Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tender Mercies

A friend from grade school recently read The Golden Sky and messaged me on facebook with these two words:

 Tender Mercies

    I sat, reading those words and I realized that's what this journey has been, since releasing Zeke's story.  The people I've met, the lives his story has touched.  Yes, Zeke died, but I feel as if his little life is still blessing mine.
   I recently decided to have The Golden Sky produced as an audiobook.  I knew whoever narrated this memoir would have to be a powerful, empathetic reader.  I listed the book and looked for narrators.  Days went by, and I hoped for the best.  I listened to many auditions for various books, the whole time wondering who would eventually be the voice of Zeke's Story.  
    When Alexandra G. Haag sent in the initial audition, I was blown away.  The sheer emotion in the woman's voice broke my heart.  She was exactly who I wanted--who I needed--to narrate Zeke's book.  While listening, tears streamed down my face.  And I wondered what Ms. Haag's story was for her to read the text so perfectly.



    Ms. Haag and I both committed to a contract for The Golden Sky to be an audiobook.   It wasn't until after everything was set in stone that I really understood how special this project would be.  Ms. Haag sent me this message:

Hello, Elisa,

I am so pleased to be asked to narrate The Golden Sky.  My first born child died at the age of ten weeks and, while my circumstances were different from yours, the resulting grief was also a blast to the heart. I pray that my narration is a blessing to you and your fans.
 
Sincerely,
Alexandra  

This gave me chills, just knowing that our angel babies are up in Heaven, probably watching us work on this project together.  Somehow I had this overwhelming feeling that this was meant to be.
    It was terrible losing a child and trying to think of anything that might lessen the pain.  But for Zeke's story to bless so many others.  And now for another mother, from similar circumstances, to be working on this project with me, well it's heartrending.  And it's another example of a tender mercy.
    I'm really looking forward to this audio.  I hope it will help many others who are struggling to deal with grief.   

    For more information about Zeke, please go HERE.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Disney Princess Look-a-likes: Ariel the Mermaid?

Best. Day. Ever. Yesterday a little girl came up to me and asked if I'm really Ariel the mermaid from the movie. I looked at her seriously and said, "Why, yes I am." You should have seen her face--I loved it.... Moments like that make life extraordinary.
   Anyway, I've dyed my hair red again. Whoever said blondes have more fun is a liar, so I'm gonna try the red thing out again. *smiling


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Plus, no one says anything when I have blonde hair, but when my hair is red, freakin' miracles happen. For example, last year an AMAZING woman, who is the head of a Facebook group dedicated to mermaids, posted this story about me! 
See, red is where it's at.







Like mermaids? Check this out!

Purchase "The Sword of Senack" Audiobook Version HERE

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What God made fishin' for anyhow

That moment when… You're fishing and you run into a man who seems vaguely familiar.
    As time passes, you're scouting the same spot, even sharing tricks of the fishin' trade. "You grew up in THAT small town?" he asks, showing you a new way to bait hooks.
    "The last name's Stilson," you reply, "like that character in ENDER'S GAME."
    "I knew a Clan Stilson...," he says.
    You get chills 'cause that's your grandpa. He starts telling you all these wonderful stories of a man you once knew.
    "That was my grandpa," you finally say. "He made everyone feel like his favorite." And then you start thinking how much you miss him because you loved him--and he meant something to everyone, even fishermen on the opposite side of the state.
    Then he starts telling you how he was there the day your grandpa fell from a roof. You get teary-eyed, because he's nearly shaking remembering the details, how he couldn't stop time, how he lived next door...how your grandpa died. Then he switches gears, tells you you're kind like your grandfather, but spunky like your grandma. You bust with laughter 'cause it's about the nicest thing you've ever flippin' heard. He says goodbye and tears fill your eyes again, even if you are covered in mud and worms guts line your fingernails--that's just part of the jig.
    After a while you're left alone by the motionless water. No fish on your line, with it's newly baited hook. But you don't care what size of trout you catch, the age of the hook you're using, or even if you wasted your money on garlic powerbait. You made another memory and that's what God made fishin' for anyhow.

I love you grandpa--and I miss you. You sure meant an awful lot to a whole bunch of people.
-E

Friday, March 18, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness Week #3--Flowers for a Stranger

The kids and I bought a bouquet of flowers.  It didn't cost much, but it sure looked amazing with pinks and oranges amongst baby's breath.  


