For Cole

“Love you babe, Love you, Mom”

For Cole:

You are 13 today! The unconditional love you have for others is amazing, take that with you as you get older.  Your kindness will change everyone who comes to know you.

When I wake you each morning, I slowly creak the door open and literally you fly up from laying flat in bed with a gasp.  You are always quick to wake as if the house is on fire.  I am sorry because I have said this to you and like lighting you start flying around trying to figure out what you need to take but when you look up at me I just can’t contain my laughter. You always walk to me for a hug, I stay in the doorway just to get that hug from you. I love the way you hug and I love the way you hug everyone in the family, (really everyone) – at holidays, that is a lot of hugging.  Don’t ever stop doing that. Each any everyone you hug notices, by this you show them your heart.  You take the time for each and everyone of them, showing them they are special to you. You always vocalize your love. And it matters!

Babe, you need to start eating!  There are so many flavors…just try! As a baby you were always very picky but if I have to smell pedisure one more time in my life I will throw up.  Yes, you stopped drinking that a long time ago.  But you can’t live on carbs, pizza, grilled cheese, lasagna, nachos and or any other of the processing foods you love.  There are so many amazing foods, tastes, crazy or not, but food can give you a feeling, it can create a memory.  (Just as your pedisure did for me.) Try something I BEG you, you are hating me at every meal right now because I make you try one thing new every meal. We have figured out that canned green beans, mashed potatoes and steak make you gag.  As you grow you WILL need more food and all different kinds of food to fuel your body, to keep you growing, healthy, and active! Just give it a try!

You are 5 ft. tall, you may be the smallest in our family but son, you are mighty!  Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything, YOU CAN do anything you want! Never feel defeated, QUIT the self doubt: believe you are amazing!  You may learn in your own unique way, you may get the correct answer to a math problem that was not the way you were taught and you may encounter teacher’s who don’t take the time to understand the way you learn. Fight for yourself, speak up, if you need to stay after school or come to school early make that happen even if you’d rather sleep in.  It shows great character and strength.

You have had and will continue to have teachers notice you.  If you do the work, you will be noticed and teachers will notice your efforts. I believe I am a good teacher and I am confident I am, just as I am a writer. Far-away Grandpa was an exceptional teacher.  You have people all around you that can help and what is so amazing about you is that you are becoming your best advocate. I have been your advocate since your birth, I will continue to be. In the last two years, teachers continuously tell me you know how to ask the tough questions, you advocate for yourself, you are patient, and you don’t give up. I know you get frustrated, Bud. And I do too, trying to figure out how to solve two-step equations (fractions and mixed numbers) with the homework you bring home, seems impossible to me.  Then, once you work it through you are required to show your work backwards to prove it and write it out in sentences and don’t forget to write “yes” next to the problem and the “I can” statement (oh, and each answer stands for a letter which then solves a word puzzle at the bottom of the page).  Seriously honey, I’m baffled by this. I will learn to help you (although hopefully it will not take an hour like this most recent math assignment). I am in fact, learning with you and from you. I am just as excited as you are when we get to that last problem. In all honesty, I understand why teachers are teaching in this “new” way, I understand they are required by the state but there is always an acceptation to everything. If they are great teachers they will take the time to pay attention to how you learn the best and provide to you what you need to be successful and feel success even if testing says something else. There aren’t two pupils alike in a classroom.  Not everyone, can be taught inside the confines of a cookie cutter.  You have the tools to succeed in school. If you need to pave your way, you have those “dedicated” teachers around you – teach them as they teach you!

You have a wonderful sense of humor, your quick-witted, and bright.  You often say things that make us all laugh in any situation because of your wit and humor.  This is a great trait. You have already figured out how to lift the spirit of an entire room of people with your sense of humor and infectious smile and laughter.  You have great character. I am told by many people in your life that you lift their spirits everyday. I don’t think you even know it but this will take you far in life. You are grateful, happy, you draw other people to you, you do not judge, you love deeply and are empathetic.

Your empathy is something beautiful and you share it.  You would give away your lunch (which you have done), you take snacks/lunch for kids you tell me that aren’t eating), the clothes on your back, you make me tea when I am sick, you cover up your brother when he is sleeping, when I have a rough day you always surprise me with something that makes me gasp inside. If I take shower and have been sick you often take the time to lay out an entire “comfy” pile of clothes along with soft socks, a pillow, blanket and ice water. You sit with me when I am sick which is something I will never forget. I have never told you but I hate to be alone when I am sick. These things you do make me speechless.

