Posted in #atozchallenge, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, Blog Hops and Fests, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, Parenting, poetry, slices of life, Writing Sample

X is for X’ed Out of Our Future: #atozchallenge Day 24


Sign X Away

X marks the spot

X the place to sign

Sign we’re losing him

Sign of a changing future

Future a little darker

Future schism approaches

Approaches with the crazed growth

Approaches with multiplying cells

Cells that mark the spots

Cells that create spots

Spots on his pancreas and liver

Spots on the emergency room screen

Screen the predicts the future dimly

Screen that offered fictional hope

Hope that it was only a fatty liver

Hope it was a minor sign of aging

Aging love growing

Aging love deepening

Deepening understanding of who we are

Deepening ability to communicate

Communicate a love that remains

Coommunicate a love that sustains

Sustains us as we face his illness

Sustains us through devastation

Devastation marked out with an X

Devastation growing near and swift

Swift passage of time flies by

Swift moving cancer ravaging

Ravaging his once-strong body

Ravaging this man I love

Love can’t cure him

Love can be an embrace

Embrace while we have the chance

Embrace what is as best we can

Can this strange nightmare be true

Can we still find pockets of joy

Joy marked out in X’s and O’s

Joy an art form in times like this

This is life wrapped in death

This is death still clothed in life

Life twists and weaves

Life lived at two speeds at once

Once we thought life almost a dream

Once we thought we’d grow old together

Together we face this concrete reality

Together until death came and he slipped away

Away from disease and away from great pain

Away from wife and children and life’s promise



It all started to change on August 24, 2017 – although we didn’t recognize it for what it was at the time, and, by then, it was already well in progress in its hidden state.

The what was Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had made a leap to Jim’s liver. We’ll never know how long it lurked there, unnoticed – but Jim had been feeling less than great more often for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, before that day.

I remember the date so well because it was the day after our twentieth anniversary. We’d gone out to dinner, just the two of us, and eaten rich foods.

The next evening, he told me, rather casually, that his right side had been bothering him all day, but the pain was intensifying, and now he was worried that it might be appendicitis. The pain didn’t go away, and then he had a spell of vomiting and severe chill, and I all but insisted we were going to the emergency room.

That’s where we first heard about the spot.

It came, couched in comforting language, and after the likely diagnosis of a sludgy gall bladder irritated by the rich anniversary meal…”and we found a small spot on your liver. It’s probably fatty liver disease, but you should have it checked out in the next week or so with your primary care physician, to rule out cancer.”

Yup. It was just that casual, the moment that changed our lives.

Jim didn’t check into it with his doctor. Maybe he was already worried it might be true, and didn’t want confirmation. Maybe he thought that, since he had an answer, and he’d struggled with his weight most of his life, so fatty liver made sense. I can’t say, because, when I mentioned it, he basically dismissed it by saying that he hadn’t talked to her yet, but he would.

So it would be mid-November, almost 3 months later, before he received that terminal diagnosis. Would it have been better to have known sooner, to have been able to trace back all his odd health complaints in the intervening weeks to that one deadly source?

It’s hard to say. He was increasingly plagued by belly pain he thought was maybe an ulcer, or the sludgy gall bladder again. He was constipated more often than not. Occasionally, he vomited, but attributed it to the stomach pain. He never said so to me until after he was diagnosed, but he was increasingly exhausted, and his appetite faded.

Looking backward, it seems obvious, but it wasn’t at the time.

We were growing his hot-sauce business – a dream he’d had since before I met him –  and took our first romantic weekend away, to Acadia National Park, which was a dream from early in our marriage.  In truth, we argued rather a lot, but it seemed to clear air that had long been heavy – one of those places in a marriage where we needed to clean house – and things felt better, after that.

He decided to get to the root of not feeling good. He had a colonoscopy, which, to our relief, was negative. But, at the same time, his right leg was swelling painfully, and, eventually, he went to the emergency room, was admitted with deep vein thrombosis that probably would have killed him in days if left untreated, and then the diagnosis of terminal cancer was made – the culprit of all those random, seemingly minor, concerns.

