Her Window

The earsplitting howling, an eerie high-pitched note whirls around in Stephanie’s mind as she sleeps. The awful noise wails just outside her window, so she is bound to hear the sound that could echo a music score in a horror movie. Not that she would know because she isn’t old enough to watch scary movies. But her imagination tells her so. The trees fall into a trance like a magic spell cast upon them. They rock back and forth, their branches bending in unnatural ways, the tips like long, pointed fingernails scratching her bedroom window. The sound grates on her brain like a fork scraping a plate and tires screeching on asphalt. Stephanie tosses and turns. She fights to stay asleep, to ignore the menacing noise. Subconsciously, she remembers Beauty and the Beast on the wall above her headboard, her favorite musical, how she adores Belle. They take her to a happy place so she can fall back into that deep slumber. But only for a few minutes…

The scratching escalates, growing more intense, faster, and wilder on her windowpane. The wailing blares louder than fire sirens. Her eyes scrunched closed, she covers her ears with both hands, hoping to mute the horrific sound while lying still, no longer tossing and turning. Fear has paralyzed her body. She feels trapped, so afraid to move even an inch. But she has to get out of bed! It’s coming for her! It will shatter her window and climb inside! Her legs may as well be blocks of cement, but somehow, with all her six-year-old might, she swings her left leg over the side of her twin bed, then her right leg. She is sitting up now but has to run! No time to waste! No time for shoes! Her bare feet must carry her down the hallway to save her parents! Suddenly, Stephanie hears glass shatter, shards land on her comforter! She flies off her mattress so fast, her legs sprinting out of the room!

For a second, Stephanie closes her eyes while her legs move at marathon speed, the hallway never seemed so long. And just when she reaches her parent’s doorway, arms bind around her tightly in boa fashion, squeezing the air from her lungs.

“Let me go! Let me go!” She screams loud enough to shake the roof. Her arms and legs fling sporadically. Fighting off the huge monster with pointy fingernails.

“Stephanie, it’s Mom, wake up!” Lauren gently shakes her daughter, sitting on the edge of her bed. Belle and the Beast watch from the wall.

“Mom! It’s coming for us. We have to get Dad. We have to leave, now!”

“Oh, sweetheart, I think the wind howling caused a nightmare. It’s storming outside, but the three of us are safe in the house. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“I was so scared, Mom. I hate the wind!” Stephanie says, hugging her mother, never wanting to let go.

“I don’t like it either,” Lauren hugs her daughter back, loving the feel of her little girl safe in her arms. “But just close your eyes and know that everything is okay.”

And just like that, consoled by her mom, Stephanie lets go and rolls over onto her right side. Exhaustion from the excitement finally kicking in. Her eyelids close slowly. Lauren sits for a few minutes, watching her beautiful daughter fall into a peaceful sleep. Then she quietly walks out of the room, but the earsplitting howling perpetuates. The storm isn’t due to pass for another ten hours.


Lauren Scott (c)

The Wisdom of Signs

Yesterday, I met a friend for breakfast, and then we took a walk through downtown and the neighborhood. We both were struck by the beauty and uniqueness of this sign that is not uncommon to any of us. So, below are thoughts that came to mind in the form of haiku:

when children are near
absorb their laughter, the joy
flowing into you

snails teach with their wise
leisure movements, taking in
beautiful backdrops

slow down your travels
do not let decades escape
catalogue moments

pause in your footsteps
regard life’s celebrations
breathe in their fragrance

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️

In the Company of Redwoods

It felt like walking back in time, strolling around the loop in the park flanked by redwoods, families laughing and holding dialogue over a barbecue burger lunch. The aroma tickling our noses. Opened bags of chips and containers of various salads on the table ready for serving. Grandma shuffles across the street, both hands gripping her walker. Grandpa right beside her, his hand resting on her lower back. Deep, long-lasting love in his eyes. Parents play badminton with their children – a portrait of entertainment at its finest. Our stroll takes us to the bridge where we pause for a few minutes. Leaning against the rail, we see young girls and boys splashing in the creek, laughter whirling around in the warm June air. The sound, musical and magical. Redwoods stand tall in their regal manner, providing shade from the scorching rays of the golden ball in the bright cerulean sky.

