Posts Tagged ‘inspirational’

Prepping for NaNoWriMo

09/12/2011

PREPPING FOR NaNoWriMo with SUSAN MEIER: Online Course

INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier
DATE: October 1 – October 31, 2011

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110
(LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Everybody believes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which runs every November at http://www.nanowrimo.org) is a race against the clock, a fight with procrastination and inertia. In some ways it is. But once you’re in the thick of things, you’ll discover NaNo is really all about ideas. Writers don’t stall because they’re lazy. Writers stall because they don’t know what to write next.

The month BEFORE NaNo, get proven tips from Susan Meier—the author of almost 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette—and let her take you through several different ways to examine the story you want to write, to capture the natural scene possibilities within your idea, to generate new ideas, and to push yourself through the most grueling, but fun, month you will spend this year! Lessons include:

* The List of 20 (How to generate ideas quickly so you have little downtime when your natural ideas run out)
* Turning a “Want” into “Need” (How does knowing why you’re writing this book provide you with both energy to write and ideas for your story?)
* The One-Paragraph Story Summary (Say it succinctly…3 kinds of one-paragraph story summaries: back cover blurb, core story question, and growth paragraph)
* Could, Might, Must and Should List (How to capture ideas that spring up naturally)
* Storyboard Versus Synopsis (Breaking your idea down into manageable bites)
* The Psychology of Pushing through the Hard Times (What to do when you get stuck)
* The Psychology of a Draft (Push, push, push!)
* What Are You Doing in December? (Editing tips)

Discover how to get the most out of NaNo and write a publishable novel. LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Susan Meier is the author of over 45 books for Harlequin and Silhouette and one of Guideposts‘ Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. Her books have been finalists for Reviewers Choice Awards, National Reader’s Choice Awards and Cataromance.com Reviewer’s Choice Awards and nominated for Romantic Times awards. Her book, HER BABY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS won the traditional category in the 2009 More Than Magic contest. HER PREGNANCY SURPRISE, her first release for the Harlequin Romance line, made both Walden’s Bestseller List for Series Romance and Bookscan. MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE, MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, and COUNTRY TWIN CHRISTMAS are her 2010 releases. Susan loves to teach as much as she loves to write and is a popular speaker at RWA chapter conferences. Can This Manuscript Be Saved? and Journey Steps, Taking the Train to Somewhere! are her most requested workshops. Her article “How to Write a Category Romance” appeared in 2003 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Markets. Susan also gives online workshops for various groups and her articles regularly appear in RWA chapter newsletters. For more information about Susan Meier, visit http://www.susanmeier.com.

* Subscribe to our announcement list for email on our latest online courses!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PennwritersOnlineCourses

*****
* For more information on this course, contact Laura M. Campbell, Online Courses Coordinator.
To mail in your registration and payment, send payment at least one week before the course starts using the mail form at this link.

Your Life as Poetry with Timons Esaias at Pennwriters Conference

04/07/2011

Your Life as Poetry with Timons Esaias

The subject of this workshop is poetry, but the purpose is to get more magic into any line that you write in any form of writing. We’ll look in our own lives for the sparks of poems, add some tinder, and then try to fan the flames.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:30 -11:30 AM
Where: Pittsburgh Ariport Marriott, Pittsburgh PA

Timons Esaias is a satirist, poet and short fiction writer whose work has appeared in 14 languages. His poetry chapbook The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture is in its second edition. He was a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award and won the Asimov’s Readers Award. He is adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University. http://www.timonsesaias.com/

Pennwriters Conference Offers More Than 45 Workshops

03/08/2011

I’m teaching a two day seminar at the Pennwriters Conference in May. In addition to that  I’ll be attending as many of the workshops  as possible to learn as much as I can from some very successful writers.  For more information on the conference go to http://www.pennwriters.org/prod/

Over three days, you’ll find more than 45 workshops and panels on five different tracks.

IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT
GENRE KNOW-HOW
••KNOW THE BUSINESS
•PROMOTE YOUR WORK
Workshops
A full listing of workshops, by track, is as follows:

IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT GENRE KNOW-HOW THE WRITER‘S LIFE
•Four Truths of Character with Ramona Long
•Balancing Dialogue and Narrative with Terry Friedman
•Avoiding Passivity with Catherine McLean
•The First Page is the Worse with Jason & Heidi Miller
•Shaping Story Arcs with Ramona Long
•The Geography of a Novel with Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
•Psychoses & Psychopaths: Crafting Believable Characters with Brent Maguire
•Acting for Writers with Kathryn Miller Haines and Kathleen George
•What Do I Do Now? with Becky Levine
•Researching the Police with Kathleen George
•Creative Nonfiction with Deanna Adams
•Making it Up: History and Ficiton with Gwyn Cready, Mitchell James Kaplan & Todd DePastino
•Writing Fight & Action Scenes with Jonathan Maberry
•Say YES to YA with Heather Terrell
•Your Life is Poetry with Timons Esaias
•Taking Your Writing to the Screen with Dennis Palumbo
•Researching Historical Fiction with Kathryn Miller Haines
•Breaking into Business Writing with Lisa Kastner
•Environmental Writing with John Wennersten
•A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Part I & II with Bobbi Carducci
•Drafting the Nonfiction Book Proposal with Deanna Adams
•Travel Writing with Don Helin
•Growing a Critique Group with Becky Levine
•What AM I supposed to say? with Becky Levine
•Writing From the Inside Out with Dennis Palumbo
•Unlocking Your Writing Process with Tamara Girardi
•Goal Setting for Writers with Anne Grenville
•Life Balance for Writers with Anne Grenville
•Writing Meditation with Madhu Wangu

KNOW THE BUSINESS PROMOTE YOUR WORK
•Agent Panel
•Small Press Panel
•From Concept to Bookstore with agent Denise Little
•The Dos and Don’ts of Finding and Agent with agent Victoria Skurnick
•Welcome to the Jungle with agent Barbara Poelle & CJ Lyons
•Effective Social Media with Janet Reid
•The Author-Agent Relationship with Nancy Martin
•Break Free From the Slush Pile with CJ Lyons
•The Pros, Cons & Cautions of Self-Pubbing Nonfiction with Deanna Adams, Carrie Kennedy and bookseller Maryanne Eichorn
•Copyright for Writers in the 21st Century with Tonya Evans
•Build Your Brand! with CJ Lyons
•Twitter for Twits with Tamara Girardi
•Shameless Self-Promotion & Social Networking with Kristin Bair O’Keefe
•No-Nonsense Publicity with Bill Peschel
•Creating a Low-Budget Book Trailer with Gwyn Cready
•How to Give a Great Reading with Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
•Working with Your Local Bookseller with Mary Anne Eichorn

Sometimes Even A Writer Is At A Loss for Words

03/02/2011

 Sunday was a hard day. Monday I was numb. Tuesday I lost my mind. Today I can’t  find the words to express myself on any subject.  Therefore, I’m not going to torture myself or you by trying. Instead I’m posting a picture of my dad as a young man and inviting you to provide the words.  What do you see reflected in the photo?

Harry J. Simpson Sr. 1924-2011

I See Angels – A Memoir

02/25/2011

The following is Part 1 of a true story about my time with my mother in the days before her death in 2002.  I share this today as my father lies in the hopsital close to death.  I find this piece comforating on this very difficult day. 

***

Fatigued and only half awake my mind wandered, recalling the day I first pushed through the swinging doors of the Palliative Care unit. I’d stopped in my tracks, stunned by the sudden quiet. All the noise of a busy hospital had disaapeared. Even the usual blips and buzzes were filtered out. I’d felt a sense of peace enveloping me; welcoming me. Only then did I understand that my assumptions were wrong. This isn’t a place of death; it’s an island of hope and dignity.

Mom is here.
I’d come from far away, lugging my suitcase and my fears to sit by her side. I won’t leave until she does. I know she will be with me when I walk through those doors again.
Rousing slowly I began to wonder just how long my suitcase had been sitting beside Mom’s bed. It seemed like a very long time. In this place that’s a blessing. Dates on a calendar mean nothing, every moment is precious. I am blessed to be here.

The aroma of fresh coffee lures me to the tiny kitchen across the hall. Grabbing a cream- filled doughnut from the box on the table I know right away that Karen is here to see her husband, Bill. Bill has colon cancer. I hope to get a chance to talk to her, find out how he’s doing before she leaves again to spend time with their two little girls. She looks up from their glass fronted room and waves to me as I shuffle back to Mom’s with my breakfast, wondering how many more days I can go before I give up and wash my frizzy hair in the sink.
Thank God for rubber bands and scarves, I think to myself. The right scarf and a sassy pair of earrings can go a long way toward extending a wardrobe consisting mainly of jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. I’ve found that t-shirts and pajama tops are virtually interchangeable. No one seems to notice the difference or if they do, well, they’ve been polite enough not to comment.
Mom is finally resting after a twenty-four hour marathon conversation with the universe. Rambling on incoherently at times, speaking clearly at others she took me on an unforgettable adventure of fantasy and memory.

