Tales From The Lawn

I mowed my lawn the other day, just an ordinary activity that most of us do. While pushing my mower up a side hill, the neighbor’s lawn service pulled up in front of my house. They proceeded to unload their equipment, and one guy kept giving me the eye.

I suppose it was the pained look on my face as I awkwardly, clumsily pushed it up that side hill. He sat on his riding mower. It was more like a throne. He leaned back like that black plastic or leather upholstery had the makings of fine velvet. He had this smug look on his face. He backed it down like I should understand he was the Nordic God of lawns. I felt positive he’d say, “Now, see, you could be inside watching reruns of Dallas.”

While they mowed and edged, I spent a majority of my time picking up sticks. Then, I’d mow a section. My lawn mower is electric, so I have to be careful not to run over the cord. That would have been embarrassing, upsetting and annoying.

I have several trees. My side and front yard are at a slant. Sometimes, it takes a bit of work to mow this section or that section. Sure enough, while the Nordic God of grass mowed the neighbor’s lawn, I managed to wrap a cord around a tree. That’s not uncommon with my yard and my trees, but again I felt certain the Nordic’s were laughing at me.

It almost felt like I was back in the seventh grade. My first year in junior high, I stumbled with a stack of books. Two ninth graders, tall as timbers peered over at me and took pity. Plebe, they should have said. That’s what the lawn guy wanted to say.

I had to stop and pick up more sticks. I broke one in two and thought of my nephew. He had just turned five, and we’d had a bad storm. I had a lot of downed branches. I told him I’d pay him ten cents for every stick he picked up and placed in my trash can. My back had been bothering me, so I figured it would be worth it. He picked up one stick and broke it in two. “That’s twenty cents, Aunt Rhonda.”

I kept mowing and thought about the smug look on that guy’s face. I had to wonder; my dad was a bus driver. He used to tell my mom, “I drive all day and then when I get home you want to go someplace.”

I wondered if that guy tells his wife, “I mow all day and then when I get home; you want me to mow. Nag, nag, nag.”

I’m curious if his yard is a vast wasteland of grass growing way past the kitchen window. In the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, the main character mowed his lawn by throwing a fireball into his yard.

Two of my neighbor’s own lawn services. I see them mowing their yards. It’s probably like a business card. Who’d want to hire someone who didn’t keep his grass like the cover of some lawn and garden magazine?

I dumped my lawn clippings into my yard waste. Afterwards, I used that time to unwind the cord from the tree. The Nordics were still watching.

A couple of years ago, I injured my knee, and the doctor told me to stay off of it. I HAD to hire a lawn guy. He wanted thirty dollars. He whined about my fence gate. It was too narrow. The gate swung the wrong way. He didn’t like the embankment. Nag, nag, nag. All those things are true. The gate is narrow. The gate did swing the wrong way, and I don’t like the embankment either, but I like thirty dollars in my pocket.

I don’t begrudge my neighbors spending money on lawn service. I wish I could afford it. My other neighbor’s lawn boys carefully place sticks and downed branches on the edge of my property. Or they throw them into my yard. I would gladly take the sticks and deposit them if my neighbor needed the help. But those guys, lazy. Whatever, they’ve got to keep moving, blah, blah, blah.

One time, the lawn guys threw a stick up into my yard, and it hit my leg. “Ow!” I yelled. It didn’t really hurt, but I wanted to make a big show of it. Idiots. You could tell they didn’t know I was there. Their eyes about popped out of their heads. They looked like little boys caught with their finger in the pie.

Other lawn services/boys/Nordics blow leaves into the street or onto my property. I have ten trees. I don’t need any more leaves, thank you very much. I don’t care if they are from my trees. I even looked this up one time. The law says if my trees drop leaves in your yard, it’s your problem.

If everybody had a lawn service, would we ever get rid our leaves or would we just keep blowing the same leaves back and forth from property to property?

I’ve thought about taking all the leaves they blow into my yard and dump them back on my neighbor’s lawn. If the neighbor asks if the lawn boys had been there, I’d shrug.

