Category Archives: erika b

There’s a stranger at my door

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I wasn’t scared then, but then I thought, should I be?

I had just finished fixing dinner. Some sort of mini turkey moatloaves I make for the kids because they’re smaller and cute and I’ll try just about anything to get them to eat something healthy. My husband wasn’t home yet. I don’t know what it is about Thursday nights, but drivers seem to be less careful and more likely to crash into each other, backing up traffic.

I put the plates of food down for the kids and sat in my chair. Suddenly my BIG boxer jumped up from his spot at the top of the stairs. He rushed down the steps barking his voice of threat, shaking the house.

I called him back. He wouldn’t stop. I turned all the way around and my heart jumped. I expected to see the rear of a car, backing out of one of our neighbors’ houses, a common trigger for his alarm.

Instead, I met a shadow at the door—a giant dog stared back at me with his nose against the glass—a German Shepherd. I got up from the table. It’s not entirely unusual to have a dog at my front door. Our neighborhood is full of them and sometimes they run loose.

I started to walk down the steps to get a better look, but it was dark and I couldn’t see all that well. I kept staring at the glass and I jumped when I caught the outline of a tall man standing behind the dog. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but he was almost as tall as the door.

I pushed my dog aside and I cracked the door open with my leg in the space. I looked the stranger in the eyes and he had the lightest eyes I’d ever seen.

“Hey, what can I help you with?” I said.

The stranger smiled.

He said something like, “I found this dog up the street and wanted to see if he belonged to anyone in the neighborhood.“

I studied the German Shepherd again. His gray hair. The bald spot on his back. Strangely, he wasn’t scared. He was wagging his tail, and I didn’t know what to think right then.

I said, “I’ve never seen him around here. He’s probably been wandering for awhile.”

And that was that. The guy said thanks. I said thanks and I closed the door.

Two seconds later, my phone rang. Our neighbors warned me about the strange man going door to door. I told them I thought he was harmless. Just a guy hoping to find a home for a stray.

They sighed with relief and asked if they could come over.

Then I started to wonder, if they were scared, should I be?

Maybe I did the wrong thing. Maybe I did the right thing.

I guess I have to do the right thing for me, and in moments like this, I have to go back to my philosophy of believing the best in people. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I lived each day thinking everyone has a clear dirty motive. Yes, there’s bad out there, but there’s also a lot of good. Maybe the stranger at my door was honestly trying to find a home for a dog. He didn’t want to see the dog roaming the streets alone.

I’ll believe in the best. I can only believe in what I know and what I see, and anything else would be just a guess.

And most certainly, I wouldn’t want anyone to think the worst of me.

A time to be Thankful—and yes, I did it!

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Yesterday was my first time ever to be in charge of the Thanksgiving day feast for my family. Yes, I experienced first hand, the stress over the perfect turkey and the timing of everything in and out of the oven, the grumbling voices of, I’m hungry, because I’d stretched the time just a wee bit long from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m, and laying it all in a decent presentation so the dinner felt–well, really special. ;0)
So what went well?
I was only 30 minutes late! Yeah, go me.  I managed the turkey, mashed potatoes, some sort of different brown rice, apricot with pecan stuffing,  and of course, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole with my own little touch, and some sort of pumpkin pie dessert.
What was a bit of a challenge?
The turkey. I baked it perfectly—only I set the darn thing in the pan, upside- down. So when I opened the oven wondering why the popper didn’t shoot sky high, I was sweating a little. It wasn’t until my husband was carving the turkey and wondered where the meat was. He flipped it over and we had a really great laugh at that. Go figure. I guess I’ll chalk it up to just me being me–a little backwards myself at times. LOL
What do I love about yesterday?
I have to say, I loved seeing the boys downstairs, sprawled across the couches snoring away. It wasn’t the food necessarily, but definitely the company. The feeling of everyone fully satisfied, relaxed and at least in the moment, totally worry free. It made me happy. It made me tear up just a little at how much I love my family. 
Family is a perfect dream come true.

My Simple Wednesday Reflection

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These past few weeks have been everything I could have asked for.

I hit the ground at a sprint, meeting my goals for my book—brainstorming, writing, editing, rereading, adding more scene descriptions and action to my chapters. I cranked out four whole chapters and I’m proud of what I wrote. 

Then the weekend hit—the holiday came and this choo choo slowed way the heck down, the steam wasn’t burning anymore and yeah, I sunk into the trap of time-off. I filled my days with trips to the zoo, picnics, outdoor kiddy pool time and well, I relaxed and didn’t think much about my writing.

Monday was an extra gift of time away.

Tuesday was a struggle. 
Now it’s Wednesday, and I’m still struggling to get back on track.

So what do you do when each day becomes easier to stray from what you initially set out to do?

I know that life happens no matter what you plan at times. But is it possible to let Life happen a little too hard? And if it’s true that it happens too hard, how do you see your way back?

Here’s what I’ve found works for me:

1)  I look at things around me that inspire me to move. Old Books, quotes, and not too surprisingly, I hit the gym. The time I spend on the machines helps me brainstorm and sort through my ideas. I can zone out the world with my head phones and the rhythm of the machine so I focus on what matters in my next second.

2) Then I go home. I play with my kids; popsicle time, bath time, books and bed.

3) Finally—I start up my computer and I stare at the screen. I reread a few things I wrote last, emersing myself in my characters and no matter what my mood is, I try it anyway. I push around words, sentences, I put together dialogue and what makes sense to my characters. Before I know it—I’m in.

So the short version? Even when I don’t feel like it, I keep in mind what I want most—my dreams. I do what I have to do to motivate myself and POOF! I may not make my two chapter goal this week, but eh. One chapter is still better than where I was before.

No one will want your dreams as much as you do. So I’m not giving up.

Neither should you.

And by the way, love this quote!

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
Michelangelo