May I please go to the bathroom?

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When I was a child, doing dishes was the worst form of torture I could ever imagine.  We didn’t have a dishwasher so dishes were all done by hand and we all took turns washing and drying to make the arduous chore seem more fair.  But it was my least favorite thing to do.  I would have much preferred vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, dry-walling, rotating and balancing tires or removing my own spleen….anything but washing those bloody dishes.

I don’t recall if the genius idea came to me in a dream or if I had a sudden flash of brilliance after one particular dinner but, once the meal had been consumed, I asked if I could go to go to the bathroom.  No parent can effectually deny a child the right to heed the call of nature, so off I went.

Once that bathroom door had closed and I had engaged the lock, I became a teenage version of a forensic pathologist.  I carefully opened each cupboard and slowly examined and took stock of its contents.   In essence, I took so much time doing absolutely nothing that by the time I unlocked the door and went back to the kitchen, the dishes were done and nobody had seemed to notice the length of my absence.  The plan was brilliant….until eventually my brother caught on to my shrewd strategy.

After his realization of my great scheme, my trips to the bathroom after dinner were much less regular (pun intended).  The guy that I looked up to, that I thought would battle to the death for me, had thrown me under the bus.  I could only try to tune out the sound of his laughter as he closed the bathroom door before I even got close to that portal of escape that would separate me from the dishes.  Perhaps I should have changed my strategy and just gone to the bathroom right in my chair.  That surely would have resulted in a swift and heady dismissal from the dinner table and a one-way ticket straight to my room!

As fate would have it, I don’t hate doing the dishes anymore.  I learned a very valuable lesson about cleaning as I cook so the pile of dishes at the end of the process is not larger than the house itself.  It is a rare day you will find dirty dishes in a pile in or near my sink but rest assured, they don’t stay there for long.

You never know where help will come from

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In a random phone conversation at work yesterday, I was talking to a guest who was re-booking her summer vacation.  In the process of that exchange, we began to talk about the book that I have written.  It seemed like just a simple trade of information until she called me back half an hour later and said she had some information about publishers.

When one is a fledgling author, the mere mention of any connection to a publisher is exhilarating.  As I frantically wrote down the information she was giving me, I could feel my heart beating at an accelerated rate.  I was writing with one hand, Googling with the other and trying to retain all of the information from each place.

She had given me the name of a recently published author who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Her friend assured her that he was a really nice fellow willing to help out where he could.  With my tenacious Google-searching skills, I had tracked down his email in no time and sent him a query.  Much to my delight, he answered within a few hours.

Although he may not be the direct link I need to have into the publishing world, as a newly published author he could be a wealth of information for me at this stage of my writing career and he seems to be very engaged in helping others that are going through the phases of being a writer that he has already experienced.

I have since sent my first four chapters to the publishing company that previously took a chance on the Winnipeg writer and will wait with crossed fingers to see if I get a response.   If nothing else, I have a published author willing to send me snippets of much-needed advice and that, in itself, is priceless.

 

Soup for the soul

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There is something comforting about being safely tucked inside on a snowy winter’s day.  What makes it even better is having homemade soups simmering on the stove and having the house smell like home.  It is a nesting feeling for me being in my kitchen and having the aromas of what I chose to create permeate my house.

I love to cook and I absolutely love to make soup.  My dream would be to have a restaurant that focuses on soup and fresh-baked biscuits and goodies, allowing me to get back into baking and making wedding cakes again.  I also love to play Scrabble and I thought if I ever was able to own a restaurant, each table would have a Scrabble board and I would call my restaurant “Alphabet Soup”.

This weekend, I have been creating big pots of soup to portion out for meals and keep in my freezer, as well as give some to my brother and sister-in-law for their lunches.  Some soups are staples and the recipe is followed to the letter.  Others are made on a whim whenever I feel the need to pair flavors and see if it works.  These were the flavors this past weekend:

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  • Cream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry
  • Cauliflower, Pear and Blue Cheese
  • Broccoli, Peach and Brie

I keep holding the dream of having my own restaurant close to my heart.  Every dream needs a time and a place to come to fruition.  Perhaps now is not the time and maybe this is not the place, but I continue to hold onto my dream in the hope that it may become a reality.  Soup maker by day, writer by night.  What could be better?

 

Luck be a Lady

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“You can knock on a lot of doors, but real luck is knocking on the right door, at the right time, and having someone on the other side willing to open it.” ~ SN

~~

I am not as patient as Job, but I am willing to endure some obstacles along the path to my goals.  That willingness has served me well in many aspects of my life.  Considering the initial idea for my first novel was conceived almost a decade ago, I am proud of myself for seeing it through and writing it in its entirety.

Now comes the true test of my patience – trying to find an agent who thinks my story has enough merit for a publisher to be interested in adding me to their repertoire.

I have mentally prepared myself with the knowledge that this is going to be a long process.  It may take years to find an agent, if I do find one, and it will take a few more years beyond that for my book to be published.  It is a painstaking process that will require every ounce of faith I have in the fact that my book (or books) will, one day, be on a book shelf.

