Easter 2017

happy easter

 

Until next post,

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Tears in Heaven – Our Story

To be honest, I didn’t even want to write this post.  I struggled with whether or not I should be so personal because it might offend someone or might be taken out of context.  However, I began this blogging journey to expose myself in the form of writing.  After all, writing is my therapy.  All stories have highs and lows, ebbs and flows of emotions.  October 8, 2016 began a dark chapter in our life.

We were overjoyed when we found out I was pregnant with our third and final baby.  It happened just like we had planned when we talked about it years ago.  The early symptoms of pregnancy began in which I reassured myself this was the last time I’d get to experience this.  Enjoy it, I reminded myself.  As the weeks went on, we started reading about how I was carrying a baby the size of a blueberry, how their little heart was beating, what to expect, and so on.  Our family was excited, and things all seemed to be as they should be.  I would soon find out our perfect plan wasn’t so perfect after all.

I will remember the days leading up to that night but that night – that night will forever haunt me.  I felt my subconscious trying to tell me something was wrong, yet I allowed Google searches to reassure me of things and continued on with life.  However, when I began having what felt like the beginning of labor pains, the undeniable became reality.

Doubling over, I tried to focus on my breathing as my husband sought advice from the on-call nurse.  Between his, “uh-huhs” and the “mm-hms” I found myself breathing like I was in labor.  Sadness overcame me because I knew in that moment I wasn’t giving birth to life.  Instead, I was giving birth to death.

I was two months pregnant and then like a dream it was over.  Already having two kids, my husband and I had to be strong and continue with our life.  However, having a miscarriage brings a lot of grief, confusion, and pain… such a silent, relentless pain.  It makes me feel less of a woman, incompetent, and lonely.

It has been a difficult time for our family.  I go through each day and each moment in varying degrees of emotions.  In the midst of my sadness, I have to see my husband suffer our loss as well and watch him feel helpless, unsure of what to do or say.  As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I felt challenged to share our story, to be the voice in my circle to bring awareness.  Having lost a baby when this month is about awareness has been difficult.  The sting of reality penetrates my inner being.

To anyone who has suffered a loss, please know my heart is with you.  If the pain is unbearable please seek professional help to assist you in your healing.  Yes, miscarriages are common, especially in the first trimester, but the pain is real and grief is evident.  Don’t let anyone, including yourself, allow you to believe your sorrow is unjustified.  Sometimes we can do everything “right” and things still end up wrong.  Even though others may not understand why this is so devastating, I want to assure anyone out there who has or is suffering a loss that you are not alone.  Be assured that your baby only knew love.  They don’t feel the pain life brings us at times.  They only knew your love.

I hope our story has shed some light on this topic.  The goal of this month is to get the conversation going about pregnancy loss so that we can help others who are trying to heal.  Remember, you are not alone.  We are 1 in 4.

1in4

Until next post,

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Void of a Can Opener – Part 3

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(If you missed Parts 1 & 2, catch up on the action in this category.  And now the adventure continues.)

The crunching sound of metal upon asphalt was getting closer.  The two of them stared at each other indicating the need for absolute silence or their cover would become known.  The window he flew through was noticed by the enemy.  From the street, it outstretched its robotic arm moving rhythmically like a snake’s slither.  The two of them laid on their back hoping to camouflage with the floor.  Twisting and turning, the arm emerged through the window beaming with a red light on its end reminiscent of a lit cigarette.  Closer it approached the woman.  She pursed her lips in an attempt to hold her breath.  No… the man thought.  The idea of losing the only other human was not an option.  He needed to ensure her safety.

He turned his head to the left.  His eyes scanned rapidly trying to find something to distract the robotic creature.  He could see a metal desk against the wall absent of an accompanying chair. Further away he could see a black door shut implying a quick escape was out of the question.  He looked once more at the woman.  Panic painted her face with beads of sweat.  She closed her eyes shut not wanting to see the room as her last memory, yet she knew her demise was inevitable.  The robotic arm floated just a few feet above her, inching closer and closer.  The man reached in his pocket and withdrew his knife.  Desperation bred rapid decisions.  He gripped the folded knife knowing he would later regret his next move.

