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Posts Tagged ‘The Curse Under the Freckles by Terry Petersen’

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. (William Arthur Ward)

A friend died. Minutes before I leave for my book signing, his wife asks my husband to be one of the pallbearers. Grief and relief take turns in my heart. This man’s suffering has been unbearable to watch much less endure.

Sun replaces yesterday’s rain. Both belong to nature. Necessary to life’s balance.

My simple camera can’t photograph intense sun. It translates bright rays into the red light that shines through closed eyelids. I recognize my limitations and know I am neither imperfection nor success. There are more roads to explore, continued opportunities to give and forgive, moments to live and celebrate.

Thanksgiving, the official national holiday, appears this week. I pray to be more than pumpkin pie and a stack of dishes in the sink. These memories fade into previous years like dreams lost before waking. As I get older, I notice life sends more intense challenges—with incredible blessings attached. I pray to stay longer with the blessings than the pain.

Peace to all.

 

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If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us? (Buddha)

Pool water makes movement easier. Jump and kick higher. Play like a kid.

I make eye contact with others in class who find the same freeing mood.

One lady, somewhat younger than I am, splashes and laughs as she plunges through. “My fat doesn’t protect me from the cold.”

A shine in her dark brown eyes, contrasting pale skin, radiates positive attitude. At the end of class I introduce myself. Stories about my grandchildren. My books, The Curse Under the Freckles and Stinky, Rotten Threats. She tells me about her family.

“I’ve never met a writer.” She reaches out and touches my hand. “I can’t read. I’d need a dictionary to spell no. Dyslexic.”

And yet I can’t move from her spell, the enchanting kind. She speaks of a deep faith. A different style than I understand. I don’t knock what works. The divine appears in multiple forms.

She’s worked as a cleaning lady for the wealthy. “Don’t come back if there is one dust ball in my bathroom,” one rich woman had said. This gentle cleaning lady understood the metaphor, the implied identity of the dust ball. She chose not to come back.

Days later I remember her, a power she carried. Perspective. The love she had for her husband who died eight years ago. He was a minister in her faith.

Problems appear in my life. Again. They always will. I see both solutions and losses. Neither affect personal worth. Or love from family.

The pool water washed away in a shower days ago. And yet, the touch of one ordinary woman’s hand remains with me. I pray to offer the same.

 

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Asking ourselves, “Where am I right now?” gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts. (Laura Harvey)

Okay. It’s time to organize. Or, should I have started these projects years ago? I haven’t been allowed to lift anything heavier than five pounds for more than a month. Now that my cataract surgeries are completed my eagerness to begin is heightened.

My eight-year-old grandson Dakota wants to help. He eyes the paper shredder. “Anything to shred?”

“No…Wait!” Folders lie stacked on top of one another. Copies of short stories already published. Stories I abandoned—for good reason. Early chapters of my books, The Curse Under the Freckles, Stinky Rotten Threats, and The Ugly Mood Storm. The Ugly Mood Storm, the third book in the series, will come out in October.

Sure. I could recycle the pages without shredding, but my young buddy likes the noise and the action. He knows how far away to keep his fingers from the blade, the source of the noise he enjoys.

The past returns as I open each folder. Mistakes circled in red on the page. Mistakes made in life jump out as well. Years cycle through as I open each worn folder.

“Oh,” I say.

“Something wrong?” he asks.

“No. It’s just a name of someone I used to know.” Someone who died.

He pauses to make sure I’m okay.

I celebrate the messy, beautiful present, my young grandson on the floor next to me.

Dakota continues to work, sorry when the shredder needs time to cool, sorry when the last sheet becomes a mass of white slivers. Then he is happy to play another game.

I take a deep breath and notice the whir of the air conditioning on one of the latter days of summer.

“See you next Thursday,” Dakota says.

His enthusiasm brings me a gift no amount of money can buy.

In the scheme of things where am I right now? Not sure I know, but it’s a mighty fine place.

 

 

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If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters. (Harvey Mackay)


When people learn I had two books published, The Curse Under the Freckles and Stinky, Rotten Threats, they often ask if I get writer’s block. Uh, yeah, plenty of times. Especially when I try to write sunshine when I have mud in my shoes, socks, and brain. Heart and head, mind and pen need to be connected first. Somehow.

I tread water on a Sunday afternoon as dark skies invade the blue. The dark wins for now. I know blue lives on the other side, but for how long? I heard news earlier about someone who was accused of a crime. From what I’d understood about the situation, it seems to be a setup. Why? I don’t know.

Save the world—if only I could. Law. Three letters in one word is nowhere near enough. My paper remains blank. No answers.

One hug for a friend. Hope. Many prayers.

In the meantime, I swim through water or through injustice. Giving up is not an option. Peace and integrity are. May they win.