Between knocking on the intangible doors of those prospective agents (by means of email or website submissions), I have begun work on a second novel.  Success isn’t always about luck.  It’s also about tenacity and the willingness to put in the work.  Thankfully, I have my fair share of both of those qualities, not just in my writing but in my life in general.

If something is worth working for and putting forth the effort, I am willing to fall back on my patience to see where my journey takes me.  Sure, it would be nice to have some luck on my side to open the right doors at the right times, but Lady Luck is a fickle creature and she does what she wants, when she wants.  I can’t spend my life depending on that luck, so I am hoping to create some of my own by keeping my tenacity at the forefront of my game.   This way I know, if Luck isn’t going to be that Lady, I at least have a back-up plan.

 

 

 

A Petri dish of hope

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If only we could create a pandemic,

one born of kindness,

grown with empathy

and fed and nourished with humanity.

One cell created with compassion,

a single nucleus of mercy,

could multiply and grow exponentially

changing the face of reality.

But, intermittently,

our Petri dishes have become saturated with darkness,

and the capricious points of light

are crushed under the weight of malignancy.

We must inseminate an embryo of hope into humanity

to give rebirth to decency,

to raise awareness,

to feel confident we have done enough

so we may send benevolence into the world.

Our job is to defend that child of hope,

to stand up for everything good

in a world that is turning on itself.

 Our role as scientists in this laboratory of life

is to keep trying until we succeed,

to never give up hope,

to be ready to alter the science until it works

and to have faith in the results.

 The darkness still threatens

and its critical impact on our study of life

leaves evident reminders of our trepidation.

But we must seek that light,

that place where goodness thrives

and wishes to blossom.

 We must put our faith in the research

of those who have studied kindness before us

and trust that science will prevail,

that the light will quell the darkness

and the child we created

from kindheartedness and charity

will, one day,

make that darkness

withdraw

in

defeat.

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I am me for a reason

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I am a very different person from the young girl I was many years ago.  Some people have the good fortune of knowing who they are from an early age but I was not one of those people.  I lived a life I thought I wanted but I had not been honest with myself.  The path I was following was carved by what others needed from me but not from what I needed for myself.  It wasn’t until many years later that I gave myself permission to be me.

As I shifted through the years, the things I used to tolerate have become intolerable.  Where once I held my tongue, my voice is now louder than ever and I feel confident in my opinion.  I now value my voice and am no longer willing to remain silent.  This part of me always existed but never had the courage to be present.  This strength of character finally gave itself permission to exist and defined the person I always knew I was meant to be.

I recently saw a meme on Facebook and that innocuous comment turned into this blog post.  Life changes.  Sometimes we stick to the original plan, but sometimes we realize that the path we were meant to follow went in a different direction and it just took us a while to catch up.

I spent many years catching up to the person I am today and I am very happy with who I have become.  I have finally embraced the change in myself and recognized it as a strength and not a weakness.  Of all of the dreams I had for myself as a teenager, I could not be more proud of the person I am now and can only hope I have the courage to continue to live by the beliefs that I currently have.   Now, more than ever, I believe I am me for a reason.

 

 

 

Old words with the same message

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I am doing something I don’t usually do by copying and pasting a post I wrote back in February of this year.  The words I wrote then have a hauntingly familiar refrain and I want to share them again because I think they should be read.

 

“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go.” ~ J.C. Watts

~~

I was born a “fixer” and, until a few years ago, I had spent a great deal of my time taking on other people’s burdens as my own.  But something shifted in the paradigm of my reality when I got divorced in 2012.  I realized I was spending too much of my time trying to change a life that was not mine to change.  I was hanging on to problems that irrevocably had impact on my life but I had no power to solve.  I needed to let go.  But I was so stuck in the pattern of my life that I didn’t know how to let go.  I wanted so desperately for things to work out in my life that I honestly thought that this was the syllabus of my future.

It takes a monumental amount of courage to walk away from a relationship that you have put your heart and soul into, but a relationship has to give you what you need for it to be successful.  By its very definition, a relationship is a form of communication.  Wants and needs are expressed and, in a healthy relationship, are reciprocated without condition.  Such was not the case for me and I knew it.  I felt it deep within myself but it took me a long time to admit it because to do that would have made me feel like I had failed.  But I had only failed myself by not seeing the signs sooner and listening to that nagging inner voice.

I finally found the nerve to put my needs first and, in finally letting go, I gave myself permission to define myself according to my needs and not the needs of anyone else.  The strength to hang on was easy, it was my comfort zone, but finding the strength to let go made me feel eviscerated, vulnerable, and it was not something I was accustomed to.

I wanted to write this post because I have friends now in the situation in which I found myself years ago.  I want them to know that letting go is not always the easy choice, but it may be the right choice, for them.   It may be hard to listen to that petulant voice in your head, but that voice is the most sincerely honest advice you will ever get.

let it go

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Don’t give up easily.  If it is worth the fight, than fight, fight like your life depends on it.  But if you know in your heart that nothing will ever change, let go, let go like your life depends on it.