In a quick swoop, he flung the knife toward the window nearly missing the robot.  Steadily the blade fell until finally hitting the street with a loud clunk.  The enemy’s arm paused and then turned before retreating to the street.  The woman opened her eyes and was shocked to still see the room.  They could hear booming robotic steps becoming fainter.  She turned to face the man.

“Why did you do that?”

He stared into her icy blue eyes.  The man tried to produce an answer but came up short.  Instead he sat up and offered a shrug.  She stood up and walked towards him.

“Thank you.”  She smiled with sincerity.  “My name is Eden.”  She extended her porcelain hand.

He shook her hand with diligence.  “Corporal Mason Van Daal.”  His stomach began to rumble.

Eden turned and began rummaging through a pack she had stashed in the far corner.  She plucked out a can of beans.  Mason stood and wiped debris from his pants.  “Here,” Eden said as she tossed the can.  Gripping the can, Mason looked out the window now regretting tossing his weapon.  He sighed in disappointment.  To him it was another can that would be dented but remain intact.  Mason slammed the side of the can against the edge of the desk.  Eden cocked her head to the side.  She walked over and retrieved the can from Mason’s calloused hands.  She gave him a confused look as she brought the can to her lips.  Parting her lips, she exposed metallic canines.  She positioned a pointy metal tooth on top of the can.  Twisting the can, the seal broke with ease.  Mason’s jaw dropped.

Metal against metal ground until the top of the can popped open.  Eden flung the top to the floor and handed Mason the can.  It emitted the scent of seasoned pinto beans, the scent of a poor man’s bounty, but Mason couldn’t take his eyes off of Eden.

“What… are you?”

Eden gave a crooked smile before answering.

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What do you think will happen next?  Comment below on where you think this adventure is going.  Enjoy this story?  Follow me for the next part.

Until next post,

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Photo credit: S. Schleicher @ http://www.freeimages.com/photo/pocket-knife-1471140

Seven-Day Challenge — #Chapter4Chapter

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It’s Sunday morning and I’m recovering from another sleep deprived night.  Intermittent periods of waking throughout the evening are easily visible underneath my eyes.  Random thoughts are the cause because let’s face it — 2:00 a.m. is when inspiration nudges me awake.  Such was the case this past week.

I began feeling discouraged by my lack of progress.  My heart desires to read more and write even more.  Nonetheless, priorities of daily life supercede and require my attention.  In the midst of getting upset at myself I found myself awake one night.  I decided to present myself with a challenge.

For the next seven days, I’m committing myself to read and write more.  I’m calling this the “Chapter 4 Chapter Challenge” because of its simplicity — challenge yourself to read a chapter and write a chapter daily.  To be a good writer, one must be reading and studying the craft.  To be a great writer, one must practice the craft daily.

To my fellow writers, I urge you to join me this week for the challenge.  If you’re not a writer, I suggest joining me by journaling and reading every day.  You’re missing out on the value of both if you’re not already doing so but that’s more for a blog another day.  🙂

Comment below and tell me about what you’re reading and writing!

 

Until next post,

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#challengeaccepted #writing #lennwrites #Chapter4Chapter #poweredbytea #teamnosleep

Between Reality and Somewhere Else

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The other morning I woke up from a dream that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.  As I wiped the sleep from my eyes I knew it was only a dream, yet part of me didn’t want to accept it.  It was far beyond tangible and full of vivid imagery to be a dream.  Am I the only one who was experienced this?

It began with a group of people who seemed ordinary, but fate had called these individuals to a greater destiny.  In the midst of an industrial revolution, these characters began exhibiting powers.  Those considered ordinary were now possessing abilities of telekinesis, super strength, mind reading, and even obscure traits such as a heightened sense of smell.  However, these weren’t classic superheroes — they were easy to relate to with abilities they didn’t want.  These characters tried to cure their abilities with multiple failed attempts.  Although they didn’t want to be special, the attention of others began to force these individuals to use their new gifts.  From there, the real story began.

