Winter Around

Today I will look for God.

Just like I do everyday, at least on the days I’m not too harried.

It is easy to find him in spring with new life imminent.

It is easy to find him in summer with its long, lazy days.

It is not hard to find him in autumn, with its glorious bursting colors.

But winter.

In winter I find him on the branches of seemingly dead trees glistening with ice.

I hear him in the birdsong as they bravely carry on, encouraging one another.

I find him in the crunchy blades of grass under my boots.

I feel his breath on my cheeks and nose.

I see him in a multitude of grackles pecking a frozen ground.

I hear him in the heavy silence all around. Be still and listen.

In the winter season, he is still there.

Seek, then find.

Where It All Began

Can we all just join together in a moment of silence for all the teachers out there? For me and many others, tonight marks the end of our Christmas break. It is back to the grind tomorrow. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a tiny bit melancholy about this.

The past two weeks, I’ve been super introspective. I’ve allowed myself to slow down enough to listen to my thoughts. To evaluate my life. I’ve truly spent the last three years, since beginning my LuLaRoe business, working my fingers to the bone. Ignoring parts of me that need tending and ignoring people in my life that need nurturing.

Today I found myself in a dusty attic looking for something from nearly 30 years ago. I’m a sentimental old hen and have saved nearly every card, every letter, every personal email that has ever been sent to me. I found what I was looking for. Rummaging through sentiments from the past, sneezing through the dust, took me to a place of serious nostalgia. I let the past collide with my present and I’m not sure about you, but it never fails to leave me worse off than when I began.

I went way back down memory lane today. Far back into dark reaches I haven’t been in a while. I decided I should write my memories while I still can. I began to think of the house that built me. An small orange brick house on the edge of town. I got my journal and I drew out the floor plan. I remembered so many details of that house and the yard. As memories flooded my mind, words began to pour forth, carrying me back to places I have left in the dark.

Did you ever play a game where someone grabbed one of your wrists and one of your ankles, picked you up, and began to spin you around? Maybe it was called airplane. Or maybe that’s what I call it. If you were light enough, they were able to raise you high and lower you down all while they were spinning you around and around. You watched the world go by at dizzying speed, blurring before your eyes, losing all sense of where you were. After what seemed like a really long time, they would put you down and you would stagger around like a drunkard with the world still spinning until you fell into the green fescue grass in childhood laughter and waiting for everything to return to normal.

That’s how my childhood felt. Exhilarating highs. Then being so low it felt like the ground was rising up to meet me. The spinning. The blur. The dizziness. The confused stumbling. Waiting for normal.

I think it’s good advice not to look back. That’s not where we are. It’s not always a pleasant place to visit, but in some mystical way, it’s calling to me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why now. I’m not sure I want to go because of the feelings that come up. But I think there’s healing back there.

I recently read Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63. It’s about a man who finds a portal to the past, and he returns to right some wrongs. I too have discovered a portal to the past. I can’t right the wrongs, but I can look them in they eye now. So I’m going to journey back to a place of long ago, and I’m going to return different than before I left.

Desiderata “things desired”

I read the following poem on a stormy afternoon while lying in bed. The window was open and great gusts of wind carried in the smell of an approaching spring thunderstorm. Even as the sky darkened with ominous clouds, I felt at peace. A peace I wish you could know. A peace I wish everyone could know.

I happened upon this poem, not by chance I’m sure. It spoke so loudly to me, so clearly, as if it held all the answers.

I felt it needs to be shared.  It was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, yet its words are timeless. Read it slow. Take it in. Roll it around in your mind. I personally plan to commit it to memory. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Strive to be happy.

Angel

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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My Journey as a Writer

I’m beginning.  I’m still at the beginning.   I’m no longer at the starting line, and I don’t know the route or the way to the finish line.  But I’ve begun.

Not long ago, my mom gave me a green folder that had special mementoes she had discovered while cleaning out.  There were notes and letters.  A child’s drawings of hearts and flowers.  A book report in the shape of Oklahoma.  Just a few things she had saved of mine during my elementary school years.  I looked through them, not seeing much more than a pile of faded construction paper hearts with “I love my mom” scribbled in crayon.  

