I write and write and write. I am looking for authors and down-to-earth people who share my interest and can give a novice, like myself, good advice in this exciting but demanding field. Looking forward to hearing from you. God Bless!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rasafrats - Chapter 5

           The next morning came quickly, but John was well rested. He had ended up going to bed about 9:30, being extremely tired due to all the activities and adventures the day had produced. He hadn’t even said goodnight to his mom, dad or Gretchen. He had fallen asleep lying on his bed reading a book. He had awakened in the middle of the night, put his book away, crawled under the covers and fallen right back to sleep.

            As John lay in bed staring out the window, he heard his mom clanking around down in the kitchen getting ready to start breakfast. It wasn’t long before he could smell the fresh aroma of bacon cooking. “Yeah, she’s making bacon and eggs for breakfast,” John said to himself. “Maybe she’ll fix some of her great biscuits and gravy, too”.

            “John, breakfast will be ready in 20 minutes,” his mom called from the bottom of the stairs. “You’d better get up and get dressed. The cattle need hay and I need some more eggs. Your dad also needs you to clean out that rabbit hutch first thing after breakfast, so he can put those baby chicks in it until he gets a better place made up for them.”

            John sat straight up in bed. “Oh NO!!” John was out of his bed, clothes on, teeth brushed, and downstairs within five minutes. “Hey Mom! Where’s Dad?”

            “Well, that was quick,” his mom said, looking up as she flipped the bacon. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get dressed and ready that fast before. What’s the matter? Are you sick?”

            “Ha . . . that’s funny, Mom. So where’s Dad?”

“He’s still upstairs,” Mom said, as she stirred the sausage gravy then took the rest of the bacon out of the skillet.

Just then John heard his dad coming down the stairs. “Do I hear John up and about this morning?”

John looked up at his dad as he came into the kitchen. “Hey dad. Why aren’t you going to work today?”

“Well, I took a vacation day today in order to get that rabbit hutch fixed up and some things done up around the barn.” Charles answered. “I’m glad you’re up, though. I think we have enough time to go up and check out that rabbit hutch this morning before breakfast. I want to put those new chicks in there while I make a better coup for them. It’s just too dangerous with them in that big chicken coup with all those month-old chickens. They’re gonna get run over. We’ve already lost three. I don’t want to lose anymore.”

John’s dad, Charles, worked as a machine operator at a local factory. He’d worked there for nearly twenty years working himself all the way up to Senior Foreman. He had earned himself four weeks of vacation and several weeks of sick time. It was a good job and close to the house so if he needed to get home quickly to take care of anything on their farm or at the house, he could. He enjoyed his work but he enjoyed farming more. He owned about 100 acres just outside of town where he grew feed corn and beans. His job at the factory would provide a handsome retirement for his family, more that the farming would. Crop prices hadn’t been too good for the last couple of years due to the fluctuating weather. So, having a stable job helped out with financing. And since he’d been with the company for so long he had the flexibility of taking off when planting and harvesting season came around.

“Dad, do we have to do it now? I’m really hungry.” John said as he tried to stall his dad.

            “Yeah, come on. Breakfast won’t be ready for about thirty minutes. Isn’t that right, ma?”

“Yes, that’s right,” John’s mother agreed. “I’ll call you when it’s ready. Go on and check that thing out so we can move them after breakfast and get a new chicken coup made this afternoon.”

John just stood there. He thought, What am I gonna do now. What are Mom and Dad gonna say?

“Come on, boy! Let’s get crackin’!” His dad said as the door slammed behind him.

“You’d better get going, John. You know how your father gets when he wants you to do something. He expects you to be right on his heels.”

John turned and walked out the door. His dad was already half way to the shed. John picked up the pace and caught up with his dad. “Dad, wait. There’s something I have to tell you before you get to the rabbit hutch.”

John’s dad turned around. “What is it, son?”

“Well . . .” John stammered around wondering how he was going to tell his dad.

“Out with it, boy; we’ve got work to do and not much time to do it!” John’s dad was starting to get impatient.

