and Publish!  It brings the tears. I guess you just have to be one of us crazy wannabe writers to truly understand the rush of excitement when a book with our name on it hits the shelves. Even though my scope of readers isn’t among the millions, with the help of Amazon and the self-publishing industry my little world of titles is worldwide!
I want to give a short background to my latest ‘child’.  On the morning of June 16, 2012, yes, just a little over a month ago, I woke from a dream and as I made coffee that morning I wrote down several sentences as fast as I could remember them. – My memory requires notes now.
The first part of this story came to me in that dream. But that was all I had. Maybe it’s just me and that’s alright if it is, but as I begin to write, the story starts telling itself to me. I’m its first reader. I’ll write a few chapters and when I go back to read over it to see what I wrote it’s like reading someone else’s book. I have even come to keeping notes chapter by chapter so I can refer back to names, places and what’s happening because I don’t remember what I’ve written. And sometimes I have no idea where I'm going with the story.
As I did the formatting these past three days to get this book ready for Kindle I fully expected to see another name as the author in place of mine. But alas, it is mine, all mine! I even remembered how to design my own cover, seeing that it’s been awhile since I had to create one.

I keep asking myself the same question about this love of writing that will just not go away. Why do I love it so much? It certainly isn’t because I am a well-known author or have found some secret to breaking into the publishing world. Lord knows there are thousand of others like myself who write their books and hope and pray one day someone with the wherewithal reads them and they become a noted author.

Maybe it’s just for my own sense of accomplishment. Then with the Olympics being in progress I came to this concussion. I’m an Olympic writer. Physically, I sit in total amazement at the strength, determination, and sacrifice that these people make everyday of their lives to get to this coveted place – being the best in the world. Receiving that Gold Metal of recognition!

Although, I’m in no way comparing writing to the daily regiment that it takes to become an accomplished athlete, but what I think I can understand is the ‘heart’ part of believing in a dream and not giving up.  Part of what I think drives them forward is looking behind them. Believing that all the years, hours, days, and minutes of doing what they love to do will become all worth it in the end. Even those who don’t place for a metal say the same thing, “I didn’t give up. I made it this far and I am proud of my accomplishments.”

Maybe not all of us who have a dream that we follow have to have a ‘metal’ to prove that we have heart. Mine is beating faster once again today as I look at my new accomplishment. This one was birthed quicker then ever before.  I think it’s a good story. It reads easily and made me believe that good things can end up happening from not so good beginnings.

These new characters took me on a journey of just that, a not so good beginning but an ending that made me wish I could be there with them. As much as I love getting to the end of a book, I hate it even more. I want to stay in that world. I’ll miss Sandra Bloom and her friend and for sure Tom Perts who stumbled upon them one day . . .  Hmm, might just be a sequel here!

So to my few faithful friends and wonderful family, I say thank you for letting me share my thoughts and tell you that A Clap of Thunder will be at your local friendly bookstore, Amazon, within 48 hours should you want to read it.

 In the mean time, I’ll open another of my many files and write on!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fancy Chicks

Fancy Chicks

When I was a little girl I spent a summer on my grandparent’s farm. I have some very vivid memories of collecting eggs with me Grandfather. I can still remember the warm soft underbelly of the Road Island Red hen as I reached under it to collect an egg after being assured that the friendly hen wouldn’t peck me. I can even remember how excited I was.  I never forgot that simple childhood experience.

During my adult lifetime I have had my own chick-a-Dees. I love the gentle clucking, strutting, and rustling of feathers. Even more I always loved the way they became attached. I am sure it had something to do with seeing the bowl of fresh vegetable clippings or cups of grain I came with. I want to believe it was that they loved me as much as I loved them.  I did have a couple that would actually follow me around the yard whenever I let them out of the chicken yard. It was a free-for-all on the days when they were let out after mowing the lawn to scavenge for bugs that were stirred up. When one keen girl found a bug all the rest ran like a blue-light sale at Kmart! They’d shove one another and peck madly sending a cloud of grass shavings everywhere.

Today my personal collection of hens and roosters sits across the room from me on a book case with a couple tucked in around my house plants. Still a pleasure. So when I found this chicken craft on Penterest my creative mind ran wild! I instantly thought about several ways to “Fancy” up these chicks.

I did my own scavenging around in my craft supplies from past projects and soon I was deep in cardboard, feathers, and beads, wielding my hot glue gun.

 So here is the first sample chick I found.

I made a plain-Jane chick and after a brief conversation with Henrietta (what else would I call her?)

We decided on a tasteful outfit. She is now a fluffy girl decked out with black shoes, earrings and a classy scarf!

I am sure there are many more of her feathery sisters who will soon join the lineup because right now they are marching through my mind.

Friday, June 29, 2012

God really knows best

God really knows best

I don’t know why for some, it takes so long for them to come to the realization that there is a God and that He is really a loving and caring Being. But I suppose the first realization to reach is to believe in God. That is the first step before you can totally surrender to the fact that He really knows what is best for your life and all His intentions are for your good.

I do believe in God being the bottom-line for my life and it took me a long time to finally shut up, settle down, and walk humbly beside him. Once I did that and decided in my own mind that I was going to trust His love for me things got easier. Have there been obstacles, of course. Could there have been a parting of the ways over the years because what I wanted and what He allowed were two different things – absolutely. Were there times I did everything He asked of me and like a game of Father May I, I asked first then I took all the steps and was told “No” when I was right at the finish line and sent back to start all over again? You bet.

But I guess what I am saying this morning is that never and I mean never was what God’s final decision ended up being for my life ever, wrong. Some things took time for me to see clearly all the repercussions of what might have been had I gotten my way. Places I would have found myself with people who would have nearly destroyed my life knowing what I know now.

I think the times that mankind feels that God is somehow uniformed or unaware or simply doesn’t care what is happening to the world or Heaven forbid might actually be behind these catastrophic events, as being the truth are the worst off.

Everyday I wake up and realize that my life is not my own and there is someone I can trust that will never leave or forsake me is worth any amount of money, fame or relationships. It is all going to pass away. The time spent here no matter the circumstances is far less than eternity. But here again you have to be a believer. If you don’t believe then this is all just philosophical babblings of a 63 years old woman who thought she had something to blog about this morning.

My testimony isn’t about earth moving events, though at the time they were to me. It is the simple things that God lovingly gives me everyday that I am so appreciative of. How he heads me off from things because He knows what is coming. How he has already gone before me and made provision for me in light of what could be an “outage” in my life.

