Tag Archives: writing101

Voithos 2.1.1

Journal entry 2022Feb01

gorge Jeff SheldonJanuary in Southeastern Washington is mild compared to the last month I spent with the kids in Chicago. Now settled back into the apartment at the ranch from my two month visit, I’m comfortable and happy.

boyd sans cape

Moving home to the Ranch, so close to my crazy kid brother could have been worse, but it was the best move I ever made. However rough he’s always been a gem.

To be living my dream is marvelous. Royalties from my app already provided enough residual income for all those travel pieces. Aside from my blog, releasing rights as featured spots on my friend’s newspaper blog was a good call. I’m so glad I networked the project out to young Techies that keep my work on the cutting edge of the market place.

telex-vulcanhammmer-infotypewriter-pixabayAnd to think I actually salvaged so many of my old manuscripts. Those ones I keyed from a an old, rented typewriter onto discarded telex paper rolls (so I didn’t have to feed paper sheets). Did I really get through them all only five years after I moved back to the Ranch?

I shake off the chill and voice, “Voithos, coffee please.” In moments I could breathe in the aroma of a fresh mug of brew. “In a few more weeks I’ll enjoy opening the new electronic wall to bring in the fragrance and color of the landscape – and let the dogs in when I call them.” Not realizing I’d been speaking my rambling thoughts, Voithos, in his rich brogue responds, “Acknowledged.”

Heh, heh, I think. The folding, patio doors I installed, replacing the original garage door is now considered old school. I sigh. Dated or not, I love them.

Was it only five years after that first WordPress Blogging U course (fine, the second), I became a paid Technical Adviser for the upcoming YouTube enterprise? And collaborating with Two Are Better than One was a blessing.

I gaze over my office area, past the wood burning stove (the only heat source when I moved here). I installed a solar powered HVAC and water heating systems. Then I remembered the many rejections I printed and papered on my work area wall. I framed the last one, that sits on my old desk. “Lest we forget…” I startled, not intending to say it aloud, Voithos responds, “Acknowledged.”

img_1869 img_1862And to think, I did all of that while working a ranch, daily horseback riding – for leisure, traveling, hanging out with friends, cruising all over the globe with the gang and my offspring who now fly in from all over.

Thankfully my sons and daughters-in-law served more than their fair share in the military and public service so their grand kids aren’t subject to TDY assignments or the terrorist threats we all endured.

I reflect upon the happy years that followed, blogging about my stays around the globe. I met up with Lisa and her gang, Jacqueline, Mitch, J.Gi, Diane, David, Michelle, MescaAmir, Christi, and so many other great friends in the blogging community (what parties those were)! Traveling has certainly been more peaceful since Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Russia all made nice and the U.S. got out of their business!

How often I once dreamed of this life, and now it’s hard to remember the long, hard nights working. But I recall when the results finally took off. And now, with the wonderful people I’ve met in along the way, it’s hard to believe I ever felt lonely for someone, anyone to remind me life is worth living. God forbid I ever forget.

I must have dozed. What was I thinking? No matter, I’m breathing. “Voithos, start a new chapter, date 2023 November 22, draft title JFK-CSL. ‘With the years of memories I’ve collected, and some considerable loss… [I pause to rethink]’ ”

Voithos softly interrupts, “Roo, Roan is calling. Do you wish to answer or shall I intercept?” I sigh happily, saying, “Voithos, answer now. Hello, this is Roo.” [Momentary silence]… “Voithos, Increase outgoing volume. Hello, this is Roo.” like Roan doesn’t already see me in her holographic monitor. She looks too thin… “Hey…” Roan says with that confused tone I know so well. I wonder, who forgot what. I respond with our usual reply, “Hay hell, you’re old enough for oats.”

Suddenly I realize we had talked about letting the Jeep drive us to the Gorge – today – and her plane from Galveston departs in minutes.

I think, this must be what heaven will be like.

My foot rolling onto the cold, concrete floor shocks me into reality – I actually had been dreaming – a wonderful dream.

Wait, “Is that a trumpet I hear…**”

 

**“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 (NIV)

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Filed under The World According to Roo, Writing and Blogging

One Unforgettable Day

As the morning light crept across the floor I noticed black, wavy hair had already collected under the dining table. I took the Swiffer from the broom closet and wiped the floor from the front room carpet to the back door – again. As I tossed the sheet, fluffy with dog hair into the waste basket Hopi, our black, Golden-Aussie dog trotted into the room and stopped. She sensed my anxiety and studied me closely. 
 
