Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 A Year in Review

January..an accident
February....a goodbye
March...Georgia visits
April..spring time car shows
May...summer arrives
June...vows renewed
July...family vacations
August....new baby arrives
September...Nebraska visits
October...first birthdays and Halloween costumes
November...family and Thanksgiving for new blessings
December...quiet Christmas



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Quiet Place

This week we asked you to write about your quiet place. Where is it? What does it look like? What happens there? Our word limit was 200. Linking up with RemembeRED ! It has been a while.



My quiet place is hard to find, within this boisterous world.

The clamor and clatter of my surroundings hides it from my sight. It requires a walk beyond the cell phones, computers, iPods, DVRs and DVDs. It demands distance from the talking, singing, laughter and demanding voices.



And then I find it there…



Quiet lies between the words of a prayer and the pages of a book.

Quiet sits in the flipping of pages and the whisperings of my praise.

Quiet speaks in an inaudible voice, which is only heard by the heart.



Quiet smiles and reminds in the album pages of memories.



I come upon quiet when the pen meets the paper, with words that bring a thought to life.



Quiet seeks me in the stillness.

It calms the voices of urgency in my mind.

It hushes the lists of things to do.

It stifles the wondering and the whys.



My quiet place cannot be named. It is a state of mind.

It is amid the heartbeat and the breaths we breathe of life.



Quiet is ever present and it is  I who must meet it there.


Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Heroes



I am linking up with The Lightning and The Lightning Bug today for my Dare to Share. This week's Dare to Share Link Up theme is heroes. Feel free to share an old post about how someone special touched your life, or you can write an entirely new post dedicated to your hero. Link up your Veteran's Day posts, posts about military, pretty much anything goes as long as it stays within the theme.


I honestly do not know a lot about what my two boys do day to day in their jobs. I assume they can't share or do not want to share with their mom. What I do know a lot about is their sacrifice. Both of these young men are married and have beautiful children. The military life has its benefits for families, we all know that. But it certainly has its difficulties.

I have watched the oldest as he is told where to live, when to come and when to go. I know how his heart broke when his grandmother died.  He was unable to return or say his goodbyes. He was somewhere in a desert, committed to his job.  I see how hard it is on his wife with him gone and the little boys who do not really understand. I watched their eyes light upon his return, and heard them scream and giggle, "my daddy" when they spot him walking up. His latest departure included leaving his newborn little girl. She is having a few problems with gaining weight and he hears this news from across the oceans, unable to help, unable to comfort. A family has to be strong and tough through this. I am proud of he and his wife.

The youngest is just beginning his time in the Navy. He has had his first deployment. For him, it is under the water, in a submarine. He leaves the sunshine and loses touch with his wife and son. The communication is limited when he is away. Emails are monitored, there are no calls or Skype visits. His next departure will leave an expecting wife, and he will hope he will be here when his daughter is born. I know it is hard on a young marriage and both have to sacrifice, be patient and have strong commitment. I am also proud of my youngest son and his wife.

I know they make the choice to enter this service and they do it for different reasons. Yet, it remains a commitment of their life, of sacrifice for their families and giving up many things in which we take for granted. In doing so, my sons and the many others who make this same commitment, help us to enjoy each day our freedoms and liberties. They are making a difference in the lives of many across the globe. We may question their orders, and our politics may not understand. But we need to remember as part of their sacrifice they are not to question. They follow their command. What we need to remember for these men and women is their sacrifice, their courage and their commitment. And because of that,
they are our HEROES.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The In Between of Autumn

Linking up with the The Lightning and The Lightning Bug

The odd little piece of time between Halloween and Thanksgiving doesn't get a lot of attention, you know? In movies, it doesn't even exist. If it's not Thanksgiving Day, it's one of the few days before it. There's so much going on, though! As they say, it's the time of the season when love runs high. I don't know if the Zombies were talking about this time of this season, but it's as good as any and better than most.

Your prompt this week: 700 words or less, give us something seasonally appropriate; that is, after Halloween but before Thanksgiving.



What it use to be and what it has become for me are two different things. It used to be a patchwork of colors in the trees, the chilly days of sweatshirts and jeans. The time to pick up the jack-o-lanterns, but leave the scarecrows behind. The ghords would sit as a centerpiece drying until they rattled. Autumn would fold itself into the gray of winter, an ending of  a year.

But that was when I lived in the north.

But now I live in Florida. So it is the heat that is finally lifted and a window may be opened. It is the joy of walking out of the house and not feel the humidity slap you in the face. There are a few leaves with color, a maple spotted here and there. The Japanese Raintrees with yellow flowers buzzing with bees and then into pinkish-paper  flower. It is the sound of acorns bouncing off the roof and creating a bumpy carpet in the yard. The gray never comes, and it the cold never lasts. It is just a moment within the year now, and one must grasp it and hold it, for it never lasts very long.



It is a turning of time and a lessoning of daylight.

It is a remembrance on Veteran's Day. A day to reflect on bravery and sacrifice.

It is the days of planning and preparing for what lies ahead.

It is a renewing, reenergizing.

It is the walkway into thankfulness and praise, which leads to joy and celebration.

The inbetween of autumn is a season of hope, reflection and beauty.


It is the quiet of the ushering that seems to hold something in its gentle chilly breezes. The darkness that falls earlier provides us with a rest. The natural colors that have us stop, admire and remind us of creation and our Creator. Autumn is a time that ties yesterday to today, and we spin together the past and the future with reflection and with plans.

Then and now, here and there, Autumn remains my favorite.



Friday, October 21, 2011

Fear

This week, we invited you to compose a text–160 characters–that would either elicit or express fear.



I thought his evil ways were gone. Dead. Buried deep.
But there he stood, in my bedroom. Staring cold and silent, gripped tightly in his hand...
a knife.


Okay, read a few of these and realize I did not respond to this prompt as expected...it is suppose to be a text. So please read revised edition:

Help. Call 911. I am in basement, hiding. Creep is in the house, angry and has a gun.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Remember

I remember...
               
                  your whispery voice and your teddy bear hugs,
                  milk chocolate eyes that danced as you told the stories,
                  your rough whiskers brushed upon my cheeks.
                 
                  the days when it was just me and you,
                  and those days we shared with others.
                 
                  your warm smile and your magic tricks,
                  your secrets and your sadness,
                  your Old Spice cologne
                  and our sandy beach visits,
                 your stern eyes when I knew
                 you meant business.
               

                 your scent of cigarettes and creamy coffee
                 your  baggy jeans and buttoned plaid shirts.
                 your teasing and your playfulness
                 and the awful fight you gave to stay here with us.