For instant, yesterday was a record breaking heat wave for the month of June and yes, the air conditioning in the apartment where I live, died. It has done this now five times since they turned it on the “cooling” part of the system. I happen to live in a building where there is not the option of having your own unit to turn either to heat or cool at one’s own discretion. It is done down in the boiler room. So as you would guess there is someone else making the decision as to when or if we need heat or cool each year.

Back in March or April when it went from 50 some degrees straight to 80 the third floor apartments went to 90 and above. This is where I live. The first day that this happened and the air condition was not scheduled to be turned on for another month if then, I knew I had to do something.

God knew it was already coming. Two days prior to the change in the weather because I have learned to hear His voice, I knew to order a portable air conditioner and do it ASAP!

I didn’t even know they made such a thing where you installed a vent in the window, no mess no dripping pan no water streaking down the side of the building, just wonderful cold air for me to thrive in.

Within three days of the first onset of would have been madness for me trying to survive in this apartment with the temp over 100 degrees was taken care of because I listened and moved on what I knew was the right thing to do.

So when for the fifth time so far this summer and a lot more days to go with the possibility of the air being out, I have exactly what I need. I have to, no . . .  I WANT to give the Lord Glory for loving me and most of all helping me accept His wisdom and guidance in my life even in the times that it goes against all that I think my pitiful little mind thinks is wrong. Some of the biggest problems are the things that I simply do not understand how the world thinks and I feel so helpless.

This world is in a mess. Fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, poverty, and lawlessness about to breakout to such a level that it boggles the mind to the extent that watching the news at night is frightening, and yet, we think we know what is best.  I’ve been wondering if through Facebook, or any source, a wave of silence and prayer for the world to step back, shut up and whether we all believe the same or not jointly ask God for the benefit of all mankind to forgive and help us could be possible?

I don’t know, I am sure there would be controversy on every side over even proposing such a thing. I just know I cannot help but thank Him for being here in my little world and loving me enough to see ahead of me and finally got me to trust His love to the point of listening and doing what I hear.

And as a parent isn’t that what we want and ask and would love for our children to do at times? To simply say, yes, Mom, okay Dad, even though I think I know what is best for my life, I am going to listen to what you have to say and I will take your advice. As wonderful a thought that is for us as parents what in the world would it be for God to hear mankind say it to Him?

Maybe things won’t have to get much worse before that becomes a reality.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Times like this !!!

Times like this !!!

It is time like this that I wish I had a writing buddy! I had a dream early this morning and have not been able to stop writing since I got up, made coffee and sat down in my chair. The coffee has long since gone cold and the words are flying onto the page.

I also did something totally out of character for me. I grabbed a pen and before I started I wrote out twenty-one individual paragraphs of the story to follow. From beginning to end I have it in an outline! I NEVER do that. It happened so fast I could not get it down quick enough.

Now I am just transcribing it from my head to the page. The dream woke me up. At first all I wanted to do was forget it as fast I could. I was in it and something bad had happened to me that caused me to be left alone in a store and soon found myself on the floor being asked if I was all right by a strange woman. From there all I can remember is the feeling of being rolled over and put on a gurney.

I was in a fix. I could feel the dread as I also realized that whoever this woman was had saved me from being hurt even more. The next part of the dream I was in her car and she was taking me to her home. Boy oh boy was I glad that it was only a dream!

Don’t you just love it when that happens? You wake up and poof! You are out of the situation!

But then the dream turned into this complete story. I know this sounds peculiar even to me. Usually I get this really great idea and then have to fill in the rest. I see all the characters and it is as if they are writing themselves. (I promise there is nothing but cold coffee in my cup.)

What makes this even more amazing is I am already working on two other books that are nearly writing themselves and I hava to keep jumping form one to the other  in order to not forget where each book is going. This one has completely taken over my life today. It isn’t going to wait on being written.

Hmm, now I am wondering what I ate before I went to bed last night? (She said, Grinning.)

I’m not complaining mind you. I’ll take them any way I can get them, it is just a lot to try and create all at once. My brain is swimming. Sometimes I think we can have spurts of highly creative energy. Now I need a burst of energy to get all this written. I look at the clock and it in 3:15! It was just 8:30 a few minutes ago. I end up losing a lot of days this way.

Has anyone else had this happen to them? I can’t believe I am some sort of artistic savant. It probably was the high blood pressure pill and swigs of Orange Juice at 4 am this morning.

Anyway I am going to blog this and get up and take my trash down the hall and check the mail. I need to give not only my brain a quick rest but my numb bottom as well.

There I go again, sharing too much FYI.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You can’t let them get you down

You can’t let them get you down

I realized that I have once again neglected my blogging. It isn’t that I haven’t had some thoughts that I could have blogged about, it is that I wasn’t sure I should give place to them.

Sometimes I think I tend to tell too much.

I do however have some thoughts today about what loving to write can do to a person if they let it. I entered a popular 24 hour writing contest a month or so ago and had fun doing it. I thought what I wrote fit the rules and outline. I know it did because I am not a person who colors outside of the lines. I am not a risk taker or a troublemaker. Never have been.

There was a six week wait for the winners to be announced and today the e-mail came. Did I win one of the top three places? No. Did I get honorable mentions? No. Did I get a door prize? No. Well, surely I deserved a grab bag – no, not nada.

Wow. Hmm. Geez. Nothing? Not even an Atta-Girl for entering and playing within the rules? Nope.

It kind of made my dander go up, I am sorry to say. I don’t think I am a bad looser, but please. . .  give me a break. It was a $5 entry fee 24 fun activity in creative writing. It wasn’t for a Pulitzer Prize winning Novel or the next Oscar winning Novel turned into a million dollar movie for goodness sake!

If we wannabe writers think that it is just the publishing world that gives us a hard time, I felt absolutely hurt over this silly contest. What in this world do they want from us?

I guess this unexpected stab to the heart came on the heels of watching a couple of what I call B movies. The whole time I watched them I kept thinking how in the world did they ever make it into the world. One of the storylines was a rip-off from a popular movie which had real well-known actors playing the part. This filmmaker must have used someone’s grandmother, nieces and nephews I think.

The other one was so irritating to watch that I am not sure it even came from a book. The first ten scenes were filled with this listless, humped shoulder man waking up each day, shaving, shuffling to work, watching the clock, sloughing to lunch, back to his desk, watching the clock, shuffling home. . . . AHHHHH!!!! I am not kidding they did this for what seemed a quarter of the beginning of the movie. He never said a word.