Not until I dug deep, did I find something significant.  It was a story I’d written, actually two.  My mom had written on the back, “Angel came home today so excited to be a writer. An author visited the school.  Here are two of her stories she has written so far.”  The stories were lackluster and quite morbid.  There were no happily ever afters to them.  It actually made me sad to read them and there wasn’t much talent there at all, just a childhood imagination.

I don’t remember the day the author visited.  I don’t remember writing those stories either.  I’m grateful my mom saved them, though.  It’s seems to confirm that writing is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  I like to think it’s engrained.   It’s stitched in the fibers of my soul.  It holds me together with big sloppy stitches.  I guess somehow, throughout the years, my childhood dream of writing got pushed beneath all the glamourous, or high paying, or practical jobs that the teachers, parents, and society dictated instead.  The little girl who desired to be an ice skater, then a psychiatrist, who settled on a teacher but not before becoming a waitress forgot her aspiration.  No one valued writing that I can remember.  No one encouraged that.  Instead it was the doctor, lawyer, dentist, Dallas cowboy cheerleader kind of jobs to strive for.  

I started this blog a few years ago.  It’s one of my most valued treasures.  I’ve nurtured it and it is my life memoir, so to speak.   Some people actually read it.  And those same people actually told me I should write more.

So I did. 

Last month, I had a small (not so great) ebook published. That was the first hill of my journey.  

Today I turned in a second book, and conquered another hill.  It is actually a ghost writing project, meaning my name will not appear on it.  Someone else will take my story, put their name on it, and pretend they wrote it.  For now, that’s okay with me.  If I were them, I couldn’t sleep at night, but that’s their issue not mine.

Tomorrow I begin another story.  

And then, I have another one after that.

It’s good.  It’s all good.

I am beginning to think of myself as a writer.  Not a novelist, not even an author, but a just a little bit of a writer.  

I’m not getting rich and famous.  I’m not even being paid much, but it gives me a little Christmas cash, so I’m pleased.

Maybe somewhere down my journey,  I might be considered a novelist.  That would be so cool.  Maybe at mile marker 1,458, I might have an agent, and an editor, and a publisher.  

Dream with me just for a moment.  Close your eyes.  

Can you see it?  I’m wearing glasses and a scarf to hide my old neck.  My hair is grayer and I’m autographing a book.

Yes, I can see it.  It makes me smile.

When I arrive at mile marker 1,459  I’ll look back on this little post right here, and all the ones before it, and see my beginnings.  The ones where I wrote while my baby napped beside me in the bed.  The late nights of lots of coffee while the rest of the house slept, the times I took my laptop to the backyard while EK played with the dogs and chickens and I slaved away and on plot twists and character sketches.  

It’s an exciting journey, and at times it’s hard and long.  But I’m not alone.  

Lots have gone before me, and many are with me now.  

My story: Hearts in Rhythm

Here it is.

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My first published story.

My first story, period.

It’s been published as an e-book for Kindle.  It only costs $.99 and I completely picked out that juicy cover picture.

Just kidding.

I had no say in anything after I sent in the story, including the steamy cover.

Gauging from the picture, you might guess it’s a mystery.  Well, you would be wrong.  It’s a romance, but if you know me at all, it is completely PG.  Or even G for that matter.  No Fifty Shades of Gray here.

I don’t expect you to buy it, but you can if you want.

I didn’t go through the traditional publishing route, it was freelance work, which means even if you do buy it, I’ll never see one red cent from it.  I’ve already been paid everything I’m going to be paid.  So even when MGM makes a movie out of it and it becomes a blockbuster starring Leonardo DeCaprio, I will still be wearing  ratty socks and buying underwear from Walmart.

A girl can dream, right?

I’m working on another project now, and the lady who published Hearts in Rhythm has hired me to write another story, so I’m chalking all this up as practice, diligence, and experience, not wealth or fame.

