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New Year, New Map, Better Compass?

content discovered on Monday, January 1, 2018 in the writing life dreams family hope writing

The year has dawned like a magnificent sunrise over an expansive ocean, with a freshness like clean linen, the newness of a tightly folded flower bud, and the secrecy of a locked treasure chest. I’m giddy over the endless possibilities of what lies ahead. – The Portrait Writer, 1 Jan. 2017 I just read my []

Dust-covered Dreams and a Whackin’ Stick

content discovered on Sunday, October 15, 2017 in rose s word portraits the writing life post poned dreams return to writing writing

How long had she been gone? Hard to say. Exhausted from her recent adventure, the woman approached the dark building with yearning and trepidation. And hope. When the heavy oak door wouldn’t open, she lowered her shoulder and shoved. It groaned and creaked in protest, but relented. Sort of. Its base grated like a []

Holey Bucket List! When Dreamers Meet Reality

content discovered on Friday, August 18, 2017 in rose s word portraits bucket list trains vacation plans

Ah, the infamous bucket list. I’ve never met anyone who’s actually written one down, yet if you ask, just about anyone can rattle off their top five or six items. I believe we intentionally keep our lists untethered. It’s a brilliant system, really. Frees us from commitment and leaves room for updates as our world []

Secret to Creativity? Shut It Down

content discovered on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in the writing life creativity sabbatical season of rest vacation

Somehow, without meaning to, I took an entire month off. Nobody was more shocked than yours truly. I can’t remember the last time I did absolutely nothing, if ever, for more than a weekend. I’m usually that guest at the family gathering who keeps stealing away to write, or the one who cancels at the []

Happy Birthday America! A grateful look down an...

content discovered on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 in rose s word portraits 4th of july america happy birthday independence day

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? []

Sounds of an Empty Nest

content discovered on Thursday, June 15, 2017 in rose s word portraits empty nest quiet house

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I lied. Even my husband doesn’t know . . . well, I supposed he does now. Every morning when I leave my bedroom, music greets me and pulls me down the hall and into my son’s room. There, I stare at the radio, its soft alarm light blinking at []

What do Writers Read? Pursuing Adventure — Summ...

content discovered on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in the writing life books summer reading what writers read

One would expect writers to be on the cutting edge of the book scene, devouring best-sellers one after another. After all, reading got us into this mess. Not just reading, but reading good books. I sometimes wonder, would I be enamored with writing today if I’d tried to read James Joyce’s “Ulysses” or William Faulkner’s []

Honoring Mothers, Even My Own

content discovered on Thursday, May 11, 2017 in rose s word portraits celebrating moms family mthers day

I usually don’t write about my mother.  As a “Daddy’s Girl,” I’ve dedicated three or four blogs over the years to my father, flawed as he was, but I steer clear of Mom. Perhaps I do this because some aspects of our relationship still need healing, yet they never will heal completely because she’s been gone []

The Great Buts of Human Limitation

content discovered on Monday, April 24, 2017 in the writing life dreams faith hope moving forward purpose

Who are you, deep down? What is it you really desire to do? What is it you’ve been putting off for years, despite the constant yearning? We all have dreams, hopes, a purpose . . .  but some of us are sitting on our buts and may never see them realized. It seems the more []

From the Peak of Round-to-it Mountain: Can’t I ...

content discovered on Thursday, April 6, 2017 in the writing life busy life busy mom

Happy April! I’ve missed you all so much. It’s hard to believe this page has been dormant more than three weeks, because it seems more like three months. I must admit, I approached this page with trepidation today, a little worried you may have found another blogger to spend your time with. I cant say []

Narcissus Dies Again

content discovered on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 in rose s word portraits not spring yet snow day trust in god

Narcissus. Pronounced: nar-SIS-əs. Latinized form of Greek Narkissos, possibly derived from narke meaning sleep, numbness. Narkissos was a beautiful youth in Greek mythology who stared at his own reflection for so long that he eventually died and was turned into the narcissus flower. “But Father, we want this so much!” The children leapt from their beds and []

Grandpa’s Laugh

content discovered on Monday, March 6, 2017 in rose s word portraits the writing life family grandpa love

I met Jerry L. Fitzsimmons, Sr. under unusual circumstances. I’d been engaged to his son for less than a week and we’d been driving through Kansas on our way to McCook, Nebraska in our ’66 Mustang to meet his grandparents. From there, we planned to drive to Denver to meet his parents. We never made []

Temporary Derailment: A Writer’s Nightmare

content discovered on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in the writing life computer crash heartache sadness

