Thursday, March 22, 2018

what day is it?

Time seems to fly when you haven't been sleeping well.  Days all rolled into one ...

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. It has now come full circle. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. These are this week's words: configuration, blame, jaundiced, spend, destiny, blank, cornflower, dusting, minced, tasty, afterward, and plump. 

Percy glanced up from the configuration of zeroes and ones that scrolled across the computer screen as a sound outside his office door suddenly became louder and louder.  The alarm clock in his bedroom was going off and he realized he had been daydreaming about his and Ivan's childhood again.  He stood and walked into the bedroom through the adjoining door and turned the alarm off.  

When had he set it?  He couldn't remember.  Sleep had been evading his grasp for at least a week, and he had no one to blame but himself.  He'd been taking on not only his responsibilities but that of his superior when the man had unexpectedly become jaundiced and needed to be hospitalized.  The doctors had told him he would need to spend at least a week in the hospital while they ran tests to determine what had caused the condition.  Percy suspected it was his superior's drinking and hard habits caused by the stress of the work they did, although others thought perhaps he had been poisoned.

He stretched his arms and thought again back to those days when he and Ivan would pretend to be secret agents and wondered if they had suspected at that young age that they were setting their destiny.  If they had known what the blank future held, they might have chosen to play other games.

Stepping to the window he looked out over the azure-colored waters with the cornflower blue sky above it.  The temperature was expected to be near 100, with the humidity almost as high.  What he would give for just a dusting of snow to remind him of home.  He wondered what his wife and daughter were doing, and whether or not they would ever forgive him for leaving as he did.

He had missed them the most during the past holidays.  Eleanor's minced meat pies in the oven had always made the house smell warm and comforting.  She had teased him more than once that the only reason he had married her was due to her tasty baking during the holidays, and leaning back in his chair at the dining room table afterward he had always patted his plump stomach and laughed in agreement.

The memory of his mother's holiday pies and baking came to mind, and he once again drifted back in thought to that day his father had walked out on them, never to return while his mother was alive.  The unexpected end of her marriage and the abrupt departure of the man she had adored crushed her and she was never the same after that.  Many years later when the two boys had become men and were pursuing enemies of the government around the world, they had discovered that they were actually following in their father's footsteps.  

The fight, divorce, and disappearance of their father had all been a sham created to distance the danger between his work and his family.  It had been a decision made by the powers that were in charge at the time when news of the break-in at their home had been revealed.  It wasn't a random act, but a targeted plan to search for information the enemy suspected their father was keeping at home.  Finding out that their father had been working undercover for the government had been a shock to them, but they had been unable to share the information with their mother.  She had died of a broken heart when they were at university.

Now Percy had been forced to make the same decision for his own family, and it was one that he deeply regretted.  He, at least, had been given the option of a faked death over a painful divorce and abandonment.  The thought of saying and doing anything to hurt Eleanor even more than his death might have was not something he was willing to do and he had put his foot down quite fiercely when his superior had told him there was no other option.  He remembered the hurt and confusion that he and Ivan had carried well into their 30's, wondering if something they had done caused their father to abandon them.  He refused to lay that guilt on his daughter.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

the book I don't want to write

I've been at odds with myself about writing another book.  A part of me wants to write and share the miracles of the past seven years that saved our lives and restored our marriage, how incredibly blessed we have been in so many small ways, and how great our God is.

David even wants me to share the story of us.  Our testimony.  But I've been afraid.

More than ten years ago now, I wrote a book from my heart [My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs]. It was supposed to be a book about my pets and how in the process of helping my dog overcome abuse, I had to face some of my own past abusers and how much my pets helped me. I wrote it under a pen name and changed the names of almost every two-legged person I wrote about. I didn’t share the whole basket of dirty laundry because I was ashamed some of it had happened and worried about offending someone who didn’t even know I was writing about him.

That’s how unhealthy and dysfunctional I was even seven years after leaving my primary abuser. He still controlled me. I was still afraid of him.

