Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas

Almost 230 years ago, Clement Clarke Moore wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas", for his family on Christmas Eve 1822. He never intended that it be published, but a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem sometime later from Moore's children. She copied it into her album, and submitted it to the editor of the Troy (New York) Sentinel where it made its first appearance in print on December 23, 1823. Soon, the poem began to be reprinted in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines, with the first appearance in a book in The New York Book of Poetry, edited by Charles Fenno Hoffman, in 1837.
It was not until 1844, however, that Moore himself acknowledged authorship in a volume of his poetry entitled Poems, published at the request of his children. It is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.


Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Halloween Fairy

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be published book, "The Halloween Fairy".

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.

My brother, Peter and I race to the door. The first Trick-or-Treater is here!
I get to the door just before Peter. As I turn the handle to open the door, I hear a familiar voice.
“Trick-or-Treat!” Sarah shouts out. “Do you like my costume, Maria?”
“What are you suppose to be?” I ask.
“I’m the Halloween Fairy,” Sarah replies. “I can’t wait to see what the real Halloween Fairy is going to bring me tonight.”
“The what?” Peter and I ask.
Sarah smiles as she walks inside, “You haven’t heard of the Halloween Fairy? Where we lived last year, everyone knew about the Halloween Fairy. She is a fairy, like the tooth fairy, who travels around on Halloween night trading your candy for toys.”
“So do you put your candy under your pillow?” I ask.
“No, you just put your candy in a paper bag by your bedroom door. While you sleep, the Halloween Fairy comes and trades the candy for a present. Last year I got an arts and crafts kit."
“What does she do with all the candy she collects?” Peter asks.
“I’m not sure. I think she gives it to kids that can’t go trick or treating.”
I frown. “How come we’ve never heard of the Halloween Fairy? She’s never come to our house.”
“My Dad said that the Halloween Fairy only visits the kids who believe in her and want to trade their candy for toys. If you don’t want to trade your candy, just don’t leave it out and she will pass by your house,” Sarah replies.
Peter and I finish putting on our costumes so we can go Trick-or-Treating with Sarah.
I see Dad in the hallway and tell him about the Halloween Fairy.
“Sarah said that she comes every Halloween night and trades candy for toys!”
“I’ve never heard of her” Dad responds. “I’ll tell you what, how about tonight we believe in the Halloween Fairy? We’ll follow Sarah’s instructions, and I bet that if we truly believe, the Halloween Fairy just might come!”
Trick-or-Treating is a blast! We go to almost every house in our neighborhood. Our bags are packed with candy!
Peter and I say goodnight to Sarah and head home.
Walking across the street, I turn to Peter, “I’m not sure I want the Halloween Fairy to take my candy. I don’t really want to give it all away to some fairy I never heard of before."
Peter thinks for a moment and looks at me. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give it all away either. Maybe we don’t have to put all our candy in the bag. We can save some for ourselves and leave the rest out for the Halloween Fairy to take. What do you think?”
“That sounds like a great idea,” I reply.




*This story is copyrighted to Rose Killion and Promethean Revelations Publishing

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

22 Things I Never Did

1. Enjoyed cleaning the bathroom

2. Ate a raw lemon without tightening my face

3. Wore high-heals and thought “wow, these are comfortable”

4. Looked forward to going to the dentist

5. Thought my homemade chocolate chunk brownies tasted horrible

6. Watched my kids sleeping and wished they were awake

7. Felt safe around a clown

8. Wished there was more laundry to do

9. Thought a snake, or any reptile, is cute

10. Wore animal print

11. Understood why stores start selling things for Christmas before Halloween

12. Called out of the dressing room, “This size 4 is too big”

13. Walked on the moon

14. Stopped loving my man

15. Missed changing my kid’s diapers

16. Burped the alphabet

17. Looked at pictures of myself from the 80s and think, “Wow! That was a great outfit! Just look at those legwarmers!”

18. Intentionally wore a matching shirt with my husband

19. Understood why people drive slow in the FAST lane

20. Said, “Yippee! I get to wake up early!”

21. Regretted being a mom to our two children

22. Wished chocolate was never invented


This list was inspired by
Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Costume








H
ues in the sky change as the sun sets

All Hollow’s Eve is beginning

Large crows “caw” over head

Light the candles in the Jack-O-Lanterns

October 31st

What to dress up as?

Eager to begin putting on the costume

Earrings, big gold hoops

New oversized black hat

Corset to flatter the waistline

Oversized white shirt

Sword on the hip

Thigh-high black boots

Unique red sash, draped around the waist

Make up fitting for a pirate

Excited to go Trick-Or-Treating “Says I”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Slow dance

Flyers for the “Back to School” dance were going up all over the school. I love to dance, so I was very excited about a school dance! I was a 15 year old freshman. This would be my first school activity!