But it was that first X – the spot on the emergency room ultrasound screen, that ultimately X’ed Jim out of the future we’d hoped to share.

Check out our next post, when I say, “You are always a part of us,” to my late husband.

X marks the spot for more extraordinary X posts.

Posted in #atozchallenge, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life, Writing Sample

P is for Preparing Ourselves and Our Home: #atozchallenge, Day 16

Close Yet Ready

When strength fades away

When death grows close

Close spaces become hazards

Close off paths of travel

Travel through the new terrain

Travel through the final days

Days spent in reconsidering

Days spent in rearranging

Rearranging the furniture

Rearranging our priorities

Priorities must be reconsidered

Priorities shift as life ebbs

Ebbs into weeks then days

Ebbs until only hours remain

Remain together as long as we can

Remain connected still sharing our bed

Bed where so many conversations wandered

Bed where a son and daughter were created

Created a family that spilled ever outward

Created a life here with that bed as the center

Center ourselves in the love we’ve nurtured

Center ourselves for the death that’s approaching

Approaching fast although unwanted

Approaching to change everything we’ve known

Known each other’s breaths and heatbeats

Known deep love in all its many shadings

Shadings of sorrow edging each moment

Shadings of after as I rearranged the now

Now each change carries a message

Now I am always so painfully aware

Aware that these changes come with a message

Aware that we are crossing a threshold

Threshold between married and widowed

Threshold between what was and will be

Be with me always don’t die don’t leave me

Be healthy and strong and so filled with laughter

Laughter the music that always sustained us

Laughter lingers but now tinged with pain

Pain as his body is consumed by cancer

Pain as my soul faces a life lived alone

Alone in this room we’ve shared for so long

Alone in this bed he made with his own hands

Hands that shake now once caressed me

Hands grown feeble cradled our children

Children grown strong and healthy and happy

Children losing something I can never replace

Replace furniture and make spaces ready

Replace future vision with reality of now



So, I’m back to being a day late with this post, but for reasons that relate directly to the topic of this poem.

On Tuesday, I participated in my second-ever Meet the Author event for my recently-published, Pushcart Prize nominated story, “Being Colette,” which was published by local small press 518 Publishing in the Dark and Bitter anthology. This is something I’d never done before Jim died, but he always said he wished I could earn money from my writing, and this is a start…

On my way to the event, I passed an animal shelter. I’ve been thinking that I need a dog to help fill the large empty place in my bed, and give me a companion to ease the pain of grieving as I expend energy in caring for someone who could use some TLC.

So, on my way home, I stopped and inquired about pit bulls or pittie mixes who might get along with cats and other dogs. Pit bulls get an undeserved bad rap – they are sweet dogs and so good with kids they used to be known as “the nanny dog.” Shelters are full of pitties looking for homes, but they’re harder to adopt than some other breeds. But our late dog, Corki, was a pittie mix, and he sold us all on the breed.

Within minutes, I was getting big sloppy kisses from a young pitty named Nadine, who had been found as a stray.

On a separate but now related note, I bought a new bed. I needed to stop sleeping in the bed Jim and I shared – the massive raw wood bed he built with his bare hands, and which he died in.

Part of recreating my life is letting go of the anchor of that bed. Eventually, we plan to make it a small raised bed greenhouse, so it can remain a part of our lives… but, for now, I have a wrought iron sleigh bed that is almost the opposite of the bed we once shared. It’s a concrete reminder that I am in a new phase of life.

So yesterday, Jeremiah and I dismantled my marriage bed, and assembled the new one I will share not with a husband, but with the dog I’ve renamed Magnolia – Noli for short. And today, while she’s being spayed in preparation for coming home, I’m catching up on what didn’t get done yesterday, and preparing my room for her occupancy and recovery.

And life goes on…..

Join us tomorrow (OK, later today), when we’ll explore Quagmires and Questions.

Peruse more potent P posts!

