Saturday, March 1, 2014

When Opportunity Shouts

It's been a strange kind of day.  I had lunch earlier with a dear friend, who no longer lives in the same town as I do, so I cherish our get togethers all the more now.  While at lunch, we were discussing how neither of us really wanted to serve "inside" the church anymore, but wanted to go "outside" its' walls to reach the lost and hurting with the love of Christ.

Later in the evening, my husband and I were sitting in our living room eating dinner, while watching the evening news.  We heard someone shouting outside and at first we ignored it, thinking it was just a neighborhood kid playing around.  When the shouting got louder and more insistent, we went to the window to see what was going on.  We saw a woman standing outside our gate, yelling and waving a flashlight.  My husband went outside first and I followed behind.

The young woman was shouting hysterically that something had happened to her dog - that he was hurt and that no one was home and she needed help.  We recognized her as someone we had seen in the neighborhood and working around town, so my husband went down the road with her to check on her dog, and I stayed behind and prayed.

We live and operate a bed and breakfast off the beaten path on a long winding country road.  We are grateful that The Lord has given us the resources to turn our modest home into our dream home, as well as to build a lovely bed and breakfast cottage on our property, surrounded by beautiful gardens, to offer as a place of rest and refreshment to others.  There are other modest homes in the neighborhood and a sprinkling of mobile homes - some well maintained - some badly in need of repair.

When my husband returned home, the news was not good.  The young woman lived in very poor conditions inside one of the mobile homes. She owned several dogs whom she dearly loved, and the one she came frantically looking for help for, had been hit by a car.  She had recently lost her job and had just broken up with her boyfriend because he had been abusing her.  She now had a roomate, because she was afraid to stay by herself.  And tonight one of her "babies" that she had adopted from the humane society was badly injured.

She apologized for "bothering" us and for crying about her dog.  As I hugged her and assured her that as a dog lover myself with a "baby" of my own, I completely understood - it seemed so inadequate.

My husband's calm compassionate demeanor, as he followed this distressed young woman home, examined her little dog, and helped her determine the best course of action to help her precious pet - all seemed so inadequate as well.

I wanted to take away her pain - all of it.  The pain of possibly losing her precious "baby", the pain of poverty, the pain of suffering abuse at the hands of another.  But I couldn't.  My husband couldn't.  We couldn't.

I wanted to pack up my extra clothes, my extra dishes, my extra sheets and blankets and bring them down to share with her.  When my husband told me she had mentioned to him how beautiful she thought our bed and breakfast gardens were and how peaceful she felt when she walked by, I wanted to throw open our garden gate and tell her she could come sit in it anytime she wants.

But I can't go down the block, goods in hand and drop them off uninvited and unasked for.  Still, I believe she came "shouting" at our house for a reason.  Perhaps, it was just for tonight's need - comfort and help in her distress.  Perhaps more.  I honestly don't know how to help her, only that my heart wants to.

Later, as I pondered the obvious question out loud to my husband of "Why?" "Why did she come to our house for help?" - she doesn't know us, we aren't the nearest house - he gave me the obvious answer.  "Because she saw the light on." The other houses in the neighborhood were dark - ours was shining brightly.

Yes! I want to be the house with the light on.  I want to be the life with the light of Christ shining brightly.  I want to offer people in distress the same love and compassion that I as a child of God have been so blessed to receive from Him through Christ.

Perhaps, we did give the woman all she wanted and for that matter all she needed from us.  Perhaps it was just a start and there is more to give.  I will have to trust that the same God who brought her to our home in her time of need, will show us if there is more to do.  But for now, I will be thankful for the opportunity that came "shouting" tonight.

Questions for Thought:
What opportunities are "shouting" at you?
How might God be calling you to respond?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Emmanuel (God with Us)

"Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will give conceive and give birth to a son and call him Emmanuel." Isaiah 7:14

It has been a long and harrowing year and I have been silent and absent from my blog for far too long. I could tell you that I have been experiencing writer's block, or that I have been preoccupied with more pressing things - both of which are true - but the raw truth is that I have been derailed!