Anyway friends, thanks to all those who encouraged me, told me I should write a book, and said you loved my blog.  You helped me believe in myself.

(Especially my cousin, Jay!)

I must go, I have a deadline to meet.  (Doesn’t that sound cool?)

Much love,

Angel

Oh, here’s the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-In-Rhythm-ebook/dp/B00F25GLRY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1379082331&sr=8-7&keywords=hearts+in+rhythm

Blogging……finally

I had to do a little digging for this fun fact, but for the first time since August of 2009, I did not publish a blog post.

For 4 years…..

48 months……

every month……

I have had a post except this last month.

That’s kind of a sad situation.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Since I missed August 2013, I’ll give a quick recap of the other things that stole my time, that is if I can remember.

First off, we got a puppy.

I started having some puppy fever back in the early summer and I found myself searching for a dog.  This was crazy.  My bro-in-law said what I needed was another baby, but you know, puppies don’t live as long.  Or cost as much.

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Here he is running like crazy to get away from these 2, who seem to want to love him a little too much.

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And here he is, realizing love is a pretty cool thing.

We call him Ozzie.

Oz, the great and powerful.  He likes to bark at himself in the mirror and other inanimate objects like EK’s little rocking horse.  He is a sweet boy and is equivalent to having another 19 month old in the house.  He’s into everything, I have to tell him not to chew on crayons too, and he pees and poops as he pleases.  Kind of like some one else I know.

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Speaking of…….I’m attempting to potty train this sweet girl of mine.  She’s not having any part of it.  She wants to wear her panties, but is a bit traumatized by the potty chair.  This came about after she peed on my lap and I screamed.  She got scared and cried as my mom yanked her britches down and plopped her on the potty that was sitting in the living room floor.  I had run to the bathroom to wipe the pee that was running down my bare legs and onto my socks, so let’s just say that now, she is not sitting on that potty for nothing.  So we put away the concept for a while and we’ll work on house training Ozzie instead.

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Once upon a time, she liked her potty, but only with her clothes on.

Also, in the month of August, I met a writing deadline.  This is something I’m super proud of.  I freelanced a story and spent most of August writing/editing/crying/drinking coffee/burning the midnight oil/stressing/praying/walking the floor/and doubting my ability.  But by August 31, it was complete and I actually received payment, which is pretty awesome.   It was 30,000 words which is about 29,300 more than the longest blog post I’ve ever written.  It ended up being 115 pages and I feel like I birthed a baby.

I think, if I’m brave enough, I can maybe call myself a writer now that someone actually paid me to write a story.   I have another one to write this month, due by Sept. 30.  I need a few extra hours in the day, or just to unplug from the internet, hire a babysitter, and sit my butt down long enough to write.  It’s hard y’all, real hard.  But it’s also completely cool.

The month was also spent with family who came to visit and outings to the mountains to hike and camp.   School started for my sweet niece Ash who made cheerleader.  So we’re acquainting ourselves with the rules of volleyball and dusting off our stadium seats for football games.

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Here she is on her first day of high school.

Life is busy here.

As one of my friend’s daddy used to say, the days go by slow but the years go by fast.

May we cherish every moment.

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30 Things

So I found this pin on Pinterest recently and I think I’ll give it a try.  It’s from a blog titled babymakingmachine.com

It’s entitled 30 things my kids should know about me.

Here’s her list.

THE LIST:

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and describe how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your spouse.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. What’s the hardest part of growing up?
14. Describe 5 and weaknesses strengths you have.
15. Describe when you knew your spouse was the one or how I fell in love.
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What do you think your spouse loves most about you?
19. How did you feel the moment you became a parent?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. Describe your relationship with your parents.
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
24. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about parenthood?
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What’s your favorite quality in your spouse?
29. What are your hopes and dreams for your prosperity?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

It’s a bit daunting if I do say so myself, but my goal is to attempt a once a week post on one of these topics.  I doubt I’ll go in order, because that’s just not how I roll.  I’ll do the easy ones first, because that is how I roll and I’ll weed through the rest.