The rest of my dream played out like a summer cinema.  There were villains that needed to destroyed, gifted people obligated to accept their calling, and action – so much action accompanied with plot twists, but what seemed to be the end only left room for a sequel.  When I woke up, I felt the end of an adrenaline rush.  My breathing began to normalize while waves of nausea made my saliva pool in my mouth.  Like any book lover, I was disappointed the story was over.

Now all I was left with was why?  Why did I dream this?  Did I eat something weird?  Perhaps some higher power wants me to write this story?  Either way, one truth remains — inspiration can come from anywhere.

To be honest, I have written an outline depicting this dream because it’s just that good.  One day I will turn this dream into a cohesive story to present to you.  Until then, I leave you with the advice to follow your dreams because sometimes they literally are trying to tell you something.

 

Until next post,

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Photo Credit:  Ton Koldewijn at http://www.freeimages.com/photo/dreamworld-1386947

A Glimpse – The Value of People Watching

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In crowded areas, inspiration can strike.  Through people watching, you’re able to go outside of your norm and get a glimpse into another life.  For writers, these opportune moments give way to combating writer’s block.  Like an artist sketching a portrait, you’re able to be an anonymous observer, attempting to understand another’s life.  To my fellow writers, the next time you find yourself writing in public I encourage you to take note of others around you, not just journaling what they are doing or saying.  Rather, create a story based on them. Even just imagining a character who participates in people watching provides the convenience to write freely.  Such was the inspiration for this piece.  Enjoy.

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Once again it is Sunday morning, and my stomach recognizes the need for chocolate chip pancakes.  True to my ritual, I make my way to Holy Grind, a café that brings new meaning to “a hole in the wall.”  Making my way inside, I am greeted with the scent of fried potatoes and fresh ground coffee.  Customers cradle their coffee mugs like a mother protecting her newborn.  The laughter of old men echoes from the corner as they no doubt reminisce about their younger days.  Few families mix in the crowded café with their young ones flinging sugar packets back and forth as their parents hush them through dry lips and dark-circled eyes.  This is how my Sunday mornings always seem to begin.

Sliding into my regular booth, I set my sketchbook on top of the table.  My regular waitress, Meredith, greets me with an underwhelming tone.  Knowing she has only 30 minutes left of her graveyard shift, I take no offense to her seemingly cold heart.

“Let me guess, chocolate chip pancakes?”  She looks down at me over the top of her wired glasses.

“With extra butter,” I confirm.  The mere mention makes my mouth water.

Meredith slips away without another word, leaving me with my sketches — the only friend I need.

Twirling my pencil between my fingers, I scan the room looking for inspiration.  I feel as though I’m a drummer appeasing the crowd with my solo, yet I know I’m an audience of one.  This morning is too familiar and too mundane to sketch a masterpiece.  At least my pancakes will be out soon, I reassure myself.  All that changes as I see her walk in.

Soft brunette waves attempt to hide her bony shoulders.  The high neckline of her sweater portrays her modesty.  The soft smile she displays speaks of her innocence, but her shifting gaze indicates she hides secrets.

Her tall masculine companion points to the empty booth beside me.  She complies and makes her way toward me.  Flipping open my sketchbook, I’m anxious to unite pencil and paper.  Her face begs to be drawn.

They sit across from each other as friends would, but their tension is as thick as the maple syrup I’ll soon drown my pancakes in.  Her hazel eyes continue to look down while his scan the room.  The stench of his overwhelming cologne almost makes me lose my appetite.  Almost.

Meredith returns with my plate of steaming pancakes.  I push my sketchbook aside and await my treat as giddy as a child at their birthday party.  As Meredith turns to fill the couples’ coffee mugs, I lick my lips as I dump copious amounts of sticky syrup.  Instead of clearing my plate in record time, I shove a wide piece of pancake in my mouth and return my attention to my sketchbook.