About this time a year ago, the train I had boarded was going at a pretty good clip.  Not speeding, mind you, just chugging along.  Our bed and breakfast business was booming and I was in the process of taking my coaching and writing business to the next level.   I had grand plans for it all and not only was I going places, but I was enjoying the journey as well.

And then it happened - without much warning, the train ran off its tracks.

It seemed to happen in an instant - the pain struck like a knife, then went away. A few seconds later, the pain stuck again this time more insistent and then stayed.

"Pelvic Pain of Unknown Etiology."  That was my preliminary diagnosis.  A series of tests ensued.  Exams, Ultrasounds, Blood Work, etc.

"Pelvic Pain of Unknown Etiology."  Two trips to the emergency room, doubled over in pain. my normal bodily functions compromised.  The hoped for diagnostic tests not run. Pain pills dispensed.

"Pelvic Pain of Unknown Etiology."  Finally in desperation, my husband drove me two hours to Ochsner Hospital's Emergency Room to get a battery of tests run.  We waited over three hours in a room filled with flu patients, and the tests took another three. Finding out there were many issues inside my pelvis, I was given some prescriptions, stronger pain medicine and a referral to a GYN pain specialist - which was not until two weeks later because of the Christmas Season.

We arrived home early the next morning, I slept for a couple of hours, but was soon up again because of the pain.   Later that evening, I took a pain pill, went to bed and slept. At some point during the night, I got up to go to the bathroom and began to feel quite woozy.  I headed back towards our bedroom and barely made it into the room, before losing consciousness, falling and hitting my head on the foot-board of our king-sized sleigh bed, then bouncing off and hitting my head a second time.

Either the hit on the bed or the scream that came from somewhere inside me, woke my husband and my youngest son and they ran to help me up. But I was too weak to even be helped up and I insisted they let me lay there until I felt stable enough to be picked up and put back in bed. At that moment I felt so utterly helpless, and truth be told, hopeless.  I didn't know how I would make it another day, much less another two weeks until I saw the specialist.

Christmas came and went. All around me, people were celebrating the birth of Christ - Emmanuel (God with Us) and for the first time in my life, I missed the joy of celebrating His birth and did not feel my the usual joy of His presence.  My family cooked and cleaned, lovingly cared for me, attended church and exchanged gifts.  I lay in bed weak and in pain, simultaneously grateful for their presence, yet wishing at times to be left alone.

"Hysterectomy."  Finally, the long awaited appointment arrived.  After consultation with the doctor, it was determined that I needed a complete hysterectomy and my surgery was scheduled for the first available date - February 5.  I was originally told that I would have a six week recovery period and then I would feel like "a new woman."  But after surgery, the doctor informed me that it was a "mess it there" and he had to do extensive work and that my recovery period would now probably take 6 months to a year.  But he assured both my husband and I that the surgery had indeed proved absolutely necessary as I was just one stage away from cancer!  MY Emmanuel (God with ME) had cleared the path before me, long before the train derailed, and prepared a way to save me from a worse fate, in spite of the fact that I did not "feel" Him with me.

"Pelvic Floor Dysfunction."  The recovery period has been long and arduous, and I developed complications from the surgery.  Several months into the recovery period, I was diagnosed with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - a disorder of the pelvic muscles which causes chronic pain.  I have been referred to physical therapy and am blessed to have a team of PT's who are very invested in helping me overcome my pain.

It is now a year later and we have just celebrated Christ's Birth again.  I had hoped that all of my issues would have been resolved by now, and while some are getting better, I have developed new and puzzling symptoms and once again find myself undergoing tests and waiting.

"Possible MS." The spoken words in the doctor's office at first startled me, now terrify me. Waiting is not something I ever do well and in this circumstance, it is even harder.
But as I look back over the past year, I am in awe of the many ways God was with me.