Finally . . . FINALLY… he says something about his life being boring. Yeah? You think? My, my, my . . . what is this world coming to.

Either some people have way too much time or money on their hands or think their opinions are mo-better than the rest of us.

Needless to say, I, (we) can’t let them get us down. Maybe my love of writing is just that. A love. And that is all it is meant to be. I kiddingly say that it is God’s seat work for me here and now. It keeps me busy and out of trouble. Of course, I am not sure what trouble a 63 year old woman can get into.

I have said this before and will probably have it written in my obituary. I love writing fiction because I can go, do, be anything I want. There are absolutely no limitations. I can make people, places and events good, bad, real or imaginary and no one can tell me they are wrong.

But when you step into a structured place of writing designed by someone who has already decided what you are to write about, you are subject to their opinions.

I guess if you want to call it sour grapes, then so be it. But when I read the three winning entries I kept looking for the initial paragraph that we were supposed to use, I never found it in any of the three writings. I thought how is that? Where is their standard of fairness? What these three people did was take an aspect of the prompt paragraph and twist it into some facsimile of a story based on the prompt. It would be the same if you entered a pie baking contest and a chocolate cake won because it did have a crust. ?????? How fair is that?

Again, I guess it is just me. I must be out of touch with how this world is progressing or not progressing toward rewarding following the rules and playing fairly.

So, I’ll keep coloring in my own fashion for my own pleasure.  On the flip side of my discourse today, my memoir teacher called me and she was absolutely full of compliments about the novel I asked her to read and edit so that I could finally get it into an E-Book format. I have put it off because I felt it wasn’t edited properly.

When she gave it back to me and I found only a few places where she had penciled in corrections I thought she must not have really read it all. This is what she said to me, “ Sue, I did read it. I got so swept into the story and characters that I guess I just got lost in the book itself. I wouldn’t worry about a misplaced comma or two. The book itself is wonderful!”

Hmm, that is humbling. Two completely opposite outcomes having to do with what I write. Which road will I take today? The positive one. The one that makes me want to open up the files I am working on and keep filling them with pages of promising stories that will be read one day.

I guess I saw another well learned lesson in all this. I am getting must better at handling disappointment and other people’s opinions of my worth as a writer.

       " It  . .  was a dark and stormy night .... once apon a time...."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another tearful day. . .

Another tearful day. . .

It is one thing to make yourself cry and it is another to write about it. But I simply cannot help myself this morning. After adding another 30 some hours of reformatting, posting, and creating an Author page on Amazon I have lowered my pay rate as a wannabe author to probably about $0.0000000000000002 per hour.

So, I am asking myself again, (to you who know whom I am talking to, forgive me for repeating myself) why do I keep at this writing thing?

After all the checks were done and I was notified that all my books when live on Kindle I rushed over to the store to see for myself. Sure enough if you put in Susan Todd and Kindle Books, there I am.  - to save you time.

Because I have had the hard copies on Amazon for a while and opted into the “Look Inside” program it followed suit with my e-books. So as I opened them one by one and read them, the same thing hit me yet again. I wrote them and even I wanted to keep turning the pages! Having not read them in a long time, they were new to me.

I could not help but be thankful to some skillful Amazon employee who added just the right amount of teasing chapters that hopefully would leave the would-be-reader hanging and wanting more.

Then the tears come spontaneously. I simply cannot help it. Every bone in my body feels for these books. Especially since joining a couple of writing Facebook groups where I post occasionally. I regress, again, but when I post on these sites I am instantly reminded of an ant bed or bee hive. When one author-Ant comes in with a leaf of possibility all the other ants run to that newfound site and strip it clean.

If a worker bee-author stumbled onto a site of flowering smorgasbord where they can sprinkle their wordy-pollen . . .  whoosh! Off the bees fly. Post after post of how this and how that comes up. And you have to be quick. Once you post it goes down the Facebook tube in a hurry. I have gone back sometimes within minutes and my post isn’t even showing any longer.

Please, dear fellow writer, if you are reading this, don’t think me ungrateful or mean-spirited. I truly am not. I am simply asking the question . . . "WHAT ARE WE ALL DOING THIS FOR?"

But I can only answer that for myself. I wrote these books over the years, and I mean years. I tried to stop writing once and it literally made me sick. So I thought, why do this to myself? Who cares?

And, I know, I know dear Christian reader, that everything I do I do unto the Lord and it isn’t a life lesson in trust that I am seeking an answer to today. I know all too well and believe me this isn’t the first day of prayer that has gone into this endeavor between God and myself. I have asked, I have prayed and I have trusted. Do I not know that God gave me this desire? Of course I do. Do I not know that the creator of the Universe can and could at any moment decide that it is time for my humble writings to skyrocket to the top? Absolutely, I believe this.

I have done again everything I know to do to put my books in line to be found at the moment. I am sure there are probably other things I will do lowering the above mentioned pay rate yet again.
For today, right now as I write, I am going to let it be enough. I have to. Writing gives me something to fill my hours. It takes me places I cannot physically go any more, if ever. It brings the type of people into my life that I understand and like. It helps me diet. (I eat less when I am writing all day.) So there are many upsides.

One day when I stand before the Lord I will not care at all about books, sales, sites or the such. Only being with Him and seeing the Father’s face will matter to this woman then. And perhaps my mansion will overlook an arena of cushy cloud seats with a podium where He will announce, “And now heavenly guests I am pleased and proud to give you, my child, Susan, reading from her latest book for your enjoyment.”

Hmm, maybe I just stumbled upon a writing prompt! I will leave this post on a positive note, “I am going to keep on writing, believing and trusting and I hope you all do the same.”

                                 "Is that what I think it is?

  "I'll catch up with you later, Susan's books have gone Kindle!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The question really is, fellow writers, who really hooks whom… or is that who?

The question really is, fellow writers, who really hooks whom… or is that who?

This blog is in response to Susan Braun's blog. Susan addresses the agent syndrome that all truly passionately serious and patient would-be-authors experience. The conclusion that I have come to is one of personal belief. Agents are only front men to their own agency. They are the public face that has to show up at the conferences in order to catch the attention of what could be the next Nicolas Sparks, Steven King, Dan Brown, or Danielle Steele. So they are not stupid, they have their pitch all ready.

We on the other hand come with our hopes and dreams entwined around our 40,000 – to 90,000 word children we carry in our arms. So when we step up to these Word Wizards of Oz that we hope will be the answer to our dreams, something really does happen.

