Saturday, November 21, 2015

These hands have been working furiously to bring you a load of content for 2016! Stay tuned here and on my Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season! See you in the new year :-).

Love and Light,

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hey everybody! I have three EXCITING announcements. Check out my new vlog below for details:

Love and Light,

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Children (c) Faye McCray 2015

When my first son was born, I nicknamed him pickle.  Not for any real reason.  He wasn't green or lumpy.  In fact, he was a beautiful golden boy with a mound of dark, curly hair and the pinkest little lips.  He was the spitting image of my husband so I fell in love with him instantly and with ease.  I already trusted that smile, memorized those lips and I felt myself melt wrapped in those arms.  He was born with his eyes open.  The physical trait he most inherited from me.  Big, dark, oval eyes looking at us with razor-sharp focus, as if he was thinking, already, about who he would become and how we would fit into his life.

When my second son was born, I nicknamed him peanut.  Odd really, because he would be the only one of us to develop an allergy to them.  He was born bright red and wrinkly, screaming so loudly, his voice echoed throughout the delivery room.  Unlike his brother, his eyes were squeezed shut, we joke he wasn't ready to be born.  My sweet, kind boy clung closely to me for his first year of life. He, who I affectionately joked would prefer I had a pouch, like a mama kangaroo.  He was perfectly content burrowed in a wrap, tight against the warmth of my body, only peeking out with a toothless smile when he saw fit. 

Born three years apart, I fell hard and deeply for my guys.  Their beauty.  Their energy.  Their curiosity.  Now five and almost eight, they still squeal with glee at a chocolate chip pancake or a butterfly that lands unexpectedly on the car's passenger side door.  I am proud I was chosen to be their mother.  Every single day.

I recently finished Ta-Nehisi Coates's book Between The World and Me.  In it, Coates writes to his son about race, humanity and navigating this life in a black body.  When I knew the book would adopt the narrative of a father speaking to his son, I knew I had to read it.  I listened to it on audio with the spouse and then read it in print to linger a little longer in the language. 

There are so many themes in the book that stopped me.  Halted me really.  Left me sitting in my chair short of breath.  He ran a highlighter along things I had been reluctant to see.  The most profound of which was Coates hard-hitting words on fear.  Fear growing up amidst the sickness of the inner city and the fear he felt from the adults around him who loved him so hard, it hurt, and most significantly to me, his fear as a father of a black son.

I identified with the fear.  From growing up as a black girl in New York City, to loving my beautiful black sons. Reading his words forced me to confront how deeply I feel afraid.  In some ways, I think it was the universe's way of toughening me up to give me two black boys to love.  To make me a heterosexual female who fell in love with a black man.  I am sensitive.  My mother crowned me with that label as a child. Emotional wounds have always felt deeper for me and the pain felt by people I love always struck me as deeply as my own. The people I love the most walk this life in black bodies. A fact that, as of late, has been nothing sort of torturous to my sensitive soul. 

In his book, Coates speaks of an experience taking his son on a visit to a preschool with his wife. His son jumped right in with the other children.  His first instinct, was to grab his arm, pull him back and say, "We don't know these folks! Be cool!" He didn't.  "I was growing," he wrote.  "...and if I could not name my anguish precisely I still knew there was nothing noble in it.  But now I understand the gravity of what I was proposing - that a four-year-old child be watchful, prudent, and shrewd, that I curtail your happiness, that you submit to a loss of time.  And now when I measure this fear against the boldness that the masters of the galaxy imparted to their own children, I am ashamed."

I read this and cried.  I saw myself in this passage.  Governing my own children's moves and reactions.  Curtailing their happiness in favor of my wariness.   "Don't get too close to that child." "Don't be the loudest at the party." "Don't touch another child's toys at the playground." "Don't dance to wildly at the school picnic." I am so very afraid and reading his words, I felt so very ashamed.

