Tag Archive | family

Waiting…

It seems sometimes that we spend our lives waiting… waiting for things to change, or waiting for things to get better, or waiting for the book cover to arrive… oh wait that’s probably just me. Anyways, waiting is part of our lives, maybe the part that we like least. In my book New Parish Sarah finds herself waiting for her dreams to come true and seeing them move further and further out of her reach.

What can we do when we get tasked with the dreaded waiting issue in our lives? I suppose we all have our different ways of dealing with it, trying to stay busy doing something, trying not to think about it, checking status… oh, wait that’s just me again.

There are times when our waiting brings us great joy, after the waiting is done – there are other times it simply brings relief that the waiting is over. Will Sarah find great joy, or the simple relief? Find out in New Parish…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“That night, Thanksgiving Eve, as they were putting things in the fridge, doing the final clean up, and getting ready for the final stretch of food prep in the morning before the feast, Sarah’s mom said, “You know Sarah, Donnie’s back from Europe, he’s not married yet. He’d be a good catch.”

            “Eeew, Mom,” was Sarah’s instant reply, while Hannah giggled at her from the sink.

            “What’s wrong with him?” her mom asked in surprise.

            “Besides the fact that he’s completely self absorbed, thinks he’s the most intelligent person on the planet, lives in his parent’s basement and will never move out, is very condescending and talks down to everyone, and is a jerk – nothing really,” Sarah listed.

            “Okay, okay,” conceded her mom. “But, I’m sure if you give it some effort, you could find a really good guy. Have you tried some of those online things?”

            “Yes, I have,” Sarah rolled her eyes. “They’re not bad really, but online people can lie just as easily as they can in person, maybe even easier. I’m tired of “putting in effort” on guys who aren’t worth it.”

            “All men take work, even the really good ones,” advised Sarah’s mom. “They’re usually oblivious, forgetful, and have no clue, until a good woman works on them.”

            Sarah and Hannah both burst out laughing to hear their mom talking about men like that.

            Later that night there was a knock on Sarah’s bedroom door, “Come in,” she said, but Hannah had already opened the door and was entering the room.

            “Hey,” she said tentatively.

            “Hey,” Sarah replied curiously.

            “So, tell me about this New Parish place and plural marriage,” Hannah said, as she plopped down at the end of Sarah’s bed and sat with her legs crossed like an Indian – just like she used to do when they were kids.

            “What do you want to know?” Sarah inquired with surprise.

            “You’re not the only one who’s had “dating” experiences with guys who aren’t who you want to spend your life with. If this is a good thing, I might think about considering it too,” explained Hannah.

            “Oh,” Sarah said, now in complete surprise. “Okay, well, what I’ve learned so far is that they have the same beliefs we were taught growing up in the church, except, they still have everything that was restored and didn’t give anything up, back in the day.”

            “Okay, so how do they do it?” Hannah urged her sister on.

            “They use an old traditional matchmaking system, but no dowries, the girls have freedom to choose and get out of the marriage if it’s not working out. Brother Michael, the church leader is so funny…”

            Sarah spent over two hours explaining what she’d learned to Hannah. When Hannah finally left her room, Sarah felt like she somehow understood the whole thing better. As she lay there drifting off to sleep she thought, “Maybe explaining to Hannah clarified things in my own mind.” She felt very much at peace with things, and hoped she could stay that way.”

Life is like a scrap book…

We’re always building our lives, tweaking them, rebuilding them, adding things that make them better, removing things that we no longer need… Like life, making a scrapbook can be challenging and fun, it allows us to see with a unique perspective the things that are important to us at different times in our lives. We not only place pictures in our scrapbooks but also mementos that remind us of special times, or activities, or places that are important to us. Whether it’s making a scrapbook or living our lives we are drawn to what we love, what we want, and what will make us happy. Tweaking our lives or our scrapbooks is always a bit of work, okay, sometimes a lot of work, but in the end, we end up with something that we love…

In New Parish, Sarah doesn’t make a scrapbook per se, but in her scrapbook of life she’s making some big changes that gives her a unique perspective, and that she hopes will be just the right tweak…

Where will Sarah find a place to put her new life’s picture? In New Parish, of course!

