Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

It’s been a while since I opened up my blog page. I’ve missed writing here and checking in with you guys. Though I have been writing. I kind of got a new spark and have slowly been re-editing my book. I’ve lost count which time this would be. But I feel good about it. And now I am grateful that I didn’t try to publish it with all of the things that I have since changed and continue to rewrite still in it! As for the rest of the time, I’ve been getting ready for shows and restocking a little cozy booth I have at a store in town, called Reminisce. And working 12 hours a day doing it!  NOW that I am seriously attempting to make this what I want to do until I die!

Once upon a time, when someone asked me what I did, I would say that I was an Artist. And I was and always have been. In my heart. If you know my story, I worked as an Artist for over a dozen years and then moved to a small town in Paso Robles and opened up a little gift shop called Rose In The Woods which was supposed to mean “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.” It was a favorite of the locals and tourists and was doing extremely well for a few years until an earthquake demolished it. (You can find the rest of the story in the ABOUT section of my blog. https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/) But that is not what I want to talk about now, I just wanted to explain why for a while my  title was not “Artist” but Event Coordinator. And that was great. I learned a lot and had an amazing boss that has turned into a “forever friend.” But in my heart I always knew that there were more cards and dolls inside of me.

My husband built me a cozy little Art studio in our garage and created displays for me and has driven back and forth following me to Southern Californ to help me set up. And I do an amazing show that is still going strong called Sugarplum Festivals in Buena Park. I started doing that show almost 30 years ago and it is one of the largest family owned Arts & Crafts Show in California. With over 12 cash registers and a few hundred Artists, they have built an empire! The last show, A February show (mind you!) had customers wrapped around the building waiting to get in! They know how to Market their shows! They welcomed me back with open arms when I first approached them about trying a few shows again and each show I am learning new things. I think I could write a book on the dos and don’ts of doing shows.

But for now, I just kind of wanted to share a little of where I’ve been when not blogging!

 

My cozy little booth at Reminise in the heart of downtown in Paso Robles CcA. And when I’m not there, I am traveling to Sugarplum in Southern CA….

When you are traveling to do shows and have to be there by 9AM there are some perks to the challenge of getting up early to drive the four + hours to be there on time. That’s actually my sweet husband ahead of me, loaded up with half of my stuff.

This is what my booth looks like before I set up. I used to do this with no help at all. I’ve gotten so spoiled lately. Though I am trying to start doing it on my own again, just to see if I can since my sweet husband may be busier in the near future!

This was all set up

This was towards the end of the show! Blessed to take a lot less home! Gotta love me some of that Sugarplum!

My new line for 2019… My Antique Dolls and  if you notice my Shower Doll… Funny story, I was stuffing her and the stuffing got stuck in the middle and so I just went with it! So my new pregnant Shower girls are part of my line for this year!

Some of my cards out of my line… with a brand new line being introduced this year!

Thank you for taking the jouney with me. I am excited to see what this year holds for me! I am  definitely not ready to give up. I am praying that this year brings me enough success so that I can say that “I make a living” doing it!

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

I just lost my mom almost two years ago. She was a children’s artist during my whole childhood. I’d like to think that I am continuing her legacy!

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

Why do we write?


I just watched a video of a Chiropractor healing a young man who was bent over for a very long time. In less than a month of treatments, he stood tall as he walked out the door with plans of becoming a Chiropractor, himself. It was so inspirational, it almost made me want to become one!

http://www.newslinq.com/back-pain-kyphosis/

In a way, I think that we write to heal.

Most of us who are writers, remember when we knew we “had to” write. Like those who sing or dance, paint or act. It is so hard to explain. Right? Even when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we still really are who we are. Does that make any sense at all?!  If a dancer stops dancing, she is still a dancer. I know that as an artist, I am still an artist. I could still draw a new illustration for one of my greeting cards or make a doll and at times I miss the art shows and the long nights getting ready for the next one, or packing up my car to head for a holiday show, But from the begining, I really feel that if I had to choose, I was always meant to be a writer.