I am so grateful for my loving husband who has been with me each and every day - whose love and strength enabled me to keep going, when at times, I wanted to give up.
I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren whose phone calls and visits brought laughter back once again.
I am so grateful for the care and concern of my friends and their prayers which sustained me.
I am so grateful for the knowledge and compassion of the doctors and nurses who cared for me and who are caring for me still.
I am so grateful for my sweet doggie who  made it his personal mission to stay close to me and keep a watchful eye on me and even licked my tears, which fell too often from my face.

I am so grateful for the winter that gave way to spring, for the beautiful gardens we are blessed with, which provide  the perfect place for prayer, rest and recovery; for the melodious songbirds sitting in our trees each morning who serenade I look forward to each morning and evening; the scampering squirrels who daily fight over the hickory nuts that have fallen to the ground and try to find new ways to get into the bird feeders; and even the occasional surprise bunny whose presence makes it into our garden, brings instant joy to my heart.

 I am grateful to be reminded that it is not always in the extraordinary that we meet with God, but most often it is in the ordinary. I am grateful that I have been forced to slow down and have been given the opportunity to drink in the beauty of God's creation, but even more grateful that I have been given the opportunity to drink more deeply of Him.

"EMMANUEL." God with us, God with you, God with me. Emmanuel - Born of a virgin, laid in a manger; fully God and fully man, yet without sin; who lived and dwelt among us and became sin for us; who died our death on the cross; who rose from the dead and is and has been eternally our Emmanuel (God with us).

"EMMANUEL." I don't know what the future holds, but I do know WHO holds the future.
And that gives me courage to face the future - whatever it holds. His strength enables me in my weakness to continue to serve Him with the gifts and calling He has given me. His grace enables me to take one day at a time.

It won't always be easy, nor will I always like the detours that the Lord in his faithfulness and love for me determines are necessary, nor will I always understand or know the answer to "Why?"

But, I think that now, at long last, I am ready to surrender my hand to His, as He helps me up the steps and back onto the train, because I know in a deeper way now than I ever did before, that there is an unseen person, sitting next to me and His name is:

 "EMMANUEL." God with us, God with you, God with me; Then and Now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Power and Privilege of Words

I've been thinking a lot about words lately and the mystery of them. 

Both the spoken word and the written word have always intrigued me. 

I still stand in awe of the way a young child learns to speak the language of his or her parents.  The way that language just seems to be absorbed as if by osmosis, the way one wondrous day a word comes forth, and then another and another, finally to be followed by a sentence and before long a conversation.

The written word holds no less intrigue for me.  In fact, they may even hold more. I never cease to be amazed at  how these symbols we call letters are put together to form a word and how those words are put together to form a sentence and those sentences form a paragraph and those paragraphs form an article, a blog post, a story, or a book.

But perhaps my greatest surprise is the power that words hold and the effect they can have on others and where that leaves me as a writer.  This realization of the power that words hold is simultaneously both awesome and frightening to me.

Words have the power to uplift, encourage and heal.  They also have the power to tear down, discourage and wound.  They hold the actual power of speaking life or death to others.

I had two teachers in school whose words still ring in my ears and so perfectly illustrate this point. 

The first spoke death to me. I still vividly remember both the incident and the words as if they happened just yesterday.  I was a small grammar school student who had worked diligently on an art assignment the teacher had given us. When I was sure that it beautifully conveyed on paper the image I saw in my head, I proudly handed in my  work.  A day or two later, the teacher (whose name I don't even remember) handed back my art work with a Big Fat Red F marked across the page while she boldly proclaimed to me (and the rest of the class) "YOU have NO artistic talent whatsoever!" To this day, I've never picked up a paintbrush (other than the ones I paint beautiful rooms with!) again.

The other spoke life to me.  Miss Vella (whose name I do remember) told me regularly that I had talent, that my writing was beautiful and that she had no doubt that one day I would be a published author. I credit Ms. Vella, my high school teacher, with my love of language, love of words and the fact that I am able to string a word or two together today to convey a thought or an idea. 

