Monday, June 30, 2014

All in the Family

Family connections are important and I eagerly anticipate times of reunion with my scattered kin. This past week we gathered together to remember my brother-in-law, Curt Whaley, who died after a short battle with cancer. The funeral was held in Pensacola, Florida at the Naval Chapel and National Cemetery. Afterwards we gathered at the Officer’s Club to share remembrances and to reconnect with one another. 

I became reacquainted with great nephews and nieces who I haven’t seen in years and was pleased to discover how mature they have become. I was also surprised to discover how much we had in common. I had heard rumors there was a multi-generational interest in writing on my sister’s side of the family. Much to my delight, I spoke to a great-niece and a great-nephew who are pursuing careers in writing. Tommy just graduated from college and will teach research writing to high school seniors. Kathryn studies journalism in college and wants to pursue a career writing for newspapers and magazines.

In recent months, my youngest son Michael shared with me his renewed interest in writing. I have yet to read any of his work, but he wants to attend my writers’ group with me. His daughter, 10-year old Alexa, also likes to write and puts her skills in practice creating notes and cards.

Writing is at times a very solitary pursuit. It’s just you and your notepad or computer. At times you feel inspired and creative and at other times, it’s an effort to find the right combination of words for that blog or story. My family members have an advantage over me. They found their passion to write much earlier in life and will have many more opportunities to learn the craft and put pen to paper and hand to computer. But just maybe my writing experiences will encourage them to not waste the days God has given them. They didn't ask me for words of wisdom or advice about writing.  But if they did, I would be tempted to share the words of the Apostle Paul from Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”

British author, Neil Gaiman put it another way,

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after
another until it’s done. It's that easy, and that hard.”

Knowing that other family members share my passion and struggle provides great motivation to get busy writing my next book.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Round & Round She Goes ...

And where she stops, nobody knows. I've never been one who enjoys going around in circles. For one thing it doesn't take me where I want to go and I always get clobbered with motion sickness. During my childhood I avoided spinning tea cups, flying swings, and merry-go-rounds or else I paid the price. These days I still have problems riding on hilly roads and spinning around on the dance floor.

So why was a nice girl like me driving on a winding mountain road in Colorado? It was not on my vacation agenda to get behind the wheel of a car I’d never driven before and descend 3,000 feet into the valley and not have a clue as to where I was going. But Charles had just been loaded into an ambulance near Rocky Mountain National Park and was headed to the hospital down in the valley. I had no choice but to navigate the mountainous terrain on my own. I couldn't enjoy the beautiful
Colorado Rockies with my eyes fixed on the road in front of me with its fading yellow lines and almost non-existent gravel shoulder. That was the most prayed over thirty-five miles of asphalt in the Wild West. Over an hour later, I pulled into the hospital parking lot and found him relaxing comfortably in his hospital bed. His blood pressure was normal but mine was through the roof. He was breathing oxygen through his nose, but I needed to blow into a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating.
I finally calmed down when I realized that he was in the hands of good doctors and that his severe altitude sickness could be treated with medication and lots of oxygen. The doctors explained that they would be monitoring him for several days and I needed to find a place to stay. The concierge at the hospital helped me find a motel about two miles from the hospital. She gave me directions and drew a map with circles on it. Between the hospital and motel, I was expected to navigate six roundabouts in two miles. My anxiety level started climbing again as I entered and exited the first three circles. The traffic was building and coming at me from all directions and I had no clue how to get to my destination. The last roundabout was the worst with north and south exits to Interstate 25. I took the wrong exit and ended up heading in the wrong direction.
God and I had a lot more conversations before I found the motel and collapsed on the bed in my room. By this time my head was spinning and I needed several hours of peace and quiet to calm down. I was very thankful that Charles was going to be OK and that God had been with me on my journey.

Now that we are safely home, I can laugh about my big adventure and can pass along the following words of wisdom from an anonymous quote.

If you find yourself going in circles, maybe you're cutting
too many corners.”