 

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah nodded again, listening intently to what Brother Michael was saying.

            “The last thing I want to suggest to you is to take some time to ponder and pray about this decision. This is your life. Is this really what you want for your life? This lifestyle has many blessings but it can also be considered a curse to those who don’t have the capacity to accept it in all its varied and sometimes complicated components. I want you to understand that I only want the best for you. If this is truly what you want to do, then I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen for you. But, if you have doubts about it, then take the time to find the answers you need to put those doubts to rest, before you make your decision. Okay?”

            Still nodding Sarah said, “Yes, and thanks for helping me, and for letting me come out here and stay in your home, with your family.”

            “You’re very welcome,” Brother Michael said with a smile and a wink, “I’ve got nothing to hide… really.””

The Game

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a huge NBA fan. I have players and teams that I like, and some I don’t. The meter by which I measure the players is by their skill and finesse in playing the game. Some of the most skillful players don’t always win the game, but they always walk away with their honor intact. When playing the game with integrity, even if you don’t win the game, you don’t have to look back and wish you’d not done something… that doesn’t mean you can’t be bold and courageous on the court, it just means that you don’t have to hurt someone else to achieve your goals. To me skill and finesse is much preferred to playing dirty. The old saying, “Life is what you make it,” is true, we can live our lives and play the game with honor, or without… either way it’s what we make it.

I think life is a lot like basketball, it’s an exhilarating adventure that we’re all on… we can choose to play with integrity, or commit fouls… but at the end of the game we all have to live the life we’ve made. We can walk away with our honor intact or wishing we’d done better.

In my book New Parish there’s no basketball, but there are people living their lives with integrity, or at least doing their best, to do their best. Sarah finds new friends who’ve learned that it’s better to help others along their way than to stick a foot out to trip them as they go by. She finds people who are willing to work hard instead of cheat their way to the hoop – and people who help you up instead of kicking you when you’re down. She even finds a new team to be a part of, a team where she can not only fulfill her own dreams but help others make their dreams come true too. Even though there’s no basketball in New Parish there’s lots of game and plenty of adventure.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

““So can I ask you guys some questions about plural marriage? I need to know the whole story, warts and all,” Sarah almost pleaded with Susan.

            “Sure, just give me a few minutes to set things up,” Susan replied. She busied herself with gathering dishes and food, all these were placed on the large island in the kitchen. “This is how we do it,” Susan smiled at Sarah who was watching her actions in bewildered silence. There were brownies, ice cream, cupcakes, and cookies covering the top of the island now, with dishes at each corner, “Okay, we’ve got all the essentials for “girl talk,” Susan said as she completed her task.

            Sarah laughed and thought, “Yeah, after getting to know them, this fits them exactly.”

            Susan sent a text to her sister wives and Mary and soon everyone was entering the kitchen wondering what the “girl talk” session was about. “Sarah wants the low down on plural marriage,” explained Susan grabbing a brownie and sitting on one of the high stools around the island, “Warts and all.” They all laughed and gathered around the sugar smorgasbord.

              Sarah smiled and asked, “Has it always been this way? You all seem so happy… What about jealousy? Do you get jealous? How do you deal with it? How does Brother Michael deal with it?””

If you want the answers to Sarah’s questions, you have to read the book… which is coming soon!

Dreams…

Dreams are what motivate us to do great things, or even simple things that make us happy. Dreams can take us to the moon, or inspire us to open our own business, or move to a new place – dreams can also encourage us to become something more than we are, such as a teacher, or a writer, or a mother…

We all have different dreams, things that we want more than anything else, things that quicken us… For Sarah this dream was to become a mother, she wanted that more than anything else – the problem was finding a guy to have children with. At 27 she begins to wonder if her dream will ever come true. She feels her dream is behind schedule, and begins to worry that it’s becoming out of reach…

Turning our dreams into reality takes a lot of hard work and can take a bit of facing fears and new situations that could throw us off track if we let them. Dreams take a lot of focus, and most of the time they take all the dreamer has inside to make them come true…

 

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!!

