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Instant gratification

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Instant gratification, is the bane of my online existence. I had my first experience with a computer when working for Canyonview Hospital, a psychiatric/addictions treatment facility. It was exciting to learn the ins and outs of the computer in a very limited way. I could write my notes and reports without having to dictate them, to be typed by a stenographer. That was an experience. Having to say period when finishing a sentence, add all the punctuation and at times even the spelling of words. I was able to finish my work in half the time. Freedom at the end of my fingertips.

Then, as I was getting comfortable with that, in comes the tech guy introduced me to the Internet. Scared the holy heck out of me. I knew I would break the computer if I hit the wrong and of course, the first thing that happened. The darn thing froze up on me. In a panic, I called tech support and he came back, hit a couple of keys, and just like that, I was back in business. He told me not to worry I couldn’t break it, to relax and enjoy. He also showed me what to do if it was to freeze on me again. So, exploring I did go. I was able to research things in my field and other things, print out articles to use, and just enjoy. The more I learned the more I knew that I wanted a computer at home. I justified it by the idea that I could write the next, best American novel. Isn’t that each wanna be writer’s dream?

It wasn’t long before my health brought about my retirement that I was able to buy a home computer. Compared to today’s computers it was a big clunky thing, I was also able to get a printer to go with it and subscribe to the internet. One of the first things I did was go looking for sites for writers. It was through that search I came across Coffeehause for writers. It was a site where a writing prompt was posted each day and, according to the instructions we were to do a free-write and post it in response, with no editing. I found my love. It was such fun spewing words to page in response to the daily prompt, then sending it off to be reviewed by fellow participants.

The thrill of the reviews coming back in a few minutes, for the most part, positive or with constructive criticism, had me thirsting for more. The creative juices flowed, and I looked forward each day to the post of the day. It was there I learned the thrill of instant gratification. I would catch myself, stopping to check throughout the day to see what people has said about my post that day. It was there I first met JoAnn Miller and Cathy Beil. Both were so encouraging, and both were active on the site. Jo was more into nonfiction writing, and Cathy was in the process of writing a book on the Japanese tea ceremony. It was such fun to be with like-minded people and I know I became obsessive about my daily participation. Cathy was able to finish her book, The Samurai and The Tea, A Legacy of Japan’s Early Christians. I, of course, bought and read it as soon as it was out. It was published in 2002. Cathy had posted some of her work in progress on the site and we were able to encourage as well as give her feedback on her work.

After a few years, due to internal conflict and difficulty in finding people willing to administer to the site, it closed. By then we had had some troublemakers join who were more interested in being hurtful, than helpful. I have not found a site as supporting as that one was in the beginning. To this day I think back fondly on my years there. But it is also what caused me to seek out that instant gratification when I would write something.

Sadly, our success isn’t built overnight, and that is where this pattern of instant gratification is a problem. I see it not only in my writing but in many areas of life anymore. Young children are so used to celebrating and being praised over the smallest of accomplishments they believe it will always be that way. Have you noticed that birthday celebrations are like Christmas? That moving from one grade to another is done with pomp and circumstance? We never want them to feel let down and have felt defeated it’s almost like we need a parade for every little thing. The kicker is there will be disappointments in life and if we aren’t prepared for them we will not have the tools to handle them. Heck, here I am at the age of 80 having to admit the trap I’ve fallen into, can you imagine a child growing up, having every little thing they do be celebrated like it was the most magnificent thing that ever happened, having to learn that for the most part it’s just what life expects us to do, it isn’t really a big deal. There is no ticker-tape parade for doing the job expected of us.

And for a writer, there is no such thing as overnight success. It’s all about spending time alone, doing the work, and doing your best. For many, success doesn’t happen until years after they are gone. It doesn’t mean the work isn’t good, it simply means it takes time to build a fan base. For me, it’s my job to keep practicing my chosen art. Not for the gratification, I might get from others, but because I feel the need to sit down and put words to paper. It’s not about checking every few minutes to see what someone has said about what I offered. On one hand, it has fueled my creativeness and on the other hand, it has stunted it. I forgot to keep my eye on the prize, no matter what I can feel good, because I didn’t just talk the talk, I decided at some point to walk the walk and allow others to see and read what it is that I have written.




continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness

I live with a chronic illness that sometimes challenges my efforts. Like the tides, my energy level will ebb and flow. I’ll begin a project with the best of intentions, only to be brought to my knees by my physical ailment. I like to believe that I can out-run or out-smart it, but it usually catches me in the end, and it is then I hit the wall. My creativity will suffer most as it is energy and adrenalin that fuels my quest for the right word or project.

A year ago, I was in the throes of cutting chapters from my novel, To Keep Him Safe, to get it ready to publish. The excitement I felt spurred me on each day. I was looking forward to becoming a published author. I felt as though I had the world by the tail. Just think, there I was, almost 80, getting ready to release to the public my first full-length manuscript.

Since then, so much has happened. If you’ve followed me, you already know the journey between there and here. But for those who may be new to my blog, a synopsis. While in the editing and getting ready to publish, we put our house on the market. It sold quickly and within a month; we sold it, moved, and re-established ourselves in our new home and neighborhood. Anxiously, I waited for the publishing day. My publisher set up a pre-order link, which experienced a few glitches. In the electronic era, you have to love it when it’s working right, but when it’s not… grrrr. Thank goodness for the faithful who stuck with us and submitted their orders. We set dates for book signings and materials gathered to begin to prepare. I got my first shipment of books. I can’t even try to explain the thrill I felt as I opened the box and held my debut novel in my hands. What could go wrong?

Life, that’s what, on the day of the release, my husband complained he didn’t feel well but refused to rain on my parade or see a doctor. We picked up my friend who’d flown in from Pennsylvania on Friday the 15th of October 2021. I had to change my plans from stopping for a bite to eat out because of hubby’s not feeling well. It was good to meet JoAnn and spend time with her, though. The book signing went off without a hitch. It surprised me that many old friends from years gone by came out. But my husband’s health was a concern, and the success was bittersweet. By Monday night he was in emergency surgery and to make a long story short, the next few months were a rollercoaster ride, not knowing if he would make it back or not. But his perseverance pulled him through and I’m happy to report he is doing well nowadays.

I have attempted to get on track with this blog a few times. I’d sit down with great determination and post a new blog. I would promise myself that I would do at least one blog post a week, hopefully, two. I’d feel good about the response, but sadly, life would once more interfere. I’d begin feeling poorly, which leads to a course in prednisone and antibiotics. I don’t know why, but these episodes steal my motivation, and the creative juices seem to dry up, no matter what I do to break through the fog. It’s difficult for me to admit to being human.