A week has passed since extreme high temperatures inundated our area – no air conditioning, felt like we were simply existing, wiping sweat from our faces, zapped of all energy, fans at arm’s reach. So, a day among the Redwoods sounded ideal for a cool breather. Our stroll continues past the inviting, glistening creek where we spot poison oak on the side of the road, but we don’t touch. No desire to itch. A Western tiger swallowtail with its black tiger stripes and pretty pale-yellow wings joins us, flying around my husband then me, as if wanting to listen in on our conversation.

Campgrounds on our right display tents in all sizes and colors of blue, red, orange, and lime green. Kids of varied ages play games at a picnic table, a far cry from fingers flying across a keyboard. The delightful scene transports me to my childhood at our cabin on the corner, playing Yahtzee, or the classic Go Fish and Crazy Eights with my parents and sisters. A breeze whirls around us – we want to capture it with our bare hands, bottle it for when the house is sauna hot. A few dogs trot beside their owners, our dog mirrors them, happy to be outside with an abundance of stimulation: smells, people, children, food! His nose in overdrive!

We wind down the road, then make a U-turn. Reaching our picnic table, our stomachs begin to rumble, so my husband pulls out the Reuben sandwich for us to split – haven’t indulged in a Reuben in a hundred years, with orzo and tabbouleh salads for sides. What a feast. What a beautiful day in the company of the majestic Redwoods. His Deschutes IPA and my sangria tap. Cheers to 34 years ago on this day when he asked me that timeless question and I said, “Yes.”

Lauren Scott (c)

The Sweetness in Life

If we listed in longhand the number of sweet things in life, our lists would be never-ending. We’d write constantly, the pen would never get a rest, the amount of paper we’d need would be extensive, and our hand would begin to scream from exhaustion. Well, I haven’t been writing forever, and you know I’m typing this post, but here are a few sweet things that come to mind, and I hope we never take our lists for granted…
Swimming in a sparkling lake that soothes the body from scorching heat and sweat of the day, reading a book you can’t put down – a real page-turner that interrupts chores, walking beneath a cerulean sky, hiking on a mountain top hearing birds practicing their choral selection sitting high in the tall trees and those sky-scraping trees shading your path, listening to the joyful giggles of children, observing in awe a star-filled night, touching soft, tiny feet of a baby who smiles back at you, witnessing your children’s triumphs, knowing someone gets you, that first fall into love, whispers of a warm, summer breeze, viewing graceful butterflies in flight, new vivid blooms in springtime, unexpected acts of kindness, answered prayers, writing down those thoughts, a hummingbird flitting about, melodies that comfort the heart and mind, and melodies that get you on your feet and make you wanna dance, a creamy chocolate indulgence, and a tender, slow kiss on the lips…truly the icing on the cake.

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️
My son made this carrot cake, my favorite dessert of all,
and believe me, it was divine!
Carrot cake is also the topic of a fun
and sentimental story
in my book, More than Coffee.

The Sandwich

I go light on the mayo,
add some Grey Poupon,

layer sliced tomatoes,
pickles and cucumbers,

pile on leaves of romaine
for the final touch,

in between two slices
of whole wheat bread.

The kids are adults,
living on their own.
It’s just hubby and me at home.

Yes, I still make lunches.
I have mastered “the sandwich.”

From turkey to tuna to egg salad
or chicken, to this new veggie delight.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the kitchen,
my kids are little, small shoe sizes
by the door, Lego on the floor in
his room, barbies scattered in hers,

the days in the nineties
when peanut butter and jelly ruled.

I should tally all the peanut butter jars,
jelly flavors or jam, if you prefer,

and slices of bread that
were consumed back then.

The hustle and bustle of early hours
on school-day mornings,
kids tossing a coin for the shower.

Hair dryer working overtime with her long
thick mane. He and I, donning various
hats for our roles as cab driver, cook,
teacher, counselor, hugger, father, mother.

I shake my head, smiling,
in the present on a workday.
I reach for an apple
.

Tomorrow, we buy!

Lauren Scott (c) 2022
Photo: Pixabay
Some fun for a Saturday smile.


Behind Closed Doors – Book Review

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Robbie Cheadle, a wonderful poet and author of children’s books, paranormal historical, and supernatural fantasy. She is also a prolific baker of delicious cakes that she includes in her books and blog posts. I thoroughly enjoyed her poetry book, Behind Closed Doors.

Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle is a collection of various style poems such as freeform, tanka, haiku, and limerick. Robbie touches on many aspects of life evoking a myriad of emotions. She writes beautifully with strong convictions about marriage, motherhood, dreams, her struggles of working in the corporate world, living in lockdown during the pandemic, and about social issues she finds distressing. Whether her words speak of joy or anguish, they are fiercely passionate.

I personally connected to “Contrasting Colors” because of my strong marriage and relationship with my husband. Robbie creates a lovely metaphorical comparison between her and her husband, showing just how much they complement each other. I really liked the format of this poem. In “He Walks Away” her words paint the picture of her son who is no longer the little boy whose mom’s kisses cured all pain, but a young man who she will need to let go for him to find his way in the world. As an empty nester, my heart felt her bittersweet emotions.

Environmentally, I was drawn to “I saw a fish a-swimming” and “If the polar icecaps doth melt.” Robbie emphasizes the tragic effects of global warming not only on the planet, but on living creatures. She writes with concern and compassion, and some poems are written as twisted limericks bearing nothing but the truth. My stomach felt just as twisted after reading these powerful reminders. But even in trying times, Robbie includes, “Can you see the butterflies?” This poem offers delightful imagery, imploring the reader to dash outside in that very moment to embrace nature’s beauty.

I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors for fans who revel in finding themselves relating to the messages or scenarios, therefore sinking into the deeper meanings.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Robbie’s book. Simply click on “Buy on Amazon” below the image. You can also visit Robbie at her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

~Lauren Scott ❤️

Christmas Trees and Memories!

This holiday season is different for my husband and I, a bit quieter around the house because we became empty nesters several months ago. And I admit that with Christmas just around the corner, the quiet is a bit thunderous. I remember past holidays when our son and daughter were little; we’d keep the magic going and would look forward to witnessing their wonder of the season each day up until the morning when we watched them with delight open their gifts. They knew that just the night before, Santa had come down the chimney with the hefty pack of presents on his back.

Holiday baking is a tradition that I carried into my family from memories of my sisters and I baking with Mom. She was beautiful and festive, wearing her Christmas apron as she taught us how to make sugar cookies and her German Christmas Stollen – a delicious recipe that I’ve made only once in my life but will attempt again when I have the required energy in both mind and body. The recipe is complicated, involving yeast and bread rising and everything that I know very little about, hence, the need to muster up that energy! Baking with my young children was a time when their excitement and giggles bounced off the walls as they helped make sugar cookies in different shapes: bells, boots, Christmas trees, angels, stockings, candy canes, holly leaves, and more. Licking the beaters was a must, and no one ever got sick. Their tiny little hands had so much fun with the cookie dough as if they were creating with playdough. Christmas carols played in the background adding merriment to the mix.

I must have inherited my love of dressing festively for the holidays because when our children were little, I loved painting on t-shirts and sweatshirts for family and friends. I was no artist, but my daughter and son were thrilled to wear their white “Merry Christmas” sweatshirts with candy canes and Santa’s “Ho, Ho, Ho!” The grandparents wore their Santa Claus sweatshirts with pride, and they looked cute! My husband and I still wear ours and that paint has never peeled off, even after thirty years! Having fun was the main objective!

Last year’s festivities

But this past Saturday a new tradition began when just the two of us drove to our most patronized grocery store to look for a live Christmas tree. He’s an Arborist and an avid tree hugger, so as long as the prepping of the tree – fitting it onto the stand and keeping it watered – doesn’t become physically challenging, a living tree will be our preference. For the first time, we brought home a beautiful Grand Fir. My husband prepped the tree outside, trimming the bottom branches, making sure the flush cut was level with the base of the tree, then drilling holes around the center hole to allow water to be soaked up. Inside the house, I rearranged furniture, vacuumed, and pulled the red festive tree skirt from the closet, prepping the perfect spot by the large window in the living room. When the tree was set up, I poured sugar water into the base and waited a half hour to ensure no water was seeping through.

Tony Bennett sang Christmas carols in the background while we strung the lights around the fragrant tree. As we picked up each ornament, precious memories flooded our minds. Most ornaments were handmade by our children as they were growing up, and many have photos of them from kindergarten, first, and second grades. Oh, the memories! Now our beautiful Grand Fir stands tall by the window adorned in red, green, and white lights, adding magic to the room. The tree topper is our very own precious angel that our daughter made when she was a little girl. She used a toilet paper roll. Hilarious, but clever, and so special that this angel will never be replaced.