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

“The frustration of it all boiled over in Sarah’s mind so she decided to go for a walk to try and clear her head.

            The cool air and busy sidewalks were almost enough to distract her mind from the pervading thoughts of how much this plural marriage thing could go wrong. She wanted to believe that things could be as wonderful as Mary said they were, but she knew how people could be, especially men… her thoughts went to, “Maybe I should just drop the whole thing,” then the idea of dating again entered her thoughts which almost made her nauseous. Then the thought of giving up on her dream of having kids and a family came to her mind. A tear rolled down her face, which she quickly brushed away, that thought was the saddest one she’d ever had…

            Sarah looked up at the sky and saw a plane flying west, she knew she would be on one soon… flying west. She breathed out a sigh and with a new resolve walked back to her apartment.”   

Connections…

Have you ever pondered the connections we make throughout our lives? I do sometimes, and the pondering of these connections seems to spread out like an intricate spider web of experiences reaching from one encounter to another… When we’re children we form connections based on what we need or want, that doesn’t change much when we’re adults. We still form connections with others who can provide us with something we need or want – whether that something is friendship, or romance, or simply a bridge from where we are to where we want to be. 

As these connections form we grow, we learn, we experience… our lives become fuller, more defined, and even sometimes more complicated. It’s not always easy to leave the comfortable connections we’re sure of – the ones we’ve known for a long time, and take hold of the new connections that will expand ourselves and our lives. But, as we move forward with these new connections we can look back and find that some of those old connections have become more sure and solid – we find in the end we haven’t lost anything, only grown and gained so much more.

In my book New Parish Sarah worries about her connections, the old ones with her family and the new ones she’s forming with her new friends and the new way of life she’s planning to undertake. I hope you enjoy finding out how she handles all of her connections…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“What came next was her family’s version of a full on intervention. Upon entering the kitchen Sarah found the whole family assembled, “Hey, what’s up?” she asked casually hoping for the best.

            Her older brother Dave, spoke first, “What are you thinking? Going out west to join a commune, and be a part of a cult? I thought you were smarter than that.”

            Sarah laughed, “I’m thinking more than you are! I’ve never depended on your opinion to gage my intelligence. I’ve been doing the research and asking questions, what do you base your information on?”

            He didn’t reply, Sarah’s father spoke next, “Are you serious about this or is this some kind of practical joke? If this is a joke, it’s not funny.”

            “It’s not a joke, Dad, I met this very nice girl at the children’s center, where I volunteer, and she’s from out there. So, we got to talking, she told me about where she’s from and I got curious about it. I’ve had a lot of bad dates lately, well, for several years, there’s just a limited number of decent guys and I haven’t been able to find one, so I thought this might be an option. I haven’t decided on anything yet, but, I’m considering it seriously,” Sarah tried to explain her side of this obviously now blown out of proportion story.

            “So, you’re really thinking about marrying a man who is already married?” Hannah asked.

            “That’s disgusting!” interjected Brenda.

            “Whatever…” Sarah shrugged.

            Hannah spoke up to explain her question, “I didn’t mean it was disgusting,” she eyed Brenda with an annoyed look. “I meant that it could be complicated. What if his other wife or wives don’t like you, or you don’t like them? That could be really complicated.”

            “I’ve talked with the leader out there about a lot of that stuff. There’s ways to deal with it, and the girl always has options, and choices,” Sarah explained.

            Most of the family was shaking their heads in the negative by this time. Sarah was wondering what was going to happen next and how much longer it would take the kids to get into the attic, when a loud bang from that direction shook the house. Everyone in the kitchen could hear the kids shouting and laughing from above.

            “The kids are in the attic!” Brenda shouted with panic in her voice, as everyone except Sarah and Hannah ran out of the room.

