Halloween is here again!

I had a fabulous in-costume picture from a recent trip that my husband insists he doesn’t want me to share. Since I’m about a year behind on Halloween pictures, you’ll probably see it next year…

Halloween is here again, and I’m thrilled as always. This year’s costume may be more recognizable to most classic Disney movie aficionados than last year’s (pictured) rushed-home-from-work-to-get-ready-for-a-Halloween-party. However, I loved getting to commemorate such a historical character for Halloween. In my neighborhood, there are enough people who aren’t familiar with American pop culture and American history to recognize her, but my clue to you is “We Can Do It!” Let me know in the comments if you figured it out.

I love that T doesn’t want to be a princess: her favorite show is “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and she was determined to be the one with the “Green Hat, Red Feather.” I’d rather she was a swashbuckling adventurer than Cinderella any day. While D doesn’t usually have too much of an opinion about these things yet, when he got his little Jake costume on, he was just as pleased as any two-year-old could be.

Call for Beta Readers

Of course, Halloween brings with it shades of NaNoWriMo. While I’m not planning to participate this year, it’s because I’m feverishly working to wrap up my edits to Book 2 of “Sea Deception.”

Titled “Sea Rivals,” it follows the story of my heroine four years after the conclusion of “Sea Dreams.” And that first book is completely finished and ready for beta readers and formatting: I don’t plan to touch it again to make any further changes. Edits all in doubled the word count, and I couldn’t be happier with how the story has turned out. If you’re interested in being a beta reader, sign up to the mailing list and indicate or update your preference.

So I’ve been hard at work scribbling…as soon as I knock out my first-pass edits to Book 2, I’ll send it to my editor for her feedback. Then I’ll get to the business of writing the first draft of the final book, whose title is still not completely decided. That last book is fully plotted out, and I just need to find the time to sit still and write the story. I even have a thought for a bonus book following related characters, so let’s see how this series plays out.

But first, Halloween!

(Then beta readers)

What costume do you have planned?

The Birthday

I heard a song and these lyrics made me cry. Today would have been my father’s 72nd birthday.

In the almost nine months since he’s been gone, I have heard all sorts of advice:

“He’s in a better place,” with a hefty dose of “It’s God’s Will.”

Yes, I agree. Cancer is an evil disease that creates a very special breed of suffering.

But even as I struggle with my faith, this is one unshakeable truth.

Watching him die was its own torture, and the slow, inexorable march of destruction the cancer wrought on his body and mind haunts me. I think it always will. And certainly railing against God, particularly for something as merciful as finally ending his suffering, will avail me nothing.

“It gets easier.”

Perhaps. It hasn’t yet. Some say I should give it more time. Others, that I should have been feeling better by some specific date or time. Yeah, none of that happened. I just moved my tears to the shower, or the car, when I’m alone and my mind is insufficiently occupied. Honestly, I think people just say this because the alternative is unpalatable.

“It never gets easier.”

I believe this one is true.

Perhaps because I was blessed to not have truly watched suffering, or because before the stakes weren’t so high, it didn’t bother me as much in my teens and twenties when I lost people. Of course, none of them were as close to me as my own father.

But now, faced with the realities of motherhood and mortality, the responsibilities of providing for my children and the worry of aging parents, and cursed with a greater knowledge of the dangers and evils of the world, I know that I will continue to receive this news. With it comes the grief—my own and that of other loved ones. And knowing how much it hurts now, how much others will hurt, how much they will continue to hurt, it makes my heart hurt.

I’m not convinced the pain ever grows easier to bear.

All I know is that I’ll never get to hear my dad’s voice (or advice) again, feel his hand in mine, or share the joy of our lives together.

There is nothing I can do about it.

I can’t fix it.

I can’t take away my pain.

I can only keep myself so busy, my mind so occupied, that I don’t allow my sorrow to consume me.

Because I still feel lost.