Truth is, I am afraid for my beautiful boys.  I am afraid of the looks my taller than average eight-year old gets when he moves with too much eagerness in public.  The excitement that bubbles in him animating every long limb he is not quite accustomed to navigating. I am afraid of his sensitivity.  The tears he cries when his feeling are hurt.  The frustration he releases when he doesn't feel heard.  I am afraid for his fearless intelligence.  His insistence on questioning everything.  His cleverness and keen ear, picking apart questions so well, adults forget the answers.  I am afraid of the grown-up teeth squeezing their way into my five-year old's mouth.  The changing contours of his baby face.  His burgeoning athletic frame, broad like my husband.  I am afraid for his charm.  His beautiful smile.  His ease with and adoration of little girls.  I am afraid for my boys.  Their huge spirits moving in black bodies with little knowledge of the hurt that awaits them.  The limits people will place on them.  And the ill-will strangers will project on them.  Or the dangers that arise in policing them. 

Reading Coates's words, I felt damaged by my own wounds. I was only ten when a person with white skin first made me feel inferior because of my black skin.  She called me "black" on a school bus.  Hissed it.  Because I took a seat she thought rightfully belonged to her.  I still remember her icy eyes, staring at me in hate, as if any triumph I could ever feel would always be marred by the body I was in.  I knew what it felt like to be judged before I said a word.  To be presumed guilty and have to prove my innocence.  To be presumed ignorant and have to prove my intelligence.  I am hard on my boys because I want to protect them but the reality is my protection can be suffocating. I am chipping away at their beautiful spirits.  The parts of their humanity that introduced themselves even as infants, as their skin first parted the air in this new world.  I've become so consumed with how this world will react to them, I almost forgot to nurture and respect how they will react to the world. How they might even change it. 

I want my children to be free. In order to do that, I may have to be one of the ones to step out of their way. 

Thank you for your words, Mr. Coates.

Love and Light,

Friday, July 10, 2015

For Mother's Day this year, I bought myself a bike.  I planned on getting my old one fixed but a very effective salesman picked up on me salivating over a gold Trek calling my name as soon as I walked in the door and was relentless until I practically walked my old one to the dumpster. 

I always loved riding bikes.  Ever since I was a little girl I loved the feel of the wind rushing against my face and the burn in my little legs as I pedaled as fast as I could up and down my block.  I realize now it's because it felt like flying... and I have always wanted to fly. 

Since Mother's Day I have been flying all around my neighborhood.  I discovered this amazing lake surrounded by trees and 2.5 mile paved loop that I go around and around kicking up dirt, pushing through hills, and breathing in the air.  I go early.  Just when the sun is settling into the sky and grass is still damp from the morning dew.  I watch rabbits hop through the blades of grass. Turtles sludge their way through the mud and I marvel at how far the trees wind up into the sky.  I love the rhythm of the joggers, the sweet dance of the pensive elderly and discovering delicious places where its just me and the stillness of the lake.

We are living in scary times.  Nine souls lost senselessly in Charleston.  Churches are burning.  Flags are flying. I am afraid for my children.  For the world they will inherit.

When I ride, I am reminded of the beauty.  The beauty in life that is bigger than us. Bigger than our skin that binds our souls.  Farther than our eyes can see. And stronger than our hate, our anger and our fear.

When I ride, I fly. 

Love and Light,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I had a wonderful evening meeting authors and readers at the Miller Branch of Howard County Library in Ellicott City, MD! Here is a video of my short speech. Thanks to all those who stopped by my table and purchased books.  Don't forget to write a review and let me know what you thought!  I had a wonderful night.

Love and Light,

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I don't really consider myself a horror writer... per se.  I enjoy writing horror, I enjoy reading horror... I even enjoy watching horror but I'm usually doing those three things covered in a blanket, preferably buried in my husband's armpit and on the verge of having a heart attack.  Call it a byproduct of an active imagination but for at least 24 hours after I do any of the above, I am convinced the circumstances of said horror are likely to happen to me.  Who am I kidding... the side effects of a good horror never wear off.  My kids toys still resemble Chucky and I can't take an innocent bike ride without planning an escape if that runner nearby turns zombie.  With that being said, I was really, really excited to participate in the horror anthology, Anything But Zombies

I was recommended by an editor I met while querying Boyfriend.  He became of a fan my zombie shorts in Dani's Belt's and thought I'd be a great fit.  I had been so immersed in the zombie world for so long, it was a real challenge to think of something equally scary that did not involve the blood sucking undead.  Nonetheless, when I started writing about Tiffany and Ben in Out of Mind, I could not stop!

