Ten O’Clock Scholar: staple

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘staple.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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The woman tucked a few stray, silver tresses behind an ear and leaned in closer. “Hi, I’m Wanda.”

Peggy held out a hand and introduced herself. After comparing notes about what brought them to this class, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the two had a lot in common, despite the age difference. Her new friend was not the curmudgeon she appeared to be at first glance. And, while Peggy was returning to school after a ten year hiatus, she learned that Wanda was returning to the classroom after forty years. She had just celebrated her sixtieth birthday and starting the interior design program was her present to herself.

Maybe she’s just as intimidated as I am right now.

Before she could question Wanda about it, the instructor clapped her hands at the front of the classroom. The chatter that had been filling the room with a soft buzz came to an abrupt halt. The teacher stood in a regal stance, her gaze shifting around the room to make sure she had everyone’s attention. “I’m Mrs. Stone. I’m your instructor for most of the classes in the interior design program. I’m also the program chair. Before I begin, I want to cover a few ground rules for my classroom. First of all…no cell phones. If you have your phones with you, please turn them off, or silence them during my classroom time. If your phone rings during class time, I’ll ask you to leave for the remainder of class.”

Every student in the room scrambled for cell phones, either tucked in pockets or sequestered in purses. Rapid movements from everyone reflected a mass of students scurrying to comply with the teacher’s request.

After she waited a few moments for phones to be silenced, Mrs. Stone continued with her standard rules. “Also, I do not tolerate tardiness. When it’s time for class to begin, I lock the door and no one may enter after that. There will be a signup sheet stapled to the bulletin board next to the door. If you arrive late and the door is locked, sign up on the sheet and you’ll get partial credit for the day.”

Peggy gulped. Being on time was not an attribute she possessed. It was hard enough getting herself ready and out the door on time. When you added two boys to the mix, it made her run even later. Getting to class on time, for every single class, would be a challenge. She leaned over to whisper a comment to Wanda, then caught the teachers glaring look in her direction. Sitting back straight in her chair, she decided it was best to keep quiet. She certainly didn’t want to earn the teacher’s ire on the first day.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. She glanced off to the side and saw Wanda slipping a note towards her.

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Trisha’s Tidbits

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Want a new story snippet to read each week? Want a chance for some fun contest prizes? Join us at Trisha’s Tidbits, for all this and more.

This week the short story is ‘Hazel’s Spice of Life.’

photo.JPGThe winner of last week’s contest won a set of cedar sachets. Just for reading the newsletter and sending an answer back. She, along with others, was entered into the drawing. Nora’s name was drawn and next week the mailman will deliver a set of freshly scented sachets.

Join us here for the fun.

A Second Chance: Tuesday Tales Bookstore

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Tuesday Tales Bookstore debuts today. Tuesday Tales is a group of authors that post a weekly snippet, written to a different word or picture prompt. Today we’re sharing some of our published books, stories that got their start in Tuesday Tales. I’m sharing one of my books, A Second Chance.

Here’s a blurb about A Second Chance, followed by an excerpt. Take a peek and check it out. Then head back to Tuesday Tales for more fascinating reads. (Pssst…I’ve heard that some of the authors may even be sharing some FREE books on their pages!)

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Not everyone gets a second chance at life. Usually, ‘the end’ is just that – the end. But, sometimes, a lucky person steps away from death’s door and gets a second chance. Jenny got hers one day on an early morning flight to California. But now she faces something even bigger. What will she do with this second chance that was offered to her? Will her life change? Will she do anything differently? Or will she fill her life with the same choices she made before her cardiac arrest?

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Here’s an excerpt from A Second Chance:

Chapter 7

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

December 14th

Although I despised working almost every Saturday, the one saving feature was that I had a day off during the week. This Tuesday morning I enjoyed a leisurely morning of sleeping in.

After pouring a glass of orange juice, I turned on my computer and quickly went to Facebook to catch up with the world around me. Michelle Barr, an inspirational woman I follow, had posted an interesting thought. She was talking about dreaming big dreams and setting goals and intentions, and she wrote:

“…everything that is not in alignment with that rises up to be healed or transformed. I call that ‘Your stuff coming up.’ You can choose to heal and clear this so that you can move forward…”

Hmmm, I’ve noticed that my dreams contained lots of anger. There were old frustrations surfacing in my mind, mostly when my body had shut down for the night. Some of these memories and angers were from way back, some of them twenty years ago. Maybe, in order to heal and go forward, I couldn’t suppress these feelings anymore. I needed to deal with them to heal.

