Friday, October 31, 2014

Scary Halloween

Re-posting. Originally written in 2012.
 Twenty four years ago, we had a very wet, gloomy October. I had just found out I was pregnant with Katie. We were moving into our house, but still living at my parents while they traveled south to Florida. David and I would go to our new house, and I ended up laying on the couch sleeping. I couldn't believe how tired a little life could make me. I worked full time afternoons in ICU, also.
Halloween Day, the sun shone brightly. I got a burst of energy, dusting every thing that had been moved from one and a half years storage. I even wanted to walk to Taco Bell, but we decided we didn't have time.
Mom and Dad were back from their trip. Dad, already set up to treat the trick-ers, stood at their front door. I love to watch the children trotting up the street. I felt great as I entered the living room to be with Dad. Then I felt something funny, wet between my legs, and I discreetly went to our room. Blood between my legs. I panicked.
I called my doctor immediately as my pregnancy was only a month along. The nurse, an older, wizened nurse, calmly told me to lay down, right now. I was only get up to the bathroom for forty eight hours. Oh, boy, I was scared.
We hadn't told my parents, or David's, either. His parents had planned to come that weekend to help us move and settle into our new house. We planned to announce our wonderful news at dinner on Saturday. I told David, "You have to tell my dad. I never stayed in bed this long, even when I was sick."
David looked at me quizzically.
"You have to," I reinforced my demand.
I also knew my dad would pray. I wasn't a fervent prayer at that time. I was in one of those dips of doing things my way with just a nod to God.
David's brother and wife, Ray and Kathy with their two young boys still made the trip to the Valley to see her parents, her relatives  and us. I instructed David to tell them as well. I knew they would pray.
Jody and Megan came upstairs to see me. Megan's eyes round as saucers, in her costume, either a witch or Indian. Jody sat on the bed and talked. She had directed me to this obstetrician, so we chatted about him and his nurse.
The next day, my dad popped his head in the door, "So, you got yourself pregnant?"
"Dad, I wanted to."
"I know. What can I get you to eat?"
A few days later, I got a card from Ray's mens prayer group at his church in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Sixty men signed a card that they had prayed for me the next day after the Ray Lyon's had been here. That tan card that sixty men signed signified a great power  to me.
After the initial complete bed rest, I was allowed to go downstairs once a day and back upstairs once a day. Mrs. Voisey, the doctor's nurse advised me, "Just look at the dust and say isn't that a pretty pattern."
I was more tired after that week of inactivity than if I worked hard. Going back to the unit was hard at first. The greatest moment was a week later, hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time with the Doppler. The scare was over. I counted the prayers, but still had not become a praying woman.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not in Doldrums Anymore

I didn't think I would do National Novel Writing Month again this year. I still haven't finished the one I started last year. I asked myself, "Did I want to put that on myself, again? The word counts. The running out of steam halfway through, not knowing where to take the story and floundering. Finding something else I want to write, while the plot simmers behind the other pots?" The answer waited.
Then those tricky e-mails come from NaNoWriMo. Oh, and the Municipal Liaison invites my region to a write-in. I can't make it, but at least she is having one this year. The excitement builds as I read the other regions' news and meet authors on line.
And best of all, the idea, a juicy plot and the title rush on the horizon. I can't ignore it. I need more motivation. I'm almost finished with Last Free Exit. But then a new character slips into the book. Oh, Andi, what am I going to do with you and Derek? I'm over eighty one thousand words and I haven't even gotten to the trial. LFE feels like a hot mess at times.
I could finish it before October ends, I thought. Then the funk fogs my thinking. I troll on Facebook when I should write. Late into the night I feel the pictures roll over my eyes when I should turn it off and go to sleep. I average four to five hours, so if I fall asleep early for afternoon turn, I wake too early for afternoon turn. Then I allow myself to sleep some more.
Saturday, I met with other local authors at the Local Author Book signing. Although, I had already made up my mind to attempt NaNoWriMo this year, the desire confirms. One author has been doing it for ten years. She can't stop now. She writes her shorter novels during November.
So Outside of Time announces her conception. I see a Summer Series. These November novels form in the cool nights of summer with the crickets and train whistles. Mysterious magical muses nudge me to write. And I'll remember summer in the beginning of dismal days.
Actually, I love November in many ways. It is the thankful month. The sun can shine warmly, surprising us. Or the snow can fall heavily which brings the child out in me. And the writing community urges me on.
I also took on a writing job yesterday. I will submit historical articles for the local The Way It Was, a  free paper. My first one will be in January. This came about as I talked to Eric Bombeck about being on his radio show, as I described my novels. I will talk about Main Street and Summer Triangle on WPIC, 790 AM, November 12 at 5:30PM.
I have a voice for stories about my Aunt June to share with her daughter. I had written them years ago. My computer crashed, losing those ones. They felt stiff to me, then. Carol contacted me about remembrances of her mom a week ago. Monday morning, the voice for the stories, of how to write them, revealed itself.
Firefly Heaven- Matt Pollock