Out of Mind, my contribution to Anything But Zombies, follows a young woman as she travels to a well-needed country respite with her boyfriend after witnessing a crime.

Read an except below and then buy it NOW here! Every story is awesome and I promise I'm not just saying that.  I have 11 brand new things to be terrified of.

Love and Light,

Except from Out of Mind in Anything But Zombies:

            It had been four minutes since I’d thought about the dead girl at the party.
Four minutes and about ten seconds if you count the tone-deaf riffs Ben and I attempted after the song was done.
Then he looked at me, smiled and ruined it.  Reminding me that he was, in fact, trying to distract me from the dead girl while simultaneously reminding me that nothing could really distract me from the dead girl.
That was the pesky thing about dead girls.  They were impossible to forget.
Less than forty-eight hours earlier she was slumped at my feet, her thick blood pooling onto the sticky dance floor between us as her life poured from the smoky bullet hole burrowed into her toned tummy.  Her body shook and shuddered as the stampede of screaming partygoers rushed toward the exit, trampling her beautiful salmon-colored dress.  I stood beside her, speckled in her blood and still.  My scream was stuck like a gumdrop in my throat, my feet frozen in place.
 “Are you okay?” Ben looked at me uncomfortably from where he sat behind the wheel of his small sedan.  He spoke in that same reluctant tone he had when I showed up at his apartment that night covered in her blood.  Like he wasn’t sure if the title of “sort-of ex-fiance” made him qualified to deal with dead girls and blood stains.  Drunk, mid-sex proposals make for a tenuous kind of commitment.
The night I went to the club, Ben and I were on a break.  I’d found a phone number for Katie-with-a-heart-over-the-‘i’ buried in one of his pockets and listened to him stammer out an epically weak explanation about how it got there.  They weren’t his pants or they weren’t his pockets, he didn’t even know his pants had pockets.
           “Drink,” a co-worker I’d confided in said the minute we got to the club.  She placed the Tequila shot in my hand and watched me throw it back.  She barely gave it time to burn its way down before handing me another. 
Maybe if I hadn’t been drowning in Tequila when the dead girl was shot, I would have had the good sense to run.  Instead, I stared down at her in a sort of dream-like fog, not entirely sure she, or even I, was real.
Read more HERE.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