            Sarah and Hannah exchanged smiles, “Good save,” Hannah accused Sarah.

            “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sarah feigned innocence.

            “Did you tell them about the old sea captain?” asked Hannah.

            Sarah smiled, “Yep.”

            “Yeah, the others don’t know you like I do, or they’d have sorted that out,” smiled Hannah. “I figured that you’d have some sort of distraction worked out before coming in here. You were a master at it, when we were kids.”

            “A girl’s gotta survive somehow,” Sarah replied.

            They laughed and waited for the others to rejoin them. When the rest of the family returned the energy of the intervention was flattened.

            Sitting down at the kitchen table where there was lots of food in the middle of being prepared, Sarah’s dad said, “Are you really serious about this polygamy thing?”

            “I’m serious about finding out about it, and, if I want to be involved in it,” acknowledged Sarah. “I want to know for sure it’s what I want before I make any decisions about it. I want to have kids and have a big family, but I don’t want to settle for marrying an idiot, or jerk, or worse, just to have a family.” She avoided looking at Brenda when she said this, she’d always felt Brenda had settled for the idiot she married because she had wanted to have children and be married.

            “Promise me that if there’s any abuse or mistreatment of women or girls you won’t get into polygamy. Will you promise me that?” her dad pleaded.

            “Yes, yes, Dad, I promise,” Sarah assured.”

More Than One Way

All my life I’ve heard that there’s more than one way to do something. That old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” always used to gross me out, but it has some real world applications – and some literary ones. In my book New Parish, Sarah definitely finds more than one way to live her life. She grew up in a small town, on a road where everyone knew everyone, then after college moved to Atlanta, which of course is a very large city where most people don’t know their neighbors or the person sitting next to them on the public transportation system. Then she moves to a very small community in the desert of northern Arizona which is more different than any other place she’s ever experienced – with cacti, very short trees, and a healthy smattering of cowboys…

As a writer I like to write about what I know, I’ve visited Savanah Georgia, where Sarah grew up, I’ve visited Atlanta, walked its streets and partaken of the public transportation system. I’ve also lived out west in the area where Sarah settles, and have experienced all the nuances she experiences in moving out there – everything from horse apples, to cacti, to the majestic mountains and mesas that surround the place… and have met a few cowboys along the way as well…

Beside finding more than one place to live, Sarah finds that there’s more than one way to live… finding her happily ever after gets complicated, but she finds her way there – eventually.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish: Part of Sarah’s visit to Tybee Island

            “Before stepping from the pavement to the sand she removed her shoes so that she could enjoy every second of the experience. Tying the strings of her canvas sneakers together she hung them over the strap to her backpack which she slung over one shoulder. Her oversized blue denim shirt was perfect for this time and place. There were a few white puffy clouds in the sky of brilliant blue, the sun was shining down warming her face with its touch. The light cool breeze from the ocean fanned her long white boho skirt that hung down around her ankles. She took a deep breath and stepped out onto the sand to begin her journey toward the decision that would affect the rest of her life.

            Sarah had the beach mostly to herself, she could see a few sage gentlemen standing iconically on the pier fishing, but other than that she was alone with her thoughts and her decision.

            The white sand made a slight scrunching sound beneath her feet and she couldn’t resist digging her toes in it as she walked. The waves gently embracing the shore carried her thoughts to a place where there was no ocean – New Parish…

            Sarah sighed, “Living there would be so different, just the climate with its dry arid environment would be a challenge,” she thought. “I had to use loads more lotion when I was out there for just a few days. I could get used to that, and invest in tons of lip balm.” She pondered over the mountains and mesas of the surrounding areas of New Parish. She stopped her walk and stared out at the ocean waves in the far distance, some were creating little white caps. “It would be so far away from my family,” she thought. “I’m not one of those girls that needs to be near their mom, but living in Atlanta is near enough to go home any time I want.” Sarah sighed again, the “girl talk” session from her last night in New Parish came into her thoughts, “What if I get into a mess like some of those girls?” She walked on down the beach with her thoughts, feeling very heavy and worrisome now.”