Instead, I should have been more worried about the people who took advantage of an Amazon free book promo. I got slammed by review trolls and bullies for whining, not caring about my pets, having poor taste in men, and making grammar mistakes!  For the 5,263 free copies that were downloaded, only 15 people left reviews and more than half of them were negative.

I was hurt, humiliated, and angry. For a period of time, I felt just as devalued as my abuser had made me feel when we were married.  I began to question my own worth (and even now, rereading those reviews I'm struggling ... Was I? Am I? Really that shallow?  Was I? Am I? That egotistical?  Was I? Am I self-centered, uncaring, callus? ... the mind is a terrible enemy at times).

I took the book off the availability list and hated myself for doing it. They didn’t know what it was like living with him, or how he had gaslighted me into believing that I deserved the abuse ~ including rape.  I swore I would never, ever, ever put myself out there like that again.

My next two books [Trooper’s Run and Eagle Visions], I published under my own name, were fiction. I was able to take some of that dirty laundry I was too ashamed to admit had happened to me and put it into the characters.

I thought maybe I could put our story into another fiction, and actually did in a series of blog posts several years ago ... before the miracles.  But lately, I've been feeling pushed nudged by God to share the bigger story.  Not the story of us, but the story of Him and how He has orchestrated the dance of our lives to not only save them but bring them closer to Him.

I'm slowly writing now.  But I will confess it is painful.  There was a lot of hurt in those years that aren't comfortable to relive.

But there was also a lot more healing  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday's Words

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. It has now come full circle. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. These are this week's words: caper, sharper, (oops!) scarper, trash, bedlam, seams, penny whistle and/or glum, charmed, pork, glossy, pride, trench.

When they were younger, Percy and Ivan would pretend they were secret agents.  They would create an imaginative caper to spy on their parents and scarper to find hidden treasures.  The games they played made their investigative skills sharper and by the time the brothers were in middle school, they knew they wanted to become real secret agents when they grew up.

One weekend while they were looking for clues and secret messages in the household trash, they found copies of a draft divorce settlement agreement.  They knew their lives would never be the same again.  Agreeing to not speak of what they found, the brothers bond grew even stronger.

Weeks after their unsettling find they returned home from school to find the house in bedlam, and their mother in tears on the floor, the seams of one of her dress sleeves torn apart.  Rushing to her side they managed to calm her enough to tell them what had happened.

She had been walking their dog, Ralphie, as she usually did at that time when he escaped from his collar and wouldn't come back to her when she called.  She had gone back to the house to get the small penny whistle they used to call him.  When she walked into the house, she found the kitchen drawers turned upside down on the floor, and pictures pulled off the walls and smashed.  Hearing a noise upstairs, she found a strange man rummaging through her dresser drawers looking for something.  Startled, she screamed and he had grabbed her dress sleeve as he ran from the room.

The boys called the police and stayed with their mother while she worked with a police sketch artist to try to identify the man.  When their father finally came home from work with a glum look on his face, he didn't even ask what had happened.  He just went into the den and closed the door behind him.  Their mother had burst into tears again and ran upstairs to their bedroom.

Stunned at their father's behavior, the boys had quietly knocked on the den door.


Percy opened the door and entered cautiously.  "Uh, Father, did you want to know what happened to the house today and why the police were here?"

"I heard about it already.  The police came to the office at an inopportune time.  My boss was charmed that they interrupted a sales pitch to a potential client.  Needless to say, we didn't get their business, and it is highly unlikely that I will get the promotion I wanted.  I really don't want to discuss anything more about it.  Do you know what your mother is planning for dinner tonight?"

 Ivan shifted his feet nervously.  "I believe she has a pork loin in the slow cooker."

"Lovely.  I hate pork.  That will put just the right glossy shine on the day.  Let her know that I will be eating dinner out tonight.  Again.  You can leave now."

The boys looked at each other and backed out of the room, closing the door as they left.  This behavior from their father was completely new to them and they weren't sure how to react to his prideful indifference.  As they walked towards the stairs to comfort their mother, their father grabbed his trench coat out of the closet and slammed out the front door.