But most of all Daddy...

I remember how you loved me.
               
               
             

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Darkness

The prompt was "In the Dark of Night" - anything goes, so long as it fits that theme. There's plenty of room to play with that one, I'm sure we're all really excited to see what everyone came up with, be it scary or un-scary. Linking up with The Lightning Bug



Darkness.

Darkness keeps us hidden and walking without sight.  Darkness leaves us spiraling and reeling, searching for direction.  Or it can be full of fear and leave us still and folded into ourselves. 

Darkness is where Sonya lived. She could not see before her, nor remember where she had been. She moved with her hands in front of her, searching and trying to find her way out. However, she repeated patterns with the same results.

We stood just outside, each with a piece of light. Yet, we were unable to reach her, and she stood blinded in the dark.

The two worlds, side by side, hers and ours. Distance so close, but worlds apart.

In her world, they live and revel. Not monsters or ghosts that haunt…but demons that deceive. They whisper to her secrets and simple little lies. They steal from her any measure of faith or hope.  They keep her spinning, and leave her bewildered, confused.

The darkness is crowded. Yet most stand isolated. There is phony laughter. Empty pleasure.

Sonya settled, her feet grounded there. Cheated and betrayed.  

When light slipped through the crevices and cracks, she covered and retreated. 

We called from the borders and moved and circulated. But our words were stifled and silenced  by the wall of darkness.

Until that glorious night, the youngest among us fell to her knees. With her head bowed she spoke. She called for warriors and the strongest guardians. And then she boldly stood. She carried before her a light. Unseen, were those who surrounded her. The army she had called.

She walked from our group, and went into the dark. We gasped and some even began to scream.

The light revealed all that hovered in the darkness.

Despair. Rage. Guilt. Fear. 

Each danced with a partner of sin and shame.

And the young girl found Sonya hovering in a corner. She held her hand and shared her love, and told her only truth. With her light she led her out.

The demons grasped and hissed to her their lies. Yet the guardians and warriors wouldn’t let them near.

Sonya ran from the darkness and into the light, and still resides there now. However, the whispers from the darkness continue to beckon for her return....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hospital Room

This week Write on Edge asked us to take them somewhere. Where it was was up to me -fiction or creative nonfiction- but they asked us to use our words to paint the setting as vividly as possible. In 200 words.


The children sit in the not-so-comfortable seats, their bright color standing out in the bleached whiteness of the room. 

Eyes stare at the glassy linoleum.

The patterned sounds of the machine,  breathing in and out for their mother.  Beyond the beeps of monitors and the hanging silence, all intermingle in the mood that chills the room.

Voices coming and go.
 Whisper.  

The view from the window reveals a court yard with small people,
moving, standing, and sitting.

Moving toward their mom, they reach over the silver bars, gently pull white sheets around her. Holding her small hand wrapped in black belts, and bandages.

Eyes are mesmerized by the lines and numbers moving on the screen, looking for sense, and finding no hope.

Across from the bed a table covered with wilting flowers and cards of get well wishes.

The teddy bear stares back with the same glazed over eyes.  

A cup sits dangling with a straw untouched. Beside it a pink plastic pitcher parked in position.

The routines of movement and changing shifts are all they can count on. The silence breaks and stories erupt, memories come forward--until the voices rock back to silence and waiting.


Author's Note: Not a pleasant memory, but a picture etched in my mind.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Scenes from Fall

This week Galit asked you to conjure something. An object, a person, a feeling, a color, a season- whatever you like.
But don’t tell us what it is, conjure it. In 100 words.

Orange and round, ridges in almost equal spaces.
A sharp blade stabs into the top, in and out it moves, around the protruding stem.
Small fingers grasp and pull.
Reaching inside a slimy mess of seeds and stringy goop.
Busy hands digging and emptying.
Turn it around and around, finding the place to begin.
The sharp blade returns. In and out.
Pieces like a puzzle pulled out from the whole.
A face emerges. Haunting and chilling.
Later as darkness settles at the home, the face sits glowing and staring from the front porch.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mirrors

It's a standard warning on car mirrors: "Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear". Mirrors don't always give a truly honest reflection. Sometimes, the mirror is warped; sometimes, it's only our perceptions. When Alice went into her mirror, it was the world itself that was distorted. And yet at times, the mirror will show you true things that you weren't aware of; something around a corner, or behind you, or on another spectral plane. People can even act as mirrors; they can show you yourself as others see you.


A mirror will certainly show you change....

I once looked into the mirror and found a silly little girl, freckles spotted on her cheeks and nose, making funny faces. Behind me a mother, there to admire as she brushed my hair. The mirror was  my play place...the reflection was always smiling and happy.

Years later it was a place to judge and compare. Was I  changing and looking like the others? Were there any more pimples popping up? Do I look better with makeup? Should I  pluck my eyebrows? At this time the mirror became a place of exploration. Trying on different masks. Trying to fit in.

Then I became a mom. I was the reflection behind the child. A glimpse may show some weariness. But the glimpses were few and far between. The attention shifts from the me...to the them. The mirror sits and waits.

And then they grew and the mirror sat waiting. And once I glimpsed, I questioned...who is that in the reflection? My youth I seemed to have held on to, had suddenly disappeared. There were wrinkles when I smiled. Gray painted in my hair. And a difference in my eyes.

A mirror reflects change.

And if I look beyond the physical it shows all that I have learned. The years upon my face, hold experiences I wouldn't trade. I have learned to love, to carry faith, and wisdom entered in. Each wrinkle a year of treasured memories. And the glory of more to come. The grays sprinkled in my hair, are the lessons which taught me grace.

