Champs

“Please, Lord – just let them win. Just one more game. Please, Lord.”

Somehow, I thought, if they could just win one more game, if they could have a perfect season like the basketball team before them, then everything would be okay. The hurt feelings, the bitter words, the barely-contained anger – all of it would fade away, and we would be a community once more. Whole. Perfect. Complete.

I didn’t know how it would all work out; I just knew it would.

And so I prayed. I prayed harder than I’d prayed since the day my youngest son was born, the day we very nearly lost him because of a careless mistake. I prayed when the clock stopped, I prayed through halftime, I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. “Please, Lord – just let them win. Please, Lord. Please let them win. Please, Lord…”

I cheered harder than I’d ever cheered in my life. On the outside edge of a sea of blue, I was both a part of the crowd and an observer of it. Their highs were my highs; their lows, my own. I cheered and prayed and prayed and cheered and when I couldn’t watch anymore, I ate cotton candy and prayed even harder.

“Please, Lord, oh pretty, pretty please let them win. Please, Lord, please…”

And when that blue-clad warrior plucked the ball from the sky, I screamed and cried and danced where I stood.

 

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

The American Dream

2015-04-01 15.18.01-5As part of my scheme to make my thirty-second year a year full of awesome, I’ve decided to go back to school. I have big educational plans, and until yesterday, they included starting work on a paralegal degree in January (that plan has now been pushed back to…well, I’m not sure to when yet, but sometime in the future). One of the scholarships I was going to apply for involved writing an essay about the American Dream and, since I won’t be applying for that scholarship now that I won’t be attending that particular school, I decided to share it here.

It’s probably not my best work, but it’s been a long time since I’ve written a scholarship essay. My essay skills are a bit rusty, and this was good practice. 🙂

American Dream, (n): 1. The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American; 2. A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S. Dictionary.com

When I think of the American Dream…

Tinkering: Life Edition

lifeIf ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no need for tinkers. But then, if wishes were horses, well, beggars could ride. And you know what?

I have no idea what any of that is supposed to mean.

I get the wishes and horses and beggars bit. But what have pots and pans to do with tinkering? I’m more likely to tinker with other things when I know I have pots and pans waiting for me in the kitchen.

Also, I have no idea why these two proverbs popped into my head when I opened up WordPress today. Of all the things to write about, why these?

Hope

“Now is the winter of our discontent.” – William Shakespeare, Richard III

Hopefully, the winter of our discontent will be made glorious summer sooner rather than later. In the meantime, though, have hope.

no-matter-how-dark-the-night-the-sun-always-rises-and-hope-with-itGiving up would be easy, and some people will. But if we all give up, who will fix what is broken? No one. And if no one fixes anything, if we all give up, then things will remain broken (and will probably get worse). Now is the time for hard work. It won’t be fun. It will be arduous. Grueling. Painful.

But it could be worse.

As long as we have hope, we can overcome anything. The one thing that keeps people going in the face of insurmountable odds is hope. No matter how dark the night, the sun always rises, and hope with it. Others may try to crush your hope, to steal it from you, because hope is power, but don’t let them. Fight hair, tooth, and nail to keep your hope, to keep hope alive.

Hope is power.

We need something to hold onto in times like these, so hold onto hope. With hope and hard work, the odds will be ever in your favor.

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Nerves

wpid-wp-1447634339328.jpgHave you ever watched the days bleed?

They do, you know.

They bleed, one into another into another, week after week, month after month, year after year. Seconds bleed into minutes bleed into hours bleed into days. Each of them crushing in their weight.

This is my thirty-second year of watching days bleed into months, of watching seasons bleed into one another so that you can no longer tell where one ended and the other began. It’s my thirty-second year of watching leaves fall into snowflakes, of watching dead brown grass bleed back to life and then to death once more. It was supposed to be a magical year, full of all the good things I could possibly imagine.

It was supposed to be frightfully wondrous.

But instead…

Writing

I haven’t been writing, and I miss it.

I’ve watched TV. I’ve read blogs. I’ve come up with a thousand brilliant ideas that quickly vanished into the ether. I’ve played a lot of Pokémon Go (Go Team Mystic!).

But I haven’t been writing, and it’s left a void.

Getting back in the habit is…

Back when

Identity is a tricky thing, always changing. Identity can shift at a moment’s notice, or over a span of years. I think back on all the things I am and all the things I’ve been. I wonder about all the things I’ll someday be, or if I’ll be able to reclaim the girl I was back when.

I’m a mother, I’m a lover,
A chef, a referee,
I’m a doctor and a chauffeur seven days a week.

Back when I knew it all, I was going to be a famous writer before I turned thirty. I’d be critically acclaimed and make a fortune and not need a day job. I’d work as a medical transcriptionist for a few years, until I hit it big, and then I’d quit the day job to write for a living.