 The following is an excerpt from Boyfriend
Copyright © 2015 by Faye McCray
All rights reserved.  Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means. 
This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I welcomed the feel of the cold air on every inch of my exposed skin as I stood outside of my building in South Jamaica smoking a cigarette.  I leaned up against the dirty brick and looked out onto the project courtyard watching as two boys played basketball on the faded court adjacent to the back entrance to our building.  I smirked as they continuously missed ambitious shots into the tall netless basketball hoops.  A homeless man shifted angrily on a bench beside the court, grumbling incoherently every time the ball hit the pavement.  I took another drag as a cute teenage girl in tight jeans and a short black coat caught my attention.  She walked towards the entrance beside me, pausing to flash me a flirtatious smile before turning her key into the black, steel door of our building.  I watched her ass as she walked in, laughing to myself, pretty sure she wasn’t old enough to be looking at me like that.  I took another puff of my cigarette, letting the tobacco and cold air dance in my lungs. 
“You should know better than that,” a familiar voice chastised.
I looked up, smirking sheepishly, my grin almost instantly turning to surprise.
Natalie stood in from of me in a white wool coat.  Her hair was cut short around her face and an oversized, brown scarf was wrapped fashionably around her neck.  Her hands were stuffed in her pockets, and her head was cocked to the side awaiting my reaction.  I wanted to embrace her, but I held back. I was pretty sure I no longer had that right. 
“Hi.” She hesitated for a moment and then reached for me.  I accepted her embrace, eagerly wrapping my arms around her, squeezing her a little too tight.
“Are you okay?” I asked as we pulled away.   The question sprinted out my mouth without a thought.  I hadn’t laid eyes on Natalie since she walked out of my apartment almost two years earlier.  I had gained pieces of information throughout the years from my mother.  Information she gained from people in the neighborhood who had known her and the guy she left with.  One rumor was that she was living on the streets and addicted to cocaine.  Another rumor had her living in a halfway house after being arrested for prostitution.  I took a moment to take her in.  Looking for signs of abuse, addiction, pain… I watched small fogs of air escape her lips as she exhaled, the tip of her nose turning mahogany in the cold.  She always did have sensitive skin. 
 “I’m fine, Nate.”
“What’re you doing here?” I asked, unsure why she would ever come back.
“I could ask you the same thing,” she said with a laugh.  “Actually, I don’t know,” she answered after a moment.  “I’ve come by a number of times, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to ring the buzzer.”
A number of times?  My mind was reeling.  How long had she been back?   
“We got here in July,” she said as if reading my mind, still staring over at the buzzer to the building.
“You’re still with that guy?” I asked, struggling to remember the name of the guy she was with when she visited me in D.C.
She looked at me confused.  “Who?” she asked.  “Oh, Chris?” She laughed. “No.  Well, not exactly.  We had a son.  I have a son.  By we, I mean, me and my son.”
“Wow.”  My mother had been right.
“Want to see a picture?” she said, beaming.  I nodded.  She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone and began flipping through her pictures.  “Here he is,” she said holding the phone in front of me.  A small boy with big dark eyes and a head full of light brown curls sat in the middle of a blue carpet, with a smile so big, he looked like his face might crack.  He had four teeth, two jutting out of the middle of each row of gums.  “His name is Cole. He turned one in October.”  I took her phone and studied the picture. 
“Where is he?” I asked, handing her back the phone, looking to see if he was playing in the nearby courtyard. 
“I wouldn’t bring him here.” Her motherly protectiveness was evident.  “He’s with a good friend.  We work together.”
I nodded.  “He’s a cute kid, Natalie.  Cole is a great name.”
Her face softened.  “Thank you.  Remember when Aunt Laura used to listen to those old singers?”
I smiled, remembering.  “Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra…”
“Nat King Cole,” she added.  “He’s named after him,” she explained.  “I used to love sitting on her lap and listening to her hum to those songs.”  She closed her eyes for a moment.  “Off key,” she added, chuckling.  “Remember, ‘smile, though your heart is aching, smile, even though it’s breaking…’” I nodded.
She hugged herself, staring into the air. For a moment, I could smell the sweet scent of Aunt Laura’s pies traveling through the breeze.  I would give anything to be pulled into her warm embrace again.  Just one more time.  To feel loved… understood… without condition or disappointment.  Natalie’s laughter pulled me out of my memories.  I watched as she wiped the beginnings of small tears from falling from her eyes.  She looked at me, her face growing serious.  “Cole changed everything, Nate.”
I believed her.  It was like someone had relit that candle inside of her.  A candle I was sure had burnt out.  Her newfound serenity emanated from her and I was both happy and envious.  For a brief moment, happiness had seemed possible for me.  I ran my hand across my forehead, once again feeling consumed with guilt for all the ways I kept fucking it up. 
“How about you?” She nudged my shoulder playfully.  “Are you still with that girl you were with in college?  Kerry?”
I shook my head. “We broke up.  Nothing much has been going on,” I continued changing the subject.  “I’ve been back home since I graduated.”
“You’re living here?” 
I nodded.
“I just assumed you were on your own,” she said surprised.  I shrugged, feeling ashamed I didn’t have more to show for the four years I had spent at college.  Considering it was the reason I had abandoned her, the least I could do was have more to show for it.  I flicked away the embers of my cigarette and took another long drag.  I imagined my parents settling down at the table, eating the chicken with their fingers, barely speaking to each other and guzzling their alcohol like water.  This was their routine.  Bubbling up each night like the scalding hot lava in a volcano, always on the verge of eruption.  I watched as Natalie stared back at the buzzer, probably picturing the same thing.
            “Look, Nate,” she started after a moment.  “I know what it’s like here.  No one should have to live here.  Not even them.”
            “It’s cool,” I began, taking another slow drag of my cigarette.  It wasn’t.  But, as far as I was concerned, there was no current solution.  I didn’t have any money and frankly, I didn’t have any energy to try to fix it.
            “No, it’s not,” she said.  Her voice was stern.  “I have an apartment uptown.  It isn’t much, but we have an extra room.  You’re more than welcome…”
            I laughed cutting her off.  “I’m not letting you go there, Natalie.”  Not only was I not going to burden Natalie with my failures, I knew I wasn’t worthy of her help.  After the way I treated her… after the way I abandoned her.  “You don’t owe me anything,” I concluded.    
            “Nate,” she began again, reaching out and holding my wrist.  “It was fucked up what you did that night,” she continued knowing exactly what I was talking about.  “I have never felt so alone and afraid in my life.  But I survived.  We were both victims.  You couldn’t have saved me.  You barely saved yourself.”  She took a deep breath.  “If you need my forgiveness, fine, I forgive you.  But, I’m not letting you stay here with them.”  She looked into my eyes with a level of understanding only she could have.  We were the only two people on this planet who knew what it was like to be raised by Nathaniel and Christine Best.  We were the only two people who knew what it took to survive.  I looked at the buzzer.  The back of my eyes began to sting.   A lump formed in the pit of my stomach.  She smiled.  “Get your stuff, there’s a bus coming soon.”
            I nodded and went back into my parent’s apartment, feeling overwhelmed that she had managed to do for me what I had been too weak to do for her. 
Read more HERE.
Love and Light,

