Doubt in the Rearview Mirror

“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer.” - See more at:

I have no idea how I stumbled upon this contest, however I know there was a dash of Pinterest, a splash of Twitter, and more than one or two prayers of “Where do I begin again” mumbled, prayed and then spoken aloud to God in the last 24 hours. He knows I am very competitive, so I'm sure He thought a contest might spur me on.

I have been writing a book for almost 7 years. Yes. Seven. That is longer than some marriages, and for some reason, I think my book has the seven year itch. I have a feeling it wants to break-up with me. I'm stuck. It's not the books fault. I have MORE than enough material. Seven years worth. A chronic diagnosis, a lost career which I treasured, a devastating loss of independence but a steadfast grip on joy, a betrayal then divorce after a 20 year marriage, an impending empty nest, a budding, complicated could be fiction if not every word were true.

The title: “Life in the Passenger's Seat”.

It is just that. I sit firmly in the passenger's seat, with a unobstructed view, and control over none of the operations of the vehicle. It is a book which deals with allowing God to be in control when you no longer are. And it's not just for me. It's written for anyone who struggles with that feeling of being out of control. About learning to lean and surrender. It’s a good book. In my head. But since no one can read my mind, I've got to get it down on paper. I makes for a great read, I'll tell ya.

I tell myself the windshield is bigger than the rear-view mirror for a reason--where I am going is more important than where I've been. But somehow, somehow, I must struggle to remain focused on both at once to tell the story of where I've been and where I'm going. I do know this for sure: Doubt lives in neither perspective. Doubt is an emotion I cannot allow to ride shotgun if I am to get my story to the world.


Yesterday or 100 Years Ago

Today is the day my sister Pat died, 34 years ago. She was 15. It seems like yesterday. Or 100 years ago.

She had fought the battle with leukemia since February 27, 1979--diagnosed on the day my twin brother and I turned 9. She was beautiful and brave and bold. Can I tell you about her? She taught me so much in the ten years I knew her...most of it in the last 13 months of her life.

She was beautiful. Long, golden brunette hair she rolled in socks at night which looked ridiculous at bedtime, but brushed out into soft bouncy curls in the morning as she rushed me and the boy twin to hurry up and get ready for school. She had dark brown eyes to match. They were the color of caramel you have really cooked ALMOST too long, which makes it all the sweeter. They fit her, because, as I remember, she was was all sweetness and love. Her skin was porcelain white, from the Irish, Noland side of our clan, but she tanned so pretty in the summertime without trying. She had long fingers. God gave her those for playing the piano with ease and grace, and for playing with my hair when there was a storm.

She was brave. I saw her cry only a few times after the diagnosis. The chemo and radiation was hard on her, body and soul. It nauseated her, bloated her, and made her emotional, but she believed in the power of prayer, and she believed in our great, big God. She had a sign on her door that said "God is greater than any problem I have". And she believed it. I still have that sign. When the treatments took her hair, she sewed her own handkerchiefs to cover her head. I still have those, too.

She was bold. She would tell anyone who asked about her condition, about her treatments, but most importantly, about God. She wanted to know that people knew about her Savior, even at 15. I think she knew her time was short, but she knew eternity was long, and she did not want anyone to lose out on eternity because she had wasted one opportunity--one day--to tell the Good News. Yes, SHE had been given some bad news, but she always knew the good news was just a headline away.

For Pat, her good news headline came on March 31, 1980. I knew it as soon as the phone rang. She was gone from us, she was present with Jesus, and she was no longer in pain. At ten, I couldn't  understand that as the years passed I would be thankful for her lessons. I couldn't have know that she modeled for me an attitude that would see me through some of the roughest times of my life. That because if her beauty, bravery and boldness, God in His Wisdom gave me not just a sister, but a teacher. I love and miss you, Pat, and one day I will see you again. My sweet sister.

love and joy,

How A Priority Mail Label Saved Me from Near Death (A 21st Century MacGyver Tale)

Not really. I have a flair for the dramatic, and I lie  embellish a little to enhance my storytelling, so the title of this post is not accurate at all. See, confession is good for the soul.

The label did, however, help me MacGyver a situation when I THOUGHT I was going to bleed to death, so like all good stories, there is a kernel of truth. And it saved my BEAUITIFUL bedspread from the HORRAH (inside joke) of looking like crime scene.

Do you want to see a picture?? Yes, yes. I thought you would:

Backstory: I had just moved THAT day. And I had experienced 2, TWO, seizures. The boxes were still packed, and it was four o'clock in the morning. The fact that I decided to shave my legs at that time of morning is irrelevant to the story. Pay attention, and do not judge me. Wait, that was harsh. Just, it's that I FEEL you judging me for making a bad decision and what I need is admiration and sympathy, so let's go that route, okay? You are a doll.
Normally, I am still DEEP asleep in the post-ictal phase of my seizure, but I was awake. Actually, I'm gonna go ahead and call sleep-shaving because I think we can agree that anyone in their conscious mind would have made a better decision. I am so glad we are talking this out. I am feeling better about myself already.
SO, shaved, getting back in bed, notice that I am BLEEDING TO DEATH. Not an understatement. I registered that I needed to find the band-aids, but I had NO IDEA where to look. I knew some paper towels were in the kitchen, but I was unsure of the location of the tape. LIGHTBULB/MacGyver moment: Priority Mail labels were on my desk. Now, I know I am not to use them for anything other than Priority Mail Business, but I surmised that the Mail part was optional in this moment, and PRIORITY took precedence. You agree. Thank you for nodding your head. You really are making me feel better about all of this. Especially since you haven't even brought up why I had PM labels at the ready and not tape of any kind. And, also, the U.S.P.S. does not need to be bothered with any of this. You are a doll
Scissors were handy, so I just cut strips (I was being careful to not waste any more if the contraband than was necessary) and used said strips to secure the folded paper towel. I applied pressure, and the bleeding stopped.
Having relived it just this moment, I think I deserve a prize. Not only did I save my self from sure death, I did not make a gory mess, I did not panic, and I documented the end process because NOBODY would have believed me.
If you nominate me for a prize, commendation or award of some kind, please make sure they spell my name with a "Y" not an "IE". It's just a pet peeve. You are a doll.
LOVE AND JOY, people!!