Ivan looked quietly at the door then to Percy.

"We need to find out who that man was and what he was looking for in mother's room.  I think father may have had something to do with it."

Percy nodded quietly as they walked upstairs.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wednesday's Words on Thursday

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles. It has now come full circle. The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind. These are this week's words: tarmac, whine, lobby, vestige, dither, spark and/or enormous, jitters, dangle, stumped, bellicose and mangle. Oh, my!

Image Source:
Percy stood on the tarmac in the early hours of sunrise, listening to the whine of the airplane's engines as it powered down.  He could have waited inside the small airport's lobby where there were lights and air conditioning.  But since he had long ago lost all vestige of hope that he would see his wife and daughter again, he wasn't going to waste any more time dithering about whether or not they would want to see him.  He had always held onto some small spark of faith that this day would come but had kept it in the farthest reaches of his mind.  The work he had to do was far too important and enormously dangerous to let that thought come forward at an inopportune time.

Standing in the shadows, watching as two women departed the plane, he was surprised to realize that he had the jitters although whether it was from nervous apprehension or excitement he could not tell.  One of the flight attendants stepped to the top of the stairs from the small private jet and called to the women while a sweater dangled from her hand.  The smaller of the two women turned and stumped back up the stairs to retrieve it.  He could hear her laughter as she complained about being stiff after the long flight, and his heart skipped a beat at the sound of his daughter's voice.

As much as he had regretted leaving them when he did, he knew that if he had not, his bellicose for the work he had needed to do would have been compromised.  He walked slowly towards the lobby where both women were now hugging and laughing with his brother, Ivan.  His mangled leg ached as he walked, a wound from one of many battles he had fought since he last saw them.  There was once a time when he thought he would never consider taking a "desk job" but his most recent injuries made the decision for him. 

At least, he would be able to finally be with his family again.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


A year ago this month, my abuser died.  I don't talk much about him ~ other than writing a book about the experience ~ because I decided when I left him that it was over and done with.  The book wasn't written to slam him or whine as some hypercritical readers thought, it was mostly written for myself, as a form of an exorcism and to hopefully give hope to someone else in a similar situation.

But yesterday I went to a new physician and in talking about my history, she told me that I should identify as a survivor of domestic abuse and that perhaps some of my recent issues were latent PTSD.

I never thought of those 12 years with him as something for which I would suffer PTSD.  I tended to identify more with where I was on 9/11 and what I was doing that day ~ in the air, flying to New Jersey ~ and the fact that just the week prior I had been at the top of the World Trade Center on vacation. I felt that one day changed me more than 12 years of abuse had.

Now looking back, I think because most of the abuse was so subtle and subversive ~ gaslighting ~ that for many years I didn't even realize I was being abused.  I just thought he was an a$$hole.  The occasional times he did hit me, he made me feel it was my fault and I deserved it.  Those times in the bedroom when he ignored a "no" or took advantage of me while I was sleeping ... rape and physical abuse.  But he made me think that I was the one who was wrong.

I realize now that what happened in those years [1988-2000] changed me from who I was before and who I would be after.

I'm not sure where I go from here, but I'm grateful for the new physician I have, and now that I'm more aware of some things, perhaps I will begin to understand myself a little more.

It's never too late to be who you want to be.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Petrichor ...

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.  This month the words have been supplied by River and can be found here.

image source:
I've been parched.  Thirsty for water other than snow. 
Rain and petrichor, the promise of spring.
I long to squat in the dirt; hands and knees black with the earth. The promise of life. 
To turn my eyes, squinted against the sunlit trees, budding leaves, and robins building nests for future generations. 
To wander the beaches, listening to the waves wash granite to sand as if the bay were a quarry of God's making. 
To feel the copper-colored grains of sand between my bare toes, free of wool socks, long johns, and snow boots. 
I long to rest, comfortable in the shade of trees thick with green, my personal space disrupted only by wildflowers, butterflies, and honeybees buzzing like the vibration of silenced cell phones.