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Boyfriend is now available in Paperback!

Order your copy by clicking on the "Buy Boyfriend in Paperback" link above! Thank you to all those who have purchased and reviewed. We have a 5.0 rating on Amazon and 4.44 on Goodreads! Yay! Check out my new vlog below:

Love and Light,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm giving away 2 signed copies of Boyfriend! Enter now to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner announced April 17, 2015.

Love and Light, 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Well, before I start, can I just say "Holy crap, it's April!"  We are almost half way through the year and I feel like we just celebrated Christmas! There are so many things I'd like to accomplish this year.  I think that adds to my unshakable awareness of the brevity of time.  First on the list is get Boyfriend out in print so you can all become just as consumed with Nate, Kerry, Jayna, Natalie, Phil, and Allison as I was! Thank you to all those who downloaded, purchased and reviewed.  I am beyond grateful.  That brings me to my next announcement. 

Boyfriend will be released in print on April 17, 2015!

As a warning to all those who love me, I plan to be pretty insufferable that day.  I've been writing stories in mead notebooks since I was 11 years old (before that I was strictly construction paper and backs of receipts).  I'm probably going to be a mixture of this...

and this...

all day long.

Here's the thing about me.  I love, love, love telling stories.  I majored in English in college so I've read all the greats.  However, what I love the most about reading is getting lost in the universe of the storyteller.  As much as I love absorbing the language of the likes of Morrison and Faulkner into my pores and painting the imagery in my mind, I adored reading Gone Girl or Big Little Lies, fast-moving stories with complex characters and impossible circumstances. My goal is to create universes.  Books that you can't put down and you can't wait to turn the next page!

I am currently in the thick of writing my second novel.  I am in that free-flowing part - pre-editing and the constant quest for perfection - where I am just free to love the words and fall madly in love with my characters.  It takes place in the same universe as Boyfriend, a decade or so earlier.  It tells the story of Jayna and all the complexity that made her who she was.  I am really excited about this one, folks!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

Love and Light,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Boyfriend is now available for only $4.99 on Amazon Kindle here! All four stories of Dani's Belts are FREE now through Sunday to celebrate!

If you don't have a Kindle, you can download the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers on the Amazon site :-).


Love and Light,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Love and Light,

Friday, March 20, 2015

One more week until the arrival of my debut novel, Boyfriend!