I realized early that day, I didn’t feel the same excitement to put up the tree as I’ve felt in years past. But we had a great time, perusing the trees on the lot, then getting both tree and house ready. Feeling reminiscent of those years when our children were little invoked gratitude for the blessed Christmases we’ve had when we all lived together, or at least, when one child was home while the other was away at university. So, even though we missed the presence of our adult kids during this tradition, I’m grateful for my husband to share another holiday season with. Perspective is key: this is the next chapter for each of us, and it’s all good. Most importantly, we are healthy and safe.

Everyone has their own struggles and sorrow from various life events; some are just a matter of going along with the progression of natural changes like becoming empty nesters, and some events are so tragic that joy drifts far, far away. Hopefully, though, joy can be found wherever our hearts and minds may be this holiday season, even if only in tiny, fragile fragments.

❤️❤️❤️

And speaking of memories, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for family or friends, my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, is available on Amazon:

US Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/5bffee3t

UK Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/fhy4mtaf

Below is another beautiful 5-Star Review from my dear friend, Betty at https://raindancepoetry.wordpress.com:

“More than Coffee is a heartwarming collection of memories and anecdotes in which the author reflects on her early life, her marriage, her love for family and friends, and her appreciation for the great outdoors. In poetry and prose she writes poignantly (and often humorously) of love, loss, sadness and joy, and I found myself relating to each section. The overall feeling I had after reading More than Coffee was one of optimism and upliftment. A wonderful book!

I believe there is some meaningful discovery for each reader, or at least, this is my wish.

Sending you all hugs of joy during this holiday season.
Lauren ❤️🎄

Waiting to Exhale

The calendar showed October 4th, 2012. She and I sat in the sterile office surrounded by semi-gloss light blue walls, our hearts thumping, hands like ice. We waited for the man who wore a white coat to join us, hoping he would provide gentle answers to appease our questions.

The matter was serious, but when I first saw his face, I thought of Santa, stark white hair and fluffy beard, red, rosy cheeks good for pinching. The only thing missing was the apple red hat, and though he would bear dreadful news, his smile was welcoming, as if the three of us were meeting for a stroll in the park on a lovely spring afternoon.

It was amazing how a tiny scope could be guided through the mouth and throat then down the esophagus. CT scans, lab work, MRIs, and a needle too long to discuss occupied her hours for over 1,000 days. Still, we craved clarity. Our world was hazy like thick fog a driver would endure crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during summer in the wee hours of the morning.
And we waited – a necessary evil that all people grapple with too often to count the times on their hands.

Then on that autumn day came words we would have liked to have hurled back to Santa. We had hoped for gentle. Instead…
“All tests point to this auto immune disease, and there is no cause or cure,” he told us with a touch of remorse. The future would necessitate a transplant. It was not cancer, but this finding should not be shunned. She was twenty years old, like a sunflower of friendliness and optimism. He added, “Just live your life.”

I felt her physical pain rip through each atrium and ventricle – my most excruciating moments of being a parent. But her strength embraced and consoled me, her mother, of all things.
Life pulled us through each season.

The calendar now presents the year 2021: She is a lovely, young woman – a wedding band adorns her left ring finger, and geography has changed along with a new insurance card. She meets with another man who wears a similar white coat. X-rays and jabs repeat. “All of your tests are normal,” he affirms. All is normal. Words we had hoped to hear from this new expert.
“I don’t see a reason to keep you in the same box,” he confirms.

This is amazing news! But abdominal stabs and pruritus from the past were as tangible as a twisted knife to the gut. How can we negate that agony? What is the deeper meaning? Should we get the champagne flutes out, give them a quick wash? Has this nightmare finally ended? She chooses to live in the here and now.
Life continues to draw us forward to witness each sunrise and sunset,
although we are still waiting to exhale.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Rocking with Love

Built with tender hands
and love for his daughter,
she happily rocked through

childhood. Then with tiny fingers
wrapped around books, they
rocked like her – smiles spreading
across their soft cheeks.
Adorable animals enhanced
the white finish – charm never
to be erased. As memories

of her father flooded her mind
like a scrapbook of Polaroids,
Grandma watched her grandchildren
with a full heart, for that special rocker
embraced new generations
with the gentlest rhythm of love.

Our son in 1997, enjoying Grandma’s rocking chair that her father built. This precious little rocker has been passed down through our family for each new grandchild to feel the love.
Bigger smiles.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️