“Wow, look at that!” she said. Her eyes wide with wonder.

I see,” I tell her.

“What is it?”

Uh oh, I think. What do I say now?

“What is it?” she asks again, this time a fearful note in her voice.

“I don’t know, what do you think it is?” I respond.

“I think it’s a bee. I hope it doesn’t sting me.”

“I won’t let it get you”, I reply. “I’ll swat it if it comes close again.”

“OK”, she sighs, relieved to know that she is no longer in danger.

“Do you have to go on tonight?”

Go on?  What’s this about?

“I don’t think so,” I tell her. “I’ll have to check my schedule.”

“I never knew you could sing. When did you learn to sing like that?”

Sing? Me? No way, I laugh to myself. I’m the one they couldn’t decide where to place in the second grade choir because the director couldn’t figure out if I were an alto or a soprano. My voice is that bad. I’m pleased that she’s given me a talent I always wanted. I wonder if she can also make me a real blonde. Fix it so I no longer have to spend hours at the hairdresser to look more like my beautiful sister.

“Sing to me. Sing me a song so I can rest.” So I sing.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey…”

The nurse raises her eyebrows and covers her ears as she goes by smiling at the two of us. I shrug my shoulders in a “what ‘re ya gonna do” gesture and continue singing until I feel Mom relax in my arms.

“Sleep tight,” I whisper, only to see her eyes pop open .

Look, look over there,” she points. “I see angels. Three of them, right over there. They have light all around them but I don’t see any wings.”

Yes I see them,” I placate her. “They’ve come to watch over you as you sleep. Get some rest now, it’s OK. And I begin again. “You are my sunshine……”

“Oh please,” she rolls her eyes. “Stop that racket if you expect me to get any sleep. Who do you think you are; some lounge singer?”

I watch as she drifts into sleep, hoping it will last this time, thankful for the gift of song, even if we shared it only for a little while.

We were up and down all night long; I saw her chasing shooting stars, crying over a ruined party dress, livid with rage for some unknown man from her past. I saw the wonder in her eyes as she held her firstborn child. Laughed as she went skinny dipping with my Dad in the creek behind their first house. For a time she spoke a language no one else could define, growing frustrated with my lack of understanding. Until she looked at me and said, “I love you.” I can recognize that in any language. Finally seeing understanding in my eyes, she drifted into a deep peaceful sleep that has lasted for over two hours and counting.

After washing up, dressing and brushing my teeth I do my housekeeping. I toss out the dregs of tea and coffee that have collected in the paper cups left behind by her many visitors. Remove the candy wrappers and fast food cartons left behind by her grandchildren. Even in the hospital she can’t stand to have anyone go away hungry. She loves to watch them eat. I change the water in the flower vases that line the windowsill. Everywhere I look there are cards offering prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

“Your Mom is a very lucky woman to have so many people care about her,” the nurses tell us. “So many of our patients have no one, it’s very sad.” We tease them about our big Irish family taking over the place but they don’t mind.

This morning the man in Room 702 is gone. Just three nights ago I sat in the lounge watching as his friends went in one by one only to leave quietly trying to hide their tears. Now he’s on his way home. A miracle. I want one too.

 

To Be Continued Tomorrow Feb. 26 2011

There Be Witches and Dragons Here

02/24/2011

There be witches and dragons in the room and talk of the many ways the women in town are murdering men. Do you believe in ghosts? Here we encounter them often. Some nights they sit in the company of children who go on about their business with no outward sign of fear.

We never know when someone new enters the room what country their companions may inhabit or what message they seek to share, and it matters not if we agree for in this place all are welcome.

Please join us at the Round Hill Writers Group on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Meetings are held at the Purcellville Library from 7:00 -9:00 PM. There are no fees to join, no minimum numbers of meetings to attend. Beginners to multi -published writers welcome.

Sessions include discussions about writing and the publishing world, sharing of resources, read and critique sessions, and occasional guest speakers.