I clicked my tongue and extended my hand toward her. She came near and sat beside me, leaning on me. I stroked her head as if doing so comforted her more than me. Hopi somehow knew what we all felt – something was not right. Nobody wanted to think about it. But we all felt it.
 
It was Tuesday, April 14, 2003. My second son deployed for Iraq on His grandpa’s birthday the end of February. By the second week of March, Nathan was able to send short emails every day or so. He phoned a couple of times, briefly reporting that he and his men were all good. But it had been almost two weeks since anyone heard from him.
 
Now, looking through the doorway to the computer monitor across the room, I saw the screensaver still undisturbed – no new email. Unable to sleep I’d gotten up and busied myself by cleaning the house hours before. Exhausted, but restless, I still needed to do something. I reluctantly said, “Walk?” Hopi stood, tail sweeping high and wide as she trotted across the room to take her leash in her mouth from the doorknob, carried it back to me and stood expectantly. Her eyes fixed on me, watching closely.
 
“Good morning.” Kerry called from the far side of the office.
 
“Hey, good morning.” I called back. 
 
The phone rang, startling us all. I spun on my heel, reaching for the handset on the table next to me, sucked in a deep breath and pressed the button. Hopi sat when she saw my shoulders droop slightly. Instead of the static-laced, overseas connection I’d hoped for, the recorded telemarketer squawked for a moment before I hung up. I heard Kerry sigh loudly as he hung up the handset in the office at the same time. Something had to give.
 
I took the leash from Hopi and she trotted before me a few feet toward the front door. As I passed the office doorway, Kerry leaned around his computer monitor, smiling at me – my sunshine. I paused hoping to not see any trace of concern which would increase mine. “Telemarketer” I reported already forgetting we’d both answered our handsets at the same time. We each considered something pleasant to say, but settled for silent smiles.
 
“We’re going to get some fresh air. You want to take a break?” I asked him.
 
“I tossed the ball for her when I got back from the depot. I want to try to finish this by eleven.” nodding to his screen while studying my face. He’d taken my fourth son Quinn to the train so I could stay by the phone. I nodded. Work was good and a healthy distraction. I had surrendered working on my manuscript for the more immediate gratification I get from cleaning.
 
“I need to walk” I reiterated.
 
He agreed, “It’ll do you good, Honey” still watching the doorway. We both sighed, waiting. I wondered if he too could practically see the apprehension in the air. With another sigh I started toward the door. Walking down the hall I lifted my coat from the hook, pulling it on. The newspaper clipping with the names of the troops already k.i.a., taped to the wall fluttered as we passed. The moments seemed longer, each step taking greater effort. At the door I pushed one hand through the sleeve, turned the doorknob with the other and then zipped the coat closed.
 
Stepping outside, Hopi right behind me, I stretched my arms up and then bent down to touch my shoes, amazed at the effort it took. Hopi sat waiting for me to click her leash onto her harness. It’s strange how I didn’t notice the harsh Chicago weather for the last week – it simply didn’t matter to me. Instead I imagined my son and his company finding relief from the average 80 degrees in Baghdad. Closing the door behind us, Hopi and I crossed the street to the park. 
 
As we walked the length of the block I envisioned Nathan and the company playing volleyball in the Iraqi sand, blowing off some steam. Then I realized they would be doing so in combat boots and battle dress uniforms. Scratch that thought. We were almost back where we’d started. I envied Hopi walking calmly, happily alongside me, her breathing slowing steadily.
 
“Hey!” I called, as though Kerry hadn’t heard us banging the storm door coming in. Anticipating I’d ask if there was any news, (like he wouldn’t have found me had there been), he called out, “Hi Babe.” And then, “Nothing yet.”
 
As if someone pulled my plug, my energy drained, exhaustion set in. The fact is, I hadn’t really slept other than brief cat naps for days. Before sunup I’d poured a cup of coffee, realized I’d already finished two, and then I poured it back into the pot. Feeling lost, I mechanically wiped the counters with a towel and then went to the table before I realized I had done that before sweeping. I reflected upon how the bursts of phone calls from friends at church and the rest of my family in other states kept me going like they hadn’t in years.
 