An invisible collar is attached around our necks with miles of invisible chain. The other end is securely hooked to one of the hundreds of rings hanging off their belts like scalps. They do this because they are not going to risk the possibility that standing in front of them at this moment disguised as grey-haired grandmothers, lanky love sick college students, retired or soon to be retired individuals from every walk of life could be the next #1 Best Seller that their skilled expertise will have snatched from the writing pool.

If they were humane they would ask us while we are right there in front of them to condense the 90,000 words we have given years of our blood sweat and tears to, not to mention the social life and time with family that has been sacrificed, down to a one minute synopses and decide right there and then. Which that, in itself, I find ridiculously impossible. Oh, no, instead they make sure the chain is secure by adding, “Send me a copy of your manuscript and I will get back to you.”

They do this because back at the ranch they have a team of well schooled ghost-readers who are highly skilled at knowing the criteria of what to pass on to the agent for a second look or chunk in the rejected manuscript compost pile. Then months later when the composted pile of rejects has grown too large and begun to ferment they pound out a stack of standard reject letters which they address, stamp and send out on a Friday just for good measure knowing they will lay in the postoffice for yet another two days. 

Ah, the joy of wanting to be an author! I have decided that agents come from the same emotional rock quarry as did my father. It took me years to realize that he never ever had any intentions of doing what he promised when he said he would. It was simply to put me off as long as he could before he had to actively respond to my request. Thus you have the equivalent of the book agent.

I realize that my father having only me and one other sibling to ignore, these agents get hundreds , sometimes thousands, of our wordy children all clamoring for their attention. So I will give them that.

We on the other hand start looking the very next day in our mail boxes, both electronically and by snail mail hoping to see that long white coveted envelope. Howbeit sad, we cannot stop. Those who did not dance to the agent’s charming tunes for years but surrendered to the self-publishing world welcome all of us last-ditch stand-off believers. Of which I have to say I was one.

Although, this post sounds dreadfully morose, it isn’t to me. My books, though still patiently waiting to go home with any eager reader who thinks them worthy of their time, are alive and in the world.

I have the satisfaction of having accomplished that part of writing. I hung in there; I wrote day after day, edited and edited and edited, designed covers, forged through frustratingly hard formatting and did not give up.  So when I click on books by Susan Todd on Amazon and those books are mine, well, Katie bar the door! I am an author in my own rights!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today is a Celebration of Motherhood.

Today is Mother’s Day, but in fact it should read, Today is a Celebration of Motherhood. Why? Because every day is mother’s day.  We know that, it is a given. Every day it is her day to be engaged in a roll of incredible variety. Listening to a sermon this morning the speaker used the antidote of all that a mother does and what she is actually worth if each of her job titles were for pay; $300.00.00 a year. His point being is that if in choosing to stay at home to be a mother she doesn’t work is completely wrong.

There are mothers today at all different stages of mothering. Some have just recently given birth, so new at it they have not even had time to make one mistake yet. Some mother’s have been at it for a few years and are just now getting a handle on the task. Some have been at it for years and could offer their wisdom from a place of experience.

I thought about being a mother and being the child of a mother while listening to this sermon and how much importance a mother holds in their child’s life. It is a daunting task, if it is taken seriously.  I don’t know of a serious loving mother who has not looked back and wondered if they did the right thing by their children/child. Knowing they made mistakes along the way and how those mistakes might have affected or even marked their children for life.

There is an antidote for making mistakes, “No one is perfect.” True as this is, I think that the one thing that needs to be said by all mother’s to their children, if in fact it is completely true, is this, “Please know that any mistakes I made raising you were not intentional and everything I did, I did with one thing in mind, your good.” I believe if any new mother asked me what was the one thing I could tell her to spare her fear of making mistakes along her path of motherhood is just that. “If everything in you comes from an honest genuine love of what is the very best for your child, then you can not go wrong.”

How many times has it been said, “But at the time I thought I was doing what was best for you.” Years give us, on the child side, the wisdom to know what our mother meant. Knowing that her judgment call for me came from that very place of ‘for MY good’ comes to light as I grow older.

I’d rather see mistakes a mother makes coming from a heart where the foundational motivation is for the very best of her child, than to see a mother doing what looks right that is motivated by what makes her feel good about herself and how she looks as a mother. There is a BIG difference.

We all know the line, “any man can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a Dad.”

Well, it is even truer for a woman. “Just being able to give birth to a child isn’t what makes a woman a mother. It is something so much deeper and almost indescribable at times what a woman feels when she holds that brand new baby in her arms knowing that at that moment she has yet to have colored in one line of its life.

If I could wish anything for the world today on Mother’s Day, it would be that all the mothering being done would come from hearts motivated by one thing and one thing only – for the good of the child.

I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who is or was actively enrolled in the school of motherhood however means the privilege came to them. For you,

be it by birth, adoption, choice or appointed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hello? Can anyone hear me?

Hello? Can anyone hear me?

Have you ever wanted to be someone else?

I know that I am not burning up the blogging world, but I hope I am a little missed. I have been writing! Writing, writing, writing, and writing! To those who are addicted to this passion, thank you for understanding.

In fact, I just closed out of the file I am writing because I wanted to get these thoughts for my blog on paper. Not that I really wanted to leave the world of my latest character. I don’t mean to brag and if it sounds that way, forgive me. But I wish I was Ricka, this morning. She is my main character and where I have put her and what is happening in her world is so real to me that when I look up and see the tree standing out across from my apartment I have to come back to where I am.

But my mind and feelings are being woven in this woman’s life. And rightly so. We fictional writers cannot help but bring some of our own reflections into what we write. I do a lot of that, but also I take my characters to the places I wish I could go. So together, as I create them, I get to experience places, people and things that are not possible from my chair.

Speaking of which, it has something going wrong with it and not being handy with furniture repair I can’t seem to find what is making it tilt to the left. That’s another thought.

Maybe it is twisting from the salty sea air that surrounds it now and maybe the gulls have carried in to much sand on their wings or maybe . . . .  See I told you I get very involved in what I write. (I live in Ohio.)

And that brings a bit of sadness. If you are a writer reading this then again you will definitely understand. Although writing has been a therapeutic endeavor for me, helping to clear away the clutter in my mind on lonely days, it is far more than that. We, who write, do so because we want people to be transported to that place with us. To see, taste, smell, feel or get to know and love or hate our characters.