For more information contact me via a comment to this blog or via email at bcarducci@comcast.net

Links to Some of Our Members:
Betsy Allen
Clar Bowman-Jahn

Bobbi Carducci
Dixiane Hallaj
David Sackrider
Suzanne Walls

Poetry on a Rainy Day

02/22/2011

Rainy Days and Sundays

Rain and Daddy go together

Splashing in puddles on a summer’s day,

dashing from car to church to receive communion.

The day he left and stayed away far too long,

the grey days of yearning, wondering why he chose to go.

And years later,

did the clouds gather as we drove to the airport to greet him?

I don’t recall.

But today, as he lies dying, the rain continues to fall.

****

A Penny For Your Thoughts

They call me Penny,

say I haven’t much sense and

banish me to this dark space

while they run on their senseless rat race.

They call me Penny,

say I haven’t much sense,

yet when the till opens

they look for my face.

Insulted, I remain hidden in my comfy dark place.

Note: I have no illusions that I am a poet. These two are a result of writing exercises I participated in yesterday at Write-a-Palooza held at Shamrock Music Shoppe, in Purcellville, VA, taught by Betsy Allen, David Sackrider, both excellent writers and teachers, and Mike Carducci, drummer for the band, Local Flavor.  This particular class focused on poetry and songwriting and since I am neither a poet or a songwriter I did what I could to learn from them.   What you have just read is the result.

Mom-isms for Writers

02/12/2011

As the mother of four grown children, I’ve seen enough eye rolls and dismissive headshakes to last me a lifetime. They usually occurred when one or more of the little darlings caused me to repeat one of my favorite sayings. You know the type I mean, the ones they automatically tune out as soon as your lips begin to move.

Recently I was blessed to have three of them visiting at the same time and long after I had gone to bed they stayed up to talk and catch up with one another. I listened briefly to the chatter and felt blessed to have them under my roof again. Eventually the conversation turned to shared experiences and the horrors of growing up with someone as uncool as me for their mother.

It comes as no surprise to me that they feel that way. I never wanted to be cool Mom; I just wanted to be survivor Mom. The one that lives through four bouts of teenage years and lives to tell about it.

I made it and so did they but they still can’t get over some of the lame things I used to tell them. Nor have they quite forgiven me for the nicknames I saddled them with but that is another story altogether and if I ever decide to write about that I’ll have to change my name and enter the witness protection program. Here is a list of their most hated Mom-isms and how they just might apply to all of us today.

1. You are responsible for your own actions.

No matter how many times they said, “Johnny made me,” these poor kids had to pay the consequences if they made a poor choice. They also got the rewards when they chose well but they seem to forget about that part when whispering about Mom’s deadly deeds in the middle of the night.

Today they are mature successful adults with a strong sense of personal responsibility. A trait that reading the daily news makes me fear might be going out of style.

If you walk away from a writers conference or a meeting or critique feeling as if you didn’t get what you wanted or needed from the group, stop and ask yourself some questions.

“What did I bring to that discussion?”

Was it an open mind, eager to learn and grow or was it a preconceived idea that I only wanted to hear validated?

If a problem exists, did I come with a suggested resolution or merely a criticism?

If an editor suggested a change in my manuscript, did I try to see his or her point of view or did I walk away convinced that my way is the only way?

Who is ultimately responsible for my success or failure?

2. Work it out among yourselves.

After refereeing I don’t know how many bouts of ‘he said, she said, he started it, no she did,’ I decided that unless blood or broken bones were involved, they didn’t need me to settle their arguments, and frankly, I just didn’t want to hear it anymore.

Eventually they did learn to come to some sort of compromise or they simply exhausted themselves into not caring anymore. Either way the fight was over and no one could accuse me of playing favorites.

They tell me that they especially hated that one. Sometimes one or the other was clearly in the wrong and I was denying the injured party comfort and righteous indignation by refusing to step in.

While I was guilty of that, I was also forcing them to at least try to see the person’s point of view, making them learn to negotiate and compromise. Teaching them that sometimes life is not fair and you don’t always win just because you are right. Skills they all use everyday in their jobs, in their personal relationships and, yes, you guessed it, even with their own children.

Always try to approach a problem with resolution as the goal. It doesn’t matter who was right or wrong if at the end of the discussion the problem is still there.

If you know without a doubt that your dialogue should read, “he said” and the editor prefers “he nodded, he huffed, or he gasped” you just might win by losing this argument. Once your book is on the bestseller list that discussion may not seem as important as it once did anyway.

