Monday, April 8, 2024

Your Story Matters--Newsletter and Chapters 11 & 12



This should greet you on Tuesday, April 9, 2024—or whenever you open it.

I wrote it on April 3, for on that day I saw the first little pink sprouts peek out of their formerly stick branches of the dogwood tree. Blossoms are coming.


It seems, uh, a week ago, or was it two weeks, maybe a month, that it was May 1, 2023. That was the day I began writing Your Story MattersLiving Your Life in the Most Awesome Way Possible. I began a race that day to see if I could write 50,000 words before the dogwood blossoms fell to the ground.  Now I see; if I had started Your Story Matters on April 3 last year, I would have had two months to write 50,000 words instead of one. 


You know, however, that I didn't quit when I reached my goal of 50,000 words. That was only the first draft, and you know what they say about first drafts--they stink.


Nine months later--Geesh, I grew a whole baby in nine months; I've rewritten, ran the manuscript through Grammarly, chanced chapters, renumbered them, and am now formatting it for a Kindle publication. (If you are thinking about doing something like a Kindle book, talk to me, and we can kibitz together.) 


What draft am I on now? I didn't count. Is the manuscript print-ready? Is it ever? Writers are seldom good judges of their own work.


I changed the first chapter a tad, divided into two chapters, and posted it chapter by chapter on Substack up to Chapter 7. If you missed any chapters you would like to read, you can find them there. .


When I got to Chapter 27, titled "What About Your Life? I realized that since Your Story Matters has the subtitle "Living Your Life in the Most Awesome Way Possible," you might assume I would tell you how to do it.


Nope. I'm into motivating you to find your own answers. Isn’t that what works the best, when something clicks, and you say “Ahh.” And on Chapter 27, I ran into one of my own psychic issues—charging a fee for my work. See, I'm walking my own talk, finding my own blocks.


Do you want someone to kick you off the couch? 


Do you want someone who will give you a spark so you can light your own fire? 


The entire book is available on Substack for a $5.00 subscription. (That fee includes a credit card fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction fee plus a 10% for Substack. I would get the rest.)


Right now, there is a 7-day FREE trial period offered--it will begin when you sign up.


Go to



And now dear ones, here are Chapters 11 & 12 of Your Story Matters, Living Your Life in the Most Awesome Way Possible.






It was Saturday. I washed my hair, pin-curled it with bobby pins as was my style during high school, put a scarf around my head, and went out to find Boots.

By then, we had fenced in a few acres of land, and he was beyond the hill behind our house. We always found each other. Usually, he found me first, and I would hear a nicker, or he would just walk up to me. I hopped on his back, and we gently lopped down the path toward the house when suddenly I didn't have a horse beneath me. 

My chin collided with the ground with a "C-r-a-c-k."

I hopped up, dazed, and grabbed Boots as he was scrambling to his feet. I should have gotten back on, for they say to always get back on your horse, but I was a bit loopy and walked to the house while Boots ran ahead of me, kicking up his heels. Oh yeah, now you are sure-footed. My heart sank when, in the bathroom mirror, I discovered I had broken a few teeth, but not any front ones; thank heaven. The blow had split open my chin, jammed my jaw to the side, and shaved off a few cusps. I suffered a concussion, was in the hospital for a day, and ended up with a couple of crowns on my teeth. Thus, the gold in my mouth.

And it did build some fear in me. I still ran boots, but newer downhill. I would feel the ground coming up to meet me. 

I am thankful for this day that the fall didn't break my neck. I know I shouldn't have been loping Boots through a forest on uneven ground. I suspect there was a root in his path, and he didn't want to fall any more than I did. I never liked to ride a trot, so he and I developed a technique where he would transition immediately from a walk to a lope. I should not have used it that day.

 I mentioned the pin-curls because when I got to the hospital, I sat and removed all of the bobby pins before a head X-ray.

 The nurse commented on what a mess that would make on film.

 My hair looked good for the two days I was in the hospital, though.



My Mother Kept Hiding Anything Sexual from Me


She was uncomfortable, so she avoided anything that had to do with sex. When the cat dropped kittens on the kitchen floor. Mom was awkward because I was there. She seemed worried that I might see something.

 Even then, I wondered what the big deal was. I was a girl. I would grow into a woman. I ought to know such things. Those kittens had to get out somehow. I didn't see anything except a kitten drop from behind the cat. It turned out they were premature and didn't live. After that, we adopted a little white kitten and gave it to the Momma cat, who was a wet nurse for the kitten. We lost the Momma from a box we had tied shut and placed in the back of the pickup when we moved back from Hood River. The white kitten was still there; the Momma cat was gone. I hope she survived a leap from a moving truck and found a home. 

 I always wondered what Mother's problem was. When Sandy, our cow, was pregnant, Mom said something to Mike, worrying that I would stumble upon Sandy delivering, and again I wondered, why? 

By then, I was over twelve years old and had learned to milk Sandy. Mike milked her in the morning, and I took the evening shift so he could sleep and be rested for his night shift. 

I did stumble upon Sandy giving birth. I could see a protrusion from her birth canal, and she was clearly uncomfortable, lying down, getting up, lying back down again. It bothered me to see her hurting, and I knew I shouldn't be there. So, I went into the shed to give her some time. When I returned to her, the calf was on the ground, and I missed the opportunity to witness a complete birth. Since then, I've known parents who deliberately brought their children to see an animal giving birth. Mike would have encouraged it had he known what was happening.

I've seen several births since then, including watching my firstborn making her debut in the world. I was so excited to see that little head pop out of my body, and everything worked out beautifully.

 I wonder how mom handled her next generation of kids. Long ago, when I asked her where babies came from, she asked me to tell her what I knew. I didn't know much; babies grew in the belly, and I thought they came out of the belly button. What else is it for? 

Somehow, I blew off the question and decided not to go to Mom for answers.

I learned eventually. It helps to have animals, and while no animal except for chickens gave birth while I was at the Oaks farm, I knew Lois would have handled it with aplomb. The only delivery I saw was from a chicken egg. Lois showed me that when a chick is too weak to break through the shell, you can gently chip the shell a bit for them. 

 That knowledge blew up in my face once. When a hen hatched a clutch of eggs, and one egg didn't hatch, I thought the chick inside was too weak to peck through the shell. So, holding it close to my chest, I gently chipped at the shell. Pow! It blew up in my face!  

 It was rotten, and the stench was awful. I washed my face three times.


(Chapter numbers have changed but they are sequential for here.)