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Joy Dare

I see that gratitude starts with what you look for–and with the effort you’re willing to expend looking for the good. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to close my eyes and first refocus mentally before I can see beauty with my eyes open.

I read about the Joy Dare here.
Today’s prompt is to find gifts in something written, something sung, and something painted.

  • A gift sung:

Listen to this and find peace in your afternoon:

  • A gift written:

By Henry Vaughan

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
       All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
       Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
       And all her train were hurl’d.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
       Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
       Wit’s sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
       Yet his dear treasure
All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour
       Upon a flow’r.
(Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light led me to this poem when I was a teenager.)
  • A gift painted:


artist: Jill Marie This painting hung on the wall at Michael’s for about five years, and I wanted it from the moment I saw it. I asked if I could buy it when the store first opened, and was told that displayed art in the frame section was not for sale.  So every time I went in to Michael’s– (which was often; it is a crack den) –I stood and stared longingly at it.
One day I saw that the painting had been moved and there was a price tag for $39.99 on it. With some trepidation and a whole lot of wild hope, I found a salesperson and asked if the price was for the painting or the frame, and she said, “Oh, for the painting. You want it?”
I did not squeal, but I think my “Yes!” startled her.
This painting is, oh, yes, a gift.

People who have lit my way

I recently decided to connect with other writers because I really need to mix with my kind. I need to be around those people who are obsessed with the craft–talking about it, writing about it, learning about it. And I need to connect with people who want to make a difference in the world in any small way. So I have been posting more regularly on Linkedin and Twitter, and one person made me realize that I was on the right path. She’s made me feel appreciated and valued, which has encouraged me to keep doing my small thing in this tiny corner of the universe.

Kristol, you’re a light in the darkness, and I thank you for nominating me for the Lighthouse Award. You’ve made a difference in my perspective in just the short time I’ve known you. Thank you.


Nominees, here are the sweet and simple rules:

  • Display the award certificate on your blog.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Share three ways that you like to help other people.
  • There is no limit to the number of people you can nominate.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

3 help-y things I like to do:

  •  I help people find short-cuts. (On the road, I know the route with the fewest stoplights or left-hand turns because I hate circuitous routes. This impatience leads me to find short-cuts in every arena, not just on the road.  This, I realize, is also a sign of laziness. And people do not always want to know these amazing short-cuts. lol)
  • I help people find their voices in writing. I am able to set myself aside–my opinions, my voice, my knowledge, all of that Stacy-stuff–and I help people express what’s inside them in their own words. I thank God for this gift, and I hope to develop this skill to its fullest potential.
  • I help people find THAT book. You know when you’re looking for a book that’s about that one thing, or that book that your sister read to you when you were in 1st grade, or any book that is about [insert your pet subject]? Sometimes I have the book (and give it to you via Bookcrossing) and other times I point you in the right direction, like I did in this post about romance authors’ pseudonyms.


Tammy, my critique partner for 18 years.  She inspires me and helps me stay focused.
And Mandy Eve Barnett. Oh, what a blog. Get your coffee or tea and go browse. Time well spent.



Best Year Ever. Still.

Nothing like committing to do something in public to make you see your own flaws.

My best year isn’t done, and it’s still the best I’ve ever lived, and I’ve been busy living it. Eh, but I’ve been busy procrastinating about all sorts of things. Like posting here. Seems as soon as I give myself a rule it makes me want to break it. Makes me wonder if there’s an app that’ll impose deadlines that make you unable to post after a certain time. (I do this for my students on Blackboard, and as a fellow procrastinator, I understand the value of having a deadline with consequences.)

Some of the best things right now:

  • I’m rediscovering Jesus. And praying every day that it doesn’t turn me into an annoying conservative twat. I’d annoy myself. Gag me.
  • I am learning a lot about my absentminded habits. Thank God my husband is so laid-back. Couple days ago he said, smiling, “Honey, do you not like bending over?” I gave him a wtf look and he said, “When you lay something down, it stays there.” I–ah–well. That explains a lot. What amuses me is that now, because of that tiny, indulgent smile of his, I catch myself when I lay something down, and I remember that my actions affect someone else. And I don’t lay it down.
  • I am writing! I am noodling about scenes, I am plotting, I am creating characters I love, and I am regularly in my writing corner.
  • I am actively growing as a teacher. This semester I’m implementing a couple of tools I developed last semester and the feedback I’m getting from students is helping me to make them more user-friendly. (A worksheet on thesis statements and topic sentences, and an online workshop on developing a solid thesis.) Geeky, yes, but fun for me.

