“Feels like you’re old friends”

At what point do Indie Authors stop sharing awesome reviews of their books? They certainly don’t intend to put their friends to sleep with yet another to read. I honestly don’t know the answer because each commentary is individual, offering a different aspect of the book touching that sole reader. So, how can I not share Paula Light’s beautiful and moving review of More than Coffee? One detail I’ll note is that I admired her honesty about visiting my blog, and I’d be hard-pressed to think that many of us couldn’t relate to her words. In case you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Paula, you can find her here, and she is a fantastic writer of poetry and fiction. You’ll also notice her selection of books for sale, all in kindle format, and I have just bought Ghosted that I can’t wait to begin reading!

And now, her amazing review…

More than Coffee by Lauren Scott

Posted on January 28, 2023 | 12 Comments

Women friends coffee talk chat

Sometimes a writer has such an engaging style that you feel you’re old friends after reading them. That’s the way I feel about Lauren Scott after finishing her memoir More than Coffee. Her vignettes and poetry are so honest and vivid that it seems she must have shared the stories in person, over coffee of course. I teared up when I read her parents’ love story, and I was right there with Lauren when she found a tarantula in her house (eek!). Lauren and I are about the same age with adult children who have moved away (though happily both of mine are only around an hour’s drive), so I can relate to many of the emotions she describes about being a parent and transitioning from living with your children to helping them leave the nest.

I’ve followed Lauren’s blog for a while, but like many of us I lazily read her posts as they appeared in my reader without actually visiting her site. Thus, I did not even know she had books for sale until she posted the link to a review by Mark Bierman. The review intrigued me so much I bought Lauren’s book, and I am glad I did. It was such a pleasure to savor this rich and tasty brew, redolent with love, loss, adventure, hope, and, above all, family bonds.

Thank you for sharing your life so beautifully with your readers, Lauren.

Thank YOU, Paula, for this beautiful review that truly brightened my Saturday morning, while (of course) enjoying a cup of coffee. ❤️

Thanks to all of you for stopping by, and don’t forget to visit Paula’s site! And if after reading her fabulous review, you feel the need to turn the pages in More than Coffee, I hope you enjoy the memories as much as she did! ❤️

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites – All rights reserved.

Mark Bierman calls it “a love letter to life”

I am thrilled that my book, More than Coffee, released in fall of 2021, is still receiving beautiful reviews. Mark Bierman wrote a fabulous review in December as we headed into the holiday season. So, I’m delighted to share as we move forward in this new year full of possibilities. But before I do, if you haven’t met Mark and experienced his compelling story telling and fantastic sense of humor, you haven’t been fully living! His book, Vanished, is a riveting novel, and here is the link to my review: https://baydreamerwrites.com/2022/04/18/book-review-vanished/. You can also find Mark at his blog: https://markbierman.wordpress.com/. And now I will share his commentary that made me do yet another happy dance…

It’s pretty green outside these days, every flake of the white stuff has melted back into H20. But no matter what Nature’s decided, we’ve been coasting into the Holiday Spirit here.

The tree’s up, it’s branches adorned with bulbs and baubles for the exclusive swatting pleasure of our two felines. Outside, soft white lights are strung across the lilac bush and a spotlight highlights the Nativity.

But I’m not here to discuss Christmas, well, unless you’re looking for the perfect gift for that book lover.  

So, without further ado, let’s raise a glass and toast a great read!

What’s it about?

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage, and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

My Thoughts:

The title gets it right. This book is about far more than coffee, more than a journal; it’s a love letter to Life. An exquisite and heartfelt testament to a life well lived.

Every anecdote and poem is a window to a different season that is relatable to anyone who’s been on this journey for more than a decade. The stories and poems are thoughtfully crafted and wonderfully penned. They complement each other nicely and capture the intense emotions of those moments and milestones.

I smiled at the tales about her bouts with arachnophobia, but not because I’d wish that on anyone. It reminds me of my own, ‘tour of duty’ in the defense against spiders when I had to “save”  my youngest daughter. Then again, I feel the same way about snakes.      

I highly recommend this book for those who savor each day!