When I start a book I feel as if my room begins to fill up with these people and soon I have a cast of characters fast becoming familiar to me. Especially when I am writing in such a flow as I am right now, they become like friends.

After I finished the very first book I wrote, it took me days to stop missing the characters in it. I had spent so much time with them that it felt as though I had lost time with actual people. (I am rally not crazy.) You would have to love to write as much as I do to understand. And I think there are a great many out there who do love writing. In fact on the writing sites I frequently cruse, sometimes it is like stepping into an ant bed with one common goal. Everyone wants their books to be read.

And who can blame us. We spend an incredible amount of time alone doing this. It is a one man/woman sport I always say. Unless you co-write. Which I have done in the past, But it seemed I was the one doing most of the writing. I had more time on my hands.  Although, it was a lesson learned, I am still up for it if the right person came along.

But today, I am faced with the biggest problem I see over and over in all the blogging about writing.  I think everyone has something in their stories worthy of being read. And I think I can say I know what you all feel while you are writing your latest. “Will I be the only one who ever gets to read this?”

Putting in all the hours seems like child's play compared to what happens when the book is finished. What do I do with it? Where do I go now? How do I keep these characters I have lived with for months from dying so soon?

I marvel when I see someone post that their book is about to come out. From where? I personally thank God for self-publishing. At least my books have gotten a chance to breathe their own. They are not just figments of my imagination existing in my imagination only.

I wish I knew the key. If I did I’d open it for myself and for others like me who would give anything to find that fleeting enigma we long to follow into the thicket of the publishing world and have our books published and loved by the world.

Ah, sometimes I think that is the greatest fictional thing I write. I know it happens, I’ve seen people become overnight successes. One can only hope. But in the mean time, I’ll step back into the world of Ricka, where Gully the seagull flutters about her cottage porch overlooking the bayou. And Joshua, the impish little tanned boy might appear from over the sand dune bringing new worlds of wisdom from Great Mama.

A final thought; before reading my piece in the memoir class the other day, I asked a question. I asked if there was anyone who might be interested in being a test reader for me. Just to catch those occsssionally misspelleded words and for feed back.

The teacher without pause said, “I’ll do it.”

I nearly fell out of my chair! I said, “You will???????” I think I sounded as shocked as if she had just offered me a kidney. I ALMOST CRIED. 

I’ve never had anyone respond so quickly to that request. She can cross out every other word and it won’t bother me. Just her genuine care to be so willing is worth it.

(I knew she was my favorite teacher!)

I hope everyone writing today finds as much solace in the doing of it as I am, bless you all.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Them that can – don’t and them that shouldn’t – do.

Them that can – don’t and them that shouldn’t – do.

     I know my English in the line above is poor. But it is the thought that kept running through my head as I hung up some laundry to dry. I’ve been sidetracked lately. Sidetracked with some things thrust upon me and some chosen.
     Without going into the boring medical issues I have been facing, I found out I have a torn rotator cuff (two places) requiring surgery but the MRI showed that the arthritis in the shoulder was far worse than the doctor thought so surgery really will not fix the problem. It would take a whole new shoulder replacement. NOT! I am opting for pain management and physical therapy. Enough on that subject.
      The other sidetrack from writing my blog more faithfully, is my new art class. I’ve been drawing. For years I have loved crafts and at one time I had so many things going that nothing ever got completed. That is when I had to decide what the one real love of my life was and without a moment’s hesitation I knew – writing.
     But occasionally I get the ‘crafty’ bug. I also realized with the affected arm that there are some things I can no longer do. So if I want to get that #1 best seller novel written, I better get on with it and save the arm and hand for the writing.
     Another sidetrack today was a movie. AT LAST ONE I CAN RECOMMEND! Hallelujah!  The Way, with Martin Sheen. I have a habit of taking notes when I watch a movie especially when one starts tugging at my heart strings; which this one did. So here are some feelings that this movie triggered.
     First, a short commercial. I bought myself something this week. I ordered myself a new coffee mug with the two new sayings that made me happy this past month. On one side, Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you. And on the other side, Stop thinking so much and just get on with it. Absolutely what I need to see every day first thing in the morning. If I spent as much time DOING what I spend time THINKING about doing, I'd accomplish so much more.
     So this movie followed suite of where my thoughts have been lately.

Sometimes the people we meet help us do things we would not do otherwise.

Even if we could create our own perfect world, it would still have flaws.

When does life ever give some of us a pass to finally eat what makes us happy. There is a lot of happy eating in this movie.
     You’d think after 63 years of being hungry for the things I shouldn’t be eating, it would be wonderful to just eat anything that made me happy. That is what the title addresses. I wonder if the people in this would who restrict themselves the foods that they could eat without any guilt will one day open a menu and it will hit them – “I could have eaten anything I wanted and didn’t!” It would be nice to think someone out there might realize their good fortune and have a slice of pie for me.
     Back to the movie. Martin Sheen is the father of a son who knew he wanted to live life his way. And of course it cut across everything his father wanted him to do with his life. He chooses his own road and he takes off to walk a pilgrimage trail and ends up dying. This sends one of the biggest sidetracks life can hand us into his father’s life and the story grabs hold of you and doesn’t let you go. There are four main characters who are all oddly complicated, (smile) and yet compliment each other perfectly. My hat off to the author of this story. I love it when unusual characters are created and yet they are so strange they soon become strangely familiar.
      I try to see myself in the ones I would otherwise - write off. No pun intended. But what I love the most is they don’t stay strange or annoying. And that is what I think life could teach us most. Sometime it takes time with people to realize that you really do like them. And, then sometimes time just confirms what we thought in the beginning, we still don’t care for them.
     I am in the middle of writing two books. After ditching Not enough Nuts and Raisins, I am writing a child’s book incorporating my favorite gift, my tea pot with ‘feets’.  And another book that has come out of a longing to make that world where everything in it would have the things I love and the people I would love to have in my life. Howbeit perfect, it will have its turns and twists.  
     As I said once before, that is one of the marvelous things I love about writing. I can be, do, have, and go anywhere I want when I write. Fiction is the most wonderful place in the world to visit. In fact, I am going to go get something to drink and watch the movie, The Way, again. I don’t think I squeezed all the emotional nourishment I need right now out of it the first time. I highly recommend that you watch this movie.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How topics of our conversations change as we grow older

How topics of our conversations change as we grow older

I have been slipping on my blog writing. For the few faithful I do humbly apologize. But I have not had much to write about that did not include pain, pills, tests, Dr. appointments, Bengay and hot showers. All of which I am not going to elaborate upon.