Now the point here (in case you're missing it) is not whether I have even a smidgen of undiscovered or underdeveloped artistic talent in me, or even whether or not I'll ever find myself on the New York Times Best Seller List.

No, the point here is that words hold power.  And that consequently, as someone who holds words in both her heart and fingers, I am given the privilege and the responsibility to use them in a way to speak life to those who read them. 

And what an awesome privilege that is - to have the opportunity to speak life and birth greatness in others.  Not an art that I've perfected yet, but  certainly an ideal I aspire to. 

And I hope I get it right, at least some of the time.

Friday, September 28, 2012


"You can find inspiration in everything (and if you can't look again)" -Paul Smith

I've been asking myself a lot of questions lately.  Questions like: "What type of women do I really want to coach in my coaching business?" and "Who exactly do I want to reach with my writing?"

I've also been wrestling with some recurring questions swirling about in my head (yes I hear voices - does that make me crazy?)  ones that are constantly vying for top billing in my thoughts. The winners as of late have been "Does that make me crazy?" And "Who do you think you are?"

I often find inspiration in strange places and today I found it in Southern Hip Hop Artist Cee Lo Green's hit "Crazy."  He wrote the lyrics to "Crazy" after a conversation he had with a friend about people thinking artists are insane.

In case you're not familiar with the lyrics, they read like this:

I remember when, I remember,
I remember when I lost my mind.
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo is so much space.

And when you're out there, without care,
yeah, I was out of touch.
But it wan't because I didn't know enough.
I just knew too much...

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice
That's my only advice

Come on now
Who do you
Who do you
Who do you
Who do you think you are?
Ha, ha, ha!
Bless your soul!
Do you really think you're in control?

I think you're crazy!
I think you're crazy!
I think you're crazy!
Just like me!

My heroes had the heart
to lose their lives out on a limb.
And all I remember
is thinkin' I wanna be like them.

Ever since I was little,
Ever since I was little, it looked like fun
it was no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

But maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy

Yes, I remember when I lost my mind - when I decided to follow my dreams and I remember the pleasantness of that place as I finally gave myself permission to free up the creative space to do so.

I know what it's like to be out of touch - to ignore logic and reality and to follow my dreams anyway - because I know what they are, and because to me, they are worth following.

I'm all too familiar with  the voice(s) in my head that are constantly asking me "Are you crazy?" And "Who do you think you are?" And I know all too well the constant struggle to not let those questions deter me from my path.

I realize that while following my passion in life will give me the time of my life, thinking twice about the cost to do so is so very necessary.  So I've thought about it twice (maybe three times)  and I've decided that not following my dream would invariably cost me more.

Today, the answer to the nagging question "Who do you think you are?" was finally forthcoming! "I think  I am an ordinary woman with an extraordinary dream - to inspire others to follow their dreams by following mine." 

That dream (to be a writer)  was there since I was little and as I looked at my heroes, I too can remember thinking I want to be like them.  And no, it is not a coincidence that I've come to this place - it is a decision.  A decision to follow my dreams.  A decision to do what it takes to get there.  A decision to inspire others to do the same.

 I only recently declared myself a writer along with many others followers of and shortly thereafter writing opportunities began to open up.  I am now in the process of transitioning to a writer's life and finding inspiration in the two online classes I am presently taking at and

I now know the type of women I want to coach, the readers I hope to reach with my writing.

They are the "crazy" ones.  The one's that have a dream deep in their souls, a passion burning them from the inside out, a calling that won't stop calling their name.  They are the crazy ones who know  too much - they know what their dream is and won't give up its' pursuit until it's realized.  They are the crazy ones, the ones who are ignoring the medical reports and seeking to find purpose in their pain and fighting their way back to a joy-filled life in spite of the facts.  They are the crazy ones who leave the cushy life of the corporate world to open their dream business.  They are the crazy ones, the artists, the musicians, the writers,  the designers who want to speak to others through their beauty and their words.  They are the crazy ones, the ones who'll ignore logic, the ones who will push past  insurmountable obstacles, the ones who hear questions swirling around in their brains, and the ones who want to find the courage to answer those questions...... all because of a dream.  