I knew that one way of releasing hurts and negative emotions is journaling. I decided to pursue that, to try to clear the chaff from my mind and my subconscious. I headed to my bookcases, knowing I had several nice, blank journals to choose from. Looking through them I couldn’t decide which one to use. They were all too ‘pretty’; too pretty to write ugly thoughts in.

Maybe a school composition book.

Then I had another thought. If I’m writing these words to ‘get them out of my life’, then I don’t want them written down and engraved in ink so that I can go back and re-read them, keeping them permanently on the page.

I decided to use scrap paper and write the ‘ugly’ things on them, the musings I didn’t want to see again, the thoughts and feelings I was trying to release. I’ll write them down, then tear up the paper and toss it in the trash. They will be my trash journals. I thought that the tearing up and throwing away would symbolically help me too.

The next day at work, as I headed out to my car for lunch, I grabbed some scratch paper to take with me. I scribbled away the entire time.

December 15: I’m going to begin my ‘trash’ journal. I don’t want to write in a pretty journal and keep my words forever. I don’t want these where anyone else can see them   I don’t want them where I can go back and re-read them and keep them in my mind. The purpose of these are to release the negatives and the anger – to write it and acknowledge it and then throw the words away and move on with my life.

I’m trying to accentuate the positive – to think on the good things to bring more of the good into my life. But … I still have some angers and negative, complaining thoughts in my head. Some old. Some new. Some frustrations with life. I won’t consider these complaints as I’m trying to strive to be complaint-free. This is for healing. Because I find if I don’t express these thoughts, they creep into my dreams and my sleep. They find their way to surface in some manner. And working themselves out in anxious, angry dreams isn’t helpful. It brings matters to my attention, but if I don’t do anything, it’s like an un-lanced abscess – still festering away and keeping me from the peaceful, joyful life that I deserve.

Releasing these feelings will allow for an enhanced spiritual life – one where I know myself better – where I’m more attuned to those around – where my spiritual and psychic senses can open up –a life where I can be in contact with my guides and where life in general is the life I need to be living.

I fully believe that for circumstances to have been what they were the day my heart stopped, that it was not my time to go. There is still more I need to learn or something I still have yet to do. Otherwise, I would have left this life peacefully fifteen minutes before the alarm on a normal, routine Thursday morning.

Instead, I was in an airplane, in an unusual and out of the ordinary trip to San Francisco – with Carla beside me to sound the alarm and start CPR to keep me here … with three doctors within a forty to fifty foot radius of me … with medical equipment and a defibrillator within arm’s reach.

What are the odds of that? Astronomical, I’d venture to guess. To know this, with every fiber of my being – but yet to continue life as before – unchanged – would be a gross waste. A travesty.

To honor the unseen guides and loved ones that were with me, and the physical beings on this earthly plane that were responsible for keeping me here with every effort of their beings, I choose to move forward and live a higher life. The purpose of my life is not to work a mundane day-to-day job, to eke out a bare bones paycheck-to-paycheck life. The trivialities and pettiness of co-workers are not important to me or why I’m here. I choose to move beyond that.

I choose to do the things necessary to my life, in living a higher life. One of the necessary things I need to do is to release anger and frustration – not to keep them sequestered and buried deep in the recesses of my mind. That, I choose to begin doing today. The other things, I’ll learn along my new path.

I intended to write down the ugly thoughts, then tear them up and throw them in the trash.

Something about this first journaling prompted me to keep it. I began with negative thoughts and emotions, yet thirty minutes later, at the end of my lunch, I’d already moved into an epiphany. I felt I needed to keep this ‘A-Ha’ moment.

I met Carla for dinner that night, and shared what I’d been contemplating all day.

“I’ll be changing,” I warned her.

“Changing?” she asked, acutely more attentive to my words. “Changing how?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I’ll find out as I go along. It won’t be huge changes, like I’m not suddenly going to start doing drugs…or move to Alaska…or have any other drastic life changes. My basic personality is still going to remain ‘me’. But my life has to change, in some fashion. It would be a huge waste if it didn’t.”

I read her the last part of what I’d written and tried to explain how I felt I must become more attuned with my spirituality, not in a “church” or organized religion way, but as my inner being and connectedness to a higher power and all that is linked together. I had to question ‘why?’ I intended to slough off the pretenses and false faces that I often wear to the rest of the world. I had to become real. I had to be true to myself.

“I still don’t totally understand. C’mon Jenny. Fess up. Are you…like…gonna move? Going to change jobs? Shave your head and move into a commune?” she joked.

