Friday’s Meandering Morning

Jeff and I left the driveway under overcast skies, having no idea (nor care of) which direction to head out of town. He drove east. We ended up on Verona Road, heading towards Marshall.

The little Marshall Schools park and lake (Gueniveen) was crowded with three cars sitting in the dirt parking lot. It had rained enough the past couple of days to make the trails be too muddy for us to traverse, anyway.

We passed the park and kept going east. I told my cautious husband that I wanted us to stop at Bossard Farm to see if they were open. I’d tried four times in town to get some lemon grass from Horrock’s, and failed four times. Bossard was open. The greenhouse was open. I had a lovely chat with one of the owners about their having to butcher more cattle than normal (with the panic of packing plants closing and beef becoming unavailable). As I headed out, I saw a masked friend from church. I felt so happy to see someone I knew (besides husband and neighbors). I felt like a puppy wanting to wag her tail off. (Oh, this pandemic!)

Jeff then suggested we try to find the little nature area we found east of Marshall a couple of years ago. We did. Jeff packed a lunch for us. Instead of eating in under the covered table area and we chose to eat in the van in case someone joined us. The grass was too wet to hike the mower trail down to the lake. But we assume it’s right beyond the trees in the distance. (After looking at the map on the board, I found I’d assumed wrong. Still too wet to explore. We hadn’t brought proper okay-to-get-wet-in shoes or clothes.)

After the song-bird-y lunch, we continued down the road and passed Stuart lake. I have always been fascinated with the cement posts and structures near this residence. I’d love to know the history about those.

Beyond that lake is another little lake with a public access. It is called Upper Brace Lake. About 75% of what we could see from the dock was natural area. Very serene.

There is one tree near the dock which reminded me of an Ent who had gone to bathe, but froze to look like a regular tree when humans approached.

It was not a 1-3 hour hike-day, but all in all, a very pleasant morning out.

Stay safe, everyone. Pray for an end to this pandemic.

MLK Weekend, and Another Stormy Year For It

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Saturday’s Saga.

We received about 8 inches of snow in the night, but then it started raining this morning. The temperature was in the lower- to mid-30s – perfect for making snowballs snow forts snowman, aka, heart-attack-snow, because it is so wet and heavy, it produces much stress on muscles, joints, and heart when shoveling it.

We bought an expensive snowplow three years ago. Hurray. Saturday was the first snow of the season deep enough to warrant its use. 8” of snow fell overnight, and then was compressed by in the early hours by freezing rain. Good thing we bought that snowplow, because we had an MLK Breakfast to attend. Jeff has been on the breakfast committee in town for years. Our snowplow refused to start, plus, our street usually gets plowed late. (2:30 this time, so not too-too bad.)

Jeff started shoveling, but we knew by 8am that we weren’t going to clear the drive enough to make the 9:00 breakfast. The speaker really sounded very interesting!

It took us five times going outside on Saturday. Then neighbor Rod rescued us with his working snowplow. Hurray for helpful neighbors! It was still going to be an Advil night for us because of sore muscles and joints.

One of the times between our shoveling, I went out to move just a bit more of that perfect snow away. Did I mention with the heavy, wet snow and icy top, it was perfect for snowman making? Isn’t there some enlightened quote about all work and no play?

OK,all you snow-haters; I mean snow chickens; I mean people who prefer warm weather year round. Snow is not just for scary driving or power outages. It’s also God’s message to tell us to PLAY!

By the time my rough snow guy was finished, my outer clothes were soaked on the outside from touching the wet snow while my inner clothes were wet on the inside (from sweat).

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Sunday Morning.

We easily made it out of our drive for the Pulpit Exchange. Jeff has participated for 16 years. Black pastors preach to predominantly white churches while white pastors preach to predominately black churches. I tag along with Jeff to support him, but also because it’s so much fun.

Jeff has preached at several black churches, and loves the congregation’s feedback during his sermon. And the clapping during singing.

 

(Funny side note story from last year: A young black preacher participated for the first time. Because the congregation didn’t respond during his sermon – not a single “Amen!” – he assumed his message was a bomb, so cut it short, and after the service, scurried out of there. These pulpit exchanges are as enlightening for the pastors as it is for the congregations.)

This year the 8 participating pastors (speaking on the same scripture verses) drew churches to see where they’d go. We got Second Missionary Baptist. Again. Hurray!

We’ve gotten to know many people from that church in particular over the years through several community events. Hurray! Friends!

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Old Friends — True Characters

This past spring, Chris, an old high school friend, discovered during a regular mammogram check up that she’d developed cancer. Although she has an exceptional support system with family and doctors, like any reasonable person facing the unknown, Chris wanted all the support and prayers she could muster. She contacted seven high school classmates to form a Circle of Friends around her, and let us know at the same time what is happening to her.

Even though it’s been decades since we’ve seen each other, even though we seven come from different family units, different faiths, different life experiences and philosophies, we wholeheartedly agreed to support our friend Chris through group on-line communication.

We are so unique from each other, it makes me wonder how we were ever friends in the first place. And yet, we were. And yet we are.

When I develop characters in my books, I sometimes pick traits from true characters–people I know. Someone who is bold. Someone who is betrayed. Someone who did something out of character (so, what lies beneath?). Also, I consider how characters view each other. Do they see someone who is unafraid on the outside, yet the character is actually terrified on the inside? The person’s reaction to conflicts (like cancer or life or death, or someone with an alternate view) prove a person’s true character. Observation and thought not only gives understanding in real life, but is wonderful writing fodder.

Though all the trials of life, and through all our differences, we in the Circle of Friends remain friends How contrary this is to the faceless Internet strangers who so easily stir up word-trouble with their comments. Can your characters be distinct enough from the others, yet retain their individuality, and yet be able to change? Ah, the wonderful challenges of writing!

Today’s Writing Challenge: Pick two of your characters. Make a list of five inner traits which make them unique. Pick two of the most polar traits between them, then put them into a situation where these differences cause feelings to escalate, i.e., conflict–something every good story needs today. Write a scene how they work out (or not) their differences.

Have a great writing week.