I long for Spring.

1. petrichor = Petrichor is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.
2. sunlit
3. squinted
4. comfortable
5. disrupted
6. phones
1. personal space
2. copper
3. granite
4. quarry
5. squat
6. parched

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Words on Wednesday

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.  This month the words are supplied by River and can be found here.

Dearest Olivia;

You have been the best friend anyone could ever have and I know that you have been worried about us and our sudden disappearance. I know that our phones were disconnected and you've been frantically trying to reach us.  There is so much to tell you and much that I can't tell you.  I just don't know where to start except to hopefully make you relieved to know that we are fine and unimaginably over-the-moon happy.

I cannot tell you where we are, and the postmark on the letter means nothing because the letter has been routed by hand through roughly four or five countries before being posted.  I'm sorry to be so theatrically evasive in what I tell you, but it is not just for our safety but for your own.  Which is why I must also ask you to stop contacting authorities about our disappearance and just let everyone lose interest in finding us.  Perhaps when attention is refocusing on others I will be able to reach out to you again and share the amazing details of what has transpired over the past year. 

I can tell you this much.  We are a family of four again.  Yes, four.  The brothers, a daughter, and a wife are reunited.  The expansive story created to protect us was effective for a time but was beginning to crumble around the edges and a decision was made to bring that mythology to an end.

As I write this, I can see in the distance a campfire and hear the singing of my daughter in a language that we both are still learning.  I'm using my husband as a footrest as we went hiking today and he is massaging out the stiffness in my ankles with an olive oil blend I created with herbs from our garden.

I do miss you and our morning coffee conversations terribly, but we are safe, happy, and healthy.  You are always in my thoughts and prayers, and I know we are in yours.

                                                                                                 Until we meet again,

1. refocusing
2. theatrically
3. unimaginable
4. olive oil
5. footrest

6. relieved
1. roughly
2. mythology
3. disconnected
4. expansive
5. campfire
6. singing

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday's Words ...

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.  This month the words are supplied by River and can be found here.

E: "Abs? Where is that ringing coming from?"
A: "Your purse.  Isn't that your cell phone ringtone?"
E: "No.  Oh my goodness!  I forgot about the phone your uncle sent to me.  I hope they don't hang up!"
E into a cell phone: "Hello? ... Yes, this is she. ... Where? ... On Merlin? ... Caldera Crossbow? ... Oh, crossing!  Yes, I know the place.  What time do you close? ... Thank you.  I will be right there to get it."
A: "Was it uncle?"
E: "No.  It was a Western Union office across town.  I have to go pick up a telegram."
A: "Can I go with?"
E: "No.  I think it would be best for you to wait here.  I won't be long."
E: "Abs?  I'm back.  Do you still have those pictures your uncle asked you to take?  I need you to do something with them for me right away."

[two days later]

E: "Hello? ... Where? ... 15th and Main?  Yes, yes.  I know where you are.  I will be right there."
[a week later] 
E: "Hello? ...  Gracious me!  I have been so worried!  What on earth is going on?  Is it safe ... What?  Yes, it is in the other room.  It was stunning by the way, thank you so much for remembering ... Alright.  I'm by it now.  ... Really? Blocks eavesdroppers?  Who would want to ... oh ... well, yes.  I suppose we can.  When? ... Right away? ... But for how long? ... No, she won't be happy to hear that. There is a class camping trip that she wants to go on and I was going to let her go but hadn't told her yet.  If we have to be gone that long, she will miss it. ... Really? Well, I suppose if you feel it is necessary. ... Yes, I will go pack for us now and we will leave as soon as she gets home. ... No, she is not alone, she is at the library with her friends studying. ... Yes, I'm sure, I dropped them off myself. ... What?  Why can't we take ... where? ... yes, I feel it in the planter now ... goodness! Where did you get all of this ... alright ... I'll go get her right now and we will leave immediately. ... Yes, we will be careful ...