My sister was two years older than me. We were great friends, hanging around with the same group of friends, outside of school. We started making plans: who we were going to go with and what we were going to wear. She asked if I wanted to bring a date. I blushed.

I had been introduced to my “date” several weeks before through a mutual friend. He and I hit it off the first time we met. My parents had a rule that we weren’t allowed to go on a date until we were 16. When I called him to see if wanted to go, we agreed to meet there with other friends so that it would not be an official date, just a group of friends getting together.

The night of the dance I dressed up in my favorite black dress with little flowers on it. I loved the way the dress swirled out with I spun around. Being the “cool” girl that I was, I also wore black tights with my Doc Martin boots.

We walked up the steps to the school gym where the dance was being held. There were some balloons and streamers decorating the walls. The lights were dimmed and a mirrored ball hung in the center of the gym. The DJ was set up on the stage. Kids were mingling, here and there and a group had begun dancing in the center of the floor.

We joined the group on the floor and danced to our favorite songs; singing along to most of them. Then the DJ then announced that he was going to change it up and play a slow song.

Everyone cleared the floor and went their separate ways; either to the snack table, outside for fresh air or to the bathrooms to freshen up.

The song the DJ played was “Somebody” by Depeche Mode. Depeche Mode was my favorite band and “Somebody” was my favorite song.

My “date” knew I loved the song. He walked up to me and held out his arm, “Do you want to dance with me?”

“Um, sure,” I took his arm and he lead me back onto the dance floor.

It was awkward at first, then he gave me a hug, I wrapped my arms around his neck and we swayed back and forth; slightly stepping in a circle.

The song eventually ended and the tempo went back up. He held onto my hand and we danced to a few fast songs with our friends.

After the dance was over, we all went to Denny’s to enjoy some fries with ranch and ketchup, and reminisce about the night. I knew that my first slow dance with my “date” would be my favorite memory of the night.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blake's Birth Story

In honor of our son Blake's 8th Birthday tomorrow I want to share his birth story that my husband Travis wrote.

