All posts filed under: Challenges

Kelham Vineyards

When I Get Old, I Hope To Look Back On My Life And…

When I get old, I hope to listen to the steady creak of the rocking chair beside me and know that you are still by my side on our front porch. I hope to look over and not only see the aged man you’ve become whose every wrinkle reflects my own, but also relive the stories each line on our skin has told. As I reach out my trembling hand for yours like I have done so many times since we met as young college kids, I hope it reminds you of all the times your hand in mine made a world of difference in our relationship. I hope we recall as we sit and rock during days of no demands and no schedules, all the obstacles we faced and more importantly all those we surpassed to reach this day. I hope we remember where we started, our trips through stores we could only dream of shopping in as a young couple just getting started on life’s journey, creating our wish list of items we would one …

Statement: Bank Account Low. Immediate Deposit Necessary.

“If you think back and replay your year and you don’t recall tears either sad or happy consider your year a waste.” This line has stuck with me for some time. I don’t recall where I heard it, but I’ve carried its meaning with me each year as I’ve looked back at my life and the string of moments that are now in my past. Moments I may not have fully appreciated at the time and others I vaguely recall fleetingly passing through time…my time, my year, my life. As is often the case, life’s little moments present the biggest lessons but too often we are so caught up in what we are feeling in that particular moment that we miss the full essence of its significance. The present moment stirs up emotions that slowly roll over our heart and mind like a cloud cluster across an expanse of sky blocking the light that could bathe us in warmth and wisdom. It is only when the clouds move on that we look back, not knowing …

Paper Wedding Anniversary

Glancing at the clock she moved toward the bathroom, aware of each tick announcing the passing of time, each minute bringing her closer to the moment her husband would pull into the driveway, wheels crunching gravel. He promised to be home early tonight, had even made reservations at her favorite little Greek restaurant. They would sit at “their table” tucked back in a cozy corner of the restaurant. The place where they had shared so many words over good food and a bottle of wine. Tonight they would celebrate their Paper Anniversary. Their first year as a married couple. She had flipped open her laptop earlier that afternoon and looked up the meaning to find the first year of marriage is like a clean sheet of paper, a new beginning upon which to write your passage through the years together. Also like paper, it is fragile and can easily rip, not having yet been tried by the fires of adversity and the storms of life. It had been an amazing first year, this honeymoon phase of theirs, and …

“Oh, You’re a Joiner” – Why I Joined NanoWrimo.

She sat across from me at the local coffee shop, checking her phone, looking around as we “got to know each other.” I was the new gal in town and since it wasn’t my first rodeo, I was out there doing what I do best or at the very least what I know I need to do to acquire that sense of belonging in a new place. I was reaching out to a fellow mom, a local, in the hopes of finding that one friend that can instantly take you from outsider status to outsider with a friend status. We discussed the move, the re-locations before this one, the kids and all the other usually safe topics that come up in polite conversation. In some ways, it was like the job interview I didn’t see on my wall calendar that morning as I stood in the kitchen, coffee in hand, making sure I didn’t forget my kid’s project or overlook a dentist appointment. I recall finding it strange when she glanced up from her phone …

Merry-Go-Round’s Final Round

I was different. I knew this from a very young age. I also knew I wasn’t different in the way other kids thought I was. If I’m being honest, I felt closer to animals than the people around me, and maybe that’s something they picked up on. I didn’t have many friends, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. It’s just I wasn’t interested in their games. Pretending to save the world from make-believe villains seemed silly to me when there were true villains all around us, and so many who needed saving. Why pretend when we could take action? In turn, they weren’t interested in helping me carry a bird with a broken wing to safety or studying the caterpillar and guessing what colors it would be dressed in when it became a butterfly. My disinterest in their imaginary playground adventures, only caused to further distance the other kids, which is why anyone watching me that week didn’t give my sitting off to the side another thought. Even back then, I knew I couldn’t save …

Rock On!