During my art show years, I wrote poems for my cards, I could probably publish a few volumes of what I’ve written. I’m talking hundreds. Some not great, some not so bad. But writing here at WordPress, the last few years has really made me want to write more. Though I go through spells. Really dry spells. Recently writing my story, really did me in. Going back in time, affected me more than I knew. Literally, mood changing, and it was hard for me to snap out of it. But it was also very healing. I know I have a message for women. If just one sees herself in my story and takes back her power, it will be worth it.

writer frustrated

I have realized that I need to go back and adjust parts, tear out others and be more brutally honest. I am glad that somewhere inside myself, I knew that it wasn’t good enough. Fictionally introduced to spare those that might not want “their” story told, I intend to pull out some of those muscles that have become mushy and push on, like an old dancer, who knows that they have not danced their last dance, and still have a few more great performances left.

ballerina sitting on floor

The age old question.  Does everyone have something? Why do some live their whole lives without ever sharing it or letting us know their gift? Why do those of us “have to” do what we do? And why do we sometimes stop? I think it is exhausting at times. To share daily, is like going to the gym, you have to be dedicated.

It is more about exercising our words. It heals us as we write. More often, I have been going back into my archives and having my own AHA moment when I need it the most. Pricking my own soul with a message I wrote years ago. And realize that I really am writing for myself. Trying to reach my center, not really being the expert for anyone else but me.

library shelves

Blogging is a funny thing.  There will be the handful that LIKE this before I can even re-read it myself. The ones who support you just to be nice… And then I have my two or three dozen very loyal readers, who really read because that is what they do. (I love you guys!) And then there are the writers who I have bonded with who read pretty regularly, even if I have been missing for a while, every so often, if I don’t write, I get comments from people reading random old posts of mine, which is amazingly inspiring. And then there are the writers, that support you as you support them. If you don’t work it, you lose them. Like anything, ya gotta work it to stay in shape! Lets just say, like my wedding diet (mother of the bride in June) I am back! Well, I am trying!

ballet

 

Sorry… Could you guys tell me something?


typed to be continued

This is so embarrassing! But I accidentally published the rough draft of my book for a few minutes and then realized it and deleted it. So hopefully most people saw the message COULD NOT BE FOUND. But when I e-mailed my rough draft of my book to my blog, some of you evidentally received the whole thing. It is filled with errors that I was going to do my best to catch before I let someone read it and then re-edit before I hired an editor to go over it again. You know, kind of like the way you clean your house, before you hire a housekeeping company to come and clean it! I KNOW some of you know exactly what I mean! But I feel it is the same way with our writing. There are those people who are just comfortable. We trust them to not judge us, no matter when they come over, no matter how our house looks, they are welcome to just pop in. And there are those who you always try to have your house looking nice for and wouldn’t ever want them to see otherwise.

I feel that our blogs are like the first friends. We feel un-judged and loved regardless. Though there are some that give us welcome and constructive criticism that I appreciate. I think my rough draft slipping through the cracks here, puts me somewhere in-between. I wanted to straighten up my house so to speak before I shared it with the special few who have offered to read it. I understand that asking someone to read 200+ double spaced pages is a LOT. And I don’t take it lightly I am grateful for the ones who are willing. And anticipate their feedback!

question mark

The favor I am asking you guys is… to tell me what you have seen. I’m just wondering how many received my rough draft accidentally? I have received several messages that you guys are loving what you are reading and most have read it in one sitting and I am blown away with gratitude. I told Quiall, one of my very special reader friends that I would provide a place for your reviews. I actually am not posting my book. I published the draft for a few accidental moments before I realized that it actually went through! Embarrassing. If you did receive it, please let me know here. I am just wondering how many slipped out! If you are interested in reading the edited version of my rough draft, I will share it with those who want to give me feedback as I continue to edit… such as… was the ending what you expected? Did you feel it had a redeeming message in the end? Was it confusing in certain places? etc… Any suggestions…. etc… THANK YOU!