There is ONLY one unique you and you need to open up at bit more and because you have so many life skills that other kids your age are completely unaware of.  Show this off! Be confident!

Cole, I know when you are down, you come to me and sometimes in tears, you like hugs and you fight through those tears and you have so much to say.  I wish I could take away your fears, your self doubt but when you are down and you don’t know why, please come to me and keep talking don’t hide how you feel with me. You are brilliant and at times in your life you will struggle and pushing on may feel like the hardest thing in your life at that time but you can and will survive and what will be on the other side will be beautiful moments and experiences. The world is a never ending place of beauty, explore it!

BE BRAVE!! Stop worrying about the numbers and letters you see on your report cards not a single thing on those papers show people anything about you…you will see them more as you get older because unfortunately, they are a part of going to school but let them go, do the best you can for those letters and numbers DO NOT define you.

Challenge yourself!  You do not need to live within the confines of your immediate surroundings. You have great ambition and you are passionate. I love that you don’t take things to seriously however, as you grow; there is a time and place to step it up! Don’t question yourself in these moments, get up, say what you need to, stay standing even if you feel alone (you will never be alone). Be Bold!  Be Inspired and inspire others. Keep surprising people!

Always love your family and continue to show it, I don’t know why I even write these words because at 13- you already do this!! This quality in you is priceless! Your brother has your back but the day will come when he will need you no matter what it requires of you…just be there! He may be five inches taller but don’t cave every time he comes at you with words or in play, it is in your nature to do this but when you do stand up to him (believe me, it will happen) be strong, out wit him, show him he can’t always win. This will empower you, life requires you to kick it’s butt sometimes even if it’s your little brother’s, still love him no matter what you go through together. I know you can do any you want in this huge world. Never get complacent and show people how you view the world and always lead with your heart.

Happy 13th birthday, my love!

“Love you babe, Love you, Mom”

I Welcome the Silences

Skinny Love by Birdysunclouds

“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”

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I welcome the silence this morning just as I did last night after my home was empty and calm.  The fireplace cast shadows over the destroyed living room and in that place I found quiet solitude and reflections from the last year.  The big moments hit my thoughts first and the smaller ones trickled through like snow melting drip by drip in my mind.

Last night, out of the 12 plates I was using; my brother grabbed the last one and it was covered in bugs, it was disgusting (a year in the attic). We all sat at the table (unknowing this) with our plated food and he came, sat down with an empty plate of bugs. (Life, HA!)

There was a fire on my dining room table last night (a burning candle and wrapping paper) and in the chaos of it all and of course, after it was out…I had to laugh.  Life can change in a blink of an eye. HA!

People can be in your life and then their gone.  Life and death. Feelings of being lost or stuck, wondering who you? And then a fleck of sunlight peaks its delicate ray through the dark clouds and something changes. Maybe you jump off that cliff, go with your gut, take a leap of faith with a job change, meet someone that changes your perspective on the world, make a dream come true, get engaged, publish a book, take a risk you normally wouldn’t, meet someone you feel that gives you that spark (it’s real, it’s raw-pay attention to it), graduations, marriages, children; there is so much life to live.  So many places to see and things to do. As I get older I realize I want to have more experiences, I don’t need anything…there are so many other people who actually “need” in this world…in a strange way I feel that this is exactly what I need…. experiences, more of them…act on the experiences I crave and desire.  I want to experience life through helping others daily…make that be one hell of new year’s resolution (and of course, 15 pull-ups, 40 box jumps and 40 burpees at Crossfit)!

In my selfishness I want to pack a bag, throwing the camping gear in the car and just go…. just drive…. just explore…leave my camera at home (yes, I said that!) and breathe in the moments that I find myself soaking in, exist in them, actually feel “life” …. make the word “adventure” …an action word (for you, literary peeps)!!  Here is my last selfish thought…. when I get back from that trip without being on a schedule I want to fill that same backpack with clean clothes and start over on a plane and actually go to places on my soul’s list…help build a school, be an aide where there has been a natural disaster…. help them rebuild…. things happen everywhere every day and I want to give…give everything that I have to somewhere or someone in need; this is a great desire of mine. Other places: Africa, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Bali, Ireland, Nepal, Iceland, Paris (see where my mother was born), Australia (where my sister was born), oh’ backpack across Europe living simply day to day with no plan, oh’ and join the Coast Guard!!

