Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rejected once again...


I’m once again missing in action. So sorry. With the holiday and all I’ve just been distracted. More about that on Tuesday’s post. As for today, it’s short and not so sweet. Last night I received a ‘rejection’ email from the New York agent reviewing my full manuscript. After six weeks, she’s passed. Arrrg!
I’m in mourning. I have to lick my wounds. Re-think my purpose. Review my story. Pull myself up by the boots straps and start sending out the manuscript again… because it’s good… a good story that should see the light of day.
This hurts, but in light of all else I’ve been called to endure, I’ll survive. I’m a fighter. I believe in my work.
Excuse me while I go find a cat to kick (it’s just a figure of speech, Cat Lovers, settle down). What I’ll really do, is hop on LuLu and peddle out my frustrations. It won’t be the first time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today, that was good enough...

The Hubs

Sorry, dears ones. I’ve been missing in action for the last couple of post dates. Currently, my days do not seem to be separated by any of the usual demarcations. It’s like I’m living one, very, very, very long day and have been for the last three months or so. Since Gary’s diagnosis of Stage Four Melanoma it seems to takes all of my energy just to keep myself from imploding. Oddly, I don’t mean that in a bad way, not totally. It’s kind of like Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies. Tonight, we went to see Iron Man 3, and not to give anything away, but there were a lot of explosions in this movie. I’m not spoiling it for you am I? Surely you expect explosions from a main character that has a magnet implanted in his chest and nuclear power that shoots out from the palm of his hands and the bottoms of his feet, right? Well, in the chaos of fighting evil villains, it’s all Tony Stark (the Iron Man) can do to keep himself from exploding. I’m mean like parts literally falling off, screws coming loose and limbs falling into the ocean. By expelling all of his energy on self-discipline and distraction, our superhero manages to get through his day in one piece.
That’s what I feel like. If I didn’t keep it together by resolve and distraction I’m afraid some of my parts just might break off and disappear into oblivion. So, I concentrate mightily on getting out of bed, changing the toilet paper roll, and bathing the dog as if my life depended on it. Once those chores are done, I allow myself to briefly look up and low and behold it’s no longer Monday. How did that happen? Actually, I don’t really care because I’m still in one piece.
I’m not sure I’m making any sense to you. I’m trying my best to chronicle what it’s like to be living with the constant threat of losing the love of your life. And, it’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Why do I feel compelled to do this? The only answer I can come up with is that it’s who I am. My whole adult life I’ve felt like I’ve been ‘called’ to something; called to something bigger than me. Gary and I have both laid our lives out there and allowed anyone who needed us to take a look, borrow a piece or stand next to us for comfort if the need arises. We are nothing if not approachable and open, and if by some chance our openness helps someone, then God be the Glory.
I wished I could do it better. Actually, I wished I didn’t have to do it at all. I’m not a willing participant on this newest journey. I watch my brave, ailing Hubs struggle to get out of his recliner and I want to kick something (watch it Murphy). I want to run around the house tearing up bits of paper and grounding them into the carpet. I want to plug up the drains and turn on all the faucets. I want to take those big clippers hanging out in the barn and start chopping off perfectly healthy tree limbs and mailbox posts. However, I don’t do any of those things. I simply concentrate really hard so I can pull the covers off in the mornings. By doing so, I forget what day it is. But, what I’m really doing by concentrating so hard is surviving.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll find some bliss in all of this. But not today. Today, we drove back to Mayo Clinic. Today, I was able to dress myself without losing a limb. Today… that was good enough.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


City of dreams...

I’m just going to have to tell you what’s on my mind this morning. Some of it is sad. Some of it is pretty amazing. This morning on my bike ride on LuLu was pretty great. The morning sun cast this airy light that longed to shimmer to the touch. The sky was the color of ocean and clouds swirled together into this marvelous blue you’ll never find in a crayon box. LuLu and me left alone with our thoughts.
Then Bam! I’m blindsided once again with the ugly realization that my husband could die. Eight cancerous tumors on the liver is serious. If this treatment he’s receiving from the Mayo Clinic doesn’t work then… I can’t even finish this sentence. I realized that I hadn’t been punched in the gut like this for at least a few weeks. I’ve managed to keep the glums away. I’ve distracted myself enough and busied myself enough to keep that dire thought on the outskirts of my brain.
Then Bam! Another thought blasts through me as real as the first. It hadn’t been about what I’ve done at all. Let me tell you a story. In my early twenties, the Hubs encouraged my dream to write. One day he bought me a book and said, “This book is good, but you can do better.” He gave me a file box to keep my ideas in and note cards. Okay, I know in the era of all this crazy technology a file box and note cards sound a tad Third Century, but there really was a time when an Apple was just a fruit, so deal.  Anyway, I did start writing and eventually I got better at it. I started getting published in magazines and newspapers and I actually I wrote a book that was published, and then another. I’ve written five books (only two published). I haven’t taken the literary world by storm by any means. Then a few weeks ago, an agent in New York asked for an exclusive for three weeks to read my latest manuscript. An exclusive means I agree not to send it to anyone else while she has it. Here’s where the story gets good, I haven’t cried in three weeks. I haven’t been paralyzed by sorrow. I’ve slept better at night. The Hubs and I have been dreaming again about the “What if’s”. This agent’s interest in my work has been a great and wonderful distraction. No, let me correct that. It has been a great and wonderful gift. It has served a purpose greater than the idea that I might possibly sign with a New York agent. It has, albeit only briefly, buffered the Hubs and I from our grief and allowed air back into our lungs and a lightness back into our days. Hope has entered our lives again like little, green, tender sprouts. And the big thought that struck me as I straddled my pink bike was the incredible timing of it all. If I’d had my way, I’d already been signed with an agent. I’d already be a best-selling author. Oprah would have known my name and… but that’s not what has happened. The time was not right.
Bam! “Your times as in My Hands,” says God. He chooses when the time is right. He sees what’s needed and when. He tolerates our whining but doesn’t give in to it. His timing has given the Hubs and me the greatest gift for the last three weeks, the gift to dream again, to hope again, a time away from the sorrow.
I don’t know if this agent will want to represent me or not. I won’t say it doesn’t matter; of course, I’d love for her to love my story enough to want to sign me. But the gift has already been given. It’s has been unwrapped with Holy Hands at just the right time.
If you are a Believer, you understand what you’ve just read. If you aren’t a Believer, you probably think I’m a little screwy. That’s okay. Just hang in there with me. You’ll see…

