Monday, May 25, 2015

Four out of five's not bad

Spring blahs derailed me, snatched my pen, usurped my desire to write. I was so busy with school stuff in May, I seldom turned on the computer to write, check emails, peruse Facebook, read and reply to blogs. I did it all from my Iphone. But now, I'm baccccck and raring to go. I have 19 school days left. Then I will be writing more.

Four acceptances in five months is actually okay by me. I write this not to boast, but to assure you that good things come to those who wait. I submitted two of those stories in January.

Nice to receive an email stating, "Bethany House has approved your story, The Final Goodbye, for inclusion in our (Christian themed) anthology Supernatural Stories 2."

 I submitted it and forgot about it. That's really what you have to do when you freelance—forget about it—or you will worry yourself silly wondering if, and why or why not. 

Sasee Magazine will publish my humorous essay, When My Bosom Hit the Big Time in the June edition. The editor wrote to tell me, "Your story made my publisher laugh out loud." That remark made me giddy.

On The Tip of My Tongue is a humorous personal essay about memory loss. As I was about to introduce two people at an event, I forgot their names; one was my husband. The editor said, "Head's up, the publisher loved your story; they (not I) will make final determination as to what will be included in my anthology. But it looks like a yes."
Discouragement and negative self speak are a freelance writer's kiss of death. Don't pucker up! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oops he did it again!

I have so much to tell you, but will start with my oldest grandson's accomplishment. Austin graduated high school on Thursday evening. He came into this world almost two months too soon and spent time in the hospital's NICU. We worried about him then and especially during those
angst-filled teen years. He's come a long way. He's bright, talented, and a body builder with great biceps. But I embarrass him when I say that. I have such happy memories of him when he was three years old singing Oops I Did it Again. Well he's really done it this time!
Over the years Austin has made me very proud. He was offered full time employment at his after school job at a home supply center, with benefits after 90 days. He plans to go to college in the fall. His lofty long-term goal is to become a counselor. He can and will do anything he sets his mind to. That's my guy! 
I wouldn't sit in the bleachers on a football field for three hours for just anyone. The day was warm and sunny when we arrived, but by 10:00 p.m. it was cold and breezy and I'd had enough of the surrounding entertainment. Not just the band and choir presentations with poor sound systems, but the two rambunctious kids behind me bumping me all night as they climbed in and out numerous times. The overly-friendly 80 year old guy directly in front of us from Jersey City, New Jersey turned around and in his "Joisy" accent asked if we wanted to hear a joke. Never smile when someone asks you that. He was on a stand up comedian roll all evening. His jokes, like those bleachers, left a lot to be desired. 

I pray everyday that Austin will have a happy, healthy and successful life, and I ask his guardian angel to fly as fast as he drives, and to stay with him in all situations, to smack him upside his noggin if need be. CHOICES...that's what life is all about.

The world is yours, Austin. Now go forth and make wise choices and a good name for yourself!

Next time I'll tell you about my surprise party. I was STUNNED, not surprised, by what happened  at my preschool end-of-year Spring Sing. Thank you, my friends, for sticking by me and reading my blog. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Growing like weeds

Look directly behind Nicole's head. See that artificial long stemmed flower? It was a gift for Mother's Day. It has a solar powered glass globe that lights up at night with rotating multi colors. I love it, and I love these kiddos.
I cannot believe that Nicholas (13) and Nicole (7) have grown so big. He is taller than I am and so filled with goodness and compassion. I know he is going to make a difference in this world.

Nick loves football but has recently gotten into lacrosse and loves it. He has always been an active child, a mover with good mastery over his body. He met a teammate who he is smitten with. Her name is Sarah and, as we sat on those chairs on the front porch there, he said, "Nana, she's just like me, and we think alike and most of all she is a NICE girl, not at all like those girls who, ummm, well you know the girls who are more interested... well you know, she's a good Christian girl from a nice family and Dad let me go to her house to watch a movie. You want to see her picture?"

"Sure. Well my goodness, Nicholas, you think alike and you even look alike. Maybe that's the attraction."

He laughed at me and said, "Na-Na!"

Nicole loves to sing and dance, everything, everywhere, all the time. She is dramatic. She came right in the house, went to the kids' room and grabbed a big rubber baby doll with jointed arms and legs that is about 45 years old. It drives her parents crazy when she carries it on her hip. (Why do you like THAT doll!) And her brother has nightmares over it, but I love that she still wants to play babies. When Nick left the front porch to go around back to the patio where his parents and Bill were, Nicole sat on a chair on the porch and told me her hopes and dreams. She wants to have eight babies, four girls and four boys. Of course one will be named after me.

Their school year is coming to a close. Mine won't conclude for a few more weeks, but we are going to have FUN this summer!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sometimes I have to shake my head

We attended Bill's brother's funeral on Saturday. It was a sad occasion, but Bill vowed to stay strong, and he put up a good front until the very end when he was asked to be a pall bearer. He had to place a rose on top the casket as it was placed into the hearse. He shed a tear, tried to choke it back. I wrapped my arms around him and he released a sob, then did his best to recover, chastising himself for being emotional. Breaks my heart that guys aren't to "feel."
I cried a lot Saturday, and so on Sunday before my son and his family arrived on Mother's Day, I definitely needed foundation makeup under my eyes. I stood in the bathroom, looking in the mirror at my pathetic image. I dabbed the make-up sponge into the pot of makeup, then I swiped it gently under my eyes. The first swipe didn't do the trick, so I dabbed again. And again. And again. And again. I thought, Gee I must have cried a lot! It's not even concealing my white bags.
After a fifth swipe I looked into the palm of my hand and noted that I had been swiping the lid!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Stand by me

Life sometimes gets in the way, and I am convinced it is the way we approach difficulty that matters. I am thrilled with the summer-like temperatures in the mid 80s we have been experiencing all week. Truly a gift from God to me. I need warmth and sunshine to fuel my creative side. I am back to writing after a serious lapse.

