Six Sentence Stories – First Draft

A half-balled wad of paper sailed across the room – whoosh – into the can.

The sun moved with purpose past the windows of the room and as the light waned, so did his confidence and page by page, chapter by chapter, words sailed across the room, the tightening wads a clear indicator of his mounting frustration.

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He looked at the clock; bloody hell, I’ve only got an hour.

He rolled his chair across the room and began reclaiming the discarded prose from the trash can page by page, chapter by chapter, lovingly smoothing and stacking each one in its proper place and collecting them with a black shoelace.

A sharp knock and a voice at the door: “Sir? I’m here to pick up your draft, sir.”

He opened the door, thrust the wrinkled stack at the messenger and sighed, “Here – tell them to start with this.”

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Six SentenceEach week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

This week’s cue is DRAFT.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

 

 

The Morning After

So. Here we are.

The election is over and you would have to live under a rock to be unaware of the climate this morning. Sure, about half of the people in the U.S. are mighty pleased with themselves this morning, but the other half are devastated.

I don’t do politics here on the blog. Or at all, really. While I have very strong feelings about such things, I have always held to the philosophy that politics, religion, and sex simply don’t belong laid out on the kitchen table. These topics create so much dissension and anger among people – even people who love one another fiercely – that sometimes it is better to simply refrain from discussions in certain public settings.

But today I cannot be silent.

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I cannot be silent when so many of my friends and people I love are hurt, scared, and angry. I cannot be silent when my daughter stands before me and cries at the results of this election because even at the tender age of eight, she understands that bullying and hate appear to have been rewarded. I cannot be silent when the new president-elect consistently spews hatred directed at so many groups of people in this country (and the world) – people who are simply different from him.

I understand that this nation has problems. It always has; every society does. I understand that people want change, and I don’t disagree that some change is in order. But I sat in front of the TV last night dumbfounded – dumbfounded – that this country just put a man in office who has behaved as this man does and who is so uniquely unqualified for the office in both temperament and experience.

How in the world did we get to a place where so many people are willing to tolerate this level of hate? In all sincerity, I want to ask someone who voted for him these questions.

I want to ask parents of daughters how they can back a man who has treated and spoken of women the way he has. My daughter is a woman. What does this presidency mean for her?

I want to ask people who know someone who is Jewish how they can back a man who delivers not-so-cloaked anti-Semitic rhetoric and is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party?  My husband is Jewish. What does this presidency mean for him?

And the list goes on and on…

I have to say again that if you are unaware of all the insults and hate he has directed at African Americans, Latinos, Muslim and Jewish people, handicapped people,  the LGBTQ community, women, military personnel, and so many more, then you haven’t been paying attention. And if you are aware, why is that behavior acceptable?

Please don’t talk to me about deleted e-mails or pro-life topics or trade agreements or any of the other myriad reasons people cite as reason where this election is concerned. You’re going to have to come at me with something stronger than that. We can argue those points for the next four years and it won’t change the fact that above all, hate has somehow become tolerable. That is unacceptable.

This all reminds me of the movie The American President. Have you seen it? Watch it. Really. Set aside the love story angle and pay attention to the election angle between the incumbent President and the hopeful who is trying to unseat him. This guy spews hate at people, preys on their fear, and gets those who are dissatisfied with the status quo to buy into his attacks. One of the characters in the movie finally asks the sitting President, “How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can’t stand Americans?”

 

I feel like that’s where we are. And it frightens me.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, forward. That’s the only place we can go. But I will not move forward with the kind of hate and anger that has characterized this election season and continues to characterize discussions this morning.

I choose to do what I have always believed is the way to go – live with a focus on love, on kindness, and on compassion. Am I perfect in that regard? Of course not. But I sure do make the effort to be mindful enough to learn from any mistakes I make and continue to improve.

I choose to hold fast to my faith and to my personal belief that all things have purpose, even tragedy. We may not always recognize that in the throes of a challenge, but it has been my experience that ultimately, there will be an answer. If you’ve read here for any length of time you know how strongly I believe that even in the darkest moments, there is always hope for light.