“I found something a couple of days ago. Well . . . Pete, Billy and I did. It’s kind of some weird animal. We didn’t know what to do with it, so I brought it home and stuck it in the rabbit hutch.” There, he’d said it. That hadn’t been so bad. Whew! John was glad that was over with. He didn’t like keeping secrets from his parents.

“What KIND of animal?” John’s dad looked at him with his left eyebrow quirked up like a mountain top.

“Weeellllll, it’s kind of like a cat, dog, bird, and squirrel all mixed together.”

“What!! Where is this thing?” John’s dad started heading to the hutch.

“He’s really gentle and friendly,” John yelled after his dad, trying to catch up to his long strides. “We all found this really cool place inside the mine just out of town. That’s where we found Rasafrats.”

“Rasa . . .  What?”

“Rasafrats. That’s his name. He told us.”

John’s dad turned around and just stared at him. He couldn’t believe his ears. His son had been out in the sun too long. He had missed his yearly check-up this year. Maybe they needed to make him an appointment.

“Really, Dad. He told us. He kind of speaks this weird kind of gibberish, but we could understand him when we asked him his name. It was pretty cool, weird at first, but cool.”

His dad turned around and continued on to the hutch shaking his head. As he rounded the corner of the shed and walked over to the hutch, he could see something moving in the back corner. As he crept closer, suddenly the creature turned around and started hopping up and down, excited to see John. When he realized that John was not alone, he stopped and snuck back off to the corner peering out from behind his feathers.

“What is the world? What IS that?” John’s dad said with astonishment.

“That’s Rasafrats! Isn’t he cool?”

John’s dad just looked at John and then at Rasafrats and then back at John again. “What do you plan to do with him?” He said as he raised his eyebrow again.

“Well, Pete, Billy, and I are going back to the mine where we found him to see if we can find his home. I’m sure that’s where he lives. We went back there yesterday and Rasafrats showed us this COOL place in the mine, Dad. You wouldn’t believe it!

“No, I’m sure I wouldn’t.”

John continued. “There was a lake and flowers and sunshine. It was so cool. We all played for about an hour or so, swimmin’ and runnin’. It was great! We’re thinking that that’s where Rasafrats lives but there didn’t seem to be any other life around. And we ended up leaving early, because we didn’t want to be late for dinner. So we were all gonna go back today to see if we could find out anything more.

“John, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. You know how old and dangerous that mine is. There was that tragic accident years ago and it’s just not safe. I don’t want you boys getting hurt. Besides, what are you gonna do if you find out something? We can’t keep him, you know. He’s obviously a different breed of some sort and probably needs a certain environment and type of food; things that we wouldn’t be able to give him.”

John hung his head. “I know, dad. But we have to try and get him back home, if that IS his home. I’ll be careful, I promise.” John hesitated for a moment. “Are ya gonna tell mom?”

“We have to, son. But, I’ll hold off telling her until you guys get back this afternoon, okay?”

“Great! Thanks Dad! I’ll be careful, don’t worry.”

“Okay, now we’d better head back to the house. Breakfast is probably almost ready.”

Just then, John’s mom hung her head out the back door and yelled, “Breakfast is ready! Come on in and wash up!”

John’s sister, Gretchen, was just coming out of the chicken coup carrying a bunch of eggs. “John, you’re gonna have to get the eggs two days in a row since I had to get them this morning.” Then she stuck out her tongue and ran to the house.

“That’s fine, sis. I don’t mind.” John leaned over to his dad, “You don’t suppose she saw the rabbit hutch or Rasafrats, do you? That’s the last thing I need is ‘little miss big-mouth’ nosing around and telling everybody.”

“I don’t think she saw anything. Don’t worry and be nice to your sister. Come on. Let’s get to the house before your mother tans our hides.”

John and his dad picked up the pace and headed inside to wash up for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding Exceptance

Clara searched around for the flashlight. 

“I know that thing is here somewhere!  I just used it the other day!!”