Meet Lauren and grab your copy in time for Christmas! (or an upcoming birthday or Mother’s Day!)

Lauren writes poetry, memoir, and fiction short stories who lives in California with her husband of thirty-four years and their chocolate lab; they have two grown children. She has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). Her latest book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose was published in 2021. And in 2022, she contributed four poems to the anthology: Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships. Lauren writes about family, experiencing loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and nature from her many backpacking and camping adventures.

Parallel to her passion for writing is her love for reading. Whether it is a gripping thriller or a heartwarming romance, she enjoys exploring different worlds and meeting diverse characters, drawing similarities to reality that translate into her own writing. Her writing projects are sometimes serious – drawn from painful subjects and raw emotions – or they spotlight her silly side – pulled from humorous moments captured in photographs.

Lauren is inspired to write from her love of nature and the marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds singing. Recent backpacking trips with her husband along the California coast and Sierra Nevada mountains have stirred up thoughts to pen about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren marvels at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

Amazon.com

Instagram Website

Thanks again to Mark for this amazing review, and I admit that “love letter to life” made my heart sing!

Happy Reading and Happy Friday! ❤️🎉

© Lauren Scott, baydreamer writes – All rights reserved.

An Act of Kindness and Renewed Faith in Humanity

It was that time again to stock up the pantry and fridge, so I meandered through the grocery store, strolling up one aisle and down the next until everything on my list was checked off. When I was standing in line with a full cart for just a few minutes, I noticed the man behind me holding only two items in his hands. “Would you like to go ahead of me?” I offered.

“Oh, no thank you. I’m fine.” He replied.

“No, really. I don’t mind waiting.” I insisted, so he humbly accepted. While he paid for his items, I read a new text from my husband that just pinged. When I looked up, the man was finishing the transaction.

“Thanks again for your kindness,” he said to me, while gently tossing a $50 bill that I watched float through the air as in slow motion, landing on my loaf of bread! “Oh, my gosh! I can’t accept that!” I was shocked to see the money in the first place, but then realizing it was a $50 bill had me flabbergasted!

“Please, take it. Your kindness has renewed my faith in humanity.” He gently enforced and literally sprinted out of the store, vanishing in seconds. I stood there with Darlene, the checker staring back at me, the biggest smile brightening her face, both of us amazed at the man’s equaled kindness and generosity. She told me to accept the gift, so my first thought was to pass it onto her. Darlene was friendly and so kind, making each customer feel like the most important person in the world, exuding true customer service. And yet, she was not allowed to accept cash gifts. So, I reluctantly slipped the fifty into my purse, waves of shock still rippling through me as I exited the store.

There is no barometer in measuring the value of kindness, but it is apparent that kindness comes in all forms, and I can’t wait to pay it forward to reaffirm this generous man’s faith in humanity.

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites.com – All rights reserved.
Images: Pixabay

Identity and Loss, Hope, and Feathered Friends…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted book reviews, so I thought it was about time to share three wonderful books I have recently enjoyed…

Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss is an excellent anthology of engaging short stories from eight accomplished authors that I finished in one evening. The stories are inspired from a personal event and touch on identity and loss in their own unique way and setting, and all are well written with characters who seem as real as you and me. It is easy to get lost in their struggles, ascertaining how they will cope and heal. Each character is found at a crossroads where a life-changing decision is vital. Following each piece is a biography of the author which provides a little insight into the inspiration for writing the story. I found this to be very interesting.

This entire collection is five-star worthy, but a few stories that stand out are “Where Secrets Go to Hide” by Keith Madsen. The style in which Keith writes about a young boy who begins to collect secrets just like his sister collects baseball cards is filled with clever nuances of humor and suspense. Collecting secrets, doesn’t that grab you already? “Two Boys” by Carol LaHines tells of a mother’s loss, an emotional and moving tale, and an incomprehensible event that made my heart ache, being a mother myself. “Diary Omissions: The House on Edgewood Road” by Elizabeth Gauffreau is tenderly written about a mother who is unhappy in her role in life, and how her behavior affects her husband and two children.  

I recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys a little drama, loves short stories that are character-driven and based on real-life events.


Hues of Hope by Balroop Singh is a beautiful collection of selected poetry and the perfect medicine for keeping hope in the forefront of our minds. Divided into sections spanning from love to life’s challenges, this compilation stirs up emotions in each poignant line. This book will be one for the reader to rely on if life’s struggles become too much to bear, if a ray of light is needed to brighten the outlook.
 
Every poem had an impact in some way, but a few that stand out are the soothing emotions of “The Call of Calmness” – the first verse alone drew me in:
 
Gentle breeze breathes a quiet message/I am here to bless you/To softly swing/Sway with your dreams.
 
Since I am a tree lover, particularly of Redwoods, Balroop’s poem entitled “Redwoods” resonated with me, evoking images of incredible majestic redwoods I have had the pleasure of visiting. I especially love this verse:
 
Mother Nature smiles sweetly/As I stand, intimidated and/Intoxicated by the fragrance of flora/
Flourishing amid ironic beauty/Of fire-damaged trunks/Standing tall to tell their seminal story.
 
Reading “Do You Remember?” made me feel nostalgic, flipping through the reels of memories, joyful and challenging, and then viewing the future with “colors of love.”
 
I highly recommend this poetry collection to all poetry lovers, but most importantly, to everyone who needs a lovely dose of hope now and then.

Avian Friends: Encouraging Poems Inspired by Backyard Birds by Yvette Prior was inspired by the author’s family planting several trees in their backyard for the purpose of creating shade and privacy. What they didn’t expect was the arrival of a whole host of feathered friends that would entertain. Yvette began observing the birds, their behavior, sounds, and daily activities, jotting down her thoughts along the way.

This collection is divided into five sections, and following each poem, the author includes her inspiration behind her poetic words…delivering personal reflections of relating her aviary findings to the lives of human emotions and well-being. Yvette inserts tidbits of wisdom for living a balanced life. These snippets into Yvette’s mind are as entertaining and evocative as her poetry.

Some of my favorite poems are “What Matters” which speaks about materialism and how some people use possessions as their barometer for success. “Summer Sun” is a cute poem that tells us it is quite okay to simply be. In these times of living busy lives, carving out some quiet time for relaxation is a healthy choice for finding that balance. “Fall Crunch” paints a beautiful image of a new autumnal season, as well as showing the simple beauty of a cardinal. I recommend this lovely book to not only bird lovers, but to those who would enjoy grasping the deeper meaning behind Yvette’s poems.

Thank you for stopping by, and Happy Reading! ❤️

© Lauren Scott, baydreamerwrites.com – All rights reserved.

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)

More than Coffee-More Hugs!!!

I am thrilled to receive two more wonderful reviews for my latest book: More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. As many of us have heard, reviews for books render the same effect as Big, Bear hugs! So, I’m loving these new hugs!

The first review is from my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon at https://janesturgeon.com/blog. Jane always exudes positive energy, love, kindness, and calm. She is insightful, supportive, and has the most compassionate heart, and she is a lovely and wonderful writer about all aspects of life. I encourage you to visit her blog. You will leave feeling more at peace and full of that positive energy that will put a spring in your step!

The second review is from my dear friend, Scott Mitchell. We began our blogging adventures around the same time about ten years ago. Scott’s writing has always revealed his romantic heart and a sea of emotions, not to mention, his breathtaking way with words. He hasn’t blogged in a few years, but his poems can still be found at https://evokingthedeep.wordpress.com. I hope you’ll visit Scott’s blog, immersing yourself in his stunning words.

More Than Coffee: So Much More Than a Memoir of Verse and Prose by Jane Sturgeon

I loved every word in this book. Scott’s style and loving expression took me into the heart of life and to what truly matters. Her thoughts of Wil, her father-in-law, are compassionate and delightful in equal measure. Scott’s love for her family and the life she and Matt have built for their children shine through. Belonging and Riding With The Wind are two of my favourite poems.

More Than Coffee is a delight from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a dip into the magic of life.