I was still mowing my front lawn when the Nordics wrapped up the neighbor’s entire yard. They even edged it. I still had the backyard to do when the Nordics drove away grinning, still smug. On to the next yard, I think they even did a fist pump to the chest and a forward ho motion like most Roman Generals urging the troops onward into battle. I certainly felt a little humbled by their efficiency.

But, I can do without their services. I’ll take my thirty dollars and stick it into a special, I’m a cheap skate retirement fund, right after I get it out of the bank.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Flip Flop Haters

I had a co-worker who hated feet. He said when all his kids and grandkids reached five-years-old he gave them a pair of shoes and told them, “Cover up. It’s not cute anymore.”

I thought that was so hilarious I included it in my current Work in Progress.

I sat on an aisle seat at my job. Whenever anyone with Flip-Flops walked by, they created such a ruckus, it was difficult to concentrate.
We had one lady, that moved like a freight train, fast and chugging along. Now, imagine that constant slapping of her thongs against her feet at a high rate of speed. Fine china would have dropped off the cupboards.

We had a supervisor who wore some sort of air-thongs. When she went slapping by my desk, not only was there the pleasure of that constant flap-slap to the tune of some heavy metal band, but they made that extra squish in and out. With every single step, flop-squish, flop-squish. I sat just outside the copy room, so every time she needed to make copies, she’d have to flop-squish by my desk a couple of hundred times.

It became so annoying; I put up a paper with pull tabs on the end. The paper said, “The sound of Flip-Flops is:”
On the pull tabs, people had their choice of, Annoying, Aggravating, and the sound of a symphony to my ears…

Co-workers then pulled tabs and taped the tab they wanted to their desks. Some of those tabs stayed on their computers for years. I thought I was alone in my aggravation.

The amazing thing to me was the people who wore the flip-flops didn’t understand.

The freight train turned her head with the same quizzical look you might find on a cocker spaniel puppy looking at a new pair of carpet slippers.

Look, I’ve got nothing against flip-flops, except the noise. Although there was the time, I met some friends for lunch at a restaurant. A woman in her thirties sat reading a book. She had kicked off her flip-flops and had her feet extended to the empty booth before her. She kept wiggling her digits and rubbing them all over the seat. It must have been a real toe-curling book, but my thoughts turned to the next person who sat at the booth. They have good table manners. They don’t have their hands-on the table. They keep them on their lap or the seat. Between bites of their sandwich…well you get the picture. Ew…

I have many relatives and friends in LOVE with their sandals and frequently post pictures of their toes and their latest pedicure.

I get it. It is a sign of enjoyment and pleasure. A signal that I’ve made it. I’m living the life. My tootsies are out in the open. People post pictures of their feet relaxing, crossed at the ankle. In the distance, lay a body of water with a palm tree or two. Sometimes their kiddos are playing in a paddling pool.

Why doesn’t the construction worker post pictures of his steel toed work boots with his latest building in the background? That’s success. He’s happy to be working.

The factory worker doesn’t post pictures of his blood-stained boots after a shift of packing liver.

I admit I have posted a picture of my bicycling shoes with my bike in the background. In the foreground, a copy of one of my favorite writing books, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
It all says the same thing. I’m, relaxing.

In our social media conscious world, posting a picture of our piglets is a status symbol. We all have phones at the ready. The latest megapixel digital image of whatever we are proud of ends up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. In the sharpest detail, we get images of what we’re eating, doing, playing and of course we get to look at people’s feet. I’m sure my former co-worker blocks those people.
“Why’d you unfriend me, Bob? That’s so rude.”
“It was your feet, John. You keep posting pictures of your gnarly toes. It’s gross, man.”

And that’s another thing. You don’t see men posting pictures of their feet. Maybe, most men realize that people don’t want to look at those dogs.

Did our ancestors rush to the photographer and pay hard earned money to stick their tootsies up? They couldn’t afford to have pictures taken. One hundred years from now, our descendants will look at pictures of their parents and grandparents latest pedicure. “Wow, Grandma has an amazing big toe.” Or, “My feet look just like Grandpa’s.” Mom will pat the kid on the head and wipe away a tear, “Grandpa would be so proud.”

