Saturday, December 31, 2005


I've searched high and low for her first name, so for now, the winner is "Beneath the ivy wreath!" She is a newbie to my blog and has linked to mine! REVISED: I can now add, her name: Cynthia!

If anyone else new has linked before this and hasn't notified me, please let me know!!

Congrats to Cynthia! And, check out her newly designed blog:

I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better!
Happy New Year to All!
ps-Dave, I think we have another recruit for Writers in the Mist! Sorry a newbie took your place as the winner-hope you understand ;)

Friday, December 30, 2005


Monthly contest still open unless Porchwise notifies me of a link to my site. If a newbie hasn't linked this month, I think Dave can pick his book. I'll wait for Porch to let me know though.

Porch, if you've linked to my blog, please email me your snail mail address and let me know what book you want (see previous contest blog for selection ;) so I can send out to ya.

Thx for all those who support my blog! Take care and God bless!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Short fiction:
A Christmas Memory-

Marie scurried to the mailbox just outside her little house. Slowly opening the mailbox, she peered inside from a distance as if something might jump out at her. Nothingness stared back. She shivered as the December winds blew through her thin bones. Hustling back inside her house, she made her way into her tiny box living room, which also served as her dining room. She had everything she needed there. Inches in front of her, a couple of crossword puzzle books, her ashtray and remote control sat on her little wooden coffee table. She looked at the snow-covered trees outside her window, not even one bird perched there. She lit up and grabbed the control as she did every day.

It was Christmas, and she had checked her mailbox every day for the past month and nothing but bills had taken up space in the little box. She didn’t care if she was cut off from the world. True, Christmas was a time for family and friends and fruitcakes and Christmas trees and fa la la la las all around, but who needed it, she thought. She watched the Christmas Day parades on the television set located just across from her on a little stand. No matter, it is what it is, she thought.

Marie had family, but they were all in different states. She stared at the T.V as she remembered a different time and place as her children squealed in delight as they looked inside their stockings for oranges, walnuts and candy canes galore. She always had homemade goodies carefully placed inside as well as a special little present. She could see their bright eyes widen in delight as each item was yanked from the stocking. Marie’s heart raced when watching them and her heart raced as she remembered them. But, that was a long time ago. No bitterness. No tears. Just loneliness. No matter, it is what it is, she thought solemnly.

She was startled out of her thoughts as she heard her doorbell ring. She sat for a moment as she wondered if she was hearing things. It rang again. She stretched and yawned. Marie pushed up with her arms using the coach to assist her, and slowly walked to the front door. Peering outside, she saw before her very eyes, kids and adults and everything in between with their red noses and scarves and hats to keep them warm in this cold weather of Strafford, NH. In a daze, she stood there and glanced around as if she was losing her mind and tried to grasp her surroundings. And before she could get her thoughts to work for her, her grandchildren and children pulled open the screen door and rushed in hugging her, grabbing at her.

“Hey Ma, sorry we didn’t call. We wanted it to be a surprise. You were probably pretty mad when you didn’t hear from us, huh?
Marie stood there with hands on wide hips.
As Marie moved back to allow her family to pile into her little house, one tear slipped down her cheek. I guess it did matter, she thought as she followed them all into the little room. After all, Christmas is a time for family and friends and such. She smiled and accepted the hugs of her grandchildren with a twinkle in her eye.


Monday, December 26, 2005


With a steaming cup of coffee in hand, I stepped inside and sighed and looked around the spacious yet empty living room of the cute bungalow I’d just purchased. A new day had dawned and like the bare walls and rooms would soon be filled, I hoped that some day that I’d be filled with peace and fulfillment. After everything I’d been through, I needed a purpose for living.

Shouts from outside my little house interrupted my thoughts. My best friend, Kathleen yelled at the driver of the moving truck. I walked onto the porch and had to smile. Kathleen, with her red hair blowing in the wind, motioned for the driver like a traffic cop, to stop as the truck approached my front steps. Over the past year, she’d helped me through some tough times.

Kathleen and I, along with the two hired movers, started unloading items from the truck. As I moved one of my items, I accidentally bumped into the young surly, dark-haired man with a grumpy disposition. To be fair, he could’ve been grumpy because I’d just about knocked him over with a brass lamp. But when we brushed up against each other, there was a brief, strong connection like lightning bolt to metal. Static electricity? Whatever it was, it was powerful.

He looked into my eyes. I looked into his. His blue eyes shimmered and flashed sparks like fireworks on the fourth of July. My heart raced and I stood frozen, speechless. Kathleen bumped into the other young man with a big box hard enough to force both of them to drop what they were carrying. Both men cursed in unison. Kathleen and I shrugged our shoulders in unison.

All of a sudden, the black sky lit up and a crack of thunder roared to the accompanying pounding rain.

“Okay, everyone stop,” said the annoyed callous, dark-haired man. “We have one too many hands in the pot here. Why don’t you ladies take a tea break or something?” he said as he placed a small duffel bag on the porch.

The other man, short and stocky, stopped and smirked. “All right, Steve. I think they get the point,” he said shaking his head as he brought in more boxes.

Finally able to speak again, I said, “Yeah, Steve, we get it.” I wasn’t too happy being told what to do. “Anything else?”

“Nope,” he said not looking up as they moved my lavender loveseat into the living room. “Nice color,” Steve muttered.

“Were you commenting on the color of my furniture?” And, as the movers walked across the creaky wood floor, I heard a long drawn out moan coming from…somewhere. I couldn’t tell for sure where. Now, I’m hearing things, I thought.

“It is a little bright, isn’t it?”

“Well I like it, and that’s all that matters. Come on Kathleen,” I said with determination, “we can start unpacking dishes while the big stuff comes in.”

As I turned the kitchen lights on, lamps busted and shattered to the floor.

“What the hell is going on? Man, it’s pitch black in here.”

"We just need to replace the lamps, Missy. Don’t get all worked up. Do you have a flashlight?”

"Yeah, somewhere. I pulled a box from under the sink. “Here’s one. Isn’t it strange that they would all go out at the same time?”

“There might be a short in your wiring or something,” Kathleen added as she looked up at one of the ceiling lights. “You shouldn’t get stressed. Remember what your doctor said. Maybe we should take a break and get something to eat. You’re too thin for that tall body of yours.

“I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. I ate earlier. Anyway, I’m a cancer survivor remember?

“I’ll get the broom,” Kathleen said shaking her head as she made her way to the closet.

I walked back into the living room and noticed that each time Steve came in with another box or piece of furniture, he looked around as if hearing someone calling his name.

“Everything okay?”

He hesitated. “Yeah, why?”

“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost or something.”

He stared at me, face tense and tried to speak but was hoarse. After clearing his throat, he said, “Of course not.”

“Did you hear anything when you were bringing in the sofa?”

“Yeah, but not sure what.” Shifting uncomfortably, he placed his fingers through his wavy, brown hair as he looked around and added, “I need to bring the rest of your things inside.”

I looked for anything unusual throughout the rest of the house, which didn’t take long with only a few rooms to walk through, and still wondered where the noises were coming from. The floorboards? Actually, the moans and soft wails were coming from everywhere. As rooms filled, one by one with my belongings, I felt pain filling the air. Suddenly, I bent over and put my hand across my abdomen.

“Hey girl, what’s the matter?” Kathleen asked.

“I feel terrible. Must be nerves.”

“Sit down on the couch for a minute. You look as white as a ghost,” she said as she sat down next to me.

“You’re working too hard. Maybe this move was too soon after your surgery.”

Subconsciously, I touched my old t-shirt that covered the empty place my right breast used to be and said, “Why do you need to bring that up? I’m trying to put the past behind me." And as I lay down on the sofa, I heard them. Heard the scratching, the scattering. I felt them. Felt the restlessness, the anger. My head pounded and beads of sweat covered my body. I placed my hand over my mouth and ran to the bathroom, just in time to let go of the contents of my stomach into my very own toilet. That’s great, I thought. Just great. I’d already had my share of vomiting over the past few months.

Steve walked in as I strolled out of the bathroom, just in time to catch me wiping saliva off my face with a hand towel.

“Not feeling well?”

“What makes you ask that?”

“Ah, well…nothing. I just thought you looked…under the weather.”

“Heard any other noises?” I asked hoping for subject change.

Steve looked down at his work boots. “Maybe. You?”

“Come here and sit down,” I said as I put my hands on my ears. “Do you hear anything?”

He sat down for a minute, rubbing his square skin and said, “Yes, I know what they are. You’re not gonna believe me though.”

“You know what they are or who they are?” I muttered. I began to think that I was on the show, Candid Camera. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

“Both. I’m here to help you with more than the moving.”

“What are you talking about?” I paced the floor, back and forth, looking up at the ceiling, not finding any answers there. “You’re freaking me out more than these voices or noises or whatever the hell they are.”

“Look, I can’t explain everything now. Can you ask your friend to leave? I’ll stay behind so I can explain what is happening.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. Then, it’s just you and I? How convenient for you. Do you see blonde roots?” I touched my short, spiky brown hair for added effect and continued, “Well, there aren’t any. So whatever you’re trying to sell, I’m not buying. Got it?”

He just sat there. Probably thinking of his next move.

“I’m going to get the last of the furniture, and then send Paul on his way so I can explain this to you.”

“Fine, but Kathleen stays with her cell phone nearby.”

“Okay. Don’t you sense a connection with me?”

"Yes,” I mumbled wrestling with my emotions. “What does it all mean?”

“Your house is in pain because evil spirits reside here. Our combination-your goodness and my sensitivity is pushing them over the edge.”

“What sensitivity? This is insane,” I said standing up too quickly. Feeling dizzy, I fell to my knees and covered my face with shaky hands. “I just don’t understand.”