“No, nothing that radical. But, I have to take this second chance and have it stand for something. I have to change.” I took a sip of water, trying to come up with the words to explain what raced around in my brain. “To continue life unchanged is like taking this second chance and throwing it in the trash. It would make it mean nothing. And, I don’t want to disregard the importance of this opportunity.”

“As long as we’re still friends. I don’t want to lose your friendship over your journey of becoming more, as you say, real.”

“We will always be friends. You know how far Amber and I go back. You know I don’t take my friendships lightly, nor do I lose friends over trivial matters.” I reached across the table and patted her hand to acknowledge my words. “But, to go further with these new goals, to take off my masks and attempt to truly live a more authentic life, with loftier dreams and aspirations – will mean I must make changes in my life.”

That night I copied a quote in my journal, my ‘pretty’ journal, the one that I keep:

“Nature is one connected whole. At any given moment every part must be precisely what it is, because all other parts are what they are, and not a grain of sand could be moved from its place without changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” Johann Gottlies Fichte, 1800

After the quote, I added these words:

My intent is to move some grains of sand, not a lot of sand, but important ones. And in the moving of these few select grains, the immeasurable whole will reflect changes. I cannot do this and remain the same identical person.

Onward bound, here we go…to a life with greater awareness!

Whatever that life may be. What was coming up ahead was the biggest mystery and I had no earthly idea what was in my future.

 

Thanks for stopping by today!

A Second Chance is available as an ebook or paperback

Ten O’Clock Scholar – Mother

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘mother.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Peggy expected a semi-conspiratorial grin from the one other student that was older than the youngsters surrounding them. Instead she got a glare revealing which side of the bed the woman had woken up on. And it wasn’t the pleasant, optimistic side.

Feeling rebuffed, Peggy shifted her gaze to the concrete walkway and shuffled a dried oak leaf around with the tip of her sandal.

Her mind wandered and bits of motherly advice she’d often heard in her past came back to haunt her.

“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

“Don’t let others reactions make you feel less than worthy.”

Breathing in a deep breath, Peggy filled her chest and straightened her shoulders back.

I’ve got this. I may be older than the giggling gaggle around me, but I’ve got the determination to succeed and the strength to finish what I aim for. Besides, I have ten years of experience that these youngsters don’t.

She giggled softly to herself as the next thought crossed her mind.

And, I certainly won’t be spending my time here partying and trying to meet boys. Leaves me lots of time and energy for study!

The line of students quieted as a tall, willowy woman walked up to the door and unlocked it. Propping it open, she stepped inside and the queue followed her and began plopping into seats. Peggy aimed for a seat in the rear of the room, her favorite location in venues with a lot of people she didn’t know. She was surprised when she glanced up and saw the grouchy looking older lady grab a chair next to her.

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Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – cry

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘cry.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Once she was away from a clingy youngster and the confusion of getting two boys dressed and to Mary’s house, Peggy felt the stressed feelings peeling away like layers of an onion. With each mile getting closer to the campus, she felt her excitement rise. Even Derek’s sour mood over the past week couldn’t dim her enthusiasm. Feelings of pride and accomplishment over this huge step in her life swelled in her and caused her to set up straight in the driver’s seat.

Empowered was the word that came to her mind. After all the years of submitting to Derek’s desires and wishes, for once she was taking action towards something that would expand and enhance her life.

TT studentsPeggy’s feeling of pride deflated as soon as she rounded the corner and saw the line of barely-twenty-somethings waiting to enter the classroom. The students – mostly girls, but not all – giggled and twittered in their clustered groups. Most wore skimpy clothes that revealed a lot of abdomen and back – certainly far more than Peggy was willing to display of her post-two-children body. She caught herself as a brief moment of wanting to cry passed through her.

They will not make me feel old.

I will not allow myself to be intimidated by these youngsters.

I have every right to be in a classroom learning too.

I am not too old for this!

The thoughts ran in a jumble through her brain as she tried to banish the unworthy feelings and tried to gear her thoughts towards a positive mindset.

She stood in line, leaning up against the brick wall, feeling too timid to speak to anyone around her. Two more girls, looking just barely out of high school fell into place behind her, chattering away to each other as if they were lifelong friends. Another lady joined the line and Peggy sighed with relief when she saw the short gray hair and wire rimmed glasses.

Whew! Someone older than me. At least I’m not the oldest woman in class now.