Once again through this journey of now three years! I thank all who have shared it with me…. through joining me at the beginning and throughout. Even following me to:          http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com    which I know I have kind of left hanging. You ALL are the GREATEST and I love you!

xoxo

Diane

aka Keri 🙂

In the end it is all about the lessons


The other day, I was talking to someone closer to my age about how scary it is that life seems to be dashing by. Yesterday, I was planning a summer get away and now POOF it is almost Christmas. I brought up a point I made in a past post…

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/unfolding-prayer-requests/

                                                                                     About how good God is, and about how when you really look back at the important stuff, it all worked out in the end. I had a prayer tin when I was a young wife and mother and faithfully put prayers in it. I found it years later, and every single one was answered in some way. Perhaps, not the way I’d envisioned. But they ALL actually were answered.

Later that day, a young girl that I was talking to, shared with me how she was heart-broken about the ending of a relationship and I told her my prayer tin story and how things that seem so important now, really won’t in four or five years. Of course four or five years to her is a lifetime, or at least a quarter of her young life, and I’m not sure if she believed me, but…. It made me think. Age is not such a curse. Good things come with experience. Hopefully wisdom is a biggy.

In my life, I have had a few hard lessons. And it’s funny, because NOW, all these lessons that I refer to have seemed to have collectively gathered at one time. EVERY day, I have had quite a few of those light bulb moments recently. And I guess you could call it wisdom. In writing my book, I have re-written the ending at least a dozen times. I do know that since I typed that first word of the first page, I have lived a lifetime in my heart. The poem below is not where I am today. It is just part of my story, a chapter in my book. I am so glad that I have lived past that time in my life. I am so glad that God answers prayers and that life goes on, and that we are forgiven of our indiscretions. In the end, I guess it is all about the lessons.

door little girl peeking out black and white

In the corners of my mind,

 behind the closed doors of my heart,

I struggle with the melody,

 that keeps us far apart.

couple on the dock

Loyalties and passion,

twirl inside my head,

memories of the past play there,

 like a story I once read.

smelling the books girl

Heartache is the tune that plays

 in the background of my soul,

charging for my sins,

 like a gate keepers constant toll.

Diane Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2014

After That…. She was HOOKED


woman writing at keyboard

She originally started her blog to write the outline of her book. At first, she wasn’t going to share it. She was just going to use it as a place to store the rough draft and some of her ideas.

library shelves

 

Not being too technically inclined or really knowing how to set up blogs or sites, it took her the best part of a morning but she finally created what she thought, was a private place where she would be the only reader. Though she still “tagged” each new post as she was prompted to, and for a while, she would just write and publish what she’d written, never imagining anyone else was ever reading it. Until one day she got a LIKE and then the next day another, and still the next day two more.

like thumb She thought to herself that she needed to go back into the part of the blog where she set up her profile and make it private because she wasn’t sure she wanted anyone reading such rough and raw ramblings she’d started compiling there. But each time that she’d sign on, she’d be so excited about some new thought she wanted to get down before she lost it, that she kept forgetting about going into the technical side of things to fix the settings.

wordpress wrench

 

And then one day she published a poem and got eleven LIKES and four people who’d actually clicked FOLLOW and a few comments. One reader told her that it had made her cry and thanked her for writing it. After that, she was hooked.

blog readers

Hey Everyone,

Just checking IN!!!! I am on a roll. I have been editing everything and think I have an ending to my book.

“THIS” is an excerpt from my book but it made me think of you guys!

I didn’t want you all to think that I haven’t been thinking about you guys. Also, I have been reading your blogs faithfully but if I am on my phone for some reason, it keeps saying “LOADING” so I can never LIKE things and if I am at work, can’t really take the time to comment like I’d like to. And then when I go home to my laptop, I am writing my book… Soooooo just wanted to stop by and explain and tell you guys I am still here working away and will eventually be back again!