Embrace the reflection that you see staring back at you. Watch... and change.... and grow.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hidden

This week, we want you to be inspired by pictures. Write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – based on your reaction to either of these photos. Or both.
Word limit is…600
In the distance a trumpet low and whispering, from a window a violin. Each note as haunting, as the woman who stood in the shadow of the alley. The eyes pierced with pain, searched through the fog, for what I could not tell. She wore a tattered gown, and the breeze lifted and lowered it, yet leaving her undisturbed. I stood back and hidden, but enraptured by the scene.



Eyes moved from dim to bright as a song slipped from her lips. Instruments from distances began joining in. Keys of a piano pushed her into moving forward, now dancing toward  the street.


I stood mesmerized, or hyptonized....by the vision and the song.  I couldn't understand why I felt invited here, a necessary guest.

The music echoed off the walls. Crept up through the cracks below. It surrounded me as if living, with hands that held me there.

Now she danced with a vacant partner, around the streets beyond. Her voice took a different rhythm, her steps a racing beat. I felt her breath come over me, her heartbeat call me in. A smile swept across her face, her eyes were now ablaze.

The more I watched, the more familiar she became.

Her face.
The music.
The dance.
All a part of me.

A sudden realization, an understanding revealed.

I was the missing partner.
Her my mourning bride.

I couldn't dance this dance
I couldn't ease her pain.

From the fog the winding case appeared. My steps were slow, methodic...the music pushed me upward. The vision of my lovely bride, continually disappeared. As the staircase lifted to the sky, the fog and music drifted with it.

The music silenced.
Her steps stifled.
Pushed back into the shadows,
her haunted look returned.

Not many days from this, the music will lead her here.
She too will walk this case, and join me in the dance.






Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where I'm From

This happens to be a poem I often do with my elementary age students. I have several created class books of their Where I Am From poems....have always loved this exercise. Below is mine.


Mama’s Losin’ It


I am from speckled hills of color
Then covered with snow
Sleigh races, homemade mittens, bulky snowsuits
Puddles and wet clothes
Conversations with make believe friends
Pink bows and canopies
Cake batter and cookie dough
Sunday night Disney
Monopoly and Parcheesi

I am from visual breath on cold winter nights
Sightings of Santa through a star lit sky
HO trains traveling around the Christmas tree

I am from family around campfires
Sleeping bags and tents
Water skis, boats skidding over lakes
Easter bonnets and frilly dresses

I am from brother's antics bringing tears
Rocks baked in cookies
Boogey man faces through a window
Saint Bernards and German Sheperds

First Communions
Cathecism
then Kingdom Halls
To Hellfire and brimstone messages

I am from divorce and weekend visits
Step parent, brothers and sisters
Mobile homes and apartment buildings
Busy cities and polluted beaches

I am from teenage sin and temptations
Late night parties
Malls and first jobs

I am from broken home
and broken hearts
Mended with love and affirmation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Leaving

This week we asked you to let narrative take a backseat. We asked you to step back into a significant moment in your life and bring us back the sensory treasures you found there, the feelings, scents, textures, sounds, tastes, and colors of the moment.

Last week a friend posted a story that took me back into a time in my life....so that moment being on my mind became the moment I write about here.

The sun was just beginning to show a hint that it would be in the sky that day. In the driveway a brown 1978 Chevy Malibu stood, quiet and undisturbed. Connected, a small Uhaul trailer, the smallest you could find. Inside the home voices and tears floating just beyond the door. We affectionately called this and moments like it a "Puerto Rican goodbye". Not wanting to let go, not ready to move on.

He heads to the uhaul, opens for one last look, and closes it, the clank of the lock sounds so final. Inside the very few posessions coming along. Piled high, boxes of clothing, walkers with the wheels spinning for the baby, rails from the crib pushed against the wall. So little, yet so much.

As I wobble out the door, my stomach protruding in front of me, and two little ones latched to my hands on either side,  I can feel the emotions tied up within me. From my head to my heart, they are braided together, tying my thoughts into a threaded mess. Hope for new beginnings. Fear for leaving the familiar.

The final hugs are dampened with tear drops. I pull my face in close to hers, bury my nose into the scent of her freshly washed hair.  I lightly kiss her cheek and tell her all will be well.

The brown eyed, long haired little girl giggling as she is whisked into the arms of a grandparent, covered in kisses and hugged in dances across the pavement. Settled in and fastened into the back seat.

The freckled face blue eyed day dreamer is looking into the faces, trying to understand the emotions swarming around. Anxious to begin the journey he hops into the backseat on his own. Buckle slides in...and we draw near to the time.

As the sun climbs higher we know we need to move through the last motions of goodbye. Pats on the tummy and a whisper to the inside, "we'll come meet you soon."

I fall into the front seat and give my biggest hopeful smile out the window. He climbs in beside, eyes free of the emotion I know he is feeling.

We back out, and I don't look back. I look ahead. Ahead to the miles south...ahead to the unknown. I breathe in, breathe out. Feeling a kick inside my belly..... I lay my hand on it and smile. New lives....new beginnings.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Missing Piece

Dare to Share theme: I'd like you to link up a post that involves standing up for something you believe in. You can stand up for a cause, support your opinion, or just rant about something that makes you mad.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T...is missing. It has lost its place.
Once an expectation, now a welcomed difference you find among the young. So many of our young today walk with an expectancy that they should receive, and yet not give. Manners are rare.

So many speak with no regard to those around them...adults and even their peers. They demand. They speak out. They challenge authority. Discipline is never fair in their eyes, nor necessary. Fault belongs to everyone and everything else.

I see it in many places. School. Homes. Public outings. And yes...even at times church.


I question how we got here...and I blame society as a whole. We let down our guards. We opened doors, allowed things in. We pushed things out.

And now...we pay the price. We are raising our young to be selfish-go-getters and reward them for fighting for their independence, and not worried about the ones pushed over in the fight for that. We have allowed them to become these individuals, and they have started to raise the same children, and the patterns are increasing.

My rant tonight...we need to turn the wheel. We need to "recalculate". We need to teach our youth respect. We need to show them they can't be out for me, me, me. We need to show them how to look after those around us. We need to teach them compassion. We need to protect them from the sins of this perverse dark world, and we need to put light back in their lives. We need to teach them faith, love, and the need for someone to lean on.