So, here I am once more, hopefully with some still following me, sitting down to begin once again. It is with perseverance I deal with my illness. I’m determined not to let it rule my life, yet sometimes I’m forced to acknowledge it despite my best intentions. Sometimes I believe I make plans and God laughs. Yet I will follow in the footsteps of my mother. She was one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever known. She was told when I was in the 7th grade that she’d be in a wheelchair within a year. She lived to be in her 70s and was never wheelchair-bound. She’d raise an immense garden on her hands and knees, fight off rattlesnakes with a hoe, and depend on an old cocker spaniel to help her stand after her garden work.

I will, I can, and I must persevere. I can’t afford to give up. I will pull up my bootstraps and stride forward. I live with a chronic illness; I will not give in to it but will strive to live my best life possible. I’ve accomplished many things in the past 22 years since I first heard the words; severe stage emphysema. How could that be? I hadn’t smoked. But I quit worrying about the why and reached for the brass ring. If my life is to end, I want to squeeze the most out of it before I move to that last chapter.

So, for today, I will persevere. Will you join me? Your response feeds me, sadly I’ve gotten used to the instant gratification the computer age brings. So, if you take the time to read could you acknowledge you’ve done so? I draw strength from you all and in return, I pray I can give strength to others.

Story Time

When I was a young girl in grade school, my favorite time of the school day was storytime. If memory serves right, it was after lunch. We’d come into class after having lunch, followed by free time to race around the playground playing our games and having fun. The class would come in all excited from the games and we were a restless, noisy bunch.

It was then the teacher would bring out a chapter book and ask us to put our heads down on our desk or set quietly as she would read a chapter of whatever book she had chosen. It was here I was first introduced to wonderful adventures in The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  A chapter a day would leave me longing to not stop. I would walk those steps that Laura walked, feel all the emotions, trying not to cry in front of my classmates. So many authors, I wish I could remember them all.

We solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. we road across the plains with Danial Crocket fought our way through the jungles with Tarzan. It was here I fell in love with the written word.  

So many books over those early years, I can’t guarantee the ones I listed were all a part of that storytime. I remember vividly the series of the Little House on the Prairie and how I looked forward to each day. There was no library available for me to check out books and I would beg my teacher to let me take them home as I was impatient to read more. Though she would not let me, she would loan me other books. And teachers quickly got me to not dawdle over my schoolwork. They realized if I had the promise of being able to read if I finished an assignment early and got it right, I’d be the first one done on most projects.

Where most kids in my class looked forward to recess, come rain or shine. I was not a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being outside. It was all that running about and nonsense I wasn’t a fan of. But let me take a book and sit under a tree, with the sun keeping me warm. I was a happy little girl.

We moved from Rozet, and all the people I knew when I was halfway through the 4th grade. The kicker was, besides leaving all that was familiar to me, I had a teacher who was a man for the first time. He was a slight build man with a ‘Hitler’ mustache, and because of this, I believed he was a Nazi. We were learning about the second world war, and it was fresh in the minds of many who have served. He frightened me and pushed me, which made me angry. I dreaded going to school. It was during this time that we had to learn to hide under our desks in case of nuclear war and polio was sweeping the country. Frightening times for a young, impressionable girl. Then one day, he brought out a book and assigned us to read it. And once more I fell in love with a story and a character, only this time it wasn’t a character, but the story of a real girl, not much older than me. The Diary of Anne Frank took me through the darkest time. When alone, I would try to be as quiet as a mouse. I too was feeling the confusions of a young girl, but I at least was free. I agonized as I read her story and in the reading of it, I also saw my teacher in a new light. Would a Nazi give me such a book? I realized not. I also came to learn that he had family who was in Germany during that time, and he lost many of them to the camps. I wish I could go back and talk to him now to learn about the path that shaped him. He wasn’t a compassionate teacher like I’d had in Rozet, but he wasn’t the horrible man I made him out to be initially.

As much as I hated Gillette and finishing my fourth through seventh grades there, there was one thing I loved about it. The library, at school, and the public library. The day I got my card, was my ticket to the world. I could check out all those wonderful books I’d learned about during storytime. The world was wide open to me. I even read encyclopedias. I realize now that I used books to hide in, so I wouldn’t have to be more social. The storytime after lunch did not happen anymore as I got older, and I hated that. So many authors, so little time is how it felt and still does. I’ve gone through most genres over the years. My least favorite is non-fiction. I like the castles in the sky, the mysteries to solve, even based on facts with some authors’ licenses thrown in. I still have the storytime in my life. It’s up to me when. And I still reward myself by setting aside time to read. There is never a time if we don’t make it. And like the teachers of my youth, I believe it’s a quieting of the mind that is necessary. The break in a hectic schedule allows me to face the wrenches that life throws at us.

So, never give up your storytime. Set aside sometime each day, carry a book always. You never know when you’ll have a few minutes to read a few pages.

Dance with my dad

In my early grade school years, while we were in the Rozet, Wyoming area, I remember the box socials the community held. For those of you not old enough to remember them, they were special. The women would put together a box lunch usually in a shoebox. They would adorn the shoe box with ribbons and bows and all special enhancements. When I was around nine, I got to make my own. There was dancing and then, during a break, they auctioned the decorated boxes off. Though it was supposed to be based on the decorations, without the men knowing whose box they were bidding on, most women would have told their special guy which one they brought.

The purpose was to raise money for some project or another, and of course, we ladies always wanted a bidding war on our box lunch. The winner would then share the enclosed picnic-style meal with the winner of their offering.

I can still remember the excitement I felt when mom and I would work on our shoeboxes while dad and my brothers were out working around the ranch. I no longer remember how I embellished it, but I know wrapping paper and my poorly tied bows were a part of it. Mom and I made fried chicken and potato salad for our meal. How we kept it cold enough so as not to poison us, I do not know. I can’t imagine doing something like that today with all the warnings of salmonella.

It was a festive occasion as we arrived at the old rock school, the one my daddy helped to build. Ladies and girls were all dressed in their finest dresses and the men, all freshly groomed in their Sunday best. I remember the anticipation as we arraigned the box lunches on a long table to display them while the dancing began. The men would make a big show of inspecting them as if they were trying to decide which box they would bid on. I whispered to Bobby Brennen, a young boy in my class which one was mine when he asked. He and I stumbled around the dancefloor trying to copy the older ones once or twice, but mostly we just watched.