She smiled at the newcomer over the heads of the youngsters between them, but wasn’t prepared for the reaction she received.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

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Win a FREE copy of In Celebration of Mothers

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Want a chance to win a FREE copy of In Celebration of Mothers?

May 7th I’m giving away one free print copy and three PDF versions of this anthology celebrating motherhood.

All you need to do is subscribe to my new newsletter, Trisha’s Tidbits. The newsletter comes out once a week and that’s all you’ll get. No, I’m not going to fill up your inbox with countless messages. Promise!

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Everyone who subscribes by Saturday, May 6th, will be entered into the drawing. The winners will be announced in the May 7th newsletter. There are lots of other contests in the works, including one for a $10 Amazon gift card when we hit the 100 subscriber mark. Each week will also have a story snippet in it or an excerpt from a current book. There will also be chances to win Advance Reader Copies of future and existing books, in exchange for an honest review. Subscribers will get the first chances for these opportunities.

To see more about In Celebration of Mothers, you can check it out here.

A mother listening to her child’s heartbeat. A mother soothed as she holds her son’s hand. A daughter grateful for the pearls of wisdom from her mother, gracing her neck in an invisible strand long after her mother’s life on earth. Memories of special Easter dresses. A mother’s purse full of delightful objects. A mother dancing around the kitchen as she shares music with her son while they mop. Shopping trips with mother’s that are more than mere chores. The stories here celebrate mothers and the glorious world of motherhood, in all its variations. Mothers celebrating their own children, and children paying tribute to their mothers. Take a peek inside to join the celebration. In Celebration of Mothers, women share stories of gratitude. The contributors write of their thankfulness for their mothers, for what they’ve learned through the years, for the acts of kindness and sacrifice their mothers exhibited. If the mother has too short of a life, as in Redwood Park, or if she lives a long, full life to over 100 years old, as in One Hundred and Going Strong or My Mom, My Angel, a common trait is shared; a deep, abiding love for mothers and the state of motherhood.

Want to try for a chance at your copy? Sign up for Trisha’s Tidbits here.

Ten O’Clock Scholar – life

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘life.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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An early morning August sun blazed across southern California in celebration of Peggy’s return to school. The memories of a childhood mid-September first day of school, with an early fall chill to the morning air, were something from the past. Life had changed in the twenty-five years since Peggy was a student, ecstatic with a new dress to wear to a new grade. Now, the academic year began earlier – right in the middle of the dog days of summer.

Knowing that the air conditioner in the car wasn’t working right then, Peggy dreaded the drive home, knowing it would be over a hundred degrees by the time her last class ended. But the afternoon heat was the least of her worries. Her nerves had kicked into high gear earlier in the week, and the lack of sleep the night before as she tossed and turned in an insomniac daze was reflected in the dark shadows lining her eyes.

first day of schoolShe’d planned on leaving the house early, leaving her plenty of time to try to find a parking spot and get to the classroom long before the scheduled start time. She’d even packed her satchel the night before, relishing the new supplies that filled it. Notebooks, legal pads for notes, new pens and highlighters – she had everything she thought she’d need, plus a little more.

And then…the morning happened.

“Clifford Anthony Taylor! Why aren’t you dressed yet? We’re leaving in ten minutes!”

Five minutes later, Cliff still sat in the middle of the bedroom floor surrounded by regurgitation of a giant Lego monster – minute multi-colored plastic blocks in various piles and an oddly constructed contraption in the midst of being built.

She bit the inside of her check and counted to ten, knowing that what was headed out of her mouth at the moment wasn’t language meant for a child to hear. Even if it was a hardheaded, obstinate, noncompliant boy.

“Two minutes! Get it in gear…now! Or your Lego’s are gone for a week!”

Cliff looked up when he heard the calm iciness of her statement. Realizing that now mom meant business, he reluctantly left his building behind and moved towards the clean clothes his mom had laid out on the bed earlier that morning.

Peggy grabbed the pile of clothes on Jonathan’s bed and headed to go change him. She knew she’d find him parked in front of the television, enraptured by his favorite children’s video. Seeing only one shoe on the floor, she began looking for its mate. Nothing under the bed. No shoe around the toy box. She didn’t find it in the closet either. Feeling more frazzled by the moment, she frantically set out on a search mission throughout the house.

“Jonathan, where’s your other shoe?”

No response. Deep in a musical wonderland, the two year old hadn’t even heard her.

Ten minutes later, she finally found the canvas mate tucked between cushions in the sofa. Finally, the toddler was dressed and ready and she almost dragged both boys out of the house a full twenty minutes later than she’d planned on leaving.