Magnolia (Noli) Burton, April 18, at the shelter. Photo credit: Lise Burton




Posted in #atozchallenge, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life, Writing Sample

L is for Laughing Our Way to Death – and Beyond: #atozchallenge, Day 12

Marriage Within Truth

We laughed a lot when we were brand-new

We laughed our way into a marriage

Marriage that began with a slew of in-jokes

Marriage that produced two laughing children

Children whose giggles were balm to our souls

Children whose chortles were our favorite music

Music that filled our little home with delight

Music that told us we were getting this right

Right and left up and down laughter everywhere

Right from the beginning laughter filled the air

Air carrying mirth everywhere we went

Air lighter and brighter for our merriment

Merriment we shared with every passerby

Merriment offered freely and given with glee

Glee that swelled and filled our lives

Glee that sustained us when sorrow came

Came to take from us our precious second son

Came to show us the even then we could laugh

Laugh at gallows humor when that’s all we had

Laugh even through the tears we shed

Shed the mourning shrouds to tend to the living

Shed the numbness of grief with the best medicine

Medicine that offered healing no anti-depressant could

Medicine that nurtured bright living for our surviving son

Son who gave us so much reason for joy

Son whose happiness became precious treasure

Treasure each breath and tiny toddler joke

Treasure the dimples the giggles the squeals and smiles

Smiles we found again when our daughter was conceived

Smiles we clutched when told she might not live to be born

Born into this family fractured and remade

Born heathy and strong and ready to embrace hilarity

Hilarity she brought from her earliest days

Hilarity that made us a new kind of whole

Whole arsenal of humor our family shares

Whole of our secret weapon against life’s cruel snares

Snares like cancer we never saw coming

Snares that snatched away that big laughing man

Man whose barrel chest produced such wondrous guffaws

Man who once kissed a fish to make his girl giggle

Giggle our way through more than twenty years

Giggle like crazed children until we were in tears

Tears flow now for all that’s been lost

Tears that season our laughter with new sorrows

Sorrows eased by the humor we find

Sorrows unshadowed by little jokes left behind

Behind this great loss is even greater truth

Behind this darkness is a long laughing light



Jim and I laughed. Before we were lovers, we were friends, and we laughed. Once we were dating, the hilarity escalated.

One night, I called from work because he was going to give me a ride home. We lived at the edge of the Grand Canyon then, and I worked with a woman he’d casually dated before we met, and who was sensitive about his moving on. When he picked up the phone, and gruffly said, “Yes?” (Jim hated the phone!), I responded, “It’s me.”

“Me who?”

“Me me.”

A pause. Then, “Mimi? I told you never to call me here.”

Part of the reason I married Jim were his jokes (mostly off color), and his ridiculously improbable stories.It was during the one about the pomegranate that rolled up the hill that I knew I wanted to be with this man forever. Here was a man who could be silly with me, and would. But, when life was serious, he’d take me that way, too.

It got serious in 2003, when our second child suffered a brain injury at birth. It was Jim who made me laugh the first time, as he was getting ready to bring me home from the hospital where three-day-old Elijah was lying in a coma in the NICU. His joke was wildly inappropriate – but it fit a situation for which we had no rules, and I clung to it until life offered something better to laugh about.

Even when he was diagnosed, he still found things for us to laugh about. “Most of my life, I’ve worried about my weight,” he said. “But now I’ve got a magic wand. The weight just comes off!”  He joked about his terminal cancer as a “free pass” to eat and do what he wanted, because there weren’t going to be any repercussions worse than death.

His last joke came about a week before he died. I’d helped him with a shower I knew would be the last one, even though I don’t think he realized that he’d be bedbound from that point forward. He was lucid less and less by then.

I was helping him dress – something else he could no longer do on his own, and he caught our reflection in the mirrored closet door.

“Look,” he said, conspiratorially. “My wife’s here.”

I miss him – but we’re determined to carry on the laughter in his honor.

Come on back tomorrow, when

Marriage Metamorphizes with Metastasis.

Looking for more lovely L posts?

A mutual favorite song for both Jim and I:

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2018, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round Two, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year 2018, The 12 Week Year Three, Writers' Resources, writing

Settling Into the Now:  #ROW80 Round 2 /#12WeekYear 3 MidWeek 2

Hi there, ROWers and friends! 