I sat down at the table. A moment later I rose, and stepped to my computer in the office again. Checking my email gave me no relief. I began to key whatever words came to mind: worry, fear, trepidation, war, danger, Nathan, please call or write. After a few more sentences that made no sense I took the keyboard from my lap and set it back on the desk. I stood, announcing more to the air than to Kerry that I was going downstairs. Kerry silently followed me with his eyes. He could see what I felt. There was nothing more to say. He nodded and went back to keying.
 
I started the washer and then realized there was nothing for me to put into it. I turned it off again and began washing the lid and the surfaces. While I wanted to think about times past, wiping grass and dirt from the top of the machine during little league seasons, I shook it off to keep my head in the present. This should not be so hard after raising four sons. But this was different from all his previous tours, even Bosnia-Herzegovina. Everything changed on September 11, 2001.
 
I walked back up the stairs, instantly recognizing the pronounced difference in the atmosphere. Kerry had stopped and stood in the doorway on his way out of the office. “She is right here” he said into the phone. Locking his eyes with mine, assuring me he was not moving, he handed the phone to me. Confused that I hadn’t heard it ring, something else struck a very flat, discomforting chord in me. I thought I felt a shock race from my hand to my feet and back as I raised the phone to my ear. 
 
 
“Hey Mom.” It is Nathan’s weary, reserved voice. But he doesn’t say Ma’am, as he has for some 15 years. The suppressed dread that had been stagnating for days, exploded.
I struggle to speak, “Oh, Nate…” 
“Listen Mom. I’m okay…” time slows. I recognize his voice is controlled – eerily, too controlled. I feel it  – I know what is coming. 
“Uh… I took a hit, Mom…” Again, not Ma’am.
I gasp, but no air flowed in. I glance up to see Kerry hiding his face behind his hands, his chest wretches. I must keep my focus on Nathan. I manage a quick breath.
“You are going to be alright, Natty…” I instinctively use the pet name I called him as a toddler that comforted him when he was sick or sad.
“I am, Mom.” The last time I heard fear in that voice was long ago, but louder than his voice, it screamed at me, mocked me now. I feel like someone shoved a wide blade in my diaphragm. I do not imagine fear in my son’s voice. Talking to his mom, it is real. The gravity sinks in, pushing that blade deeper. I pull myself tight, every muscle hard. Deep inside I find words, 
“I’m right here Natty. I’m not going anywhere. You can tell me. It’s okay.” I want to breathe, but I can’t risk drowning out his voice. He sounds strangely apologetic, 
“I’m gonna be okay, but I’m pretty messed up right now.”
He stammered slightly, “I – uh, Ma’am, my leg’s in a few pieces, an’ my boots are tore up…” 
This is not his usual precise speech, his carefully chosen words. This casual, slurred language coming from my uber-disciplined soldier son is dispersing my last shred of hope. This nightmare is real. I silently bare down again and shove,
“It’s okay, Natty. You’re going to be just fine. I know it. God’s not done with you yet.”
“Uh, roger that, Ma’am,” his familiar tone returns. He continues, “I was in full body armor, so I was pretty much covered, I’m not sure about my junk…” I heard someone very close to his head say, “The family is secure, Sarge. There are a couple of pieces of shrapnel in your glutes. Repeat, Sarge, the family is secure.” 
I hear Nathan acknowledge the corpsman, and goes on telling me, 
“…but shrapnel tore through my other hand. This awesome corpsman offered me his phone so I called you. Uh. I’m gonna be okay Ma’am.”
“I know you are, Son. Where are you now?” 
I am not surprised to hear him reply immediately, “Ma’am, I’m in a field hospital not far from Baghdad on Highway 8. They’re going to transport me to Landstuhl pretty quick here. And hey Ma’am…” 
I can hear a corpsman assuring him. I feel Kerry’s hands gently rest on my shoulders, now aware he is praying.
“Nate, good men have you now and I won’t stop praying until I can kiss your face.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. I know you will and I appreciate… Hey Mom, I’m real good an’ uh, I love you Mom.”
“I love you Natty. I always will.” I could hear him breathe calmly, deeply. I said softly, “I will see you real soon.”
He quietly agreed, “Oh, yes Ma’am.”
And now I hear nothing.
My instincts had been spot-on again. I stand frozen. Silent. Time stops. I do not feel. I do not think. I can not allow myself to feel.

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Filed under The World According to Roo

Catch Up Over Coffee

While I adore the idea of meeting up with you all, I’m too much of a realist. We’d have to meet somewhere public and I don’t know my new area well enough to know some wonderful, quirky place with superior food and drink to meet yet. I will have to arrange to have one of the cars, which doesn’t always happen on anyone else’s schedule easily. Face it, we’d settle on texting photos, on our coffee breaks. Still, anyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is welcome to come by. Call first, of course!