Yes, I want to reach the "crazy" ones - the ones just like you and just like me.

"Does that make me crazy?"


Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Unwanted Gift

I never thought I'd say this - but having a chronic illness has turned out to be a gift - an unwanted gift ( like one of those white elephant gifts a friend gives you) that you really don't like and really don't want, but have to keep stashed away somewhere in the house, readily available to be brought out and displayed prominently  for those times when your friend might drop by.

When I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome some 18 years ago, I was, as they say,  in the "prime of life" - a young mother with three children - the youngest the age of 3.
I thought I had a bad case of the flu, and that it would all be over in a week or two. and then my life would return to normal.  The "flu" got worse and worse and lasted longer and longer until I was too weak to even stand up and had to be hospitalized.  I was plagued with chronic pain, chronic insomnia and chronic fatigue - and quickly withered away to 94 lbs and dropping.  My husband took me from doctor to doctor as we both searched for not only the cause of my mysterious illness, but a cure.
Finally after many months, we found a doctor who not only diagnosed me, but over the years through her medial expertise and compassion helped me regain a semblance of my former self.
There was (and is) no cure.  Some people do spontaneously go into remission, others do not and others (like myself) seem to reach a plateau where some symptoms are better and others remain chronic.  I still suffer with fatigue (although thankfully a much reduced), chronic migraines, chronic insomnia and chronic pain.  

The white elephant gift is still with me.  I never wanted this gift, never liked it and still don't.

However, this gift has literally changed my life.  Not in a self-limiting way (although that is the nature of the beast) but in a freeing way.

It has taught me to be more compassionate.  Pain has a way of doing that, you know.  

It has taught me to be intentional about living my life.  Because of limited amounts of energy, I am forced each day to make choices - choices about what I need to do, but more importantly about what I want to do.

It has taught me to see each day as a gift and to drink in the beauty that each day holds in the moment - that moment - the moment I'm experiencing here and now.

It has taught me to develop my creative side - to realize that this illness I have cannot take away the creative gifts and talents the Good Lord has given me.  The talents are still there - but the way I use them needs to be different now.

It has taught me to be grateful - grateful for the love of family and friends and for their understanding and support.

It has taught me to live each day in the grace of God - grace that has taken me this far in my journey and grace that will carry me the rest of the way.

Yes the unwanted gift is still with me.  I hope one day to be able to finally put it to rest, but for now, I'll keep it stashed away (as much as I can), by choosing to live a creative and joyful life and on those days when it is on display in the middle of the room - I will look for something, anything beautiful in it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Gift of Compassion

So often the gift of compassion is a two-edged sword-we feel motivated and called to act, but feel helpless and overwhelmed at the magnitude of suffering in the world.

For me, this means attempting to reconcile the reality of suffering in the world with the reality of my ability to do something about it.  I have come to realize that while I cannot do everything, I can do something. So now I begin with asking myself - What CAN I do?

When I look at things from this vantage point, suddenly I become not only more aware of suffering, but of opportunities to respond to it. 

I see that suffering knows no boundaries and that there are needs as close as next door and as far as a continent away.  Suffering is not limited to age or race.  It is not confined to economic or social status.

It can strike unexpectedly like a tsunami leaving thousands in its wake, or it can arrive slowly latching onto a individual like a slow growing cancer.  Perhaps most insidious is the suffering that comes at the hand of another - a husband who abuses his wife, a parent who abuses their child, an owner who abuses an animal; or a crazed shooter who open-fires on a movie-theater full of unsuspecting, innocent people. 