We have made mistakes pushing God out of society...out of our children's lives. We are paying a price.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Love you forever,

We all remember our first love – and our first heartbreak.
Your assignment this week was to write a piece where you explore the first broken heart for your character




Every note Caden sent ended with "Love you forever," and as Tonya placed each one in the box, she dreamed of their future. The future she dreamed of,  painted perfect.

Fairy tale wedding.
White picket fences.
One adorable boy with chocolate eyes.
One petite, curly haired girl.
Smiles and giggles, kisses and hugs.



Tanya waited each day for his calls. Opened her locker with expectations of love letters. And they came, every day and the hours and minutes stole her breath, and he stole her heart. She had found her first love...her forever love.

Her life was filled with him. She spoke little to her friends, her parents were just visions she drifted by as she entered the door and picked up the phone to call him. Her life evolved around one...Caden.

Until a shift.
A jolt.

Caden wasn't there waiting at her bus. He called later each day and hurried off the phone. Days went by and no notes were found. Tanya's breath eased when she found one in her notebook....but it was signed without loves or forevers.

She sat waiting on her porch. He had called and planned an unexpected date. She should be excited and hopeful...but his voice had left her scared. A change had occurred. Her forevers were drifting from her reach.

The phone rang from inside the house. Sheran and picked it up and heard a voice she remembered from weeks ago. She had called her "friend". But she had left her, ignored her. And now....she is telling her things. Things about him. It had to be from anger...jealousy. He wouldn't do these things.

And then the horn from outside. A quick comment to her "friend" about rumors and gossip that couldn't be true. She revealed none of the questions that had been plaguing her own mind. She grasped her last bit of hope and headed to his car.

As she slid in, she turned to his eyes.

And there stood that truth.

The love, the adoration...gone.
Staring back at her was an emptiness, a void.

"You are taking me out to break up with me...aren't you?"

And in his eyes, relief. Almost a smile graced his lips..."Um...yeah."

The cold climbed into her stomach. Her heart which had melted...frozen solid. Her breath stuck between her lungs and her lips. The fullness, emptied and lay at her feet. A tear fell from her eye...and a whisper, "Why?"

A name spit from his lips....the rumor and gossip true.

Tanya slipped out from the seat and forced her feet to move into her home and through the door to her room. An avalanche of emotion came and couldn't be stopped. The pain needed to be cushioned, and she grabbed for her box. She read the words, one after the other. Each word another pin prick into the balloon...releasing her hope, dreams.

And when she finally closed tired eyes and buried her tear stain face she whispered to herself there would never be another like him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Walls Come Down

This week, with Labor Day and the end of summer rapidly approaching, we asked you to write about a season of change for your character or you.


.He walked through the door, a wrinkled shirt and holey jeans, his hair a little wild. His walk was  hesitant, and his eyes fixed to the floor. She stood near her desk, frazzled with early morning preparation for a busy day ahead. Her eye caught him and she stood. Eager to welcome him she walked in his direction.

"Alan?"

A quick glance revealed a face she has seen before and the wall that stood between them both. Invisible, yet solid. She managed a quick and simple smile, gently touching his arm she led him to the desk he would call home.

The others started rolling in.

Loud.
Busy.
Full of gossip and idle chatter.

His wall stood firm and might have grown a bit taller as they greeted "the new kid" excitedly. New faces always seemed to raise the electric charge they already had buzzing around them.

The teacher saw Braden as he entered in. The memory of his walls and his eyes that had been cold and missing of life which had now been replaced...so it was him she chose as Alan's buddy for the day. Hoping to pass that life from one to another.

The day went as she expected. The work revealed his struggle..and his lack of concern or belief it would or could change. He had all the signs showing he had already quit, and was just waiting for the day and age when he could make it official. A look through the records later gave evidence of all she had inferred from the day.

No stability.
Many schools.
Behaviors first of acting out,
moving to shutting down.
Poor grades.
Attendance problems.
Single parent working two jobs to do her best.

These were the blocks that built the world, and colored his eyes to gray. The effects left a lifeless student, too young to quit, but the reality was that he had.

So, she spent weeks, choosing the just-right-books and the moments to make her moves. Her goal, make him safe...and later he could learn. The characters she read of reflected him, the comments from the class showed compassion, concern and care.

He sat still, silent, eyes averted.
But still she believed he heard.

Minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days. Weeks passed by and the weather changed.

And then...he walked to the front at their quiet reading time. He picked up a book from the chalk traythat she had already read. He open and closed it. Brushed the pages with his fingers. With his head a little higher, he walked toward her. He, at first, just stood there.

She waited.

And then his eyes looked into hers. She gave that gentle smile.

"Would you mind reading this...to me? "

And that is what she did. They sat just close enough for him to see the pages. She read in that way that took you there, and took you where you needed to be. The words became real, and you became one.

When she closed the book his eyes met hers, and from where I sat I saw his smile. I saw the first of the wall come down.

Sadly, he left three weeks later. Many blocks of the wall still there. I often wondered what happened to him...

I am hoping another teacher who cared had found him. I am hoping they brought that whole wall down.

Inside of him was a treasure, a hard world had buried it there. He only needed a little extra time and work, and it could be revealed.











Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking Back on My Time with Nancy

As a writing teacher, I often have my students write memoir/nonfiction pieces. In the beginning, most students want to write strictly about themselves.
One of the lessons I teach them is that other people help shape who we are through their words to us, their actions, or their lack of action.
Your assignment for this week is to write about a memory of yourself WITH someone else.
Need a way to start?
This is what I give my students…
His/her name was ______________________ and looking back now, I realize….
Remember, it’s MEMOIR, so it needs to be about YOUR experience with this person and it needs to be TRUE.
Let’s keep it to 600 words or less.


Her name was Nancy, and looking back now I realize she was one of the bright spots in my shadowed world. She was my mother in law.

The first time I met her I was 15. And as a typical 15 year old I didn't think she liked me. So, of course her son decided to share that with her. The next time I saw here she handed me a bouquet of flowers. And from then on, I knew not only did she like me, but she loved me.

She was a beautiful woman. My daughter reminds me so much of her. She had this exotic beauty. It is pretty amazing all that we experienced together. I saw so many sides of her over the years. I was her friend, her daughter, and her daughter in law all wrapped in one.

She had a mischievous side. She would get this smile and you knew she was up to something. She had a serious side, a quiet side, a silly side...and a deeply spiritual side.

