Furnace Days

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

I walked out of school.
It was raining.
I was walking with one of the girls from my class.
I knew my mother was parked along the curb waiting for me.

I could see her in the line of cars along with the other mothers.
The girl was walking alongside me and asked me a question.
“Do you know you’re adopted?”
I knew the word, adopted; we had learned that word in our catechism class.

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Crumbling into Compassion

My grandmother was one of the biggest influences in my life. My favorite memories are what I dubbed “teeth in the cup” moments, when she was at her most relaxed, letting her thoughts and teachings flow. One evening, when I was a teenager, she declared in her sweet, yet serious, way: “Baby, you can be humble or get humbled, but you help choose which way God gives it to ya’.” I would be thirty years old before what my grandmother said would truly sink in.

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Strength in Silence

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

I rented a cabin in the southern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains last May. Having survived some of the hardest years of my life and learned too many unwanted lessons, I had made writing my outlet and hobby. For months I had been plugging away, chapter after chapter, at my first novel. The purpose of my trip was to clean up the rough draft and do a little free-writing. I wasn’t against an uninterrupted nap, either. My kids assured me they would survive, and my husband promised to feed them in my absence. After loading my suitcase into the car, I kissed my family goodbye and set out alone. 

The drive along the southern border of Tennessee was breathtaking with late-May glory. I meandered along the Ocoee River in heavy traffic, taking time to enjoy the spectacular views. At scenic overlooks I took pictures with my “good camera.” Lunch was a bag of M&M’s —because no one was around to talk me out of it— and a giant Dr. Pepper. I listened to the radio and a couple of podcasts to stay alert as the afternoon wore on and finally arrived at a sheep farm in Northern Georgia. 

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