Countdown Begins

In 45 days, if all goes as planned, my butt will be in a chair, my head in a story, and I will be putting words on a page. The time is fast approaching for me to pick up my pen and start writing again. I am excited… grateful… eager in anticipation.

The Backstory

It’s been a helluva year and a half — NOT in a good way! After moving across town in December, 2019, I became very sick the first of the New Year 2020. Pneumonia set in and it wasn’t until March that I began to feel normal again. Then, Covid-19 struck. Finally, I was able to get back into my writing groove in May. But that didn’t last long. In June, Rebecca’s and my youngest daughter, pregnant with their third son, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Further complicating matters, her husband, Kris, had just been given an out-of-state military reserve training assignment that was expected to last 9-12 months. They clearly needed help.

I cut my long hair in support of Margarett when the effects of chemo hit.

Our family has long heralded the “all for one, one for all” ideology. It was once again time to put flesh onto those words. Until a few weeks ago, we tag-teamed back and forth from Dallas to Colorado Springs to come alongside and help with all the things involved in running a household with young children and a sick parent who had what seemed an innumerable number of doctor visits, treatments, and therapies. I spent almost as much time in Colorado Springs the past 10 months as I have at home. Part of what I’m grateful for is that I was at a place and in a time of my life where I actually could be on the scene in every way, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, when one I love so dearly needed me. Multiple rounds of chemo, delivery of a healthy baby, and the double mastectomy are at long last behind us — another thing I’m grateful for!

Just before all of us rendezvoused in Colorado Springs for Christmas, our eldest daughter (who also delivered her third child, a boy, just two weeks ago) broached with us her long term dream of being in the same city as her sister. I cannot remember a time when Katherine didn’t espouse her deep desire to live near Margarett where their children could grow up together. Of course, this was not surprising to my wife or me. As she and her husband, Mark, began following that path, every potential obstacle to making the move revealed smooth sailing. All the lights were green lights. When they told us they were definitely moving, it was a no brainer that we would join them. Being together in the same city as our daughters, their families, and all six grandchildren had suddenly over the last months become even more important.

The youngest of our 6 grandchildren, my namesake, mere hours after he made his appearance on my birthday.

The Now

The first of several pods arrives in less than a month. After two decades, it’s finally time to deal with the burgeoning storage unit. I know we have a few personal treasures hidden away in there somewhere. What to take and what to donate? Decisions. Decisions. So much to do!

The new house is being built and will be completed in early 2022. So, where to live for the next six months? The wife has always had a deep affection for and desire to be in the mountains. Simultaneous to our move, she’s retiring from her RN home health care nursing career. It seems the perfect time we check off that bucket list box of hers. It’s a pretty sweet deal for me, too. Quiet and isolation is my writing happy place. Yep, we’re heading up into the Rocky Mountains… a place an hour or so out of The Springs where we can reset and embrace this new season in our lives. I can hardly imagine a more perfect writing venue for me. It’s going to be a blast this fall introducing Rebecca to a site I beheld for the first time last fall on a day-trip with Margarett — the aspens in all their magnificence.

The majestic aspens displaying their annual fall splendor not far from Cripple Creek, Colorado.

“Thin Places: Dallas” is finally bubbling up in my mind again. I’ve even started dreaming about it. How I’ve missed my friends Buck, Elizabeth… all the characters. I’m determined to get this novel written and published. I do plan to continue my Thin Places series. That’s not all though. I’m eager and excited to explore new venues and tales.

Now on a more personal note~ many of YOU, my readers, are currently in or have experienced life-shattering moments in these past months just like my family and me. It’s been a rough season for quite a number of us. My heart goes out to YOU. I do understand better now. Receive my prayers for YOU for grace, peace, and the stamina to endure and persevere whatever the course of life throws your way. It’s not always a cake walk… rarely easy. Know with surety there is One who is always alongside us though, holding us up, imbuing us with His strength, power, and might. So, be encouraged. Blessings & love!

No doubt I’ll be inspired every morning gazing upon this view of Pike’s Peak from our new home site.

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For Good

I spent my first decade growing up in the small Mississippi Delta town of Doddsville, population 304. Oxford, home of esteemed writers William Faulkner and John Grisham, was an hour-and-a-half northwest of our little farming community. Grisham and I are the same age. Later, I remember reading, then watching, The Firm, and thinking maybe someday I could write a novel just like Mr. Grisham did. He was an inspiration, one of many.

So, when I read that he said this “is the most important book I have ever written,” I was compelled to download it. I was surprised when it was FREE!

It’s a quick read and like the title says, non-legal. Grisham uses his storytelling brilliance to convey facts — facts about brain tumors. As some of you know, I had my own tumor scare in 2001. Fortunately, it had not invaded my brain. Despite trying to stay current on all things tumors, I was not aware of the developing new treatment described in the book.

I love it when influential people use their talents for good. In this story, John Grisham does that as an advocate and call to action for funding this new treatment for tumors.

I recommend to all my readers and friends downloading and reading The Tumor. You never know if or when YOU or someone you love will be impacted directly or indirectly by something like this. Together, each doing just a little something, we can make a difference.

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Happy 2020!

Upcountry Maui, May 2018

Just a little over a year and a half seems like a lifetime ago when my wife, Rebecca, and I were in Maui celebrating a job well done with our eldest daughter and her family. Rebecca and I had just completed caring for our granddaughter weekdays during her first year when her parents had to return to work following her birth. As I have often mentioned, it was one of the most glorious and wonderful things I’ve ever been a part of. Yes, EVER!

While sipping Mai Tai’s poolside one afternoon, said eldest daughter arrived at our cabana. Her face bespoke of surprise, perhaps even shock. Katherine had been feeling a little off with symptoms that seemed somewhat familiar. Secretly snagging a test kit when we were all at the local store, the results were in. PREGNANT!

Like that news, every moment of our time together on the island was charmed. When we returned, I put together and published Madeleine’s Midday Updates. Then I plotted and started writing Thin Places: Dallas.

Genevieve Garrett joined the family a year ago in January, 2019. Rebecca and I knew then we desired to do for her the same thing we did for her older sister. It’s been another magical year, two in the last three now, with the responsibilities and joy of caring for an infant 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.

After doing it once, I had the grandiose notion that I could write when she napped. WRONG! Parents, grandparents, nannies, and others who care for little babies know what I’m talking about. Doing it well is work. And it’s exhausting. When it came time for me to write, the ole brain was tired and fried. Putting even two words together that made any sense whatsoever eluded me. Consequently, I made the decision to give writing another rest, like I did before, and dedicate myself to providing this baby the best care I could possibly offer.

Genevieve’s Daddy Ben Loves Her to Pieces!

So, that’s where in the world Ben Coleman has been for the last while. Now, our little bundle of joy has transitioned into full-time daycare. And I’m back, back to doing what makes me come alive. Writing.

Initially, I’m refreshing myself on the plot, characters, and what was already written. After making a few adjustments, it will be back to butt in chair, head in story, putting words on the page. I’m looking forward to an awesome 2020 and hope YOU have the best New Year yet!

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