Anybody in??

*******

(Back to last night.) A room of laughter can easily be turned into worry and fraught as people are too worried about who started the fire rather than get that shit out of my house…burnt paper dusted the carpet and tiled floors. Celebrating with family and friends doesn’t need to be just be on those scheduled days on the calendar. Most people will never give those up for “tradition” sake. But why not get off the forged path ahead and be spontaneous…do something different. Be together to just be.  Be together for no reason.  Be together for an hour two. Sneak off take that trip, commit and go for it, take that leap.  Live!

All we have the moments we exist in!  If you think about today, Christmas…really think about how long this day is; 24 hours, right!?!  But how long does this day actually feel to you?  Does it feel like it drags on and on? Year after year it flies by so fast, we hurry through this day not purposefully but because there is just so much too this day. Many days in life feel this way. Take that leap, experience more, when you feel moved to jump, do it, adventure, take the moments, steal them if you too, give them back in another way but do give them back, karma baby.

*******

“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”

MacDonald Forest

Angel by S. McLachlan

 

The trees change color around me

leaves fall and I feel that each

floats like a feather to the moist ground

gracefully carrying us to the new year

yellow, orange, and deep red

surround me in this foreign patch of

grass-tall fir trees tower above

they creak as the wind blows them

this and that way…

pacific northwest winds swoop in

the cool breeze brushes my bare arms

my grandfather’s military green sweater

oversized, itchy wool, a bit musty

wraps me in memories

barefoot I stand,

soil cold and wet

pine needles cover the path

McDonald Forest is my place

of solitude this morning

I look up to the sky

guarded by tree branches

eyes closed I can picture

beyond the pine needles

comforted by the silence

I walk for about an hour

and then back again

wind picking up and the chill

makes me quiver and shake

my worries swirl around me

stolen by the air

time comes to mind

I try to push it out

forcefully, I fail

the hustle and bustle not forgotten

I was unaware for hours

In the breeze, in nature

nothing seems to matter

where I can just be me

For the Love of Farming

 

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There are days on the farm that our home feels like it has a swinging door.  We run in and out for lunch, to run parts for equipment on the farm, or business supplies. All the while, our twins who are 12 keep the door swinging whether its for play or working on the farm.

Day in and day out each one of us contributes to the needs of our farm.  My husband spends countless hours under the arbors of our hazelnut orchard or in the shop, the children are just starting to show interest about the farm and they want to be involved.  My sons pick up sticks on the orchard floor, drive the tractors, spot spray on four-wheelers and in the next hour I am running kids off to football practice.  They keep busy but they are learning that as a family, we are one unit and we have to learn to work hard together to keep the farm running, no matter what season we are in.

Our hazelnut farm needs continuous care depending on what season we are in but it takes a family to get through it all. My husband works along side his dad.  My mother-in-law and my self do the bookkeeping for our farm.  Believe it or not to run this farm we have about four different sets of bookkeeping.

I have struggle with this since we moved to the farm 12 years ago. I am not an accountant, bookkeeper, record-keeper, or someone who is good with numbers.  However, I have learned to adapt and find resources that will help me. My mother-in-law was a great help in the beginning but as our bookkeeping got more complicated I learned I needed even more help.  I took a few bookkeeping classes and spent a lot of time and money with our accountant.  I will continue to lean on this system for me because it works.  Why mess with a good thing when it’s working?

During harvest, about September through November life gets turned upside down.  I will be honest and say it is a struggle for myself and our children.  My husband works an easy 16-18 hours a day and if I don’t make him lunch and dinner, he wouldn’t eat.  He gets so focused on working that he won’t stop to eat.  He has an office that I stock up with food, snacks, and meals when I bring them to him. However, every year he easily drops about 15 pounds from the stress.

Harvest time is hard on our children.  They miss Dad so much. It is hard for some people to understand that dad is around for about eight months and the rest of the year they don’t really see him except for when they walk to the bus every morning.  For a few brief seconds, they get to see his smiling face and give him a big hug.  Sometimes he leaves them post-it notes on the mirror in the bathroom to surprise them just to let them know he is thinking of them.