So, since we’re planning this date to share coffee together in the not-too-distant future, I can get to the local Starbuck’s which is now also Teavana – yeay! You are most likely aware I cut myself off of any form of caffeine and processed sugar after ten-ish. So tea, especially herbal blends are kind of a big deal in my world. That way you don’t wonder if I’m not a gremlin after midnight, manning the captain’s chair inside the head of a robotic costume.

I don’t give a care about what cups they’re serving around their beverages, I don’t frequent non-fair trade coffee shops enough that I feel any guilt or remorse (again, walking distance), and the atmosphere is almost always pleasant. Not only that, if we embarrass or offend anyone there, no one there will ever recognize us again. Besides, being new in the community and far from other friends and family, my speaking skills need remarkable warming up before conversing. You get to start!

Josey tea Carli Jean

While we share tea together I’ll be delighted to hear what’s new since the last time we talked (Skyped, whatever). I’ve learned (finally) that listening is actually more important than talking, or entertaining as I tend to do. While I have become adept at systematically changing names to protect the innocent in my stories, many of my dialogues and short stories come from simply listening to the people around me – with a little splash of creative drama now and then, just to make it interesting. Besides, I am literally so weary of my story where it is right now, I’ve been writing it in the first person the way I thought it would go starting two years back. It still sucks at times, but I feel better a lot more often in my fiction.

While we share tea together we’ll go over the last week’s global events and the news from each other’s localities. Getting trapped behind my side of my nose makes me forget the many different perspectives on the other side – your side of my nose. What’s more, the world isn’t quite as frightening on your side of my nose as it is in here! Over drinks together we get a better grasp of reality, examine truth for what it is and find better balance in the world today. As Ellen (you remember meeting her) used to say, “we must get together and talk through the world’s problems, fixing it all over a pot of tea (or a bottle of wine) soon. Balance. It’s all about balance in all things and one simply can’t do it alone.

While we share tea together I’ll torture you with the details of building my blog, the amazing things I’m learning about the mechanics of WordPress, the people I meet and the fun I’m having taking the Blogging U. classes. I’ll pester you for ideas to write about and how to promote myself where I haven’t already. We won’t talk about that episode last spring when I put into action a clever promotional idea, but the officer thought I was soliciting. I played the Grandmother card and he let me go. Whatever…

While we share tea together we’ll discuss the latest fitness challenges I’ve tried out and diet discoveries have come to light since our last visit. Surely something there will help me shed another five pounds so I’ll be back to normal body weight six months after I start lifting and boxing again. If I’m still breathing, of course.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the actual discoveries I tried and work well for me in my overall health care (like coconut oil), especially during the last bout with cancer – ugh. It’s all gone and all good now, “… I said, knowing I gained five pounds the last six weeks. (The physical therapist ordered me to not walk every day). I couldn’t believe she was serious about that until I popped one of the sutures in my calf going down the stair too fast. Note, it was only one stitch.”

While we share tea together I can tell you the secrets to spotting poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. I never heard of the latter either until I Googled homeopathic treatments, not wanting steroids. I can also advise you (after my second contact – they actually are bigger in Texas) how to treat the rash before it spreads – take the steroids. The End.

While we share tea together I’ll only be dull a few minutes boasting about my thirteen adorable, amazing grand kids, my marvelous sons and my heroic daughters-in-love. I promise only to show photos from my phone if you ask. And you know better than to ask just to be polite.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the wonderful, interesting new ways I’ve learned to meet new people in Texas (not counting that soliciting thing). We’ll probably even touch on how I found the best church home (third time was the charm). You will be amazed that I’m not on the Worship Team and remember that’s where I served primarily for the last thirty years. We’ll talk about the good old days and we’ll look forward to what’s coming up ahead.

I’ll bet you can hardly wait. Hey! Where are you running so fast?

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Chatting Over Tea

So far, most of my readers are my good friends from all over the country. As most of my new friends/readers have gathered, my life took me all over the continental U.S. over the past thirty years. Although I manage to circle around, the past eight years my circles have been loops.

