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Archive for May, 2017

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  

Outdoor solar lights line the walkway to my brother-in-law’s house.  They were a birthday gift from my older son’s family—so recently that the lights have not yet absorbed enough sun to shine. Their brightness exists as a potential, a promise.

Yesterday, I sat and watched as my daughter-in-law skillfully assembled the lights. My younger son and oldest granddaughter planted them.

My right hand is bound in a brace; I’m clutching a tissue with the other. Even if I were uninjured and well, I would have a better chance of repairing a cracked raw egg than understanding line one of the directions. I am recovering from a respiratory infection—on an antibiotic long enough to see significant improvement. I have a doctor’s okay to travel, but I am not fully recovered.

Recovery, another form of beginning. Illness and setbacks cause me to forget the internal light that needs time in a different kind of light.

My husband and I laugh about life’s absurdities with our second son Steve and his fiancé, Cecelia. We joke about our childhoods, the inevitable roadblocks that affect everyone.

I see the light in my family’s eyes and recognize it as love.

The sky is late-May blue. The assembled outside lights are not yet needed.

What matters is what lies within.

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Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. (Jacques Maritain)


I have attended fairs as a vendor, an author selling The Curse Under the Freckles, the first book in my soon-to-be-released series, The Star League Chronicles. The second book, Stinky, Rotten Threats, will be released soon.

However, I have never tried signing with a broken hand. The swelling is down enough to allow thumb and index finger to meet. I am at a health fair sponsored by a local senior center.

As I wish magic for a reader, it feels akin to a spell because each letter of every word can be read. My signature hasn’t been repeated often enough to reach celebrity status, spasmodic lines that mimic the measurement of earthquake tremors.

Blessings, however, seem to abound.

My table is in an ideal spot—one of the first seen, but it is isolated from the crowd.

My friend, G., gets a fresh cup of coffee for me. Then, later, she watches my table so I can get a sandwich. She collects samples from the booths, and then lets me browse a little as well.

The frozen gel pack I brought for my aching hand has warmed. A YMCA director replaces it with a bag of ice. The director of the senior program at the Y is especially helpful.

I’m impressed by the number of volunteers who pass by. Good, generous, people.

Broken places throb. In my hand, in life. It’s the nature of a broken place. Even in my middle-grade fiction, I don’t avoid the shattered. I suspect the contrast of darkness and light makes the beauty of kindness more striking. Perhaps even exquisite. Thanks to all the givers in the world.

 

 

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Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind. Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)

Ordinarily, I can type almost as fast as I can talk. Right now, my left index finger is doing all the work.  My dominant hand throbs with a fractured metacarpal. Eighty typos occur before the first intact sentence appears: backspace, retype, rewrite—with one crooked index finger.

Pause. Pray. For a miracle… Not to find patience. I have a better chance of seeing greed disappear on the political scene.

Then family love floods in. Jay cooks; I always prepare our meals. He offers to take me to appointments even when he will need to give up favorite activities, since he does not have the gift of bi-location. My sons call, available to give as much… more…than they have. My younger son is researching voice-activated writing possibilities.

My hand remains broken. Sweet chords wait inside my guitar until we can meet again. Many weeks from now.

My almost-daughter-in-law keeps in close touch. A neighbor offers to help. My friend, Ann, offers to scrub my kitchen floor on her hands and knees, her specific suggestion. The best way to approach a friend in need. Ann would understand; she is blind.

I type with slow uncertainty.  One hand, one finger. Pain.

From darkness comes light. Eventually.

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Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. (Warren Buffett)

My older son was 21 years old when he helped my husband buy my car. Now he is married and has two daughters, ages thirteen and nine. My younger son was in on the decision as well. He was still in high school. He now has an MBA and a precious seven-year-old girl.

Both of my sons served as car-buyer assistants again. A brand-new Toyota will be arriving soon. Jay will be driving the 2018 vehicle. I am more comfortable with fewer buttons and an older fashioned style. Sure, I’ll learn the bigger-and-better, eventually. I learn in installments. A different kind of car payment.

My 1997 Toyota waits in the rain, not yet to be moved to the junkyard—for its parts to be organ donors for other needy vehicles.  

The car waits to help someone else, my almost daughter-in-law, my friend and confidante. I pray little green holds out for at least another year until Cecelia graduates.

I don’t recall the old car’s cost, but I had no idea it would be loyal to me for twenty years, more if someone I loved didn’t need little green for whatever is left of the car’s engine life.

The Toyota is a good car brand, but like anyone or anything, it needs maintenance and attention. Oil changes, an occasional tune-up, the mechanical version of you-are-important-to-me. I will notice what you need.

Sometimes the price of human love is high, but since love is priceless, the cost isn’t an issue. At other times, all that is needed is presence, a face-to-face smile, a sharing of frailties.

Value is what you get, a value that can’t always be measured.

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