All is well now, although I have had to come to grips with a set-back of my own making. Here is an attempt at poetry to explain my absence. No more details needed Hard Drive Not Found Hundreds of children, locked in the grains of a glimmering silver disk. A plastic prison, inaccessible forever. I brought []

Hustle Along, Little Crab. Don’t Fear the Sea G...

content discovered on Friday, February 3, 2017 in fear purpose trust in god worry

Today we’re going to talk again about Brian the Hermit Crab, because some people misunderstood his role as Exhibit A in last week’s message about worrying. I received the following comments: “All I see is a cat.” “He may be happy, but the reality is still a dangerous situation. Maybe he should be worried.” And []

If Worry Isn’t a Gift, Why Can’t We Let it Go?

content discovered on Thursday, January 19, 2017 in be happy enjoy life fear live is amazing worry

This morning, while preparing to write an encouraging note for my friend Aimee, who is worried about undergoing a scheduled surgery today, I hit the synonym button to find a nicer word for “worry,” because it sounded so negative. My replacement options are: anxiety, perturbation, distress, unease, fretfulness, agitation, tension, and stress. Folks, this is []

To the Moon, Alice! (But Take Me With You)

content discovered on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in rose s word portraits anniversary love marriage

Tomorrow marks my 33rd anniversary of marriage to a wonderful man. In previous years, I’ve used this event as a reason to wax over the ordinariness of our marriage or to tell you why my husband is my hero (much to his discomfort). By now, you pretty much know all there is to know about []

New Year, New Page, New Start

content discovered on Sunday, January 1, 2017 in rose s word portraits the writing life hope new year resolutions

On this, the seventh day of Christmas, I received a most precious gift, as did you. I stayed in bed this morning as long as I could, savoring the opening of it the way one unwraps a much-anticipated present—instead of tearing into the wrapping, I glided my metaphorical finger just under point where the paper []

Thanksgiving that Peace is Possible in Turbulen...

content discovered on Thursday, November 24, 2016 in abraham lincoln peace thanksgiving

I had intended to spend time today writing a blog about all I’m thankful for, wondering how to do that without sounding trite, which is odd, considering it’s those trite blessings we take most for granted—clean running water, electricity, cars, health, and family. Then I re-discovered this most profound statement, written in the 89th year of []

NaNoWriMo a No-Go…for now

content discovered on Thursday, November 17, 2016 in the writing life maybe next year nanowrimo writing

I’m calling it A Hope Deferred because failure sounds so permanent. More than two weeks into National Novel Writing Month have flown by with a whoosh, leaving me staring at my keyboard in puzzlement, wondering . . . What the heck happened? Not much, I’ll tell you that. I worked, as is evident by my []

NaNoWriMo: Will Words Escape Me?

content discovered on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 in the writing life nanowrimo november challenge writing

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” — Toni Morrison November is National Novel Writing Month. I have no idea why, just go with me on this. Anyway, this is a writers’ challenge which suggests that if we commit to writing 1,667 words []

Play Ball! Nationals “Fan” Dares to Hope

content discovered on Thursday, October 13, 2016 in rose s word portraits baseball big headed presidents division title nationals

Five hours and counting. Not that I am counting, but if I were, five is the magic number. Five hours and seventeen minutes. Give or take. …because counting would imply that I’m some sort of fanatic. That I’m somehow invested in the outcome of tonight’s baseball game. That I care, for some reason, whether Max []

A Mom’s Prayer on National “See you at the Pole...

content discovered on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 in ebenezer hope

I parked strategically, near enough to see the small group of teens huddled around the flag pole in the rain, but far enough away that I couldn’t see my son roll his eyes if he spotted me in what was clearly his “space.” There amid the hustle and bustle of cars, buses, horns, and umbrellas, I []

A Story is Born: From the Remnants Just Released

Its official! Today Cathy Schrader and I released From the Remnants, A Story of Light and Hope. It is the true story of Cathys journey from heart-shattering brokeness to a place of healing and purpose. This book is for anyone whose faith in God has been tested by the sudden and unexplainable loss of a loved []

Teachers: Perpetual Sowers of an Unseen Harvest

content discovered on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in the writing life back to school gratitude teachers

Every September I get this colossal sense of wonder and gratitude regarding the men and women to whom we’ve entrusted the minds and dreams of our children. Where would we be without these wonderful people who can explain concepts to our children that, let’s face it, we don’t understand ourselves? Some of the concepts that []

New England in 15 Days: A Dish Best Served Warm

content discovered on Friday, August 26, 2016 in rose s word portraits the writing life maine new england sea shore summer trip vermont

Im walking mournfully from room to room, sighing heavily because the trip I’ve been waiting for and planning for nearly three years is now but a memory, and I long to go back. I yearn to feel that cool ocean breeze blowing into my bedroom window and to fall asleep listening to the waves crash []