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If you need a reason, look into your children’s eyes. Think of the people you know who are part of groups that have been insulted and oppressed in this country. If you need to know what to do next, think about all the similar instances in history where people turned fear and hate and disappointment into action. Do something. Join us at 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. Be kind to people. Period. If you need something to remind you why we keep working and keep fighting and never quit, read Thomas Paine’s The Crisis, No. 1This is not the first time we’ve felt down and out and it probably won’t be the last.

Be sad and cry if you need to. Wear black or whatever helps. And then remember what President Obama said in the Rose Garden just a little while ago – the sun is going to come up again tomorrow. So get up and go forward.

And please…always remember that Love Wins. Even when that’s difficult to believe.

Peace.

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I’ve added this post to the Finish the Sentence Friday link-up hosted this week by  Kristi at Finding Ninee and Denise at Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy.  

This week we’re talking about change and the unexpected.

The results of this election certainly qualify.

Two Days of Rest – #10Thankful

Sunday evening again. My least favorite time to write a TToT post.

Why, then, does it seem that I’m always doing mine on Sunday evening?

I thought I might skip this week because I have been sick. The yearly mandatory bout with bronchitis. I tried not to let it get away from me. But it did. It always does. I think I just have to concede that I have a chronic bronchitis thing and be done with it.

But let’s commence with the thankfulness because, honestly, I have too big a headache to give this much of my energy. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.

So first off, I’m thankful that I’m writing this at all. There, I said it.

Frozen homemade spaghetti sauce with cleaned and prepped fresh broccoli, all courtesy of our wonderful CSA membership. This means my family got a good dinner and I didn’t have to do much work (or cough all over it) to get the job done.

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I’m thankful that I didn’t tell off someone who really irritated me this weekend. Considering my level of crankiness due to being sick, that’s not bad. And I’m so very grateful for my mom’s friendship and guidance in that situation and in all others, always.

I have not made much tangible progress with my NaNoWriMo projects this week once we got past day one. But. I’ve been planning and plotting and doing some reading and research so as soon as I kick this germ out of me once and for all – or at least enough that I can concentrate on writing – I’ll forge ahead and hopefully catch up. And hey, I didn’t go bonkers and decide I’m a failed writer because I got behind the eight ball, like instantly. OK, maybe once. A little. But I moved on.

Here’s a little convoluted hypo-gratitude for you: I’m thankful that I’ve had bronchitis enough times to know exactly what my doctor would tell me to do and that I had all supplies and treatments on hand already. I caved and started the antibiotic this afternoon, but it was clear that we had reached that point. And I’m glad I had some at the ready in the medicine cupboard.

For hot tea and the Hub’s amazing coffee and all other manner of warm drinks to soothe my body and soul, I am grateful. For a pile of good books to plow through curled up in bed or on a chair or on a couch. For enjoying a beautiful autumn day (twice) from just inside the sliding glass doors while plowing through books. For my Hub and Zilla for being perfectly happy to have an at-home weekend while I’m sick and for the fact that we were planning that anyway since last week was crammed full. For the best snuggles ever with my Zilla. For tissues.

I am thankful.

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Ten Things of Thankful
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Six Sentence Stories – The Secret

“This is all your fault!” she screamed.

The demon smirked quietly to himself; maybe if she didn’t find it so thrilling to keep feeding me, she wouldn’t be in this position. But he liked her here – needy, never satisfied, desperate for the next volume and the next to feed this gorgeous compulsion he embedded in her brain.

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He was always near, his breath in her ear sometimes the faint rustling of pages sliding smoothly against one another as they are turned, sometimes the staccatoed slap slap slapping against one another as they are hurriedly thumbed and flipped, his scent a familiar heady mixture of vanilla-anise-fruit-almond-wood, redolent of long-forgotten secrets tucked away behind eyes that still sparkled from out of a leathery face.

It began with a simple experiment: to keep a list of all the books she read in her lifetime, something that could be passed on to her children and later on to theirs so they might share her literary experiences and add their own.