I guess I should confess that I have webbed toes. My parents said when I was born; they looked at my feet and laughed and laughed. Unfortunately, anybody else who gets a gander of them does the same thing. Doctors, nurses and even a massage therapist or two let out a shriek. Then, I get questions about surgery. Really? You want me to spend thousands of dollars for something so ridiculous? I think they look fine. But I’m not about to post a picture of them for your viewing pleasure/displeasure.

I just prefer to wear something with more substance. I do like to wear clogs or slides. Maybe, I’ll start posting pictures of my ankles. Now, that’s sexy.

P.S. I started a Facebook page devoted to Flip Flop Haters. Called appropriately enough, Flip Flop Haters. I’ve never launched the site until now. Feel free to like the Flip Flop Hater’s page. Even if you love Flip-Flops, I hope you like the page.

Posted in Humor | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Effed up

In one of my writer’s groups, we had a discussion about the “F” word. Actually, the discussion was about the overuse of the “F” word.

Years ago, I watched the movie Midnight Run with Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. I loved the movie. It was incredibly entertaining. It wasn’t just about a bounty hunter but a man still in love with his ex-wife. It was also filled with the F-word, and I do mean filled.

Before I returned the movie to the video store, back when people went to the video store, I thought I would watch it again, but this time keep an accurate count of just how many F-words there were.

The problem with so much colorful language was the incredible task of trying to keep score.

There’s not only the dialogue of the major players, there’s also the dialogue of the person in the background. What if someone leans their head out the window of a passing car and screams an obscenity? Then I had to decide if I should keep track of all the other foul words.

I did. This experiment wouldn’t work without it.

I had this enormous sheet with tic marks everywhere.

Then I had to try to figure out the many variations of the words to keep track of. There’s effing, effed, just plain straight up eff. There are plural effs, and singular eff’s, which brings up another point. Were there possessive eff’s? I don’t remember.

Sometimes the eff’s, and “B’s” and “P’s” were flying so fast I couldn’t keep up. I had to pause the VCR, back when people had VCR’s. I had to rewind, run it back and play it forward. Then, there’s the issue of did I already count that effing eff?

Phew, what a workout.

I don’t remember the count for sure, but I think it was in the neighborhood of 240. So, I took the figure & divided it into the total minutes of the movie. If it was a 100-minute film, that makes 2.4 foul words per minute.

Imagine a trip to the grocery store. “Where’s your effing cottage cheese?”

Clerk: Behind the effing sour cream, you ungrateful stupid b*+ch.

In everyday life, that means I’d come into work, and my co-worker would greet me.

“Good morning, Rhonda, how the eff are you?”

“I’m effing fine. How the eff are you? You effing rag, why can’t you leave me the eff alone?”

In an eleven-minute phone call, that means I have to fill the conversation with 26.4 curse words. I’d probably have to just let out a string of curse words. I wouldn’t even be able to use them all in a complete sentence. So: Eff, eff, eff, eff, eff, eff, effing b*+ch, pr*+k, eff, eff, eff.”
Customer: What was that for?
Me: Just filling my quota sir.

Of course, the point four would mean an interrupted or unfinished curse word.

“F…f…f…f…f…f….f….f ..a…aa…”

Oops, can’t finish it. Only a .4 curse word.

Yes, I see the need for 240 curse words in a two-hour movie.

I had found this little experiment so interesting, that I tried to do it with another flick. A real two thumbs up film, back when we had two thumbs up reviews, Spike Lee’s, Do the Right thing.

I couldn’t keep up. There were eff’s flying so fast it boggled my mind and my tick calculator. I had to turn it off. I don’t know if the movie made me sick or the idea I had to be a math wizard.

Rhonda H.

I said I was going to write this as a blog post, and I effing did.

Posted in Foul Language, Foul words, Humor, Movies, Writing | 4 Comments

The Annual Family Reunion/Trek

We held our annual family reunion in Gordon Nebraska this year, just like we did three years ago. We have one every year, and we always have a great time. Three years ago, one of my cousin’s took us on a trek/tour of all the places our grandparents lived near Rushville Nebraska.