The van was packed, the bed was set in case the water broke, and Rose and Travis knew it could begin at any time because Blake had already dropped. Around 3:30 AM on September 30th, 2003 Rose woke again and used the restroom. Coming back to bed it seemed like nothing was gong to happen so she removed the towel she had been sleeping on and went to sleep.
Having read the baby manual and knowing that mama was not looking, Blake broke the water at 4:30 AM. Rose excitedly work up Travis to share that it was starting.
The contractions came closer and closer together as the day progressed. Rose was feeling some labor pain in her back and just rested as them came closer and closer together. Then at around 12:00 PM they seemed to occur less frequently and then sporadically. Given the decrease in frequency the moment never came when labor actually began.
As the evening crept past Rose and Travis chose to call the midwife and head to the birthing center. They called family members to give them an update. It had now been 16 hours since the water broke and after 24 hours the chance of infection begins to rise.
They arrived at the birthing center around 9:00 PM Tuesday. Marsha, the midwife, checked Rose and after discussing the situation they agreed to induce labor at 10:00 PM. Labor began at around 11:00 PM and the room filled with excitement.
As the night progressed and the contractions became closer and more painful Rose got into the tub to enjoy the warm water and to have the jets help on her back. The hope, after all, was to have a natural water birth.
Right from the start Rose was feeling pain in her lower back. Though at the time this was kind of welcomed given she had experienced back pain before and knew how to handle it.
The back pain was strong and required acupressure to help stop it from spreading. It seemed like a nerve was being pressed and the hope was that as Blake moved passed the spot it would diminish.
Rose and Travis got out of the tub and lay on the bed for a while and tried positions there. The hope was that a change in positions would help speed up the labor.
After being out of the tub and making progress Rose and Travis got back into the tub. Around 8:00 AM Rose was able to start pushing with the contractions.
Initially the pushing helped with the back pain and Rose was able to focus on the pushing. Shortly after getting back in the tub the back pain became stronger and again required acupressure. As the hours rolled past Travis and Rose were feeling the exhaustion from all the effort.
It was challenging to help hold Rose in the water especially after oils had been used. Once as Rose needed more water to drink, Travis used one hand to hold her back and the other to get the water. But his fingers were locked from so much pressure for so long and Rose had to bend his fingers for him.
Unfortunately the pain increased more and more as Rose pushed and Blake moved. After a while the pain was so great that Rose had to arch her back to compensate for the pain and could no longer push effectively.
The tub was not working so Travis and Marsha moved Rose to the bed and tried other positions, the birthing ball, a birthing stool and other techniques.
It was now after 11:00 AM and having tried what was available at the birthing center it was clear that Rose needed to be taken to the hospital. However, due to some of the pain medication she had taken and to the degree of pain caused by the contractions, Rose was not going to be able to walk or hold herself up.
Marsha went to call for an ambulance, to copy her notes and to get everything set for the hospital registration. Meanwhile Travis and Rose coped with the contractions the best they could. Both were tired and exhausted and Rose was in need of an epidural.
Sitting on the bed holding Rose, Travis called family members. It was clear that someone was going to have to pack up the room and drive the van to the hospital. This was the end of the dream for a natural birth. Going to the hospital was the backup plan and family was now needed more than ever.
The ambulance ride was quick and the drivers were very mindful to tell Rose of each bump and turn. Travis went with and stayed with Rose to help keep her calm.
Rose was taken to the delivery room where the nurse, Michelle, helped to get her checked and admitted. When Michelle asked why Rose had come to the hospital Rose replied "drugs" to which Michelle said, "that's pretty clear". Michelle helped to expedite the process to get the epidural as much as she could and then it became a waiting game for the anesthesiologist.
The contractions were quite strong and with each of them Rose had to arch her back to help soften the pain. She pressed into the bed and against what ever else was available.
At one point Rose almost pushed her self off the bed. Travis said she was gong to push her self off and she said, "I don't care" to which Travis said, "you will in minute".
From then on Travis helped to keep Rose on the bed by holding her as she pressed to arch her back. As time crept by Rose began to yell to help compensate for the pain.
At first Rose was yelling for the Dr to arrive. Then as it approached nearly two hours and she was on the brink of her limits she lost concern for the Dr and only wanted the drugs. During one of the strongest contractions she yelled at full voice "I want my f%#@ing drugs" (This caught us all by surprise since Rose is a preschool teacher and rarely uses strong language.).
It seemed that Rose was on the edge of going into shock and then the anesthesiologist showed up. He was in a surgery and was the first to be able to help. He talked to Rose to tell her what he was going to do but did not waste any time.
The tough part was keeping Rose still enough to administer the epidural. Travis and Rose prayed for a good pause between contractions so that she would be able to have the epidural. Their prayer was answered and the break between contractions was enough to allow for the epidural to be inserted.
After a few minutes the pain subsided and everyone was able to breath better. Travis sat down for the first time in hours and sighed with release knowing that Rose was no longer in agony.
Now that the pain was gone the hope was for a vaginal birth. They knew it had been about 35 hours since that water broke and time was of the essence. But as Rose relaxed for the first time in hours, the labor subsided and arrested.
Dr Murphy came to see Rose and expressed his opinion that she needed a cesarean. Being exhausted and depleted, neither Rose nor Travis understood what he meant.
After talking with Marsha and the family members in the room Travis asked to have Dr Murphy come back. The cesarean did not feel right to either Rose or Travis. Dr Murphy explained that Rose and Blake had two counts against them. First was the 36 hours since that water broke and second was the arrested labor. He did not want to wait for strike three.
Travis and Rose took more time to talk it over. They asked Marsha, Michelle and family for their input. The cesarean still didn't feel right so they asked for a second opinion.
When the other Dr came in the room it became tense and it was clear that this Dr was not the one to check Rose. Travis thanked him for his time and asked him to leave.
Dr Murphy came back and spent more time talking with Rose and Travis. He re-expressed his medical opinion, he treated Rose with compassion, he explained he would use stitches rather than staples, he mentioned he had a very low rate of cesareans and that this was the best choice.
Having earned the trust of both Rose and Travis, they chose to trust Dr Murphy and have the cesarean. During the surgery Dr Murphy talked to Rose to tell her what was going on and allowed Travis to be with Rose to keep her comforted. Dr Murphy had to unwedge Blake's big head from Rose's hip bones and unstuck his feet from Rose's ribs. Several years later, we found out that her birth canal never opened for Blake. Rose was in a car accident that displaced her hips. So Blake was stuck in her birth canal, unable to make his way out.
At 7:35 PM October 1st, 2003 Rose and Travis heard their baby cry for the first time.
Rose could not see Blake and neither could I. There were several Dr.s and nurses in the room and they were performing surgery.
Once Blake was out I saw him for a moment. He looked strange with a big head, hands and feet. The question crossed my mind asking if he was truly my son. On its trail was the feeling of an overpowering yes he is my son.
Blake was then handed to the Pediatrician to be taken to a smaller side room. Rose and I stared into each others eyes for a brief moment. I could see the tears of joy in her eyes and the longing to hold our son. Then I followed the Pediatrician into the other room.
The lights were bright and there was what seemed like a lot of background noise. When I walked up to where they had placed Blake I could see his nose and throat being suctioned. In addition to the normal bulb suctions they had a small tube that could suction better. I was impressed at how much liquid came out.
Blake was given a quick cleaning and given tags, one on the wrist and one on the ankle. I too was given a tag so the hospital staff knew I was his papa. I was allowed to cut off the extra umbilical cord and comfort Blake in his first minutes.
Once Blake was wrapped in a blanket I was able to carry him over to Rose. I brought him right up close so that we were all three together. It was our first real moment as a family. I touched Blake’s head to Rose’s and held the experience in my heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Sprinklers