Have a good weekend!

xoxo

me

Back Spacing!


reading little girl by tree

When I was a little girl, I would escape into my books. The stories would take me far away from my bedroom or under the tree where I sat, and snap me to another place and time.  I learned what authors I loved and would anxiously wait for their next book. I remember being just as mesmorized by the fact that somebody created the world I was reading about, almost as much as the story it’s self.

lonely girl in window seat

I knew that was what I wanted to do at an early age. And so I began to write, not because I was told to, but because I had stories inside of me. And as I wrote,  something happened to me. My teachers noticed that though I sucked at most every other subject, I did okay at writing. In fact, I was encouraged and put into special classes to motivate me. Where some kids want to be a ballerina or a fireman I  always knew that  I wanted to be a writer and never have ever changed my mind.

writer's block

Sometimes now,  I like to escape as I write my stories. Fiction is like magic for me. You can make each character a certain gender,  as you name them,  decide what age they will be, what personality they have, their color hair , where they live, and what jobs they have. You can have them married, break them up bring tragedy their way and then save them. As the author, you basically create their world.

writer

I Am The Master Of Their Story

I am the master of their story,

I can break their hearts with my pen.

breaking up

Or… I can backspace and delete

and make them fall in love again!

hugging in the rain

I can carry them to different lands

and make them travel over seas.

ocean

So why then can’t I rewrite

the fate that falls on me?

Diane Reed

2013 ©

Like Romeo And Juliet


Disclaimer:

This poem is for my book that I am working on (all fiction don’t worry!)

 Pieces of the Circle

letters with ribbon

True love can’t be forgotten

though years have hid it’s flame~

Lost love held inside of me

without shelter or a name

ring

 Finding me in my despair,

weary from the pain

so ready for young love

to be restored for me again

woman at the mirror

We hesitated in mid air

like a note sung by a singer~

The scent of love we used to know

somehow made us stop and linger~

couple on a hill

Did we understand the cost

of choosing to stay or close the door?

Did we deserve to take our turn

and even ask for more?

holding hands at sunset

The love inside of me grew until

I thought that I would burst

I feared  that what I held dear,

by my loved ones would be cursed

goodbye hug

The past has met the present

like waves upon the sand~

The foundation was never ready

for us to step on or to stand

walking on the beach

We were caught inside a love story

with all the tragedy and pain

No one would ever accept our love

or allow it to remain,

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

like Romeo and Juliet,

like Elizabeth and Browning.

Our love was like a soaring sea

as we struggled to keep from drowning.

past lovers quote

God became our rescuer,

The One who calms the seas.

The One who knows all of our tomorrows,

and what they all will be.

Jesus loves me and you

And so we rest in HIM

and put us in His care

And when we I look for true love…

I know I’ll  find Him there.

Diane Reed

2013

*Note* This poem is stored here for future use in my book. (Previous chapters can be found here in this blog.*)

Chapter Two (Edited Version)


Hey guys….you know how we always appreciate feedback or at least like knowing that our work is really being read? Well, I am blown away by some of my blog buddies who have become true friends!

I want to give a shout out to Paul who sent me an edited version of my Chapter Two.   What an amazing gift! Thank you Paul!!  http://pjb1943.wordpress.com/about/

(click on his above link, he has an amazing story and a great blog!)

Here it is, Chapter Two edited thanks to Paul!  I have a lot to learn about grammar and punctuation for a 50 something year old who loves to write… so this was sooo appreciated! When I get the $$ I am gonna hire you my dear!!!!

Chapter Two

…. finds her back in her younger years, when
she actually started that journal and was living the stories that she wrote
about… slowly the chapters will carry you forward again to today, which is when
she finally begins to understand the lesson in her journey ~ hence; the title:
Pieces of The Circle
Here it is….