The gift of compassion looks into the eyes or suffering and responds. It calls us to leave our comfort zone, to be inconvenienced, perhaps even to suffer hardship.  It can call us to respond to an individual or to the masses.  The response can be as simple as wiping a tear from a child's eye, praying with someone whose loved one is near death or as complicated as organizing an awareness campaign or starting a non-profit organization.

God in his mercy has given us this gift of compassion - this gift which allows us to come alongside those who are suffering and offer outstretched hands - this gift which allows us to truly make a difference in the life of others. A gift which Christ not only gives to us, but receives back unto himself as well, as Matthew 25 reads:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Compassion - a two-edged sword, but a triple gift - a gift given to us by the Lord, a gift which we then give to others, a gift which then returns to our Lord, the giver of all good gifts.

How will you use your gift of compassion?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Am a Writer

As the warm water washes over my body in my morning shower, thoughts are whirling around inside my brain just begging to be captured on paper before they once again elude me. I let myself allow those thoughts to go where they desire.

The ideas excite me so much I hurry through the rest of my shower, step out of the tub, towel off and begin to get dressed so that I can begin the business of writing today because....

I am a writer.

As I comb my hair it feels a little oily. Did I forget to shampoo? I ponder whether It would be possible to let it go since I've set aside today to really concentrate on writing a contest entry for the "You Are a Writer" Contest. I decide against it; we have Bed and Breakfast guests arriving shortly and it would not look very professional for a disheveled host with somewhat oily hair to greet them. So it's back into the shower.

Now, I am showered (twice), shampooed, dressed and ready to begin. I turn my iPad on, poise my fingers over the keyboard and....the phone rings. Better take this call it might be a B&B booking......

By now the clock is showing 1:00 and my stomach is demanding I decide to fix myself something to eat, but continue to keep the creative thoughts flowing, while I gobble down left-over chicken pot pie.

I stack the dishes in the sink, turn to go back to my bedroom office, ready to get a fresh start, when my little dog begins barking wildly alerting me to the arrival of our B&B guests.

I get them settled in, return to the house ready to begin at last.

I am a writer.

As I pass through the living-room I catch a glimpse of a white car parked in front of our house. I pause to look at it a minute trying to discern why it's just sitting there when I notice a lady getting out with a package. I grab the ginger ale I had poured into a wine glass and head outside to meet her. She hands me an overnight package to sign for and comments on the beauty of our gardens.  As I sign the receipt slip I tell her we are actually a B&B. I see her staring a bit at the wine glass and I explain to her that, though I am a writer, I'm not drinking wine in the middle of the day - it's just ginger ale.

"You're okay," she says soothingly, "You're okay."

I ask her if she wants to come in to take a peek at the gardens and I offer her some ginger ale, more for proof of my sobriety than for pure hospitality. We have a pleasant visit and then I head back inside and sit down to begin writing.

The house phone rings. I ignore it and keep writing. The doorbell rings. I ignore it and keep writing. It rings again, this time more insistently, so I reluctantly get up to answer it. It's my neighbor, explaining that he has some of our mail and that he tried to call but no one answered so he thought he'd better bring it over.  I thank him, but silently wonder why he didn't just put it in our mailbox. I try to be pleasant as I move towards the gate with him, all the while only half listening as he talks about the tree across the street that is sure to fall on our house when the next big storm blows through if the county doesn't cut it down soon. I excuse myself and tell him I need to get back to work because...

I am a writer.

I decide that I need to pack up and go to my favorite coffee shop to get away from all the distractions so I can really write. After I arrive, I order a cup of serene green tea (because by now I need it) and a cinnamon scone and pick out a table in an out of the way corner near the back of the shop.

At last I am alone with my thoughts. My fingers fly across the keyboard much like a pianist's fly across a piano during the Allegro scherzando third movement of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. I become lost in the words, lost in the story, unaware of passing time. The ideas seem to flow effortlessly and I am quite sure that at last I will have something to show for my efforts.