I am so excited, guys! My debut novel, Boyfriend will be available on Kindle March 27, 2015 and will be available in print shortly thereafter (date TBA).  For those of you following my blog from the beginning, you know my journey to traditional publishing has been an uphill battle.  I'll spare you the gory details, but I will say this, after months of reflection and soul searching, I realized how amazing every single hill I faced has been.  The truth is, I've always learned more from failure than I have from success.  Not the least of which is how much I want something and how badly I am willing to fight for it.  Things rarely go as planned but sometimes the detour is worth every single stumble it took to get there.

I am proud of Boyfriend.  It was born on a rainy day on the North Shore of Long Island.  I was on maternity leave and taking a long drive with my son.  He was probably about three or four months and a crier.  Sometimes the lull of a long car ride was the only thing to get him calm.  I had stopped in a small parking lot to a boat dock.  With pen and notebook in hand, I started to reflect on everything that had brought me to that moment.  I was 26, just beginning my second year of marriage, and was (and am) hopelessly in love with my husband and the little life we had just created.  I reminisced about my single days, my amazing friends, and all the frogs we had kissed between us.  Those guys that we knew were broken from the beginning but something in us thought we could fix them.  Those relationships that we gave everything to but were left with only battle scars.  I began to wonder about those guys.  About my friend's ex who lived a secret life as an amateur porn star (yeah, that happened).  My other friend's ex who cheated on her with multiple girls in different social circles on her college campus so they'd never find out about each other (they found out and confronted him together).  Another friend's ex who managed to hide the fact that he had a wife for a full year after meeting her.  The list went on.  We had amassed quite the cast of characters between us.  I wondered if they thought about us.  If they felt guilty.  If they were doing the same to another girl.  Out of my reflection, Nate Best, the protagonist of Boyfriend was born. 

Nate is that guy.  He rarely makes good decisions.  He is afraid of commitment.  But he is human.  He has a painful past that he'd rather forget, and deep insecurities he'd fight to hide.  Boyfriend follows him as he navigates his way through college, meets a beautiful girl and falls in love.  It follows him as he struggles not to mess it up.  It's with him when he does.  Boyfriend is his story.  For better or worse.

I really, really hope you enjoy it :-).

Love and Light,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I've been busy, folks! I have two novels, a novella, and a short story set for release this year! The first, Boyfriend, is in the final stages of editing.  It will be available on Amazon Kindle (drumroll, please....) March 27, 2015! Here's the synopsis:

Nate Best enrolls in college in Washington, D.C. to escape a complicated and painful past.  Together with his best friend and roommate, Phil, he parties more than he studies and beds girls as if it is a Division 1 sport.  When Kerry, a beautiful young woman from a privileged background, captures his interest, he jumps at the challenge.  He eagerly denies all he ever was for the chance to be someone completely different with her.  Before long, he starts to believe he can be.  When Kerry's roommate and best friend, Jayna, sees right through his new good boy façade, he is inexplicably drawn to her.  He is intoxicated by her every move, and attracted to her with a careless abandon.  With the reality of who he is never far from his mind, will he succumb to temptation and destroy Kerry? Or will he resist his bad boy ways and be the boyfriend he never thought he could be? 


For those of you who are fans of my zombie literature, its a bit of a departure. There are no flesh-thirsty zombies but it's sexy, witty,  and you will meet a cast of unforgettable characters. I hope you are as excited as I am.  More details to come!

