Tuesday, July 17, 2012


There are moments in life in which I am humbled, reminded that this self-imposed, voluntarily boarded rollercoaster that I have created for myself is but a tiny spec of what is truly important. I spend my time considering billable hours, defining processes, and dreaming up witchy tales for book 3. But someone, somewhere is sitting awake in the dark, watching the landscape while his buddy sleeps, guarding both their lives until it’s his turn to sleep.
In the past 9 days I’ve come to know one of those men. He is a 30 year old wounded war vet whose easy smile and combat tales remind me that the land that I live on was not free, and his sacrifice has kept me safe. He is genuine in a way that not even terrorism could steal, honest in a way that makes people trust him immediately, and calm when chaos sets in. He’s driven, making plans for a future that he fought to defend, and one of the most humble men I have ever met. His kind eyes watch doorways, a tattoo covers his left bicep revealing a chapter of his story, and his drive to survive brought him home despite his injuries.
While walking the halls of a quiet government building he turned to me with a gentle smile and said “so I heard you wrote a couple of books, that’s pretty amazing.”
Nodding slowly I retuned his grin humbled by his admiration, “Yeah, I guess. But I heard you served in Afghanistan and came home to tell the story, and I’d say that’s pretty amazing too.”
He gave me a solemn nod, patted his tattooed bicep and held the door for me as I stepped into the Florida sunshine. It was just another day at work, just another twirl on my rollercoaster, but this time I took the ride with a man who watched over my world while I was sleeping, and it changed me forever.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fireworks and flags and all that

It’s the 4th of July, and beyond the typical (and awesome) display of American patriotism, this day is very special to me. Today is my daddy’s birthday. It’s a day of too much sun, some lake water splashing in your face, the scent of Kentucky trees wafting through the air around you, and pineapple upside down cake. He doesn’t need frosting and candles, just a few cans of beer, some good friends, and a smooth lake glinting in the sunshine.

He had me too young and raised me when he was still too reckless. He drove fast, rode fast, worked to make everything he owned fast or faster. I watched as he and Dale pulled motors, replaced brakes, sanded fenders. I knew a world of bondo, and Lava soap, and electric sanders before I could even see over the steering wheel.

I played on my swing set as the sound of mechanics chimed in the garage, set to a soundtrack of old country music, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. Those things linger with me. There were a million other little things that seeped from his hands, from his mind, from his mouth, that defined who I would be. I left his house with a firm grasp on the person that I was, grounded, abundant with morals, and heavy with expectation. But he made it clear to me the expectations were my own, his door would always be open for me, left ajar should I need to come home.

He took me to college, toured a new land, and left me there to thrive. He probably hated the liberal young woman I was becoming, but he never said so. He let me live, marry, move, and still come home when I need to. He is quiet when disapproval sets in, observes closely when he’s curious, and works constantly. He loves our mom, adores his kids, and has worked a lifetime to give us everything he has ever had.

Here’s to you Daddy, Happy Birthday we love you!