When she discovered the empty leather notebook on one of her used book store digs, she knew it was the perfect vehicle for her legacy. Little did she know that within those fine papery leaves and scarred leather cover lived a demon, born of words and waiting for just the right soul to free him.

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Soon her simple experiment became an obsession with reading all of the words ever written and with each dollar she spent on more books, she lost another friend, another loved one, another moment of her life.

You’re in so deep and you’ve lost everything, she felt him whisper, but none of it matters. You have your books now and you have me and we never have to leave this room again. Keep buying…keep reading…

Stick with me, my darling angel girl, and we’ll go everywhere… 

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

I never posted last week’s Six, so I’m at it again with a two-fer in a twelve sentence offering. I know – it’s totally cheating. 

Last week’s word was STICK and this week’s is FAULT.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

 

New Book Release – Fearless Flying by Karen Gordon

It’s been a while since I talked about or reviewed any books here on the blog, but I have something new for you today!

I have been so behind on my reading and reviewing (apologies to those I promised and still owe – I’m coming!) but one of my goals for November is to get back in a regular routine of reading and sharing the work of other authors.

Wait. You say you heard I was going to be off the grid writing for NaNoWriMo this month? Well, yes, that’s true. But if there’s one thing I think is worth taking time out for, it’s supporting a fellow writer.

But I do need to get back to my own writing, so let’s do this, OK?

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About Fearless Flying:
An amazing job, check.
An adorable apartment, check.
A super supportive best friend, check.
There’s only one thing missing from Vivienne Ramsey’s perfect life…

And after ten years of waiting the time is finally right for her to seduce her dream man. Tonight she’s going to wear Danny out in bed until he dies a happy man. But before she can begin her carefully crafted strategy of seduction he’s headed for the door. And for once in her over-organized life Vivienne doesn’t have a back-up plan.

If he had only read the memo about his part in her happily-ever-after.

Available for purchase on Amazon

Fearless Flying is the second of Karen’s books that I’ve read. Neither has been the type of book I “typically” read. Chick lit and YA/NA are just not my usual fare. But hush, OK? I’m really willing to read just about anything and digging into Karen’s words was well worth the risk. The best thing about her books is her characters. They are so likable, so believable, and could be anyone you know.

Fearless Flying is a quick and absorbing read; I inhaled it on my Kindle app in well under 90 minutes. The story is fast-paced and engaging and makes it easy for the reader to get in Vivienne’s corner and cheer her on.

Vivienne is a terrific character. She’s super-organized and perhaps a bit of a control freak who is making a name for herself at her company. She is eager to please and excels at making the people she works for and cares about feel special and important. There are parts of her character that are admittedly slightly immature, but it all adds to her charming personality.

Vivienne is instantly likable and it’s easy to see why her friends, family, and co-workers love her so much. But that definitely makes you wonder what in the world is wrong with Danny since he’s the only one who seems to push her away, even when he tells her he’s interested.

You’ll get a healthy dose of sweet and steamy romance in this book. I don’t usually care for that in my fiction, but Karen handles it perfectly – it’s hot enough for those who enjoy that, and tasteful enough for those who might not. The love scenes suit the story well, though. They are appropriately and purposefully placed within the plot, rather than gratuitous sex scenes dumped in just to do it.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book. By the end of the book, I really wanted more about Vivienne and Danny and all the rest and found myself asking out loud, “That’s how this ends???” But since I know there are more books coming in the series, I managed to get over it quickly and am looking forward to more from Karen.

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About the Author:

Karen Gordon is an indie author who loves supporting strong and sexy women in fiction and in real life.

Born and raised in St. Charles, Missouri, she found her love of extraordinary stories about ordinary places by finding excitement in mundane suburbia.

Although she currently writes romance and chick lit, you never know what she might do next. (You’ll never find a woman-hating, bad-boy hero though.)

She currently lives with the loves of her life, three very cool geeky men and one perfect puppy, just outside of Memphis, TN.

Find Karen Here:  Website  / Twitter / Goodreads

 

In Which I Tell You I’m About to Disappear – #10Thankful

This is going to be tremendously short.