I’m especially blessed to count seven close, dear “best” friends; people with common values I can say anything with and never fear being judged or offending with a misstated word. While we keep in touch pretty well by phone, Skype, social media, email, texts and even old-school, greeting cards, handwritten (or printed) letters and printed photos, we haven’t been able to get together, not even for the kids’ weddings.

For a year I’ve poured myself into my blog. It’s working better for me than losing hours on Facebook and its many entertaining diversions. Still, my last long trip was two years ago for one Spice Girlfriend’s wedding.

I often imagine the surge of information we’d exchange over a steamy cup of something lovely. I’d finally be able to tell them about my latest roller coaster ride; the things one simply doesn’t say over the phone.

Take for instance one friend in particular that I’ve known since she was home schooling her children at elementary level, and some were in High School. She would be my first subject, only because I actually saw her last.

I can imagine her flying into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, exhausted, pouring her into our guest room bed, resting a few hours and then sharing coffee or tea on my balcony…

Josey coffee Annie Spratt

Me: Good morning! You look wonderful.

Josey (dressed and refreshed, steps through the french doors onto the balcony to find me just sitting down with a tray of tea and scones): “Thank you. I have a little jet lag. I’m wide awake but I think my brain is still in Washington. (Josey sits and reaches for a scone as I pour tea,) You start bringing me up to date and I’ll jump in with questions when I need to. These are such good scones, I don’t even feel bad for sleeping in and not helping you. You can send me the recipe. Go ahead while I munch.”

Me: “I know what you mean. Trying to sleep last night I thought about how we used to compare our lives to a long, cross country tour of famous roller coasters.”
“This stop’s been very different from all rest. Living with this part of my core family, far from my kids, no one would have imagined how hard it would be for all three of us, pulling our lives together – together.”
“You probably remember Roan from before her divorce, when we were so close. She’s so different now, you’ll hardly recognize her – I rarely recognize her. We’re three entirely different people compared to who we were ten years ago – the last time we all lived together in Finley. That year before I moved back from Illinois, we planned the next few years down to every minute detail we could imagine. We tried including any unexpected twists and turns. But this train seemed to have derailed last March.”

Josey: “I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder how my life became so different from what I ever thought it would be.”

Me: “Does it ever blow you away how all three of us, you, Roan and I all separated from our husbands within the same 4 months? Even when I don’t text you, you know that you and the kids are all in my prayers – mostly daily. But how’re they adjusting to all the changes since the last move to Finley?”

Josey: “Oh they’re fine as far as I can see – now that they’re all grown and on their own…”

Me: “That’s as good as we can expect, I imagine.

Josey: “I know what you mean about building a new nest while living with siblings. And you, my friend already experienced losing a sibling to death, the first to leave this world. I can only imagine.”

Me: “And yet, we depended on Seagh in ways none of us realized till he was gone. His passing while he was so young actually was unimaginable. Although he was my kid brother – he was the wisest of us all. He earned all of our trust – said nobody else in our family, ever. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember you never met him.”

Josey: “True. And yet as close as you and I are, you’ve still never met my mom or my sister.”

Me: “Right.”
“Seagh wasn’t often gentle, like your mom, but he had a knack for knowing when the fur flies in our home to either leave the building, whistle loudly, or stand tall, staring blankly into the midst of the fray. He’d do that until we each noticed what he was doing and stopped – whatever. Then he’s say something remarkable, like, “So, where will you bury the body?”

We both laugh at the scene.

Me: “Lord, how I miss laughing at ourselves when he did that.”

Josey: “I can well imagine.”

Me: “The blog and my two manuscripts have helped me through the past year. So now, we’ve about hammered most of our kinks out. Opal living with her mother and me again now adds just the right amount of salt to the mix. We hated the apartment, so we bit the bullet and moved into this townhouse mostly because of this balcony. You remember when I’ve seen worse.”

Josey nods, saying only, “St. John Street,” Referring to the house she helped me renovate and move into years ago.

We both laugh again at the thought of the ramshackle house when my husband and I first bought it.

Me: “Thank you so much for reminding me! That is a great post for The Apex. Don’t you think?”

Josey nods in agreement as she sips thoughtfully.

Me: “I’d slant it toward the healing journey in general, both the house and me.”

We sit quietly for a comfortable pause as I pencil into my ever ready wire-bound tablet to remind me of the idea.

Josey: “Coming in I noticed how we’re walking distance from almost everything you need.”

Me: “It’s certainly a perk since I gave away my Chevy and salvaged my mini van just before I left Illinois. Oh, but running the girls around the Lakes in that van was fun. And to think, I bought it thinking mainly about the grand kids.”