I heard the tick, tick, tick of the sprinklers outside as I sat in my room playing with my dolls. The sound was coming through the window carried on a warm breeze. I could smell the fresh cut grass and needed to go and see what was going on in the back yard.

I got off my bed and stretch out my cramped legs. As I came out into the hallway my brother bumped into me, carrying his big green towel. He was wearing his swimming trunks and smiling from ear to ear.

As I approached the sliding glass door I blinked back as the sunlight shinned in at me. Outside I could see my sister laughing as my dad turned up the water pressure on the faucet and motioned with his finger for me to come and have some fun. I giggled with anticipation of playing outside in the sprinklers on this hot summer day.

I turned around and ran to my room to put on my red, one-piece, poka-dot swimsuit and grabbed my favorite purple towel with white daisies along the trim. Then headed outside to play with my siblings.

They were already soaking from head to toe. I dropped my towel over the lawn chair and skipped out onto the grass. I could feel the cold water seep through my toes as the grass wrapped around the bottoms of my feet. The hose snaked through the grass to where it met the shiny sprinkler head. Water was spraying out in all directions and making a rainbow on the far side of the yard. It was brilliant with color and danced in the wind.

Just then my brother yelled and the next thing I knew there was water crashing onto my back. It was so cold that I arched my back and screamed out loud. He laughed and ran around me back to the sprinkler. I followed him as the water splashed my face and soaked my swimsuit. It was cold and gave me goose bumps. Then, after running around and squirting my brother back, I forgot about it being cold and began to laugh as we ran around the green grass that had become our muddy playground.

Several hours later, my feet were caked with mud and grass. My fingers and toes resembled raisins from running through the soggy lawn.

Our water fun had come to an end, my dad turned off the water and the sprinklers slowly faded down and it was time to dry off. I walked up onto the hot cement porch, leaving my wet footprints to follow me as I laid out my towel and rested my body.

As the sun warmed and dried my body, I felt a cool breeze tingle my skin. I laid there with a smile, enjoying the final moments of the summer day.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Superstitions

The definition of superstition is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.
Believing in a superstition is an irrational attitude of the mind toward the supernatural. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.

Despite the fact that there is no logical reason to believe in a superstition, most people have at least one superstition that they believe or practice.

Below are listed 13 of my favorite superstitions:

1. Walking under a Ladder – Bad Luck
It is common sense to avoid walking under an open ladder for fear of something falling on you. The superstitious reasons have to do with the triangle that the leaning ladder forms. When you walk though the triangle, you are tempting the fates. You might awaken the spirits that live within the triangle.
It is also said that hangmen used to use a ladder to hang someone from the gallows, and it was believe that if you walked under a ladder, the hangmen would turn his gaze your way, or 'Death would notice you'.

2. Knock on Wood – Avoid Tempting Fate

This one may have started with the association that wood and trees have good spirits that dwell within them. It used to be considered good luck to tap trees to let the wood spirits within know you were there.
I have also heard that wood sprites loved to play tricks on mortals. You knock the sprite out of the wood to prevent it from bringing you misfortune. When you knock on wood, you knock up from under the table to disorient the sprite.

3. Tossing Spilled Salt over your Shoulder – Good Luck

Salt has always been considered a valuable substance capable of purifying and warding off evil spirits. By tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder, you are driving away the evil spirits.

4. Closing the Closet Door
Before turning off the lights, you need to shut the doors to your closet, if left open, you will have nightmares. Long ago, people believed that darkness was a portal for the dead. With the closet door closed, they would still be trapped.
Currently, I believe it stems from being afraid of the dark, and watching too many scary movies.

5. Hang Wind Chimes at you Front Door – Ward off evil

The sound of chimes drives away demons because they're afraid of the loud noise.

6. Break a Mirror – 7 years Bad Luck
Long before mirrors were invented, people used to see their reflections in pools of water. They believed this reflection was their soul. And they believed that any interference with the reflection would injure it. When mirrors were invented, and they were broken, it was thought that the soul was harmed. Seven year thing come in from the Roman belief was that life renewed itself every seven years. So the person who broke it would need seven years to recover.