It’s Wednesday – time to list out my Week 2 Action Plan, and current progress (Here’s my Week 1 progress). 

These goals are more specific than my Week 1 goals. I’ve refined things; made them more measurable and specific. Some of these may take a few weeks to complete, so they’ll be here a while.

And that’s okay.

I’m reminding myself of something I’d lost sight of for a while. NOW is the only time I have, no matter how much I might wish it was otherwise.

What are you doing with your now?


  • I post my Weekly Action Plan on Wednesdays, and Weekly Wrap-Ups on Sundays.
  • I review/adjust my Round 2/12 Week Year 3 after weeks 3, 6, 9, and a final one after Week 12.

Goal Status:

  • Blue with Overstrike: Completed.
  • Green: In Progress.
  • Black: Still Waiting.
  • Black with Overstrike: 86’ed.
  • Red: Goal Change.

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Family Stuff:

I facilitate Miah’s driving at a pace that’s comfortable for him.

I facilitate kids’ social travel and time with friends as desired, and check up on Unschoolers Rock the Campground.

  • Nothing posted for URTC yet.

I spend 11:11 gathering materials for each child’s third quarter homeschool reports.

I facilitate both kids’ learning as needed.

  • Lise checked the weather around the world, with some suggestions from me. We discussed climate and geographic features which influence weather.

Home Stuff:

I facilitate home and yardtending, asking for assistance as needed.

  • Made a deal with Lise – a sinkful of dishes traded for an order of fries.
  • Bedrooomtending; laundry; dishes; yardtending (raking leaves; decluttering).

I post three items (already selected) on a local yard sale site.

  • I’ve taken photos for these posts.

I rough draft a schedule for hometending as a baseline for action.

I touch base with Lise about next steps in baking/selecting a mop she wants to use.

  • She’s comfortable with prepackaged cookie dough for now, but may want to experiment with mixes soon.
  • We agreed that I will find a few potential mopping solutions for her to choose from.

Relationship Stuff:

I schedule lunch/coffee dates with two friends.

  • Tentative plans to meet Eden Mabee (best friend since almost forever; we were little, little girls!) on Wednesday.

I send thank you notes to Jim’s sisters, and contact them via text to touch base.


Writing/Revising Stuff:

I complete the first revision pass of “Storm at Song Glass Cabin” (short story), and return to publishers.

I collect materials, organize, get beta feedback, apply, finalize layout, and submit my Secret Project.

  • I have my base materials, and have secured 3 beta readers (3 more to ask).

I use April CampNaNoWriMo to complete the rough draft of Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8).

  • 18,277 new words; 5,668 this week.

Blogging From A-Z April Challenge: The Alphabet of Grief complete 26 posts.

I check in at Story A Day, catch up on recent podcasts, and begin collecting story sparks for this year’s stories. If there is a way to get advance notice of the prompts, I utilize it.

  • Made a quick survey; selected some follow-up items.

Learning Stuff:

I complete Pixels to Platform, and complete Module 1.

  • Began intro video rewatch: 30%.

I complete organization for How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck, evaluate my current progress, and complete one 11:11 learning session this week.

  • Organization 95% complete; evaluation 50%

I complete organization for How to Revise Your Novel.

Networking Stuff:

I serve as an DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform Master Class Ambassador.

  • Checked in regularly with private Facebook group; class is now live.

I answer blog comments and visit other blogs on my current informal schedule.

  • Several #atozchallenge visits. #babysteps.

I complete current chapter of Stained Blood, return to author, and highlight next section for revision.

I touch base with author next in my queue, and another possible beta author regarding manuscript schedule.

I post current goals and Dark and Bitter reading video/transcript to Patreon, and update Facebook Writer page and blog sidebar.

Family Financial Stuff:

I go through current receipts.

I set budget for groceries, eating out, and monthly expenses, using receipts and bank statement as guides.

I contact insurance agent (re: business insurance).

I read at least one article or blogpost on a financial matter.