Josey: “Yes. The notes you posted to Facebook about the retreats and road trips were very good. I enjoyed them as though I’d been along for the rides. I also noticed you publish a lot more since you linked your blog to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.” She smiled sincerely.

Me: “With everything so close, we manage to get by, the three of us sharing the two, well one and a quarter cars (ha ha ha). With her new job, Opal will replace her car soon. In the worst case scenario I go to church on line in my room. I trust I’ll pick up some more copywriting assignments soon and tuck that money away for another, more reliable, economical car. Now that I’m cancer free I’ll have the doctors paid off by the end of next year.” I sigh and smile feebly.

Josey: Raises both arms, palms up, saying: “Thank You, God.” I join her in the praise.

Me: “Sure, sometimes I get bogged down beneath all the trials, expenses and so little money coming in. Mostly over the grieving process – times three.
“Seriously, I think the hardest part of starting all over again is the finances; not being able to travel – yet – to see the grandkids. You well know, they don’t stay little for long and they forget so soon.”

Josey: “That’s why I’m glad you took Gilley’s advice and started your blog. Next thing we know you’ll submit one of your manuscripts. Who knows, maybe we’ll create an app to put our stories out there. I read that’s the up-and-coming-medium. It would be today’s spin of her Gilley’s first book.”

Me: “Sure. Maybe you’ll let me use some of your prose or poems. I think you might be just a little afraid you’d get caught up in blogging too.”

Josey: “I seriously don’t know when I’d find the time.”

Me: “No worries. Blogging U courses are so good, especially for connecting with other writers, artists, photographers, journalists bloggers – and even if only a small percent of your class offers to help you through a problem, that’s still a lot of help at your beck and call. You’d be schooling me at it in a few weeks. What’s more, the courses are free.”

Josey: “Go over your Categories for me again.”

Me: “Fine:

A Door Ajar: My stories illustrating some techniques I learned about relationships while I was pursuing my CPC; Boundaries, Anger Management and so on. The header: “Relationships are like doorways to our lives. When we close our doors fresh air, light and fresh perspectives don’t get in. Sometimes it’s best to leave the door ajar.”
Kitchen Sync: Foodies creating a better world from meager means. It all begins at home.
From the Apex: Enjoying the aging process from all perspectives.
The World According to Roo: Where I post my long reads
Blogging U: Where I compile my class assignments as I complete them. Maybe I’ll relocate some later on.

Josey: “I spend at least an hour catching up with you every other week.”

Me: “Feel free to comment any time. No, really. I approve or delete them all so you can’t embarrass me publicly – Hee Hee Hee!”

Josey: “I know. I didn’t realize I said that aloud.”

We laugh together and slip into comfortable quiet listening to the birds.

Feeling fatigue start to set in I suggest, “What do you think about taking a walk before these clouds get serious and rain?”

Josey: “Done.”

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Nature Walk

Sitting in my courtyard, I bask in the warm sunlight.

2015-04-19 18.48.30

I hear something barely audible scratch the wall six feet away, level with my face. I turn to see a bright green gecko hurrying its way across the wall. Gecko stops and seems to be looking into my eyes.

Gecko’s bright vermilion throat balloons and then deflates. As I watch, Gecko spins around to face the walkway, and then strangely, it spins back around, stopping with its face pointing directly at me again.

Fully into the scene, I begin to very slowly stand. Gecko also maneuvers even more slowly, and stops to point toward the walkway again. As if waiting for me as I step toward the walk, Gecko shoots across the wall about 12 inches, stops and then spins back around to face me yet again.

I continue slowly forward toward Gecko. He turns toward the walk again and then darts forward too, turns around the corner of the wall and vanishes behind a shrub.

Certain Nature is leading me into a dance, I begin down the walk and onto the street.

While I enjoy deep, invigorating breaths, a crow screeches from where he floats on the air just above and before me. Crow circles around me and slows in front of me again, as if willfully drawing my attention. I don’t speak crow. Crow doesn’t speak English. So, in fun I stretch my arms out widely as I continue walking along behind and below him. Crow circles again and glides a few feet up and in front of me as if enjoying the game, I run, he flies above and ahead.

As we approach a trail leading into the park, Crow banks left and I leave the trail to run after him up a grassy slope. Crow screeches, circling around and then glides directly ahead of me again. Enraptured by the moment, my arms still out from my sides, I quicken my pace back down the slope after him. Crow seems to hover in front of me and then he shoots upward.