7. Black Cats
If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it. If it crosses your path, change direction. The cat is considered by many to be an omen of doom; not only is it bad luck, it is VERY bad luck. From there the superstition goes as far as belief that the black cat is a demon in disguise trying to cut off a person’s access to heaven.

8. Fine a Coin
It is good luck to pick up a coin that is “heads” side up. Bad luck if it’s “tail’s” side up.

9. Sneeze
Cover your mouth when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise. The devil can enter your body when you sneeze. Saying “Bless You” drives the devil away

10. Open Umbrella Indoors
Long ago people used umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. It is said that opening an umbrella in the shade would insult the sun god.

11. Passing by a Cemetery

When passing a cemetery, you should make the sign of the cross and/or say a requiem for the dead “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”
Another practice is to hold your breath as you pass a cemetery to prevent the souls of the dead from entering your body.

12.Four-Leaf Clovers
Universal symbols of good luck, four-leaf clovers exist; they’re just hard to find. Legend says that when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, Eve snatched a four-leaf clover as a remembrance of her days in Paradise. Since then, lucky attributes have been assigned to all four leaves of the rare plant.
The 4-leaf clover is one of the world´s most prized good luck charms. The four leaves each have their own special meaning: one for fame, one for wealth, one for love, one for health. The owner will have luck in all.
If you find a 4-leaf clover you will be able to see fairies, recognize witches, and detect evil spirits. If you get the clover as a gift, your luck would only be more powerful than it already was.

13. Unlucky Number 13

The fear of the number 13 is very common today and is avoided in many different ways. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor. You won’t find a seat and sometimes row number 13 on a plane, theater, or bus. Most hotels and hospitals forgo the room number 13. And often 13 is omitted from street addresses and zip codes.
There are many, many references as to where our fear of the number 13 started.
The bible: At the last supper, there were thirteen at the table. Judas was the 13th guest and he betrayed Jesus.
In ancient Rome: a witch’s coven comprised of 12. The 13th member would be the devil. Numerologists consider the number 12 a complete number for several reasons: the number of apostles, the number of months in a year, the number of Olympian gods, and the number of zodiac signs. 13's association with bad luck is the simple, unavoidable fact that it exceeds a complete number by just one.

It turns out that these and other enduring superstitions have something in common: They're all about control.

"With many important events in our lives, as much as we might like to guarantee that they might happen or not happen, we often can't be certain of what the outcome might be. Superstitions give us a feeling of control when we may not actually have control. They bring about the sense that you're at least doing something." -Stuart Vyse, Author of "Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Thunderstorm comes to Life

Coming out through the last stand of trees, Karen stopped and blinked to adjust to the bright sun light after hiking through the dark woods.
She sat down by an old oak tree. The large tree sat near the edge of a field, its twisted branches intertwined into a great canopy, providing some cover from the sun.
Karen watched the grass sway with the wind across the green field. Up in the sky, she noticed large clouds forming. They were rolling in quickly and would soon be blanketing the field.
From the corner of her eye, Karen saw a flash of lighting followed by the low rumble of thunder. The wind picked up. The old oak tree began to moan and the grass struggled against the blustery weather.
On her cheek, Karen felt a wet bead of rain and within moments, the field was being showered in a downpour. The sky lit up as a sheet of lighting blasted the sky. Thunder crashed with an immense boom. Karen took herself back into the woods. The canvas of trees would shelter her from the driving rain as she headed back for home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oops

Okay, okay. So I haven't been keeping up with my weekly writing. I do have a fantastic excuse though.
For the past few weeks I have been working on
drum roll please ...
Getting my book "The Halloween Fairy" published.
I've been collaborating with two illustrators, blocking the pages, and editing, editing, editing.
My publisher (who also happens to be my brother) plans on having it ready to be sold by mid-July.
Tee Hee Hee! I can't wait to hold my first book in my hands.
So Exciting!!!

I will try to be more vigilant in continuing my weekly writing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Rainbow

This story was created by myself, my husband, Travis and our children Blake and Brianna. We each added our own parts to it. ENJOY!!