 

 

Gone Fishing…

I haven’t literally gone fishing in many, many years, but for a few days I will be out of commission. I’ll be back soon with many more stories, and I’m sure a few bits of history that no one’s ever heard of.

Remember my book New Parish is Coming Soon!!!!!!

 

Storms…

Every now and then we all have to deal with storms. Whether they are internal or external – they happen. It seems there have been a lot of weather related storms lately around our country… these storms can bring challenges, stress, and even serious consequences. Our internal storms can bring much of the same things into our lives, whether we are dealing with internal storms or weather related ones – we must go through them…  Sometimes in life our inner storms can be like a hurricane, with inner thunder rolling through us with a vengeance and unexpected lightning strikes that bring us to our knees. Then we reach the eye of the storm and get a short respite from it all, we might even think the storm has ended, then we get hit with the ravages of the back-end of the storm… things are never the same after one of those kinds of storms. We change, we make decisions, we sort out the aftermath… then we move forward.

Sarah faces both an inner and an external storm in my book New Parish, it’s the inner storm that changes her forever…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “Sarah pulled her sandals off and got up, she started walking down the beach trying to clear her head of the emotions she was fighting, she could feel the sand beneath her feet which was a little comforting. The wind started blowing, making her scarf float behind her like a flag of surrender. Anger began cropping up first on her emotions list, for allowing herself to get tricked into that situation, embarrassment was next for what he’d tried to do, then sadness, frustration, disappointment, and back to loneliness… Her thoughts raced through questions that she didn’t want to answer, but had been plaguing her for a while, “What do I really want? What if I can’t do plural marriage? Is this my only option? Can I really do this? Am I desperate? Am I nuts?!? What if I have to live my life alone? What if I never get to be a mom?” Sarah hugged herself trying to calm down, she’d lost all sense of peace she felt as if a storm were beginning to rage inside her… she looked up to see the stars, that always comforted her, but there were no stars tonight just dark storm clouds above her. She felt tiny drops of rain lightly touching her face, she remembered she hadn’t checked the weather forecast, she’d let herself become distracted. She knew not to be out on the beach when the rain starts up. She quickened her pace as the wind increased its speed. The rain got heavier, she ran as fast as she could, the tiny drops turned into huge drops in a torrential down pour.

            Completely drenched and soaked through, she reached for the door knob to the condo. As she closed the door the thunder sounded so loud she could feel the vibration from it in her stomach. She ran to the bathroom and stepping into the bathtub quickly peeled the wet clothes from her now shaking, shivering body. She shoved her clothes to the end of the tub with her foot and turned on the hot water. It quickly heated up, the warmth of the water washed over her body and slowly stilled her shivers. She stood there in the warm water for a long time secretly wishing it could wash away the feelings that were growing inside her. She heard the thunder sound loudly again and jumped. She felt like the storm inside her was gaining strength… she turned off the water and grabbed a big fluffy towel to wrap around her. She quickly dried off and ran to the bedroom to put on her pajamas.   

            Looking out the window Sarah could see the wind blowing wildly as the rain pounded the windows and everything else outside. The storm outside was gaining strength…”

Places That Haven’t Changed in Over a Hundred Years…

I’ve recently visited some places that haven’t changed in over a hundred years. They still look the way they did when the earliest pioneers came out west to settle the place. The raw rustic beauty was amazing, in some places you could see forever, in some places you were near walls of mesas that jutted up from the ground to the heights where eagles fly. These places reminded me of friendships I’ve had over the years, some friendships I know will go on forever, and some have elevated me to new heights… Each new friendship we make in our lives has the possibility to do that for us – be something that will last forever and or lift us to new heights.

