Ten O’Clock Scholar – hug

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘hug.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Reaching for the note, Peggy kept her eyes on Mrs. Stone. After the teacher’s admonitions about tardiness and cell phones in the class, Peggy didn’t think that passing notes to one another would be an allowable action, even though she hadn’t specifically spoken against it. Even though many years had passed since Peggy sat in a classroom, she instantly felt like she was back in Junior High, passing notes to her best friend. Although, in this current technological age, it felt like old times. What the kids would call ‘old-school’, she supposed.

Looking at the piece of paper in her hand, she saw it was a phone number. She gave a thumbs up motion to Wanda, to acknowledge it. I’ll have to ask her if she texts. My parents do, but Wanda looks older – more like my grandparents age. They carry cell phones, but don’t know the first thing about texting.

Before she could worry more about Wanda’s texting abilities, she turned her attention back to the instructor, who was pacing back and forth across the front of the room during her introductory discourse. “…you’ll need to have your laptops with you every day.” She picked up a stack of papers from her desk and handed the pile to the corner seat. “Here is the syllabus for the quarter, along with instructions and passwords to log onto the online course items. We will have two mandatory field trips. One to the Pacific Design Center and one to the Gable House in Pasadena. The dates and times are in the syllabus.”

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Field trips? Clear to Pasadena? And the Design Center in LA? How am I going to work that out? I hope Mary’s up for a few longer days than I anticipated.

wallpaper samples.jpgBut she couldn’t dwell on that. Mrs. Stone was off in another flurry, opening the cupboards that ran the full length of three sides of the class. “…samples are in here…textile samples…wallpaper books…paint chips here…”

Even though the work seemed overwhelming, Peggy was enthusiastic to start learning. A ripple of excitement coursed through her soul as she imagined immersing herself in the hundreds – or thousands – of available samples.

By the time she left class, Peggy’s head was whirling with the massive assignment list the students received.

Wanda caught her elbow as she gathered her belongings. “Call me and we can compare notes about the class.”

“OK. But I don’t have a lot of time to chat during the day. You know, two young boys and all. You text?”

“Naturally.”

“Great. I usually text. But don’t take it personal if I don’t reply right away. Sometimes I’m in the middle of things and can’t answer then.”

A wistful smile filled Wanda’s face, smoothing out the crevices that lined her face. “I remember those days. Vaguely. Now my grandchildren are having children and I’m an old woman with nothing to fill her days.” A gleam in her eye replaced the look of longing. “Until school. Happy 60th birthday to me. Now there’s an agenda to my week and a purpose to get up and get dressed.”

Peggy chuckled and held up a palm for a high five. “Good for you! We’ll chat. But I’ve got to run and pick up the boys now. They’re not used to being left with a sitter, even though it’s a friend that they know.”

Dashing to the car, Peggy felt like dancing with glee. I needed this! School and learning. And making new friends. Topped off by giant hugs from the boys when I pick them up. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

It was when she was in the car, fighting traffic on the congested 10 Freeway that she thought of Derek and wondered what mood he was going to be in that evening.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar: staple

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘staple.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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The woman tucked a few stray, silver tresses behind an ear and leaned in closer. “Hi, I’m Wanda.”

Peggy held out a hand and introduced herself. After comparing notes about what brought them to this class, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the two had a lot in common, despite the age difference. Her new friend was not the curmudgeon she appeared to be at first glance. And, while Peggy was returning to school after a ten year hiatus, she learned that Wanda was returning to the classroom after forty years. She had just celebrated her sixtieth birthday and starting the interior design program was her present to herself.

Maybe she’s just as intimidated as I am right now.

Before she could question Wanda about it, the instructor clapped her hands at the front of the classroom. The chatter that had been filling the room with a soft buzz came to an abrupt halt. The teacher stood in a regal stance, her gaze shifting around the room to make sure she had everyone’s attention. “I’m Mrs. Stone. I’m your instructor for most of the classes in the interior design program. I’m also the program chair. Before I begin, I want to cover a few ground rules for my classroom. First of all…no cell phones. If you have your phones with you, please turn them off, or silence them during my classroom time. If your phone rings during class time, I’ll ask you to leave for the remainder of class.”