First, let me say that I most definitely do not enjoy writing my TToT posts on Sunday evenings. If I’m here on a Sunday evening with fingers to keys, it means either A) I had a hard time figuring out what to put on my list, B) I was out doing stuff all weekend and never saw my desk or keyboard, or C) I plain old just didn’t get to it.

Whichever answer is true – and this week it’s B – I still don’t enjoy the Sunday night write because it just feels so forced and deadline-ish.

But. I’m doing it still.

The tremendously short version of my list of thankfuls is that we’ve had a wonderful weekend enjoying the completely not-fall-like weather (mid 70s the last two days – bizarre) and taking a little weekend getaway that we love. Fun. So I’m thankful we were able to do that.

I’m thankful the port-a-johns at the farm where we visited a fall festival today were unbelievably clean. I kid you not. And I’m glad we got to enjoy a  nice very not-crowded afternoon with Zilla and a cousin at said fall festival. They had a good time.

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I’m tired as can be, but I’m glad for that, too, because it means my body can get up and move around fairly well and my muscles got used in good ways. I’m also pretty thankful for a little ibuprofen and some tea and a comfy bed on which to put up my feet and recover.

I’m pretty thankful that no one in this TToT crew is going to mind that this is short (although is it really at this point?) and haphazard because hey, whatever you do is fine and this crew does not judge.

Finally – this is the thankful where I finally get around to explaining my – I’m thankful to have a (sort-of) plan that may help me reach some of my personal and professional goals. I’m about to kind of disappear for the next month. See, I’ve decided to go ahead and give NaNoWriMo a try again. Last year I put a project in the system and got exactly nowhere. This year I have three projects in the works that I want to make significant progress with and so I’m doing it. I have all sorts of reservations about NaNoWriMo – the obligation versus desire factor where writing is concerned, the actual quality of anything banged out in a 30-day mad dash, the realistic potential to sit and write that volume every single day… But you know what? I need these three things out of my head and in any form of semi-half-baked completedness on screen and page.

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So this space may remain empty many days. It is my hope to continue posting semi-regularly. I may not get around to read or comment or share at anyone else’s page for a few weeks. It is my hope that I will because I love reading all of you. My house probably won’t get cleaned very often if I’m writing that intensely. It is my hope…. Pfft. Who’s kidding whom? I wasn’t going to clean anyway.

I may or may not “succeed” in producing anything for NaNo. But if I’m absent in the online world, let’s assume it’s because I’m getting something done. You know where to find me if you want or need me and I’ll pop in at least for a bit – you know that much is true.

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And now I have to end this and move on, mostly because I’m falling asleep at the keyboard and it is time to go finish out my evening, put my kid to bed, and relax.

Pretend I left you with a snappy and entertaining close here.

See you soon!

~ XO <3

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Ten Things of Thankful
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An Awareness of Smaller Moments – #10Thankful

I always think it’s interesting how – or when – certain moments strike my awareness.

I spent all weekend half-thinking about writing this TToT in the back of my mind, but never quite sat to do it. It’s not that I don’t have much for which I’m thankful, it’s that every time I tried to come up with a list or a theme, the grander ideas eluded me.

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But I did notice small items of gladness and gratitude here and there – just nothing that I could really spin into a larger, more profound thought. Sometimes life is really just about the little moments, though, not the profound ones. Sometimes it’s about simply being in the right place at the right time to become aware of these moments that matters and leads us to gratitude.

For example…

Right now I am very thankful that Cat Three opted to puke on the hardwood floor, rather than the carpet. It’s usually the carpet that gets hit. We have carpet in exactly two places in our house – the stairways – and somehow the cats always find their way to the carpet when they get sick. So while I’m not happy to be cleaning up cat yerf, I’m pretty glad it’s not a carpet job.

It is fall – finally and for real this time, I believe. I am never more at peace than during the autumn of the year. I saw a line go by somewhere over the weekend that sums it up for me. It’s a half-line, really, and taken quite out of context, but still it shows up all over the place at this time of year. “Are we not better and at home In dreamful Autumn…?” is the often-quoted snippet, but there’s much more to the poem (“Autumnal” by Ernest Dowson). I love how well that expresses my feelings about this time of year, but am also glad it sent me digging for some long-forgotten words of poetry to enjoy again.