3. Use your resources.

Instead of rushing off to the store each time one of them decided they wanted something I used my resource, poverty, to encourage them to use their resource, imagination, to build, re-design or forget about the latest toy on TV. They still talk about treasures they created over the years and the adventures they had building forts in the yard.

We all have special skills and talents with which we are born and eventually we find that they will carry us only so far toward our final goal. Eventually we have to admit we need some help along the way. This is where it pays to use all the tools legally available. This is true if you are scrounging materials to build a tree house, running for president, or writing a book. When you share your skills and knowledge, when you network, when you are willing to learn from those who have gone before you, you will grow and eventually succeed.

Writers groups offer a treasure trove of resources. Published authors are available to teach us, stretch us, inspire us and challenge us. Face to face and online meetings are offered to answer questions, form critique groups, put you in touch with agents/editors, and listen to your stories. Other writers share your joys, help you over the rejections and band together in groups large enough that our particular brand of insanity appears normal.

Need to know how describe a nose? Contact your writers group. Frantic to find out who penned that inspirational quote you need for your article? Send an e-mail to a writer friend. Can’t wait to announce your first sale? Contact someone in your writers group and see just how fast word gets out and the congratulations come pouring in. I encourage you to find a writers chat group and experience it yourself; it’s all there for the taking and the sharing.

We make choices all day, every day, and I hope that every one of you choose to use the resources writers have available as we continue to hone our talents, accepting that we are ultimately responsible for crafting the story of our own success.

If a conflict should arise, please listen to what others have to say and be kind in your criticism and if after all else fails, you still have a problem?

Work it out among yourselves. My kids will happily tell you how it’s done.

***For information on how to order Storee Wryter Gets a Dog – Bobbi’s first book for young readers ages  8 -12, click on the title.

On Writing Memoirs

02/10/2011

My friend and fellow blogger, Clar Bowan-Jahn, is writing about memoirs today. As a memoir writer I find the comments very interesting as they serves as a reminder that it’s not enough to have a story to tell. You must tell it well. Go to http://clarbojahn@wordpress.com. to read her blog titled:

3 Memoirs That Should Not Have Been Written and 1 That Was OK

Thank you Clar for all you do and all you are.

SPEARMINT MIRACLE – Fiction

02/05/2011

I remember waking in the middle of the night, the house full of strange and scary noises. Flashing red lights streaked across the ceiling as people ran up the stairs, something heavy clunking along behind them.

“Daddy, what’s going on?” I called.

“Go back to bed,” he told me, his voice sounding high and tight, squeaky with fear.

“But I have to pee,” I protested. It was a lie but forgivable under the circumstances, I thought.

“Not now! Get back in bed before I swat your behind.”

That was all I needed to hear. My parents weren’t hitters so if they mentioned a swat, you had better behave because they meant business.

I went, convinced I wouldn’t be able to sleep but the next thing I knew it was morning. This time my bladder really did insist there would be no waiting. I ran to the bathroom, arriving just as the door closed behind my little brother.

Hurry up!” I called through the door, hopping from foot to foot and humming my pee holding song. In a house full of people and only one bathroom, you had to have some way of holding it. I had my song. It soothed me, for a while anyway. Things were just getting critical when the door swung open and he stepped aside to let me in.

“Did you hear the news?” he asked over the sound of water running in the sink. (You have to do that so people don’t hear you whizzing).

“What happened?” I answered as the pressure on my bladder eased in a most satisfying way.

“Mom’s in the hospital. Nana and Grandpa are coming to stay.”

So that’s what the commotion was about last night. An ambulance had come and taken mom to the hospital.

No one would tell me what was wrong with her. The grown-ups just whispered among themselves and shook their heads in sorrowful concern all the time. Whenever I came into the room they would tip their heads and ask, “What is it, dear?” but they never answered my questions.

I was too big to let on that it’s very scary to have your mother disappear in the night and then have to wonder if she is ever coming back. I decided to pray for a miracle.

It was easy, or so I thought. We went to the catholic school across the street and the nuns were so keen on church going that we had to go to mass every day before lunch. That way your breakfast was digested and you hadn’t had lunch yet so no food would get mixed up with Jesus when the communion wafer went down your pipes.