It is that spiritual side that impacted my world more than any other. She wasn't perfect, she made mistakes, she made poor choices....but she always showed her love of God, and when she needed forgiveness for those poor choices she was open and honest about it.

As a young girl I was very confused by things that were spiritual. She saw that in me. She took the time to share with me, allowed me to challenge her and allowed me to feel and express my frustration with all the different ideas that had been presented to me. She was patient and took the time to walk me through the confusion. She presented the greatest gift of all to me...she showed me and helped me to understand that it wasn't about churches, rules, regulations...it was about a relationship. She showed me in words, and in deeds.

She stood by me as I grew in that walk. She was there to pick up the pieces when I made the wrong turns. Nancy always loved me through. She loved me through the struggles of a young marriage and its mistakes, even though it was her son I was married to. An outsider looking in wouldn't know that I was the daughter in law, they would be certain I was hers.

One of my most spiritual moments in my life was at the end of her life. We all gathered in the hospital room. She had hung on until we all arrived. And then the singing began. Beautiful songs covered the air. A spirit filled that room, you could feel it all around you. A peace entered into the sorrow and loss we were experiencing, and the smile on her lips as she left us helped us to know she was entering into a place she was ready for....she was headed home.

Nancy left so much behind for me. Even now, divorced from her son, and all the scars left from it. Nancy resides, her spirit and soul, deep in my heart. Her love still speaks to me. I look forward to the day when I can run into her arms again and thank her for all she has meant to me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Light of Hope

It has been a while since I posted to my favorite community...in fact they have changed their name. I had no excuse on the prompt for today, it was time to return. So first, here is the prompt:

This week’s assignment was simple: write a story of your choice. The catch? Write it as a tweet. Use only 140 characters – including spaces.
And no, the title doesn’t count.

And here it is 140 on the nose!

She wept. Like moonless eve darkness, loss left her blinded. Turning, she noticed light slipping within, clutching to its arms, was hope.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Loss of Memories

I decided not to link up this week to the meme I really want to get back to. The prompt this week was to pretend you could write away your worst memory.

A few things keeps you from responding to a post such as this. One is sharing those worst memories with the world. At least the "world" who reads you blog. It seems like every worst memory has someone within it you want to protect. A decision or choice leads to our worst memories, and those choices are not always the best.

Another reason...you don't want them to disappear. Those memories, no matter how bad...make you, you. All my memories good or bad, have created the me I am. I have learned from those memories. I have cherished memories created from those bad memories.

However, I think as a writer, we need to share it all. What I love to read...are other people's stories, their memories. Their choices in the midst of what may be their worst memories have created some of the best stories there are to read. As a writer I will need to find creative ways to share these memories, and these stories.

Our bad memories, are God's stories of how He worked it all out. How he took our poor choices and used them for His good. So that within them, we can learn, grow and have some special memories to cherish, always.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teacher First Weeks

It is amazing how the job of teaching rushes over you and leaves you trying to stay afloat in the first few weeks. Time is consumed. Getting things into routine, setting up procedures and processes is worth all the effort. Or at least one would think so...one would think that it makes a difference how we teach. But not according to some of the decision makers.

This year I was met with some scary news about evaluations and its connection to the state. When you hear these things you have to take a step back and think and try and remember why you are there. I had to. It would be easy to slip into becoming a teacher you're not, each year the pressure is taken to a new level attached to state testing. This year was not different.

I will be evaluated at the school level with what I find a valuable tool. The strategies they are looking for are ones I can believe in, and think are important to our students. I am pleased with the expectation.

The second piece is based solely on test scores. The state will deem me effective or ineffective based on how my students perform on state tests.

So...my question was....if my school finds me effective, and the scores show me ineffective, what then?

The answer is sad. The answer is foolish. The answer will send some to teach to a test. If the scores rate us ineffective, the school related evaluation is null and void. I am considered ineffective. And same goes the other way...if a teacher is found ineffective at the school level, but their scores show effective, that teacher is considered effective.

Bottom line, those test scores will evaluate me.

I can't and will not bow down to this foolishness. I am there for those students. I am not teaching for a test in April...I am teaching for a lifetime.

Please be aware of what is happening to our school systems...it will effect us all.

I love teaching...and I will continue to love teaching. And that is what I will continue to do...teach. And I will do it to the best of my ability, always with the children in mind.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So much...

So much to say...and no time to say it. Thanks for the notes,was surprised anyone missed me. This weekend, I hope to get back to this. I miss my writing. Back to work has been long and hard, but love my class.

Words coming this weekend...and I want to get back my routine!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Shall Miss This...

I went into my classroom and began the rearranging and setting up, so the reality is upon me. My summer is ending, and return to work I must. Seems every summer I get involved in new things, something different which occupies my time. Time is the essential...once school begins, time is not as genorous. So, today I make my list of things I shall miss...

1. Volunteering. This summer I had an opportunity to do some volunteer work in a pregnancy center. I enjoyed giving back something to my community, sharing hope to the hurting, and attempting to make a difference. I am hoping I can still find a way to be a part of this.

2. Writing. I have had so much more time to write. Funny thing, I think I posted somewhat more consistently during the school year. Time can be a funny thing, when we have more, we tend to put things off figuring we will have time for it later.

3. Reading. I always read more in the summer. I have read some wonderful books, but mostly I have been enjoying reading other's blogs. My heart grew bigger this summer, looking into the windows of people's lives. We all struggle, we all seem to reaching for something or someone to listen to. As I read, my prayer list grew. Not sure each of these people believe in a God, or in prayer...but I was praying for them. There is a whole lotta love needed out there, and I hope I spread a little this summer.

4. Learning. I am in a constant cycle of learning...but in the summer I have time to be exposed to different things, look for different things, and experiment with different things. I am a bit of a watcher...often, I watch to learn. So I actually learned a little about twitter. I still feel lost, but I enjoyed watching the interaction. I saw some friendships that had been built on it. I never quite figured that out, but maybe if I had more time. Through that I discovered some spiritual leaders, great writers, inspiration, and a lot of laughter.

5. Late nights. Knowing I could sleep in a little, or during my summer school teaching days catch a nap later so I continued to push the limits as a night owl. Sadly, I have a cat who had his own ideas about me sleeping late!