Once upon a time there was a family camping in a meadow in the middle of the forest.
The father looked up and saw a rainbow just on the other side of the meadow.
He said to his family, “Look over there. That rainbow is only about a five minute walk from here. Let’s go see if we can reach it before it goes away!”
So they set off.
They walked across the grassy meadow. Soon they were upon the rainbow. The son was looking closely and saw a glow at the bottom of the rainbow.
Suddenly, they heard a noise in the grass off to the left, then off to the right, and then right in front of them!
Three little men, the height of four stacked stones, dressed in green suits with green top hats; jumped out and hollered, “STOP! Who are you to come to our rainbow?”
Behind the three leprechauns stepped out a troll, who stood the size of two grown men! He took a deep breath and said in his loudest voice, “GO AWAY!! This is MY gold!”
The family looked up at the troll, then down at the leprechauns. “We didn’t come for the gold. We just wanted to touch the rainbow and see if the stories of it filling you with LOVE are true.”
The leprechaun who was standing to the left of the family was the biggest leprechaun. He stepped forward and said, “The boy wants the gold. We can sense it in him.”
The son said in reply, “Yes, I do want a piece of gold, but not for its riches. I want to keep one so that I can have a token to remind me of this day and reaching the rainbow. I would NEVER spend it!”
The leprechauns looked at each other, they looked at the family and then they looked at the troll, “Let them touch the rainbow, Tiny.”
The family was so excited! They each stepped past the leprechauns and the troll and reached out to touch the rainbow.
The rainbow felt like liquid air. They cupped their hands and the colors of the rainbow filled up and swirled like a beautiful whirlpool.
The father, mother, son and daughter looked at each other and a sense of love and peace filled their hearts and minds.
After a few minutes, the family let the rainbow flow back into itself and stepped away.
The father walked up to the biggest leprechaun and said, “Thank you for allowing our family to experience the love this rainbow shared with us. We will keep this in our hearts forever.”
The biggest leprechaun smiled, “It is a joy to us to see someone come to the rainbow to want to feel it’s love rather than take its gold. For that, I will grant your son one piece of gold to take with him. He will be able to carry the memory of this moment with him always.”
The son’s face glowed! He thanked the leprechauns and the troll and placed a piece of gold carefully in his pocket.
“Dad,” said the son, “it’s time to go.”
So the family turned and headed back to their camp with their hearts full of love and peace.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chest of Childhood

The memories of my childhood are locked away in a Chinese Carved Camphor Wood Chest that my father gave me many years ago.
I opened the chest and found the photos, letters and mementos that link me back to the days of my youth. Days when life was simpler, responsibilities were less and possibilities were endless.
I reached down and pulled out a photo of myself, my sister, Beth and my cousin Carol when we were children. We were all in swimsuits and resting our head and arms on the edge of a pool. The red bricks and roses in the background confirm that the picture was taken at the home my Grandparents owned when I was much younger. The home was two-story and in the backyard was the biggest pool this 6 year old had ever seen.
Every weekend during the summer of my childhood; at least according to a child; we would spend at my grandparent’s home, swimming in the pool with my aunts, uncles and cousins. We would swim all day and then for dinner, we would all dry off, find a stick and roast hot dogs over the brick fire pit. One hour later we would all be back in the pool playing “Marco Polo”. Once the sun was down, we would climb out of the pool one final time, get changed out of our swimsuits and roast marshmallows. Then we played board games in the converted garage, where all the kids were allowed to play so that we wouldn’t bug the adults late into the night.
The summers of my youth hold great memories. I’m grateful my camphor chest is with me, preserving my memories.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Three Bears Go For a Walk