Clara was getting frustrated AND scared.  The lights had been flickering during the storm for about 30 minutes and had finally gone out.  The weather forecast had been grim and tornados were being spotted all across the county but Clara had turned off the TV feeling anxious and bored.  Her mom had gone on her first date since her dad has passed away a year ago.  She loved her mom and wanted her to be happy but she just didn’t feel right about the guy she was going out with.  “He’s not like dad”, Clara had said to her mom as she watched her put on her make-up earlier that evening.

“He’s not supposed to be like your father, Clara.  Your father was a very special man and I loved . . . love him dearly . . . still.  I will never stop loving him but I want some companionship.  This is the first date I’ve gone on since your father died.  I think your father would want me to go on with my life, don’t you?” 

“I don’t know.  I suppose.”  Clara said reluctantly.  “But there’s just something about him.  I guess he’s OK.  I just want you to be happy, mom.”

Clara’s mom walked across the room and leaned over to Clara.  “Oh, honey.  I am happy.  I miss your father every day and there will be NO ONE that will ever take his place, OK.” 

She kissed Clara on the forehead and walked back over to the mirror to check her sweater and take a last glance at herself.  She was in her late thirties and still looked pretty good after having three children.  She gave herself a last look and then turned to Clara.  “How do I look?”

“Great, Mom.  You look great!”

“Thanks honey.  Now, make sure you get Tommy and Alisa in bed by ten.  There is leftover pizza in the frig for you guys.  I shouldn’t be late.  Have a good time and watch the weather.  I think there are some storms rolling in tonight.”

“I will, mom.  Have a good time and don’t worry.  We’ll be fine.”  Clara said.

Clara focused back on finding the flashlight.  Her brother and sister were already in bed and had probably been asleep for an hour.  They had no clue about the storms brewing outside; which was probably a good thing.  Even at sixteen, Clara didn’t want to have to deal with Alisa’s crying and worrying about the thunder and lightening.  As she rummaged around in the drawer her fingers touched a smooth round surface. 

“Finally!”  Clara picked up the flashlight and turned it on.

Everything was pitch-black.  It was about a quarter past eleven and the wind was blowing hard outside.  She walked over to the backdoor and peered outside.  Trees limbs were blowing sideways and she could see that the patio furniture had already blown out into the yard.

I wonder how mom’s doing, she thought to herself.  This isn’t a very good night to be out on a date.

She turned around and suddenly jumped, dropping her flashlight to the floor.  She stood there trying to focus her eyes.  In front of her stood, what looked like, her father.  He was just standing there looking at her.  It couldn’t be, though.  Her father was dead.  He had died a year ago in a car wreck.  It had been a terrible tragedy for the family.  He had been hit head-on by a truck driver that had swerved into his lane.  The truck driver had been killed, too.  Clara’s dad had lived long enough for them to see and talk with him, though.  He had been rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma and had gone into a coma for two weeks.  When he finally came out of the coma, Clara and her mom and brother and sister had been right by his side.  They were so happy to see him open his eyes and recognize them.  But then disaster stuck that night when a blood clot worked its way up to his brain causing him to hemmorhage and he died instantly.  Clara and the rest of the family had left earlier that evening and planned to return in the morning.  Shortly, after going to bed, Clara’s mom had received the devastating call from the hospital.  It was such a shock to everyone.  They all had felt such hopes that he would recover and be coming home soon.  Those dreams and been crushed in an instant.  All because a trucker had weaved over too much into her father’s path and lost control.

Clara rubbed her eyes.  “Daddy?  Is that you?”  Clara strained to see better in the darkness.  She tried to reach down and pick up the flashlight but it had rolled under the bakers rack next to her.

“Yes, baby, its daddy.  Don’t be afraid.”

“But how can that be?  Am I dreaming?”  Clara asked.

“No, honey.  I’m real.”  Her dad answered.  “I know you’ve been hurting for a while and I just wanted to come back and assure you that everything is going to be alright.  I’ve been watching you and your mother and brother and sister.  I miss you all terribly but it is so beautiful up here.  You don’t need to worry any longer.  I am fine and you all are going to have a wonderful life.  And I will see you again someday.”