I talk with both kids about what prosperity means to them.

  • Opened a discussion with Lise. It was enlightening, and showed how she’s matured in the last several months.

Body, Mind, and Soul:

I return to tai chi on Thursday, and swim afterwards.

I reset my 5K training; prepare to restart next week.

I make chicken and rice soup; steel cut oats; a pasta bake; and steam sweet potatoes in Instant Pot.

  • Bone broth for soup and steel cut oats.

I meditate and journal daily, and twice daily at least three times this week.

  • Meditation (Insight Timer at 2:22) and journaling each morning; extra journaling Sunday night (1/3).

I read at least one spiritual growth article this week.

  • Read Strip Away Stress and How to be Kind in a Rude World from the Real Simple Find Your Balance special issue.

I allow myself sufficient time for rest, recreation, and reflection, without guilt.

  • Rest was rocky until Tuesday, but others are solid. Coloring, meditation, journaling, and pondering in abundance.

I share my experiences with others as I am inspired.

  • Through blogging, and in person.

I create art that allows me to explore and express my emotional state.

  • Singing, writing, and coloring

I memorialize Jim’s place in my life, and makes changes as I am moved to, without guilt.

  • Through writing, and in life.

ROW80 –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re On Facebook, Too!

Just a bit of now-themed silliness! =D

Posted in #atozchallenge, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life, writing, Writing Sample

I is for Increasing Incapacity: #atozchallenge Day 9


Time Before Alone

Once before cancer came

Once upon a time

Time was he was strong and one

Time he lifted a washer in his hug

Hug me as though he was a bear

Hug so safe so secure so warm

Warm embrace and gentle soul

Warm willingness to help any and all

All parts of this lumberjack of a man I love

All things I took for granted would always stay

Stay strong and healthy for another two decades

Stay with me as we grew happily old together

Together like we were back in Sedona

Together climbing red rocks my hand in his hand

Hand strong and certain touching me and cradling babies

Hand broken by trauma but still artful and nimble

Nimble until the ravages of disease came

Nimble until growing weakness made them tremble

Tremble that troubled him when it first came

Tremble that echoed down into each muscle

Muscle consumed by rampant multiplicity of cells

Muscle once so capable rendered insubstantial

Insubstantial losses at first until he fell

Insubstantial no longer as he lay on the floor

Floor now a terrain that thwarted independence

Floor only crossed when he had extra support

Support given and accepted but bittersweet

Support of my hug as he cried anguished tears

Tears on my shoulder as he leaned into me

Tears because he wasn’t ready for this

This relentless assault on all that he was

This proof that this was not a bad dream

Dream of some miracle that had yet to be

Dream become a nightmarish reality

Reality of the walker the exhaustion

Reality of increasing shaky frailty

Frailty as his body wasted away

Frailty of mind as lucidity faded

Faded off into delusional dreaming

Faded away taking him somewhere distant

Distant undiscovered country waiting

Distant eyes of this man that I love

Love transforming as he goes further away

Love can’t make this journey shared

Shared bed where we exist in two separate planes

Shared memories of two decades now mine alone

Alone now but still held by his gentle strength

Alone and still supported by his remembered embrace




I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the sound.

Jim and I had been sitting together in the living room, and decided to head toward the bedroom. I was in the bathroom, with Jim following, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a large man hitting the floor
Once we’d gotten him up and into the bathroom, with the aid of the walker that had been folded up behind the living room chair for the last few weeks, he hugged me and cried. “I’m not ready to need a walker,” he said, but I knew that what he meant was, “I’m not ready to die.”

But death comes, whether we’re ready or not. Jim had been sure-footed, but, after that fall, he never again moved easily. His hands began to tremble. First, he couldn’t write, then he couldn’t take his medication on his own, then he couldn’t manage his water bottle – and then he was bedbound and unable to use his hands at all.

It was small blessing that, by that point, he was seldom lucid, already more in the next plane than this one. I don’t think he knew how incapacitated he was.

I hope he didn’t, or, if he did, he was no longer troubled by it.