Still running while watching Crow rocket effortlessly, suddenly the ground disappears from beneath me too. I feel the air holding me and I imagine I feel exactly what Crow feels.

Sudden, abrupt ouch!
Icy cold!
Wet!
Confusion!
Pain shoots up my legs – my feet slide out from below me, my rear and my hands splash into water, both slamming across slimy rocks lining the creek bed! What the…???

Soaked, I look up at the lower side of the bridge a good seven feet above me to my right, and further where I’d run off the grassy ledge moments before.

“Silly human” Crow chuckles as he flaps away over the trees.

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Filed under Latent Poetic Tendencies

Stepping Away

Writing and Not Writing

coffee Seemi Peltoniemi

I read today’s assignment immediately upon release and then slept on it. In the morning I wanted to mill the idea around before sitting down to work and put it off.

Rather than risk forgetting what is predominantly important to me now, I write every day. While my values haven’t changed much, my perspectives have definitely broadened over the years.

Within the first minutes of writing in my journal, I realized the text was stale and comparatively lifeless. Even my thoughts seemed to need a break.

I closed the book, called a friend, and left the house to run some errands. We met for coffee and scones and then shopped a little. Perhaps because it was spontaneous (for me anyway), I returned amazingly refreshed!

Once settled back home I checked in on classmates, what they are doing and then wound up critiquing my blog.

Basically ennui over my theme, I also realized my About page was wrong. Fortunately, my friend quickly texted me some valuable insight, and nailed exactly what I disliked.

An hour later I cut and pasted new text, making the message say what readers want to know about my blog – and less about silly, old me.

Resigned to keep my theme until my next Blogging U course, I’m now onto soliciting other bloggers and journalist friends for today’s secondary assignment.

Whether or not anyone reads the new About edition, it’s more direct, so I feel more distinctive, and more accomplished.

We’ll see how long the feeling lasts. Never mind that; it’s not about my feelings (okay, not primarily); I’ll leave it on faith* and the comfort of knowing it’s better now.

 

 

*The Voice, 2 Corinthians 5:7, “The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.”
The Voice Bible Copyright (c) 2012 THomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice tm translation (c) 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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2014 March 18

EVA Lambert
2001 Space Odyssey Way
Temporal, TX 70000
USA, Earth

18 March 2014

Dear Roo,

You know who I am and that I must take over now. This will be easier for you and everyone else if you simply let me do it. No matter what, I’ve got this.

Forget about your plans for the coming years. That has all changed. An amazing, and seemingly impossible journey began a few hours ago. Go with it.

Don’t even start to try; you can not fix this. You have only practiced this your whole life. You will do well because surviving is what you do.

Regardless of what your heart tells you, the rest of your family needs your strength, your kindness and your patience – more than ever before. You might screw up here and there, but no matter how hard it gets, regardless of how they fight, or how they behave, they are grieving too. Let them.

Remember you are not God. We are actually really good at what We do. Do your best to simply let Us.

One last note: Seagh is very well and good with us now and forever.

You’ll see us soon enough. Meanwhile, work on trusting us more and more.
Love Always,

Jesus

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Present, Future and Past

I agree for the most part. As with most of life, it’s all about our next choice. I recently heard James Reeves say, “If you haven’t dealt with your past, then it isn’t your past, it’s your present and your future.” Sometimes we get stuck in the past because we left a stone unturned. Sometimes we can kick stones out of our way. And sometimes we simply walk on. We choose what we do next.

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My Daily Delusion

sunrise pond

The songs of loons on the lagoon gently draw me from sleep. My stretching body activates motion sensors and light begins to gradually radiate from the hand-carved crown molding of the luxurious room. The coffee machine quietly begins. I breathe in fresh air and the Italian roast-amaretto aroma as my feet touch the warm pile of sheep skins (synthetic, of course). Perfectly tepid air caresses my body as the eastern wall that are double paned folding doors. With a command the opaque glass becomes transparent, it perfectly frames the view of water reflecting pre-dawn stars crowning the treetops.

“Good morning Roo. What are your thoughts today?” the soft, baritone sound of Voithos, my humanoid personal assistant asks. After a pause, it suggests a passage of my previous night’s work, its choice based on my respiration, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. I look across the room to the smooth, warm wood of my immaculate desk and executive chair and sigh contentedly about where I’ll work again today.