Every student in the room scrambled for cell phones, either tucked in pockets or sequestered in purses. Rapid movements from everyone reflected a mass of students scurrying to comply with the teacher’s request.

After she waited a few moments for phones to be silenced, Mrs. Stone continued with her standard rules. “Also, I do not tolerate tardiness. When it’s time for class to begin, I lock the door and no one may enter after that. There will be a signup sheet stapled to the bulletin board next to the door. If you arrive late and the door is locked, sign up on the sheet and you’ll get partial credit for the day.”

Peggy gulped. Being on time was not an attribute she possessed. It was hard enough getting herself ready and out the door on time. When you added two boys to the mix, it made her run even later. Getting to class on time, for every single class, would be a challenge. She leaned over to whisper a comment to Wanda, then caught the teachers glaring look in her direction. Sitting back straight in her chair, she decided it was best to keep quiet. She certainly didn’t want to earn the teacher’s ire on the first day.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. She glanced off to the side and saw Wanda slipping a note towards her.

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Trisha’s Tidbits

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Want a new story snippet to read each week? Want a chance for some fun contest prizes? Join us at Trisha’s Tidbits, for all this and more.

This week the short story is ‘Hazel’s Spice of Life.’

photo.JPGThe winner of last week’s contest won a set of cedar sachets. Just for reading the newsletter and sending an answer back. She, along with others, was entered into the drawing. Nora’s name was drawn and next week the mailman will deliver a set of freshly scented sachets.

Join us here for the fun.

A Second Chance: Tuesday Tales Bookstore

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Tuesday Tales Bookstore debuts today. Tuesday Tales is a group of authors that post a weekly snippet, written to a different word or picture prompt. Today we’re sharing some of our published books, stories that got their start in Tuesday Tales. I’m sharing one of my books, A Second Chance.

Here’s a blurb about A Second Chance, followed by an excerpt. Take a peek and check it out. Then head back to Tuesday Tales for more fascinating reads. (Pssst…I’ve heard that some of the authors may even be sharing some FREE books on their pages!)

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Not everyone gets a second chance at life. Usually, ‘the end’ is just that – the end. But, sometimes, a lucky person steps away from death’s door and gets a second chance. Jenny got hers one day on an early morning flight to California. But now she faces something even bigger. What will she do with this second chance that was offered to her? Will her life change? Will she do anything differently? Or will she fill her life with the same choices she made before her cardiac arrest?

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Here’s an excerpt from A Second Chance:

Chapter 7

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

December 14th

Although I despised working almost every Saturday, the one saving feature was that I had a day off during the week. This Tuesday morning I enjoyed a leisurely morning of sleeping in.

After pouring a glass of orange juice, I turned on my computer and quickly went to Facebook to catch up with the world around me. Michelle Barr, an inspirational woman I follow, had posted an interesting thought. She was talking about dreaming big dreams and setting goals and intentions, and she wrote:

“…everything that is not in alignment with that rises up to be healed or transformed. I call that ‘Your stuff coming up.’ You can choose to heal and clear this so that you can move forward…”

Hmmm, I’ve noticed that my dreams contained lots of anger. There were old frustrations surfacing in my mind, mostly when my body had shut down for the night. Some of these memories and angers were from way back, some of them twenty years ago. Maybe, in order to heal and go forward, I couldn’t suppress these feelings anymore. I needed to deal with them to heal.

I knew that one way of releasing hurts and negative emotions is journaling. I decided to pursue that, to try to clear the chaff from my mind and my subconscious. I headed to my bookcases, knowing I had several nice, blank journals to choose from. Looking through them I couldn’t decide which one to use. They were all too ‘pretty’; too pretty to write ugly thoughts in.

Maybe a school composition book.

Then I had another thought. If I’m writing these words to ‘get them out of my life’, then I don’t want them written down and engraved in ink so that I can go back and re-read them, keeping them permanently on the page.

I decided to use scrap paper and write the ‘ugly’ things on them, the musings I didn’t want to see again, the thoughts and feelings I was trying to release. I’ll write them down, then tear up the paper and toss it in the trash. They will be my trash journals. I thought that the tearing up and throwing away would symbolically help me too.