Baby Bear looked out the window. “The sun is already up! Oh, no! I wanted to help Mama with breakfast this morning!”
He carefully climbed over his two older brothers and crept out to the kitchen. Mama was standing over the stove stirring something that smelled so good, my mouth started to water.
“Well good morning Baby Bear! Did you enjoy sleeping in today?” Mama asked.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wake up in time to help you Mama, I really wanted to.”
“That’s alright Baby Bear. I made something special for you this morning.” She said.
Mama had made porridge for breakfast! Baby Bear's favorite breakfast was porridge. Mama Bear always made it nice and creamy with juicy berries mixed in. But today there were NO berries in the porridge.
“Why don’t we have any berries today, Mama?”
“You boys ate ALL the berries last night,” said Mama. "If you want berries in your porridge, then you have to go pick them yourself!”
Baby Bear woke up his brothers, Brian Bear and Billy Bear, and they went for a walk in the forest to find some berries.
They couldn’t find any berries where they usually find them. So they went out to search farther into the forest.
As they were walking, they found a little house on the edge of the forest.
Baby Bear smelled something yummy and sweet cooking in the little house. And off he went, running inside the house to find out what the delicious smell was.
By the time Brian Bear and Billy Bear could reached him, Baby Bear already ate every pancake and was covered with a sticky syrup.
Brian Bear, being bossy as usual, scolded Baby Bear, “If Mama finds you all sticky, then we will ALL get in trouble.”
Brian Bear and Billy Bear took him upstairs to give him a bath. As they started to fill the bathtub, Baby Bear found some bubbles and dumped the whole bottle in the bathtub. The bubbles grew and grew until they spilled onto the floor.
“I want a rubber ducky for my bubble bath!”
Brian Bear looked around and found one sitting on a chair by the bathtub. “Here’s a ducky Baby Bear. Now get in that tub and clean up!”
But Baby Bear didn’t want to get in the tub and started running around the bathroom. Brian Bear and Billy Bear were chasing him when they both slipped in a big puddle on the floor and fell into the bathtub! Splash!
As Brian Bear and Billy Bear were trying to climb out of the bathtub, Baby Bear climbed out the window.
“You’ll never catch me now!” he screamed
“Now you’re going get it,” Brian Bear yell, “You are always causing us trouble!"
Brian Bear and Billy Bear quickly jumped out the bathroom window and started chasing Baby Bear. They finally caught him just as he was crossing the river.
Baby Bear was still sticky from the syrup. Brian Bear and Billy Bear picked him up and dunked him in the river. They splashed the cold water all over Baby Bear until he was cleaned off.
“We still have to find those berries,” said Billy Bear.
As they climbed out of the river, there they were! Along the river was dark green ivy covered with round, juicy red berries!
The three Bear brothers filled their hands with as many berries as they could carry and headed home.
When they got home Mama was waiting, “What took you so long to get those berries?”
“We took a "sticky" adventure walk to the river,” laughed Brian Bear.
Brian, Billy and Baby Bear shared a smile and began eating the porridge and berries with Mama Bear.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Swim Meet

The sun was reflecting off the water in the pool, causing my eyes to squint as I watched the judges. In front of me my four teammates lined up, preparing for the medley relay race. Each of us preparing to swim one leg of the relay, which is swum in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle order.
Susan jumped in the water along with our competitors. She got herself to the starting position to begin the backstroke leg of the relay. One of the judges walked by and checked all the swimmers in the pool to check that they all are in the down position and still. He was satisfied and signaled to start the race with a blow horn.
Susan arched back and kicked off the wall. She moved quickly, but the other teams were quicker by a stroke or two. Susan back-fliped as she reached the far wall and swam her way back to where we were waiting to take our turn in the relay.
Susan touched the wall and Kristy dove into the pool to began the breaststroke. She started off great, but just like Susan, she was behind the other teams. We were half a lap behind. “Go Kristy!” we call out! You could hear the crowd from our school calling out to Kristy as well. She did a somersault and kicked off the far wall to get back fast. Kristy touched the wall and Tasha leapt into the pool.
“Swim Tasha, swim!” came from the crowd. Tasha is the best butterfly swimmer we have on our team. She won most butterfly races. Tasha swam with all her might, and returned to where I was preparing for my turn. I could see that the other teams were almost done swimming the last leg of the race. I was getting more and more nervous as Tasha came closer to me. When she touched the wall, the other teams completed the medley relay race. Westside High School won.
It was my turn. If I did not dive in and swim the freestyle leg of the race our team would have been disqualified. I dove in. I was the only one in the pool! I swam one arm over the other. I could hear the crowd. They were probably congratulating the other teams. My stomach was turning. All I wanted to do was get out of the pool. As I flipped over to kick off and finish the lap the noise behind me escalated. Couldn’t they wait until I was out of the pool to celebrate?
I completed the lap and started to climb out of the pool. Everyone was watching me and started to cheer. “Wow, you were really fast, Margaret!” My face flushed. My focus was to get out of the pool and now I wanted to jump back in so that the crowd couldn't see me blush.
We did not win the race. I was confused when the judges called me over to the award stand. I received a ribbon for Most Spirited Player.
As the old cliché goes, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Last Tree Standing

As I awoke with the sun, I lengthened my roots out as far as I could reach. There are no other roots in the ground to compete with today.
I stretched my branches out to the tips. No other branches to knock into today.
The view to the ocean is stunning. There is nothing blocking my view today.
I gaze around the mountain and feel like I can see forever today.
My fellow trees were hauled away. The men came and chopped them down with their machines. I am the last tree standing in what was a majestic forest.
I want to share the joy I am feeling with my friends; but they are all gone now. There are none left to talk to.
I hear the men and their machines.
Today will be my last day on this mountain.
There will be no trees left in the forest today.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sail Away

