Saturday, April 23, 2016

Whimsical Battlefields

My Fearless Leader
On our little hike, we just needed to get from Point A to Point B. No-brainer, right? The best route is a straight line, right?

Not when you're with a 4-year-old.

Having magnanimously bestowed upon my grandbuddy Blaine the title of Fearless Leader, I was obliged to follow in his footsteps wherever they may lead.

So instead of taking the nice respectable road as I suggested (begged is probably more accurate), Fearless Leader lit off through the Christmas tree farm the size of two football fields.

I'd no choice but to follow.

And of course we had to fight off attacking bad guys left and right with our laser sword sticks along the way, which meant zig-zagging back and forth across the gargantuan field to make sure we hadn't missed any concealed enemies.

This was a bit difficult for me, since the bad guys were invisible, but Fearless Leader seemed to have no problem at all locating their hiding places. We were aided in our quest by Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and Larry Boy (in case you're not tuned in to the preschool set, he's the Veggie Tales superhero).

Silly Mimi couldn't see them either but Fearless Leader humored me by channeling their voices as we soundly defeated foe after foe.

An hour later, we emerged on the other side, victorious, exhausted, and plastered with dandelion parachutes. We must've run through millions of those things in our relentless pursuit of truth, justice, and the Mountain Way. It seemed whimsically appropriate to be snow-covered with one of the imaginative staples of childhood.

Fearless Leader said we must be gonna have a LOT of our wishes come true. Cool.

So from now on when I pass that Christmas tree farm, I shall never look at it the same way again. Life's full of battlefields where you least expect them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Stairway to ... where you want to be
I received a note last week from an aspiring writer who felt as if she was climbing the same set of stairs over and over again.

She'd worked hard to complete a manuscript, only to have an editor (whom she herself had hired) recommend she rewrite the whole confounded thing.

Six months later when she presented the revised ms to a potential agent, the list of re-rewrite points was longer than her arm.

 Sigh. I feel her pain. So do you. Climbing, climbing, always climbing. So difficult when we can't see the top of the stairway.

Overwhelmed by massive goals (Spouse in black at bottom)
It's not just a writer thing. It's a life thing.

We learn the same lessons over and over again, each time thinking, "By golly, I've got it this time!"

But the beast inside chomps through his muzzle, or the boss lampoons your last nerve, or you decide to defy the definition of insanity and do that same thing just once more, feeling sure it will turn out differently this time.

All these thoughts swirled through my head as Spouse and I tried a new mountain trail this week. You can see from the photos what a piece of gristle it was ... I'm still sore.

Can I even get there from here?
In the wake of the gal's letter, so many of the challenging scenes resonated with me: unending stairways, steep and rock-hard; feeling minuscule and defeated by the immensity of your goals before you even get started; doubts that they're even possible to achieve.

Who hasn't felt that way?

But that's not to say we shouldn't try. Because I believe sometimes in Papa God's eyes, the journey is actually our destination.

It seems all uphill for a time, but there are little respites along the way, if we pause to look for them. Like the wee wildflowers (I prefer this moniker over weeds) inexplicably growing among the rocks.

And observing someone else just ahead of us on the trail, getting it DONE. Going through the same huffing, puffing and pain we are, but getting there nonetheless.

Little snippets of  hope 
Hey, if she can do it, I can too.

And then finally, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we persevere long enough to reach the top, the satisfaction and joy of accomplishment is unspeakable.

Because we ...


Even though we occasionally slid backwards on our behunkuses, we got up, dusted off our fannies, and kept putting one foot in front of the other until we reached the last step.

But you know a secret I've discovered? You may have already discovered it too.

The stairs really don't ever end.

I'll just wait here
Once you conquer one stairway, there's always another starting just a little ways further on the landing.

And that's a good thing. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Otherwise we might spend the rest of our lives lounging by the reflection pool and forget there's more out there. Something different to see, feel, experience at the top of the stairs.

So I gotta go put another cold pack on my achy calf (leg, not cow) and try to think of something comforting and inspirational to say to this writer lady who wants to give up.

Maybe I should just tell her to take a hike.