Another interesting thing that happened this week, seventy two French people read my post on The Newel Post. I have no idea why that popped up in France. This though bumped my page views up quite a bit.
Now, I ponder should I ride the wave of over one hundred page views and keep posting on the blog, even though I have these other projects. What is the formula? If I have learned anything in this journey so far, there is no formula. I follow my inner voice, that independent stubbornness hidden deep inside me. I'll read and learn, but I find I have to do what works in my life. I can't do it any other way. I follow the leading I discern from God after much prayer.
I thank you for coming on the ride with me. I thank you for the prayers and support. I still think I'm on that raft, waiting for the wave right behind me. I'm not in the doldrums any more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Entrance to Haywood Cemetery, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania

                                                                        Happy Halloween                    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teddy's Law Tuesday
I had wanted to write a fun piece on my memories of Patriots Day in New England, when I lived in cold New Hampshire thirty years ago. That drawn out spring as they celebrated the 18th of April for the "shot heard around the world." In Spring that drags, those hearty New Englanders have the Boston Marathon, creating a holiday.
You know what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon. It is all over the place. A tragedy marring a wonderful celebration of freedom. Children killed. A coward bombing a public event.
Amidst all the posts for Boston, I noticed one about the mother of Teddy Foltz and her boyfriend. The attorneys are petitioning for separate trials. I'm sad for Boston, but every time I see Teddy's name or face, tears well up in my eyes. As I wrote before, the system failed this little boy. Two school districts and several times he went to the hospital for various maladies, like frostbite on his feet, no one further investigated these incidences.
The terror and abuse have no more revelations when I read about the pending trial. It shocks and sickens me. I cry. We lose children every day to abuse and killing. If they are not physically killed like Teddy, they are murdered in their souls. If they grow up, they are likely to be monsters to children in their lives. No statistics here, so site me on that.
The children lost at Sandy Hook and in Boston, yesterday, are tragic losses, indeed. I am in no way downplaying their deaths. I think, though, they had happy lives with parents who loved them. If you saw them, you would no more feel sorry for them or fear for their lives the day before the tragedy than any other child from stable homes.
We have to look beyond and see the Teddy's and his twin brothers. We have to look beyond the smiles that children seem to have naturally, even when the life they have behind close doors is horrible. Children are forgiving. They love their abusers or the enablers to the abusers, because they have no other compass. Children love their families.
Just as now, we have to be on the alert of suspicious characters in public events, we need to have radar up for the every day abusers. Pray for teachers, public health workers, other adults and yourself, to have diligence in getting to the bottom of  the evidence of abuse, neglect and stories of cover up. We need to pray for noses for the facts, to not let go, like a dog with a bone.

A re-post.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Laugh at Death

Marquee advertising the Book Signing this Saturday

If you have followed me for any length of time, you may guess I get into funks. My body gets tired and I push through days without any sense of accomplishments. I have come to peace with this. I get done what I get done. I watched this cycle with my mother. I do keep a check on my thyroid as well, but I accept that my body possesses limited strength. I'm OK with this.
The last few days, well almost a week, the funk settled in. The dull skies and leaves reminded me of a seventies' kitchen, listless avocado and gold. Did I miss the peak of the colors because of the rain and gloom? October signals death for me because of decreasing sunlight and the cold creeps in too often with snippets of stories of snow, usually only flurries in the north or mountains. Of course all the depictions of death with some gruesome Halloween decorations also depress me.
Then I wake early to promise of blue skies. The gray of predawn light replaced by a true gold. I am reminded Halloween evolved into a holiday to mock death, to laugh in its face. We, as Christians, should laugh the most, as I think of I Corinthians chapter 15 and 16. "O, Death where is your victory? O, Death where is your sting?"
Right now, I do live in a vessel of clay, but oh, glorious day, I will have a new body. A body that can run like the energizer bunny, but even better than that. I believe I'll focus on stories better than I can write here and still enjoy the work immensely. Our joy will be increased.
So now, I embrace laughing at death. His reign is only temporary. As we see on earth with our trees, the leaves fall in glory, but will bud again in spring. The earth awakens to different colors come April and May.
The funk is gone, as I knew it would be. I'm excited about my book signing this Saturday for many reasons. I will meet local authors. I will meet readers. I will meet friends. I look to this as a start of something great, whether with marketing or connections or growing as an author. But the day fills with promise, as the  predawn light shines differently without clouds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Too marvelous not to post

