All posts by sklase

I am a novice writer that has been writing forever and trying to be successful, eventually looking toward a book, or books. I have been publishing short stories, mostly kid stories so far in mags, ezines and wherever I can. I have over 20 stories, articles or poems published.

50 Ways to Leave your Summer (Without Regrets)

Summer is almost over. Some say summer is over because the kids are going to school earlier and earlier every year. For this blog, I want to write about some things, actually a lot of things  you might want to check off your list to make sure you lived your summer to its potential.

  1. Go to the beach at least once.
  2. Tell your kids you loved them and appreciated having them around more.
  3. Take your dog to the dog park.
  4. Buy peaches.
  5. Help someone in need.
  6. Go to an outdoor concert.
  7. Go to an outdoor movie. Drive ins are my favorite but there are not so many of them around anymore.
  8. Take a hike in the woods.
  9. Go for a creek walk.
  10. Take that family vacation even if it seems you can’t afford it. You’re building memories. There are always ways to save.
  11. Have lunch with a friend.
  12. Tell your spouse you appreciate them, especially if they did the yard work.
  13. Have a cook out at a park.
  14. Go to the zoo.
  15. Go to a garden attraction.
  16. Watch birds.
  17. Watch butterflies at a butterfly house.
  18. Plant flowers
  19. Sit outside and look at flowers.
  20. Take a picnic lunch somewhere.
  21. Do a trail ride.
  22. Play a game of outdoor sports.
  23. If that’s too strenuous. Play a game of horseshoes or Croquet
  24. Read a book outside under a tree.
  25. Play miniature golf.
  26. Go out for ice cream.
  27. Have a campfire. Make Smores
  28. Go camping.
  29. Be thankful for the heat. Soon it will be cold.
  30. Go to an amusement park.
  31. Go to a nature center and learn something new.
  32. Go to a pool.
  33. Go to a historic attraction.
  34. Watch the sunrise/sunset.
  35. Have a water balloon toss.
  36. Go to a fair.
  37. Go to a farmer’s market.
  38. Buy corn on the cob and eat it with lots of melted butter.
  39. Visit a state park.
  40. Take a day trip to a place you never went before.
  41. Shop at a yard sale.
  42. Paint a painting outside.
  43. Take a field trip.
  44. Thank God for air conditioning.
  45. Take a walk in the rain.
  46. Go fishing.
  47. Get out the wading pool and splash with your kids/grandkids
  48. Play in the sandbox.
  49. Visit a petting zoo.
  50. Fly a kite.  These are just some things I thought of. Don’t be sad if you missed out because summer is almost over. Some of these things can be done into the fall. So go out and have a ball!

Writing Wins and Woes: The Happiness of Dogs

Do you ever wonder why dogs are so happy? You might say well, they don’t have to go to work. But a dog’s work is making his master happy. A dog is happy as long as you’re around and he’s fed and has a roof over his head. In short, he’s content with the little things in life.

We’d do well to imitate dogs. I always think I’ll be happy when the next thing comes along. When summer cleaning starts at my job, I switch to day shift so I said to myself I’ll sure be happier when summer cleaning comes along. Now that summer is about over, and I’m very sick of doing the extra work and getting up at 5 a. m. every day, I say I’ll sure be glad when I get back to second shift and I can have all those morning and some of the afternoon to myself.

When my kids were growing up, I said I can’t wait until they sleep through the night. I can’t wait until they’re potty trained. I can’t wait until they can talk and tell me what they want. I can’t wait until they can dress themselves. I can’t wait until I can go out and leave them without a sitter. Now that I have no kids at home, I desperately long for the sound of their laughter, to see them sitting in my house, making that same mess I used to complain about so much. You just don’t know a good thing when you have it.

The secret of life is to be content wherever you are in life because it doesn’t last. Sometimes I thought what I was going through was the biggest hassle in the world, but there are bigger hassles when you have nobody at all to share the hassles of life with.

I complain a lot about my job. Everybody does. But I need to be thankful I have a job to complain about. I complain about my house. It’s in need of a lot of repair, but I have a house to gripe about. I complain about the car, especially when it costs us over $1000 for repairs but we have a car to grumble about.  Most of all, I complain big time about my husband, but he’s here for me every day listening to my complaints. Who else wants to volunteer for that job?

The secret of life? Think like a dog. Life isn’t about all the things. If you have something to eat, somewhere to go, and someone to be close to, that’s all you really need.