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Quit Looking at Me!

content discovered on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 in hope joy

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. Roald Dahl It goes far []

Happy Birthday to Joe; Lessons Learned from a S...

content discovered on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 in the writing life caged sparrow finding joy quitting my 9 5 writing

This week we celebrate a birthday, of sorts, as my baby, “Caged Sparrow” is officially one year old. I suspect that’s about 20 in book years, judging by how much of my energy went into raising it. Although completing one book hardly qualifies me as an expert in anything, I would like to share a []

When Fathers are Imperfect: You Call This Love?

content discovered on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 in rose s word portraits fathers day

No, I wont be re-blogging all summer long. I just read this from two years ago and decided its still a fitting tribute. I hope you all have wonderful Fathers Day memories and, if not, can at least thank your father for making you youbecause youre fantastic! Not everyone loves Fathers’ Day. Did you []

When Fathers Are Imperfect: You Call this Love?

content discovered on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in the writing life

Originally posted on The Portrait Writer: Not everyone loves Fathers’ Day. Did you have the perfect?dad, someone who attended every sporting event, band concert, and scout ceremony? Who knew your friends names and read the?articles you wrote for?the school paper? I didn’t. My dad barely knew?me, and he attended nothing—not even my high school graduation.

Forks and Eyeballs: My Boy’s All Right

content discovered on Friday, June 3, 2016 in rose s word portraits busy life stress releif

This is the calm before the storm. In just over an hour I’ll pick up my 17-year-old and head to a nearby elementary school so he can usher in the first of three delivery trucks. From there a chaos will erupt that should last through Sunday. My son is running on empty. We’ve had a []

Memorial Day: What’s to Celebrate?

content discovered on Saturday, May 28, 2016 in the writing life

Originally posted on The Portrait Writer: How do You Celebrate Memorial Day? That was a trick question. Across the country, folks are firing up those backyard barbecue grills, stocking the beer coolers, brewing sweet tea, and hunting through the garage for the horseshoes and lawn chairs. Company’s a-comin’ and it’s sure to be a day

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You

content discovered on Friday, May 20, 2016 in rose s word portraits the writing life cathy schrader from the remnants new book

In order to tell you about this book, I’d like to introduce you to two very important people. The first is Cathy Schrader, who makes teddy bears. Not just any teddy bears, but bears that bring comfort to hurting people. Sick children, orphans, victims of abuse, recovering addicts, people who have lost loved ones . []

Great News for Caged Sparrow

content discovered on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 in rose s word portraits the writing life finding joy selah awards writing

Okay, so its not a Pullitzer, and its not even a super big deal, but its a ray of hope, so Im going with it. Caged Sparrow has been named a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Not too shabby! Well have to wait until May 25 []

What the Habukkuk is Going On? The April Fool’s...

content discovered on Monday, April 25, 2016 in rose s word portraits hope light love peace on earth

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I might have.” —Abraham Lincoln I had to take a few weeks off to regroup after my recent blog about April fools. Not that it []

April’s Fool. What’s So Funny?

content discovered on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in rose s word portraits april fool s not funny

Sigh. April Fools day and I have no giggles. I thought I’d have a hilarious blog today. However, as I started ruminating over what I thought would make an ideal “gotcha,” I realized that the ridiculous has become reality in our society; were no longer shocked by the absurd. Sure, I might have startled a few []

You Are That Man! Hope for the One Who Feels Ov...

content discovered on Monday, March 21, 2016 in rose s word portraits hope worry anxiety pleasing god

I’m thinking about my friend K, who is carrying a lot on his shoulders these days, and who I’m sure feels as if he’s taken on too much, certainly more than he can handle. He hasn’t come to me for advice, nor would I expect him to, as there are many other friends on his []

Me, Myself, and Sigh: A Grammarian’s Plea

content discovered on Friday, March 4, 2016 in the writing life grammar grammar day me or i

Happy Grammar Day, everyone! That’s right, once again it’s the Word Nerds’ favorite observance, March 4th, the only date on the calendar that’s also an imperative. This is the one day of the year, aside from National Punctuation Day, when I can risk letting loose the annoying grammar critic I keep bound and gagged in []

Tiny Tea Cups and a Girl Long Gone

content discovered on Friday, February 26, 2016 in rose s word portraits the writing life great worth history teacups writing

What is truly of great worth? NOTE: Today’s blog is made possible by a book of writing prompts given to me by my husband on our anniversary, and also by a cold, lazy day that turned out to be good for nothing but sitting by the fire and avoiding work. I will have to write []

Depressingly Close to Darkness? Step Back.

content discovered on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in depression finding joy winter fog