I eliminated the pictures this time so hopefully it will read just as good without them.

typerwriter paper


(Edit
starts
here) 

*********************************************

Chapter Two

Keri watched as her mom and little brother Lonnie, prepared to leave for the airport. It was the first time since moving from Seattle to California that she would not be joining them on their yearly summer trip. After all, she was sixteen…, too old for “family vacations” she told her parents. Though she had to admit,her summers had been magical. When one would end she would start counting the months until the next one. Ever since she could remember she looked forward to every single one of them. Keri and her cousin, Annie, had spent all of their summers together at their Grandparent’s house near Lake Washington since she could remember. Memories filled her heart with the special adventures they had shared over the years. She smiled as she recalled how they would cook up schemes, trying to come up with ways to stow Annie away in a suitcase so that
Keri could bring her home with her to California. She smiled now just thinking about it. And she had to admit that it felt odd not to go this year. But Annie landed a babysitting job for the summer so Keri had decided to stay home this year. After what seemed like endless conversations about the subject, her parents had finally consented.

It was the summer before her senior year and her best friend Lori’s last summer home before she went away to school. Lori had her license for almost a year and Keri had finally received hers. This represented a new kind of freedom for both the girls that they had never known before. Her father was always busy. He traveled and worked late hours  so she knew that for the most part she would have the independence for which she longed.
Keri understood that she was to maintain the house while her mom was away and she appreciated that her dad gave her a reprieve of sorts by
not requiring her to get a summer job. She knew that this was the last summer she had to just be a “kid” and planned to make it the best one yet. Little, did she know…

 She threw kisses  as her dad backed out of the driveway, heading for the airport to drop her mom and Lonny off and then take a flight himself.  She grabbed her beach gear  and headed to Lori’s to pick her up. The sun felt good on her face as she climbed into her car. The breeze was almost nonexistent. It was a beautiful day and she knew it would be warm at the beach. She could see the ocean from her house in Palos Verdes. The blue sky sparkled invitingly as she slid into the driver’s seat of her new car. The latest Top Forty filled the speakers her dad had just installed for her as she tuned up the volume. She rolled down the windows, and smelled the scent of fresh-cut grass. Feeling quite carefree and that all was well with her world.

When Keri pulled up to Lori’s she noticed a boy a little older than her, working on a sailboat on the long driveway that led to Lori’s house. As she passed him he took off his baseball  cap and wiped his brow and nodded. She wondered who he was but decided that the day was a wasting and honked for her friend who stood on the balcony outside of her bedroom, motioning for her to
come on up. Keri sighed heavily as she jumped from her car…, pointing to her watch-less wrist as if to say, “Let’s not waste the rays”.
They were already leaving later than they had planned since Keri had waited to see her mom and Lonnie off. “Come on Lori, it’s almost One.” Keri whined in a playfully sardonic tone as the she walked through the door, only to be met with a glass of lemonade and a smile from Lori’s mom “Hey Mrs. T” Keri said accepting the drink and hugging her tightly,“I can never say no to your terrific lemonade”. And then turned as she heard Lori call out “I’ll be right down”. “So where are you girls off to today”? Mrs. T asked cheerfully… “Avenue F in Redondo” Keri confirmed. She and Lori had dubbed the spot right outside of the life guard’s station ever since they noticed Brad, the cute new lifeguard that they had met during spring break and had gotten to know even better, during the weekends that followed. They had a little flirtation going on as he would joke about turning down their AM radio, insinuating KRLA
and KHJ were passé and the FM stations he listened to were going to be the new place to tune in to. They had a volume war and finally Brad had used his megaphone and the girls had laughingly conceded, as Mrs. T probed curiously, Keri got lost in her day dreams as she thought of Brad who was tan with sparkling brown eyes. He was a couple of years older, and very funny. He loved to joke with the girls and they bonded with him right away, and then with several of his lifeguard friends in the area. Brad’s friends had easily become their friends and they all had begun playing what they called:”Sunset volleyball” once the beach had cleared and everyone was off duty. Brad had mentioned the bonfires during Spring Break, and after a day of teasing and sharing cookies they had brought for him, he had invited them back that night to play. They had excitedly gone home to shower and change and then ran back with a six-pack of sodas, a package of hotdogs and some of those home-baked cookies as their contribution.