The boys bickered in the back seat the entire way to Mary’s house.

Mary threw open the front door as soon as they pulled into the driveway and headed out to greet them. “There you are! I was starting to worry.”

Peggy grimaced as she pulled a bulging diaper bag from the front seat. “Oh my lord, you have no idea what a disaster this morning was.” She handed the diaper bag to her friend and leaned in the back to unfasten car seat buckles.

As she followed Mary inside, directions and cautions spewed out of Peggy’s lips.

An impish grin flashed across Mary’s face. “I think I’ve got this. I have had children, you know. Grandchildren too.”

When Cliff realized that he and his brother were staying with Mary and mom was leaving, he started crying.

Peggy gathered the sobbing boy in a giant hug. “It’s okay. I’ll only be gone a few hours.”

Her words didn’t reassure. Cliff just clung to her tighter.

“I don’t know what’s up with this. I know he loves you and he always enjoys when we come visit you.”

The gentleness of a grandmother’s understanding shone from Mary’s eyes. “Yes, dear. But we’re usually just visiting here. Or going to lunch. Mom’s never gone off and left him with me before.” She bent down to the golden head tucked into his mother’s side. “There are some fresh chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen. I was going to save them for after lunch…but I bet your mother wouldn’t mind if we go have one now.”

The mention of cookies – especially at breakfast time – caught his attention and Cliff stopped his crying. A few remaining sniffles later, he loosened his grip on his mother and followed Mary to the kitchen. Jonathan had heard the ‘cookie’ part and had already wandered in there, in search of a treat.

Peggy took advantage of the break and dashed outside, in a mad rush to the campus.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – picture prompt

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In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt.

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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By the time the next weekend arrived, Peggy wondered if the weekend away was even worth it. It was easy for Derek to agree to the trip to Big Bear. All he had to do was come home from work, load the ice chest into the car along with the bags that were already packed…and take off.

It was Peggy who spent most of the past two days shopping for groceries, washing and packing clothes – in general, making a list and checking it twice. She’d been up well past midnight the night before working on last minute details. But, even thought it was a lot of work, a change of scenery would be a nice treat.

The boys bickering in the back seat didn’t bother her. As most mothers can do, tuning out siblings arguments was an acquired skill and one that she had to put into play all too frequently. About the time the nitpicking started to screech through her numbness and get on her last nerve, she turned to reprimand the two and caught Jonathan’s head drop to his chest in slumber. Motioning to get Cliff’s attention, she held a finger in front of her pursed lips. “Shhhh. Leave him be and let him sleep.”

With no little brother to pester, Cliff soon settled down and started playing one of the games on the tablet they saved for the boys to use while traveling.

Peggy turned her attention to the scenery, watching the landscape change as they gained in elevation, getting higher into the mountains as the SUV turned on the switchback road like it made the trip every week. Thoughts of the pine scented forest that waited for them at the cabin tantalized and Peggy’s thoughts roamed to luxurious walks alone in the wooded trails around the lake.

Ten O’Clock Scholar – lake

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘lake.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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Peggy walked her sister out to the car and wrapped her nephews up in a gigantic hug. Al, the quieter and more compliant one of the two, submitted to the affectionate kiss from his aunt. Ed squirmed, trying to get out of the embrace. Peggy laughed, enjoying her nephews embarrassment, before returning to the house, her mind already shifting to making a decision about what to have for dinner.

She debated about throwing a cookie sheet full of fish sticks in the oven, but remembering Derek’s sarcastic reaction the week before, she chose not to go that route. The past week had been difficult enough without throwing more ammunition onto the flames of their feud. Deciding to make a meatloaf and baked potatoes instead, Peggy stopped at the television to start a DVD. She almost couldn’t bear to hear another round of ‘the wheels on the bus’, but she knew that Jonathan’s favorite would keep him occupied while she chopped onions and scrubbed potatoes.

But Peggy didn’t make it to the kitchen right away. The open laptop sat on the desk, beckoning to her in a come hither manner. One quick peek, she thought, then I’ll get to dinner. She almost didn’t stay when she saw she had 68 new emails. But the lure of unseen messages is stronger than the drudgery of the kitchen. Scrolling down the list an email from the college caught her attention. Her gut tightened and a ball of tension tightened in her throat. With a mixture of dread and excitement, she opened the message.

“Hooray! They accepted me!” she shouted to the room.

Jonathan looked up with a puzzled look, then turned his attention back to the musical rendition on the screen in front of him.

