Tag Archives: writing

There’s Always One

Our home is becoming a wildlife sanctuary.

My husband and son rescued this little bunny from our window well and set him free to rejoin his family. I’d post video of the rabbit rodeo, but I’d like to stay married.

rabbit baby

baby bunny

Two toads have taken up permanent residence in the window well turned terrarium. Our eyes sift through the sand to detect their camouflaged bodies.

The robins in our holly tree who survived the tornado have long since gone. Another resourceful robin laid eggs in a coil of electrical wire tucked under our deck. She’s fearlessly raising her brood to fledging status this week.

Some starlings constructed a muddy nest under the deck, too.

This past Tuesday morning, I let the dog out to roam in the backyard. As we ate breakfast inside, we heard her urgent barking.

“She wants to come in already?”

“I’ll do it! I’ll do it!” said my son.

“Okay, just make sure you lock up after you let her in.”

He scurried downstairs to open the door.

“No, Ella! No!”

My skinny seven-year-old lugged our overweight dog into the house.

“Ella was trying to bite the baby bird!” he said.

A starling chick had fallen from the nest. His four brothers and sisters peeked out of their dirt clod cone of a home.

“Don’t touch it!” I said. The tiny bird lie on his back struggling to breathe. Gingerly, I flipped him over. He waddled a few steps.

“Let’s call your dad and figure out what to do,” I said.

My husband was in a meeting, unavailable to take our call. So I did what any modern woman on the prairie does. I Googled it.

perched on stacked garden benches

perched

The Miami Science Museum website gave us instructions:

“Don’t worry about ‘smelling like a human.’ Actually, most birds have a very poor sense of smell and won’t be able to tell that you helped their baby… If you can find the nest, then put the baby bird into it.”

We stacked benches and climbed up.

“Spot me, will ya?”

I carefully lifted the chick up to the nest. He disappeared down into the funnel. He was a goner for sure.

By evening, he’d fallen out again. We stacked the benches, climbed up, placed him with his siblings. Only this time he didn’t disappear.

This time he turned around and perched on the rim of the dirt cone.

“Go back in,” I said and nudged him. He refused to move, stretching his neck out between my fingers.

baby starling at nest edge

on the edge

The next morning, he’d hopped out again. And again in the afternoon.

This bird is not old enough to leave the nest. He’s just beginning to open his eyes. There are downy tufts on his head. He’d be defenseless on the ground if a snake or cat came prowling. My husband thinks he’s trying to find relief from the triple digit heat.

Soon he’ll fly like the adult starlings who circle and complain as we return their offspring to the nest. We’ll save him from danger for as long as we can. But he’s tasted the cool, sweetness of freedom.

Wednesday evening we sat by the window under the deck, quietly watching avian parents fly back and forth. The robins landed and stayed to feed their chicks. But the starlings swooped in and hovered beside the mud nest, their apricot chests suspended by strong, flapping wings.

baby starling

starling child

If they landed, it was like angels touching earth, too quick for us to see.

Swan-diving starling child, do you show your siblings how to fall into this air?

There’s always one who leads.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20-21 ESV

I would give my life to find it. I would give it all. Catch me if I fall. 

Who do you lead? Who do you follow?

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$5.85

That’s my take from 40 days of WordAds. I didn’t expect to make much, but $5.85?

Christmas tree

Christmas 2013

I don’t even get paid until I reach $100. At this rate, I’ll see my first check in time for holiday shopping—Christmas 2013!

The ads were charming, but distracting. I couldn’t approve them in advance or negotiate fees, yet they commandeered some of the best space on my page.

As my friend Janice of A Colorful Adventure said about her experience with ads on her blog, “I wanted the prime real estate for myself!”

Me too, Janice. So I’m ending my WordAds Beta.

The quest for ways to generate income doing what I like to do continues. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. Or maybe a more traditional approach is in order.

You never know until you try.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

This calls for bluegrass. I Ain’t Gonna Lay My Hammer Down by Blue Highway.

When do you call it quits? When do you persevere?

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Bicentennial +3

Today marks the 203rd post for everyday epistle.

hello, country buntin’

A lot has transpired since our centennial post Lyrical Interlude last October. Good time to recap:

Also began testing advertising. Seeing as I’ve yet to make a penny, this test may end sooner rather than later.