Daddy played in the band. He had no musical training but could play the piano and drums by ear. He would cord on the piano and had a natural rhythm and ear to play the drums. I was so proud as I watched him on the stage with the rest of the band. As the evening wore on, the anticipation built as it neared the hour, when the auctioneer would raise the first offering and the bidding would begin.

Gliding, swaying, twirling, and dipping, the dancers would go around the floor. Laughter filled the air as neighbors, reunited with neighbors. Occasionally, dad would take a break from the band to dance with mom or some of the other ladies. I loved to watch him as he would lead his partner around the floor. His steps never faltered, and it transformed him from the somewhat stooped, hard-working man to a ‘gentleman.’ He seemed taller and held himself straighter. He loved dancing and the ladies love dancing with him. Mom was a hesitant dancer, as she had one leg just a hair shorter than the other and it took her a few minutes to find the beat. I overheard daddy saying to her, “just relax Ruth, look at me and breathe.” Such a sight, my mom and dad, relaxed, laughing together and mom’s eyes sparkled as she gazed so lovingly into dad’s eyes, trusting him to move her around the floor.

Finally, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the bidding to begin. Don’t forget this is for charity, as well as a good meal and dinner with your favorite girl.” And raising up the first box, it began. I was getting increasingly nervous as one box after another left the table and got closer to mine. There were some rivalries, as a couple young men would get into a bidding war over some of the young ladies’ lunches. They were like the peacock spreading their tail feathers to show off to impress their heart’s desire. Mine was then in the auctioneer’s hand. What if nobody bids? What if nobody wants it? “What am I bid for this lovely offering?” I hold my breath, then a hand goes up with a bid. It’s my daddy, then Bobby and we have a bidding war, in my perception. Dad made him work for it but gave it to Bobby, telling him it was on the condition we’d sit with my parents.

Honestly, I don’t remember the sharing of the meal, but what stands out was the first dance after the lunch break. My dad stood up, turned to me, held out his hand, and with a slight bow, said. “May I please have this dance?” My heart about jumped out of my chest, I was being asked to dance by the best dancer there. Of course, I took his hand and he walked me out to the middle of the floor. After a couple of failed attempts on my part, daddy said, “step up on my feet” and I did. With a slight dip, he began to waltz me around the floor. Not the standing in one place swaying from side to side we see nowadays. No, my dad did the old-fashioned waltz, around and around the floor, we went. I was a princess, dancing with the king. Oh, what I’d give to be able to do it again.

Winter 1948/49

When I think of growing up, there are so many memories, summer evenings playing outside, red rover, red rover send Tuffy right over, hide and seek, fireflies, bright stars; star light star bright, I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight; pulling petals off daisies, saying he loves me, he loves me not; penny candy, coke in tiny wax bottles, candy cigarettes, blackjack gum, a sense of wonder, fresh laundry on the line, smelling like sunshine in the summer and freezing in the winter…. Like I said, so many little things but also a few big ones.

The biggest event of my childhood was when I started first grade (for the second time) in the fall of 1948. We had a 2 ½ mile walk to school, but at least it wasn’t straight up the side of a mountain. We attended a one-room school grades 1 – 8 with about 20 kids. There was a pond close to the school, and the boys got into a bit of trouble for playing in it during recesses before the weather got too cold. Now the weather is the big part of this story. It started out to be a nice day. We walked to school, mom and dad were going into Moorcroft for a supply of groceries and all seemed well when we left home. About mid-morning we noticed, out the window, a few big, fluffy flakes of snow.

By noon it had turned black, and snow was falling fast and furious. The huge, slow, snowflakes had become smaller, and the wind had picked up. The teacher let school out early so we could all get home. She asked my oldest brother, Joe, to make sure one girl in our class made it home, as she had no siblings. This would take us a few miles out of our way, but Joe, of course, agreed to do it. By the time we got to her house, we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. Her mom tried to get us to stay there, but Joe insisted we get going as mom and dad would not know where we were, and he didn’t want them to worry. Joe was in the 8th grade and ‘in charge’ Arnie was, I think, in the 6th and Ken in the 5th grades. Joe told us to hold hands. He, then me, Ken and Arnie. He took off his shirt and bundled me up with it. I could hardly see out. He told us to sing as loud as we could. While the wind was wailing, and snow was beating down on us. I frankly thought he was nuts, but we all sang, even when we were so tired, we wanted to not sing another note nor take another step. He kept prodding us on. He used the fence lines to keep his bearings. What we didn’t know is that on mom and dad’s way home from town the car had slid off the road and got stuck before they got home. They had had to walk to the house. After seeing mom home daddy set out to the school to make sure we made it home okay. He figured he would meet us on the way home but to his dismay, he got to the school without running into us and found the school empty. He backtracked widening his search a bit. He and mom told us he was on his third trip back to the house, having a cup of hot chocolate when he heard our dog Gravy barking. He told mom “The kids are coming,” He told us later, he stepped outside and couldn’t see or hear a thing except Gravy’s excited barking. Daddy followed the barking and Gravy brought him right to us. Dad heard us before he saw us because Joe was smart and kept us singing. That was the last day we went to school until May. I think it was the end of Oct. but not sure of the date. That storm lasted a couple of weeks before there was a break. Dad and Joe got the car out and the groceries home, but the car didn’t move again until spring after that.

It was a long winter as blizzards would go on for days. Dad was sometimes gone for a week at a time, and we didn’t know if he was okay or not. We were all cooped up in a tiny 2 room house with no plumbing. The outhouse sat out back and one chore was to keep the path shoveled out. Much of our water came from melting snow. By the time the storms quit, all we could see was the top of the barn. There was an area around the house where the wind swirled and kept that area open. We made a path to get up on top of the crusted snow. Only the very top of the barn and the house showed. We kept a path open to the barn to care for the lone horse we had. We didn’t have electricity, only kerosene lanterns and a wood stove for cooking and one for heating. I don’t know how we managed to have enough wood, but I have faint memories of possibly fence posts, barn wood, and wood from an older house being salvaged.

An airplane dropped our groceries, and our Christmas presents that year. We did not, however, get out of school. Mom sat aside a time each day where we studied. Dad had gone to the school after the first storm and got our books, so we had no excuse. Just think, I would have gotten to start the first grade for the third time if not for mom’s teaching. Joe also aced his 8th-grade tests to allow him to go on into high school the next year.