The next day at work, as I headed out to my car for lunch, I grabbed some scratch paper to take with me. I scribbled away the entire time.

December 15: I’m going to begin my ‘trash’ journal. I don’t want to write in a pretty journal and keep my words forever. I don’t want these where anyone else can see them   I don’t want them where I can go back and re-read them and keep them in my mind. The purpose of these are to release the negatives and the anger – to write it and acknowledge it and then throw the words away and move on with my life.

I’m trying to accentuate the positive – to think on the good things to bring more of the good into my life. But … I still have some angers and negative, complaining thoughts in my head. Some old. Some new. Some frustrations with life. I won’t consider these complaints as I’m trying to strive to be complaint-free. This is for healing. Because I find if I don’t express these thoughts, they creep into my dreams and my sleep. They find their way to surface in some manner. And working themselves out in anxious, angry dreams isn’t helpful. It brings matters to my attention, but if I don’t do anything, it’s like an un-lanced abscess – still festering away and keeping me from the peaceful, joyful life that I deserve.

Releasing these feelings will allow for an enhanced spiritual life – one where I know myself better – where I’m more attuned to those around – where my spiritual and psychic senses can open up –a life where I can be in contact with my guides and where life in general is the life I need to be living.

I fully believe that for circumstances to have been what they were the day my heart stopped, that it was not my time to go. There is still more I need to learn or something I still have yet to do. Otherwise, I would have left this life peacefully fifteen minutes before the alarm on a normal, routine Thursday morning.

Instead, I was in an airplane, in an unusual and out of the ordinary trip to San Francisco – with Carla beside me to sound the alarm and start CPR to keep me here … with three doctors within a forty to fifty foot radius of me … with medical equipment and a defibrillator within arm’s reach.

What are the odds of that? Astronomical, I’d venture to guess. To know this, with every fiber of my being – but yet to continue life as before – unchanged – would be a gross waste. A travesty.

To honor the unseen guides and loved ones that were with me, and the physical beings on this earthly plane that were responsible for keeping me here with every effort of their beings, I choose to move forward and live a higher life. The purpose of my life is not to work a mundane day-to-day job, to eke out a bare bones paycheck-to-paycheck life. The trivialities and pettiness of co-workers are not important to me or why I’m here. I choose to move beyond that.

I choose to do the things necessary to my life, in living a higher life. One of the necessary things I need to do is to release anger and frustration – not to keep them sequestered and buried deep in the recesses of my mind. That, I choose to begin doing today. The other things, I’ll learn along my new path.

I intended to write down the ugly thoughts, then tear them up and throw them in the trash.

Something about this first journaling prompted me to keep it. I began with negative thoughts and emotions, yet thirty minutes later, at the end of my lunch, I’d already moved into an epiphany. I felt I needed to keep this ‘A-Ha’ moment.

I met Carla for dinner that night, and shared what I’d been contemplating all day.

“I’ll be changing,” I warned her.

“Changing?” she asked, acutely more attentive to my words. “Changing how?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I’ll find out as I go along. It won’t be huge changes, like I’m not suddenly going to start doing drugs…or move to Alaska…or have any other drastic life changes. My basic personality is still going to remain ‘me’. But my life has to change, in some fashion. It would be a huge waste if it didn’t.”

I read her the last part of what I’d written and tried to explain how I felt I must become more attuned with my spirituality, not in a “church” or organized religion way, but as my inner being and connectedness to a higher power and all that is linked together. I had to question ‘why?’ I intended to slough off the pretenses and false faces that I often wear to the rest of the world. I had to become real. I had to be true to myself.

“I still don’t totally understand. C’mon Jenny. Fess up. Are you…like…gonna move? Going to change jobs? Shave your head and move into a commune?” she joked.

“No, nothing that radical. But, I have to take this second chance and have it stand for something. I have to change.” I took a sip of water, trying to come up with the words to explain what raced around in my brain. “To continue life unchanged is like taking this second chance and throwing it in the trash. It would make it mean nothing. And, I don’t want to disregard the importance of this opportunity.”