We have had some upheaval in our family, and therefore, my writing submission calendar has suffered, and I have neglected my blog. Thanks to those of you who visited and have stuck with me.

My granddaughter, Liam's mommy, and her husband sold their house almost immediately and found a home they wanted. They drew up a contract, and at the last minute, the seller inflated the price 10K. Seems they did this to a former prospective buyer, too. The realtor suggested the owners didn't really want to sell. Ashley and her husband were crushed. Then they found their dream home. Hubby and I went to see it. We could imagine baby Liam being raised on those wonderful five acres of land, in a gorgeous house, in a safe community. They made an acceptable offer, and upped the closing date a week so the couple purchasing their home could get in as soon as they moved out.

And then she received a phone call ten days before they were to close. The house was an inheritance held by three siblings. The contract had one condition: a replacement roof, per the inspector. Shouldn't be a problem said the realtor. Then came the call. One of the siblings was holding out. He does not want to replace the roof and thinks the insurance company should cover it. Seems they dropped the insurance coverage when the mother passed away and the house became vacant. The brother wants to take the house off the market, invest 20K in a new roof and pass the cost on to the buyer when they relist.

Another deal fell through, and my poor baby girl called me ready for a nervous breakdown. "Nana, we are going to be homeless by next Friday. How could they do this to us with a baby and two pets? What are we going to do?"

They are actively searching this weekend with their realtor, and if they must, they will move in with my daughter temporarily, as she already has a nursery for Liam and a guest room.

The realities of life hit Nana's 26 year old girl hard, and I worried about her. I know that things will work out. It will take many years for her to realize that life is filled with stumbling blocks, and it is the way we handle them that brings a better outcome. Only she can decide the right approach: stop at the roadblock, or proceed with caution? Jump the hurdle and act impulsively? Or sit quietly and pray for guidance? Try to make it happen or allow it to happen? Thy will be done. It is hard to let go and let God...

Bill's brother died suddenly from a heart attack, and the weekend funeral conflicts with an event I had tickets for. That is a minor bump in my life, but my sister-in-law is dealing with a major crisis. Her name is Barb, and she could use prayers for strength and comfort.

Bill received news after his last chest X-ray that he still has a bit of residual pneumonia in one lung, so we are making a conscious effort to avoid smokers and coughers. Life has been a little rocky. But we will navigate and get through all of this.

I am thankful for your visits, and I promise a more positive post next time, maybe even humorous.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Put a little bling in it

It's not written in any rule that I have to wear a uniform to school, but I do try to dress casual and comfortable. Who says I can't wear a sparkly blouse to preschool that harkens more to evening wear?

This morning I searched my cram-packed closet because I never have anything to wear. You know how that is. I opened the sliding door from the other end and yanked the first thing. I smiled. I liked it. I hadn't seen it in a year. I've worn this top maybe three times. I have deemed it inappropriate for work and rarely go anyplace fancy-schmancy, so it was relegated to the rear of the closet.

My little charges will ooh and ahh when they see me this morning wearing my deep pink blouse, lightly adorned with clear sequins.

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and sparkle it up a bit. Open your closet from the back side, write a story that resonates, put a little bling in your own swing. Self-imposed rules are made to be broken.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What a sight to behold

Having spent a week in the tropics, it was difficult to return and adjust to the cooler and wetter spring weather. The days have been gloomy and gray. About a month ago, Bill planted a small red bud tree. It is his baby. I caught him outside sweet talking it, and I swear the next day it bloomed with little pinkish purple buds, then a few days later there were tiny green leaves. Yeah, I really do know how it works, but I like to think a little sweet talk helped.

Across the street from our home is a five acre truck farm. The two gentlemen farmers have lived there all of their lives. They used to open the 4'X8' wooden lids on their in-ground flower boxes, revealing a field of pansies. Then they would work sunrise until sunset planting their fields with tomatoes and other vegetables. We heard car horns constantly as passersby waved at the farmers. 

Now the gentlemen are elderly and frail. We don't see them outside anymore. It is extremely quiet in our neighborhood. Their cousins come to mow the fallow fields. It is a sad sight, a sign of an impending end. That is why we rejoiced so much when the little red bud burst forth with new life.

We took a walk last evening. The cold air penetrated our thin jackets. I was feeling all melancholy about beginnings and endings. Especially ends. It was at a low point as we walked down the block that I received a glimmer of hope.

The tree in a neighbor's yard with its brand new growth made me think of what's to come. I wish I had a lush tree like this in our yard so I could park myself under it and read a book. Our little red bud will provide shade for another family when we are gone. 

These were my depressing thoughts when suddenly, an ominous black cloud  back lit the neighbor's tree. Impossible, because the sun was setting in the farmer's field across the street.  I'm sure there is some meterologic explanation, but to me it was a gift. And so I raised my eyes and said, "Thank You."