My childhood memories are probably most vivid during this time frame. I think it was because we spent so much time snowed in and for what seemed like forever, daddy would be gone, and we didn’t know what was happening with him. I learned later that there were many times it caught him and other cowboys out in storms while trying to keep the cattle safe. And at times he feared he’d not make it, but his horse always seemed to find his way back to the main ranch.

Since we couldn’t get to the store or order our groceries, we received commodities or supplies donated for all those who were snowed in. They would be dropped by plane, and we’d get them to the house by sled. We received and tested many new foods on the market. It was the first time any of us had seen powdered cocoa, margarine, and other assorted products, which I don’t really remember. The cocoa was awful, but we drank it. The oleo (margarine) kept us fascinated as it came in a square plastic cover, like a heavy plastic bag, it was white with an orange spot in the middle. It was the orange spot that gave it the color after much squeezing on our part. It was horrible and even the dog wouldn’t eat it.

Our nearest neighbor lived, I’m guessing, between two and 5 miles away from us. When weather permitted, we would ski over to her house to get fresh milk and eggs and other supplies she might have. I don’t remember the husband, but the woman of the house was a large lady, with a big laugh and very broken English. Her family was ‘displaced persons’ today they would be called refugees. They were from Estonia and fled Hitler’s reign. There were three or four families in our community, and all were grateful to be living in our free country. I know some of the children were in our school, but I don’t really remember them.

On one of our trips over in the spring, as the snow was melting, we went to get milk and eggs. Shortly after we got there, one of her calves got out, so mom, Ken, and I set about to help her get it back in the corral. It made its way out on the ice, on a little pond and mom went out to try to help herd it back. Both mom and the calf went through the ice and mom got soaked. Now, mom wasn’t a drinker, but the lady insisted she come into the house and sit beside the wood stove, which she filled full of wood to help dry mom out. She also handed mom a water glass full of wine. Mom tried to refuse but she kept insisting. She kept motioning for mom to drink it straight down, which she finally did. The combination of adrenaline, heat, and wine was very intoxicating for mom and by the time we left, mom was one happy drunk. She had a difficult time staying upright on the way home. She sang and giggled up a storm. It was probably the most relaxed she was all winter. For me, it was a fun time going home. Once we got there, I’m sure she slept for a while.

On May 14th, the county got the roads plowed within 5 miles of our place. I remember this because on the morning of May the 15th Arnie got up early to go use the outhouse. There was a patch of ice from the melted snow between the outhouse and our house. Arnie went sliding across it and fell. He came back in the house wailing, holding his head, and sounding like he was dying. Mom finally told him, “You’re not dead. Now shut up and let me look at your head.” As he was removing his hand from his head, he looked down and saw blood trickling out from under his pants leg. He pulled up his pants leg and he had split his knee wide open. You could see the knee cap. He never cried anymore; the kneecap fascinated him. He kept trying to get us all to look at it while mom was trying to get it cleaned up. Joe went to the barn to dig the horse out and hitched up to the wagon so they could take him to a neighbor’s house, to where the roads had been plowed the day before. From there, they took him in the neighbor’s car to Gillette, probably at least a 40-mile drive in a slow vehicle. I don’t remember how many stitches it took, but quite a few. It was funny how he screamed over a bumped head but was mesmerized by a kneecap showing through a cut.

We returned to school in the spring and the boys got in trouble for killing bull snakes and curling them up on the road to scare people. According to my daddy, you didn’t kill the bull snakes because they kept the rattlesnakes away. Also, Arnie once got a small snake and took it home. We had large jam tins as lunch boxes, and he put the snake in it on the way home one day. Of course, he didn’t just carry the bucket but swung it around and jostled it a good deal. When we got home, he put it on the counter and went out to do whatever it was that he and Ken did, usually get into more trouble. You could hear Mom scream forever when she opened that can, and that snake came hurtling out at her. I don’t know how she ever cleaned out the boys’ pants pocket to wash them as they were usually full of bugs, snails, and other treasures the boys would collect.

Joe was to be going into High School in the fall of 1949 and we moved closer to the little town of Rozet, Wy. This was to be our first house with electricity. Dad and Joe wired the house before we moved in. There were no fancy light fixtures, just bare bulbs in the plain light fixture in the ceilings. We were firmly told, not to leave a light on, when you leave a room turn the light off. We even had running water. There was a hand pump in the kitchen, so we didn’t have to haul water from the yard pump or from a stream. There was no indoor bathroom but the fanciest outhouse we had ever had. It was on a cement pad and nicely built, with no cracks in the wall so no snow blowing in, in the wintertime. Oh, the most important thing was I had a room all to myself. The boys all had to share a room. I felt so special with my room to put my own things and no boys allowed. I turned 8 years old that summer.


When I was in about the second or third grade, I considered myself a serious child. We had declamatory contests, and I would pick a serious piece to learn and perform. I’d study and study to learn all the words. I’d walk onto the stage with my most serious countenance and give it my all to a lukewarm reception. The next time we were to prepare, my teacher took me aside when I picked, once more, a serious piece. I don’t remember the reading, but it was supposed to be funny. I didn’t know how I was going to pull that off. After all, I was a serious child. But I took her advice and half-heartedly went about learning it.

The day came once more when I would get/have to walk on that stage, in front of family, friends, and students from all classes. It was going to be a disaster; I’d never be able to show my face again. I thought about faking illness, throwing up, running away, but I walked on stage. Quietly, I began until someone said they couldn’t hear me. Now it wasn’t bad enough I had to do a silly piece, but there I was, in front of God and everybody, having to begin again. So, I did what any serious young girl would do. I cleared my throat and gave it my all. Can you imagine my surprise, when I was only a few sentences in I heard somebody laugh, then others joined in? At first, it horrified me, they were laughing at me, then silly me, I realized that was what was supposed to happen if I was doing it right. That first laugh made me stand taller and give my best performance to date. The room was full of laughter and clapping. I floated off the stage with my future planned. I’d be an actress one day. The thrill of that response carried me off the stage and with my head in the clouds, I sat through all the rest of the students doing their best too.

By the time everyone was done, the wind had gone out of my sails. After all, it was the entire school. Thank goodness we were in a small school. When they handed out awards, I wasn’t paying attention. I’d won nothing before. Why should I expect to win something that time? I was telling myself the reaction was enough. They announced fourth place in my age group, third, second, and of course, I wasn’t there, so I knew my goose was cooked. Can you imagine my surprise when I heard, “For first prize, Gayle Moon?” I sat stunned. My mama had to nudge me to get me to go for my prize. I do not know what it was now, but probably a little ribbon. Of course, I got teased by my brothers, telling me they took pity on me after my failed attempts.