“I know it’s a lot to take in, but I am telling you the truth. We need to cast these spirits out to the place they belong.


“I need to perform a small ritual, but we’re in this together.”

As they talked about the plan, the house became a place of misery. Water poured down the walls of each room like tears of a forlorn lover. The cries and moans became loud. The power surged on and off.

“Come on Missy, this is crazy,” Kathleen demanded with hands on wide hips.
We both watched as the picture window fogged up with big letters spelling, “get out,” that cracked down the middle in a zigzag shape. Death and dirt and rot floated out of all the air ducts filling the rooms like dread filled my soul.

“All right, that’s enough. We’ve got to leave. Now.”

“You go ahead, but please don’t tell anyone,” I begged. More lamps blew out, splattering glass everywhere. The floorboards lifted up in places and flapped up and down like a seesaw.

“I can’t leave you!” she said standing close to me.

“Yes, you can,” I said hugging her tight. “ I trust this guy. Now, go.”

As Kathleen walked out the door, and she turned back just in time to see the heavy wood door slam behind her so hard that she lost her balance and tumbled down the steps. The door locked as she got into her car and left.

After pulling a note and a candle out his duffle bag, he said, “Okay. I think I have everything ready. First, we need to hold each other and…”

“Embrace? Get real.” I heard a loud crack when the ceiling split and pieces of plaster landed just inches from us. I looked up at the hole in the ceiling and said, “All right, let’s get rid of them.”

He lit the candle and wrapped his muscular arms around me like a warm blanket. I could feel Steve’s firm body under his flannel work jacket. As Steve read from a small piece of paper, I felt an odd sensation and warmth spread from my toes to my face. A rush of air pummeled into us like a huge wave, which knocked us down. Steve grabbed me again, which caused blood to rush to my head. I would have fallen straight to the floor if Steve hadn’t caught me.

One by one, the white streams of mist followed the fog-like entities like the tail and string trailing a kite, twisting and twirling as they rushed through the house, up and down encircling us, then swirled between us pushing outward, but we held on. All except one finally screeched past us and found there way out of the house by any opening they could find.

“Help me,” in a child’s voice, the little stream of haze said. “I don’t want to go.”
“Are you sure this is an evil one? I whispered.

Ignoring her, Steve yelled, “Demon, be gone!” And with the wave of Steve’s hand, the swirling haze raced past us and flew through the electrical outlet and was gone.

“Is that it? I asked quietly, out of breath from holding it for who knows how long. And as I asked the question I knew the answer. The silence was beautiful. I took a deep breath and exhaled sweet, fresh air. The house had stopped crying, but it needed some serious repair work. The apparitions were gone.

“Why were they here in the first place? And how did you know what to do?”

“I am one of the keepers.”

“The keeper of what?”

“The secrets of the dead-good and evil.”

“So why were they here?”

“I did some research on the history of your house so I’d know which spirits we were dealing with. These particular evil spirits were organized and sneaky. They found a loophole, for lack of a better word, and escaped the road to hell and from the one who seeks them. There was a madman who had lived here at one time and blood had been splattered here. Badness can be felt. And so they came here for refuge.

“Who is after them? Not the dude with red horns?”

“Something like that. I think these souls have been hiding out here for quite some time. This little place of yours has changed owners many times. At one time, there was a madman who had lived here. Blood had been splattered here. The essence of evil resided here so what better place to take refuge.”

“Well, are these spirits where they belong now?” I asked as I bit the edge of my fingernail to shreds. “Are there others like you?”

“I think they are on their way. And yes, there are many others like me. I’m part of the secret group that helps keep things in check between the good and bad spirits. Have you ever heard of the Manichean struggle?”

“I don’t even understand what you’ve asked me.”

“Do you believe in good versus evil? How about heaven and hell?”

“I don’t know, but after this experience I’m a step closer to believing. I only have one more question, for now. How did you know that spirit was really evil?”

“I just knew. Evil surrounds itself with evil. Good surrounds itself with good. Normally. And in time you will believe.” And, looking into my eyes he took my hand, and said softly, “I need to be going. I have more work to do, but I’d like to see again.”

I smiled. “Sure, just as long as no spirits are involved.”

He grinned and said, “You’re a survivor and have a goodness about you that is known in our circle. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re called upon in the future by our group.”

“Who me? A keeper or whatever? I’m just taking life one day at a time. But, I guess I could help kick some ghost butt if necessary.”

He lightly kissed me on the check, and for a brief moment, I closed my eyes. When I opened them, he was gone.
I didn’t tell Kathleen everything that had happened, but at least I knew why I got such a good deal on my house. And, as the sun once again shone brightly outside my windows, I thought life might be worth living after all.

Twist Ending-Noticing the front door slightly ajar, I slammed it shut. As I went to the kitchen, a breeze passed through me several times until it finally rested within. I knew what needed to be done, but I wondered if I’d found my destiny after all.


The End

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holiday Wishes-

I've been struggling with something my Pastor commented on last Sunday in his sermon. He mentioned (as he does this time of the year) how it frustrates him to see so many "watered down" versions of ways to extend our salutations of Christmas wishes, such as "Happy Holidays, Merry X-Mas, etc." I thought about this because I am big on generic greetings, especially Happy Holidays. I wondered if I did this to be politically correct. I searched my soul hoping that wasn't the case. At work, I need to sign for our company Christmas gift of Mixed Nuts and I always sign, Happy Holidays. I would have to admit that was probably the case subconsciously, since I don't know all of the religious beliefs of our customers. But when I use the generic with family and friends, it is more out of laziness to cover all of the holidays than anything else.

It bothered me, though. If this is the case, how am I letting others know about the celebration of Christ and how much CHRISTMAS means to me? If I can't even sign a card with Merry Christmas any longer, what does that say? I didn't like my own answer to that question. So, I say to all of you, no matter what your beliefs are: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

I want to proclaim my reason for celebrating Christmas is JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!!! I AM SO THANKFUL FOR HIS BIRTH AND HIS GIFT TO ME.

Okay, there I feel a little better.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fire of My Soul-By L.Braendle

Until last year, I never thought about what a soul might look like, let alone my own. But when my boyfriend, Steve and I rented a cottage in Iron Mountain, Michigan, I surely found out.

Mile after mile into the gray and gloomy night we traveled. As snow piled up around us, I quietly slipped further into depression and wondered if we should’ve just stayed home and faced reality. We passed old junk cars and run-down buildings-all ugly like my mood. The paved roads turned into icy, muddy trails, and I could only imagine the appearance of our black Honda Accord.

Steve, the rugged handsome type, looked like a handyman, but wasn’t. We’d been dating for about a year and made a good couple. Both of us were in our mid-thirties, had crappy childhoods and tried to be good people.

Unfortunately, we stopped trying to be good. I guess our parents told us we were bad, one too many times. Anyway, we scammed people out of money. Young or old, it really didn’t matter. We weren’t prejudice.

After Steve had driven several hours, we finally arrived at the bottom of a driveway where a sign read, “Welcome to Haunted Hill.” He looked at the sign, and then at me. He raised his eyebrows.

I shrugged my shoulders. Interestingly enough, ever since I spotted the ad in the local paper, I felt a strong connection to the place, like a long lost friend calling out to me.

Tree branches swayed and scraped together to the rhythm of the gusty winds as we drove up the winding trail, which led to the cottage located a few miles back. Our car tires spun as the hill became too steep, and slowly, we slid backwards sideways until we hit a large oak tree. Thankfully, we escaped any major damage and pushed the car to the side of the road.

Opening the door, Steve said with a frown, “That’s as far as we go.”

“What? Not up for an adventure? Grab our bag and let’s walk the rest of the way.”

“Are you sure you’re up to it? he asked.

Out of habit, I touched my stomach. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

On foot, through the howling winds, I thought I heard a voice. We approached the cobblestone cottage and cleared fallen tree limbs to reach the front door.

“So, this is it,” I said, shivering.

"Does it even have electricity?” Steve opened the creaky door and muttered,

“Lacy, what have you gotten us into?”

We moved about the room, which didn’t seem much bigger than a large bedroom. I pushed past the cobwebs and sat down on a soft, red sofa and dust puffed into the freezing air. “Man, it’s cold in here.”

“I’m going to check outside for wood,” Steve said, rubbing his hands together.

I spotted a fireplace along the far wall of the small living room. Floorboards squeaked as I walked back to look at the old paintings that lined the wall, and as I walked past the stone fireplace, a voice whispered, “Come to me.” I’m losing my mind, I thought as I started to move away.

Unexpectedly, flames shot out at me like projectile vomit from a baby. I jumped back to avoid being scorched and screamed as I ran for the door.

Steve gasped when he walked in and saw my face ashen and hair askew. “What the hell happened?” He dropped the wood and pulled me close.

“Flames came out of that fireplace, Steve,” I said shakily.

“But, I didn’t start a fire yet.”

“I know. It started by itself.

He walked arduously to the fireplace, which was cool and still. “I don’t understand.”

“Steve, maybe this place is haunted.

"You’re kidding, right?

“How else do you explain it?

“I don’t know,” Steve said, putting his hand through his wavy hair.

“See Steve, there it goes again!”

“I don’t see anything,” he said through gritted teeth as he stared at the fireplace. “We need to get out of here.”

“Don’t you see the flames? I can’t leave yet.”

“This is crazy,” he said walking over to me. “You’re not thinking clearly. Ever since the…”

“Don’t say it, Steve. This has absolutely nothing to do with that. I need time to figure this out.”

“I’m going for a walk. Be ready to go when I get back.” He slammed the door on his way out.

I looked into the red and yellow flames, and there before my eyes was a face. Not just any face. But mine. And, it called out to me.

“What’s the matter, Lacy? Haven’t you ever seen your soul before?”