When they arrived they found half the guys playing a warm up game near a bonfire that the other half was just starting. There was a big tub of ice filled with beer that they added their sodas to, as they were greeted and quickly integrated into the game at hand,
evening out the teams. Not until the sun had finally dipped beneath the horizon did they stop playing. Keri and Lori dropped to the blanket they had laid out laughing. “That was so fun”!  Keri said rubbing her wrists. Lori nodded in agreement. “You
guys aren’t bad for girls”.  Brad had said and Keri gave Lori a high-five,stating, “For girls you say”?  Just you wait, we will give you a run for your money when we’ve played more.” Volleyball, bonfires and Avenue F seemed to fill their weekends after that.

“Sounds like fun” Mrs. T laughed at Keri, realizing that she was far, far away in her thoughts. Keri took another sip as she snapped out of it and absently asked “who’s the guy in the boat?” Mrs. T cleared her throat and said “Oh that’s Jack”. Keri swallowed asking “Jack”? “Yes, Maddie’s old boyfriend”.  Keri was curious, “Old Boyfriend”? she queried. “Yes, old”. Mrs. T Sighed, “you see Maddie got herself engaged and is bringing home her Fiancé to meet us”.  Maddie was Lori’s older sister by two years. Mrs. T continued, “she has given us a month to break the news to him and get him moved out”. Keri was puzzled. She had just spent the night with Lori a few weeks ago. “He lives here”? She asked. “No, but we let him bring his boat here to work on. And he’s been working on it daily.” Mrs. T replied. Keri was even more confused. Why would someone get engaged if they already had a boyfriend she wondered. But was distracted by Lori clamoring down the stairs, as she kissed her mom and hurriedly began pulling Keri out the door.

Keri noticed Lori’s turquoise swim suit under her clothes and laughed stating, “I almost wore that same suit”! They had gone swimsuit shopping the weekend before at Rosie’s on Pacific Coast Hwy, a store that always seemed to have the best bikinis, and had
both bought some new ones but couldn’t decide on the ones they both liked so had ended up with a few of the same suits. “Lori noticed the pale pink one beneath Keri’s halter top and smiled, saying “I guess we should check with each other because I almost wore the pink one” !Mrs. T laughed. “Oh to be young again, she reflected, so carefree, if I only had to worry about what color my swimsuit was for the day.” Lori rolled her eyes as Keri happily followed her to the car, thanking Mrs. T for the lemonade, she gave her a quick hug. As Lori’s mom waved the girls on telling them to have a good time, closing the screen door she went
back inside Keri loved everything about Mrs.T. and her quiet, but involved presence in Lori’s life. Always just far enough away to not be in the way, but close enough to show she cared. From the time she and Lori started hanging out, Keri always felt welcome and during the weekends, the girls always were either at one house or the other. Lori was going to UCLA that fall and Keri
didn’t want to think about school the next year without her. It made her sad.But she forced herself to just think about the day ahead and decided that today was all that mattered.

Keri buckled her seatbelt and slipped a Chicago 8 track into her player. With the sun shining down through the sun roof, the girls put on sunglass and Keri cranked up the volume, smiling as they rolled down the windows. They began singing loudly.  Rocking to the beat laughing. They hadn’t been to the beach for several weeks. The last two months had been filled with finals and all of Lori’s graduation responsibilities so they had both looked forward to today. The girls sang loudly as they drove down the long driveway, bouncing in their seats. The boy in the boat caught her eye and grinned at them as they drove by. Keri couldn’t help but feel a little
compassion for him. Wondering what the story was, she asked Lori. “Why is he hanging out here if Maddie and he are broken up”? Lori sighed in a way that reminded her of Mrs. T’s sigh and it made Keri smile. “Good old Maddie has my poor mom, always trying to fix things but I’m not sure how she is going to manage this one”.  Keri asked “Why, because she has a new fiancé”?
Lori grimaced” yeah. I kind of feel sorry for him. I think that he thought that they would get back together like before”. Keri asked “Like before”? Lori nodded. “yeah they broke up a lot, and would always get back together. This time though, it’s over for sure she already has a new guy and a ring and a date”. “Oh that sucks for him”. Keri said. Lori nodded. Keri couldn’t help but take another
glance in the rearview mirror as they drove out of sight.