  • DSCN1266 This was one of their residences.

We had lunch in the Rushville’s park and some of us played on the slides.

DSCN1290 Here’s a less than graceful picture of me…

We were looking for one particular house. We saw a few places they lived, then we went down a sandy side road. I’m generous when I call it a road.DSCN1296

We pulled up, 8-10 cars at least 20 or more of us. I was the last car, everybody said they liked that. My bright green car meant they could tell at a distance if we were all there. Other cars all saw us coming and would pull over. Apparently, we looked like a funeral procession, which was ironic because of all the fun we were having.

DSCN1270 Some of our cars.

We took pictures. We went to one home and chatted with the owner. She said no, it wasn’t their house, but thought the place we were looking for was down the road.

Off we went. At one point, my uncle, who is celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary this year, got out of the procession. He sped up way too fast, keeping on the opposite side of the road to pass me and get back to his place in line. Don’t disturb the order.

We went down another side road. This little boulevard had grass growing up past the undercarriage of most of the SUV’s. My little Mazda was not built for country driving. It took a beating. I could only hope and pray nothing fell off.

Green Mazda My cousin took this picture of my car.

We bumped and glided along. I had three of my female cousins with me. We pulled up to another farm-house. They had a sign that said they welcomed tours. Once again, this crazy group of relatives all piled out. My aunt, the other half of the 60th wedding anniversary party, came running over to us and begged for a ride. She said her husband was driving crazy. Or maybe she said he was crazy. No matter. No one offered her a ride. Sorry, you made your bed 60 years ago.

One of my male cousins got out wearing his mother’s wide brim, red hat. The people from the house all came out. He, my male cousin, spent the next several minutes explaining to them that he was a normal red-blooded American male and pulled his recent bride close to him. He didn’t take off the hat.

The owners were very generous, but they too said it was not the right house. We had some great laughs, and then the matriarch of the place told me that they sometimes get people out looking around because she happened to be Mari Sandoz’s granddaughter.

She said many people want to see the places that her grandmother wrote about. It was incredibly fascinating to me as a writer that people would travel long distances to seek out the places an author wrote about.

She was very sweet. I took her name & took her picture. While looking around, her handsome grandson walked over. My family teased me for speaking with the good-looking guy, but as I pointed out, he talked to me.

We left on a worse road, all sand ruts and grass. My cousin, in the red hat, made a wide swing around, and I made a lesser swing and cut him off, so he had to follow me. (Snicker)

Going uphill, my little car dug in and wouldn’t move. I backed down and tried again, we just spun. Unbeknownst to me, some of my cousins saw we were no longer with them and started honking and flagging down the rest of the family.

My three female cousins piled out, and I tried to make it up the hill without them in it.  Still, I spun. This time, I told them to push. Another cousin came running back to help. The pushing got my car up and over the hill. My cousins piled back in and were spent. I looked at my passengers, and they were all fast asleep. That sand took its toll.

After the Bike Ride Across Nebraska, I raised my bike over my head. (A lot of bicyclists do.) My relatives wanted to lift my car over their heads and get their pictures taken.

On the final day of the reunion, I gave my 81-year-old aunt a ride home to Omaha, and everyone told her she’d better watch out cause I might make her get out and push.

DSCN1281This was an old gas station my grandparents also lived in.


Posted in Family, Humor, Reunions, Writing | Leave a comment

The Newspaper Thief

When I lived in an apartment, I had the Sunday morning newspaper delivered. One morning, as I headed out the door, I discovered my paper was missing. I called the Omaha World-Herald and they brought me another one.

The main entrance to our building stood four feet away from my front door. As the delivery man/boy entered the building, the door would swing open with a squeak. Then, I’d hear the heavy bundle of papers dropped outside my door. They’d scurry down the aisle dropping Sunday morning papers as they went. I still recall that plop, plop noise echoing throughout the building. For some reason, my paper seemed to be missing a lot. I finally realized, my building had a newspaper thief. Cue the ominous music.

I went through the five stages of loss and grief.

Denial! Someone couldn’t possibly have stolen MY paper. Maybe, the newspaper gods forgot to deliver it? Perhaps, the person across the hall thought it was their paper. Did I pay the bill?