I fell to the floor, gasping for breath. “How is this happening? Who are you?”

“I am your soul.”

I lowered my head to my knees and screamed like I’d caught fire. “This isn’t real. You aren’t real.”

The face snarled and a large piece of ember flew out and landed on me. “Why did you do that?” I asked as I swiped at my jeans.

“I’m trying to get your attention. I am very real. You need to believe me when I tell you that if you don’t stop living an evil life, you will destroy yourself.”

“I don’t know how to do the right thing any more. Don’t you understand?” I said with my face in my hands. “It’s too late for me.”

“It’s not too late. It’s time you take responsibility for your life.”

Tears streamed down my face as I whispered, “If you are my soul, then you know that I killed my baby, and there isn’t any fixing that.”

“You had a miscarriage. It wasn’t your fault. But, you can change your life for the better. Do you want to change?”

“It was my fault,” I cried. I lost my baby because I’m a bad person.

“Your actions are bad. You are not. Again, I ask, do you really want to change?”

“Yes,” I said.

The face slowly faded and murmured, “Don’t worry. I’ll be there to help you. Just listen to me.”

Steve walked back in to find me lying on the sofa. I told him the story about my soul and the fireplace. He thought I had fallen asleep and thought the dream was a sign that I needed to change my life and realize that the miscarriage wasn’t my fault. He even promised to change, too.

There was only one problem with Steve’s theory. I hadn’t fallen asleep. But, I did want to live a better life. That was a start.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Draft Two-The Secret-

Trigger -Three can keep a secret if two are gone-

The Secret-

Eight-year-old Dorothy slowly brushed off the dirt and unwrapped the velvet cloth to reveal an oval mirror with a small, blue handle that she found in the woods right next to her house. She thought it was just a regular mirror. But it wasn’t. She stared into the cloudy mirror and could not put it down. Excited, she twirled round and round as if she was on one of the amusement park rides her Grandpa had taken her on.

Dorothy would not go anywhere without that mirror. And, after a few weeks, while playing with her friends, Teresa and Heather, she gazed into the mirror like she had done hundreds of times. Suddenly through swirls of haze, Dorothy saw a face. It was the face of a young girl, around the same age as Dorothy, with hair like the color of butter.

“Who are you?” Dorothy whispered to the vision.

“My name is Elizabeth.”

“Why are you in there?” She said as she turned her head from side to side to see if her friends were watching. They were busypicking flowers.

"I can’t get out. What is your name?”

“My name is Dorothy. How did you get in there?” She asked as she twisted the ends of her hair.

“I found the mirror a long time ago. I got mad and wished I could go somewhere else, and then poof, I was in here.”

"Where did it come from?”

“It was in the woods by my house. I wish I hadn’t ever found it.”

“I wish I could help you,” Dorothy said.

“But you can. You can wish your friends were in here and they’d be here, and I’d be free.”

“I can’t do that!”

“You’re right. That was a pretty stupid.”

“I’m sorry,” Dorothy said as she rubbed the mirror, and hoped the girl could feel her touch. “Can’t we be friends anyway?”

“Okay. Sure,” said the porcelain face of pain.

Dorothy and Elizabeth had many conversations about dumb boys and how Dorothy didn’t like her Mom and Dad telling her what to do. But, Dorothy's friends soon became jealous of Elizabeth and even threatened to tell their parents about her.

Dorothy panicked and didn’t know what to do. She knew she’d be in trouble or worse that her new friend would go away. Suddenly, Dorothy thought back to the conversation with Elizabeth.

She could wish her friends were in the mirror instead. That would work, she thought. Wouldn’t it? It had to. That’s when she came up with the plan. That same day, she invited her friends over for a sleep over.

"Hi guys,” Dorothy said with a nervous smile. “Want to play a game?”

Teresa and Heather looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. “Sure,” they said in unison.

“Why not,” Heather said without much enthusiasm.

“Great. Okay, this is what we need to do. First, I’ll blindfold you both, and then we’ll play a kind of hide and seek. Are you ready?

They both nodded.

She tied a scarf to cover their eyes, and placed the mirror in front of them and muttered, “I wish Teresa and Heather were in this mirror.”

Upon hearing Dorothy's words, Heather and Teresa quickly tore off the scarf. All of a sudden, Heather’s face contorted into something wide and long, and then into something short and narrow as did the rest of her little body. Wide eyed, she howled and turned translucent as the mirror’s power finally pulled her in.

“Help me, Dorothy,” Heather cried, “What is happening to me?”

“Don’t worry. It will be okay in a minute. We can still be friends.” She secretly hoped so anyway.
Teresa started to run away as tears streamed down her face, but didn’t get far. She screamed and tumbled to the ground. Her body elongated and shortened simultaneously, back and forth, she stretched. It reminded Dorothy of the time she was in a funhouse when she stood in front of the wavy mirrors that made her body look weird. In the end, Teresa could not escape the mirror’s strong grasp, and she was sucked into the mirror.

However, when Dorothy looked into the mirror, she could not see her friends. However, she did see Elizabeth.

“Now what? Why didn’t you come out?” Dorothy asked.

“I don’t know. Something went wrong. You’re friends couldn’t stay here. They had to go to another place.”

Shaking and shivering, Dorothy stood on the cold, hard ground. “Another place? What do you mean another place! I thought they would be okay in the mirror so we could at least still be friends. What happened to them,” she demanded.

“I just don’t know, Dorothy. I’m really sorry. I just want to get out of this mirror,” Elizabeth said, as her face wrinkled and brown spots started to spread across her face while her once light brown hair turned to a dull gray.”

Dorothy dropped the mirror and ran and ran until she couldn’t hear Elizabeth’s screeches any more.

“Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me like all of the others. We’ll figure it out together… come back. Dorothy…come back to me.”

That’s all Dorothy heard as she ran as fast as she could back to her house. She slammed the
door and didn’t look back.

Several years later, she did go back to those same woods. And, she felt its power. She lie on the ground and scattered the dried leaves in the area she’d dropped the mirror. She lowered her head, and silently wished she could find the source of her nightmares and the answers for peace of mind.

“I wish I could find my friends,” she said aloud as she pounded the ground in frustration. Heart racing, her face suddenly widened and in horror, Dorothy touched her face.

"Oh no, no…no…no…," Dorothy cried as her body transformed into something between time and space.

“Your wish is my command,” Elizabeth whispered.

And before Dorothy knew it, she was inside the mirror with her friends, and far off in the distance, she could see a once again, young Elizabeth.

Dec. 1 Practice

Who am I?

I laugh. I cry.
I have brown hair. I have gray hair.
I’m at peace. I’m worried.
I am dressed in sweats. I am dressed in high heels and a long black gown.
I’m happy. I’m sad.
I am a Mother. I am a child of God. I’m a wife.
I’m a daughter, sister, friend, colleague and more.
Who am I?
I am only myself.

I am strong. I am weak.
I am smooth faced. I am wrinkled.
I am a hard worker. I am lazy.
I’m nice. I’m not who I want to be.
I’m simple. I’m complex.
I am wonderful. I am terrible.
I’m nothing. I am everything.
I am only myself.

I am who I am and no more.
Who do you want me to be?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Daily Writing-Nov. 30

Dear Lord,

I know you want me to grow.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to be a better person.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to do your will.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to be happy.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to help others.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to love others.
I stumble and cry.

I know you want me to be good.
I stumble and cry.

Help me Lord as I stumble and cry.
I am afraid.
I am weak.
I am trying.
I love you.
In Jesus Name I pray,

Daily Writing for Weds, Nov 30

The Box-Written by Lisa Braendle

I glance out the window in my living room and see really big snowflakes coming down from the sky. It makes me want to make a fat snowman. My hands and chin are propped on the windowsill waiting for Christmas to begin.

I look at the clock and the hand isn’t moving at all. I know it’s not because I’ve been staring at it, and if that hand is moving, it isn’t moving fast enough. I felt like this on my last birthday when I turned six years old. Daddy says I’m a big girl now.

My eyes dart back and forth to the street in front of my house. Where are they? This isn’t good. Not good at all. Suddenly, I see something coming down the road. This must be the one. No, no, no! Not the neighbor’s big old truck. I think it’s ugly, especially now.

My face is pressed up against the cold window as I try to look down the road further when finally, I see glaring lights approaching through the falling snow. Please, please, please…let it be the right one this time. Yea, they’re here, I say to myself as I jump up and down. “They’re here,” I yell now so the whole world can hear me. Well, okay, so my family will hear me anyway. My heart is thumping so fast, I think it's coming out.

I race to the big front door as fast as my little legs can carry me and run right into my brothers who have heard the commotion, and we tumble on each other like that game called Dominose or something like that. I glare at my two younger brothers and push my way past them to get to the door. My tummy starts to rumble and tumble, like I’m getting ready to get in front of the class at school.

I fling open the door just in time to see the box. It’s only the biggest box you’ve ever seen. It must be 200 feet tall. It looks just like last year and the year before that. No, wait…it might just be bigger than that! I don’t think my Grandpa can carry it, but he does. He must be really strong. He drops the biggest box ever at my feet with a grin on his face. My face lights up like the thousands of lights on our Christmas tree. I know what’s in that box. Can you guess what’s in there? Extra water fills my mouth as I think about it.

Okay, I’ll tell ya. Millions and millions of goodies. Gooey cookies like chocolate chip, oatmeal and raisin, peanut butter and smooth chocolate-nut fudge and every kind of sweet you can think of. Peanut brittle? Yup, it’s in there. My brothers and I scoot down in front of the box after it has been placed on a nearby chair. We also see presents wrapped in reds, greens, and gold colors-bright and glittery with big, bright bows on top being brought in.