I figured if I had to go and I had to kneel for all that time I would offer up my discomfort for the healing of my mom. In addition to her sickness, there were other problems too. I could only eat so much of Nana’s tasteless cooking and with Grandpa scowling all the time the house was so quiet it was spooky.

Up front, to the left of the altar, was a statue of St. Theresa, the Little Flower. I decided I would pray to her first and have her ask God to make my mother better. Since she was already a saint and I had strong reason to believe I would never pass that particular test, God would probably listen to her faster than He would listen to me. She was going to be my patron saint once I got old enough for confirmation so I figured she would be willing to help.

The sisters told us that if you pray hard enough and with true humility, God will answer your prayers. I just wasn’t quite sure what ‘hard enough’ was and humility always had a way of escaping me, but I resolved to try my best.

I gave my full attention to my praying that day. Except that I still had to keep an eye on the mass well enough to know when to stand and when to kneel. A rap on the knuckles with a ruler would tear my attention away from my prayers for quite some time and mess up my plan for sure.

I thought I prayed pretty good and I kept watching for some signal that she heard me. I thought she might give me a little wave or maybe a wink to let me know all would be well but even after a very long time of intense praying nothing happened.

I need to concentrate more, I thought. So I squinted my eyes up real tight and stared at her, figuring that maybe I was expecting too much in the line of signals and perhaps a minor flutter of her sculpted robe might be more in line with what God had in store for me.

Nothing happened. Not even when mass was almost over and my eyes were burning from the strain of all that squinting. I went to communion with all the other girls, and about half the boys, as usual, hoping the piece of candy Mary Alice gave me at recess had left my stomach before God arrived. If it hadn’t, I hoped He liked spearmint and that He wouldn’t hold it against me when it came to listening to my prayers.

After supper I kept Nana company on her walk to the hospital. Even though I was never allowed up to her room, I liked sitting in the lobby reading, knowing Mom was so close by. This time I asked Nana to take her a note.

“What’s this?” she asked, when I gave her the folded slip of paper and asked her to pass it to Mom.

“I miss her,” I answered, unexpected tears filling my eyes.

“Of course you do,” she hugged me, almost smothering me in her squishy Shalimar scented bosom. “But you can’t upset your mom when she’s trying to get better. Maybe I should read this and make sure it’s appropriate.”

“OK,” I agreed, “but don’t get mad if I spelled something wrong. I wrote it in a hurry and it’s a little messy, some tears fell on it and smudged it some.”

Nana read it pretty fast, and she didn’t say anything about misspelled words but her eyes did get big at one part just before she folded it back up and said, “This is fine just the way it is,” and got on the elevator to the third floor where all the sick women stayed.

Nana didn’t say much on the long walk home so I kept quiet too, using the time to ask God to please to listen to a message from St. Theresa that should be coming through soon.

The next morning Mother Superior sent a note to my classroom, instructing me to gather my books and to report to the office immediately. I was thinking it must be spearmint and God in my stomach at the same time that was getting me into trouble and wondering how she knew about that when I walked into her office.

“I am sorry to hear that your mother has been ill,” she spoke as I slipped quietly into the room.

”Thank you, Sister,” I whispered back, frightened to see my father sitting in the chair across from her.

“You should have told us,” she scolded. “We would have included her in our evening prayers.”

“I’m sorry sister.”

“I understand you prayed for her,” she offered, her face softening a bit.

”Yes,” I told her. “I prayed for a miracle but I guess I didn’t pray good enough. But I’m going to pray some more. I promised I would.”

Now my father was smiling at me too.

“I’m glad you plan to keep praying,” sister told me, coming out from behind her desk and putting her hand on my shoulder. “I hope that sometimes you will say a little prayer for me as well, but now it’s time to go home. Your mother is waiting, she wants to see you.”

Many years later I found that faded, tear stained note tucked into the pages of the family bible along with a mass card bearing a picture of St. Theresa my mother had given to me at my confirmation.

Dear Mom,
Please get better. We miss you, even the cat that you don’t like too much. I prayed for a miracle but St. Theresa didn’t move a bit. Please come home anyway. I told her I will pray a lot more to make up for not having enough humility yet.

Love, Bobbi
PS: Nana needs some cooking lessons.

When I arrived home that day Mom held me close and explained that she had nearly died from a ruptured ulcer the night the ambulance came, her rapid recovery a miracle, according to her doctors. I guess Jesus doesn’t mind a little spearmint after all.


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