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I have a friend (actually more than one, now that I think about it_ who is having a tough time with some things right now. I can’t begin to ease the pain in this person’s life. I can’t find words that will comfort that won’t sound completely trite. But I can stay in touch, ask how things are, lend an ear, send a card…small gestures to say the least, but I know that they matter. So that’s something.

I’m bursting at the seams this morning over Zilla’s successes of late. She’s working hard, putting tools and strategies to use, and seeing very positive results. She revels in her successes and feels confident about herself – and it shows. This morning we discovered an unfinished homework assignment that a year ago would have been a huge setback for the rest of the day. Today? I saw so much resilience in her and it made me so happy. She accepted responsibility, handled it, and marched into school with the work finished. No meltdown. No upset. No kidding.

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I was struck the other night by just how wise my Husband is. I can’t quite remember what the discussion was, but he offered such calm and rational wisdom that I couldn’t help but see things more clearly after the conversation. He grounds me and reminds me to keep my eye on the big picture, and not over-focus on minute details. On the flip side, though, sometimes when I get overwhelmed it’s because I’m worried too much about the big picture. In those moments he reminds me that the way to get it done is to focus on one thing at a time. Why he’s so much better at sorting out which approach is the right one, I’ll never tell you. It’s just one of the mysteries of our relationship that I’ve come to accept and treasure.

I’m delighted to have a huge pile of books that I’m working my way through right now – some lovely fall reads, some new books by friends and acquaintances, some old favorites. I’m also glad to be able to make time to sit and enjoy them, even if I’m not getting through them as quickly as I’d like.

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I’m happy to have a plan right now. I’ve been working on some projects – slowly and distractedly without a doubt, but nonetheless surely – and after quite a few days of thinking, I believe I have a good plan in mind to really make some progress. More on that as we move forward, I suppose.

And at this very second I’m very grateful for alarm clocks that tell me it’s time to move to the next task of my day. So, friends, I’m out of here for now. I don’t have a link-up thing to share this week, but drop your TToT (or other post) link in the comments and I’ll get around to visit.

Have a wonderful week!

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Six Sentence Stories – The Lie, Parts 8 – 11

Jack had always loved the stars.

From the time he was old enough to look up at the evening sky through an empty toilet paper roll clutched in his hands, all he could imagine was being up there among them and not stuck here on Earth. The night skies offered Jack a place to focus his attention, to imagine and dream, and to escape from his sometimes miserable life.

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It wasn’t much of a surprise to anyone when he decided to study astronomy, but after a while, Jack realized it would never be enough. Although he loved his studies, he just couldn’t see himself stuck in a planetarium or a classroom for the rest of his life. Jack decided the theory and standard career was fine for now and immersed himself in learning everything he could about his beloved stars, but what he really wanted was to get in the cockpit of something – anything – that would fly and get him up there among them and away from all of the bullshit he knew down here.

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When he applied for the Academy, Jack never dreamed he’d actually be accepted, but somewhere along the line, when he was concentrating on being anywhere but home, Jack somehow managed to become a serious student and get his act together. Hours spent on homework and at the library were the excuses he made to spend as little time as possible with his so-called family, and they paid off big time when that acceptance letter showed up – his ticket out of there.

He threw himself into his education and training with a genuine excitement that would send him hurtling at top speed through the next few years. No more making excuses just to get away – this was for real, for him, and he needed to make the most of it to compensate for the years of disappointment and failure that characterized his childhood. Jack flew through the ranks to become the youngest astronaut on record and signed on to help manage one of America’s earliest space station living communities.

“There’s a surprise for you, Dad,” he thought. “I managed to accomplish something great and find a way to get as far away from you as possible.”

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Life on the station was exciting and busy and Jack had worked so hard and waited so long to get here. He was motivated, determined, and successful. He was a top scholar, a seasoned pilot, and an eager adventurer. He had won honors and accolades for so many things, was appreciated by so many people, except for one…the only one he had ever wanted to notice and the only one who never did. But that was part of another time, another season of his life and Jack had to shake that off and leave it behind; he was ready to join one of the permanent space communities and get as far away from his past as possible.