I know that I was humbled by the reality of his decline, the simple things, once done almost without thought, that were beyond him.

Cancer truly tested the vow, “in sickness and in health.” I didn’t live up to it as well as I’d like in every moment – but I hope that I did in enough of them to ease the transition for the man I would have loved to have spent the rest of my life with.


Join us again tomorrow, when we explore the juxtaposition of joy and sorrow.

And find more illustrious I posts here.

My son introduced me too this lovely and heartbreaking song during the last several weeks of Jim’s illness. It’s become a favorite I can’t listen to too often – it’s just too close to my reality…

Posted in April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Novel Excerpts, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Key to Freedom: #SoCS and #CampNaNoWriMo


Passive-aggressive behavior was something Serrah felt she’d elevated to an art form – but Donovan Nash didn’t leave her any openings to use her craft.  He just offered her options, without seeming to have any stake at all in how she used them.

While it appealed to her, the way he was, and the peace he seemed to feel, it was also frightening. What would it be like, to have that kind of freedom? To not be trying to find any little way she could to get out from under the iron-willed control Mom and Dad held over her? To stand braced on her own two feet, the way he was standing, and hold herself tall beneath the ocean sky?

Was she strong enough?

That was a question she’d avoided asking herself. It was easy, back home – other than the crazy risk she’d taken in running away and coming here to find out about the dead baby who belonged to her hostage heart, she’d never really had the chance to find out whether she was strong enough to make a choice for herself.

She’d thought she was trapped; but now, Serrah thought maybe there was a strange kind of freedom in it. With Mom and Dad making all the decisions, all she’d really had to do was decide if she was going to go along quietly, or complain to herself and find tiny, inconsequential ways to rebel. Or, as was more often the case, just dream of rebelling.

She’d been wasting her life, and she’d told herself it was Mom and Dad’s fault.

But it was her life, and there was a lot she could have been doing that she hadn’t, until she came here.

Now, she was responsible for herself, and for her own decisions, and that was a trap she’d never seen coming – because Serrah Eleanor Reed, whose middle name was for a woman who hadn’t waited around for permission to do things, even though she lived in a time when women weren’t allowed to do nearly what men could, had almost no practice in the art of living.

“Will you show me, Donovan?” Suddenly, learning tai chi seemed to be the key to freedom and power in her own life.

“All right. The first thing you’ll need to know is how to set your stance. This first one is called the bow stance.” He stepped out with his right leg, and turned his left foot out at an angle. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your tailbone should be tucked. If you can imagine a string connecting the top of your head to the sky, your posture will be better.”


The above was a snippet from the rough draft of Still Nameless, a Kifo Island Chronicles novel I’m working on for this month’s April CampNaNoWriMo.

It’s also my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday blog hop, where the prompt is “passive/aggressive”, with bonus points for beginning the passage with one of those words.

Learn more about CampNaNoWriMo here.

Find other SOCS posts here.


Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2018, April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round Two, slices of life, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year 2018, The 12 Week Year Three, Writers' Resources, writing

As I Begin Again:  #ROW80 Round 2 /#12WeekYear 3 Midweek 1

Hi there, ROWers and friends!

It’s Wednesday, so that means it must be time to make my first update for this sparkly-new Round of Words and 12 Week Year 3.

In the two days since I posted my goals post for this round, I’ve gotten off to….a start. I’m focused, and have been making daily plans, so I know what I want to accomplish.

But it’s been a bit unsettled, like the weather:

  • I’ve embarked on two writing challenges, and taken an online class.
  • My daughter had a friend visit yesterday; since the girls live over an hour apart, we meet in the middle, but it still added a couple of hours’ travel time to the week, and the visit was fairly spontaneous (we’ve now addressed this by setting up a regular, twice-monthly schedule; in future, I’ll be able to plan for the time spent).
  • My son and I had to go further afield to an unfamiliar store for our grocery run, since our regular place was stripping their floors.

Since there’s no #atozchallenge post on Sunday, I will use that as my catch-up-and-settle-in day, so that next week can be built upon more stable footing.

How did you do with your goals, these first few days?