Deep and Inspirational by Scott Mitchell

My favorite poet does it again in this publication. Lauren Scott is a deep end creative soul that finds the very words to pull in the reader. I’ve enjoyed her work for about 10 years.

If you’d like to buy a copy, simply click “Buy on Amazon” above. And If you’ve read More than Coffee, Thank you! I hope you enjoyed walking down memory lane with me, and please consider writing a review-the hug would be greatly appreciated.

A BIG thanks to Jane and Scott, to those who have written amazing reviews, and to all of you for stopping by.

Happy Reading,
Lauren ❤️

A Mind of Their Own

Tammy’s attempt at living on her own involved roommates and failed twice: one month following the first move-in date, her roommate became suddenly engaged, soon to walk down the aisle, then her second roommate unexpectedly chose to become a nun. So, she finds herself living in her childhood house again with her parents. The house is conveniently designed with three bedrooms – hers is on the opposite end from her parents with the kitchen and living room in the middle. A great floorplan that affords her a little privacy. She also has her own bathroom, not to mention, the third bedroom across the hall acts as her media room with a TV and the comfortable sofa that her parents will probably own forever. Tammy really has no means to complain, except that her twenty-sixth birthday is fast approaching, so she should be living on her own in the hub of independence. But she feels grateful that her parents allow the revolving front door, until she finds an affordable apartment of her own. She has dealt with enough stress with the roommate scene. 

She and her parents arrive home on the quiet block in their suburban neighborhood around the same time on this Thursday afternoon. The coffee cup shaped clock hanging on the kitchen wall shows five o’clock, and although Tammy is of drinking age, she doesn’t feel like joining her parents for their nightly cocktail. Work has been hectic, so she just wants to hunker down and fall into her Elin Hilderbrand book and its characters whom she feels like she’s known a lifetime. Her parents head for the black faux-leather bar in the corner of the dining room to shake their dry martinis. She strolls down the hallway, walking into her room and can’t wait to pull on her soft gray sweats before winding down. Funny, it’s only been ten minutes or so, but she doesn’t remember the weather raging outside. When she steps into her room, the wind blows up a storm, howling to the universe with what sounds like a very urgent message. Tammy rushes to the big window to pull down the blinds hanging above her oak desk.

Oddly, when she tugs on the blinds, they resist by pulling themselves up! They seem to have a mind of their own. With the fierce strength of the wind for support, it feels as though the blinds are angry at her. This struggle lasts only a few minutes, but long enough to cause some anxiety as she finally gives up and sprints out of her room. What just happened? Am I hallucinating? she thinks to herself, trying to catch her breath. Her heartbeat matches a marathon!

“Mom? Dad?” Tammy calls, her speedy footprints muffled on the tan carpeted hallway. The rest of the house stays eerily calm. She finds her parents sitting in the living room, sipping their martinis. Outside the slider, the sky can’t be any bluer and the sun shines brighter than a high-powered flashlight! What?

“I need to talk to you both!” The panic in Tammy’s voice piques her parents’ attention, so they follow her down the hall, as she motions with a wave of her hand.

When the trio steps inside her four pale lavender walls, they can hear a feather drop. The window blinds hang calmly as can be, and if those blinds can wink at her, Tammy swears they are doing just that! She explains with trepidation the horror of the blinds, how they acted uncontrollably in the stormy weather as though they had a pulse and were very much alive.

“I tried to pull them down, but they resisted, and the wind blew even stronger against my touch.” Even after the words tumble from her mouth, Tammy knows how ridiculous she sounds. She closes her eyes for a minute, breathing in, slowly breathing out. She recalls the sun shining in the living room. They won’t believe me. Why would they?

Her parents look at the blinds then they look at their daughter. Tammy reads their minds. She understands their facial expressions, the concern in their eyes.

“Honey, we don’t know what to say. We had a little rain in the early afternoon, but it certainly wasn’t storming, and now look! The sun is shining; the day has turned out to be glorious!” Tammy’s mom says. She turns her head towards her husband, silently pleading for him to say something.

“Sweetheart, maybe you’re just tired and need some rest,” her dad says with empathy. “You said the bank has been especially busy with new clients recently, so maybe exhaustion is the culprit.”