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teddy's Law Tuesday

Remember Teddy and watch for child abuse. Report if you see it. Child helpline- 1-800-422-4453

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seven Day Thankfulness Challenge

As you will read, I was challenged, last week, to a Seven Day Thankfulness Challenge by my old Rainbow Girl friend in high school, Marilyn Krichko, in the italics here:
Day 4: I am thankful for this day and all the good things that come with it. When I look back at my life, and the times my life has been spared, I realize that we are all here for a reason. Every new day gives us the opportunity to impact someone's life in a positive way. Some days we have more impact than others and I thank God that each day brings new opportunity to try it again and again. I challenge my wonderful friend Mollie Lyon to the 7 day thankfulness challenge . Mollie is one of the sweetest people I have ever known and a true friend.
I wanted to share this all together as we look toward November. Gratitude sure sets the mind in the right place. My response to the challenge:
My friend Marilyn Krichko invited me to the 7 day thankfulness challenge. I think this came just when I needed it, so Day 1: I thank God for sending His son, Jesus to die for my sins and for sending the Holy Spirit to fill me so I can be the sweet person Marilyn knows. Some days, it is only through His strength that I can be who He has called me to be.
I challenge Mary Ellen Lyon to the 7 day thankfulness challenge, only because you'll soon be on break.

 Day 2 of thankfulness challenge: the written word, the highest being the Bible and how God speaks through it every day to me.
I challenge Katie Lyon to 7 days of thankfulness, if she is ever on facebook.

Day 3 of thankfulness challenge: I'm thankful today for family, where I came from and where I am going. Great brunch with my main four today that we haven't had all at one time in a long time. I challenge Diane Galicia.

Day 5 of thankfulness challenge, early again, because I have to get up to meet old friends at the Diner for breakfast and meet a new friend: I am thankful today for old and new friends, like the old Brownie song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the others gold." I challenge my niece, Michelle Nealy to the 7 day thankfulness challenge.

Day 6 of thankfulness challenge: I'm thankful for a creative God who gives each of His children a different ounce of creativeness and Who also had a lot of fun creating this world, as Tony Campolo illustrated with his idea of God creating daisies- "Oo, again." I challenge Bonnie Fitzgerald Smith to the 7 day thankfulness challenge.

 So this is day 7 of my 7 day thankfulness challenge and it's not that I can't think of anything to be thankful for, no, not at all, but to wrap it up with a profound thought is daunting. So today, what am I thankful for? This is not an end all. In fact, I look forward to November with thankfulness and reading Philippians every day, my habit for years now. I have been thankful for my Creator, His Son and Holy Spirit, His Word and how I hear Him speak through it. I love my family and friends, the companionship and history. I am thankful for creativity. So today, I am thankful for the technology that has enabled me to improve my writing and to communicate better to more people than I ever thought possible even five years ago- who had ever heard of a blog? Well, maybe ten years ago. Twelve years ago, I disciplined myself to write every day in a journal, if I were going to really be a writer. Then about three years ago I read Jeff Goins who challenge to not say, "going to be a writer," but "I am a writer." Now with a blog and two books published that journey is under way and I am thankful to be doing what God had planned for me. I am thankful, too, for Marilyn Krichko challenging me to this when I felt a little bit down. Thankfulness needs to be bottled as a medicine for what ails you. I challenge Dana F. Schroyer to the 7 day thankfulness challenge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Hogback Creek, West Middlesex, PA

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teddy's Law Tuesday

Another reminder of weapons we use against children are our words. I have read a few books this summer about young men, especially, who dealt with distant fathers, yet overcame the unbelief they felt from the men in their lives, Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman and Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin. A man my age also remarked at how much he accomplished after high school. The guidance counselor told him not to set his goals too high. Teachers and coaches could have encouraged him in even a small way, but they didn't.
We have an awesome privilege to build up with our words. Watch them closely and chose the ones that give life. I ponder what could be achieved.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Catch Up

New pathway to the park

 Join me on my walk Tuesday. Still abundant green, but colors readying for the peak.