Anger/Outrage. Okay, maybe I wasn’t outraged. How about annoyed? Yes, I was annoyed.

Bargaining: Maybe, if I had gotten up earlier, the paper wouldn’t have been so tempting. Perhaps, they were anxiously awaiting that new potato soup recipe.

Depression: Now, I have to trample off to the store to buy another paper. It’s not the World Herald’s fault criminals abound. I did pay the bill. I did, I did.

Acceptance: I guess I can live without my paper.

I really enjoyed the Women’s section. Ann Landers, Dear Abby (this was 20 years ago) and Hints from Heloise. Ask Andy and cartoons! I loved reading Snoopy.  Sometimes, when I couldn’t stand my job, I’d pour over the want ads. I read the Midlands news and the world news. World peace has always been a priority.

I really didn’t want to accept this, this blatant theft, this manipulation of my time and money. Besides, it was wrong, wrong, wrong! Stealing is wrong!

It became a struggle to get up earlier than the thief. I had to set my alarm at six a.m. ON SUNDAY MORNING! It was the only way to get the item I paid for. I really wanted to catch the thief in the act, but I never could.

I got tired of this cat and mouse game. So, I decided to set a trap.

This must be the sixth stage of Grief. Revenge. I’m not a vengeful person and I don’t like vigilantes. When someone takes the law into their own hands, all our lives are lessened. But mind you, I was pretty teed off.

I took some old newspapers and sorted them the way they normally are arranged. I placed the World news first, then the Midlands and then the Sports. Except I included two Sports sections. I figure they might have found this amusing. They might comment to their roommate/spouse, “Why look, the World-Herald added two sports sections! Ha, those crazy journalists.”

I then included carrot scrapings and old potato peels. I did this a few days in advance so I imagine the carrot scrapings and potato peels were pretty brown and smelly. I did hope for smelly.

Then I took a black magic marker and wrote, “Thy Shalt Not Steal.”

The night before, I slept in my living room by the door. That way, when I heard the paper flop down, I could grab it with lightening speed. It was right out of Mission Impossible. I carefully eased open the door, still in my jammies, mind you. I didn’t want to be seen. Not only because I was in my pajamas, but because this was a stealth operation. With one arm, I grabbed my Sunday morning paper and slipped out the fake one.

Until this posting, I never thought about what it must have been like for them. Maybe, they were the kind of person who stood to read the paper. They would fan it open and potato peelings would land on the floor and the dog or cat would get into it. Or maybe, it would land on her open toe shoe. (Who says newspaper thieves are men?) Envision a brown, possibly moldy potato peel lodged between her painted toes.

What if the wife insisted the husband bring the paper home and since he was a lazy, cheap clod, he grabbed mine instead. Imagine if will, the wife was the kind of reader who opened her favorite section while sitting down. Blackened carrot scrapings would land in her lap. In the end, they didn’t save any money. I’ve heard couples therapy can be expensive.

Needless to say, no one ever stole my paper again.


Posted in Humor, Newspapers, Stealing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Untimely Demise of Elmer Fudd

I was out for a jog the other afternoon, or my attempt at jogging, and I noticed a man up ahead. Then I saw a rabbit doing the hundred yard dash right towards me. That’s when the man pointed at the rabbit and a dog chased after it. He was egging the dog on.

When I got close to the guy, I could only think of one word: Bully. I didn’t say it, but that’s what I was thinking. If the man had been starving, then I would understand. The circle of life and all that, but I could clearly see he wasn’t starving. If the dog looked like he was famished, I could appreciate the situation, but the dog was just as chubby as the owner.

I kept thinking about it and wondered why I had such an adverse reaction. Then, I flashed on an event from my childhood.

My sister and I had pet rabbits.


Mine is the little black one.

Rabbits really don’t do much of anything, but eat and poop. My dad decided to put our rabbits to work. He delivered refrigerators part-time, so we had lots of refrigerator boxes. We took the boxes, after cutting them down about waist-high and we moved the rabbits along in the box. They’d eat the grass and fertilize as they went along. It worked great. We didn’t have to mow the lawn as much and we had a great fertilizer.