Clara couldn’t believe her eyes or ears.  She was standing there looking at her father and listening to him talk to her.  She had dreamed about this so many nights.  Most nights she had cried herself to sleep.  She missed her father so much.  Her brother and sister did, too, but they were still young.  Tommy was just 7 and Alisa had just turned 4.  They remembered their dad but were still so young that it hadn’t affected them like it had Clara.  She remembered so many good times with her father.

“But why did you have to die, daddy?  I miss you so much.  I just want you back with us so bad.”  A tear rolled down her cheek.  She wiped it away with the back of her hand and looked up at her father.

“I know, honey.  But just remember all the good times we had and know that I’m watching out for you all the time and all you have to do is look into your heart and remember me and I’ll be right there beside you.  I’ll never leave you or your mother or brother and sister.  I love you all.”

Clara nodded and looked out the window at the rain beating against the windowpane.

“Clara, there’s one more thing.  Your mother needs to find someone to spend her life with; someone to love.  It won’t be the guy she’s out with tonight but it will be someone else.  And he’ll be a wonderful man and good to you kids.  I’ve seen him.  Don’t worry about him trying to take my place.  He’ll understand and just try to be a caring and loving person to your mother and the rest of the family.  He will be a good provider and a good listener.  And you’ll end up loving him… not in place of me but for the person he is.  Okay, honey.”

Clara looked up.  He was gone.  Her dad had faded away.  She wiped the tears away that had started streaming down her face and walked to the window.  It had stopped raining and a rainbow was showing through the clouds overlooking her backyard.  It was probably the most beautiful rainbow she had seen in a long time.

Dad’s right, Clara thought to herself.  Things are going to be alright.

Clara walked away heading back to her bedroom and felt a wonderful warm feeling; a good comforting feeling she had been longing for.

A couple of hours later, Clara heard the front door open.  She closed her book and raced downstairs.  “Hey, mom!  How was the date?”  Clara asked excitedly.

“Oh, it was alright.” Her mom replied.  “He’s not like your father and I probably won’t see him again.  But that’s ok.”

“Yeah, that’s OK, mom.  I know you’ll find someone and he’ll be the perfect one for you.”  Then Clara gave her mom a big squeeze and smiled to herself.     

Lost & Found

Where are my KEYS!!! I was late for work. I can't believe this, I said to myself. This is rediculous!! How many times did I get on my husband for losing his keys or cell phone and now here I was doing the same thing.I looked everywhere. They weren't on the hook where they should have been. They weren't on the counter. I checked every room in the house (and there are several rooms since it's a fairly big house). I check under beds, under tables, behind cabinets and shelves. I looked under covers in my kids' room. I checked in closets, in cabinets AND in the refrigerator! I check on the washer and dryer and behind art supplies in the utility room.

Where in the world could they be?? I finally realized I had to call my husband to ask him if he had seen them. Of course, my tone when talking to him was tense and regid and I'm sure he thought I was blaming him. And I was; sort of. My husband had a knack for losing keys, cell phones, papers; pretty much anything he put his hands on he would misplace somewhere. SO, I figured he probably grabbed my keys by mistake thinking they were his.

I prayed: God, please help me to find my keys. My husband, Greg shows up, gives me his keys and says, "Honey, I didn't do it." He climbs back into his truck. I get into my car, pull out of the garage and what do I see straight ahead of me laying on the ledge outside our garage door - my keys!  And right where I left them the night before.

Ok, so I lose my keys, too. And if I were to admit it, and I'm not saying I am, BUT if I were to admit it, I've probably lost my cell phone a couple of times, too.


You don't realize what you have until it's not there, right? You know that saying. It's pretty truthful, isn't it. I mean, it's hard sometimes to value something when you are so close to it. Sometimes you need to step away and then come back again to appreciate it. Now, that can apply to a lot of things; people, circumstances; just about anything you can think of.