My mouth hits the floor, and I quickly close it because spit starts to fall out from smelling Grandma’s cookies. I just want one. I yank on my Mom’s apron and beg. She says no. Man, I just gotta have one. Each little goodie has its on little box, whether it’s a shoebox or a Tupperware container. I lift one of the lids as I look over my shoulder for my Mommy or Daddy, but no one is watching. Daddy and Grandpa are still bringing presents in from Grandpa’s truck, and Mommy sighs. My brothers are putting the presents under the tree. They hold and shake presents as they laugh and try to guess what the presents are.

Smiling, I open the lid and inside are the bestest looking cookies in the whole, wide world. I grab one of the chocolate-chip cookies and take a big bite and crumbs fall to the floor.

Oh sorry, do you want one?

The end
Freestyle writing 101 at home! ;) Fiction based on happy Christmas memories.

Challenge for Myself!

My goal is to post something daily! This will encourage me to keep writing on a daily basis! If you stop by and there isn't something new, you make sure to let me know ;)

Keep checking for new material and let me know what you think!!


Okay, I went through my library and here is the list that the winner of the December Giveaway can choose ONE (1) from:

A Cup of Comfort-filled with anecdotes and short stories. Good to read over a good cup of joe or a hot cup of tea.
Lists to Live By-"Not just about things to do; they're about how to be." Description from cover.
(Misc lists to live by.)
Night Tales By Nora Roberts

How to win?
First Newbie to my blog who comments on my posts and links to my blog will get his or her choice of one (1) of the above. Or, if a newbie doesn't comment during the month, the first blogger who comments and has linked to my site in the past will win.

The contest officially starts Dec. 1st at 9AM EST...I keep my word, just ask Dave or Dana!!

Happy Posting And Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005







Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Peace-Short Short by Lisa Braendle

Tall, wet grasses brush against my old cotton sweats as I run, slipping and sliding on the slippery trail. Branches from large old trees bend and twist as I make my way alongside the stream, which is partially frozen with water still flowing.

The scene of the stream, the glistening trees and squirrels scattering as I press forward should comfort me. I yearn for comfort. I race to find it. But, peace does not come to me. Instead, I picture strands of cobwebs filling a deep empty abyss that should be a normal functioning brain. My eyelids feel as if lead weights have been attached. I stop running and wipe beads of sweat off of my forehead. I close my eyes and take a deep breath filling my sore lungs with sweet, fresh air, exhaling to the point of a sigh.

Why can’t I escape my body and rise high above the trees to the heavens and leave this pain behind? I wonder. And, I want to continue my run. I want to scream-the kind of scream that hurts your throat and takes your breath away. Instead, with heavy tight shoulders, I fall to the hard, icy ground. I sit in a pile of coldness and look at the whiteness and wonder how it can appear so bright when all I really see is a blackness that won’t go away.

An imaginary mass of misery and darkness swirls above, through me and finally rests on my shoulders. I can’t touch it, but sense its long, sharp teeth ready to devour me like the big bad wolf in an old nursery rhyme, which actually reminds me of another time and place-my youth and happiness, now a thing of the past. The powerful pull of restlessness takes over. A single tear falls down my face. No more will follow. Tears won’t take it away. I know.

This thing of unrest and heaviness consumes my thoughts. I want to grab and shake this endless stream of emptiness and loneliness. I want to place this crazy ball of destruction into a sling, fling it over my head and watch it sail.

I stand and spin round and round, hold my head and yell, “Move on! You can’t have me. I have so much to do.”

Only silence follows. This is all too familiar.

Little gray and white sparrows flutter in the trees and bushes next to me and somehow, I know the cloud of gloom will not pass until it has dumped its ugly contents on me. I shudder and feel goose bumps rise and scatter across my skin.

I sigh and remember I’ve run into the forest near my home and know much time has past as I see the moonlight peaking through the snowy twigs. I notice puffs of my breath steaming the air around me.

A light crunching sound nearby behind me causes my whole body to stiffen. I hold my place, too afraid to move. And, suddenly I see them. A wide-eyed doe and her fawn nearby standing motionless and staring at me. And for just an instant, the burden once weighing on my shoulders has been lifted. Once again, I remember what peace feels like, if only for a brief moment in time.

The end

Saturday, November 19, 2005

One of those weeks!

Boy Oh Boy, when it rains, it pours...all when my hubbie is on the road making feel just a little bit vulnerable. I can't even tell you the day it all started, (possibly Tues), but the week started to go downhill quick. And, I don't just mean the number of days left in the week.

I grumbled to myself as I looked at the clock and it read, 7:00am. Oh no, I thought, as I strained to hear any signs of noise in the house. My son was not up yet, which meant he would mostl likely be late. I probably didn't wake up as normal because we had 50-60 mph winds the night before, which made the bushes scratch the window on the outside of my bedroom window that kept me awake.

I rushed to his room, rustled him up, and he rushed to the bus stop. I hopped into the shower thinking all is fine since my fourteen-year-old doesn't come back so I thought he made it to the bus stop on time. But evidently he thought he had missed the bus and came back home the same time as my twenty-year-old daughter was leaving for a college class so she took him to school. He realized there was no school because of a power outage. A good Mom would have checked the TV for any closings, right? To my defense, I don't ever remember this school system ever closing for a power outage. In any case, my daughter drove by school to get him as she realized the power was out also, and we saw each other just as we drove away. We stopped to talk with one another. She spouted off about our needing to check these things better, she now was late for class, and stated angrily that she had a test. I raced home to drop him off at home so I could get to work by 8:00 am. Yes, this is all happening before 8am.

I got to work at 8:10am, and I saw the Consumers Power trucks out and realized that my work building was too without power. Now at that point, I know I should have stayed in bed. I told my colleague that I was going home and since he was staying anyway, he could call me when the power came back on. So I went home and had a cup of tea and breakfast. No problem, the day went all right after that.

The next day, I awoke at my usual time and was actually on schedule until I looked outside and saw 7 inches of snow outside, which meant my car also had 7 inches on it. So I trudged along and tried to open my car door and realized quickly that the door was frozen shut due to the icy snow mix on the car. So...I tugged, I pulled. I cussed. I stomped. I pulled again. And, finally the door opened. Of course, I had parked close to the grass on the side as I pulled into the driveway the night before so I could maneuver the trash can up to the house, making the whole scraping of the car a wonderful experience as I stood in a big pile of the white stuff, which was obviously high enough to get into my shoes, soak my socks and drench my dress slacks. Again, all before 8 am. Well, okay, I biggie. The day goes without a major catastrophy, but as I go to leave, I noticed that once again my car was covered in an a icy-snow mix. I scrapped a little of my car, but it was really cold so I blasted defrost to help with the front windshield. Forgetting the ice had frozen the blades to the windshield, I turned on the wipers full blast and watched in somewhat of a daze as my wipers broke off at the end and flopped back and forth in what I thought to be a mocking motion, like ha ha.

There was more, but the icing on the cake from hell was waking up on Saturday morning and deciding to go to the store and library with the son. Upon starting the car, it only whined and would not start. So, I called my Dad to help. And he does what needs to be done to troubleshoot the problem, which I had surmissed was the battery, and thankfully that's all that is needed. (Thanks, Dad!) So, it is busy charging now, and I think, boy, do I need the same thing!

Today I've been thinking that instead of trying to battle everything on my own. I need to call on the Lord to rejuvinate my wearied soul. I can once again handle the stress of the day. Most times, I try to handle everything on my own. I think God might be reminding me that I can't do it all. And, I need to ask others for help! (My Mom tells me this, too :) (Thanks, Mom.)

So when you're having a day or week like mine, remember to ask for help when it's needed and most importantly, seek out the Lord for help and for strength!

Please feel free to share some of your own "fun" stories for the week!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Inner Child-Short Story-REVISED

As I watch a television program with a cup of soup in hand, I suddenly hear the rustling of leaves outside my little house. I push myself up from the couch and stand slowly to check on the noise. There better not be any hoodlums out there. I hobble to my large kitchen window and peek out to the yard below.

I see tree branches stretching and swaying to the wind as if dancing for the moon. And, there is a dark-haired girl with a porcelain like face illuminated in the moonlight staring back at me. Even from a distance, I recognize something familiar about her.

As I look around the yard, I hope that I’m imagining things-not unusual a woman of my age. But as I turn back, I have the little one in my sight again. She looks as if she’s waiting for something or someone when suddenly she points in my direction and motions me with the wave of her hand as if to say, “come to me.”

I squint to see her wave more insistently and take a step out the side door. What am I doing? I think as I walk out onto my old wooden deck and swing open the squeaky door to steps leading me to her.

Breathing hard, I approach the little girl. My heart races like I’m seeing the birth of my first-born. Yet, I know this isn’t my child. As I stand only a few feet away, she sets her eyes upon me, and tears stream down her rosy cheeks.

Cool breezes blow through my thin, gray hair, and for some reason, I sense we are long lost friends who have been out of contact for a long time.

“What do you want little one? Are you lost? I ask as I push strands of hair out of my wrinkled face.

“It is you who is lost.”

“No, honey, I’m home. How did you get here?”

“You know.”

“I don’t know. Do you know where you live? Where do you belong?”

“You know,” the little girl replied.

I wrap my hands tight across my chest for warmth and to stop the goose bumps from spreading. She walks toward me-this little one who is only four or five years old. And she reaches for my hand with her tiny warm hand, soft like a baby’s bottom. And her young, smooth hand intertwines with mine, which is now old and hardened.

She and I walk across the yard and smirk at each other like we can read each other’s mind. We see the playground at the school about fifty yards away, and this little friend of mine leads me down the sidewalk to the swings there. In the still of the night and with leaves falling all around us, we each hop on a swing pumping our legs back and forth reaching higher and higher like we’re trying to reach the moon. While in mid air, we glance at each other and giggle. And as I smell the crisp smell of dried leaves, I figure it out.