It’s the hardest gig I’ve known,
I work my fingers to the bone.
Yeah, the dishes and the diapers never stop.
Lousy pay,
There ain’t no 401(k).
I know this may come as a shock,
But this here’s a full-time job.

Back when I knew it all, I was going to…

The wheel behind the squeak

It’s always the quiet ones.

You know, the ones you have to watch out for. The quiet ones blend into the background. They do a good job of it, too – they’re quiet, after all, and it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, not the silent one.

Not the timid girl in the corner desk.

Maybe you don’t even notice. Maybe you never heard her heart screaming her frustration, or begging for a kind word. Maybe you did, but you don’t care.

Maybe she didn’t want you to, but maybe she did. What if she did?

Maybe she wears neutral colors because she’s afraid of loud noises. Maybe she’s afraid to be loud, to draw attention to herself because attention means she’d have to open up to others. Maybe the last time she came out of her shell, it was crushed by the person she trusted most in the world, and she had to find a new shell, a harder shell, to protect her fragile self.

Sometimes the squeaky wheel doesn’t need the grease – sometimes it just needs someone to listen. Grease will silence the squeak, but maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is for someone to notice the wheel behind the squeak.

Maybe the squeak isn’t something wrong, but something right.

Maybe it means that that timid girl is trying out her voice, trying it on for size. Maybe that little, tiny squeak is really incredibly loud, and she’s trying to figure out how to modulate her volume. Wouldn’t you feel terrible for silencing that squeak?

Because that’s what the grease does. It quiets the squeak.

It’s always the quiet ones.

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Nothing – or something?

I’ve got nothing.

For the last few weeks, every time I sit down to write a post, my mind goes blank. As white as the screen at which I’m staring.

For the last few weeks, every time I sit down to work on revisions, my mind goes blank. As white as the pages I’d hoped to fill.

I’ve got nothing.

When my husband asks what I’m thinking, I say, “Nothing.”

And it’s true.

I’ve got nothing.

I sit and stare into space as seconds become minutes become hours become days. Not a thought flickers in my mind as I watch dust bunnies frolic in the sun streaming through my window. Everything I want to say, all the stories I want to tell, all the characters I want to bring to life – they yell and scream and clamor for attention, but all I hear is the dull insect drone of a thousand voices talking at once, and even that finally fades away into silence.

And I’ve got nothing.

I’ve got nothing but hopes and dreams and an ever-growing to-do list. I’ve got nothing but a sense of time wasted and a never-ending headache from all the things I’ve left undone. I’ve got nothing but apologies for my family and my readers and my friends.

I want to have it all.

But instead, I’ve got nothing.

Something tells me I will never have it all, despite what I see on TV every day. Something tells me it’s not possible to have it all, despite what I see on TV every day. Something tells me I’ll stop wanting to have it all, because of what I see on TV every day.

So instead, I’ll focus on having something instead of nothing. Because what I’ve got is plenty. And this zombie state will pass. Eventually.

Right?

Right.

But until it does, the posts here may be few and far between. Don’t worry, though – I’ll be back soon. I love blogging too much to let this place go quietly into the dark of night, especially when the light of day is so warm and inviting. 🙂

In the meantime, how have you been lately? Tell me about everything going on with you – I may not have much to say, but I’ve got plenty of time for listening!

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

Street

When I saw this prompt, I knew exactly which picture to share:

wlcsp

It may not be new, but it’s one of my absolute favorite pictures. I shot this on our family vacation last summer. It took us fourteen hours to get to the Black Hills, and there were plenty of streets and roads along the way. Roads crammed with cars eager to leave the city behind, streets full of pedestrians out enjoying the summer sun.

But this one?

This one captured my imagination from the moment I laid eyes on it. I love images like this, where man’s influence is minimal at best. Where the only evidence another person has ever trekked across these hills is a lonely road and a dream. Places like this seem to be growing fewer and farther between.

Sure, this photo isn’t perfect. It’s a little pixellated because I had to zoom in from across the road to get the image I wanted. It was the middle of the afternoon when I took this picture, and we were all exhausted after driving all day the day before. It was quiet in the car; the kids were too busy pressing their noses to the windows to bicker. But that only lasted while we were in motion – once we stopped, all bets were off. If I’d had more time, I could have crossed the road, but that wasn’t an option. This photograph is like us – imperfect, but beautiful. Despite its – our – flaws.

Because of them, even.

Every time I look at this picture, I feel peaceful. The storm has not yet broken, and the road calls to me, its twists and turns promising adventure just beyond that hill. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other. As in pictures, so it is in life.

Sometimes all you have to do is just keep swimming/walking/writing/photographing.

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.