Funny thing though, I still considered myself a serious person, but I didn’t argue when my teacher asked me to learn the Nursery Rhyme, Peas Porridge Hot for a school play. I threw myself into that one. I could recite the whole piece frontwards and backward like the script was written. I was prepared and even looking forward to the night the play would be on the stage for all to see.

We don’t always get what we want. On the day of the play, a blizzard began early in the day. The school was let out, and we loaded onto busses. For the kids who lived close to town, it turned out not to be a problem. Also, for my brother Arnold, who went to a friend’s house close by instead of getting on the bus. The rest of us kids missed the play. And there I was with that silly rhyme stuck in my brain for years. It wasn’t long after that we moved to Gillette, and my stage career ended before it began.

As I look back on my long life, I realize I’m gifted with a sense of humor. There were some years that I failed to use it, as I let life overwhelm me. I’m thankful that I found humor again when I needed it most and it saved my life.

I can tell you tales of my insane marriage and you’ll laugh, not because it was funny, but because I can see how messed up the whole thing was and the part that I played. I’ve learned to laugh and not assign blame. In our lives, we all do the best we can, at the time we’re doing it. If we can learn the lessons, we don’t have to keep repeating that behavior repeatedly. We learn new ways to cope and move forward, not get stuck in the cycle, repeating the same story over and over, only with different people. Humor can free us to live our best life.

There are times I may use it to hide behind, but I realize it faster now and allow myself to walk through the pain I may be avoiding. Yet, there are times it is the ability to laugh that helps me work through and accept things.  

When the doctor told me I had severe stage emphysema, I was quiet for a while as my husband and I was driving around, trying to accept what we’d been told. It took some time before I started to talk. “You know, I’ve always wanted to go on tour as a stand-up comic. It looks like I might have some time if I’m not working, to do that. But I’ll have to go as a sit-down comic because I’m too tired to stand up.” My husband didn’t respond. “I’ve always liked the color blue, just not on my lips.” Silence. “Who’d a thunk it, oxygen tubing, the latest, greatest accessory.” That got a response. “It’s not funny, Gayle.” He doesn’t always appreciate my twisted humor. But sometimes in life if I can’t laugh, I’ll cry, and let me tell you folks there’s nothing worse than crying when you can’t breathe very well, to begin with. Laughter gets me to the place where I can survive the crying. Plus, it doesn’t give me a headache.

Commitment/2 ways

One of my favorite things, with writing, is freewriting to a prompt. A few years ago, a couple of my friends and I attempted to start a writing group. The idea was to take turns posting a prompt every day. The group was short-lived, as we failed to keep up with our commitment, and the group fizzled out. Ironically, the one and only prompt I remember us doing was on commitment. As I began writing, I began thinking about how many of our words mean completely different things. With that in mind, I committed to doing the assignment two ways. I offer to you now my treatment of the word commitment, done two ways from that time. I wrote them during the time I was struggling with writer’s block and stuck on how to move my novel forward.

Commitment 1.

Commitment is a word that can cause the strongest of men to tremble and many a good woman to run for their lives. It is our bond, pledge, agreement, contract and affirmation of fidelity, agreement to completing a job or project. It is the unit of dialog by which we measure our dedication to something or someone. 

As I sit here thinking of what commitment means to me, I find on one hand it is a simple thing for me to say I have no problem making a commitment. I am blessed to be in a great relationship with my guy and the thought of ever breaking that bond is unheard of. I am also as dedicated to my family, friends, and my spiritual beliefs. Yet I am totally confounded by my lack of commitment to myself and what I keep telling all who listen that I want to do, I want to write. At least that is what I’ve been saying for years. But do I? NO! I talk, talk, talk but for the commitment of treating it like my life’s passion, I ALLOW everything under the sun to come between me and my ‘passion.’ I am a lazy writer. I expect words to come easy and when they don’t. Well, I give up and go on to other ventures. I’m good at beginnings, but I seem to lose interest in things over the long haul. Possibly that is why I have so many ‘new’ hobbies I juggle all the time. Not only am I a wannabe writer, but I’m also a wannabe in painting, crafting, and oh so many creative outlets. 

I’m realizing that maybe I’m a faker, one who finds it easier to tell the world about my stories than to do the WORK to put words to paper, like this piece I’m writing here. I’ve known for over a week that I had dedicated myself to this deadline. But did I start a week ago to write? Heck no, I thought about what I wanted to say. I outlined lofty essays in my mind over and over, but to sit down and write? Nope, not me. I once again found other things to fill my time with. Oh, I have the best of excuses. You know, like housework, hobbies, keeping in contact with family, “I’m letting the thought percolate”, and napping. So here I am, at the last minute, throwing something together. 

So, from what I see, I am lacking in commitment to writing for whatever reason and I’m hoping that by associating with others who struggle with their muse I might find that spark again to either sit down at the keyboard each day and WRITE something no matter how inane it might be or pick up a pen and paper to begin there. 

I was reading an article in ‘The Writer’ the other day and something jumped off the page at me. It asked why we write, do we write because we must, because without writing we’re incomplete or for the hopes of the sale? I realize that something that blocks me is the fact every time I start n to write, my husband, in his attempt at being supportive, talks about how I could market it and I just shut down. I know they are doing it as encouragement, but I feel that what I love has become a job and right now I’m not looking for a job. Sure, I’d love to be published, but if I write with that in mind, I lose the freedom I feel when I’m just vomiting words on paper. That is something I need to work on, and the clock is ticking. 

Commitment 2:

We have chosen the word commitment for our first ‘assignment’ and considering it I find our English language interesting. Commitment, the word that means we give our all to whatever or whomever we are committing to, can mean something different when talking about mental illness. With mental illness, it can become a word most threatening. If a person is not in control of their illness with medication, therapy, or a combination of those, they place themselves at risk of their lives spinning out of control. This can lead to being picked up and placed on a police hold and put in a psychiatric hospital where it will be determined if they are a danger to themselves or others. They may have to appear before a Judge where they will have a ‘commitment hearing’ to see whether they will be ‘committed’ to a state mental hospital to undergo psychiatric care. Even though all of this is for the good of the individual, I have seen it also used as a threat to keep people in line.