Then it all fell apart.

A freak accident left him with two broken legs, a pile of broken dreams, and a severely broken spirit.

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After a long period of physical and mental recovery, he was finally living out the dream he had cultivated. Life on the station was exciting and busy and Jack had plenty to occupy his mind between acclimating to life in space and helping to manage the community.

human-1215160_1920He never thought about how much he missed Andie, never thought about all the time they had spent dreaming and planning, dancing under the stars with the sounds of the night their only music. He still couldn’t understand how or why she loved him after the way he treated her when she showed up dripping wet for his first physical therapy session; he definitely did not deserve her.

But this…now…this was nothing like life on the station and nothing like the life he imagined all those years ago when he stared up at the twinkling stars from his tent in the backyard. This was the aftermath of broken dreams and a broken world and for the first time in a long time Jack had no idea how to fix any of it.

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*****

Want more? Catch up here.

The Lie, Part 1

The Lie, Part 2

The Lie, Part 3

The Lie, Part 4

The Lie, Part 5

The Lie, Part 6

The Lie, Part 7

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Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

As you can see, this week’s post is far from six sentences. I wanted to play a little catch-up and see if I could incorporate the last several prompts that I’ve missed. I believe I have 24 sentences here, drawn from the last four prompts: 

RANK, STAR, SEASON, and FIX. 

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

 

 

An Easier Life – #10Thankful

Life is hard.

My daughter tells me of things she thinks are hard: Homework, carrying a heavy school bag, and waking up early for school are hard. Sometimes math is hard or getting along with other kids. She’s right; those things are hard. We talk about why they are hard and how to make them more bearable or easier to do. And I always tell her the same thing in the course of the discussion: “Life is hard.”

Because it is. And I don’t think it’s wrong or discouraging to be honest with our children – or ourselves – and acknowledge that fact. Life is hard for every one of us in myriad ways, and it just makes sense to be prepared for that fact, because I sincerely doubt that we are meant to sail through life unscathed.

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In his General History of Virginia, Captain John Smith writes that “everything of worth is found full of difficulties…” and life itself is no different. We will all struggle with something at some point in life. We will all need help to solve our problems or to simply get through the day, just as those early settlers did.

I wonder, though, if the challenges and difficulties we find along the way are what give life its substance and meaning. Is there truly anything in life that we find “easy” that doesn’t also contain some struggle or pain? Do those struggles help to define and enhance the victories we experience? Think of anything you love, anything you do and ask yourself if it is truly something that comes easily, without effort, without any setback or imperfection.

I’m willing to bet you can’t name one thing. I know I can’t.

There are dinners that have been burnt, drafts of stories crumbled into the trash can, relationships ended, unplanned career changes, and so much more. Disappointment, struggle, and failure may all be simply part of the process of living, learning, and becoming who we are.  We’re all operating without a handbook, doing out best to figure out this thing called life as we go along, but maybe that’s the beauty of it.

 

Somewhere in the preface material to his History, Smith also says, “Let no difficulties alter your noble intentions.” Maybe we’re meant to experience a balance of easy and hard, good and bad. Maybe we need to face problems and challenges so that we can learn how to solve them and pass on the knowledge we gain to others. Giving up when life gets hard won’t make things better, so maybe those hard times are ultimately the best path toward becoming more than we are today.

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Just over two years ago, I left my full time job to work for myself, to be at home to raise our daughter and do the things I had dreamed of doing for so long. I left a known quantity for something definitively unknown and uncharted, much like Smith and his fellow colonists. It was terrifying. Some days it still is. I left behind circumstances that were indeed difficult and frustrating, but this new life I’ve carved out for myself isn’t “easy” either – not by a long shot. In fact, it’s pretty tough and full of a whole new set of challenges and frustrations.

