Giving, Not Giving Up

We have 325 days, from the time Lent ends one year until it begins the next year, to think about what we will do; yet here I am once again, as always, still trying to figure it out on Ash Wednesday. After all of these years on this earth, you would think I’d be better at this. You would think that I would have a list of a dozen things to choose from. Give up this, add that, emphasize this, read that. But no, it never comes easily for me. I struggle with the Lenten decision well into the forty days, always wondering if I’ve made the right choice, if it’s having any effect on me, if it’s at all pleasing to God. 

And I realize that it’s not just during Lent that this happens. And it’s not just me. It’s not just Catholics or other Lent-observing Christians. I think we all spend 365 days a year questioning ourselves, our actions, and our intentions, wondering if we are doing the right thing, using the right words, making the right choices, and spending our time wisely. 

I ask myself, why do I always doubt and worry whether what I do or say is good enough?

And then it dawns on me, and I wonder, is it really that simple? Is it true that all we have to do is… Read more

Grading on a Curve

Those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram will know that I spent this past weekend at a writer’s conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What a fabulous city that is! I’m going to be honest here, my only knowledge of and experiences with Milwaukee involve the Cunninghams, Fonzie, and Laverne and Shirley. I had no idea what a delightful place it is with its Old World architecture, German restaurants, and biergartens (lots and lots of beer gardens, pubs, and bars). Of course, I did take some time to visit the Bronze Fonz while I was there, but my best and most personal experience had nothing to do with 70s television or even with the conference…
Fonz.JPG Read more

What if you did something different today?

DSC00481What if?  What if you hadn’t stayed in touch with your best friend when you moved and didn’t know today how great it was to still have her in your life?  What if you hadn’t transferred to a different college halfway through and met those amazing people?  What if you hadn’t taken that trip that led you to your soulmate?  What if you hadn’t decided to move into a house across the street from your great-grandparents and given them and your children the best years of their lives?  What if you hadn’t done something so small as to make that phone call just to say hi the day a beloved friend was suddenly taken from you?

Those little decisions that we make every day have a way of making a mark on our lives that sometimes take years to realize.  The advantage of being a writer is that we get to explore the “what ifs,” and try out all of the possibilities.  What if Susan O’Neil had never agreed to volunteer to teach a summer computer camp?  Where would Cassie and Ellie have gone for help?  It’s easy to change something in a book to create that opportunity for two people to meet and bond.  But what about in real life?  Are you open to all of life’s possibilities?  Take a chance.  Call that person you haven’t spoken to in years.  You never know when it might be your last chance.  Remember, life isn’t a novel that enables you to change the plot or the ending.