  • I post my Weekly Action Plan on Wednesdays, and Weekly Wrap-Ups on Sundays.
  • I review/adjust my Round 2/12 Week Year 3 after weeks 3, 6, 9, and a final one after Week 12. These are m opportunities to evaluate my progress, and whether my goals and Action Plans are serving the purposes I intended.

Goal Status Legend:

  • Blue with Overstrike: Goal Completed.

  • Green: In Progress.

  • Black: Still Waiting.

  • Black with Overstrike: Goal Discarded.

  • Red: Goal Change.

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Family Stuff:

I facilitate Miah’s driving at a pace that’s comfortable for him.  

I facilitate kids’ social travel and time with friends as desired.

  • Lise had her best friend over for a few hours Tuesday afternoon. We’ve decided to make this a twice-monthly event.
  • She’s attending this friend’s birthday party midmonth.
  • Plans in the works for Miah to visit his PA friends.

I provide for clothing, materials, appointments, and other things needed for kids’ growth.

I complete all necessary homeschool administration.

  • Spent time with both kids discussing independent learning/ facilitating new learning.
  • Encouraged both to develop a habit of sharing more of what they’re doing on their own, which will streamline reporting when the time comes.

Home Stuff:

I facilitate home and yardtending, asking for assistance as needed.

  • Regular hometending, and clearly communicating with the kids about areas where I can use their help.
  • Chose a week one yardtending goal – declutter and rake main body of front yard. The weather has not cooperated with my plans!
  • I’ve selected three unwanted items as my debut on local yard sale sites.

I research and acquire items that will improve our quality of life.

I research, budget for, and oversee home improvement projects.

I assist the kids in learning to maintain a home independently.

  • I asked both kids what I could help them learn. Miah (16) said he could handle his own learning. Lise (13), wants to learn to mop, bake, and hard boil eggs using the Instant Pot. She baked cookies independently from pre-made dough.

Relationship Stuff:

I schedule time each week to connect with friends/ family.

  • Accepted invitation to join a writing group outing on Wednesday.
  • Spent a little time chatting with my friend, Lise’s best friend’s mom.
  • Interacted w/Jim’s sisters on social media.


Writing and Revising Stuff:

Storm at Song Glass Cabin (flash fiction): Complete first revision pass and return to publishers.

  • New goal(because I forgot to list it in initial post).

I schedule weekly time for the writing development courses I have in progress.

  • I attended the 2 hour online Pixels to Platform Master Class on Tuesday afternoon, and wrote my intro post on the private FB page, as my ice-breaker for resuming the class as an Ambassador.
  • I organized my work in Holly Lisle’s flash fiction course in preparation for resuming this class.

I use the spring writing challenges to advance/complete projects in progress.

I maintain, develop, and expand my connections with both other writers and my readers.

  • I participated in sprints and Tweeted with other writers each day.
  • I took the DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform Master Class; and introduced myself to the Facebook group, since I’m serving as an Ambassador for the full-length course.

I explore new professional opportunities.

Family Financial Stuff:

I develop, adapt, and maintain a family budget.

  • I gathered receipts from weekend purchases.
  • I made some financial decisions to act on in the coming week.
  • I canceled Jim’s website hosting.

I explore the concept of prosperity and what it means to me- and to the children.

Body, Mind, and Soul:

I focus on physical health as part of my daily routine.

  • Mindful eating: I prepared a very simple meal for myself – organic apple maple sausage with sautéed spinach. #babysteps.

I resume focus on my spiritual development.

  • I resumed meditation and journaling: Monday, Tuesday.

I tend to my emotional health in this transitional time.

  • I made time for rest, recreation, and reflection, without guilt: #AllStarTrek, #FixerUpper, and purchased current issue of The Magnolia Journal.I shared my grief experiences in my #atozchallenge posts, and canceledl Jim’s web hosting – another detail that’s been weighing on me.
  • I read an article in a Real Simple special edition: The Real Secret to Happiness. 

ROW80 –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!

We’re On Facebook, Too!

Let’s wrap this thing up with a little silly fun, shall we?!