She stops swinging for she knows that I know who she is. She jumps off the swing, runs and jumps on me, hugging me. And not one of those polite hugs you give your Aunt, but the kind that takes your breath away. And as I gaze into her little hazel eyes that are just like mine, I say,

“You are me, and I am you.”

“I am you,” the little one whispered.

“I needed to see you again, didn’t I? I had forgotten about your pureness and your free spirit. We parted ways many years ago.”

She takes my hand and leads me this time to the slide, and we climb up. She slides down first, and I go next feeling the wind rush over me as slide down. I smile. My heart leaps for joy as I plow into myself. We became one.

And as I skip little steps back up the hill to my house, I breathe in the cool damp air reminding me that fall is here. I walk through the dewy grasses of my yard, and remember everything about her. Suddenly, I am young at heart once again.
Flash fiction Written by Lisa Braendle

December Contest!

My monthly contest will be up and running for the month of December starting on the 1st of Dec. so keep an eye out!

Here's a quick refresher how the contest works: First person to post a comment on my blog AND links to my blog in the month the contest is running will get a free book.

I will be posting the name of the book that I'm giving away shortly! Ask Dave and Dana-I keep my word!

And, if no "newbies" post & link, then I'll give the book away to the first "regular" who has linked to my site and has commented in December! I hope this makes sense. I have other posts on previous months if you have any questions. I need the snail mail address of the winner at the end of December!

Happy Holidays and God bless!

Fellow Bloggers!

A few of you have noticed that I haven’t been posting on my blog lately, and I apologize! I have been focusing on family.

As I have posted in the past, my hubbie has been out of work, but he decided to get his CDL license and become a truck driver! So, he’s been busy with this, and I’ve been busy getting him ready to go out on the road for training. After training, he’ll be off on his own for a week at a time. It will be quite a transition for our family, but it’s what he thinks will be best for him and our family at this time. We are praying it works well. So…with all of this being said, I will be back with bells on since he’ll be on the road soon.

I apologize for my absence! Thanks for stopping, and know that I’ll be posting on a regular basis again!

Thanks for all of your support!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm Back!!!!

Is Absence a good thing? ROUGH DRAFT OF ESSAY WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO TRIGGER: "ABSENCE." I will be revising this periodically, as I find the time ;)

Some say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, please excuse the tired ole cliché; but I don’t think this is true. Absence is like a hole that grows bigger and deeper as time passes-a hole that takes away your heart and soul if you let it. This is not to say that a certain amount of independence and time apart isn’t healthy, but counting on distance to help heal a relationship is like asking for a kiss through a telephone conversation or putting a band-aid on a leaky faucet.

When times get tough in relationships, some say couples should take some time away from each other. But, I don’t think this is the best answer for everyone or even for the majority.

Why? Well, as time goes on without communication, the mind begins to play tricks. When you are able to communicate, your mind must process new information instead of referring back to the old, useless information that only threatens to break open old holes and gaps. The new information, if processed correctly, can fill in any holes that are festering as well as repair any old wounds that might start to open again. To quote Pearl S. Buck, “The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.”

Communication fills the gaps of conflict like cement fills a hole in the road to move forward without dropping into the pit of insecurity. Once in the pit, it’s hard to get out. More and more dirt is added to the plight and when trying to take flight, the hole grows wider and deeper until the light is shut out. Hope is lost. Without the sun, the soul starts to whither and dies.

But, the disparity can be healed with love, kindness and communication. How can this be shown from a distance? How can time apart accomplish this? There might be a way to fix the gaping holes from a distance for a short period of time, but soon the hole is exposed to elements once again when the rain and the storms pry at insecurities and once again, it is open and oozing like a wound that just won’t heal. And, like a wound, you must also apply the salve and the medicine for healing power to begin.

The best medicine is time together, time to laugh and play, time to even work hard together and duke it out through the rough spots. Difficult times will follow a person wherever he or she might travel. There is no escape. A final resolution should be strived for as the pain of the situation begins to mend.

There are so many useful tools to help the healing process of the heart in relationships. First, don’t create the hole in the first place. Take time to enjoy each other, laugh together and forgive each other. Think back to a time when life was good and why you fell in love with that person to begin with. Second, if you start to dig a hole, come up for fresh air and sunlight to fill your mind with goodness and love. Instead of letting anger consume you, reach out to forgiveness. Thirdly, if you do not achieve this all seems to be lost, don’t give up. Keep reaching for the light. Work on forgetting that nasty past that sneaks up and threatens your peace and your love. Once you crawl out of the darkness to reach for goodness, evil will leave you.

Peace with your partner can be achieved by spending time together. Reach for the things that made your relationship work in the first place. This is different for everyone so what works for one couple might not work for another. It takes time and patience. There is no right or wrong way to find what works. No relationship is perfect. It takes time to work on the compromises necessary to help smoothly roll over the patches like the problems never even existed.

To be continued and revised and then probably delete ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Auto Crit-

For a quick check for grammatical errors, gerund overuse, weak words and much more, check out:

I know I'll be using it! It spotted my gerund "abuse" easily. Too easily. :)

Hope it helps someone out there!

Enjoy the Journey!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Spiritual Warfare-

The massive steamship pushes through the cresting waves of Lake Michigan weathering any storms as it moves toward its final destination with direction and purpose. Large steamships with their strong steel hulls are made to break the barriers in their way. Confident and unwavering.

I want to be like the steamship, knowing that I too will have the strength to break through the worries and struggles of my life with confidence to reach my destiny. Thoughts and worries toss about in my head like a ship on rough seas. It is these thoughts that tear at my soul wearing down my mind, body and spirit. How can I protect the inner and outer parts of my mind and body?

I consider important tools of battle as prayer and faith. I need to pray constantly and believe that God will help me in my time of need. It is up to me to seek shelter out of the storm allowing God's light to welcome me home from the long battle even if it is only the battle of my mind like a ship, by way of the lighthouse, returns safely to shore. Believing that my personal Lord and Savior will protect me in times of great upheaval is the true test of faith that takes place daily in everything I do.

Like tests I perform on earth, my Godly tests require the right answers also and only God can dictate what these answers are. So, a personal relationship with God is essential. I cannot make up my own mind and go my own way without assistance from God. God designs his children for specific purposes, which may or may not be different from what we want or have defined as our own goals for this life. This explains why all of the financial wealth in the world will not take the place of God's will for one's life, and why a career with the highest respect may not be fulfilling or joyful if God is not in charge.

It is spiritual warfare everywhere I turn, and it starts in my own mind-in everyone's mind. Good versus evil is taking place every day. Don't believe it? Take a look in the newspapers or watch the news on the television. At times, the devil tempts the children of God much more than unbelievers. As children of God, we must repent of evil and rally for goodness in all that we do. Easy? No. But, we must not give up. Our destiny depends on it. Just as the ship in the storm must be captained with confidence and knowledge, we too must have God as our captain leading us to safety with strength and wisdom and peace to fulfill our purpose in life. Without God, we are tossed about like a sailboat in rough waters.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Lisa's Rambling

You might be a writer if you write even though no one wants to read your writing projects.

You might be a writer if you write even though you know that no one else will understand your story.

You might be a writer if your soul aches when you don't put pen to paper, words to a page.

You might be a writer if you continue to write all hours of the day and night on the same draft even though you received the tenth rejections letter in the mail that day.

On the other hand, you might be a writer if you cry and pout in frustration when no one wants to read your stories.

You might be a writer if you get frustrated enough not to write anything for a month.

You might be a writer if you don't miss writing one bit during those thirty days.

You might be a writer if you hit the delete key erasing many months of hard work on a story you received the tenth rejection on that day.

Any more to add?? Feel free to add your own!!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Voice Within-

Walking down the narrow, dimly lit hallway, Missy suddenly stopped. Beads of sweat dripped down her forehead as she pushed strands of long, black hair behind her ears. Her eyes darted back and forth while she waited and listened. Listened for the voice. She whipped around as she heard it again. Her eyes skimmed the still life paintings bursting of colors of greens and yellows lining the walls next to her until she paused in front of the oval mirror.

Oh man, I’m really losing it now, she thought. I’m not only hearing voices, but now I’m seeing things, too. She turned toward the distorted shape. Within a split second the wavy object transformed into a face. Missy stepped back, shaking with hands clenched.

A muffled cry came from the entity, “Help me.” The image couldn’t escape the grasp of the glass as if trapped in a cage.


Again, the voice said, “Help me.”

She swallowed hard and whispered, “Who are you?”

“I’m not sure. But I think you know.”

“How would I know?”

The face distorted into a scowl. “I don’t know-just a feeling I have. “You can help me.”

“Help you how?”

“Make it stop.”

“Make what stop?”

“My existence. I say and do bad things. I don’t mean to.”

Her pulse racing, Missy eyed the face with sudden derision. “How do you hurt people, and how can I end your existence if I don’t know what or who you are.” The whole conversation begged for her sanity.

“You know who I am.”

Missy looked at the freakish, hazy thing staring back at her. She felt drawn to it. Slowly, ever so slowly, she reached through the glass. With light, sweeping strokes, she touched the distortion, and it molded into her hand as if a part of her.

“You still don’t know who I am?”

She looked into the mist and replied, “Yes, I suppose I do. I need to let go and forgive you, don’t I?”

“And, do you?”

Closing her eyes with head down, she whispered, “Yes.” Tears streamed down her face. “Yes, yes, yes, I forgive you.”

The eerie apparition whispered, “thank you,” and slowly evaporated.

Missy eased down to the floor and cried. She allowed herself to feel pain, anger and sadness for her past mistakes. And, as she wiped her tears away, she wiped away her shame and pain.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

DaVinci Code-

I just got done reading, "The DaVinci Code," by Dan Brown. And, I have mixed feelings about the book.

