Tag Archives: Maggie

Grace

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Where do you find grace?  Do you ever really look for it?

Grace tapped me on the shoulder this morning during church.  Sitting on a pew in the eighty-year old building, I glanced over to one of the towering stained-glass windows just as a beam of sunlight speared through.  After a long, rainy day yesterday, the arrival of sun shining through the brightly colored glass was enough to bring a sudden smile to my face.

It was enough to feel the whispers of grace.

Grace, to me, is that gentle reminder, that knowing tug that says hope is never lost.  No matter what, it never really is gone.  Grace is always waiting for you.  You only have to open your eyes and see it.  Grace is forgiveness, is love, is hope.

I’m working, slowly but surely, on my current book.  My current character, Maggie, is discovering grace after losing her memories and beginning again.  Amnesia has stolen every memory, every detail of her life beyond the past several months.  She’s on a journey of self-discovery, and often trips over her own feet trying to figure out life.

 

    The wedding feast was grand.  Grand in love, in joy, in smiles.  Tables covered portions of the backyard, draped in lacy pink cloths.  Candles flickered across the yard as yellow roses, purple phlox and white daisies filled vase after vase. 

    The bride and groom shined as devotion bloomed between them.  The children ran giddily among the tables, their laughter echoing into the warm night air, blending into the tilt of voices as stories were told, one after the other.

    People gathered throughout the yard, enjoying the summer feast of chicken and pork, fruits and pies, vegetables, fresh and stewed.  It was a night of celebration, a night of promise.

    Soaking it all in from her perch on the porch, Maggie let each scent, each whisper of noise, each sensation fill her soul.  In that moment, she knew gratitude, understood the enormity of thankfulness.  Her body was full.  Smiling into the night, she knew she’d been given the gift of life.  A second chance.  A new beginning.  And for the first time since awakening months before, she felt a warm rush flush her body.  A rush of love, of knowledge.  Something much bigger than anything she knew had blessed her.  Something she at last could identify as grace. 

Missing You, Maggie

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Finally…it finally happened.  The holidays are behind us, and I cynically say thank goodness.  Our routine is settling back into a steady rhythm, and at last, I finally found my way back to the computer this past weekend.  And nothing has ever felt so good as to sit down and reconnect with my long, lost friend…my stories.

Maggie was there, and Charles and Duncan, and Mrs. McGreevy…oh, how I missed them!  I’m sure that’s a problem only obsessed writers have – missing characters. These ‘people’ inhabit my mind, some days more pronounced than others.  It was wonderful to work on their story again.  And maybe, just maybe, I may have finally figured out how I’m going to end this book.  Maybe.

The hard part was going back to work today.  I had to separate myself from my story, put it away for another day, and focus on a different part of my life.  Even though my first career has been fulfilling, I can’t help but dream about the day when I can write full-time.  My life, Part 2.

I’m paddling my way through what I need and must do to develop my writing.  To ever be able to write for more than enjoyment, I have to conquer my fear of  unveiling my work to others.  Conquering fears…Maggie is doing the same.

Mrs. McGreevy spoke, “Ye both are similar creatures.  Pretty little things, needing love and assurance, but you’re so much stronger than Prudy ever was.  You have a mighty strong backbone and she, well, she was crippled by fear most of her life.  She feared what people would do to her if they ever found out about her secrets.”

“Feared,” Maggie dared asked, leery of stopping her words.

“Fear of being locked up in a hospital somewhere, fear of being thought of as crazy or even worse, as some witch or the like.  She feared a right many things and no talking or soothing would ever ease her fears.  And it wasn’t for lack of trying.  We tried over and over to soothe her to no use.”

“That is very sad.”

“It was indeed.”  Crooked fingers raised to rub weary eyes before locking onto Maggie.  “I’ll tell you this much, missus.  She dreamed, she saw things when she was awake, and no matter how long in between the sights, they always returned.  Most were worrisome to her, like her seeming to know Constance would live a very short life, but not all were difficult.  There were times when she smiled at her dreams, and there’d be months and months when she’d be free from it all.  I’ll tell you what I told her….there’s no fear to be had in your dreams.  Take them for what they are…no more, no less.  If some figure who looks like your Mister Charles but calls himself Hank speaks to you now and then, then say hello back.  What’s there to worry for?  It’ll all be just dreams, that’s all.”

Grinning, Maggie reached out to pat her arm, “Thank you for that, for your words.  I’ll cherish them and keep them to myself.  I’ll tell no one if that’s your wish.”

“I only tell ya so you’ll not let your own fears hold you back.  Never let them cripple you as Prudy did.”

 

Faith

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I don’t put my faith in the hands of man.  They tend to drop you.  I don’t put my hope in the love of others.  They tend to forget you.  I instead know that the best is yet to come.  Someone much larger than all of us is in control – of me, of this world.  And for that I’m thankful.

Faith  may be the most beautiful word in the english language.  It implies devotion and strength but still, it’s a delicate word.  It’s almost fragile.  Hope is just as stunning and perhaps a tad stronger.  It gives a window to the future, a longing for what is just beyond our reach, but it too can be bruised and tattered when mishandled. 