Sharon, one of the shop's owners, invites herself to sit down for a moment to chat. She directs my attention to a large table nearby where the pieces of a puzzle are spread out and invites me to work a while on the "community" project. I decline, thinking that I am already hard at work on my own puzzle, trying to fit the fragments of sentences together to form an inspiring piece.

Sharon excuses herself to go and assist a customer and I see Carrie heading towards me with the same expectant smile she always wears. As she asks if I mind if she sits down, and does so without waiting for my response, I instantly feel a prick of guilt over not feeling more altruistic towards her today.  Carrie is a high functioning autistic which she proudly proclaims to whoever will listen. She is full of stories, mostly the same ones retold in different ways, but ones she loves to tell nonetheless. I push aside my iPad, give her my full attention and just listen without interrupting to comment. After a while, she notices my iPad, my pen and the papers which are strewn all over the table and proclaims to me, "Oh, you are a writer!"

"Why, yes," I reply.

"I am a writer."

Two hours later, 268 calories richer and $6.75 poorer, with two proud paragraphs to my name, I head home. I cook and eat dinner, clean up, feed the dog and take a long hot bath. 
I slip into my nightgown and then slip into bed. I pull my iPad close, ready to have some really intimate conversation with it but it seems that all that I've wanted and waited all day to tell it, has slipped away. 

I decide to thumb through a few magazines in hopes of gaining a little inspiration. I find myself getting pumped with creative ideas - ideas on how to make my environment a more inspiring one in which to write because....

I am a writer.

I survey my bedroom office. The floral lavender walls provide the perfect balance of inspiration and relaxation. The plum colored sheets covered with a beautiful ivory matelasse coverlet dress the king-sized cherry wood sleigh bed. A hand painted five-shelf bookcase holds only books which inspire me to create. On the right side of our bed is my writing space. Two huge 30x16 rose canvases are mounted above my antique verde colored wicker and iron desk. Two oil-rubbed bronze buffet lamps flank either side of the desk, and my laptop and iPad rest in the middle. 

Oh this is a place I can write! It's a place where I can withdraw from the world, be alone with my thoughts and coax them onto the page. In fact, I am able to coax several more paragraphs out in a short time and I begin to feel encouraged that I might make the contest deadline after all.

I am a writer!

But wait.....something is not quite right.....I hate to admit it, but I a person who is visually inspired and very cognizant of the psychology of color and how it affects my mood and ability to create, I have to admit that this iPad case which I ordered online last week thinking it was plum, only to discover it is actually grape, just isnt working.
I have tried to pretend it is plum, tried to pretend it works, but each time I look at it - it reminds me of the nasty grape-flavored anti-nausea medicine I needed to take last week after an acute attack of gastritis. It causes me to feel nauseated all over again and I just can't write.

I decide to Google " best iPad 3 covers" and also to Google "whether plum or fuchsia inspires more creativity."

Although plums resume touts it as encouraging deep contemplation, pink is described as a powerful color representing the feminine principal. I find both a plum, and a lipstick pink leather cover. I switch back and forth between the two, comparing them in high resolution, and I finally decide on the lipstick pink one hoping that it is in actuality closer to fashion fuchsia than to hot pink. It should perfectly balance out the lavender walls, the plum accents and look beautiful sitting atop my verde desk under the oversized pictures of the pink roses which perfectly blend shades of amaranth pink, carnation pink and Persian rose with apple and forest greens, sepia, ecru and eggshell.

I decide to forego the advertised free shipping and decide instead to pay the two day shipping cost. That way I can be assured that my beautiful leather pink lipstick case with its intricate pebble detailing will arrive before the deadline for getting my "You Are a Writer" entry in.

Then I can do the final draft sitting at my desk, bathed in creative surroundings and I can be sure that it captures, in my own unique way, through my own unique process, who I am....

I am a writer!

As I hit the "buy now" button, I notice the clock reads 2 a.m. I lay the iPad aside, pull the covers up and let my final thoughts of the day carry me where they will because...

I am a writer!

Terry Gassett