6. Lunch dates. Teachers usually have about a 20 minute lunch, if they are lucky. So, getting together with friends for long leisurely lunches at a place where we can enjoy the food has been wonderful. A time to catch up, relax and enjoy the company of a friend. Lives get so full and hectic, we don't get enough of this.

7. Quiet time. At the end of the school year I had really gotten into a pattern of having a daily time of prayer and bible reading. But, it was under a watched clock. I had somewhere to be, and I had a specific amount of time. My quiet time over the summer has been special. It happens several times a day. I kept my morning time in the same pattern, but no clock was watched. I found online communities to discuss scripture with and share together. I found blogs that offered some insight and things to ponder. It has been a time for spiritual growth.

8. Slowed pace. The school year can be hectic and chaotic. You feel like you are the hamster on the wheel all the time, and never at your destination. Summer brings rest. A slower pace. (At least if you are living in the empty nest like me) Rest is good. Makes it possible to get back on the wheel.

I could probably continue...but I won't. I am blessed to have this schedule and to have these summerly things. But I would never be happy in it all the time. I love teaching...and once I get back on the wheel and in my groove I will be happy to be there again. I am blessed with that as well.

So, cheers to another great summer!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lesson Learned

This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words.


It was my first time meeting his family…and I mean all his family. We sat with his brother and girlfriend, grandmother, parents, and even two aunts. And then there was me.

I entered with some discomfort and uneasiness. The world of dating was new again. Meeting the family, sat on my mind, unfamiliar and odd. I had been invited to take part in a birthday celebration. I sat and I listened. I did my best to pay attention to stories, adventures, jokes about people I didn’t know…and I began to ease in. They kept me included and I smiled and laughed.



This family was different than others I had called my own. Professors and bankers speaking of politics, annual parties and taxes entwined with affection. Yet, they spoke with love and belonging, and my nervousness lessoned and I gently relaxed. He would look at me with his eyes of adoration and check on my level of calm. My grin encouraged him and it appeared all was on track for success, just as he planned.

So he slipped me a kiss and excused himself and off to the restroom he went.

Suddenly the stories shifted, and the attention was drawn to me. A few simple questions, and their head shakes and acknowledgement continued in the positive direction we had started.


And then, his aunt who sat beside me leaned in and asked, “Do you have children?”

“Yes, I have 4.”

“4?”

And the fuse was lit. The news moved around that table, and the reaction was much the same.

4? You have 4 children?


The feeling in my stomach rose and entered my face in red. I could not believe he hadn’t told them.

As he entered back into the conversation he could tell something had rolled into the atmosphere.
As he listened to the next question fired towards me….and I told their ages of 10, 13, 14, and 17 he realized what had happened and nervously chuckled in response.

He squirmed in his seat, unsure which storm he needed to answer to first.

He thought about his preparation for this moment, and I sat and wondered about it too.

Me…I knew he should have never left me alone. And he wouldn’t through many more family visits.

Because that day, my sweet man had a
lesson learned.

Author’s Note: I did marry this man. And this is one of the favorite stories to share when we all get together now. Now…I can laugh.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Exposed


Angela and Galit gave us the prompt this week. Write a short fiction or non-fiction piece inspired by any or all of the photo above. Word limit: 400 words


Early morning sunlight prickled the dark space, finding its way through the tiniest of spaces. Tia sat silent on the edge of the bed. The loneliness of morning sat heavy on her shoulders. The smell of coffee slipped from the kitchen and into her consciousness. Single coffee cup sat on the table. No idle chat of weather and politics before work. No kiss on the cheek bidding farewell or to hang onto through the day.

The two year anniversary of loss was approaching, but the freshness of grief still came in waves.

With patterned motion she readies herself and moves into a day of work.

Lesson plans, emails and phone calls to parents fill her morning. Her intern for the quarter comes in with that all-to-eager-to-teach smile he wears. They prepare for the day and exchange plans, ideas and a behavior plan for the student who continues to get everyone’s attention.

At lunch a friend leans over with a whisper

Who’s the guy?

Tia answers simply without deliberation. She finishes up lunch, and continues in movements without much thought or inspiration through her day.

Before he leaves he hands her an envelope of photos taken by his professor, thinking she too may enjoy.

Later when her papers have been recorded and graded, and emails all handled or deleted… she looks at her purse on the chair. She thinks of the drive home, and the empty apartment. The silence of solitude seems to be all that will be waiting. Not ready yet to go home and face her emotion, she opens the photos he shared.

She shuffles through and then on one she stops. She can’t help but stare.

A photo of her…looking at him.

She recognizes that glint in her eye. She remembers the smile on those lips…


She can hear the catching of her own breath.  

Feels the wings of hope just barely fluttering in her heart.

What had she been missing? Walked by, sat with, yet never aware.

Exposed in this photo.

Tomorrow she thought; things might be different. Like slipping into the 3d glasses at the theater, images around her suddenly coming to life. 

No longer hidden behind grief and pain, exposed and awake to the living.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wait on that Miracle

Sometimes we look at people and wonder...why is it so easy for them?

They walk through their lives and everything just seems to come their way. It is easy, natural. They wish upon something, and it seems they have this little fairy godmother who pulls out the wand...and *POOF* it happens.

Where is their rocky marriage? Where are their kids that don't seem to want to listen, they have the ones that never go through years of rebellion? They decide to have a baby...and the next month they have the announcement, followed by the perfect pregnancy....and later, PPD, no where in sight. They have the careers, the college bound children and the money to travel.

Honestly? I don't really think they exist...but sometimes, sitting where you are, throbbing in desire for a life such as theirs...it seems as if they are. That seems to be a lie...a life without a struggle?

Today, I received a little precious jewel about that struggle. And I think it is true.

The marriages that are healed when all hope was gone.
The son who returns...after the years of rebellion.
The conception that occurs when you were ready to quit.
The job offer when you are about to lose your home.
The autistic child who says their first word.

Miracles!

When all hope is gone, all strength pulled from you, faith has been pushed somewhere out of reach...it is then...the miracle occurs. And how much sweeter it is at that moment. The grateful heart is full. Moving from the struggle to the gift...priceless.


These are the miracles...and without the struggle, they would be not much at all.
With a miracle a joy is multiplied, faith strengthened and made real.