Writing Wins and Woes: Breathing a Sigh

Have you ever noticed that sighs can be used for different purposes. I sigh, because I wish I hadn’t said that. Or I sigh because I am remembering something from the past I wish I could repeat. I sigh because I’m sad. I sigh because I’m wistful. I sigh because I’m relieved. I sigh because I can take a breath. There’s a change in the air and it feels good. That is the contented sigh, which in my way of thinking is the best kind.

Today I am breathing a sigh. Why? Because I wrote and submitted a story. If you want to know why I am happy about this, I will tell you. The last time I wrote and submitted a story was January 20th of this year. Although it was a good story, it wasn’t accepted. But that isn’t the reason why I haven’t written another since. I’ve been going through a period of depression. I didn’t even admit it to myself. On the outside, I was going through my routine like normal. I went to work. I did my chores at home. I enjoyed my grandson. I played with the dog when I wasn’t too tired or in too much pain. I paid my bills.  But inside I was sad. I was sad all the time. Even when I was happy, I was still sad. I know that’s hard to explain to anyone who is not gone through depression of any kind.

I told myself you should be grateful. You have a brand new grandson. You have three healthy children. You have a husband who mostly cares about you. You have wonderful parents who are still alive and thriving, despite your mother’s bout with cancer. You have God who never lets you go. You have so much to be thankful for. I knew all that in my head. But my heart kept feeling pain.

My life didn’t have meaning as it once had. I didn’t have any motivation or inspiration to write. God seemed distant, and I know the saying that if God is distant, who moved? I wanted desperately to move forward but I couldn’t. It was like the ocean. When you stand in the sand and the waves lap over your feet and the longer you stand, the more firmly your feet are entrenched in the sand, and after awhile you are buried there.

I felt buried alive. Little by little, I am digging my way out. Some days I don’t cry. Some days I don’t think about what could have been. Some days I say, this day I will take a small step in the right direction. That’s what I did this week. I took a step toward my goal of becoming a successful writer. I’m not saying everyday is going to be brighter now. Some days will still be very dim and grim for me. But at least I’ll  let the sun shine in more than I used to.

Writing Wins and Woes: What I learned from the Ocean

My mom used to say that there was no trouble in life that a walk to the river wouldn’t heal. I think natural bodies of water have that effect on us. They tend to calm our souls and make us feel at peace with everything around us. The waves lapping and the sun beating down seem to be therapeutic. All the stress and anxiety melt away and your body just seems to say, “Relax, everything is fine.”

I love the ocean. It is wide and eternal. It reminds me of God. How His love never ends for us. Just like the waves that keep coming, His love keeps rolling in. The Bible says that if we counted God’s thoughts to us they would be more numerous than the sands in the sea. And more than the mighty breakers of the sea, the Lord is mighty! So no matter how boisterous the ocean is, God is even stronger than that. The ocean can pick you up and drag you down and fling you onto the sand. God can pick us up and hold us firmly in His hands and never let us go. While the ocean will throw us away, God will never do so if we are His children.  Sometimes we may scream and kick at Him, but He still holds on tight until we calm down and accept His will.

I love the beach. I love the time I spent there with my family. I love the fun times we had, the jokes we made, the memories we shared and the long talks around the bonfire at night. But more than that, I love the fact that God has worked out all the trials and tribulations our family have faced over the years. Sometimes we wondered if we would have each other or even speak to each other again, but God is the one who calmed me and told me that we would make it through somehow. He gave me the strength to carry on, and to believe that love would prevail in the end. You rule the swelling of the sea. When the waves rise, you still them.

Writing Wins and Woes: Shut Down

This morning I opened my laptop, pressed the mouse and the screen lit up. However, the screen said, Thursday, July 6th. No matter how much I clicked the mouse, nothing happened. My password box would not appear. It was frozen. So, there was only one thing to do. Shut it down. Shutting it down didn’t solve my problem. I could sit all day in front of a blank computer screen and nothing would ever happen. I couldn’t search the web, check my email or write this blog post. I had to restart the computer. When it came back on, it was now Friday, July 7th. Everything functioned perfectly.

So it is with life. When I feel frozen, I often shut down. I’m not going anywhere, or doing anything. I’m just a blank screen. When I’m frozen, people can’t even tell that I’m different. I look the same. Except this one little thing. I’m not really functioning correctly. I’m stuck in place. Maybe I’m doing all the right things. Maybe I’m doing most of what I am supposed to do, but I’m not really at the correct time. I’m stuck in the past. Yesterday.