There was a time in my life I voluntarily presented at State Hospital South and requested admission. It was during a difficult time in my life when I had 5 small children, one with multiple medical problems and a cheating husband who was also verbally and physically abusive. I was attempting to break away from him and his girlfriend to not only save myself but my children from the craziness. He kept trying to convince me I had said things I knew I hadn’t said and when I asked him to leave, he would ‘explain’ to me ad nauseam, how I could not survive without him over and over until I would agree with him just to get him to shut up, and I would shut down. It was during one of these ‘discussions’ that, while cutting a loaf of freshly baked bread, I lost it and threw a knife at him. As it whizzed by his nose, I knew at that moment I wouldn’t have been too upset if it had hit him and it scared me to death, how in my frustration, knowing if I tried to walk away, I would be punished. Instead of raging, which I expected, he patiently explained how crazy I was, and if I didn’t believe him, I should talk to his girlfriend. He left and went to get her. Now let me tell you if you question your mental stability in the first place, you feel convinced when you sit there while your husband and his girlfriend tell you all they perceive are your most nutty moments. I realized that no matter what I said and meant they could twist it to make it look like I was losing my mind, which in turn made me question myself and wonder if they weren’t right.

It was during this same time I was dealing with or child, who needed heart surgery for congenital heart defects and it was questionable if he would live to be 6. I was working with the Health Department regarding our son’s care, so I met with the Nurse we were working with and discussed what was happening with her. She had observed the difference in me when in his presence and when I was on my own. She had also seen the bruises when I “made” him lose his temper. She had talked to me about it and shared her concerns for my safety. She asked me if I felt crazy and I told her “No, but isn’t that what people who are ill will also say?” She assured me she didn’t feel I was, overwhelmed maybe, frustrated, and abused, but not crazy. She suggested I call their bluff, as it would give me a time out, I’d be in a safe place, get some rest, and maybe then I’d be more able to make some decisions. It was with her encouragement that I finally, in self-defense and to get away from them that I agreed. I would go to the mental hospital for an evaluation with the agreement if they didn’t deem me to be crazy, he would do the same.

I made the arrangements, got dressed in my best dress, and he drove me to Blackfoot. I presented at the admissions desk, and it took me four hours to talk my way in. Now I can think of better places to take a vacation, but for that week, I had no kids, no responsibilities, and an opportunity to see more clearly. I took their tests, put puzzles together, volunteered to work in the beauty shop on-site, and gained emotional strength. About the third or fourth day, I finally met with the Psychiatrist. I walked in tall and proud. He asks me why I was there, and I tell him about my philandering husband and all he has done. The doctor lets me go on for a while, then says “Oh, poor baby, does the little girl want me to make the terrible husband treat her nice?” Before I knew it, I was on my feet with both hands planted firmly in the middle of his desk, leaning toward him saying, “Listen here you son of a bitch, you asked me what’s wrong and I’m trying to tell you. If that’s not good enough for you, I don’t know what to say.” By then I realized I was standing, leaning across his desk, with both hands planted on the desktop, and abruptly sat down. He leaned back in his chair and clapped his hands, smiling. “I just wanted to know if there was any fight left in there. Now we can get some work done.”

We talked about my options, and that I wasn’t mentally ill, just worn out and beaten down. He asked if I would come back with my husband and meet with him on a weekly basis. I agreed, and he said he would call my husband to set it up. After meeting with me a couple more times, he told me I couldn’t hide out there anymore, it was time to take control of my life. They discharged me the next day. My husband came to pick me up and threw a tizzy fit when I wasn’t ready to go immediately. You see, I had made a commitment to work in the beauty shop that morning and I was in the middle of giving a lady a perm when he arrived. Instead of scurrying like a frightened mouse and dropping everything to not keep him waiting, I completed it before I packed my bag to leave. Talk about dragging your feet, I drug that perm out as long as I could, I really didn’t want to return to the real world but knew I had no choice.

Making that trip was one of the best decisions I made during that time of my life. I didn’t get out of the marriage right away, but I learned how to survive and set things in motion to do so. Of course, he never went for his evaluation, and the one marriage counseling session went so badly the doctor kicked him out of it. To my husband, that just meant that I had slept with the doctor, or he wouldn’t be ‘siding’ with me. Over the next couple of years, whenever he would feel I was ‘getting free,’ he would tell me how lucky I was that he didn’t have me committed when he had the chance. What he didn’t know is I got a call from the hospital to tell me that my stay there had shown that I was okay, overstressed, but not mentally ill. But between his interview when I was being admitted, his little tantrum when he came to pick me up, and the meeting we had with the Psychiatrist they made a diagnosis of him and recommended I take my kids and get as far away from him as possible. They felt he may feel the need to destroy me, emotionally and/or physically. They felt he was ill but would probably not ever be formally diagnosed. I could not move away, but I had gained some tools to survive him. I began to formulate a plan, bided my time, learned to laugh, and finally got a divorce. The girlfriend ended up marrying him and having 3 sons with him before she finally got out after 17 years. I didn’t do it all cleanly, in fact, my foray into alcohol was, in part running at him, still allowing him to control me, as he stalked me, while he was trying to keep his new wife happy.

It was only after I made the commitment to myself to live truer to me and my values, that I quit reacting to him, thinking one day he would admit to his abuse and apologize. In being true to me I could let that all go. No matter how many times he told me he should have just had me committed. I learn to smile and remembered what I’d been told after my discharge. Knowing it was his illness that drove him, sadly until the day that he died.  My revenge was learning to live my best life, committing to renew that vow daily so as not to repeat the patterns of the past. The insanity of our marriage wasn’t on one, but both of us. We both played a part, thankfully, I found a better way, sadly he didn’t and ended up drinking himself to death, never realizing he had a choice.

And that is some of my thoughts on two sides of the word commitment.

Right and Wrong

In our house, our parents drilled into us the difference between right and wrong. They taught us to always do what’s right, stand up for the little guy, and never, ever lie. Oh, there were many times we tested those rules, but God help us if they caught us in an outright lie. I would watch and listen to my brothers and see them get into trouble, then I’d work really hard not to emulate that behavior, believing I would never feel Daddy’s razor strap. Yes, I said it, razor strap only used to drive home a point that hadn’t seemed to be grasped. No, they did not beat us, but truth be told, my dad felt that for discipline, the book of knowledge should be firmly applied to the seat of learning. (Or something like that)

As I grew up, I was aware of the importance of right and wrong and had little patience for those I felt were not as honorable as I. Like most young people I believed I knew all the answers and I would judge people based on my narrow experiences. And since most of my youth, I lived on ranches, my ‘social network’ was very small. Sure, I had friends and we would get together at school and on the bus too and from. But we lived far enough apart that we couldn’t get off at each other’s house, go play then walk home. Our parents were not our taxis, as they were busy working to take care of us and we all had chores to do at home.