This week, not sure what ailed me, gastro distress, headache, achy joints and dizziness covered with overwhelming sleepiness. I missed Teddy's Law Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday, my somewhat cheating days, so I spend more time writing my novel. I did write Tuesday, but yesterday was total wash out.
I woke early to feeling too warm. My balance off, making me stumble some. I peeked outside to see if the skies were clear for the lunar eclipse since I was awakened. The sky crystal with bright stars, one calling to me, it seemed. I couldn't see the moon at first because of the tree out my front door. Then I noticed white through the leaves. The moon, with a slight sliver edging away.
I grabbed my chair and sat in the shadows before six AM by my van. I stared at the moon creeping into the shadow of the earth. The silence of the morning, far away freeway traffic, crickets, the gentle breeze tickling the leaves surrounded me. I listened for thoughts, what came was what I just wrote about the silence.
As soon as the moon became muddy red, my gut rumbled. I ran for the bathroom. After a few minutes catching up on news between a few trips to bathroom, I succumbed to sleep. I wanted to sleep all day. Any one knowing me and how I push myself to stay up in sunshine would know I was sick. I had no strength.
So today, I'll share a story about child abuse and my pictures I took for Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hang Out at the Diner

My daughter cruised through a garage sale last weekend, bringing home a case that looked like it could carry dolls, instead all the seasons of that wonder filled series, The Gilmore Girls filled it. My youngest daughter's friend first lent us her series, season by season,a few years ago and we fell in love with the witty writing and beautiful visions of a make believe small town in Connecticut. Coffee brewing, bagels and jammies led to us being 'Gilmored.' A phrase we made up for watching disc after disc, a sucked in phenomena of a fantasy land, a Connecticut strangely reminiscent of California, where the sun shines bright at five thirty in the morning on an early winter day.
 Cast Photo
The first suspension of belief to me, is how much the older Lorelai can eat, while still being tall and willowy. Every woman's dream materialized by hardly ever seeing her eat a salad. Most of us are more like the chef, Sookie. The second thing in the script depicts that they live in a dirty house. Yeah, my house isn't that clean on a good day. We are slobs. Maybe it is their lack of animals.
I believe another part of the charm is the eccentric characters that populate the town of Stars Hallow. I think of the book I'm reading by Maeve Binchy, a collection of stories about people around a small town in Ireland. Jan Karon's Mitford introduced many characters Father Tim learned to deal with. The book I finished recently, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil written about real people in Savannah also created community. We crave community, whether small town or as in the movie, You've Got Mail, a neighborhood in New York City. Think of novels you have enjoyed lately and maybe you find the same thing, a group of people and animals on the periphery of story that make up the book.
I miss that in my life at times. Living in a suburbia city and working seems to have kept me from knowing quirky people that interact. Working, now, in a nursing home gives me a micro community. Actions to be counted on happening every time I'm there. The lady asks me about dancing on New Year's Eve. The Queen rolls into the dining room. The husband wheels his wife around the square all day. Another man smiles as I call him "Sweetheart" and admonishing him to not tell the other men. Getting called Jessica by a daughter. All this makes up an evening. I look at it as background for a novel.
Community creates fullness for a story. Even loners in books have a cat or a neighbor, brother, sister , someone who cares. The newspaper stand owner or waitress the protagonist encounters regularly.
We, as readers, want those recurring characters. We crave community in our isolated world. We suspend belief to fall in love with a Miss Patti, Babbette, or even the nameless singer who fills in background song. They don't have strong stories on their own, or at least they are not given them, but the whole wouldn't be complete without them.
A picture of "Stove Hounds," men who hung around the pot belly stove in a general store in New England at the turn of last century makes me think I want to write about that someday. Yet a central story around it all must emerge. I'm feeling the urge to hang out at the diner. How about you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014