The clouds were filling up the sky again, just as they have been everyday this week. Mom said that it was going to rain today. But I didn’t worry about it; she’s been saying it was going to rain all week.
Today was a bit different however. The weather had gotten a bit windy. The wind was strange too. It felt like there was electricity in the wind; I could almost feel static in my hair and on my clothes.
This morning my mom said that if it wasn’t raining when I got home from school I could play with my new boat out in the wash.
Last week I turned 10 and my Uncle Tom gave me a Remote Control Boat! This boat could run circles around almost anything in the water and was said to be unsinkable.
Today was the day. I finally was going to take it out and play with it.
The wash is behind our house. It’s made out of cement and most of the time is dry. My mom lets me ride my bike around in it during the summer and when it’s dry. But for the last month or so it has been raining every few days. The wash was starting to fill up with water. There is enough in there now for me to take my boat out and sail it around.
It was so cool playing with my boat in the wash. I sailed it around the branches floating by and jumped it on the occasional waves. I was having so much fun that I didn’t realize that two hours had gone by.
It started to drizzle. I wasn’t to worried though; it hasn’t rained at all this week. Why would it start today?
I was still playing with my boat when I realized that the water was running faster down the wash. Then my boat got pulled down the wash and out of range. I took off to chase it and try to regain control of it. I wasn’t fast enough.
The rain started to come down hard. I heard my Mom call out to me to get inside.
I called back to her, “in a second mom, let me get my boat”
As I turned back around, I couldn’t find where my boat went.
The wash was racing now and my mom had come out and told me we had to get inside now! Just then lightening flashed across the sky. Mom grabbed my arm and dragged me inside.
My boat! I can’t believe it. I lost my boat!
After we got inside the house my mom said that I could go out and get it after the storm is over. And if I can’t find it she could always buy me a new one.
Yeah right! You can only buy this kind of boat in the city where my Uncle Tom lives. The stores out here only sell the cheap plastic ones that always break.
The storm started getting worse. I could see the rain pounding down on the street through the front room window. Occasionally there was lightening followed by a grumble of thunder. My Uncle Tom told me that if you count the seconds between the lightening and thunder, you would know how many miles away the lightening is.
The lightening lit up the street. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…. “THUNDER!” The lightening must only be five miles away!
Lightening again… 1, 2, 3, …. “THUNDER!” This time the thunder was so strong that it shook the windows. Then the power went out.
I usually get a little scared when the power goes out. But this time I was too worried about my boat and how far away it probably is by now that I hardly noticed.
My mom lit some candles around the house and I helped put wood in the fireplace for a fire.
After dinner we watched the storm while drinking some hot chocolate. Then it was time for bed.
I could hardly sleep. I wondered where my boat was. Could it have made it all the way to the ocean yet? Where could it be? I wondered if I would ever see it again.
When I woke up the next morning the sun was shinning. I jumped right out of bed and outside to see if I could find my boat. I was so anxious to find my boat that I didn’t even realize that I had ran outside in my P.J.’s
I couldn’t find it around the wash. I looked and looked everywhere. It must have sailed out to the ocean. I just know it!
Just as I started to head back to my house I noticed something sticking out of the sewer drain.
It was my boat! It didn’t sail out to the ocean after all. It had stayed near my house the whole time!
I ran over and pulled it out of the drain. It seemed fine. Nothing looked broken. I was so happy to have it again.
I decided not to play with my boat in the wash again. I don’t want it be Washed away.

THE END

Friday, February 25, 2011

12 Reasons to Sleep In

Six months ago, I woke up and felt refreshed and ready for the day. This has only happened once in my life. I would love to wake up like that again one day. Unfortunately, being a Mom of two young children, most of my mornings start to the sound: “Moommmieee!”
My husband and I miss the days of our youth, when we would stay up all night and sleep in until noon. We found a compromise and made a deal; on Saturdays, I get to sleep in and on Sundays, he gets to.



My top 12 favorite reasons to sleep in on Saturday:
1. It is warmer and snugglier under the covers.
2. By the time I get out of bed the kids are fed.
3. I can finish that dream about being at a spa in Maui.
4. Spreading out on the bed is best when no one else is in it.
5. I can stay up late on Friday and watch that "chick flick".
6. Need to catch up on all the late nights, writing until the wee hours.
7. Sun will be shining by the time I wake up.
8. Early bird may get the worm, but I prefer scrambled eggs and toast.
9. I can take my time getting out of bed and get ready for the day, rather than have it thrust upon me.
10. Gives me the impression that my life is not as stressful as it is.
11. There are some health benefits to getting enough sleep.
12. Because SLEEP IS GOOD!

So grab your pillow and blanket and snuggle in.

Getting Started

I have been intending to join a writing group that meets monthly. Unfortunately, it's has been hard to schedule.
The group leader has created a weekly writing prompt.
This blog will have my response to these prompts as well as other writings I am inspired to write.
I hope you enjoy.
Please leave comments.
Constructive criticism is always welcome.
That's how I can perfect my craft.