My circumstance was with my kids. Of course, I don't REALLY want to get away from them but I truly think that to be good parents, we need to have some time away to appreciate our loved ones and to kind of "reset" ourselves.  The day-to-day gruel of schedules, activities and demands on our lives can sometimes seem overwhelming. Just that few minutes or maybe even days (as in our case) can rejuvenate and put things back in their proper perspective.

Our kids went to visit my parents as they do every year right before school starts. I think this gives them a break and us, as well. Plus, my parents get to see their grandkids that they don't see very often. And thank goodness they are still young enough and healthy enough to still enjoy their grandchildren.

They got back a couple of days ago and I was never more excited to see anyone in my life. I couldn't wait until the end of the day when I could race home (watching the speed limit, of course) to see my kids. I snatched them both up and gave them hugs and kisses. I had missed them so much. But I was rejuvenated and I think they were, too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


What in the WORLD am I doing! It must be 100 degrees outside and I'm out here worshiping the sun in this blistering hot weather. A person has to be crazy to voluntarily go out in this heat. I look around and it seems like I'm about the only one that did not act on my inner intelligence that God gave me which tried to talk me out of exiting my perfectly air-conditioned house.

But it could be worse, I try to reason with myself. My oldest son is camping with his father in this sweltering heat. What could be worse than camping out in a tent in 100 degree weather with no pool around or option for cooling off in the water. Not much, I figure. But again, it's all about the kids, right. The things we do for our kids. We'll go out in 90 degree weather with no breeze just so our kids can swim in a pool or a lake that feels like bathwater. Or we'll head out in the biggest snow of the year to help our 5 year old build a snowman.

That's what makes life worth while, I guess. As I sit here baking under the sun in the early evening hours, I think of all the simple pleasures in life. Of all those little things that bring a smile to our faces; like an ice cream cone on a warm summer day, or the wet moist tongue of a puppy that seems to lick you more and more the harder you laugh and try to get away, or the sound of children laughing and giggling (there's no need for an explanation for that one).

We have so many daily choices. We can chose to be happy or sad. It's as simple as that. There's almost nothing that can't be resolved or made better with just a smile. Smiles and laughter are infectious and they are a choice. Everything always seems better when you smile, even in the heat.

So, as I sit here in the heat melting into my lounge chair, watching my son splashing around in the pool, I smile. It's my choice and a good one because I know it makes him happy. And when he's happy, I'm happy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Small World

Is this world really all that small? I mean, we use that saying, "It's a small world" but it really isn't that small. I know...you're saying - "Tell me something I don't already know." Well, I'm not here to tell you something new as much as it's just been an observation on my part. I don't know about everyone else but I'm sure that there are millions that share the same viewpoint as I do. We all get so caught up in our "little world" and doing our thing that we don't have any conception of how large this big beautiful world really is.

My awakening was actually when I started tweeting more on twitter. Yes, I'm afraid I've become a social media junky.  I never thought it would happen, but it did. And I realized the more I followed someone and people, or companies for that matter, followed me, that there was SO MUCH out there that I didn't even know about.  There are so many other people going about their individual lives, doing their own thing, hanging out with kids & family, going to work, or whatever is on their agenda for the day.

And, yes, I knew all this before but it just became so apparent and opened my eyes when I started having people follow me from Canada and London and Europe.  People I didn't even know but had some connection with.  That's the whole point of twitter and all the other social medias, isn't it? To connect. To find someone or some company that has something that interests you. In my situation it was more about finding people that were authors or enjoyed writing and spending time with family. I started realizing early on that there are SO many people that have the same interests as I do; people that I'm pretty sure I'll never meet except on Twitter or some other type of social media.

But, most of these people are people that are good and want to connect to either give you info, kind words, or actually hear what I have to say or tweet about. I know there are alot of people and companies trying to sell something but most of it is something that will better you or your life. That's amazing. Maybe I'm naive about it but in going down the path of social media frenzy it has awakened me to the possibilities out there just waiting for us to take hold. There is such a vast amount of information out there and people ready to give it; all at our fingertips and by the click of a button. Amazing! I think I'm addicted and glad of it.