Brad waved to Keri and Lori as soon as he saw them coming down the ramp. He jumped out of his chair and hopped from the tower. He was still as cute and tan as ever, in his red suit and hugged them tight. A few of their friends were already playing volleyball nearby and waved. Even when the guys were off duty, they seemed to hang out at Avenue F. The girls managed to find a spot, dropping their bags and slipping off their cover-ups, they joined the game. They looked like models in a commercial for suntan lotion, out there in the sand, Brad thought as he watched them from above. The girls took turns taking showers at Keri’s house after the beach. Her dad was out-of-town on business for a few days and they planned to go out dancing and then come back to spend the night. “Oh I can’t believe it”, Lori groaned as she walked in Keri’s room drying her waist length hair with a damp towel, “I forgot my new shoes and my overnight bag”. Keri was sitting on the floor putting on the last touches of her make up in front of her floor length antique mirror as she replied, “That’s fine we’ll just swing by your place and pick them up”.

They just started discussing where they would go for dinner as they approached Lori’s house. Pulling up, Keri glanced at the covered boat still in their driveway, thinking Jack must have gone home for the day. “I’ll just run in and be back in two….” Lori started to say when the door opened and Mrs. T came out waving them in. “You two are just in time for my famous lasagna” she gushed. Keri and Lori looked at each other, both loving Mrs. T’s lasagna and without protest, jumped out of the car. “Why not”? they both said in unison and laughed.

Lori ran up to her room to grab her shoes and pack a bag as Keri followed Mrs. T into the great room while waves of warm garlic bread wafted through the room straight to her nose. “Oh my gosh it smells like heaven in here”! She exclaimed as she sauntered into the room with the farm like table filled with the Taber family and Jack. Mrs. T. immediately introduced him stating “Keri this is Jack Sagan.” Keri warmly held out her hand, from the moment she had heard his story, she had felt a twinge of compassion that she
could not shake And as he took her hand in his firmly shaking it, he looked her in the eye with a confident smile that impressed her. Hmmm she wondered if it was impressed or intrigued. But without knowing exactly what it was, something in
the stars seemed to shift.

The aroma of garlic and the chatter of everyone filled the room as dinner was served. Jack was friendly and animated and talked about being ready to launch his boat. Mrs. T seemed pleased knowing that launching it, meant that it would be moved and it was one more thing she could cross off of the check list that her older daughter had given to her. The boat being gone would be a
huge load off of her to do list, out of all the things that Maddie had
requested be done, before her arrival.

“I have a great idea.” Mrs. T cooed nonchalantly, “Why don’t you all go”? Lori didn’t miss a beat and piped up “Not me. I get seasick”! “Count me in”! announced Lori’s younger brother Matt, who was a year younger than Keri and had been helping Jack work on the boat for the last several weeks. He was eager to try out the vessel on the water. “Can I bring Sarah”? he asked hopefully. Sarah and Matt had been inseparable for the last year when Matt had not been hanging out with Jack. “Sure.” Jack agreed good-naturedly. Keri was laughing at something with Lori when she noticed just out of the side of her eyes, Mrs. T mouthing a silent message of encouragement to Jack as he turned to look at her and offered. “How about it”?

Lori glared at her mom, looking annoyed, and realized that she and Jack had most likely discussed these plans earlier in the day and that this dinner was a little more contrived than she had made it all look. Mrs. T seemed to miss or ignore her younger daughter’s reaction. Keri, on the other hand, had not missed the look, and searched Lori’s face for a clue as if asking her what to do. Lori just shrugged and so Keri turned back to Jack, not wanting to hurt his feelings, especially after knowing the disappointment that soon awaited him, she hesitantly answered “Sure, why not? I’d love to”. Before they left, Keri reached for Jack’s hand and wrote her number on his palm and smiled. He looked down at his hand and smiled back.