The hands of man and the love of others.  How much control do they have over us?  How much of ourselves are we willing to hand over to people who have no right to control our lives and emotions?  Growing older, after living through wonderful times and heart wrenching encounters, I’m learning to let them have very, very little.  I simply refuse to let people who do not truly love or truly care batter two of the greatest gifts of all – faith and hope.   They both are nothing but an intricate, complex mesh of miracles, and I won’t waste them. 

My current character, Maggie, is struggling with the meaning of faith:

       Deep lines wrinkled her skin as she smiled and reassured, “I know it to be so.  Anyone who yearns to love, who is filled with the kindness that fills you like it does, will find it in return.  Hold on to your hope.  It will see you through.”

      “Hope…”

      “Yes, hope in the future being better, and faith, too, my dear.  Faith is what gets you through when you think there’s nothing left for you anywhere.”

      “Explain your concept of faith to me…,” Maggie urged. 

      Reaching out to pat her hand, Mrs. McGreevy warmly answered, “Missus, faith is believing in what you cannot see, in what you cannot understand.  It’s knowing that your dear Lord is taking care of you and your life, no matter how hard it is at the moment.”

      “But…I honestly don’t know if I understand.  There are so many things I don’t understand.”

      “You’re not supposed to understand it all, child.  Just have faith that things are going to be alright.  Let your heart believe it, let the thought fill you, and it’ll see you through.  That’s all you have to understand.”

 

Freedom

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I voted today.  I was a proud American, voting for president.  It was my privilege and honor to vote, and I’m grateful to live in a country where I can.

Here’s the kicker – I really hate politics.  Really. Hate. It.  Did I say really?  The farce of it all, the picking of sides.  Yuck.  Not for me.  But I voted, and I’m glad I did.  We truly are blessed to live in a free country.

My latest character, Maggie, lives in the late 1800’s, and she’s far from free.  Society dictates what she wears, what she says, what she can do, and she hates it.  She’s defiant, and I love that about her.  Maggie doesn’t want to wear a corset, she refuses to ride a side-saddle, and she doesn’t want to be fake or prim and proper.  She wants to be herself…just Maggie.  And even though her life has been shattered and pieced back together, she’s not afraid of moving forward.  She’s finding her own freedom.

Here’s a snippet from Maggie’s story:

     Mrs. McGreevy stood at an island in the middle of the room, kneading bread on an ancient wooden slab.  Her crooked fingers worked the dough with power and speed.  Glancing up, she grinned.  Taking in Maggie’s attire, she cackled, “So you want to learn to bake, do you?”

     “Yes, I do.”

     “No time like the present, I always say.  Come on over and let me show you what I know.”

     Rolling up her sleeves, Maggie moved in beside Mrs. McGreevy and studied how she pushed and flipped the dough in half.  “What are you doing that for?”

     “It’s called kneading.  You knead the dough to prep it for baking.  No mixing with a spoon for this.  Maybe for a cake or a batch of cookies, but for bread you have to put your hands into it and give it a good once over.”

     Watching the elderly woman work, Maggie itched to try.  But first she declared, “I’m not crazy…I just wanted you to know that.”

     Mrs. McGreevy cackled again, “No mum, you’re not.  Not at all.  You’ve just had a changing of the mind, of the heart.  Am I right?”

     “Yes, exactly so.”

     “Nothing at all crazy about that.  Some might even say it’s nothing but a blessing in disguise.  Not many of us get to change our personalities along the way, and if I may say so, much for the better.  I’d reckon to say that your conk on the head was nothing more than God himself kneading your life.”  Glancing up, her old eyes twinkled, “You ready to give it a go?”

Maggie

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My latest character is Maggie.  Maggie is complex – her story is complex.  Instead of traveling forward in time, Maggie has traveled backwards, possibly to a previous life.  I’m still hashing that out.  She has no memories of her previous life, no memories of the life she is currently living.  Everything is new and strange and complex (there’s that word again).   Maggie knows two things – she doesn’t fit in and she’s lonely. 

Writing about time travel is tricky!  Only ‘I’ know she traveled…Maggie doesn’t, her husband doesn’t, her children don’t.  They all believe she lost her memory in a terrible accident.  What I’m finding difficult is keeping the connection between what was and what is.  Very tricky indeed.

Questions about time travel and 1888:  Did women ever wear pants? The internet says no, but I keep picturing a western cow-girl in my head with a split skirt…hmmm…could I get away with that with Maggie? And too, what about underwear? The panty type. All I keep finding are pictures of slips and corsets…did women wear panties or just pantalettes? Do any of you know where to find good, reliable information on the late 1800’s?

A paragraph from Maggie’s prologue:

“Desperately wanting to escape the torture and the worries of her children, she closed her eyes and prayed.  A prayer for the ones she was leaving behind, and a prayer for a hasty exit into the next world.  She knew she was dying…if the pain from her injuries didn’t kill her soon, the gas she smelled would.  Behind the black of her eyelids, she succumbed to the weight of unconsciousness.  Letting it take her away, she floated into darkness.  There, in the dark, she let of go of her pain, her worries of  life and the way it had once been.  Already she knew she’d never be there again.”