I worry about finding work and bringing in enough money. I worry that I will never publish the words I’ve been working on privately; and I worry that I will. Many mornings it is a challenge to get all of us organized and out the door and to our respective responsibilities on time. It is nearly impossible to accomplish everything on my to-do list(s), and I still struggle daily with how to strike the correct balance between work and family life, especially now that I work from home.

But what makes this life easier, or perhaps better than the version of life I lived before, is that I am living the life I was meant to live. I am being true to myself, embracing what I know is right for me and for my family, despite the difficulties along the way. There were difficulties before, so what’s the difference, really?

The difference lies in the fact that it is much easier to be who I was meant to be, rather than fitting into some imposed idea of who I should be – for whatever reason. I am ever thankful for the nudges the universe provided, telling me it was time to go, and for the people who encourage and stand by me each step of the way.

And so I’ll stay my course. Because even when life is hard, my intentions for myself and for my family are indeed noble; in fact, I would say they are necessary in order to create a life of true happiness and fulfillment. The early Virginia settlers had to leave much behind in order to find what they believed would be a better life. Perhaps sometimes we do, too.

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This week’s Ten Things of Thankful post is doubling as a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “My life is so much easier due to…”

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Building a Legacy – #10Thankful

Legacy.

So often, when we think of the word legacy, we end up at the definition about what property is left behind in a will or a particular online obituary site. Honestly, though, neither of those are where my mind goes first.

When I think of a legacy, I think of the more abstract, intangible gifts from our loved ones that stay with us long after they have left us. Rather than washing away like footprints on sand, though, there is something permanent that remains.

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I can think of many people who have passed from this life and what they have left behind. Most of these legacies are beautiful and positive; others less so. But in every case – whether positive or not – what remains is lasting and most definitely shapes the lives and the realities of those who follow after them.

When I think about all that I have collected from the ones before me, I think about how each of these gifts – each of these people – is part of me. I carry bits and pieces of my ancestors with me through every step of my life. And so I often wonder just what I will leave behind for my daughter and others who will follow me…

I have been given a legacy of great love several times over. I know what it means to be loved and cared for. I know that love is shown in many different ways. It is my hope that from these examples I have learned how to love and that I communicate that love to the people who need to know. I want my child to know she is loved and to know how to express her love for others.

I benefit so often from the gift of true wisdom, earned through lifetimes of trial and error, sadness and joy. I try to see all things in life as opportunities for learning and to perhaps gain some wisdom of my own from my personal experiences. I hope to pass on to my daughter any wisdom I might gain so that she may benefit from it as I have.

I have been passed a love for things like reading, music, and cooking by so many people. My interests, passions, and talents are my own, but I see them as a reflection of those same things in others who have gone before me. I am grateful to have been exposed to these things and share my love for them with my own child. I loved hearing stories read to me and I read to her so that one day she might read to her own children. I learned how to cook from my relatives and love having my daughter at my side in the kitchen learning how to do the same. I hear my mother’s instructions come from my own lips as I explain to my daughter what to put into tuna salad or how to prepare garlic bread.

I have also been left a legacy of uncertainty and doubt – one that is difficult to bear sometimes. Too often in life, there are words left unspoken and feelings left unexpressed, even if we might desire to do so. In some cases, we do run out of time and these situations are left unresolved. I endeavor to say what needs to be said to those I love now so they never have to wonder.

There are many more things I could list here, and there will still be many more to add as the years pass and loved ones move in and out of my life. I cannot possibly know what else will be gifted to me before my own days on earth are through. I am grateful for each and every piece of who I am that has been passed to me so far and for all those yet to come…

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But what I do know is that in each of my days, in every moment, I am building a legacy of my own to pass on. I do not yet know what it will include or whether it will be great. I suppose that is for those on the receiving end to determine.

I do know that whatever my legacy turns out to be, it will reside in those who come behind me just as the legacies left to me have been passed through generation after generation, growing into what I carry within me today. It is my hope and prayer that at the very least, those who follow me will say I left a legacy of living and loving well.

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In addition to being a Ten Things of Thankful entry, this week’s post is also a Finish the Sentence Friday post.

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This week’s sentence was “I want my legacy to be…”

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