I begin drawing her jawline as they exchange awkward small talk.  My lines form the bridge of her pointed nose and wide eyes.  I take note of her satin pink lips that remind me of my ballet slippers from my adolescence.  Even the sadness depicted in her forming tears is beautiful.

They take turns sipping their coffee as the other speaks.  Feeling included, I take bites of my pancakes in between pencil marks.  I desire to resemble an ounce of her beauty.  My greasy hair and bigger build of genetics just didn’t have it in the cards I suppose.  Perhaps if she understood how beautiful she was, she wouldn’t care about whatever letdown this guy would be.

“It’s over,” she mumbled as the man shook his head in denial.

I shoved another bite in my mouth, upset that I didn’t have popcorn for the show instead.

“You can’t get caught with two other women and expect me to stay,” she states.

I try to hide the fact I nearly choked on my pancakes as I begin to chug iced water.

As he attempts to reconcile, I finish the important details of her face as if I know she’ll be leaving soon.  Making final notes to myself, I intend to perfect this portrait later.  The man’s pleas are getting desperate and even I’m getting annoyed by his presence.

With one last swig of her coffee, the woman slams her mug back on the table.  “It’s over!” she screams before storming out.  Baffled, the man buries his head in his hands and begins to cry as though a part of him died.  Considering how beautiful she was, I imagine part of him no longer lives.

Pushing my plate aside, I gather my belongings and leave a ten dollar bill for Meredith.  As good as these pancakes are there’s no point in me staying.  My inspiration has left and so should I.

As I begin to leave, the man looks up at me.  “I tried,” he sobbed.

I grasped my sketchbook and looked out the window.  There is no trace of the woman.  She’s gone forever.

“Clearly not hard enough,” I said before making my way out of the café.

 

Until next post,

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Photo credit:  dearjenni at http://www.freeimages.com/photo/cosy-cafe-1629726

Night Diving – A Captain’s Voyage

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Music permeates flesh, tendon, and bone to our intangible soul.  It breathes life into us, awakens desires, sings our heartache, relates to originality, and inspires our dreams.  Such is the case with the song below.  This instrumental song speaks to me far beyond any way words can.  I encourage you to listen to this while reading along.  Enjoy.

 

 

The waves were beginning to pick up.  We had been at sea now for no less than a month, but the days and nights blurred together so I’m not sure which is which anymore.  The sea swelled right on schedule, but somehow I know this night was going to be different.

With the moon only at a crescent, I could feel the setting being the perfect backdrop to the night in which I recall seeing her.  Finally I would look into the eyes of the creature no one has seen and lived to tell.  Studying maps and listening to all the folklore, I still believed.  I knew we were getting closer this time.

The winds were carrying on, and I was trying to not get caught up with the excitement.  Men aboard were quiet yet moving without hesitation.  It’s as if they too were trying to not let the anticipation get the best of them.

The thick mist began to cool on my seawater crusted face.  My chapped lips were begging me to drop overboard and drink the water below us.  Knowing it wouldn’t quench my thirst, I resisted the urge to entertain the idea.  However, I wondered, if she calls to me will I be able to resist her?

With nothing more to do, all of us aboard sat and watched the waves.  The wooden ship creaked as we trailed over each wave.  My men and I remained silent.  The winds began to calm, indicating the break was coming and we had very limited time.

My tired eyes wished to close, but my relentless search kept me going.  I could not give up and had listen for her.  This beast was all I could think about.

A voice hummed to me, drowning out the sounds of the sea.  Her voice was enchanting and soft like the comfort of a lover but as eerie as an abandoned ship.  The song made me dizzy and my heart swell like the sea.  She called to me and only I heard her voice.  I dared not to alert the others lest her song seize to continue.