1. caldera
2. Merlin
3. unicorn
4. crossbow
5. thoughtless
6. stunning

1. glinting
2. crop
3. valley
4. particular
5. deliberately
6. cave

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Wednesday ~ somewhere ...

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.  The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.  This month the words are supplied by River and can be found here.


I read your email several times and still don't understand.  What do you mean Uncle Ivan has gone into hiding?  

I have taken the pictures of the exteriors of the house, school, and all the places we shop using Byron as he asked.  When I tried to take a picture of your office building, however, the receptionist left her desk and approached me quite angrily.  She treated me as if I was some madwoman, demanding to know what I was doing there.  I don't think she recognized me as your daughter, so I twitched and mumbled about the bacteria that had escaped the vaults after the plane crashed into them just as the ancient prediction said.  

I know, it was probably cruel to joke with her in such a way, but she was being quite rude to me.  She covered her mouth and backed away before running back into your building.  I stumbled around the corner just in case she was still watching me, but I almost ran right into a light post because I was laughing so hard.

[Image Source]
On another topic ... our biology class has scheduled a weekend overnight hike to a mountain lake in April after the last snow has melted.  It is a national park that has several endangered species there that we have been studying.  I would be part of the team looking for Loggerhead Shrikes to see if their numbers have increased or declined since the last count.  The boys will be tasked with finding endangered snakes, frogs and salamanders.

I would really like to go, if there is any flicker of hope that you might let me.  Yes, it will be co-ed.  Yes, there will be several adult chaperones.  Yes, we will be highly supervised.  Yes, I promise that if you let me go I will not put myself in any danger.  The hike to the lake is an easy one, and the park where we will stay in cabins for the night will have cell phone reception so you can call me.  I can give you the names and phone numbers of all of the chaperones as well.

Oh, one other thing.  There was a delivery today of a white lilac bush that is nearly ready to bloom.  But there was no card with it to say who it was from.  I put it in the southwestern window where it will get the most sunlight right now and watered it.  Do you suppose Uncle Ivan sent it?

We will talk more tonight when you get home from work.  I'm making dinner tonight for you.  And yes, that is an attempt to butter you up so you will let me go on the trip.

Love you,

1. exterior
2. madwoman
3. mountain lake
4. twitched
5. flicker
6. desk

1. prediction
2. approach
3. bacteria
4. vaults
5. plane
6. white lilac

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday's Words ...


It is true, I could not contain my laughter at your expense while I was reading your last letter.  It was a much needed release as things lately have been so bloody frustrating for me.  

I know we never talk about my work, or the reason I do so much travelling.  But I must ask for your confidence now, and that if I am silent in the coming months, that you will not worry or raise a flag of alarm to any sort of official, especially any of the Rangers.  Please trust me.  It is for the safety of both of you, and I could never forgive myself if something were to happen.

A package will be arriving for Abigail soon from Germany.  It contains a Steiff groundhog like the one she admired at the zoo.  I know she wanted a live one, but this will just have to do.  I have taken the liberty of naming it Byron and would like for her to create a photo album similar to the one I have created for Pooh. I would especially like to see the area surrounding your new home, work, shops and her school.

There will also be a dictionary in the package for you.  I may occasionally have the need to send you telegrams from where I will be, and I will not be able to trust the locals with what I will need to say if I were to have them send it in English. You will receive a phone call that will tell you where you can receive the telegram. Be sure to look inside the yellow submarine we saw when I was there last for Percy's memorial service.  

I had hoped I would never need to resort to these measures.  I am so sorry that I cannot tell you more, but you are the only person I can trust with this.  After I send this letter, I will no longer be able to trust that my mail is not being diverted and read, or that my phone calls are not being tapped.  Perhaps now you may understand more why I rely on my typewriter and avoid the ease of technology.

Do you remember the night in Apollo park when we all went dancing in the rain the month before Percy died?  I think of that night often now.  A time when life was far less complicated, and the world was a safer place to be.

I will be in touch when I can.  In the meantime, trust me and no one else.  Believe nothing but what your heart knows to be true.