Those others...you know, the ones with the magic wands...they have no idea of the treasures they hold. Without the struggle, the value isn't quite the same.

What is your struggle and wish worthy of a fight?  Hold out, keep fighting and trying.

 Wait on your miracle...it's coming.

Linking up this Friday with Let's Bee Friends Let's BEE Friends

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happily Ever After

I am linking this post to two places. I didn't plan it, I had two ideas going on in my head and they merged. 
For this prompt I was to write about a trip either you or a character has taken, it doesn't need to be a literal trip but can me more of a figurative journey.

For RemembeRED I was to write about a time that rhythm or the lack thereof, played a role in my life. And don't use the word rhythm





My journey to get to Happily Ever After was uneven, unbalanced. It had no specific pace, it moved according to the forces that energized it.

However, here in the Happily Ever After I have found something I can rest in. I rarely write about the destination, more about the journey. The journey is where the drama thrived. It is what readers want to read.

How often do we read the details of the Happily Ever After? Seems it sits at the end, undescribed and left to our own imaginations.

So today I devote my post to where I am...in the midst of happily ever after.

Here...the air is light, easy to breathe. You want to breathe it in deep and allow it to move through you. It fills the spaces that once were empty. It is renewing, refreshing, cool. The breathing here is easy. It is not weighted down, unpolluted, clean. I now breathe effortlessly. No need to hold back a breath, or to quicken it or slow it down. Here is where I breathe in tempo.

In.
Out.
In.
Out.

Here it is warm and bright. The darkness and cold removed. The light reveals the me, that had always been hidden. Its beams like a spotlight on my gifts and emotions. It is exposing. Illuminating desires and hopes. I stand there boldly, ready to move without shame or guilt, free spirited. The warmth is comforting and real. It is not overpowering, just reassuring. No longer invented, it is authentic. I dance to a pulse in this place. Moving to the beat of my heart.

Thu.
Thump.
Thu.
Thump.

Here the water is calm, clear, unlimited and boundless. The vision is not clouded or murky. It is easy to see beyond and below, here and within. The waters are steady with small ripples. It feels safe and easy to handle. No longer the fears with storms raging. I am carried on the sequence of the tides. Carried in, carried out. Predictable and patterned. I swim with grace in these waters. The legs and arms move in time.

Left.
Right.
Left.
Right.

Here I sit and linger in the moments. The time is steady. No need or desire to rush it. Seconds, minutes and hours creating memories and dreams are coming true. Here I can reflect and ponder. Pray and meditate. I move through the moments in succession. I meander in the visions. My movements sway to the beat of a clock.

Tick.
Tock.
Tick.
Tock.

Here in the happily ever after ... I am not fooled. I know it could be shaken at anytime.

So here I write with the cadence that I feel. I write of the chaos and disarray.
I write how the journey deposited me here.

I write of the changes in the air, and the calming of the storm,  the revealing of light on the darkness, the comforting of warmth in the cold, and the steadying of the time.

I write of  the erratic movements of a journey...settling into the consistence of the happily ever after.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shoes that Tell a Story

Kir's prompt for us this week asked us to write about a topic very near and dear to many of us: shoes.
You were to write about a pair of shoes of yours or your character's. They can be real or symbolic.



Her shoes all dispersed in bags now, prepared to be carried off. If you were to take them out, stretch them before you, they would tell a story, a story of a woman. Brave. Vibrant. Loving life.

The slip on shoes dark but with splattered bleach marks. She worked hard outside in her white button down shirt, her bathing suit beneath. She cared for her roses, tended to the weeds, and kept her pool sparkling blue. The shoes were worn out, tired.  Long hard days in the Florida sun.

Multitudes of shoes for dresses of many colors, shapes and sizes crammed into many of the bags. You could also find the costume jewelry and purses to match nearby. She used these for her meetings. Or when she went knocking on doors, ready to share with the world what she believed to be the “Truth”. Many sidewalks and miles walked. Fueled by faith and compassion.

Her sneakers, white with the purple Curves on either side. Reminders of her days in the gym, or doing the circuit of machines.  Lifting.  Bending.  Pushing. Pulling. Never tired. Always active. She would often leave the younger crowd behind in her dust. She worked hard to stay healthy. Ate well. Exercised. Another reason why it never makes sense.

Her fancier shoes sequined and shimmering. These went with the gowns hidden deeper in the closet. Cruises had become an annual event. Her face would light up, and her eyes would match the gleam in her shoes. Dancing for hours, the last one on the floor. No one’s going to break my stride..I got to keep on dancing was one of her favorite lines.

But I bend to pick up the slippers. The last shoes worn. White with purple roses on the side. Her toes open to the world. Thick with comfort because the nerves needed to be cushioned, trying  to find relief from the pain. The bottoms worn down from shuffling, not stepping. I can hear the echo of the shuffle now bouncing off the walls. I gather them up and take in the scent of Avon lotions, flowery, pungent  and I can almost hear her voice..and her laughter.  They are a little big for her, she wore thick socks within them, trying to keep warm. The medicines had changed a lot. They are dotted with specks of food, maybe some crumbs. And little white hairs from her best friend and protector who would lay as close to her as he could in the bed. They were well used, she refused to lie down and quit. So much of mom within these shoes.

I slip my feet in and I can feel our souls, like one. I see so much of her in me. I hear her in my words, see her reflection in my mirror. She is so far, but remains so close.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sunshine

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Once I am hit with the summer sunshine of Florida…sunshine is not one of my favorite subjects. It is brutal here.
So, for todays Gussy's Inspirational Workshop I went back to a time when I could handle being out in the sun. My favorite is the transparent butterfly (bottom right). See the sunshine shining right through! Creation….is amazing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He's Always Been the One

The assignment this week at RemembeRed was to write about an embarrassing moment.


I was the too young mom who sat in the front pew. I am sure they understood when I walked in a little late each Sunday morning with my crew of four. One in my arms and three little ducks following behind. We may have mismatched. Our hairs not all falling in the right spots. A grumble or whimper may have come from our mouths. But we had made it again, to Sunday morning church.

I was always just a bit frazzled and maybe a little bit tense. Sunday mornings created some havoc, from feedings, clothing, diaper changes and getting them all through the door and into the car placed into their respective places in the church...all at the right time.