That’s me. My first attempt at a five-story rock wall. As I stood on the ground getting all harnessed up, the attendant shared some wisdom with me. The young girl nonchalantly said, “At some point while climbing the wall, most people are gripped by fear. The thing to remember is the fear doesn’t become greater if you continue to climb. It’s the same amount of fear whether you choose to continue or you choose to quit. You might as well keep going until you reach the top.” Isn’t that what life is all about? She was right. I reached a certain point to catch my breath, and it was then that I was gripped with fear. Did I mention I’m afraid of heights? Apparently, I paused just long enough for some spectators on the ground to believe this was the moment I would quit. I didn’t quit. I kept hearing the attendant’s words in my head, and while my muscles were screaming for me to quit and just repel back down to safety, I kept …

The Snoop Dog Rap: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

This week’s writing challenge: The Best Medicine is an invitation to “Poke fun at yourself, write a limerick, find the absurdity in a real-life situation, come up with some groan-worthy puns, sketch a comic, put some fictional characters in a farcical situation — all’s fair in comedy.” Obviously I don’t have a humor blog, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use this photo I took on my recent trip to The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.! New to the neighborhood, walking down the street Wondering ’bout the neighbors I’ve yet to meet Got my dogs on the leash, poop bag in hand My sneakers on my feet, to avoid the sand Loving the weather, loving the breeze People so friendly, bless you when you sneeze Pet owners walking toward other owners Business suits, runners and even stoners All give the nod, the slight shake of the head Says it’s damn early to be outta bed. Size doesn’t matter, we’ve all heard it ‘Cept when your dog drops a tiger sized sh*t. Pooping …

One Ring To Rule Them All – edited (Weekly Writing Challenge)

YO MR. WHITE! AND MR. STRUNK! The infamous Strunk and White, purveyors of compositional advice, implore us to omit needless words in our writing. American author Ernest Hemingway, nicknamed “Papa,” embraced this writing philosophy. Known for an unadorned, sparse prose style, he favored short sentences with strong verbs and very few adjectives or adverbs. While Hemingway is well known for this style, he — like the rest of —worked hard at his writing: Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do? Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied. Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you? Hemingway: Getting the words right. – Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Review Interview, 1956 OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS In writing, it’s important to omit needless words, the cruft that obscures what you’re trying to say to your reader. Never use more words than you really need to communicate — be brutal: remove all the words unnecessary to conveying meaning. Let’s look at one example. Consider this sentence. …

Through the Door – The Power of Prayer

Life has a way of transporting us from one moment to the next in the blink of an eye. A certain smell, a song, a glimpse of a photograph can make our senses come alive and take flight like a mother bird from its nest in search of that elusive something that will feed our soul. As I walked toward the sound of frantic whispers, I knew who it was, and looking back I must admit I knew what he was desperately pleading for before I ever stepped through the door to my bedroom. I slowly crept closer to the door, holding my breath and carefully placing each foot down as though I might avoid the inevitable land mine I was sure awaited me through that half open door. In slow motion I crossed the threshold, and what I saw is forever ingrained in my heart. My seven-year old son was on his knees next to my bed, tiny hands barely reaching the top of the mattress, clasped together in fervent prayer. He begged God …

Raised in a Cuban Starbucks

Through the years, she has slowly begun each morning with a cup of coffee to start her day. She holds the warm cup with both hands for some time, never rushing the first sip…the sip that promises a stream of memories only the actual scent in the air can rival. She closes her eyes, the cup warming her hands, and lets the memories warm her heart. Back in her childhood home, standing in the doorway of her galley kitchen, she sees her mom before the stove waiting on the familiar appliance that is iconic of a Cuban kitchen. It is the cafetera, and it does so much more than make coffee. She recalls many days when not long after the coffee started to brew, the sound of the doorbell would announce a family member or neighbor drawn by the familiar aroma. As always, they were welcomed into the kitchen for a dainty vessel of strong, black, liquid that never lasted as long as the laughs and conversation around the kitchen table. They always came. They always …