Love and Light,

Monday, February 2, 2015

So, have I mentioned this summer, I discovered the magic of audiobooks?  I was kind of in a semi-writing funk.  After narrowly making it out of the traditional publishing limbo with my dignity, I needed to take a step back and really reconnect with my love of literature.  My husband is a librarian so I'd request book after book which he'd dutifully bring home each evening to collect dust by my bedside.  With the busyness of my and my kids summer schedule, I could barely keep my eyes open to write let alone read by the end of the night.  On a whim, I downloaded Audible on my smart phone and I have kind of been addicted ever since.  I listened to new books and old favs including The Bluest Eye as read by Toni Morrison, Kindred by Octavia Butler, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Color Purple as read by Alice Walker, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Shining by Stephen King and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (I also managed to read a few the old fashioned way including Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and currently, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn).  I can totally hear the pretentious college kid I once was judging me for this but audio books have been absolutely amazing!  They were perfect for those times when I took the boys to the park, that endless waiting in the car-rider line, or those long stop-and-go drives to work every morning.  I especially loved the experience of hearing the authors read in their own words.  Sigh.  Just hearing the slowness of meaningful words or the emotion behind loaded statements... letting someone else's thoughts and experience bounce around in the silence of my mind.... it became almost meditative for me.  It reminded me of why I love reading, why I love the art of story-telling, and mostly, why I love writing. I feel more committed than ever to truthfulness and honesty in my story-telling... no matter how hard... no matter how raw.
Well, as promised, here is my twelve week fitness update! I am actually smiling this time :-).  I am absolutely loving my fitness journey.  My goal was to look better but I didn't anticipate how much better I would feel.  It's amazing how restorative good health can be for your spirit.  Conquering my health has made me feel like I am strong enough to conquer anything.  That has spilled over into all aspects of my life.  A few people have asked me what I'm doing so here goes: I work out 5 days a week (would be 7 but I can't figure out how to get in those two extra days), I do 20-30 minutes of high intensity cardio each day and then I alternate between upper and lower body strength training.  I also meet with my trainer (hi Bishop!) once a week.  As far as eating, I am a vegetarian but I try to stay relatively low carb and I eat 5 small meals a day.  I eat alot of fiber (love my oats), take a multivitamin every day, and try to eat plenty of protein. 

Also, in January, I started the Couch 2 5K running program!  I think I've had runner envy for a long time.  We have this nature path behind our house that I have a pretty awesome view of from my favorite writing spot.  Every day, I watch folks run by.  For awhile, I have kind of secretly envisioned myself doing the same but I would talk myself down.  I was convinced I didn't have the stamina and I would look ridiculous running.  I have long limbs and a well-earned reputation for being clumsy.  The thing is, my dad is a runner and my granddad was also a runner.  I have the genes to do it - why not just take the plunge?  So, I did.  Thus far, the plan is super manageable (the smart phone APP is awesome!) and if all goes according to plan, I will be running my first 5K this spring.   More importantly, I will be bouncing with those runners outside my window before I know it.  Then, you won't be able to slap the smile off my face (but if you see me, please don't try).  Stay tuned :-).

Love and Light,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

They kept bringing us water.

I don't remember much about the services following the passing of my brother five years ago but I do remember that they kept bringing us water.  My cousins.  Small paper cups filled with ice cold water from the funeral director's office.  We sat on the hard pews of the small funeral home gazing ahead.  His casket was silver and it was covered in flowers. Fresh and silk.  I was lost in the empty spaces. Unsure if I was awake or awakening.  After about the third cup, the weight of the water caused the paper cup to bend with my finger tips.  The water skipped along the rim as I raised it to take a sip.  I turned to one of my cousins and smiled.  I hadn't seen her in years but we communicated in that familiar way only family can.  She smiled back.  Her eyes brightening briefly in that playful way it had when we were children.  It was funny. The constant gift of water.  My numb gratitude.  It was funny but neither us thought it appropriate to laugh. She knew we needed something.  Him.  She couldn't bring him back.  Water was all she had to give.  She gave me more.

I was on the stair machine the other day at the gym.  It's the hardest machine for me.  I lose my breath almost instantly and the sweat pours from me with a constant intensity.  I had just finished talking myself out of stopping.  20 minutes, I promised myself.  I had about 8 left.  I increased the level and brought my ice cold water bottle to my lips.  It felt good.  The water. Moistening my palate after the dryness of deep, deliberate "you can do this" breathes.  Cooling the warmth that blanketed my skin.

I thought of them then.  My cousins.
Bringing me those little cups.  How the water had felt traveling through me. Moistening my mind from the dryness of deliberate "you can do this" thoughts.  How the cold water had been the only thing real in that moment.  Reminding me that I was alive.  Reminding me that I still lived. 

I chuckled, grateful, and finished my time.

Love and Light,
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