For me, this time of year gets very lonely.  Some days I feel depressed and down.  But I know I need to keep my chin up because I don’t want my kids to see me struggle.  Everything this time of year in on my shoulders when it comes to running the house, paying the bills for the farm, and running the kids too and fro for all their school and social plans.  It gets to be overwhelming sometimes but I remind myself that this is not year-around and it is short lived. My personal life falls away during harvest time; I should learn to lean on it a little more but it is hard to juggle everything.

I have learned so much about myself, my family, and living on a farm.  I know that we have to keep things moving to making farming possible.  We have learned to adapt during certain times of the year and other times of the year we are able to lean on each as a family of four…and for a few short months it’s just me and my boys taking care of dad while he takes care of our year’s crop.  Through all of this, and the lifestyle we have, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Shadow

By Joshua Radin

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Castle like rocks stretch the lining of the west side of the water

casting a shadow across the left side of the canyon

the shadow slowly climbs to the top of the ridge

a warm breeze blows the hair across my face

trees scattered about the canyon walls

and I can count the ones that circle me

 

the stair steps of the rock that cascade around us

now shelters the water from sun

the gray flicker of water rocking the boat

back and forth

back and forth

Darkness cannot come fast enough

 

Trees show off their reflection to left

To the right

I rest in the middle of this beauty

 

Wet hair dripping lake water down my back

observing…

being in this moment

 

 

 

 

Need a Reboot?

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Everyone needs to get away. We need to take a break from the daily chores that start, stop, and repeat that life requires us to do, to be successful productive individuals in this world.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to escape or getaway. Although, I do not like leaving my family and I miss them so much when I am gone, I think everyone needs to get off the beating path of monotony of every day life.  My family is always tucked close to my heart, thinking of them in the time that I am away and quite often thoughts of them consume conversations when I am not with them.

As I have gotten older, my kids have gotten older and so much of them are a part of my conversations everyday that I wonder what I used to talk about before I had kids.  It’s this all consuming love and fulfillment everyday that it’s impossible to think about what my life would be like without them in it.

So, when I get the opportunity to check out for a few hours, a day, two days…it’s actually hard for me to make the decision to leave but it fills a place in me that is full of wonderment and laughter about the world in the the time that I am away. I think it is the change of scenery that refreshes and in a way, reboots us all that is important.

Turning Over a New Leaf

There are times when situations are put in our path and it is up to you to pay attention to them or not.  As individuals we have the opportunity to make choices daily.  We decide whether to go left or right, forward or backwards, or pick door one or door two.  It’s as simple as saying yes or no but it is never that simple, is it? I think most people tend to over think things and sometimes I am one of these people. However, I am trying something different lately.

I think many people live in the realm of actions cause reactions and choices have consequences so we get so wrapped up in what if this or what if that… that we don’t ever just go with living in the moment.  Living in the moment comes more naturally to some people and not so much to others.

I crave more spontaneity in life but often I find myself trying to make a plan or a list of tasks to accomplish things.  I am a planner by nature but am realizing lately that I don’t always need a plan. I would like to think I am always prepared but that doesn’t really jive with living in the moment.  Why is this?  Does life really require a schedule?  In my mind, I am trained to create this schedule but when it comes to relishing in the moments, life won’t end without a schedule.  It would in fact bring more spontaneity into my life and this is what I crave.  I want to try new things and test my own limits.  So, I am going to stick to this way of thinking for awhile and see what happens.

Last week my sister called and asked me if I had plans for this weekend.  Normally, we are both booked weeks in advance.  But not this weekend. Her spontaneous suggestion of getting away to McMenamins for a few nights and getting a few more stamps in our passports was a brilliant idea. So, I decided to jump at the chance and booked our room that day.  I always need sister time, heck, I would live next door to her if I could.  She is one of my favorite people in this whole world.  The laughter, honesty, and trust we have is limitless.

This new leaf I have turned over is to live in the moment and get out of my head, so to speak. Spend less time worrying and more time living.  More time with experiences and less time planning them. I will keep you posted on this works out for me.

How do you look at life?

Sedona, AZ.

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We spent a week in Sedona in a single wide trailer, slightly reminiscent of an old folks trailer park with a rustic Spanish feel.  Inside the gated area was everything we needed.  The walk way through the entirety of the trailer was one person wide. It was a cool place to stay.  Pool, a breakfast cafe on site, and daily art classes.