But all that did get me thinking. I gave myself a good laugh the other day while walking down to get my mail. I wondered what some of the oldies I passed in the hall would think if my conversation included something other than the above mentioned. For instant, “Hey, do you want to Jitterbug to the mailboxes with me?” or “How about a game of marbles after lunch?” (They probable would think I’d lost my marbles.) Or maybe, “Been doing any good fishing lately?” “Let’s play hide and seek, NOT IT!"

Yeah, I know, I am pushing the boundaries of sanity here. But I think we need to listen to what we talk about as life changes. We go from kid games, to dates with boys/girls, hair dos and don’t, car models and movie themes, job résumés and job titles, babies and bills, vacations and  pictures of our kids and grandkids. Then something happens around the time a lady’s hair turns ‘blue’ and men become stooped over, pale and bald and we all do the waddle-walk like our mothers.

Luckily, or not, I did not pass anyone in the hallway to try out my conversations on. I doubt they would have thought it was as amusing as I did.

But on the flip side of my brain, I am taking a second session of the memoir writing class and right after it, there is a Painting and More class for seniors. When I woke up yesterday, all the above ailments almost won out on the vote to not go to these classes. Once the old bones got up and moving and a pain pill kicked in Arthur, Ben and I went anyway.

And I am so glad that I did! I am going to enjoy the art class even more than the writing class I think, or at least equally as much. I am going to tackle my fear of watercolors. All I might end up with is a rather large brownish watery mark in the middle of my paper, but I’ll call it, ‘The Puddle’, or Le`de plumea` de Compost pile.’ That way all the flowers you would have seen, you'll be able to imagine are composting on the paper.

Other people make watercolors look so easy. We will see. Hopefully I’ll be posting all my creations for your ‘looking pleasure’. After all it has to be better than listening to all the twinges and pains of growing older.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

There is a God… ask me how I personally know.

There is a God… ask me how I personally know.

When we approach the issue of God or someone starts throwing about religious vocabulary filled with what appears to be trite verbiage to the listener, critics of all kinds show up. And when Satan or the Devil is involved in the mix, it really brings out all the late night comedians.

The main question always posed early on is, “How do you know God even exists? Have you seen Him?” To which I would very quickly answer. “No.” So when asked the follow-up question always on the heels of the first question, “Then how can you say you know He exists? Maybe it is just a deep psychological need all of us have to create this Super Being always standing in the background ready to take on responsibility for all the unspoken or misunderstood questions of ‘why this or why that’ that all we humans have.

Questions that have been being asked for thousands of years. If you have any knowledge of the Bible and its references to peoples’ experiences of dealing with, if there is a God, the one I go to instantly is the story of the young man who was found in the temple by Jesus who had been blind from birth. Jesus heals his blindness on a day he least expected it and my, my, what a commotion it caused. I love how the rendition goes. Once the onlookers become aware of what just happened, the authorities, the current day religious leaders and even his parents are all called upon to get in on the discussion, his parents finally duh, they ask him. Every time I read this I still am amazed that it took so long for everyone involved to finally get smart enough to ask the right question to the right person.

This is where how I am feeling today bears witness to my blog sharing. I can see all eyes coming to rest on this young man. Who, probably while everyone was discussing and even arguing over who of them was right or wrong about who Jesus was or wasn’t or what did or did not happen, is simply ecstatic with his new sight. He then gives the absolute best and oh so completely appropriate answer. I love how he begins, “I have no idea who Jesus it. I don’t know how this happened or why it happened to me today, but the thing that I do know is this, I was blind and now I see!” I am sure everyone was waiting for some BIG mind-boggling oration riddled with impossible to understand technical jargon.

Oh, how I understand! I know my ‘blindness’. I know myself. No one knows me better than I do; no one but God. I know the dark places I have gone to. I know when I walked out of  those dark pace as if someone hit the pause button in my life and I walked a safe distance from whatever was happening in my life and the pause button was again pushed and everything continued on but without it effecting me. If you have further read the Bible, you know there were times Jesus was about to be in the midst of a stoning. Have you ever wondered how he just walked off? The stoners were ready; the crowd had not disbursed, nor the atmosphere of the moment disrupted by an ancient police squad with teargas. No, the pause button that was in effect for Jesus back then still is in effect today.

Again, I cannot reiterate enough that I know me. I know exactly what I can and cannot take. I know my emotional and physical threshold and yesterday it was once again tested. I had to go have an MRI of my right shoulder done. Not ever having been on the receiving end of this procedure I did have enough wits about me to request what they call an “open” MRI. Excuse me while I roll with laughter for a minute. OPEN???? What part of having a huge round padded (still laughing) disk slid within 4 inches of your face with only a very limited view of maybe six inches to the right or left of you would you consider open????

The minute this machine was moving toward my face cutting off the only movement of cool air in the room coming from the central air-conditioning, I knew what being buried alive must feel like. As my heart rate begin to instantly spike and my mind turned on me that had been my ally all morning telling me I could do this, I suddenly found myself alone on a cold metal table about to suffocate and finally succumb to the reality that I was about to cross my threshold of sanity.

As my left hand began to raise up off the table to begin scratching madly at the air and this disk that had so quickly covered me from the top of head to about my waist, and knowing what fear taste like, something happened.

This God that I have lived with for 40 years once again hit the pause button for me. Did the machine stop? No. Did the sound liken to someone beating a drum like dripping water in the middle of my head that was accompanying this live burial stop? No. Did the technician all of a sudden do or say something that came to my aid?  No. God factored Himself into my circumstances in the form of a Bible story I have read over and over. I saw this young man step out of a long ago era, peer into the small space between me and life, as I know it, about to leave me and said, “I understand.”

All of a sudden I found myself experiencing that liberating pause button that only God can press. I closed my eyes, my breathing instantly relaxed, my hand went back down to my side, and a cool stream of air miraculously found me in that cramped space.

Forty minutes later after intermitting 6, 7, or 8 minutes in length of drum beating sounds, that hovering padded disk firmly overhead, unable to move any of the body parts that I am used to readjusting due to pain or stiffness throughout my day at my discretion I emerged like an observer of my own life.

So, I’ve been asking myself since yesterday, what again would I say to anyone who asked me, “Yeah, but how do you really know that God exists?” I have yet another ‘blind’ understanding. I did not just summon up some inner strength or mind over matter or positive thinking strategy. If that is the case then I have a latent duel personality just waiting for the bus to the funny farm.