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Reading between the lines

 

One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter—who was a child at the time—asked me, “Daddy, why are you writing so fast?” And I replied, “Because I want to see how the story turns out!” (Louis L’Amour, novelist)

My grandson and I were riding in the backseat of the car as my husband drove to kindergarten.

As we talked, Dakota picked up my second book in the Star League Chronicles. “What is your picture doing on the back?”

“Uh, I wrote the book.”

“Really?” he said. “It must have taken you at least a half-hour to write.”

“At least,” I responded. “Two years.”

My little buddy was amazed by my slow progress. I didn’t take umbrage. When my middle granddaughter saw my first book, The Curse Under the Freckles, she wanted to know where the pictures were. Grandparents, by my grandchildren’s measure, were invented as playmates, not boring adults who put together words on paper. And take years to write a single story.

Dakota and I enjoy becoming pretend pilots where the newbie Grandma-pilot does practice flights with a hundred passengers aboard. He decides how much gas a plane needs to fly cross-country. Five-dollars’ worth. Or we invent a game played in the gym with a mini football instead of a basketball.

In both plot and play, reality is suspended. Grandson and I open jet windows to shoo birds while Dakota snacks on cheese dipped in hot sauce. Literary subjects never come up.

Of course, the best fictional stories appear real as they unfold. Each life’s story has a beginning, middle, and end, often unplanned.

Sure, I wonder how my life will turn out. Change can happen in the last scene. However, savoring each day seems more satisfying than typing at deadline speed. Life’s end will come soon enough. In the meantime, I have a lot of seeds soaked in love to plant.

 

 

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The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. (Patrick Young)

Icebergs in polar regions and desert heat rarely make weather channel news. In the part of the world where I roam, weather news has the reliability of gossip. Maybe the broadcast will fit. Maybe not.

In the meantime, life continues at the same continuous pace.

Right now, I am my own pain in the neck. More accurately, I have cervical damage, caused by carrying the same head for years. The weather irritates, but it didn’t create the problem.

Nature’s plan? Unpredictable. Like the flight of a lightning bug. The destination of a running toddler. The future of a random seed.

I have a book signing on Saturday from 1-4 PM. Several inches of snow could get in the way. If the forecast takes a just-kidding route, anyone who doesn’t need to be beamed up Star-Wars style is invited.

Nor’easters, hurricanes, and tornadoes are bullies without negative intention. I suspect casting blame is counterproductive. Action matters.

The tree in my backyard carries snow—on the second day of spring. Photo Booth’s Thermal Camera turns the snow blue, as if it were a lake. The pic doesn’t represent warmth or cold, however. The app on my iPad provides more game than fact. Something like predicting changeable weather.

We are all pawns in that realm. How I decide to deal with the challenge is another matter. Okay, I admit it. I’m still working on it. Ouch!

 

 

 

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both books (2)_LI

I’m growing older, but not up. (Jimmy Buffett)

The tension in my neck tells me I am not in synch with the world as it is. Mass natural disasters are difficult enough to understand; mass hatred is another. I don’t need to delineate any of it. The blind can hear about it, and the deaf can read closed-caption. The unaffected remain in a narrow, wire-thin margin.

Pain begins before the first commercial on any news channel. Gentle heat helps my muscles. Distraction, blended with love, helps my spirit.

My husband and I take Dakota to afternoon kindergarten on Thursdays. Dakota asks me to sit in the back seat with him. We discuss the six-year-old boy world and his unique observations along the familiar route.

This young man notices details: The recycling truck has two steering wheels and two sets of brakes… He discerns how a toy train track fits together. His mechanical expertise will probably surpass mine before he reaches third grade!

During a rare pause Dakota notices the back cover of my second book, Stinky Rotten Threats. It is on the back seat between us.

“Isn’t that your picture? Why is it there?”

I smile. When I am with this young man, my intention is to focus on him. My successes, failures, and mundane trips to the doctor or post office don’t come up. He probably assumes I don’t pretend to pilot a plane without knowing what an instrument panel is. However, other than stocking the refrigerator with his favorite cheese and hot sauce, he wouldn’t know what else fills my day.

“This is what I do, buddy. I write. This is my second book.” (The first was The Curse Under the Freckles.)

“Wow,” he says flipping through the pages without looking at them. “It must have taken you more than an hour and a half.”

Dakota’s notion of numbers and time hasn’t developed yet. I realize I want world change overnight, in my spirit, even if my head knows a sudden transformation is as impossible as writing a middle-grade fantasy adventure in an hour and a half. The Star League Chronicles fights evil—not with fists and swords, but with truth. Even in make-believe, a story takes more than one page for goodness to win.

“Two years,” I answer. “It took me two years.”

He doesn’t say anything, but I suspect he thinks I must be mighty slow.

I don’t mind. Slow is the general idea. My neck thanks me. Growing up all the way isn’t recommended anyway.

 

 

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