For starters, I applaud the hard work and research that must have gone into the writing of this book. But, in the beginning, it was slow going for me. If I hadn't heard good things about the book from others and the fact that it has been on the bestseller list for a long time, I might have put the book down. It is definitely worth reading because the last chapters are very engaging. I found the writing to be challenging and stimulating in most parts, but again, there were some chapters where this was not the case.

Most importantly, I'm a little concerned that people will think this is non-fiction because it is based on a small amount of factual information. It made me wonder what parts of the book Mr. Brown thought were based on fact and what parts weren't. Hidden agenda? Maybe.

This book is all right for those grounded in their spiritual beliefs, but for those who aren't, I wonder if it might not lead them astray with incorrect information regarding various religious facts/beliefs. Maybe, I'm exaggerating. If you read the entire book, you'll know what I mean.

So, as a fictional book, it was pretty engaging, but remember, it is only fiction.

Check out these sites for examples of what I mean:
*Throw "The DaVinci Code" into Google and you'll find so much more!

If you've read the book, I'd love to get your thoughts on the subject.

Remember: Enjoy the Journey!

September Contest Winner!

CheezWeezil is the winner this month. I will be sending out his book shortly!!

Stay tuned for posting of October contest giveaway!

Congrats to Dave!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Book still up for grabs! Contest Update

No one has won this month's contest yet! The first person who comments on one of my posts AND links back to my site will get book listed in previous blog on this month's contest!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Time is too short-

Time is too short, some say, to just sit still but help us Lord to be still and know your will.

Time is too short, some say, to know your ways, but help us Lord to quiet the mind to understand your ways and forget the worries that bind.

Time is too short, some say, to love and help those in need, but help us Lord to live each day to love, help and pray for those who bleed.

Time is too short, some say, to praise your name but help us Lord to remember you and help us out of the devil’s foolish game and face our shame.

Time is too short, I say, not to know your peace and your forgiveness, and that we are in your care, but help us Lord to remember our many blessings and your very special gifts of peace and forgiveness, especially when life is too much to bear.

September Contest! Free Book!

This month's contest winner will receive the book, "78 Reasons why your book may never be published and 14 why it just might," by Pat Walsh.

All you need to do is be the first to post a comment and link to my blog this month, and you'll receive the above listed book! If you've won previously, "keep on commenting" because if no one else comments, you can still win! Just ask Dana!!

Enjoy the journey!

Where have the answers gone?

Where have the answers gone?

When I was a young girl in my teens, I was smart. I had some of the answers to life’s problems. I lived.

When I was a young woman in my twenties, I was intelligent. I had most of the answers to life’s problems. I lived.

When I was a woman in my prime (thirties and forties), I was wise. I had the answers to life’s problems. I lived.

When I was a mature woman in my fifties and sixties, I realized I didn’t have all of the answers to life’s problems as I once had. I lived.

When I was an older woman in my seventies and eighties, I couldn’t understand why I thought I had the answers to life’s problems all of those years. I lived.

When I was an old woman of 90, I finally realized that I hadn't ever known the answers at all. I had simply lived.

Written by Lisa Braendle

******* My response to frustrations of aging and realizing that at almost age 40, I somehow know less and less how to solve the problems life throws my way. The good news? I also realize that I don't need all of the answers. All I need is faith! And, lots of it!

(and no, I'm not really 90 :) YET!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Critique Groups-

Hello fellow bloggers!

I'm looking for input on a good critique group (web site) to review and give input on my short stories, articles etc. I'm looking for somewhat relaxed group with honest feedback.

Any suggestions?? I'd really appreciate the help. I want to join a group by late fall.

Thanks in advance!!

Hurricane Katrina-

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Katrina. Anyone with any specific prayer requests, please feel free to post for others to see!

Also, I've been watching and reading a lot of negative things that people are doing in the areas hit by "Katrina", but I'd like to hear about some of the positive things/stories that people are doing to help those in need! Please post positive stories here also. I'd really appreciate it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Keep the Faith!

Times are tough. Every day, I read and hear stories of death and war, sadness and despair. But, we must keep the faith. We will only be on this earth a short time so we must live in faith and appreciate what we have-today! We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

My family and I are going through some difficult times, and it is easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves, but we must find joy in the journey and thank God for our many blessings. We have much to be thankful for!

With all of the gloom and doom surrounding us, it's hard to do. But, with God's help, we can find joy throughout all of the uncertainty and injustices that take place in our world today.

Most times, we must work hard to find joy in our journey-but isn't that the case with all good things? We might just surprise ourselves when putting faith into practice that it isn't quite as tough as we once thought.

Anyone with comments on their faith and good thoughts, please share!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thought for the Day-

I wonder what would happen if only a small portion of the money used for the Federal space program went toward research on cancer and other deadly diseases instead?

That's great that we can go to outer space but wouldn't it be nice to cure more deadly and debilitating diseases like MS etc??

What do you think?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monthly Winner!

Thanks Dana for commenting and participating on my blog-I appreciate it. Please email me your address again and I'll get out that CD for ya!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Voice in the Night-

Her eyes are dark but bright as fire. Her arms flail about her as they wave up and down and all around like a flag in the wind. She claws at her skin as if it is something that doesn’t belong there. She tries to stop, but cannot. Bruises and cuts on her body show her road has been a ragged, tough one. The voice beckons.

He reaches for her. He grabs one hand, then the other and with his touch, ends her torment. She looks into his intense eyes for redemption, but there is only compassion and love. Redemption is not his to give. They lock eyes and remain silent for what seems like an eternity. Holding her hand, he turns and ushers her down the path.

“Why do you have such little faith, little one?”

“I am weak and tired.”

“But, you know how I’ve helped you before?”

“Yes, but again, I am weak. I only see the life I have now. I can’t see a better future. What is there for me here?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I do know that you must have faith or all is lost within you.”

“Maybe I’ll just stay lost. There is some comfort in knowing that, I think.”

“Such a sad thing for such a young woman to say.”

“You don’t know my life.”

“I think I do.”

“You don’t understand.”

“I think I do.”

“Help me, then.”

“I can only show you the way-you must be the one to listen to my voice and go down the path of the one who has chosen you.”

“I am scared and frightened that the path will be worse than the one I’m following now-how will I know it is a better way?”

“Trust in my voice and in the way of the one who loves you, and you will not fail. You only fail if you do not try. I will be here.”

She sits on the cold, hard ground, wrapping her arms around her knees rocking back and forth, back and forth. Thank you, she whispers in the still of the night.

When it rains, it pours-

When it rains, it pours…
Saturday I had the day to myself, which doesn’t happen very often. I had decided to stay home from up north and it’s a good thing I did. After spending over $150.00 at Meijers, (approx five hours later) I noticed the top layer of food in the freezer had started to thaw. I felt along the sides and noticed it wasn’t very cold. I cranked the setting to the max and hoped for the best. The refrigerator cooled the food yet but I could tell as time went on that it wasn’t working well. I hoped for we wouldn’t need to get a new one, but this one, after all was over twelve years old. We had a family reunion to go to on Sunday so we left and prayed for the best. We came back and noticed it was the same. Monday morning, things were starting to feel warm to touch so we went out at lunchtime and bought a new one and four hours later, it was delivered. They aren’t even as expensive as I had once thought so all is well. (expensive enough, but…compared to the grand scheme of things, it was ok.)
What's next??
How's your day going??

Friday, July 22, 2005

Get Real!

Celebrity News and Gossip
I admit at one point in my life I was a celebrity junkie, for lack of a better word. I would buy People (which I still have to slip my patties as I reach for it) and the gossip magazines to get the latest scoop on the “stars.”

I guess I’m maturing because I am sick of seeing so much attention, news and gossip on the movie stars, singers/entertainers etc. I’m longing for something worthwhile to read in magazines and watch on television. There is just so much crap out there. It’s unbelievable. I can’t wait to see what the Fall show lineup will bring. I’m also sick of all of the terrible reality shows. I must confess that I liked Survivor when it first started, and I still love Fear Factor. But now, the reality shows are just plain crazy, in my little ole opinion.

What do I want to see? I would love to see more movies/shows on authors/writers and their lives or just plain people living extraordinary lives. More magazines on the lives of other occupations in general other than Hollywood! Yes, there are some good shows and magazines, of course, but not very many. What happened to show like Little House on the Prairie, Waltons, etc. “They won’t make it,” people say because we are choosing to watch “the crap.” I say it’s not true. It will take time to change things around, I agree, but aren’t we worth it? Aren’t kids worth it? Come on. Let’s get it together! I mean, who the …cares what Jessica Simpson is wearing or what she’s doing-really? We need to really take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are willing to allow this to continue. I know it’s hard, but dang, we must stop buying into the illusion. Let’s buy what’s real for a change. This is one woman who is going to try very hard to say, “NO!” Enough is enough.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Monthly Giveaway-July-Writing Exciting #1-101

Sorry so late in posting this! To be fair, I will start contest today so everyone viewing has a chance to win. I am giving away the CD (title above) to the first person who comments on the blog for the rest of the month. If you have already won and no one comments by the end of the month, and you have commented this month, I will give it away to you! Otherwise, the first newbie to the site who comments on one of my posts and links to my blog gets the gift! That easy!

The above is a very nice starter CD on Basic Writing as a panel discussion with a few writers on their thoughts on the writing and publishing process. Questions are asked and answered on how long it should take to write a book, how much money should one expect to make, how do critique groups work etc. It is great for starting writers!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Thought of the Day: Live for Today

No doubt about it, our family is going through a very tough time. My sixty year old (so young!) mother-in-law is battling cancer and losing-she is and has been a vibrant and positive influence in our lives. Last night, we had a family meeting at the hospital with her doctor and the news was devastating. My family and I are still trying to bounce back from my husband's job loss. Prayers are welcome here!