And that is what I think it comes down to for all of us. It doesn’t matter what theology says, what the day’s authorities think they know, what religious tradition or teachings claim or don’t claim, or even what you put off believing in your own heart about who God is because believing in Him might change you forever . . . it’s the things that you know, that you know, that you know, that you don’t know how you know them or why they happen or didn’t happen, they just did in that personally experienced ‘pause’ of your life.

So, even when I find myself in those personal moments when I am my own accuser of why I believe what I believe, I know me. And no one, not even myself on those questionable days life brings to all of us can I help but say, “All I know is, once I was blind, or in this case about to go crazy and make a total fool of myself, and here I am.” Restored once again and in as right a mind as possible for me. You’ll have to excuse me as I must pause right here to give thanks to the God that I know exists.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today life is just a bowl of Potpourri…

Today life is just a bowl of Potpourri…

Several things are going on in my world right now, some good, some not so good. One thing I have learned is that whatever it is, somehow it all works together for my good. .

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 1

The writing class ended yesterday and everyone was gracious in being sure to ask me if I was coming back, seeing that I was one of the ‘new kids’ on the block. But the best thing was being handed the finished product of the class. A soft cover book is constructed by compiling a contribution from each attendee.

It is our choice as to which of the prompts we submit. I could not help but use, Mom’s, Gone with the Wind. Opening this small collection of each individual’s personal memories and finding my tribute to Carol Follett October 25, 1923- July 29, 2003 seemed fitting to her life and times.

I can just hear her now, “Ooh, let me see. Let me see.” She would think she had just made the President’s Christmas card list. It gives me a satisfaction and joy that I cannot really express to know that she is being honored in the reading of a small, yet wonderful part of her life.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 2

This past weekend was a hard one. Physically, my osteoarthritis afflicted left knee flared up and I guess in sympathy, my right shoulder joined in the campaign. It was like having a toothache simultaneously in both spots. A lot of rubbing, moaning, hot showers, pain pills and heating pad episodes. Luckily, Monday afforded me an already scheduled doctor appointment. Upon seeing the fix I was in, she sent me instantly to an Orthopedic doctor right down the road from her office. Four x-rays, an examination and two cortisone shots later I limped my way back to my chair, a cup of coffee and a deep-sleep napping session that lasted on and off all day. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 3

The bird –yes, or should I say ‘a’ bird and me are going to come to blows if it doesn’t find a new tree to do its two-hour chirping session in each morning starting at 3 am. My physical condition is the only thing that has saved me from scaling the porch railing, climbing into the tree, finding, strangling and plucking every feather off its scrawny little bird body. Unbelievable as it seems to me, this same bird is back again this year. Like clock work at exactly 3:05 am it starts. Now mind you, it isn’t a sweet little ‘chirpy chirp’, it is a four part chir-ER-ER-ptt-ptt-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thing that it does. Over and over and over and over and over and over and . . . . for two solid hours right out my bedroom window. Unbelievable! So, being creative, I bought an Owl. I now have an Owl statue glued and tied to my porch railing. I could hardly wait for 3:05 am to come the next morning. Sure enough, The bird makes its presence known and starts chirping. 1 chirp, 2 chirps, 3 chirps, 4 chirps, 5 chirps, . . .  257 plus chirps later, three curtain shaking rampages, four trips out on the porch, five taped Owl hoots played (yes I recorded an owl hoot) I finally came to this decision, there is at least one bird in Ohio who isn’t afraid of an owl and I now have that owl firmly glued to the rail on my porch which seems to be encouraging a nightly visit from its new best friend. All I can say is thank God the owl just sits there – quiet.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 4

On the writing front, I am highly motivated now after taking my teapots to the writing class and receiving such overwhelming encouragement to start a story about them have started, Miss Dots and the Timely Teapots.  And as I mentioned in a recent post about doing something different from the same-ole-same-ole, I am going to set up a storyboard/outline to see where these whimsical characters are going to take me.

So all in all, my basket of potpourri today has a mixture that I think all of life needs –balance. Not to mention, coffee, toast with jam, the bird off doing whatever it is birds do, something creative to exercise my mind, and almost being pain free. Plus my new pet glued to the porch, I think I’ll call him –He who doesn’t give a Hoot.

       "You wanna be friends, little bird?"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Final writing class….

Final writing class….
 I am really going to hate to see this class end. I started it for one reason and I found so many other reasons to rejoin the Spring class. This final writing prompt was to describe ourselves without adding our name to the paper. They will we distributed and read by someone other than ourselves during the class and we have to see if we can identify who the person is. Of course as writing goes, everyone has there own style of writing and as one class member noted, she cannot keep a straight face so it is going to be hard for her to not give herself away.

This will be my final contribution to this class. I am seriously thinking about joining again.
Catch me if you can
They say you cannot go back, but in this case I am going back to the first day of this class. I decided to apply the cluster method to see if I could pinpoint some word, place, or action I had not mentioned.

 I thought about all the ways in which I’ve traveled. I’ve been in a baby buggy, on roller skates, and a bicycle. I ridden/driven a car, a truck, a motorcycle, an old time humped-backed black taxi, and driven a tractor and a four wheeler. I’ve been in a boat, both big and small. I flown in a plane both commercial and private, but never a rocket or a helicopter and hope I never do.

I began to think about all the places I had lived. Seven states in all and traveled to another country but never lived there. Then it hit me, my Alaska! Alaska had been my dream for years. I envisioned its rugged landscape enfolding around me and swallowing me up in its vastness. I’d become a speck on a speck there. I’d forge my world out of the woodlands and blend in with nature. I’d be clothed in the skins of the animals I’d hunt and feast off their roasted, baked or broiled flesh. I’d savor every bite of wild berries and relish in the long summer fruits . . . Whoa! Wait a minute! Hold on!

Yes, Alaska was and will always remain as one of those thoughts planted in the reserves of my mind and heart where it will remain untouched or tainted. But the reality is that after visiting and standing in Alaska’s breathtaking five dimensional wonderland, breathing the pristine crisp air and feeling dwarfed by its mass, I came home to either have to summon up the courage to throw all caution to the wind and move there without a foothold or even a place to start or forever let Alaska be that everlasting dream.

I learned over the years that courting dreams are like courting a mate. The list of desires or deal breakers varies from person to person and asking others for their input is a ridiculous thing to do. It muddies the waters of love and dreams get washed away in the landside of human differences.

