“Grandpa?”

“Yes?” Christopher looked down at his 5-year-old grandson.

“I really like this place.”

Christopher smiled. “So do I, Joey.”

They sat in silence for awhile.

“Grandpa?”

“Yes?”

“I heard Mom say something about you being sick. Is it true?”

Christopher put his hand on Joey’s shoulder. “It is.”

The boy stared at the water for a moment before he spoke again. “Are you going to be okay?”

Christopher hesitated for a moment. He didn’t want to lie to the boy. “I’m not sure. But for now, let’s just enjoy this moment and this beautiful place. Okay?”

The boy stared at him for a moment before nodding. “Okay. I really do like this place.”

Restarting a journey

Several years ago, a friend recommended the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to me. It’s a 12-week program for creative recovery. The first time I did it, I only got through the first couple of weeks. The second time, I got through 4 weeks. The third time was the charm; I finally did the work for all 12 weeks. It has a lot of great exercises, and I’ve kept up doing the morning pages (three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing each day) most of the time, though I’ve neglected to do them for a few months here and there. I then would always start doing them again, though, and I’ve been writing them regularly for the past couple of years.

A few months after I had completed The Artist’s Way, I started another book by Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold. It includes some of the same tools as The Artist’s Way, including morning pages and weekly “artist dates” (doing something fun by yourself for at least an hour). It also includes daily walks, which works well for me, since I walk quite a bit anyway.

However, then I started on the first big exercise of the book, the Narrative Time Line, which is writing the story of your life. I started with the first five years of my life and didn’t get past that. I couldn’t remember much, and now I realize that I struggled with this because I wasn’t being honest with myself about my childhood. I was trying to paint too rosy of a picture of it, so I kept getting stuck.

Now, I’m again embarking on The Vein of Gold, and I’m starting my work on The Narrative Time Line. A lot of self-reflection, classes, meditation, and therapy in the past few years have helped me to be more honest with myself. So far, the Narrative Time Line is going much more smoothly because I’m not trying to only remember happy times from my childhood. I’m remembering the painful experiences as well. This might not be easy, but I think this will be a great journey for me.

The Path

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“Stay along the path. Whatever you do, do not stray from the path”

That was what her grandma had told her.

Still, Penny was so curious. What was off the path? Her grandma probably just didn’t want her to get lost, right? Going off the path for just a few minutes wouldn’t hurt.

So, she stepped off the path, taking one step and then another into the forest.

Penny was never heard from again.

Still growing


Normally Sara lived to hike, but lately she had trouble just getting herself out of bed.

So when her boyfriend kept trying to drag her along on this hike, she wasn’t sure she wanted to go. He seemed so eager for her to come along though, so finally she relented.

Her sadness continued along the path through the park, though she still tried to smile since her boyfriend seemed to be having a good time.

Then she spotted something in the rocks and bent down, and she did something she hadn’t done on a long time. She genuinely smiled. Somehow that little flower growing out of this rock gave her hope. If this flower wouldn’t quit growing, neither would she.

Peace and quiet


“It’s so quiet here. Allison? Don’t you think it’s quiet?”

Allison opened her eyes and glared down at her little sister. “It was before you started talking.”

Mandy frowned. “Why do you like just standing there with your eyes closed? That’s boring.”

“If it’s so boring to you, why don’t you go away?”

“Fine. I can find something a lot more fun than hanging around with you.” Mandy stomped away, hitting branches with every step.

Allison closed her eyes again, ready to finally have some peace and quiet. She loved just listening to the sounds of nature without anybody interrupting. 

“Jimmy! Look at this!”

Allison sighed. Someday people would leave her alone. Apparently that day was not today.