With all of that being said, on the way home last night around 10:30pm, my husband and I were just remarking on the turn of events in our lives and knew that we needed to live each day like it was our last-of course, within reason. His job loss doesn't even compare to the loss of a precious life. It puts things in perspective whether we like it or not-life is just too short. We know this but yet we let the little things in life get us down and when circumstances are thrown into our paths, we must face the fact that we are only on this earth for a short period of time.

I am constantly challenged in my faith, and this is no different. But as I age, I am able to cope better with adversity although painful and frustrating. And I know that we need to appreciate each other and the blessings that we have, no matter what might be happening around us especially in the continuing terrorist attacks around the globe, such as the recent attacks in London. In short, we must keep the faith and appreciate our lives one day at a time. And believe me when I tell you, it is with a tear strained and a grim face that I make this statement.

Life is as always a journey.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blogs And Electronic Rights

Hello Fellow Bloggers:

I read something interesting in the current issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine (which I highly recommend) regarding electronic rights for writing on blogs. I have been wondering about this issue since I started putting parts of my stories on my blog and wondered if these were then considered published works.

According to Writer’s Digest’s legal experts, it is considered published once an individual posts their work(s) on their blog, and it even went on to say that it might even affect first rights. Interesting. I see quite a few people listing their stories/works on their site. Of course, these writings are usually only drafts of one’s works/stories, so it wouldn’t apply unless one submitted the exact same thing (finished copy) to be published. Right?

Anyone have any thoughts on this or anything to add? Inquiring minds want to know :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thought of the Day: Encouragement

Just a little note of how important encouraging words are to people. It is unbelievable how much difference just one kind word can make. As fellow bloggers, we can be a positive influence to others we don't even know. I didn't realize how much another's response could make my day.

Spread positive words to others whether it be channeled by way of blogs or any other source-I know I will be!

We can all make a difference-it only takes a minute to pass along a compliment or kind word.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


A lot on my mind today. What should have been a fun and relaxing vacation last week was mixed with sadness, anger and confusion. My husband's job was eliminated the day before we left for vacation. He is a good worker and a great person. I am sad for him. But, I also feel gladness because he was very unhappy there at times, and I pray he will find a position that will fit him. I am confident he will make his way, but after eighteen years with the same company, it will be difficult for him. We did manage to have a very nice time with family and friends on vacation, and we are thankful for our many blessings, but coming home to face the bills was a little frightening. I think this will be a good thing for him in the long run, and I am optimistic.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Keeping it real-

Tears and sweat, pain and sorrow
explain my tomorrow,

Love and despair, gloom and doom and hate
seal my fate,

Hope and dreams, positive and success
drive me to excess,

Wishes and wants, power and false illusions
give me no solutions,

Facing reality and life, struggles and fights
give me no delight,

Praying to God for strength and wisdom, for faith that is true and real
give me optimism and zeal.

Ha! That was fun-too bad I don't write poems.
Don't worry I'm not losing my mind and this blog will not have many of these-I don't want to scare people away ;)

Linking and Commenting-

Fellow Bloggers-

I see there are more and more of you checking out my blog. Please stop to say Hi and to leave your URL in the comments , so that I can check out your blog! I'm looking for good blogs to link to. If you like this blog, please link to the site, and I'll do the same.

Thank you!!


Do you think that you can escape me? Escape me, evil? Ha! You can’t.
I’m always there.

So, you think you can escape my grasp? Don’t even think about it.
I will always be there, in your mind, in your head.
You know the place.

You face your fears; I will help you run and hide for years.
I will be there.

You work hard to be faithful and good; I will help you play and get away from it all.
I will be there.

You love and believe in God and in fate; I will help you hate.
I will be there.

You laugh and you cry; I will help you die.
I will be there.

You hope and you dream; I spread gloom, doom and make you scream.
I will be there.

I am with you day and night through time and space; I will be with you.
You know the place.

By Lisa Braendle
June 23, 2005

My response to evil: You can try, but I have God on my side. I feel the pull between good and evil every day. Read the news, watch TV, see it in our own churches-evil is there; we must keep the faith. But, don’t forget that evil is real and with us. We must reaffirm our commitment to God on a daily basis to word off the evil one. God is there and will prevail. Don’t give up hope. God is good!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Thought of the day-Tip of the Day

Thought of the day-
"I am who I am. Take it or leave it."
Poor attitude? Good attitude?

Let me know what you think!

Tip of the day-
Feeling down?
*Call, email or write a friend or family member in need. Don't wait for them to call you. This will help put life into perspective, and you will be able to help others get their minds off of their problems as you do the same! Or better yet, volunteer and help others you don't even know!

*Read a good book-nothing lets you escape your worries better as you escape to another time and place.

*Write your thoughts and dreams down on paper so they seem more approachable and real to you.

*Spruce up any relationship you're in by doing something totally different together like ballroom dancing-I know it sounds strange, but it should take your mind off of the little annoyances we all have with one another.

*Pray, pray, pray. Then, pray some more.

*If none of this helps, you could always stay busy and clean your house, run errands and/or mow the grass. What? You're considering this?? No, no, no...don't do that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Great Quote-By Stephen King-

Words by Stephen King as written in his book, On Writing:

"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around."

This simple sentence puts it all into perspective.

Alcoholism-Stephen King

Alcoholism runs rampant in my family so I was particularly interested as
I read the following passage, written by Stephen King in his book, "On Writing":

"It's been almost twelve years since I took a drink, and I'm still struck by disbelief when I see someone in a restaurant with a half-finished glass of wine near at hand. I want to go over and yell "Finish that! Why don't you finish that?" into his or her face. I found the idea of social drinking ludicrous-if you didn't want to get drunk, why not just have a coke?"

My brother stated a comment very similar to this one as he was seeking treatment for alcoholism.

If you're expecting just a writing book from Stephen King, forget about it-On Writing is so much more than that-it's more like a survival guide.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Experiencing Health Problems?

Experiencing Health Issues?
I'll tell ya, trying to eat healthy is hard! But, it does make a big difference! After spending a great deal of time cutting out sugar, eating more nutritiously and drinking more water, I was able to change my life! Depression, PMS, migraines, rashes, swollen joints, heart issues (arrythmias etc) are almost all a thing of the past. When I don't eat as I should, I start to get some of these symptoms back but on a much smaller scale so it encourages me to eat better-not perfect-better. We are all so hard on ourselves-if you eat a brownie-GOOD FOR YOU. But the next thing you grab had better be a bottle of spring water. If you want that cup of coffee, fine...drink more water. Hey, I like spaghetti and those high carbs just like everyone else and yes, I still eat it but in smaller quantities and I increase eating more of those interesting greens other vegies. It's a daily struggle but it's a battle that can eventually be won.
There are many health stores out there to help with body detoxes as well. These help to rid the body of excess toxins created by too much yeast etc. This is a great way to feel better!! If you want additional info, please email me!! I will be happy to cover more details on the subject.

Tip of the Day-

For you beginning writers like myself, I highly recommend subscribing to Writer's Digest Magazine. I look forward to getting my copy every month! When I start to lose hope, I always find something inspirational and hopeful. I keep a copy handy all of the time :)

Enjoy the Journey!

Friday, June 17, 2005

This month's Winner!

Congrats to Dana who won this month's book, On writing by Stephen King!! She was the first one to comment on the contest post and to link to my site! I will be offering one for July as well so stay tuned!!

Thx again, Dana!
ps-wondering what this is? Each month, I will be sending out one free book (that I have read) to the first person (in the USA) who comments on the contest post (or any other post) AND links to my blog. I will be listing the next book in a couple of weeks.

Just for fun-

Ok, I thought maybe this blog was becoming just a little too serious so I thought I'd share a funny story. As I headed to my son's baseball game a couple of weeks ago, I clipped along a fast-paced street, racing to get to the game on time at about 45mph (ok, maybe 50, don't tell anyone.) All of a sudden, I saw the car in front of me swerve out of the way of an object. Too late, I'm all over it. Not good. A loud popping sound exploded under my car. (now named "Super-car") Again, not good. I pulled over to the side of the road and looked back at the mess in the middle of the road. I had run over a truck size battery. Shaking, heart racing, I pulled up to a service station, which had of course just closed. Thankfully, there was one lonely mechanic still there. I pounded on the garage door until he came out. ;)

I explained the scenario as I pointed to the destroyed battery strung out all over the road and asked ever so nicely if he would look at my car. He looked me up and down wondering what he did to deserve this. So...he took out a flashlight and checked out the bottom of my car. Hmmm, he said. "Looks pretty good, except..." Oh boy, here we go, I thought. "Your pan is a little bent but other than that, it looks good. No leaks, no problem."

Believe it or not, a good car wash to get the battery acid off and away we went! My son asked if he might be able to ride with his Dad next time. Hmm...I don't understand why? :)

So, how is your day??

ps-I now have officially run over one spare tire (that was a terrible clanking sound that lasted forever under my car and almost gave me a heart attack.) and a full size basketball.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Struggling this week. I need a maid, an editing service, nanny service and a therapist-all free, of course. Is there anyone else feeling this way? Am I alone?

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my life-I’ve worked hard to find joy in my every day life, but honestly, this week has been tough. I’ve learned to find the joy in the Lord in everything-good and well, the not so good. But, I’m human and I can’t pretend everything is all right when quite frankly, it isn’t.

I pray. I pray when I feel I’m losing my sanity. I pray for strength and guidance and joy and forgiveness. And, everything else in between.