We moved into town when I was mid-way through the 4th grade, and I experienced culture shock. I believe my brothers found their footing much faster than I. I was a tomboy and didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Making new friends wasn’t easy and I seemed to be included in the vagabond group of misfits. It shocked me at how differently we lived despite similar circumstances. We were poor, but always neat and clean. My clothes may have been hand-me-downs, but mom always made sure that we never left the house in tattered, dirty clothes. I went to one of my new friends’ houses to play and the mess and condition of the home were shocking. I found out that her brother was a drunk, she and her mom were afraid of him, and her dad had deserted them. It scared the holy heck out of me.  She had always been telling me of her wonderful life, and it was far from it. I remained friends with her, but I never went back. I didn’t feel it would be right to desert her like it seemed everyone else did, but I was smart enough to not be caught there if her brother came home. It was all so foreign to me. I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what to do. I never told my parents either. I know now that was wrong.

It was my belief that the world was black or white, right or wrong that would cause me problems, angst, and consternation as I grew older. Learning that people could look you in the eye and lie without blinking was a shock to me and I had trouble recognizing when it happened. We were four naïve children that moved into Gillette, Wyoming but not so much when a few years later my brothers all went into the military, and I, with my parents moved back to a ranch just out of Ucross, Wyoming, a wide spot in the road with a two-room school, two service stations, one which served as the post office, a café, and grocery store. Ucross was where the highway split off. One way led to Buffalo and the other to Sheridan.

We moved there the spring after I got out of the 7th grade. My brother Ken was going into his senior year, and he had a job, so he stayed with friends until Christmas. There I was, all on my own, no brothers to hide behind or harass me. I saw myself as more mature than the silly youth I knew. That was the lie I told myself, anyway. The truth was it scared me to death meeting once more new friends. I attended a group, I think 4H, so I could meet some kids I’d be going to school with. I remember I was wearing sandals and one boy un-hooked the strap with his foot. Did I know he might flirt? Heck no, I just thought he was being stupid and did not react well to his joke. Not a good way to make new friends.

It was during this time that I realized that despite teaching us about truths my parents didn’t always live what they preached. My dad was a provider, whatever it took except stealing. He was a hunter, and our prime meat was venison. Which wasn’t that wrong, but what was in my eyes was the fact that I realized he was a poacher, In Gillette the game warden even warned him he knew and would catch him, but he never did, and despite knowing that our freezer was full as were our stomachs. My dad’s philosophy was, “I hunt only to feed my family. During hunting season, you must deal with all the idiots that come looking only for the rack and trophy, leaving the meat to rot where shot.” He also mentioned the hunting accidents that took place during hunting season as his rationale for hunting out of season. One evening, I was in trouble for something. I don’t even remember what, when I hit him with the low blow. “You’re always telling me I have to live by the rules, abide by the laws and always tell the truth. Yet you go out and kill deer out of season all the time. Why do I have to if you don’t?” I’ll never forget the look on his face. It haunts me still, and he never shot another deer. A year later, I was begging him to. We were not on the ranch that year, did not get the yearly beef that came with the job and all that was in our freezer was ice and an old mutton leg, that stunk so bad when mom cooked and cooked it, trying to get it tender enough to eat. It was the greasiest, nastiest thing I’d ever eaten before or since.

Over the years, it has forced me to eat my righteousness and judgments. I’ve learned that it isn’t always black and white, right, and wrong, but shades of gray. Is it wrong to lie? Yes, but the question might be, why do we? Some I know, lie because they don’t seem to know the truth. Others feel it’s for the best only to find life would have been simpler had they only told the truth. The problem with a lie is you must remember who you told what to and what version. Are all people who lie bad? I’ve learned that we are not.

I am a storyteller, prone to exaggerations. Is that lying? I know I try to temper myself when I’m not telling a tale, but an experience. There’s that fine line again. What I have found, that is most important to me, is not if I were to lie to you, but that I lie to myself. That is the marker for me. Over the years, I learned to tell those lies to be deceitful to myself and others. I lived for about seven years in conflict with all that I believed and lived a lifestyle so against my beliefs, all the while lying to myself, that I didn’t care. It was as I was walking out of that darkness that I learned that I had to be true to myself first because without that I couldn’t be truthful with you. My goal nowadays is to do what is right and if I don’t, rectify it, learn and grow.

I Am Amazed

As I look back over my life and times, I am amazed at the journey. I’m not a well-traveled person, nor one with much higher education. Yet I believe I am highly educated on life and all of its lessons. Not bad for a first-grade dropout. That was a stutter stop in the world of learning. Though in my defense, that hill was high to climb to get to the one-room schoolhouse, winter weather in Wyoming is treacherous and my brother tired of carrying me when I’d sit down and refuse to take one more step. Not to mention I may have gotten sick once too often and after all, I was barely six when I started for the first time. Yet I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like to learn new things. Maybe just not in classrooms.

As a little girl growing up in Wyoming, I believed I’d marry a rancher or ranch hand, live in the country, and raise my children where my job would be a wife and a mother. That is what I believed my parents had groomed me to be. I had no desire to go on to college. I only wanted to complete high school and settle down with a loving spouse. Yet life had other ideas. A series of circumstances made school attendance impossible much of the time. So, this awkward feeling young lady felt even more outside the candy store looking in, as I watched my friends and classmates enjoying/hating all that goes with being an active teenager in high school. Often, I soothed my frustration by telling myself it was all silly stuff, anyway. And as I was looking for a place to fit in, I accepted the first offer of marriage and planned to finish my high school by correspondence course. Did I marry a ranch hand, staying close to home? Of course not. I married a Seismograph crew worker who moved with his company every few months. This naïve young 17-year-old began her life of ‘let’s pretend’ as I faked my way into wifehood and adulthood. Looking back, I feel bad for my first husband and his childbride. Back then, it didn’t seem all that unusual. In today’s world, there would be much talk about a 28-year-old man marrying a 17-year-old girl. But in our defense, I believe we were more mature back then as we, anyway I, grew up thinking, and doing. Playing with others was much more difficult for me as I perceived myself as too mature for that. Of course, this marriage was doomed from the beginning. Books were my salvation and my sanity. I was ill-prepared to fill my days without friends my age, hesitant to step out of my comfort zone, so, since I wasn’t happy to be the wife, I knew what I must do. Have a baby.

