Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Completed!

The certificate that they give once the book
has a validated word count -- 50,000 words

I have completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge and am feeling good about it.

The month flew by and at times I doubted if I'd finish on time; but, I did. I love all the characters and their interactions with each other.

Since I'm pretty certain that most of my blog readers may never see the book, I thought I'd include a few passages from various places in the book without the worry of giving away the ending.

( Don't worry, there is dialogue in the book.  These excerpts are just descriptions....therefore, they take up less space for this blog!) Now remember, I have not edited yet....I just wrote, and wrote, and WROTE! I never looked back!!
Book Cover Photo

Synopsis: After 20 years of marriage, a middle aged woman suddenly finds
herself divorced and left to raise four children.
She sets out on a quest to discover new land and rediscovers herself in the process.

The Olive Branch

                As I wrapped my hands around the warm mug of herbal tea, I leaned back in my favorite chair on the small covered porch and let out a sigh.  The warm days of summer were beginning to become a faded memory.  I noted the early morning fog was able to linger a little longer because of the cooler temperatures. As I closed my eyes, my sense of sight gave way to the sounds of morning.  Birds fluttering and chirping in the shrubs and trees surrounding the house and porch interrupted my thoughts. The sounds of them busily preparing their winter nests seemed to momentarily chase away some thoughts while others came pouring in.  Winter nests- what a powerful visual. So many word associations come to mind: safety; comfort; food; protection; family.  I once had a nest.  It seems as though I had devoted my life to ensuring that those in my ‘nest’ felt safe and comfortable; that they were fed and nurtured.  After all, they were family.  My protective instincts would have had to have ranked high on a scale had they ever been measured.  So, to think that my ‘nest’ was ripped apart from within, from someone who I had thought was family,  was and is still too much for me to comprehend or accept.  


My tea was cooling down and I needed to begin my morning chores, so I pushed back the chair and headed toward the porch door. As I grasped the knob and pulled, the warmth of the handle and the creak of the hinge brought a smile to my face.  This was my door, my house, my farm, and I had built it all from the bottom up, with the help of my children. As I glanced down at my hand holding the knob, I noted the difference in the appearance of my hands now compared with how they’d looked just a few years before. These were working hands. There were no rings, no nail polish, and no smooth palms. Instead, they were bronzed from the sun, calloused from the tools, and dried from the wind. But, these were good hands- hands that comforted my children; hands that cared for the animals; hands that reached out to help someone whenever they were needed. “I wouldn’t want them any other way!” I thought to myself as I stepped over the threshold alone.


While I poured each cupful of grain into the individual animal bowls, the noise mixed with the sound of a woodpecker in a tree not far off. I looked up to see if I could find him. The grass on the hills was lighter this time of year. Not the bright, thick green with spring, not the dark, bluegrass color that comes mid-summer. No, this was a soft yellow-green as if to say, “I’m leaving for a while. Try not to miss me. I promise I’ll be back.” As the days grow shorter, the leaves fall from the trees and the sky dims to a misty blue-grey, I find myself fighting to keep the winter-blues away. 


The wind blew across the fields. The crisp smell of the air brought my thoughts back to the present. The horses nickered for food. “Yes, it’s your turn,” I muttered. I raised the zipper a bit higher on my jacket and was glad that I’d chosen the heavier one this morning. Fall was definitely here and winter not too far away. I glanced across the fields and remembered how differently this looked when I had walked the property lines the very first time.

Long before I actually moved onto the farm, I had walked the land, mapping out where I wanted the house, the paddocks, the orchard, and the garden. As I walked, I fell more and more in love with the land; I thought I had never seen a more beautiful piece of earth.  Every time I looked upon the gently rolling ground, the lush green fields, the spectacular sunsets, and the massive spans of night sky that displayed incredibly brilliant stars, I felt I was blessed to be surrounded by nature in its raw state.

From those very first moments the land beneath my feet had achieved the metaphorical cornerstone that would not let me crumble.  I felt it challenged the fighter that lay broken within me and gave my life direction once again. Those grueling first months on the farm required so much physical work that each day I was pushed to the point of exhaustion. The physical demand required of me connected to the mental one and that’s how the healing began for us all. 


We had opened the barn and had just gotten ourselves comfortable on a soft bale of orchard grass when we saw a light orange glow begin low on the south east horizon. As we sat there side by side and watched the sun slowly creeping higher and higher in the sky, Jeff put his arm around me and pulled me closer.

“There is no place I’d rather be or anyone I’d rather be with than right here, right now, with you,” he said softly.

I leaned against him and it felt as though it had always been like this. I felt his lips brush against my hair. As I turned my face to smile, I felt his lips find mine. It was a gentle kiss, but one that promised many good things to come.

Just twenty four hours ago the day had begun with a memory of the person who had destroyed my life and all that I had believed in. But I knew things would be different now. There was no going back. No returning to that place in my heart that was filled with anger. I had moved on and Jeff had helped me do that. It was as if he’d offered me an olive branch- a symbol of victory for overcoming the pain that I had endured.  I didn’t know what was in store for me or where my life path would take me next, but I did know that life can be good, and that when your heart is ready, it can move on.

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