I cry. I cry as I put yet another load of towels into the washing machine, knowing full well there were be another one needed in two days-this after doing ten loads of laundry, just days ago. I cry when loved ones disappoint me. I cry when I disappoint the Lord-I’m humbled by his greatness, and I cry when I let other people down. I cry for all of the horrible things happening around me in the states and overseas.

I laugh. I laugh at my own weakness. I laugh at little children when they learn about God-they are precious and terrors at the same time. I laugh at my fourteen year old as he voice changes octaves in one sentence. I laugh as I put my feet into another sticky spot on my kitchen linoleum, just mopped. Sometimes, I even laugh at adversity. I laugh at life.

I think negative. I think negative when I want more than I can have or willing to work for. I think negative when God won’t allow me to have things in my own timeframe. I am negative when the mailbox is empty of any solid writing opportunities or replies to my queries, and instead, bills stare at me. I am negative when I edit my novel, and it all seems so daunting and overwhelming. I feel small.

I think positive. I think positive when I see others praising God and teaching others to love the Lord, as I watched last night I helped preschoolers at our church bible school. I think positively when I remember the experience I have in overcoming obstacles and in overcoming frustrations, with the help of the Lord.

I am optimistic. I am optimistic when I feel the Lord beside me, walking with me, helping me sort out my thoughts and feelings. I am optimistic when I pray, and I feel God’s overwhelming love and unconditional love surrounding me even when I don’t feel it from others. I am optimistic when I look around, really look around and see all of the wonderful people in my life-flaws and all.

I am woman. Hear me roar-even if my roar is quiet this week. But, I am not silent. I am alive. I am healthy. I am thankful. I thank God for his many blessings.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Monthly Giveaway!! Stephen King, "On Writing."

I've decided to giveaway one book to the first person each month who adds a comment(s) -to the contest post (or any other post) and links to my site. Please share your own ideas, tips and comments on the areas discussed here.

For the month of June, I will be giving away Stephen King's, "On Writing." (Paperback) and will ship it free to anyone in the USA. It's a great book!

Trying to get this blog noticed. First come, first serve!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rejection-(Sometimes) a good thing?

I received a great email yesterday in response to one of my short genealogy essays I submitted on my great-grandmother, whom I have never met. The editor of this genealogy magazine wasn't interested in my general how-to article, but liked my style and welcomed another submission. I submitted my second submission and this was his response:

His email simply read, "I am sorry but I did not find anything inspiring in your second story and must decline this." Why is this a great email, you ask? Well, first, he took the time to respond, and second, it will help improve my writing. I changed some things in the essay and resubmitted it to another magazine editor. Of course, I didn't enjoy the email much at the time, but upon reading it again, I found it to be the perfect response and had to chuckle.

I will not give up. I'm going to keep right on writing and writing and writing. I enjoyed writing the article mentioned above and that's what really matters the most to me. And, in time, I'm confident I will find its rightful home.

Tips for today: Drink plenty of spring water especially those of you out in hot weather-it's 85 here in Michigan. Do (at least) one thing you enjoy each day. I know it's hard-but we can do it!

Enjoy the journey and God bless!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ups and downs of Writing-

I've pretty much been on a high since I decided to start writing. I've been writing my first novel seriously since December of last year, and it is now almost complete.

I'm editing my novel and the more I edit, the more frustrated I become. I've read somewhere when you question part of a manuscript to take it out and see if it's missed, well, if I did that, on certain days, I might not like what I have left ;) Last night,I almost hit the delete key to say goodbye to the whole dang thing, and for a second, I found much pleasure in the idea. Of course if I were to do this accidentally, I'd be horrified. The point is one minute I feel like I can accomplish anything, but the next, I'm scared that I'm doing it all for nothing. Of course I know the chances of my getting this published are slim, and of course I realize even if I do get published, it probably won't be a best seller. So, there you have it. You've caught me on an off day. Most of my blogs will be for the most part more encouraging. I will be spending most of my Saturday working on it so I'm sure I'll feel much better. Yeah, right. I've started my proposal and that is even a worse subject.

I'm praying for patience. I'll need it. I just keep on writing-something good will come out eventually (I hope ;)

Please feel free to share your writing frustrations on the publishing world. It would be much appreciated. Happy reading and happy writing.

Indoor Air Pollution Concerns-

Another one of my concerns that I need to mention is indoor air pollution. I think this is a big issue for everyone yet I don't see adequate exposure to the public at large.

People use bleach, and various other cleaning products from kitchen to bath that contain strong chemicals. These toxins create havoc on our bodies without us even realizing it. Now, I will admit, there are times when a strong cleaning agent is needed for certain jobs, but these should be used sparingly, not as every day cleansers.

So, how do we clean up the air in our homes? Try to use all natural products-visit a health store-you'll be amazed how many better products there are out there! Nothing is perfect but it does help. Ideas for cleaning or deordorizing for bath and kitchen especially if you suffer from MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities), use baking soda! Baking soda is a great deordorizer and a great cleaning product. There are also other products on the market that are great to use. Try to limit air fresheners, (or stop using altogether if there are health issues), which I think are big air polluters. There are just so many different options out there now-we really have no excuse. Again, check out your local health store for these types of cleaning products also!

Not to get into a lengthy discussion, please email me for more information. (especially if you or anyone is experiencing MCS or other strange health issues that doctors haven't been able to help you with.)

Today's Tip: Mix fresh lemon juice with baking soda and vinegar. This can be used for toilets, tubs and sinks. (On stainless steel sinks-clean off solution immediately.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Health Concerns-Unregulated Perfume Industry-

I am getting more serious about writing about the concerns I have over the FDA's inability to see the seriousness of letting the perfume industry go for the most part unregulated. Yes, they do regulate the industry but on a very small scale.

I've always been sensitive to chemicals/perfumes, suffering from migraines as a teenager but stayed away from perfumes because even at an early age, my body rebelled from strong scents. After working in a toxic environment, I experienced symptoms of MCS, (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). I started researching the causes on the Internet and various health stores. I changed to unscented products, and many of my health issues (such as migraines, rashes and infections) were greatly reduced or alleviated altogether. I also needed to make changes in my diet to deal with many allergies as I have stated in a past blog, but that was only a part of my heatlth success story.

Back to the perfume industry, why aren't we demanding safer products? Why isn't there more exposure on the toxins in our environment? I just don't understand it. Am I missing something?

For more information on this subject, check out If you're concerned about your health and that of your family's health, you'll find this most interesting.

More on the subject to follow at a later time.

Please share your health story!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

In Remembrance of Virginia Harmsen-My Grandmother

I will start out by saying that my posts WILL NOT be this long. As Memorial Day approaches, I want to celebrate and remember my Grandmother's life.

Virginia Marie Merrell was born on April 20, 1920 in Pine Grove, Michigan. She was my Grandmother, she loved me, and I have wonderful memories of her-such a simple statement to make but such a powerful one. Important memories pack a punch, don’t they? They stay with us, shaping us and molding us as we stroll through this journey called life.

Grandma had a zest for life especially when it came to her family-she loved buying things and doing things for us, never complaining (that I heard any way) she was doing too much. She wholeheartedly supported most family and friends. She had many friendships and did a lot of work for a Methodist church a few blocks from her house for a long time. Through the years in the rain, snow or sleet, she with Grandpa in hand could be found at either my brothers or my own school and sporting events.

She wasn’t perfect of course, although she was to me. Life was hard for her early in life-marrying men who weren’t right for her, and making poor decisions. Times were tough, and she often did odd jobs to help support her young family. One particular lunch visit, I remember conversing with her as I complained about a situation at work. She would tell me of her job at one point many years ago of picking up coal by the coal trains to support her children. I guess I don’t have it so tough, I thought. She pushed forward with her life, determined to have a better future and more than made up for it later being the supportive, caring, warm and funny person she was around us-adding joy to our lives.

She was colorful. As I recall, she usually had on a funky pair of sunglasses on at various sporting events, either wearing a unique colored ball cap or her short hair in disarray, wearing long dangly earrings and multi colored/patterned socks that never seemed to match her pants or outfit. Stains from her lunch could be seen on her blouse, which she either didn’t know about or didn’t care much about. I didn’t ever see her scrambling to change. Not that my brothers and I ever seemed to mind, she always looked beautiful to us wearing her best smile and giving us her big hugs. It was her way of expressing herself, she was comfortable to be around and very much her own person. She could be found surrounded by some sort of knitted or crocheted craft or afghan, adding to her creative style and presence. She also enjoyed listening to music.

I remember the way my Grandmother smelled growing up-you know all Grandmother’s have that certain scent about them. My Grandmother always smelled of food. She loved food-spicier the better. That might explain her solid build. She especially enjoyed baking for her family and boy could she bake: cookies, cakes and pies, oh my. Walking in with her gigantic box of goodies, which appeared the size of two city blocks to us kids, she was the hero of her grandchildren. We stood there wide-eyed with mouths hanging wide open.

Although, my interests don't include cooking and baking, I’d like to think I’m a little like her. She also enjoyed writing, genealogy and scrap booking-writing tidbits, recipes, crafts and anything important to her. She kept many pictures, every newspaper clipping of anyone even remotely related and many other memorabilia in her many scrapbooks of life.

I miss that role in my life, being her granddaughter, that special person in her life. I miss the woman who helped shape my life, but I also take comfort knowing she will not be forgotten. And even though, my Grandmother, Virginia passed away several years ago, she lives in the smiles of my children as they spend time with their Grandma (her daughter), who is also a great Grandmother, and also in the wonderful memories we all shared. Never to be forgotten as she smiles through all of the pictures, cards, scrapbooks, journals and crafts.

Most important, by being a positive role model, my Grandmother showed me how to love and to be loved. She showed me that I could be less than perfect, face adversity and become a better person. Her legacy will continue on.