Thursday, November 28, 2013


It’s just past the midnight hour and I should be in bed, resting up for Turkey Day, but I’m finding it difficult to turn off my brain.  There’s just too much running through my head.  I’m not hosting the holiday meal this year, so thankfully the menu isn’t on my mind. Thanksgiving dinner will be a potluck event. Family and friends were assigned their respective dishes to insure everyone brings their very best to the dinner table. I’m doing my favorite macaroni and cheese. I’ll boil the macaroni and mix it up with my favorite five cheeses when I get up in the morning. I’ll toss it into the oven shortly after breakfast. Big Daddy is pulling his famous pumpkin pudding out of the oven as I type. The smell of cinnamon and sugar is heavy in the air and the house feels festive. After hours of quilting this evening, sipping on a hot cup of tea with my laptop in front of me and the house smelling like a bakery feels darn good.
This whole year has felt darn good. Bumps in the road were minor but my blessings were abundant. The writing has been on point and I signed two major book deals. There was a major award nomination and I’m on schedule to do much traveling next year as I gear up for some serious book promoting. On the home front, things are good. My man loves me and my kids are doing exceptionally well. My grandbabies are now making their mark on this here big world and I’m one proud grandparent. My old people are still taking names and kicking butt and I know that with their ages and health issues that such a thing is indeed a blessing. Love paints the walls in every room in my home and my heart is immeasurably full.
Before I close my eyes tonight I’ll wish a prayer for everyone in need. I’ll ask for a healing hand to be wrapped around all those who are hurting. I’ll pray for the hungry to be fed, the homeless to be sheltered. I’ll hope that those who are traveling find safe journey. I’ll ask that my angel keep a watchful eye on my nearest and dearest. I’ll pray that we all know love more than we will ever know anything else. I’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving and when I wake in the morning I’ll pray it again.
I hope that this day brings love, peace and comfort to those in need and that everyone else is able to give thanks for what’s good in their own lives.
I wish you all a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Neal was only eleven, maybe twelve when we first met. I was running a business, a video store that his family frequented often. One day, he waved for my attention, his hands dancing in front of his face as he communicated in American Sign Language. With his baby sister interpreting for me, he requested every video I had that dealt with that place called Hell. It was a fascination that he obsessed over for weeks as he devoured every movie I could manage to find. He was disappointed that there weren’t as many as he would have thought, none seeming to give him the answers he was seeking.

Over the years there were many topics he obsessed over, devouring movie after movie that dealt with his subject matter of choice. He approached life with a veracity that I have witnessed in few others. His spirit was monumental and despite the hand dealt to him at birth, he approached every day as if it were going to be the best day of his entire life. His life journey has not been easy. He battles language barriers and visual barriers, and physical and cognitive inabilities. He has spent more time inside hospitals than he has spent out of them. I think though that his biggest battles have been the ignorance and insensitivities from people who don’t put forth any effort to know him.

Neal and his family became family to us. Neal was blessed with an amazing support team, a band of warrior women who champion for him daily, as if their own lives are dependent on them doing so. I feel blessed to call that band of warrior women my friends.

Neal is eighteen now and I absolutely adore him. Neal has given me many teachable moments and the lesson that sticks with me most is that there is always a way, when one is willing to fight and fight hard. Neal wanted people to know him and created his own video about who he is. What I know, that Neal didn’t share, is that he is a giant among mortals, an ambassador amongst commoners. He is a shining star in a dark sky and we are all better for having him in our lives. To know Neal is to love him.