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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

It’s important to see how we can advance in healing wounds. (Ricardo Lagos)

When I tell a good long-time friend that I’m seeing my orthopedist on Friday, she shares experience I hadn’t considered. Doc’s expected first request: “Make a fist.”

The inevitable surfaces. My middle finger has more arthritis than muscle and bone. It had old-lady inflexibility before my hand had a major conflict with the concrete—and lost.

We’re talking about pain. Healing rarely includes magic-wand results. My gut reaction says run from impending digital distress, but I have a book signing to schedule, a guitar waiting for me to take it out of its case, a real-life schedule to maintain, blogs to type with more than one finger, my next book to write, as well as grandchildren who bring no-time-to-sit-still joy.

I remove the brace and unwrap a foreign hand. Hi, there, righty. Want to shake hands with lefty? Or at least curve across the top surface of her flesh for a while?

We’ll work together, every part of me, past and present. As a girl child reared in the middle of the twentieth century I was taught to have no needs. The older woman Terry speaks against such nonsense. A warehouse needs stock before it can distribute goods. A flower needs the power of seed—within itself—to flourish.

Healing wounds. A lifelong process. I’m not sure what I can expect on Friday, but this isn’t Friday.  Today, I curl and uncurl uncooperative fingers as the sun and rain take turns in the summer day skies.

Thanks for the photo, hubby Jay

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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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What can go wrong will go wrong. (Murphy’s Law)

My computer is unplugged. Temporarily. A few minutes. No more. Its battery is at 69%. I checked two seconds ago. Then, the screen goes as dead as the inside of a serial killer’s conscience. The blackout has just destroyed 83 pages of edits.

On my final manuscript.

Scheduled to go to my publisher.

Today.

Yes, I do know how to write complete sentences. However, under the circumstances, my mind isn’t thinking in complete thoughts, especially as I realize the do-you-want-to-recover document I was editing contains an uncorrected way-too-common phrase I changed on page one.

And, no, I did not wait hours before hitting save. The save button would have a hole in if it were made of any earth material—including diamond.

Glitch two—some missed connection with my new Microsoft Word. No-o-o, a two-letter word that now has at least ten syllables.

Time to breathe before starting over. Two friends help make that happen, Ann and Shannon. They are coming for lunch and a personal concert. Fortunately, lunch has been prepared ahead. Simple. Homemade soup and tossed salad. Bagged tortilla chips. These two women appreciate. Excess is unnecessary.

Ann is blind. I pick her up from home and lead her up the steps leading to our house. She has no difficulty finding her way. Her sunshine greeting, light coming from her spirit, encourages me.

I realize there is no way I could have started over on my manuscript in a milieu of internal darkness. Shannon is already at the house and she is talking to Jay. Her laughter greets us as we enter the house.

We begin our afternoon with music. Neither of my friends could come to the Get Lit Festival last Saturday sponsored by Post Mortem Press. (Lit refers to Literature, not buzzed.) Local artists and writers brought their art to sell. I read a short section from my next middle-grade urban fantasy. I also played and sang three songs.

Nathan Singer from the Whiskey Shambles, rocked the program. He has an established following.

However, Ann and Shannon cheer as I play two songs on my guitar—just for them. Jay claps as well, even though he has heard my music so often, I close the door so he can concentrate on something else, anything else. A song may be incredible, but any sound repeated 7, 468 times requires ear canals as calloused as my fingertips. It’s called survival.

My heart lightens by the time I get back to start-over mode. And that is valuable because one beat after I get to the last page, Murphy’s Law shows up again. The computer freezes. Donkey-stubborn, won’t-get-out-of-bed, it refuses to budge.

My unprintable response remains in my husband’s and my memory since the computer is comatose now. It couldn’t hear if it were a living being anyway. Moreover, I reserve questionable language for the computer. I reboot the gosh-darned thing and pray my story has lived.

Trembling, I consider one of the last changes I made. Perhaps one of the angels my friends left in the house is present because I remember two edits. They are both intact.

Bye-bye, manuscript. Have a good time being formatted into a fantasy kids can enjoy where the good guys win. And hello, real life. No, I did not use the hammer or axe on my computer. The old thing will, however, be replaced. My birthday present from Jay.

After all, the innate beauty in life returns. Eventually. Murphy’s Law never destroys goodness completely.

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I am much less sure about most things than I used to be. But I feel the pull of the love of God all the time and I don’t care nearly so much about not understanding. (Barbara Cawthorne Crafton)

My father died in December more than a decade ago. I brought home a few of the plants from his funeral and hoped they would survive at least the winter.  I could never forget my dad. However, proper botanical maintenance has never been one of my gifts. My older son joked that if killing plants were a felony I’d be on death row.

Nevertheless, one of those pots survived—even now—and occasionally blooms. It has a flower now.

“Hi, Dad,” I say, as if the white flower carried a heavenly listening device. “What’s it like on the other side?”

Dad doesn’t answer. I suppose I’d be totally freaked if he did, but I move the pot and blossom from the corner to a more prominent position in the sun. My memories answer, though. Too many of them. Hours later. Some are as bright as the sun that shines so bright I wear a baseball hat so I can see the computer screen.

Other memories appear as dark as the Good Fridays of my youth. Always somber. Filled with thou-shalt-nots and guilt.

Somehow storms never coincided with Good Friday and a halo-sun never rose on Easter. Meteorology and religion don’t speak the same language.

I think about a book I’m reading, The Alsolife, by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. I’m not halfway through, and yet I’m tempted to begin reading again from page one. Then again, perhaps I should wait until I’ve read the last word of the last chapter. Then, I’ll read again with a fuller perspective.

Sometimes today is more than I can absorb, and this is a super-busy week.

The Alsolife explores existence in a fuller context, not as a linear concept—but as past, present, future, the universe—existing as one reality.

Forget aiming toward focusing on punishment. Hell. War. Hate… Choose forgiveness. Sounds right and good. And yet, Reverend Crafton describes how bitter the experience of real-life hurt can be, understood, maybe, only in context with the whole.

I recall a Holy Saturday more than a half-century ago when I thought I would be a corpse the next morning. I lived, but in the aftermath, I believed a morgue would have been a better Easter celebration. Years later, I would see the day differently, with a husband, two handsome sons, and three incredible grandchildren. Color and beauty returned. One moment never remains forever, and yet nothing from the past can be erased.

Now, on this Friday afternoon, I celebrate a moment of silence, sun, the quiet and gentle support of my husband, friends both new and old, family, and the peculiar gift called life—even if I never understand its secrets.

 

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