There we have it folks, the beginning of my search, to find the thing, the person, the this or that that would make me feel inside like everyone else looked on the outside. On this, I was a slow learner. It took another failed marriage, four more children, and a swan dive into addiction for me to realize that there wasn’t anything out there that could do it for me. Many times, over the years I would begin to write, to explore my feelings or build other worlds, only to tear it all up for fear someone would see it and make fun of me for even trying. Ironically it was giving birth to a child with serious birth defects and my use of alcohol that led me to find my voice, to speak up, for my child, and speak out so as not to return to the doormat station in life.

Recovery helped me learn to balance without losing my voice, to honor that frightened girl who grabbed at the first things that came close, like a drowning person trying to keep her head above water. And that is all a part of education. Every choice we make over the years is an opportunity to learn. It’s our job to learn and if we don’t, we’ll continue the downward spiral only getting worse and more lost.  Once I found some footing in the middle of the quicksand of life, instead of recriminations I found hope, I began to take risks to grow that little flame that had begun to flicker in me, to lose my fear of exposure, that I’d be found a fake and a fraud, hiding behind a mask that hid my true self and worth. I didn’t have to fear that when I was no longer wearing the mask. Life is not a masquerade ball, yet many of us live it that way. Afraid if you got to really know me, you wouldn’t like me.

Ironically in my version of my life I’ve been the outsider, living on the fringe, someone no one noticed, quiet and unobtrusive, yet I find people do remember me, not just short term but over the long haul, see what I cheated myself out of? Thank God those days are long gone. I remember a workshop I attended with educators. For anyone who’d ever attended them you know, we’re assigned tasks, broken into groups and assignments. I was at a table of school Principles, as well as teachers. I don’t remember what the task was, but I shared with them that at times I felt like a phony and would wonder what they would say if they knew I was a high school dropout, who didn’t complete her GED until her late 20s, as a single mom of five children. They sat in silence for what seemed like forever but were seconds when one of the principals spoke up. “I find it interesting that you are afraid we would think any less of you after you are the one, we’ve turned to all throughout this exercise. It doesn’t matter how you are educated it’s your knowledge that has impressed us.”

I once read that life is like a tapestry, we’re underneath with all the knots, but God is looking down at the whole picture. As I look back over my life, I can now see something besides the knots, I look back and see the beauty the picture of my life has painted, all the shades and nuances that go into a long life well-lived. I’m happy to see there are more bright colors than dark ones. It is a tapestry that is yet to be finished and I hope to bring it to an end with the most bright and beautiful colors ever. I look back at all that’s unfolded and the one constant throughout the years is my love of books and the written word. How when they are strung together in certain ways, they can bring us to tears, laughter, take our breath away, and soothe our souls. Until the day I die, I pray that my love affair with words will never waver, whether they are ones living in me waiting to be poured out or ones that I inhale written by others. When I look back at the story of my l life, I am amazed at the meandering road I’ve been on to bring me to this point and the richness of it. I wonder, which path shall I choose next?

Starting Over

I sit here, fingers poised, waiting for those first words to open the floodgates of thoughts. The thoughts that I’ve been wanting to share with you all. So much has happened since I first began. I wrote earlier about hubby’s health problems and the rollercoaster we’d been on since October 15th, 2021, when my book was published, and Jim had his life-threatening health scare. There came the time I needed to make him and his recovery a priority, so I let go of my blog and most book-related tasks.

I’m happy to report that in the last three weeks he has done a turnaround and is no longer in need of my hyper-vigilance. He is once more self-sufficient, able to drive, and walking tall. I am now readjusting and letting go, relieved to have my helpmate back with me. I must confess, sometimes I doubted this day would come, but we put on foot in front of the other believing that we could make it. That is a philosophy I live by. I only must do this step, then the next will follow. That keeps me focused and able to attend to the task at hand and not worry about the unknown.

I just realized I am also writing this on the anniversary of the day I first heard those frightening words regarding my health, severe stage emphysema. Another time when there was a dramatic shift in my life as I knew it. We were both in shock and, frankly; I thought I might have three or four years left. So, I decided I’d do the best I could to prolong them and make them the best years I could. Here I am 22 years later and oh my goodness, the things I’ve been able to do. The biggest is, of course, publishing a book at 80. Not bad for someone who thought they had a death sentence.  

How have I done it? Frankly, I’m not sure, except I took it one step at a time. I decided I’m living with this disease, not dying of it. I began taking better care of myself, quit pushing so hard to do some things, i.e., a job, and harder to do things that brought me joy, peace and allowed me time to rest on my schedule. Oh, I took some time to lick my wounds, have a pity party, and shed a tear or two. I allowed myself some time for my body and spirit to heal and work through the grief that comes with any lifestyle change. To honor it and with that, I could accept that I had to be proactive in my health, not sit and wait for death to call me home.

One of the first things I did was to get a computer and look for writing sites. And the rest is history as I quit talking about writing and began exploring it. I also have taken on many new hobbies and challenges along the way.

I believe each day we can begin again. Each morning I wake up, I have the choice to waste the opportunity or seize the day. Some days I seize the moment, which leads to the hour on and on until the day is done. There are days that fly by so fast I’m not sure what I accomplished, but I know I was busy the whole day through and felt proud at the end. Other days, I may feel like I’m swimming in molasses and accomplish very little. That’s when I must watch the negative self-talk. To do that, I ask myself what I would tell someone else under the circumstances, then apply that same compassion to myself.

So, I will not waste time feeling bad that I’ve neglected this, my latest project. The blog that I had much angst about starting in the first place, but as I walked through the fear, realized I liked it. There was a time I would have sabotaged it, rather than admit I was apprehensive about taking on something new. In fact, when I was struggling with the time and energy to spend time here with you all, I questioned whether I might have been doing that. But the reality was when I had those moments when I thought I might get to it, I was so exhausted that I would fall asleep. So, I honored what my body was telling me and rest when I could as my goal was to get to the other side without crashing and burning. Here I am, a little battered and bruised but still standing, and after taking a few days to rest, I am once again ready to start over. I hope those who have subscribed will continue to follow and give it another chance, plus tell your friends and neighbors. I know if I want you to follow me, I now need to follow through. New beginnings are very exciting, don’t you think?

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