“I’m not tired! I literally fought with those blinds! Every time I pulled, they pulled back with force! Look, I don’t mean to raise my voice. I know this sounds irrational, but it’s the truth! You guys have to believe me!”

Tammy suddenly sits up in bed, reaching for her cell phone that reads 5:03 am – her eyes the size of golf balls. A headache tries to attack every muscle in her head. She practically slides out of bed as quietly as possible, so she doesn’t rouse her husband out of his deep slumber. She walks into the bathroom, hoping to find unexpired Advil in the medicine cabinet. What the hell was that all about? Since when do I remember my dreams, and since when do window blinds come alive? Inanimate objects don’t communicate with humans…or do they? No!

Last night’s dream is so bizarre that Tammy fears it will control her thoughts throughout the day. She holds the title of Account Manager at the bank downtown, and with four new appointments on her calendar, concentrating on getting their accounts set up will take more effort. What is even stranger is the setting in her dream; her childhood home that she lived in with her parents before she married and had three children. Only her parents were in the dream, and they had passed away years ago. Tammy portrayed a younger version of herself still living at home with them. Made no sense at all.

Tammy’s desire to interpret this dream becomes all-consuming. Maybe recent threats of a drought manifested themselves through that storm, and the blinds were angry because of the potential fire danger developing. Yeah, that sounds perfectly logical.

But how her parents held the leading roles remain a mystery. Perhaps, subconsciously she missed their physical presence. She does miss them very much, and she often reminisces to her childhood. Okay, this reasoning sounds valid.

The supernatural quality confused Tammy, though, and it was a bit unsettling. She’ll never forget as a teen, watching The Amityville Horror in terror with her best friend, Melissa.  It took weeks to shake those images from her mind.

Will I ever unearth the why’s of this unnerving dream, pieced together with an array of question marks? I have no idea! But I’m keeping a close eye on the blinds in this house!

Lauren Scott (c)

A Timely Surprise

 “Am I worthy of love again after all these years? I think I am, but it sure hasn’t worked in my favor,” Kate said.

“If you believe, that’s half the battle.”

Kate found herself stopped in the road of the campground, wondering whose gentle voice that was. Turning around, she looked into the handsome face of a man with a splash of graying hair. His azure blue eyes expressed sincerity and caused unexpected butterflies in her stomach.
“I can’t believe I said that out loud!” Kate was mortified!

“It’s okay…I do it all the time. My name’s Jim, by the way,” he said while holding out his hand as he climbed out of his golf cart. “I work here, but I’m actually retired. I keep telling myself that, but tending to these grounds is just something I love to do so it’s hard to let go.” He smiled and those butterflies became active again.

“I can see why you love working here – it’s so beautiful. I’m only staying for the weekend…my name’s Kate.” She shook his hand unable to ignore the powerful surge of electricity. Butterflies and electricity. Where in the world did these come from? Jim also felt that spark, a feeling he hadn’t felt in over two years. But by the few words he accidentally heard her say, he knew she was upset about something. He probably heard too much already and it was certainly none of his business.

Within seconds, Kate’s mind drifted to when she arrived earlier that afternoon. After unpacking, she sat in the rocker by the window and opened up the Sandra Brown book she’s been reading. She read the same line twenty times and still couldn’t recite it by memory. Kate thought the silence and peace would be good for her. Instead, the quiet was more pronounced in the small cabin than when she lived in the big house with her ex. Words between them were anything but present – which led to this temporary get-away. It took both partners to communicate in order for any relationship to work, yet, she was the one doing all the talking.

Getting away for a few days to regroup was a perfect prescription for her heart and mind. She wanted to rent a cabin with a front porch and was able to find one. Even if uncertainty joined her for a sip, she couldn’t wait to enjoy a glass of wine that evening on the porch while attempting to combat the turmoil in her life. Kate was not going to let her ex control her self-esteem, and she certainly wasn’t too old to let love in her life again. She’s often read encouraging stories of people finding romance later in life. So why should she be exempt? Not that she’s looking this very moment, but it wouldn’t matter. The candle went out years ago in her marriage. She just kept looking for the good and fighting for this relationship that may soon end.