Sixteen is Too Many

Well, I'm done with the number 16, I hope. Let me explain.

I have 16 steps on the stairs up to the second floor of my town home. I have a love/hate affair with those stairs, because on the one hand, they've helped me shed about ten pounds and my backside might be a little smaller, but they are also a major hazard due to my seizure disorder. Oh, and the fact that my cat likes to accompany me down them as my escort. Or just be first. Probably the latter, since she is the center of the universe. (Just ask her).

At any rate, the stairs are just too much of a liability for me given the nature of my disorder, the clumsiness due to the meds, and the relentless fatigue in the post-ictal stage, when I must climb the stairs to go to bed, and stay there until I can manage them again. I knew this when I moved in. But, I was desperate for a safe place to land after my divorce, and this apartment home has been a God-send. This property management company, and the friends-nee-family I have made, has proven been a God-send. Whole 'nother post.

Sixteen is also the number of seizures I had this past Saturday night in the home of my love, Ken. Scary, scary stuff. I think sixteen might have been the number of firemen and paramedics in the room when I came to, but I also could have been seeing double!! I know 16 x 16 x 16 would probably not number the tears cried that night as they pulled me through after thinking they had lost me to the most severe seizures I have had in the last 7 years.

So, 16 is behind me. I am moving to a flat, 2b/2b CUTIE POOTIE of an apartment with a walk in closet (swoon) and plenty of bright light flowing through the windows. And a big kitchen where I will not cook, but it will hold all my coffee and flavored creamers and such.

Goodbye, sixteen. Farewell, and may you grace many sweet birthdays!

Love and joy!

The Better, the Not-As-Bad, and the With Lipstick

In response to my now infamous post from the weekend, Seizure Aftermath: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly I give you The Better, the Not-As-Bad, and the With Lipstick version!

I decided to read at least a small portion of Chapter One for you. The book is in it's revision stages, which means I look at it line by line, paragragh by paragraph, chapter by chapter and ALMOST decide it is not fit for public consumption. Then, I get a boost from my smart, witty daughter Emily, sweet sister Betty, or my handsome muse Ken, and I start to believe it might help at least one person. If I would FINISH IT ALREADY.

Let me know what you think so far!

love and joy!!


My Red Coffee Cup Garret

My view from my Red Coffee Cup garret

In her book, "You've Got a Book In You", Elizabeth Sims devotes an entire chapter to finding a "garret". A place to write which is all your own. I have found my garret in the corner of a small coffee shop very near to my apartment. But it is not IN my apartment. Therein lies the difference. I, as Elizabeth describes, find too many distractions in my apartment. Now, I can write there at night with no problem. But during the day, when I am doing the WORK of writing my blog posts and researching the art and craft of writing, I need to separate myself from the milieu of my living space. There, in that environment, are clothes waiting to be folded, toilets which need cleaning, and the cat who is never more interested in my hands than when I am in the flow of creativity.

So, my little corner of Heritage House Coffee and Tea suffices as my garret. My physical escape to read, write and ponder. The sweet folks there have a red coffee cup waiting each day just for me, perfectly Southern ladies and gentlemen who are ready with a refill, a word of encouragement and a smile. There is not a basket of clothes in sight.

Please do notice the details of the picture. See the bracelets and ring pulled off and placed out of my way? My purse and phone and book at arms reach? MY OWN COFFEE CUP THAT SOMEONE ELSE WASHES FOR ME? I'm a serious writer folks. In my very own garret.

As Carl Jung would advise, I am ACTING AS IF I am a writer, and so one day, a TRUE writer I will be!

Love and joy!



How I Found the Cure for Insomnia

I fought insomnia for years. YEARS. I still have bouts of it, but usually only after a seizure day where I have slept for 12 hours. For the most part, it is gone.
I decided to be gentle with myself, allow myself to sleep on my own schedule, and release the guilt of my night owl tendencies.
I must confess I have the luxury of sleeping on my own schedule, because I no longer work outside of the home and my child is grown. But I still had guilt over not getting up when everyone else did, at the time I had when I was working. My natural rhythm is going to sleep around 3am and sleeping until 11am...about 8 hours. Just not the NORMAL 8 hours. And there are people in my life, who shall remain nameless, who have a problem with that. THEY have a problem, I no longer do.
I think a lot of our guilt about petty things like that stems from the expectations of people around us. Trying to please people or live up to some standard they set for you, not something you have set for yourself.
After all, I can be just as productive after noon as I can at 8am. Actually, more so since I function better. I write my book at night, at my leisure, when the world is quiet and solitude surrounds me. I write my blog posts like its my job, during the day.
When I changed my expectations of myself, I freed myself to be fully used at my best. That's what God expects, after all. And He is the only one I am trying to impress. He made early birds AND night owls, and He loves us all the same!
Love and joy!