Whisper was the most-read post between our centennial and bicentennial +3. It catapulted to the top where it’s third behind I Like My Bike and Milk Wars.

The second most-read post  between our centennial and bicentennial +3 was Leah. The third was Field Trip to Visit a Cowboy.

everything’s coming up pinwheels

I’m still learning and having fun. Expect I’ll keep writing, testing, and making course corrections. Knowledge acquired from the ground up sticks with me. Feels like I know it by heart.

Hmm. That sounds an awful lot like praise for the process from an impatient, results-oriented, change-it-yesterday kind of girl.

Like I said, I continue to learn. Thank God, don’t we all?

Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:3-6 NLT

Live and Learn by Clint Black, a gentleman of country music.

What are you learning?

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Cassatt, Norton, Bacon

We’re missing three books.

are you in there?

Must have been lost in the move. Incorrectly packed with garden tools, baby toys, Christmas decorations. Shoved into obscurity in the basement or garage. Jumbled mess of relocation.

The coffee table book we bought in Chicago in 1999 was the one that tipped me off. Oversized tome documenting Mary Cassatt’s work. We’d seen her paintings at The Art Institute’s special exhibit that year.

We carried Cassatt home. Held her on the city bus and the elevator up 35 stories to our apartment of blinding white walls. Lugged her to St. Louis. Cordoned her off from the ordinary books. Separated from the pack. And now she is missing.

I hope Norton is with her. The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry is fat and stout. Ten-pound bag of sugar. Required reading for a circle of writers, hopeful and green. Emblazoned with red and orange that year, I can still see it.

Long before I had a dog of my own, Norton tagged along, shadowing me. Begging to be played with and petted and fed. I’d scratch his ears, brush his coat, and watch dreams fall out in the shedding. He slept in a basket beside my bed, cushioned with transient catalogs and nonfiction. I hope Norton’s with Cassatt.

And I hope they’ve found Seduced by Bacon. The youngest of the three, this gift from a business colleague. We displayed Bacon in our kitchen. The kitchen we’d demolished. Filled with rubble, chaos, and 90-year-old dust. Rebuilt with fresh dry wall and slate, marble and ceramic subway tiles, wood and stainless steel, and blue paint named Amelia that wasn’t quite green or gray.

Bacon came to us as we hawked the kitchen and its house. No room for another book on such carefully staged, ready-to-show shelves. So Bacon stayed in the kitchen where it belonged. Guests chuckled at its name. A cookbook attesting the truth. “Seduced by Bacon,” they’d say. “Now that’s my problem.”

These three are lost. My heart sinks and drowns, buoyed by weak hope. They’ll turn up. We’ll find them again. Normalcy will come on a day unexpected. On a Monday or Thursday, a day of no consequence, I’ll open a box labeled dish towels and there they will be. Smiling, recovered, taking full breaths of air. They’ll ask me what happened. Where are we now? What took me so long to find them?

And I will answer I don’t know. Today I don’t know.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4 NIV

Norton found

The Lost Get Found, Britt Nicole.

Epilogue

Between the time of writing and publishing this post, I found The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry in a box in the basement. Norton now resides behind the glass doors of a bookshelf in my office where I can keep an eye on him as I work. Cassatt and Bacon are still missing.

Have you ever lost a beloved book or other item? Did you find it again? What was that like, the losing or the finding?

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Poetry Slam Party

Poetry is an old friend of mine. April happens to be its special month.

poetry commentary, poetry

Thank you, Corey of I Like My Bike and Beth Webb Hart of Southern Belle View, for bringing National Poetry Month to my attention. Thank you also, Geetanjali of Open a Book, for inspiring me with Rhyme Time on your blog.

In celebration, everyday epistle is hosting a Poetry Slam Party.

best remembered poems

This is not your ordinary poetry slam. You don’t have to write the poem you share or read it on an open mic in front of strangers. There are no hidden judges in the audience. We’re just here to enjoy reading and remembering the selections you choose.

All you have to do is share the title and author of a favorite poem.