Before Kate left for the campground, she called her sister, Jane, who lived an hour away.

“Hey, Sis, how’re you doing?” Jane asked as she put the call on speaker phone.

“Hi Jane. I’m alright, but I need your advice because you’re the more logical one.”

“Uh oh, what’s this about?”

 “Well, honestly, I don’t know what to do. Should I accept my marriage as it is with hope that it’ll get better? Or would it be best for both of us if we divorced? I want to keep my marriage going, but if I’m the only one trying, then I feel like I’m stuck with no way out and I don’t want to settle. What do you think I should do?”

“Oh, Kate, you know I can’t tell you what to do. But I know you’ve been unhappy for years and nothing’s going to change on his end. I think deep down inside you know that, too, even though it breaks your heart into tiny pieces. I honestly believe the ball is in your court – the decision has to be yours for any changes to occur, and whether you know this or not, you are worthy of happiness! He’s a good man, we both know that, but couples grow apart over time. So, if you acknowledge this, then it’s okay to move forward. You’ve given your marriage your all and it’s been twenty-two years! When will it be time to think about your happiness? Guilt shouldn’t be your best friend.” Jane sighed, hoping beyond hope that she didn’t say anything she’ll regret. All she heard was silence. “Kate, are you okay? Are you there?”

“Hmm…I’m here, just thinking over your words. You’re right; it’s just that taking that step feels like walking in sinking sand. It’ll be a slow process.”

“And that’s okay. Go at your pace, but once you make the choice, everything will become easier and fall into place.”

“I know. Oh, and by the way, I hung up my RN uniform for the weekend, heading to Pine Lakes.” Kate and Jane shared fond memories of the lake when they were little. Those memories evoked many great times that they wanted to carry the tradition into their adult lives.

“That’s good to hear. Nature’s always good at clearing up messy minds, Kate.”

“Yeah, I can’t wait to be in the mountains, walking among the pines and hanging out with the birds and squirrels. I should probably go, so I’ll keep you posted. Love you, and thanks for everything.”

 “Love you, too, and you know I always have your back. Stay safe, Sis!” Jane wanted nothing more than her sister to find joy and love again and she had no doubt that it was more than possible. But it would take her sister to open her eyes to new possibilities. Right now, Kate had the shades of possibilities closed securely because she had drained all of her energy into her marriage that became stagnant. She’s exhausted. However, she deserves to have that same attention by someone who truly cares about her.

Suddenly, with a soft touch on the arm from Jim, Kate returned to reality. “Kate, are you alright?” he asked, sounding a little worried. It was too soon to know why he felt concerned since he didn’t know her, but the feeling was significant.  “You were in another world.”

“Uh, yes…yes, I’m okay. My mind just wandered. It does that sometimes,” Kate answered with a nervous chuckle because embarrassment rapidly washed over her. She hoped her face wasn’t the shade of a pomegranate!

“Those things happen. My mind drifts all the time, so don’t worry about it. Look, we hardly know each other, but I wonder if you’d want to go for a walk sometime? I know the grounds pretty well around here,” he said with a smile. “Unless, of course, I’m being too forward. I know we just met,” he added, but his baby blues were a bit too irresistible.

She has no reason not to trust Jim, but she has no reason to trust him, either, so it’s a fifty-fifty chance either way. Kate chuckled at his subtle humor – of course, he knew his way around the campground. She also admired his welcomed honesty, not to mention again, her interest was surely piqued by this sudden attraction. Her messy mind deserved some good company and an interesting distraction from the rocky road ahead. After getting the green light from her sister and now meeting Jim unexpectedly, she gladly opened up those shades of possibilities and could already feel warmth from promises on the horizon.

 “Sure. I’d like that. I’m still settling in today, though, so would tomorrow afternoon work?”

“Tomorrow afternoon would be great. I work in the morning, so the afternoon is free. Why don’t we meet in the lobby at 3:00?”

“Sounds great,” she replies. Kate, what are you doing?!

Lauren Scott (c) 2020