It wouldn’t behoove me tell you the rabbit’s real name because of all those security questions I have answered over the years that ask for your first pet’s name. That being said, we shall just call my childhood rabbit, Elmer Fudd.

One day, my mom and I went for a walk. We stopped to talk to our next door neighbor. He happened to say how much he missed the old days. He said he could sit on his front step with a rifle and shoot any offending critter he wanted, like squirrels, mice, and rabbits. He pointed down the hill and said, “See, there’s a perfect example. A rabbit is running amuck.”

I looked and sure enough, a little black bunny was running for its very life. Hot on the rabbit’s tail was a dog giving chase. I stepped closer to realize the rabbit, was none other than my own little Elmer Fudd.

I reached out and pulled Elmer to me. His heart was beating quite rapidly.

We figured out what happened. The refrigerator box/makeshift cage sat on an uneven patch and little Elmer squeezed underneath.

I put Elmer in his pen and we watched. And waited. He sat close to his little house and just stayed there. We were so worried my brother crawled in the pen. It took some maneuvering. He had to get his back low enough so he wouldn’t get caught up in the chicken wire of the cage. He had to crawl and not end up splayed out in rabbit dodo. I remember thinking at the time, what a good brother he was/is. As worried as I was about Elmer, I wouldn’t have crawled in a pen of rabbit crap.

He grabbed Elmer and brought him inside. He was thumping around a bit and seemed to be limping. Not long later, little Elmer died.

By then, my dad, my brother and a friend of my brother’s, Jim, were all in the garage. My father stood at his workbench. I think I announced Elmer’s death. Jim was up on a ladder and jumped down. They didn’t say much, in fact, I think they were pretty speechless. My dad gave me a comforting side hug with an arm pat. Life isn’t like a television sitcom. My parents didn’t try to replace the rabbit without me knowing. They didn’t tell me rabbits went to heaven. They were just WITH me.

My dad got out his shovel and dug a hole in a little patch of lilac trees. I don’t remember if we used the universal sign of pet death, a shoe box. We put up a little cross made out of twigs. The next day, we went to church and while singing, I broke down crying. My mom  gave me the side arm hug and pulled me close.

I don’t have any wise words for this little story. It just was what it was. So, back to the guy on the trail, I didn’t see the rabbit’s bloody carcass, so I assume the rabbit made it to safety, or did he? It’s like I said the first time. Bully.




Posted in Fading Memories, Rabbits, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Writer’s Block? Pooshaw! Have you met our awesome God?

I’ve heard many a writer proclaim there is no such thing as writer’s block. As a writer, I have suffered from something every now and then, but I never named it that. I usually coin it, life block.

I never really thought much about it. I just knew every now and then, something would prevent me from moving forward. Sometimes, it is because I am profoundly depressed as a writer. The task seems too great. I have often said, I have a ten foot story, but I’m only a six-foot writer. It may sound weird, but sometimes I don’t feel up to the task of conveying my own story as best it needs to be described.

Sometimes, I just can’t write. I can rewrite, but I can’t add new pages.

Oh, sure, it’s probably because I’m a pantser. For you non-writers, that’s a person who writes by the seat of their pants. There’s also plotters. They write by outline. I have an outline in my head, but I don’t usually peg it down. Sometimes, the story and the characters lead me where I need to go. And sometimes, they don’t.

I haven’t written an original word in over six months. Like I said, I can pull up an old story and rewrite the dickens out of the thing, but the new story is stagnating.

One of the novels I am writing is tentatively titled, Air Conditioning is Ruining America. In the story, a family has suffered severe financial difficulty and then their four-year-child is accidentally run over and has to have her leg amputated. The fourteen-year-old brother, who was driving the car, runs to the top of a radio tower in an attempt to jump off. His older sister and father chase after him. When they catch up, he is several hundred feet in the air. He sits calm, cool and collected as if spending a day at the beach. He confesses he intended to jump but changed his mind when God told him to become a doctor.

