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Hope to See

My year ended with a memorial service for a couple who died from Covid two weeks apart. It seemed befitting in some ways that they died so close together. You couldn’t say one of their names without saying the other in the same sentence. I’m sad to say that the new year has started off the same way with the loss of two special people who share their own space in my heart. I feel richer for knowing them even if for the moment I must grieve their loss.

There is a strange tension that pervades human life. On the one hand, we are encouraged to open our lives to people and to love and be loved but on the other hand with that openness comes great loss and a deep void when they are gone. It makes for some happy and sad times in life. Times when we must ask questions and be reminded again of what is important and what’s not.

The older I get the more I understand how fragile life is. Every day is a gift to be lived with all the gratefulness we have. Some days are harder than others, but it’s nice to know that love is always present and to be loved is one of the greatest gifts. Love brings hope with it; hope that though weeping may endure for a season that joy will come again.

From the beginning of our life to the end so many people, moments, and circumstances come together to help make us who we are. All the things we have experienced are woven into who we are and are becoming. We can’t go back, we can only move forward one day at a time, one step at a time. Hope is what propels us forward and keeps us from giving up.

In the end, hope has helped me to see that though my heart is broken at the moment I will continue to dance even if it’s with a limp in honor of their lives.

Pause and Enjoy

I love this time of year. What’s not to like about Christmas lights, festive decorations, and family gatherings? Several of the ornaments on my tree have many memories attached to them. Some of my favorites were made by kids and grandkids. A few were made by my sister who is no longer living, and others belonged to my mother and grandmother and were passed down to me. I love the memories that come to mind when I bring out the boxes and hang each one on the tree.

After the past couple of years, this year has me cherishing these memories more than ever. I lost two friends recently to Covid which came as a stark reminder of how fragile life can be. I’ve made a choice this holiday season to pause and enjoy those memories as they come even if they come with tears.

This Santa music box was a gift from my sister. Every time I see this little guy, it gives me hope that love always wins in the end. We shared a room growing up that literally had a line drawn down the center of it. The only free area was a path to the door and the closet that we shared. She couldn’t come on my side and visa-versa. Doing dishes every night was a test of my parent’s patience. We fought over everything. I don’t remember how it happened, but at some point, we became best friends. We talked each day though she lived in Missouri, and I live in Colorado. Love can truly break down the walls we build, and now I miss her every day.

I think this statement by Bianca Sparacino sums life up well. “You will hurt, and you will be hurt. However, you will also love, and you will be loved in the most magnificent ways. To live life is to understand that together these extremes thrive within us.”

Life can be hard, and messy, but equally amazing and wonderful. At times it is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but I’m grateful for each day that I get. Though life has led me down many different paths, some full of light and happiness, and some dark and sad, I haven’t forgot those who I have loved along the way. Their place is etched in my memories and their footprints are in my heart.

Every day is a gift. Loss and separation are not easy. This quote by W. S. Merwin has given words to very real emotions. “Your absence has gone through me, like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.”

“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” Irish Proverb. Wishing you each a joyous Holiday Season filled with moments to savor and a very Happy New Year.

Watch What They do

There are many voices that clamor for our attention. Not all of them have our best interests in mind. As a matter of fact, I doubt that many even think about us at all when they make their often outrageous claims about their products, or beliefs. Or even what the impact of their words might be upon on our lives. It took me many years to understand that I needed to watch what they do and not just what they say.

Growing up I was one part sunshine and another white tornado. I gave my mom all she could handle. Her actions showed me every single day what real love looked liked. Even when I wasn’t the easiest of kids to raise she never gave up on me or wavered in her love. I was strong willed, which is an understatement. Because of my mother’s actions I tend to look beyond mere words to what a person does. She tried her best to convince me through her actions that I was enough.

I admit for a few years I got lost in other peoples’ ideas and expectations of how I should act and live. Wanting to fit in or at times to lead the way I learned to play a part. Over time it was eye-opening when I began to see that most of those telling me what I should do didn’t believe or live their own words. Often I didn’t either.

Having spent many years of my life being told who I was, who I should be, and how I should act it was a great moment when I awakened. Not an easy task by any means. It meant deconstructing who I’m not, so I could simply become who I am.

Being honest with yourself is never easy, but it has simplified my life, and my faith. I’m happy to show by my actions or in some cases my characters actions who I am. You will find a part of me in every book that I write. I won’t tell you where but maybe you can guess when you watch what I do.

Christmas Novella

I’m excited about my Christmas novella and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. I had fun writing this one, and I might try my hand at another novella soon. This short read is a part of a Christmas Cookie Series done with other authors at The Wild Rose Press. Now you can read your way through the holiday season with some great stories and get some tasty cookie recipes too.

Here’s a small taste of Magic and Midnight Mint Bars and how I imagine Blue Cove at Christmas time.

“Sally was warming to her, but she had to make changes gingerly. She didn’t want to scare the girl with
an overt use of magic. Sally’s life had more than enough drama to last a lifetime. Gentle reminders were
best in her case. The first rule in the Intermediary Manual on page one in bold letters under line one-A
says, “the case subject has to believe that any decision made is their own idea.” Sally couldn’t feel
manipulated. Hundreds of years made Elida a pro at her job. Heck, she even taught classes on how it should be done, but occasionally even the best could mess up. In her guise as Holly, she wouldn’t leave anything to chance. All her hard work over the years had paid off with many inches added to her stature. She had always been on the tiny size from day one, known among her peers as Little Sprite quite lovingly. But with perseverance and her present rate of growth, she could be human size before long. She smiled wistfully. She hopped into Sally’s coat pocket while she dressed. Oh, how she loved the thrill of a case. Making people see the possibilities in their own life was exhilarating.”

Blue Cove at Christmas

Highs, Lows, and In-betweens

There is nothing like seeing my finished book and holding it in mine hands for the first time. Getting the first peek at a new cover is awesome too. ‘As The Page Turns’ release date is August 8th. ‘Magic and Midnight Mint Bars’ is my first attempt at a Christmas story. It’s a novella and I had a lot of fun writing this one.

For me, these are a few of the small joys of life not to be confused with the most important and key times with family and those you love. After a year of losing some folks I love, I was once again reminded people are what really matter. Their presence fills life with something truly irreplaceable.

Life is often a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Some highs are amazingly hard to beat moments, and some lows are tough to slog your way through. Thankfully most of life is routine, everydayness, and simply living. There are times when you can experience them all in a single day. Some weeks are filled with special activities and some have nothing new at all. Or as we all now know, a pandemic can change a year and the way we think of normal.

Yesterday I celebrated a milestone of years upon the earth. One that my mother never got to see. It made me grateful to experience this particular birthday. At some point in my life, it may be different for each of us, I quit worrying about getting older and became grateful for each birthday I get to see. This one was especially nice surrounded by people who are important to me. Laughter was the order of the evening, and for a time life was serving up memories and joy all the way around. Add to that a book release, and new cover, grandkids, and a special wedding anniversary coming up and I would say this is one of those high times after several lows.

At times like this I can breathe, take my foot of the gas, and rest being grateful to enjoy the moment before the ride begins again. I still find life beautiful, at times perplexing, and amazing. A wild ride, which I’m grateful to have survived, endured, and enjoyed surrounded by highs, the ordinary, and yes those pesky lows that have a way of changing me. Today I’m taking time to smell my birthday flowers.

A birthday bouquet from my brother. I love flowers.