“As long as we’re still friends. I don’t want to lose your friendship over your journey of becoming more, as you say, real.”

“We will always be friends. You know how far Amber and I go back. You know I don’t take my friendships lightly, nor do I lose friends over trivial matters.” I reached across the table and patted her hand to acknowledge my words. “But, to go further with these new goals, to take off my masks and attempt to truly live a more authentic life, with loftier dreams and aspirations – will mean I must make changes in my life.”

That night I copied a quote in my journal, my ‘pretty’ journal, the one that I keep:

“Nature is one connected whole. At any given moment every part must be precisely what it is, because all other parts are what they are, and not a grain of sand could be moved from its place without changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” Johann Gottlies Fichte, 1800

After the quote, I added these words:

My intent is to move some grains of sand, not a lot of sand, but important ones. And in the moving of these few select grains, the immeasurable whole will reflect changes. I cannot do this and remain the same identical person.

Onward bound, here we go…to a life with greater awareness!

Whatever that life may be. What was coming up ahead was the biggest mystery and I had no earthly idea what was in my future.

 

Thanks for stopping by today!

A Second Chance is available as an ebook or paperback

Ten O’Clock Scholar – Mother

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘mother.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Peggy expected a semi-conspiratorial grin from the one other student that was older than the youngsters surrounding them. Instead she got a glare revealing which side of the bed the woman had woken up on. And it wasn’t the pleasant, optimistic side.

Feeling rebuffed, Peggy shifted her gaze to the concrete walkway and shuffled a dried oak leaf around with the tip of her sandal.

Her mind wandered and bits of motherly advice she’d often heard in her past came back to haunt her.

“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

“Don’t let others reactions make you feel less than worthy.”

Breathing in a deep breath, Peggy filled her chest and straightened her shoulders back.

I’ve got this. I may be older than the giggling gaggle around me, but I’ve got the determination to succeed and the strength to finish what I aim for. Besides, I have ten years of experience that these youngsters don’t.

She giggled softly to herself as the next thought crossed her mind.

And, I certainly won’t be spending my time here partying and trying to meet boys. Leaves me lots of time and energy for study!

The line of students quieted as a tall, willowy woman walked up to the door and unlocked it. Propping it open, she stepped inside and the queue followed her and began plopping into seats. Peggy aimed for a seat in the rear of the room, her favorite location in venues with a lot of people she didn’t know. She was surprised when she glanced up and saw the grouchy looking older lady grab a chair next to her.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – cry

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘cry.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Once she was away from a clingy youngster and the confusion of getting two boys dressed and to Mary’s house, Peggy felt the stressed feelings peeling away like layers of an onion. With each mile getting closer to the campus, she felt her excitement rise. Even Derek’s sour mood over the past week couldn’t dim her enthusiasm. Feelings of pride and accomplishment over this huge step in her life swelled in her and caused her to set up straight in the driver’s seat.

Empowered was the word that came to her mind. After all the years of submitting to Derek’s desires and wishes, for once she was taking action towards something that would expand and enhance her life.

TT studentsPeggy’s feeling of pride deflated as soon as she rounded the corner and saw the line of barely-twenty-somethings waiting to enter the classroom. The students – mostly girls, but not all – giggled and twittered in their clustered groups. Most wore skimpy clothes that revealed a lot of abdomen and back – certainly far more than Peggy was willing to display of her post-two-children body. She caught herself as a brief moment of wanting to cry passed through her.

They will not make me feel old.

I will not allow myself to be intimidated by these youngsters.

I have every right to be in a classroom learning too.

I am not too old for this!

The thoughts ran in a jumble through her brain as she tried to banish the unworthy feelings and tried to gear her thoughts towards a positive mindset.

She stood in line, leaning up against the brick wall, feeling too timid to speak to anyone around her. Two more girls, looking just barely out of high school fell into place behind her, chattering away to each other as if they were lifelong friends. Another lady joined the line and Peggy sighed with relief when she saw the short gray hair and wire rimmed glasses.

Whew! Someone older than me. At least I’m not the oldest woman in class now.

She smiled at the newcomer over the heads of the youngsters between them, but wasn’t prepared for the reaction she received.

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