“Philip!” As my shoulder was tugged back, I opened my eyes to see I was close to the edge.  She had almost claimed me just with her voice.  A part of me was disappointed she didn’t win.

“Thank you,” I replied to Jacob with a head nod for saving me.  The fear in his eyes was evident as he continued to hold my shoulder.

SPLASH!  We turned around to look for what caused that sound.  Our eyes scanned around yet the waters were calm… a little too calm.  “She’s here,” I whispered.

Still on alert, we held our stance and continued to watch carefully.  The fear and awe of her presence made us not want to challenge her.

Neil seemed as if he could no longer resist her and rushed to the side of the ship.  “Neil, no!”  My shouting didn’t delay his gait one bit.  He looked over and I felt uneasy.  Just then a dark monstrous tentacle emerged and wrapped around Neil’s middle.

“NO!” Before any of us could react, Neil was gone, swallowed in the sea.  Panicked, we grabbed our spears and readied ourselves for the inevitable attack.  Claiming one man’s soul just whets her appetite.

Without further delay, two more tentacles emerged as they attempted to get more men.  Panic began to erupt as we all tried to save the man next to us, yet her message was clear, “I will consume you all…”

Spear after spear was thrust into her dark scales, but each tentacle twisted and turned, snapping our spears like toothpicks.  Ropes tried to contain her, but she trampled them like blades of grass.  I ran to assist others, disregarding my own safety.  Seeing the chaos and number of remaining men dwindling, I continued to dart around like a school of scared snapper.

“Keep moving,” were the last words I recall shouting.  Then WHACK!  I hit the wooden floor.

My head began to swell, yet I don’t remember feeling any pain.  Instead I could see myself swimming underneath with this beast.  My lungs didn’t demand to surface, and I felt light under water.  I stared into her emerald eyes.  The beast had shifted to her human-like form, more beautiful than any woman I could ever imagine.  She was black as the night as she sang to me.  Her soft smile lured me in.  Captivated, I swam closer.  Long strands of hair whirled about in the sea.  I need her.  I extended my arm out to touch her.  Just one touch…

I gasped at the touch.  Her seemingly soft skin was but thick scales.  I withdrew my hand to notice she was no longer human like and her true form was showing.  The beast was bigger than I had imagined.  Her long hair was now replaced with tentacles and a smile bearing sharp rigid fangs.  For the first time I struggled to breathe as I felt her muscled tentacles begin to crush me.  She opened her mouth, ready to devour me as I struggled to break free.  Her laugh was haunting as she drew me in.  The lack of oxygen was making me begin to slip away from reality.  I closed my eyes ready to accept my death.  Before she could devour me, she whipped her head back as she let out an agonizing scream.  Feeling her grip loosen, I somehow managed to ascend to the water’s surface.  After taking a breath at last, I can only remember floating on my back acknowledging the sea as my casket.

“GET UP!” I opened my eyes to see Jacob over me.  White-knuckled hands stopped shaking me when I began to show consciousness.  The wind had picked up again, and the panic seemed to be gone — instead it was replaced with sorrow.

“Where are the others?!” I asked, but it was a question I already knew the answer to.

Between sobs, Jacob replied, “Gone.  All gone.”  He hung his head low.  “She took all of them.”  Then he embraced me tight.  I embraced him with the comfort of being the only other human being to survive her presence.  What others considered a triumph, our now empty ship considered it all a loss.

We continued to sail on with heavy hearts.  I cursed myself for letting my obsession lead to the death of too many men.  This devastation beckoned me to reconsider my voyages out on the sea.  Perhaps it was time to settle with a wife and have children and live out the remainder of the days I have.  The desires of our heart truly are not always what we need.  I still can hear the siren’s song and recall the rough texture of the beast’s skin.  Knowing full well I should hang up the sails and anchor myself, I know I’ll resist this wisdom and instead begin planning my next voyage.  I was too close this time to forget her and too foolish to give up.  Under her spell, I will continue my attempts at capturing her until she swallows me whole.

Until the next post,

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