We were lucky enough to get signed up for an art classes at a nominal fee.  We were thrilled to do a water color painting class.  Now, for my sister this was second nature for her.  She is an amazing artist.  Everything that one needs to be, to be called an artist: creative, thoughtful, and paints as if each brush stroke is preplanned for the the next one as if she sees the finished piece of art in her mind.  It is actually a beautiful thing to watch someone be with their art, in the moment… creating it.

I have a friend who is an architect.  I have seen her drawings on paper, on a computer screen, and even more impressive the buildings she has designed. She is an artist also.  She gets that same look my sister has when she paints and the same ease and grace when she speaks about her designs.

The first full day we had, we were both nursing our way down the hill to a little building.  Putting one step in front of the other-a bit too much fun the night before and our inability to stop talking is often difficult on our trips. Conversations go on and on, unconsciously fighting over the last word, the last laugh, and soon 2am rolls around.

We signed in with a skinny man wearing a beret, small build, no hair with a gentle voice and the sheer sight of this man gave us a little chuckle.  I am not sure if it was his demeanor, the way he spoke and looked perfectly like someone in an 80’s comedy about a painter…a complete stereotype on my part, but he was fun to be with for a few hours. The icing on the cake, his name. Art Gecko.  I think that his name was the kicker to our whispering giggles. Still to this day, I wonder if that was his real name??

I had a surprise for the next day but turns out, not actually a surprise because I told her. I am so bad at keeping surprises. We were headed for a Jeep Adventure.  Alone, she and I would go off road with a penciled paper map in a brand new Cherry Red Rubicon.  This still is one of my favorite adventures.

I started driving through town as we made it to the dirt roads and I remember us looking at each other like we were entering a wonderland of excitment.  The red rocks towered around us, brush and tumble weeds wiped the sides of this awesome toy.  A rather expensive toy but it was SO SWEET! We drove for what seemed like a few miles before our surroundings started to change, the roads narrowed, we began to drive over  uneven ground and rock. My stomach seemed to flutter with nerves or it could have just been sore from all the laughter from the day before and laughter that was happening inside that open-topped jeep of joy.

The terrain again changed drastically after a few S curves and the dirt underneath us started to disappear, we were driving and climbing rocks. At this point, I knew it wasn’t sore stomach muscles, it was fluttering nerves. Another jeep approaches as we sweep by each other nearly hitting mirrors, they warn us of what is ahead.  We climbed the large hill and came around the left bend in the path. About 20 feet in front of us, was solid rock on a 45-degree incline and it sharpened off about ½ way up probably to a 75-degree incline.  After some discussion, about putting the Rubicon in 4-wheel drive manually, my sister says, “now once you start driving you have to make it to the top, there is no stopping half way.” The incline didn’t seem that scary from the flat path we addressed in front of us. I decisively decide… I got this.

I start to accelerate slowly and my sister urges more gas, more gas, and I know my facial expression right then, and my laugh turned to a terrified nervous giggle.  My sister is holding on for dear life, leaned forward as if that would help move us forward faster. Her urgency for me to give it more gas grew quickly and my weightless numb foot couldn’t push any harder.

I started babbling, “oh shit, oh shit. I can’t, I can’t.” I use both feet to slam the break into the floor board and in that exact position, at that angle my entire upper body felt as though I couldn’t lean forward even if it was life or death.  My sister yells, “what the hell,” and looks like she is going to punch me in the face. We both looked forward and all we saw was the sky.  In a split second, I decided I was done driving, at that moment, at that angle, and I was done. I absolutely pictured that if I went up any further the Jeep would somehow tip over backwards and flip end over end down the hill.

I needed my sister to drive.  She decided we were not exactly in the right place to do a Chinese fire drill and switch drivers. I slowly let off the brake which allowed us to roll backwards to where the incline began. Emergency brake engaged, we switch places by me sliding in the passenger seat inside the Jeep and her passing in front of the Jeep to get in the driver’s side.

She took over and charged the climb.  Up slowly we went and once that incline hit 75 degrees I swear those tires had suction cups on them to keep us attached to the rock.  We drove a bit further, another climb or two and we finally reached the top. Red rock towered on one side of us. We stopped in the center of the rock.  Our laughter echoed for miles, I’m sure of it.  We replayed my abort mission mid rock climb and couldn’t catch our breath. We explored a bit, tried to take selfies in the middle of nowhere, yelled to see if voices would echo, talked and relished in the hot humid afternoon drinking water and celebrating with trail mix.