But Alaska gave me something I did not expect. It gave me one of life’s impossible moments that come when you least expect them. As our plane was departing Alaska the pilot came on narrating one last time the highlights of Alaska’s rocky terrain. As the plane made its final bank to the left Mount McKinley in the Denali Valley appeared in plain sight out my side of the plane. I had two last exposures in the disposable 35 mm camera I had brought with me, so I lined the camera up at my left shoulder in the cramped space of my seat by the window and clicked it once, and then for the last time hoping for whatever I might capture of this majestic mountain as I left my dreamland. Thinking that what I’d probably end up with would be a glossy 3x5 snapshot of the plane’s left wing.

As one often does in life I settled back into my daily routines letting them override the excitement of my trip and the 35 mm camera lay undeveloped for weeks. When I finally had the pictures developed, I was once again transported back to Alaska and beyond.

The last two pictures not only caught my immediate attention, but the strings of my heart. I could not believe what my hastily taken unfocused picture-snapping-act had afforded me. I had been to the top of Mount McKinley! My eyes had seen its majestic peak! I joined the ranks of mountain climbers who have seen this very same spot. Me, a nobody in the climbing community, a couch-peach, captured not only in life but forever on film the top of a mountain that stands thousands of miles away, that never knew I was coming, that had been forged out of hundreds of thousands of years of wind and rain, sunshine and violent storms.

Every time I look at these pictures I am so amazed. In looking back if someone asked you, “what was the most amazing thing you ever ended up doing that you never dreamed you’d do?” What would it be? For me it was looking upon the top of a mountain that I did not have to exert one bit of strength in making the climb. And yet I too, have been to the top of the mountain; A mountain that is standing this very moment in time maybe being bathed by sunlight or enduring another harsh storm that is reshaping its massive formation. Perhaps even now someone is being rewarded by their physical endurance and has reached its peak and is rejoicing in the magnificent view.

The same view that you now hold in your hands and I saw with my very own eyes. Hopefully these pictures will teach us all the lesson hidden within them, you never know when something quite unexpected will happen and become a lasting memory.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It’s bubble bursting Monday . . . .

It’s bubble bursting Monday . . . .

     This post might be jumbled because there are so many things running through my mind. I am going to try and start with what woke me up this morning. Doing something different today. Somewhere at the beginning of the year I read an encouragement to do something out of the ordinary. Something you would not naturally do. Two things, small things, but yet things I realized I did not do in my life were, to make something for myself and in writing, make an outline first. UGH!
     I hated outlines in school; I thought they were a total waste of time. But I am giving this some thought with a couple of my books. In doing this, I realized that I start with an inspirational thought and take off like a bullet and usually get half to three-quarters through and . . . fizz! Where am I going with this? So I am going to sit the next couple of days and storyboard these two books.
     One of them came to me through one of the prompts for the writing class I am taking. It was, “what is your favorite possession? And if possible bring it to class.” Mine, without a doubt, after being told of course that we could not name family or pets… is something my son gave me, a tea set. I LOVE THIS GIFT. It has given me countless hours of happiness. And it has triggered my quirky imagination. As I read my paper to the class and showed them my ‘cuties’ (see picture below) I did so with animation and their participation. In other words I brought them with me and let them talk to the class. They all said I should bring them alive in a book. So that is one thought that is whirling around in my head.
     The other thing I am in the process of doing differently is I am making myself one of the memory plates. This has been a challenge. I keep asking myself why. But I have forged ahead and now that empty spot on my table beside me is no longer vacant. I filled my plate with pictures of five of my closest friends and all the things I shared with each one of them. I added autumn leaves, and will find three other things that I personally love, pumpkins, roosters and hens and books. I can do this in time, because this one isn’t going anywhere. It’s mine. Something I have not ever said while making a craft. They always start out with the intention of being for someone else.
     While making this one another major thought came to the surface. While trying to avoid leaving brush marks in the sealer, I switched to a sponge brush. It did not leave brush marks, it left bubbles! As it dried all I could see were hundreds of tiny bubbles making the plate look rough. For days I wondered what I could do to fix it. All I saw every time I looked at it were the bubbles, the mistake. I completely lost sight of my pictures in the middle, all five friends and all the things I have loved about them and my own personal loves.
     The bubbles became the focus of my plate. Then yesterday, when I glanced at it while feeling a little lonely it wasn’t the bubbles I needed or even wanted to look at. I looked past them to the faces and objects of these five friends I have had throughout my life and everything my eyes fell across brought back memories of just why we had been friends. All the laughter with Marie, Christmas projects, and all the baking we did. Raising our kids with Gerri. Going through common struggles and supporting one another with sometimes nothing more than a word.
     Learning to accept things with Hope. Seeing the difference in our relationship and finding so many things we would have lost if we had let those differences separate us. With Linda all the love and patience and kindness we each had to help each other nurture in our common impatient and sometimes critical personalities. We were each other’s testing ground and then going through losing her to cancer. And understanding what unconditional love is like with Teresa. Fishing, fishing and fishing. Spontaneous four-wheeler rides at midnight to ‘spot deer with a high beamed flashlight’. Driving on back roads just to see where they go. Not feeling so alone. And taking the challenge to do things I never thought I could.
     I don’t know what your ‘bubbles’ are, but we all have them. And usually in light of the whole picture they are often small and insignificant like the tiny bubbles on my plate. I don’t care about them being there; in fact I am glad it happened. It woke up something in me that is going to strengthen each new day.
     I don’t care about the bubbles any more. So what? Really . . . ask yourself, so what? Who really cares? So there are bubbles and the plate has some flaws. How wrong I would be to let those bubbles override all the happiness and joy I had with these five friends. If they were all here right now I am sure they’d want to know they meant more to me than a few bubbles and ask me why I couldn’t look past the bubbles to what the plate really represents in my life.These friends were people who did not make bubbles in my life. I am through with people like that.
     So today rather than saying, “don’t let me burst your bubble”, I am hoping to burst a few bubbles for you today and gave you the freedom to say, “Who cares?”; So your life has a few bubbles or a lot of bubbles, so does mine. I am sure there will be people who look at this plate and they will instantly see the craftsmanship of it is flawed with all the bubbles and miss all the good stuff on it because they can’t get past my bubbles. And amazingly enough, I’ll be able to say, “What bubbles? I don’t see any bubbles.”

Aren't these just the cuties things you have ever seen?

What wonderful memories . . . for me!