So as I slid into the pew. Planted there, surrounded by love, patience and concern. They were family. They knew my troubles.

And as I sat, I relaxed. Settled and listened. Renewed, strengthened. Ready to carry on.

At the closing prayer, the routine to gather began again. Finding each in their classrooms and they excitedly shared...all at once of their hour without me.

I hear people call out, wanted to see the little cherubs. Each stopping for a moment of encouragement, affection.

As I turned to walk again, one is missing. I scanned with intention...

I spotted him. Eye on the knob and smile on his face. And I, and my children....and the scattered congregation in their Sunday's finest, are showered by the sprinklers which have been turned on.

My face is red with embarrassment and his giggles make it worse.

I ran to turn it off, rebuking this young one...who is always the one! And I turned afraid to see the reaction....

But I am greeted with smiles and understanding.
They are family. A little more damp, and their hair not as neat. Possibly a little frazzled and a little bit tense. My world had spilled over...and havoc was done!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Who Am I?

I read the prompt this morning on Dare to Share and have been thinking of it ever since. I do have plenty of posts that show pieces of me, but I decided to write a new one....and try to explain who I am.

I am multi-layered, formed from sins and accomplishments. With poor choices I learned, grew and gained in knowledge, faith and understanding. In success, I grew in confidence, knowledge, focus and faith as well.

I am mostly made up of my faith. More than anything else, this is what pushes me, directs me, and convicts me.

I have always been blessed. Whether experiencing divorce as a child, exploration of drugs and alcohol as a youth, teenage motherhood, wife of an addict, single mother, or now wife to a Godly man, teacher and grandmother...through it all, I was blessed. Through pain and joy I smiled, always ready to see the silver lining.

I am constantly changing, like the winds that pound against rock, changing the scenery...I am changing, eroding and becoming new all the time.

I dream. I wonder. I love. I create.

I want acceptance, peace, praise.

I run from conflict and confrontation...but not before my voice is heard!

I have secrets I wish I never began or gave birth to.

I walk in a cloud of compassion. I am sometimes misunderstood.

I am often quiet. I desire to grow, become better.

If I were to rewrite this time and time again...it would change. Some things remain constant. Some things intensify, and others I let go.

This is me, today.

Terry

Brought this post back out to share on Let's Bee Friends to introduce myself.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Ocean Princess and Her Sentry

This is a prompt from The Red Dress Club. For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or
vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.       

Author's Note: This was done quick...I accepted a challenge from a fellow blogger to just give it a try. I dedicate this to my daughter and her friend, who seem to have a fascination. So, with little knowledge or know how, here is my silly attempt at Fantasy. Have at it with the concrit. I am ready!


Caitlyn stared at the table in the cafeteria surrounded by boys. Her eyes settled on her, the new girl. What was it? Since she had walked through the door, all their heads turned, and she drew them in like fish to the best bait. And every day the scene in the cafeteria was the same, they swam to her, and seemed to be bound by a spell in her presence.

Each day Caitlyn got closer to her, trying to find what was different about her beauty. The hair was long, and thick, with just enough wave. Her eyes seemed to sparkle with a marble like pattern of multi-colors. Her smile revealed perfect teeth, and the laughter that fell through those lips was like a song.


Caitlyn wasn't figuring anything out from this distance, she would need to get closer. They were in the same class next period, she would check the current and maybe attempt to break through into a conversation. No other girl had seemed to attempt this as of yet.

Caitlyn settled into a seat beside her, having to practically push one of the guys out of the way to get there. Luckily he felt clumsy enough not to argue in front of her and relented.

"Hi...I am Caitlyn."

Her sparkling eyes took me in, it was if she was swimming in my head and measuring me in this moment. A bit of distrust and fear seemed to be hidden just beneath the surface.

"Pallea," she responded simply and put her hand out into mine.

Caitlyn's eyed the first imperfection...her skin. Dry...was that chapped? It almost looked like scales. She slipped it back quickly covering her hands nervously and hid them back below her waist.

"So, what brings you to Sandy Isle?"

"The ocean, " Pallea answers and that haunting musical giggle bubbles out.

Caitlyn turned to focus on the teacher, she felt like she wasn't going to get anywhere today...at least not here in class.


That afternoon Caitlyn looks for Pallea in the parking lot, unsure how she got to and from school. But when she saw the school of boys drenched in her aura... she knew she was headed her way.

Caitlyn sat in her car questioning her own motives. Why was this girl so intriguing to her? Caitlyn has always been fine as a loner…but now she just could not shake the curiosity this girl seemed to have charged her with. Her plan was to follow her.

Pallea finally removed herself from the boys and dipped herself into a little blue Bug. A surfboard was secured to the top and as Caitlyn followed behind she knew they were headed toward the ocean.



Caitlyn watched in awe of her skills on that board from a distance. She saw her face glisten in the sun, and as she was tossed off the board and into the sea, she seemed unaffected, swimming like a dolphin, soaring with the waves. At times Caitlyn thought she rose above the waves. She was one with the ocean.

Over and over she would ride, swim, and dive. Never tiring.  Always smiling. Alone.



Caitlyn still unsure of her own captivity to these observations sat still, focused, and enthralled. For a moment, she understood the boys. Wondering if that touch this afternoon had released some spell.    

Caitlyn knew the sun was beginning to settle into its evening position.  But both remained in their roles, the ocean princess and her sentry.

As the moon rose into the dark sky, Pallea began to swim towards shore. Now the only ones on the beach, Caitlyn found a spot more hidden from view behind a beam on the pier.

Caitlyn’s gasp almost audible escaped from her lips as she watched Pallea’s feet hit the sand. Her skin….the dry chapped skin…now glistened like jewels in the streams of light from the full moon. And as she walked toward the rocks, a sound unearthly was resonating from deep within Pallea. It was as if she was calling. To whom? To what?

Pallea still sparkling, still singing…climbed up on the rock. Her eyes out to the sea. But Caitlyn’s eyes were locked. Her mouth hung open. A chill rose up from the sand, as an ocean breeze caught up to her.

Pallea turned, and saw her. And her eyes cast down to herself. Realizing, Caitlyn knew. She has seen her tail.