Our journey in the Rubicon was not over.  We had to find our way back and together we decided we were loosing too much daylight. We headed forward off the grid where the map just ended and figured we would make it back just fine.

 

 

 

Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!

 

 

The Largest Round About Ever

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We travelled many trips before but this one we took by storm because of the heat we were told we would encounter as summer drew closer in Arizona.

I left Portland and she left Seattle joining forces in the Phoenix airport.  Beyond the excitement of just being in this new state together and the enjoyment of embarking on another sister trip we simply couldn’t contain ourselves. We were interrupting each other and laughing as we wandered to the rental car counter and bounced about like young girls with pigtails in a make-believe world.  Neither of us could get a word in edge wise.  We filled out paperwork and as always argued about who would pay.

Our rolling suitcases trailed behind and we were off to find our car.  This car was claimed to be an upgrade but from what I do not know.  Not any bigger than a smurf’s turd, our tan car was squeaky clean and we rolled off to take on this state.

One of the best things about our trips is that we are open to anything that comes our way.  There is always adventure, some fear (for me, anyway), a little ass kickin’ of both of ours, a challenge, laughter, outdoors, staying up late, and the most amazing conversations that makes me relish in the moment…exist in that one second and breathe deep to not miss a thing.  I know everyone has their favorite person, and she is mine!! (Listen up! I am not slighting my husband in anyway, he is “my” person. But it is distinctly different than a sister.)

I am behind the wheel and getting myself situated in a car that has no power what so ever and feels like I am driving a steel tank from the 80’s we circle around the inside loop of the airport.  She is looking at a map, the airport signs to get on the freeway, and digging in her purse for chap stick.  We are still enthralled in conversation and laughter as we continue in the largest round about in the world.

She is searching for music and honestly, I think she noticed first that we were passing the rental car exit from the airport again. Not only did we exit there with our rental car but we had now finished a complete circle, she laughed that glorious, addicting laugh while looking slightly irritated. I had no option to change directions or stop on the side of the road.

If you have been to the Phoenix airport, you know what it is like to leave that airport or at least, now you know how hard it was for me to ‘try” and leave that airport for the first time.  There is no way of knowing if I could leave it again without making the same mistake.

She instructs me to pay attention and get my shit together as she dumps the map because we still haven’t left the terminal gate.  I begin to circle over my first tracks and am determined not to circle the entire airport again.  I wait for my sister to tell me something.

It’s four lanes wide…what the hell lane was I supposed to be in?? We continue to find the situation hilarious and know we are going to be late getting to where we were supposed to be.  She shouts, “exit there” and in our gutless smurf turd, I floor it and shoot across the other three lanes of traffic to an actual exit from the airport.  What the hell?  It took us over 30 minutes to get the hell out of there!

My sister is back on map duty and the city scape starts to disappear, it’s dry, hot, and the freeway stretches behind us and in front of us for miles.  My blood pressure drops now that we have actually left the airport and we start chatting in a calm manner, excitement fills the car, and what are plans are for the week; while miles and miles pass.  Maybe eight songs run through the radio in their entirety and we wonder how close we are to our destination.

We start to actually pay attention to the freeway signs and wonder what town is next.  Map reading, her head is down and I report, “we are 38 miles to Tucson.” She looks at me puzzled, in an empty stare and says, “wait, what? Isn’t that the wrong direction?”  In my stammer, I look at her laughing and make the statement, “I don’t know?” Annoyed, she looks back at me, “what the fuck?”  She looks up from the map and declares, “we have to turn around,” which is hysterical to me and frustrating to her. I figured it was as good a time as any to ask her, how far out of the way did we actually travel??

Again, we exit and turn the car around to get headed in the opposite direction.  If you ask me whether we were headed north, south, east or west…I deny, deny, deny…because, I simple have no sense of direction.  Easier put, I wonder if it is a birth defect I was born with?

As we head the opposite direction from Tucson back the way we came, I question will we actually get to where we are going.  I look to my older sister for guidance and she was less than enthused. She said, “Phoenix, we are supposed to be in Phoenix.”