The family loses everything, their home, and their business. Now, the family must move heaven and earth to make this a reality. They are dirt poor, but they have a son who is supposed to be a doctor. And God himself has said to make it so.

For the past six months, I have had this family sitting in a campground. I could not get them out of that darn campground!

And then, in stepped God. That’s right you heard/read me. In more ways that I can count, I have had God urging me on and telling me to keep writing. This is not only what I like to do, I believe it is what God desperately calls me to do. There’s a truth in this story. A truth, a reach, a laugh and a smile that needs to come out.

This Sunday, we heard a sermon on Healing. Our pastor, at West Hills Presbyterian Church in Omaha, NE, Derek Richman, preached from the Bible verse: Mark Chapter 5 24-34. I will quote the last few lines.

34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The sermon wasn’t just on healing, but believing you were healed. It may not happen overnight but over time.

Pastor Derek advised we could stand where we were and he would hold his hands up and pray for us. Our church doesn’t normally do alter calls, (for you non-religious types, an alter call is when people come forward if they want to make a commitment to Jesus) and we were short on time. After the service, if we wanted, we could come forward and be anointed with oil.

My sister stood. So, I stood too. And you know what, lots of people stood. I wanted help and healing for another matter.

Afterwards, I turned to my sister and I said, “You know, I totally feel my writing problems are over. I feel my dry spell has been healed.” I wasn’t even thinking about writing. I would never ask for prayers for my  that. It seems so silly. Presumptuous. Pretentious. People are struggling in this life. Why would I ask or need help with something like that?

I wasn’t going to get anointed with oil, but my mom and sister went. I didn’t really need it, but somehow I stood in line. Afterwards, I could smell the oil throughout the day. That sweet smell lingered with me. The sermon had a profound impact on me.

Later, I grabbed my flash drives and sat down to write, but I didn’t have them. I searched the couch and the floor where I was sitting. I scanned the kitchen counter where the flash drives had been, but they were not there. I looked on my bed. I actually crawled all over it, feeling for them. I scoured under the bed. I was almost late to work looking for them.

Let me explain what my flash drives mean to me. They have in their hot little memory banks both of the current novels I am working on. They have countless blog posts, short stories and novels I started but haven’t finished. Screenplays, critiques of writing partners, passwords, paychecks, plays, pictures, classes I’ve taken, homework and recipes. When I go anywhere, I bring my flash drives with me, but in my pocket. Should I be robbed, they can take my purse, my wallet, my car keys, but I will keep my flash drives. They are the one thing, I am prepared to fight for. And buddy, I do mean fight.

I was a bit panicked. Oh, sure, I felt healed, but here was the very tool I needed to advance the story and I lost it. Maybe, it was divine intervention. Maybe, I needed to stop what I usually do and not rewrite but just move forward.

A blank page sat in front of me.

A big, white, blank page.


Getting whiter by the minute.

So, I wrote a summary kind of sentence that basically said here we are, sitting in this campground. Then, I wrote. I didn’t finish the novel, but I wrote four or five pages. I’m not even sure of the count. So, this is what I need to do to move forward. Instead of rereading where I’ve been, I need to just look at the blank page. It occurred to me, give the protagonist a boyfriend. Sure, they are living in a campground, but that doesn’t mean she can’t meet someone. And now I have a complication. The story moves forward.

The next day, I said to God and Jesus, thank you for what you did to help me, but I have commitments. I had pages due to a writers group and they are waiting for them.

I figured I wouldn’t look. It seems when you look for something, you can’t find it. I would just start cleaning. I cleared off my kitchen table, which led me to sweep over here and over there. I took the dinner trays at the back of the bed and put them behind my refrigerator.

And there they were. At least a foot from the doorway, behind the refrigerator. Which meant, somehow, while I was walking to the living room, the flash drives leapt from my hands and flew back there. I’ve been calculating in my mind if the trajectory of merely just dropping them would land them that far. I doubt it.

I needed this. I needed to move forward, and I believe God wanted it as well. Is our God awesome or what?

Maybe, he just wants to know the end of the story.

Posted in God's Help, Healing, Hope, Voices From Heaven, Writer's Block | 8 Comments