In my book New Parish Sarah finds new friends that will last forever and lift her to new heights… It all begins with her new friend Mary who comes out to Atlanta to do her work study for the teaching program she’s in. Mary is from a community out west where they live differently, well… they live marriage a little differently. Mary tells Sarah about plural marriage in her community, New Parish, and about life out there. This leads Sarah into an investigation that will change her life forever and lift her to new heights…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah looked in the full-length mirror to check herself out, everything was great except her hair, she frowned.

            Mary noticed, “You look lovely. What’s wrong?”

            “My hair,” Sarah complained grabbing a handful of her hair on each side of her head, “I’ve never really been able to tame it. I usually just pull it back into a pony tail because that’s the extent of my hair prowess, but this is an occasion I wish I had more skills with hair.”

            “I’ll do it for you,” Mary cheerily volunteered, “What sort of “do” do you want?”

            Sarah laughed, “I have no idea.”

            “Humm, okay let’s see what you like. We can try a few different styles if that’s okay?” Mary suggested.

            “It’s more than okay,” Sarah said gratefully.

            Mary smiled and held up a brush in one hand and a comb in the other, and said, “Let’s do this.”

            The next half hour was spent showing Sarah different styles of “up dos”. When one was finally selected Sarah looked at herself again in the mirror, holding another mirror so she could see the back of her hair too, “Wow, I didn’t know my hair could look that pretty.” They both laughed and quickly gathered their jackets to go.”

Friends…

We’ve all known them, friends, those who come into our lives for a short time, those who we’ve known our whole lives, and those who come into our lives to stay – and change our lives forever. As I’ve said before, I pull from my own experiences when I write. So, I’ve pulled from personalities and characters, bits and pieces of people I’ve either known or heard stories about to create the friends Sarah encounters in my book New Parish. To me this brings the characters to life and gives them depth, because after all, I really know them…

It all begins with Mary, who’s out in Atlanta working on her bachelor’s degree at the local children’s center, where Sarah volunteers. They become fast and true friends, which opens up a whole new world for Sarah… Mary becomes that new friend, who not only becomes one of those who come into her life and changes it forever, but introduces her to more of new friends who become her, forever best friends.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona; she had explained that she was only going to be there for a while, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

That day, Sarah had been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her. Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from the people did plural marriages, so any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Her descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

……

““Mary!” Sarah waved as she entered the room.

Mary was working with a group of three year olds on coloring pictures of shapes.

            “Hi!” was Mary’s cheery reply.

            “Do you have some time to talk today?” Sarah asked, noticing Mary’s strawberry blonde hair. She always had it done in some really pretty style, today it was rolled up behind with a pretty colorful clip in it. Sarah liked how petite Mary was, she was only about five feet tall and very slender with bright green eyes that always seemed to be ready to smile.  

            “Yes, in about ten minutes when these little guys get to go to the gym,” Mary answered.

            “Cool,” said Sarah, “I’ll wait around in the garden room.”

            “Okay, see you there,” Mary said, as Sarah waved and walked away.

            Sarah was checking messages on her phone when Mary joined her on a bench underneath a big tree. “Hi, what’s up?” asked Mary.

            “Well I don’t know if I’m really desperate, stupid, or what, but I wanted to ask you about that whole plural marriage thing that goes on where you’re from,” Sarah said with some apprehension.

            “Oh?” was all that Mary said as she sat down beside Sarah and waited for her to continue.

            “Yeah, well, how does it work?”

            “Very well, I think,” Mary said, looking quizzically at Sarah.

            “Oh come on! What do they do? What’s the process? Are they miserable? Are the women conditioned to be in these relationships, like “Stepford Wives”? Do men abuse the women? How do the women get along? Are they mean to each other?” Sarah bombed Mary with all the serious questions she could think of, and in a way, trying to talk herself out of further inquiry.”

…….

““All I can tell you is that my mothers all seem very happy, they don’t attack each other, they’re really good friends. They’re always joking around and laughing, I haven’t seen any of that attack stuff,” Mary replied, now looking at Sarah with concern.”

I can’t wait to share the whole story with everyone! Very soonish…