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eye of the tiger...

LuLu-ism # 56: Sometimes we just need a good swift kick in the kester.

Warms breezes, sunshine, blue skies. We, here in Wisconsin, are experiencing a phenomenon, an almost downright grade B miracle. Spring. After the snowy-est winter on record, the daffodils have decided to poke their frilly heads up out of the ground and give it a go. And to celebrate, LuLu (my pink bike) and I took to the back roads of the countryside.
So, yesterday here we are riding down a country lane enjoying the sights, waving at the donkey and the peacock (our neighbor’s version of a cat and a dog), gliding past emerald grasses, my  lovely gray locks being tossed in glamourous disarray by the breeze and what’s got my attention? The Cowgirl (in delicate terms: my behind, my tush, the kester)! That’s right, The Cowgirl was in full revolt. After a long winter tucked inside and comforted by double layers of wooly long-johns and soft couch cushions, The Cowgirl was appalled to find nothing separating her from a barbwire-wrapped bicycle seat but the mere thinness of lycra. You would have thought I asked her to strip naked and plop herself down on hot coals.
When The Cowgirl ain’t happy, it’s one miserable ride, and there’s no convincing her to buck up and endure. There’s not a pep talk in the world that’s going to cajole her into thinking there’s better times ahead. Her ears are closed to the Rocky theme song. It’s simply too hard. She can’t do it. She wants to quit. She wants to me to walk the rest of the way home. She begs me to slap a ‘For Sale’ sign on LuLu the minute we crawl up the driveway.
It dawned on me yesterday as I stood on my pedals coasting downhill that The Cowgirl’s attitude mimics one of the ills of our society. When things get tough, quit. We see it in our children when they don’t finish their homework. We see it in our marriages when things get hard. We see it in the workplace when projects get dicey. We see it in our churches when behavior is challenged. Sticking it out. Working it through. Pulling up the bootstraps. These are the characteristics that make one great. These are also the character traits that I fear are vanishing from the landscape and should probably be put on the close to extinction list.
It’s silly to ask why is it so hard to do the hard stuff. Because it’s hard, duh! But if we don’t do it, if we don’t work through the tough stuff, if we keep giving in to the weakness of our nature, we’ll never enjoy the really good stuff. A good grade. A marriage forged by fire. A job well done. A faith grown.
So, I didn’t give in to the whining of The Cowgirl. Yep, she was sore. Yep, I walked funny for a few hours afterwards. Yep, I’m going to do it again today and tomorrow. No pain. No gain.
Got something hard up ahead? Lean into it. Face it head on. The Eye of the Tiger, baby. The eye of the tiger…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Here's what my sink looks like on veggie-washing-day.
Sorry I didn’t post last Thursday. It was a big day. We were at Mayo Clinic for the Hubs third infusion. He is tolerating the treatments pretty well. Lots of fatigue and a few pains here and there, but mostly all is good. It has been a long nine weeks, though. It’s like the moon and the sun have forgotten how to work together to create a 24-hour day.
In the meantime, we bide our time. We try to make peace with our new, new normal. Part of the new, new normal is our eating. We juice everything green. We juice everything fruity. We juice together everything green and fruity. I spent an hour today washing kale, bok choy, chard, carrots, red cabbage, strawberries and spinach. I must say, it wasn’t as bad as washing out dirty socks. After scrubbing said veggies, I bundled them up into baggies and individual servings. I am now ready at a moments notice to juice drinks with names such as Sweet Morning Kale, Green Goddess and Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Veggie-Blast. Gary thinks the drinks smell like the underside of our lawn mower. But if they help boost his immune system to fight the cancer, I say, “Bottoms up, Big Boy!”
What have I learned thus far about living with a husband with cancer? I’ve learned I don’t like it. Who wants to do this? Yet, here we are, smack dab in the middle of living with fear and walking by faith. I remember years ago embracing the slogan, “Feel the fear, but do it anyway.” It sounded so gutsy to stare your fear down and trample over it like you’re wearing steel-toed boots. But now, as I watch the cancer sap my husband’s strength and rob him of good days, I feel weak-kneed and bootless.
Cancer is scary, no doubt about it.  It’s the Headless Horseman, Frankenstein, and the Boogie-Man under the bed all rolled into one big ugly nightmare. Yet, I am surprised to find that I am still upright. All the years of practicing the mantra, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” is sustaining me… sustaining us. The Hubs is right in there as bootless as me, yet holding my hand and coaxing me forward.
We walk by faith. We believe in God, The Great I AM. We believe that Jesus, The Good Shepherd, intercedes. We believe that faith trumps fear… every time.
Something got you scared bootless? Believe. And then believe some more. Then juice you something green, it helps with the tremors.