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Packing Sand; Pretend You’re Good At It

Today I made order in my office. For the first time since my husband’s death a year ago, I cleaned my desks. This comes after many times in the past year attempting to press myself forward. My attempts at living are very much like my process of beginning a writing project. I write a paragraph, stop and look at it, think, edit, delete, start again. It is what the author Dixie Browning used to term ‘packing sand’.

When you get your car tires stuck in the sand at the beach, you go forward, back up, go forward, back up. You keep doing this until finally you’ve packed enough length of sand that the car will keep on going up and out of the sand. The process can be helped by throwing a burlap sack under a back wheel. I think my burlap sack was cleaning my desks. I am moving firmly forward now.

I knew I crossed some sort of line toward cultivating my new life when I chose between two mouse pads. I had been using two, one on top of the other ever since I moved into this house. The top one my mother gave me over fifteen years ago. Worn, it was still cute, printed with an office angel to help me through stress. Beneath it was a mouse pad printed with Victorian red and yellow roses, a gift from a writer friend. I tossed the office angel and chose the newer, vibrant, roses. It suits me better now.

I have spent the past year attempting to come to terms with the changes in my life, to cultivate a new life, to find a life of my own in the midst of being tugged between the needs of myself, my grandchildren, and my elderly mother. It’s been the packing sand method, two steps forward, one step back. I’ve come to learn that this is living life. It’s all part of the whole.

On my desk, I came across a number of scribbled notes. Things I planned to do, ideas to help me do them. “Oh, yes…so that was what I wanted to do…and here’s those notes on…”

photoOne of the notes is a printout of a quote a friend sent me. First is the Theodore Roosevelt quote: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Below this is printed advice from my friend: “Pretend you’re good at it.”

I’d forgotten. Now I smile.

I’m at my desk, writing again. Pretend I’m good at it.

Merry Christmas to all!

For the past weeks, I have taken a retreat from the internet, withdrawing to give myself space for personal writing and reflection. It’s been a time to heal from the great loss of my husband this year, a loss that brings fresh grief at the loss of other people before him. In these weeks, I’ve experienced comfort and a sense of getting my fee under me again. With Christmas I feel a sense of renewed energy, purpose, and faith in my life with Jesus Christ.

Something happens to the world at Christmastime. People get just a smidgen more hopeful, just a tiniest bit kinder and happier. Dear ones, do not miss it. Take time to do a few things this day that makes you happy, something to make others happy. Grab hold of the magic and hold it as long as you can.

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

I thank each of you who stop by the blog, so many of you fellow bloggers who share yourselves and friendship with me. You enrich my world beyond words.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!


Congratulations to MandolinSummer and Mary Lou Jameson! They are the two winners of the drawing for Once Upon A Christmas. A number of you have said you already bought the book. I am very honored that you chose it out of the millions available and hope it gives you pleasure. 

Do let’s hear what everyone is reading. I was about to read Fannie Flagg’s latest, but this morning I saw a red bird stop on one of the pickets of the fence around the courtyard, and it  reminded me of Flagg’s Redbird Christmas, so I think I’ll re-read it first.

Grace and peace to all.


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