They say God won’t give you more than you can handle. I say that’s a bunch of baloney. I’ve been mulling over that phrase for a few weeks now, after a recent email conversation with a friend. I know the sentiment comes from a good place, but these words present such a simplistic view of []

Courtin’ Disaster with Tumbler Roulette

content discovered on Sunday, January 31, 2016 in get it done procrastination

Our family is playing a dangerous game of Tumbler Roulette. It’s a game borne of stubborn pride that began a little over a year ago when we first purchased those colorful plastic chalices at a discount store. So pretty, we said. So tall. So spacious. So perfect. What’s not to like? So very not dishwasher []

It’s Just a Little Snow, but it’s a Good Reason...

content discovered on Friday, January 22, 2016 in the writing life blizzard snow day snow storm

Happy Snow Day, East Coast! I had such a good response from my last Totally Made Up Interview that I decided today would be the perfect day to conduct another one, primarily because I wanted to blog about the weather but I lack sufficient knowledge of such matters (except that my RI family is laughing []

Chocolate Muscles and Frozen Peas: Love is Comp...

content discovered on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in rose s word portraits anniversary love marriage

Thirty-two years ago, on a Friday the 13th, something wonderful happened when I agreed to drive over to the Justice of the Peace in South Kingstown, RI, with Jerry Fitzsimmons. How could I resist, considering his oh-so-captivating suggestion: “Do you wanna?” Why, yes, I did. Not that it was a rash decision. We’d been engaged for []

Chaining the Free Spirit: New Year’s Writing Re...

content discovered on Monday, January 11, 2016 in the writing life new year s resolution

This, my first blog of the new year, breaks all the resolutions it contains. I’m going to run it anyway, because I find that particularly funny. I’m not keen on making resolutions, but it became quite apparent toward the end of last year that my “take-work-as-it-comes-and-hope-for-the-best” time-management style might not be the most effective.  At []

State of the Portrait Writer Report

content discovered on Thursday, December 31, 2015 in rose s word portraits the writing life caged sparrow finding joy writing

How Did We Fare in 2015? As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time for the now-annual State of the Portrait Writer report, in which I will examine my writing progress thus far. In re-reading my year-old journal entry of expectations for 2015, I’m amazed at how many of the events I planned or promised []

That Seemingly Preposterous Peace on Earth

content discovered on Monday, December 14, 2015 in christmas christmas peace hope peace on earth

Hi everyone, Im so sorry to be absent for such a long time. Certain (good) priorities seem to be taking all my time lately. However, because people are asking if Im still here, I will post a favorite Christmas piece from last year. I should be back in the writing saddle next week. Until thenbe at []

Not A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving…

content discovered on Thursday, November 26, 2015 in rose s word portraits thanksgiving

The only Thanksgiving element I absolutely cannot do without is family. For me, Thanksgiving is synonymous with loud, boisterous, prank-pulling, bowl-dropping, too-many-in-too-small-a-space, story-telling, story-denying, over-hugging, over-cologned, and occasionally under-showered, family. As one of nine children, I remember Thanksgiving as the one day of the year we hosted both sets of grandparents (we’ll call them the []

Shout Out to Michele: Five Years Strong and Cou...

content discovered on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in rose s word portraits cancer free celebrate

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”  – C.S. Lewis Today’s blog is dedicated to good friends, and one in particular. We all have friends—people we love and enjoy being with, but we should also have one or []os

A Halloween Story

content discovered on Saturday, October 31, 2015 in rose s word portraits the writing life halloween scary story

This is based on an old favorite, snazzed up for the occasion, but it should work—particularly if you haven’t heard it… Last year, a young lad who ought to have spent Halloween night studying for the next day’s Chemistry class decided instead to venture out onto the streets and mingle with neighborhood revelers. He []

Cage Sparrow Launches in Naples!

content discovered on Saturday, October 17, 2015 in rose s word portraits the writing life book signing caged sparrow

Who would have thought it possible? Here I am, two hours away from a moment I’ve been dreaming about since I was about 14 – my first official book signing! And to make life even better, I’m in Naples, Florida, sitting with the no-longer Caged Sparrow himself, Joseph Tuttolomondo, without whom I’d still be sitting []

Left-brain, Right-brain Activity: Woes of an AD...

content discovered on Friday, October 9, 2015 in the writing life add can t sleep creative brain insomnia

My husband can work on one task at a time. When he’s finished, he can sleep. If I’ve ever coveted anything, it’s mastery of those two skills. Okay, forget mastery. I’ll take novice level. Apprentice, even. I don’t think I’ve had a good, non-Nyquil-induced sleep in years. My brain simply cannot SHUT UP. At the []


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