“Good morning, God” are my first words. Then, “Voithos, narrate Chapter seven.” Immediately Voithos’ mellow voice (sounding remarkably like Sean Connery’s brogue), rises and falls with the latest chapter of my novel, the advance for which built this high-tech tree house. I glide across the room to the work station…

And now I’m awake from that dream world, reality rudely forcing it’s way upon me.

The neighbor dog’s obnoxious barking – yet again – shatters my lovely dream. I groan, having hours before rolled from my chair onto the foot of my bed, pulling grandma’s afghan partially around me and dozed on top of the worn comforter where I stopped. I begin to unroll, allowing gravity to pull my legs toward the floor after banging into the folding chair at my desk.

About the time I feel my feet beneath me, I am shuffling down the hall toward Mr. Coffee waiting on the vanity. As I once again long to afford the luxury of Keurig pods, I decide not to write again about the blessings and the evils of coffee, my primary vice.

Making out the outline of my phone on the other side of the counter, I press the speaker button and voice my next thoughts, “Okay Google, transcribe…”

The bleep-bloop tone tells me that my worn, dated device failed again – and I forget that inspiration. I pull my robe from the back of the door and slide it over my arms onto my shoulders, blotting the water from my hands on the robe. I stumble on the belt that was dangling across my legs and right myself while already lukewarm coffee sloshes over my wrist, I am now fully awake. I look out the door onto the balcony to see that the newly-formed pond remains where the street used to be. I consider the three previous days of relentless downpours and wonder if this is the day the fully saturated roof material gives way and crashes into the garage.

I sigh deeply, walking toward my bedroom. Diffused, gray light now oozing between the blinds, I grasp the cord, raising them until the line snags and stops the process. I sigh again and breathe in the cool, early morning air.

Turning and taking the seven light steps around the bed to my make-shift desk; a folding table upon which my laptop rests, ergonomically correct, on top of my printer. I bend to lift the pillow from the floor, set it upon the cold, metal chair, and sit. Setting the wireless keyboard on my lap and opening the new laptop, I thank God aloud for the gift from my son that delivered me to Windows 8.1 from the old laptop that takes a full seven minutes to start up.

corner desk

As a siren sounds and I hear the engine undertones from the firehouse blocks away, I send up a quick prayer for the first responders and those they’re off to assist, as well as my firefighter/paramedic son and his wife, my soldier son, his wife, my third and fourth sons, their wives, the grand kids…

Opening my eyes, they scan over the documents saved to my desktop screen, the previous day’s work including today’s Writing 101 assignment. My heart rate increases and I smile. I sip. I want to meet my personal deadline that I moved up two days, to post early so I can then get to my email while the day is fresh. Hmm, where I write…

How do you design your work space? What would work better for you? What do you hope for in the future? I like new ideas. You can contact me below or visit Contact Roo in my Menu: https://roosruse.wordpress.com/contact-roo/

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Not Just Football

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”Vincent Thomas Lombardi; June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970

stadium steats

The first football season in our new home was disappointing. Not only did my family’s beloved Green Bay Packers not make it all the way to Super Bowl 5-0, but our household had landed in Dallas Cowboy country. No one ever saw that coming.

While this season Packers are 6 – 1, I’ve been following along – including all the local media hype. I am delighted to notice distinctive character that seems to have noticeably waned with other NFL teams. Though the Cowboys are having a hard season so far (2 – 5), I appreciate the team’s overall good sportsmanship I witness in the local newscasts after the games.

Nearly a week later, I can’t forget the news clip from the locker room after last week’s Dallas v. Seattle game. A Cowboy responded to tweets hailing him for rudely mocking the injured Hawk’s player, saying “Oh hell no, that ain’t right. I’d never do that… When I saw he was hurt I prayed for him. People making up mess like that, that just ain’t right.” I don’t mind saying it’s not the first time I noticed the Cowboys, win or lose, present good attitudes no matter what hits them.

They get up.

And then… U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ) exposed not only the Cowboys and the Packers but the Jets, Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Chiefs, Dolphins, Vikings, Steelers and Rams have all accepted some of the $6 million the Pentagon and the Department Of Defense paid to promote Veterans as Home Town heroes. Veterans must be recognized, respected and appreciated. Period. I agree, our government paying sports teams to do what they should do anyway leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Spending taxpayer’s dollars like that – that just ain’t right.

Let’s see how they all get up.

Go Packs!

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