    We vowed to give it to the first woman we saw outside.  My four kids and I listened to rock music as we drove around for a while.
    "I hope we'll see someone soon,"  my daughter--The Scribe said, so excited to give the flowers away.  I thought of what a prankster she can be, yet what a sweetheart.  She's the same kid who put fake cat poop on her teacher's chair, but the same girl who held our Labrador forever after the vet put her to sleep.
    As we searched for the right person to give the flower to, the Hippie, my second oldest, prayed despite the fact that I never bring her to church.  Some things must come naturally.
    Maybe her prayer worked, because right after that, The Scribe spotted a woman checking a metal business mailbox.  "That's her!  She's The One!"
    The "mailbox checker" may have laughed at that statement; it sure cracked the Hell outta me.  I'd like being called "The One."    
    "She looks so sad, checking all those letters," the Hippie said, drawing me from my thoughts.
    "Bet those letters are bills," The Scribe said.
    I pulled up to the curb and stopped the car.  "I'll be right back, kids.  Stay put.  Just watch through the windows."
    I ran up to the woman, because being stealthy isn't one of my gifts.  As I ran closer, the woman looked a bit shaken.  Note to self: if I'm gonna keep doing these random acts of kindness, I need to work on my approach. 
    So many thoughts went through my mind.  Was she a nurse?  She wore scrubs.  Was she really worried about a scrawny, white girl hurting her?  And lastly, why did she look so damn terrified AND sad?
    "These are for you!" I sputtered, holding the flowers toward her.  Then I had to bend over and catch my breath.  I started laughing really hard because the whole thing seemed hopelessly ridiculous.  It was freezing and my breath drifted out in these huge wafts.  The woman's eyebrows knitted in confusion.  "Sorry." I smiled, standing up straight. "My kids and I are trying to do a random acts of kindness once a week.  I know it sounds crazy.  I got these special. . . . These flowers are for you."
    I held them out to her again and after a moment her eyes sparkled.  She hugged that bouquet so tenderly.  "Really?"
    "Yep.  Well, see ya!"
    I turned and sprinted back to the van.  
    "She's so happy," the kids squealed, watching the woman walk behind a gray-brick building.  Even my youngest kid seemed excited.
    The traffic was terrible and I swear we waited at the stop sign for longer than Methuselah lived.
    Then as we turned, The Scribe pointed in astonishment.  "She's a vet.  Look!  She's on the other side of the building.  Holding those flowers."
    The woman, still beaming, opened a vet hospital's door and walked inside.  My heart stopped as I looked at the vet hospital.  We'd been there before, years ago with our beautiful Labrador.
    "And ya know. She kind of looks familiar," The Scribe said, confirming my thoughts.
    I had to blink away the tears because in that moment I realized who the woman was; she's the same person who selflessly helped console The Scribe the day our Labrador passed away.     

Friday, March 4, 2016

YOU realize we're all gonna die

For getting knifed by a doc, I'm doing pretty damn good.  Except my belly button has turned from a smiley to a frowny, but who cares--that's better than not having a belly button at all. They did three incisions on my stomach (with the laparoscopic surgery); one is in my belly button.  
    
Sidenote: 
    Can I be shallow for two seconds--I feel I've earned that after all the deep thinking I've done recently. 
    I'm just gonna get dressed in the dark from now on, even though Mike says he didn't marry me for my belly button or anything. But still, you never know.  It's like this alien face on my belly--just staring all clown-like.... Creepy. 
    But enough about my button of doom.

    So having a cancer scare.... Let's make a list of pros and cons.

CONS:
    1. YOU realize we're all gonna die *whispering* Ticking. Time. Bombs.
    2. Some people who care about you start freaking out--and you wish you'd never started blogging about this in the first place.
    3. You feel super gross after either getting a biopsy--or like me, getting a tumor removed and then biopsied.  (There's just something disturbing about an orange-sized piece of yourself being shipped off to a lab.)
    4. You look up "tumor" and wish you could "unlearn" some things. 
    5. You get the tumor removed and magically weigh MORE than you did before going into surgery--hello WEIRD? Did they leave an instrument behind? Do the math.

PROS:
    1. You really appreciate life.
    2. Every hour seems to last a freakin' eternity.
    3. You begin noticing the little things, like birds cheeping 'n how awesome Doritos are; especially the cool ranch version.
    4. So what if everyone thinks you're dramatic 'cause you had a tumor--YOU started writing again.
    5. You realize who really cares about you.
    6. AND you know--beyond anything--who/what really matters to you. 

    Today I got my pathology reports back from the tumor-monster-ovary-thing, and the other growths on my chick parts.  Come to find out *wait for it* it's not freakin' cancer!!! Yay.  :)
    The OB sat down on his chair and wheeled toward me. "It's not even Endometriosis," he said. "You have something I've only seen two other times in my career. It's called, endosalpingiosis."
    "Endo-huh?" I said.
    "That sounds ethnic," my husband said, from the side of the room. 
    I raised a brow at Mike 'cause he knows he's hilarious, then turned back to the doc.
    "Good news is," that amazing doctor said without really missing the moment, "it isn't known for being very progressive.  Endosalpingiosis is where the tissue in the Fallopian tubes grows outside of the tubes. It can be dangerous, but since we took your left ovary and Fallopian tube out, I'd like to see if this issue will subside. You're scheduled for an MRI tomorrow, but I'm confident it will go well. If everything checks out, I propose you come back in a year or unless you're in pain. We'll go from there."
    I sat shocked. And I could have cried from the surprise--and happiness--of it all. Endo-what-the-heck-ever-it's-called.  Who woulda thunk!
    So I'm still recovering from getting knifed last week. I told someone that and they didn't realize I was talking about my surgery. "Oh, my gosh," they said. "Seriously?"
    I nodded, and showed them my stomach.
    "Oh, krap! Was it for your wallet?" 
    "No, I got knifed by a doctor. But he didn't take much of my money; he robbed my insurance blind instead."
    Joking aside. He did an amazing job and I'm thankful for the whole damn thing--even my belly button.   
   
    Life is crazy. One minute it's up, the next it's down. I learned a lot about myself in the last few weeks.  
    I've never been this scared about my own life. And I wasn't scared for the reasons I might have expected; I was simply scared to lose time with the people I love.  
    But I guess it's okay to be scared sometimes, after all, that means I'm still alive.

Signing Off,
A Tumor-less Chick 
Who will be blogging 
about happier topics very soon.

P.S. I have such awesome co-workers.  These peanut clusters were better than pain meds!
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