From Notes from the Universe:
“The absolute, most sure-fire way
of physically moving in the direction of
your dreams, on a day-to-day basis,
without messing with the “cursed hows,”
is living them, now, to any degree that you can.

And you can.

My dream is not only to write, but to create a space for others to explore writing, so I’m committing to starting a group for writers here where I live. Instead of waiting to move to somewhere green and cool (O! Vermont!) I’m going to do something now.

Funny. No one really cares what you can do, only what you do.



A strange but compelling love story

I got married last year after being in a ten-year long-distance relationship. People regularly express wonder at the length of our time living apart, and everyone asks the same question:  how?

For the last 9 months I’ve been shrugging off the question because, you know, we just DID it. It was just the way things worked out for that time frame, and we dealt with it. But today I was asked again, and it finally dawned on me (because I’m quick like that) that people really want to know what it is about our relationship that made it last through ten years of being about 3,000 miles apart.

Some reasons we have lasted:

  • Trust.  That seems obvious, perhaps.  You HAVE to trust that you’re not one of a long line of people on booty-call speed dial, right? But how do you trust that when you can’t see what the other person’s up to except when you visit once a year? Well, I have to ask why anyone would be in a relationship where this is even a question. If you can’t trust the person you want to be with,  look at yourself. Are you trustworthy? Are you asking that question because you know you’re out cattin’ around?   Of course, there’s insecurity. I’m human, and I’m pudgy. I worried that he saw a tall, beautiful, slender blonde woman in town who would suit him far better than I did. There were times when I was convinced that I wasn’t beautiful enough, and I realized after a long time that this was my issue, and only mine, but I arrived at there because of …next point:
  • Grace.  A crap-ton of it. And for a while, much of it was one-sided. Not me! Tom.  I am awed by how much I have learned about what love is from this man. I can be a horrid, grudge-holding woman over dumb things. Heck, we had an 8-month break-up because of my stubbornness. He wrote me a letter during the break-up that I did not answer, and when I finally, miraculously, relented and wrote him, he answered immediately.  (All of which makes you wonder, uh, why does he love her?  Answer: When I’m not being horrid, I’m awesome.)  But grace:  it is undeserved. Forgiving.  Sometimes baffling. And it usually ends in…next point:
  • Humor. Not a day passes that we don’t laugh. There’ve probably been days of arguing over the years that we couldn’t laugh, but they’re outnumbered by the laughing days.  And the secret here is that we’re able to laugh at ourselves. We both know we can be childish and unreasonable, and we’re safe with each other so we can say, “Oh, wow. I suck, and I’m sorry.” Tom says part of my awesomeness is that I own it when I’m wrong, even if it’s not right away.
  • We believe the best of each other. If Tom says something that hurts my feelings, I’ve learned to step back and consider his words in the light of his love for me.  I had to wear bracelets for a while to remind myself of this, but the lesson did take.
    I get it now.
  • Refusal to give up. Tom says I’m relentless. I say I’m determined. Whatever. We’re both thankful. And really, he’s one to talk.  It’s he who showed me how to love when it was hard. It’s he who taught me that I was loveable by doing everything he could to make me laugh so I would get over my self-consciousness about my loud laugh. It’s he who called me every day, even when I was mad at him.
  • Communication. We talked almost every night. I think we probably talked more than most couples did who lived together. In fact, I’d bet we know each other far better than most people who’ve been married longer. We learned to listen to tones in each other’s voices.  And we have a rule: no hang-ups. Hanging up in the middle of a fight is the worst kind of storming off. So we’d have these long pauses when we could not speak because we were so mad and had nothing friendly to say, but we couldn’t hang up so we were forced to work it through till we reached some kind of resolution.
  • Commitment to the relationship. We both wanted it to work. This means you have to dump pride to the side, and you have to be able to give and receive grace.
  • And now: God. We recognize that God was there all along, but we weren’t paying attention to that at first.

3,000 miles can exist within the same house between two people.  Physical distance doesn’t break a relationship; emotional chasms do. Tom and I learned to bridge them while we lived so far apart, and now we are discovering how much we enjoy being together in the same house with no chasms to cross. It’s pretty amazing.