If the mood strikes, tell why you like it, dazzle us with its best lines, or be my guest and share the whole enchilada.

Why?

Because Poetry is the shock of cool water on the tenth day of triple digits. Bonfire smoke and goose bumps in October. A wool coat wrapped in the silence of the first snow. A nest of newborn robins in the regal holly tree.

the poems of emily dickinson

Who couldn’t use more of that?

I’ll get us started with Emily Dickinson’s My life closed twice before its close:

My life closed twice before its close—
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

Let the Poetry Slam Party begin, good readers. The floor is yours.

poetry blooms

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1 NIV

Need help? Go to www.poets.org to find a poem.

Please share a selection with us.
Ready, set, SLAM! 

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The Power of Suggestion

I’m falling in love with a book and a writer.

early to rise

Last night, I read in said book about a Japanese novelist who awoke at 4 a.m. every morning for seven months to write his most important work. He would write for five hours, then jog. Requires discipline and strength, he said. Writing and running, that is.

So at 4:27 a.m. today, unplanned, I awoke. Beckoned by the power of suggestion. I can explain it no other way.

I lag behind the author from Japan. Twenty-seven minutes and umpteen books to be exact. He’s accomplished. I’m but a lowly blogger. Unsure. Beginning.

The blackness of the morning yields itself to the task. A complement to the blank white of the screen, the darkness hangs in the air, and all is quiet.

Requires concentration, I read in the book. Uninterrupted stretches of lonely pounding out, writing and jogging. Words to page, feet to pavement.

Two and a half hours, a thousand words later, the sun is up and I’m going back to bed. No jogging for me. It’s Saturday after all.

Will I do this again? Wake up in the third watch and write? I can’t say. Strength can come at any hour.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

His Strength is Perfect, Steven Curtis Chapman.

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Moon Walk

There’s a field behind our neighborhood. Carpeted with brome in the summer, scruff in the winter. It’s a magical place where my son, the dog and I walk.

in the field

We saw a deer run across the north end the first time we explored the field. We were a few acres south, but we spotted him clear as day. Our eyes followed his white tail and long, bounding strides.

Our part of Kansas is flat. Flatter than Illinois. If there weren’t lines of trees and houses blocking the view, no telling how far you could see.

The field is covered with short, dry grass now. Besides the ground and the wind, there’s nothing but sky. Wide, blue, voluminous sky.

image of La Lune print used with permission from Double Merrick, doublemerrick.myshopify.com

The moon often watches us when we walk the field. Even in sunlight, its bald head nods as we plod along the soft ground.

My son would play there forever if I let him.

In freedom he scampers ahead of me. Kneels. Lifts his arms. Stares down the barrel and through the cross hairs. Imagines sniping enemy troops.

The dog is also at home there. She parts the grass like water and swims. Without warning, she pops straight up and over, jumping like a rabbit. Ears pricked. Her body alert to the possibility of field mice beneath these waves.

Except for the one deer, the only wildlife we’ve seen are small birds. They congregate, hidden in the grass, then spring into flight as we approach. Dozens of tiny, floating kites, cut loose to lift and sail away.

One day, my son called to me from where he crouched. The inflection in his voice danced over the field.

“Mom,” he said. “I found a deer track!”

Sure enough, he’d found one perfect, heart-shaped deer track imprinted in the dried dirt.

far

We could tell—from the shape of the print, the deer that left it there had been walking. Just like us.

These are the moments I wish I could capture. They bound away, impossible to hold. Photographs don’t do them justice.

Must be what it’s like to walk on the moon.

An ordinary action, walking. Elevated here. Beyond measure in its fullness. Silent. Solitary. Surrounded by nothing but God and ground and sky.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

When I was pregnant with my son, I listened to Beethoven. Relax and savor the tender, magical, masterful strains of Moonlight Sonata.

Double Merrick

The La Lune print featured in today’s post is the work of English designer/illustrator Merrick Angle.

Merrick’s charming prints were a hit when he started selling them on Etsy. One has only to view his art to understand why.

Merrick presently works out of a studio near Limoges in rural France. His online shop, Double Merrick, continues to wow.

Visit his shop to see for yourself and read more of his story. Warning: you may fall in love with what you see.

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