What do I need? I need a restart. Just a simple, “Hey, today, I’m going to think differently. Today, I’m going to let go of yesterday. Yesterday can’t be relived. I can’t go back and have a redo of things I wish hadn’t gone the way I wanted them to. But tomorrow is always a new day. I can restart. I can begin again. Nothing is ever going to be the same again. And it shouldn’t be. If we don’t change, we stagnate. Sometimes it’s easier to shut down, but is it fulfilling? Restarting is the harder choice, but it’s the necessary one.

Writing Wins and Woes: Role Playing

I’ve been struggling with my roles lately. I’m not sure what my function is now that I no longer have kids at home. On the one hand, I am still me. I’m still a mom. I’m also a wife and a grandmother. I’m an employee and when I’m at work, I don’t really think of myself in terms of being a wife and mother. I’m just a worker. Lately,  I feel more comfortable at work than anywhere. It’s not because I love my job. It’s because I know exactly what my place is at my job. When I am working, I know exactly what to do and when to do it.

But when I’m not working, I’m not sure what my true purpose is. I’m not satisfied with the few menial tasks I do at home. My writing has somehow fizzled out. I’m not sure why. Some of it has to do with the avenues I once wrote for have dwindled. Some of the publishing places have closed. Guardian Angel Kids has gone from a monthly ezine to a bi-montly ezine. I’m at a loss to know how to proceed with my book and all of the remaining publishers I formerly looked to just don’t interest me anymore. Most of the time I’m just too tired to write anyway.

So, what am I now? Am I still a writer when I’m not really writing? Am I still a parent when I’m not really parenting most of the time? I’ve begun to realize that I identified myself by these things I did, and now that I no longer do them, I don’t feel like I’m much of a person anymore. I feel like I’m nothing. A Hollow. A Shell.

When I was young, I used to feel as if I was invisible. I would go to school and few people would ever talk to me. I would hear other kids talking around me and even sharing their innermost secrets right around me without even noticing I was there. To them, I wasn’t there. I was a nobody that didn’t factor into their lives. At work this week, I remarked that when people were absent, they were talked about more and I said I realized they probably talked about me when I wasn’t there and my co-worker said, no you’re pretty boring. We don’t really talk about you.

So maybe I’m still invisible. I guess I can be thankful I matter to God. I may not be sure of who I am right now here on this planet, but I am sure I’m a child of God. So for now I’ll focus on finding Him. When I find Him, maybe I’ll find myself, too.

Writing Wins and Woes: Grandparenting

It’s birthday party time! This week my grandson turns one. When I look back over the year, I wonder where this year went. What a blessing Miles has brought to my life. I remember the first week when Miles was in the hospital and we were scared that he might have health issues. Miles was born with the cord wrapped around his neck. Because of the oxygen deprivation, we wondered if he was normal. While he was being nursed back to health, we couldn’t hold him. He had so many tubes and monitors attached to his little body. And what a joy when we finally held him in our arms. Despite all that he came home in 5 days.

Two days after he came home, I spent a week with him and my daughter at their house. It was one of the most exciting weeks of my life. Not only did I bond with my grandson, I bonded with my daughter. We spent time talking, watching movies and sharing Miles. I read to him, snuggled him, fed him and cuddled him. I often slept right beside him. I went with my daughter for his newborn pictures.

In the months following, I have had many opportunities to spend weekends with Miles. I’ve watched him grow from immobile to very mobile. We’ve gone from bottle feeding to spoon feeding, and now he has even started feeding himself. I remember being so excited when he started smiling and now he laughs all the time. He babbles and is on his way to talking.

He used to love being rocked on a chair while I sang him lullabies. Now, he squirms out of my arms so he can chase the dog. He pulls himself up and walks around the furniture. He picks up toys and holds them out for Lucy to grab and sometimes he even throws them to her.

He stacks blocks and puts together stacking cups. He grabs things he shouldn’t, like my glasses and dog fur. He holds out his arms to be picked up. He is just starting to give kisses. Although I do miss the little bitty baby days, I can’t wait to see what comes next. I know it’s going to be a blast! Happy birthday, Miles! Grandma loves you and can’t wait to see what God has planned for you. I bet it’s going to be great.