Giddiness swept over her. Not only was she accepted and enrolled in her first class, her student loan application was approved too. She only had to show up at the office with documentation to secure the financing for the upcoming semester.

With a grin plastered across her face, Peggy shut the laptop and scurried into the kitchen. Now the task of making dinner – once again – wasn’t as formidable as it had been just a few minutes earlier. She hummed as she bustled about chopping, and slicing, and dicing.

The aroma of a sizzling meatloaf filled the house when Derek and Clifford arrived home. Clifford, in his typical five-year-old enthusiasm, dashed into the house chattering up a storm. He was full of tales of the evening and bounced with joy when he reported on how he got to fly on his dad’s training cord.

Peggy glanced at her husband to gauge his mood. She noticed a smile on his face, an uncommon occurrence lately. “You seem pretty chipper tonight. What’s up?”

“I’m a hungry man. Could smell dinner when I stepped out of the van. Meatloaf?”

“Yes. And baked potatoes.”

“Great. I’m ready.” He rubbed his stomach to emphasize his words. “Oh, by the way, my brother called tonight. Wants to know if we want to go up to Big Bear with them next weekend. They’ve got a lake house for three days. Says there an extra room we can stay in.”

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Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – number

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘number.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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“Sure. Come on by. Only Jonathan’s here though. Derek took Cliff with him.” Peggy scanned the living room to see what messy remnants remained littered about.

“Of course. It’s the weekend. They must be out flying. Guess I know my brother-in-law by now.”

“Yep. They headed out early. A van full of planes and an ice chest full of beer.”

By the time Liz’s orange Mustang pulled up in front of the house, Peggy had already done a quick pick up. Piles of discarded dirty clothes were stuffed in the hamper. Dirty glasses were placed in the sink, somewhat out of sight. A fast dust with a spritz of lemon cleanser at least made the room fresh and clean smelling. She’d thought about running the vacuum, then decided against it.

The flurry at the door when her nephews, Ed and Al, came running in made vacuuming a moot point. Keeping up with debris from tiny boy’s sneakers was an impossible task. The boys, just a year and two older than Cliff, dashed off to the boy’s bedroom, looking for their cousin.

TT_sodaWith the three boys busy at play, the two sisters had a chance to sit down and catch up. Grabbing a cold soda for each of them, Peggy dropped ice cubes in two glasses and filled Liz in on her latest feat. She also reported how angry Derek was over her bold move. “And still is,” she added. “Although…the house is a lot quieter when he’s not speaking to me.”

“Better than him yelling and throwing a tantrum.” Liz paused, thinking of her own past experiences with an angry, abusive husband. “Been there. Done that. Have no desire to go through that again.”

“Well…we had a bit of that the first night. When he first found out. But at least there’s no new holes in the wall over this.”

“Yet. You haven’t actually started school yet. Let’s see what happens then.”

A trio of three young boys ran up, stopping the conversation momentarily.

“Can we go out back and play?” Ed, the younger of the brothers, was the unofficial spokesman of the group, speaking up more easily than his quieter, older brother.

“Sure. Go ahead. Watch out for one of the swings though, the seat broke…”

The sliding glass door was opened and the boys dashed out back before the rest of the words were out of her mouth.

Liz laughed. “Good thing we both stopped at Boy Number Two. Don’t know what we’d do if we had any more.”

Peggy groaned and nodded her head in agreement. “I know. Some days I wonder how Mom did it all, with three of us.”

“Especially with Butch. He was a little stinker when he was younger.”

The two sisters began reminiscing about their brother, now thousands of miles away in Iowa, and not able to defend himself.

“Remember in Arkansas when I went in the house and he took my lawn chair and tied it up in a tree?”

“How about the time he cut my arm, playing with Dad’s ax?”

“And how he always messed up the top of our hair?”

“Tattle telling! Remember him standing on the balcony at the two-story house, spying on us?”

The afternoon in conversation with her sister, as the three boys ran in and out, soothed Peggy’s spirits and eased her worry. Somewhat. She knew she still had a difficult road in front of her and she wondered if she’d be able to accomplish her new goals. But for now, for these few hours, she could relegate her concerns to the back of her mind and enjoy the sisterly comradery.

As the shadows visible through the kitchen glass door deepened, Liz pulled out her phone and checked the time. “Sorry. I’ve got to go. Don’t want to be here when your hubby gets back – if you know what I mean.”

“I don’t blame you. Hey…I don’t want to be here when hubby gets back.”

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