My Life with Faith

My Life With Faith…

So Ben and I went fishing.  At least that’s how most of our stories start now.  When we got up to our favorite fishing spot, we discovered that it was 16 with the wind chill.  That alone isn’t so bad; we wear plenty of layers and still have a good time.  However the river was running so rapidly that it was just too dangerous to even attempt it.  While fishing is our life, it isn’t worth your life to take such risks.

So we decided to spend our time in Amish country doing a little shopping and enjoying the food and culture.  Then this conversation took place.

Ben, “Want to get a dog?”

Me, “Sure!”

Ben, “You are supposed to say no.”

Me, “Why would I lie to you?”

Ben, “Sometimes you are supposed to lie.”

Me, “Well I did at Christmas and your birthday so you wouldn’t know what you got.”

Ben shook his head, cursed, and pounds the steering wheel.

Me, “What is wrong?!?!”

Ben, “You’ll see.  Want something to drink?”

This led us to a little convenience store where we got two waters and a bunch of local papers and ads.  Getting back in the car, I was still very confused as he opened the ads and started reading the classifieds.  He was looking for a dog.

So began the search.  After all, if we don’t both love the puppy, we won’t get her right?  Obviously I’ve never had a dog nor searched for a puppy before.

Over lunch we made some phone calls.  Most of them were no answers; one lady was even in Scranton, PA!  We were trying to figure out what to do as we came to one of the local stores we’d been trying to stop in for months, but always got there too late and they were closed.  Funny thing, they had puppies for adoption.  So we rushed in to see they had a bunch of fluffy poo dogs.  You know the ones, shitzu, cockapoo, terriorpoo.  Nothing we were even remotely interested in.  So we asked the young lady if they knew of anyone that had border collies, because that is Ben’s favorite type of dog.  She didnt know, but directed us to the gentleman at the front of the store.

Me, “Excuse me Sir, the young lady said to ask if you know of anyone that might have a border collie puppy?”

Ben, “Or Aussie, or other herding dog.”

Amish gentleman, “Well, what color are you looking for?”

Ben, “Color doesn’t matter, we are looking for personality.”

Amish gentleman, “Well, you go up this road for 8 miles, you will come to this town, then it is exactly 1 mile after that on the left.  Ask for Andy, he is my brother.  He just had some pups.”

So we got back in the car and became very nervous, we were actually going to see puppies that we were looking for.  The gentleman was right; it was exactly 1 mile after the town.  The place was closed though.  Unsure what to do, Ben parks and we get out.  He stops me before I stepped foot on the grass.  “Let them see you.”  Sure enough, an older Amish farmer comes ambling down the hill towards us.  He told us Andy wasn’t there, but he would go get his boys and to meet them over by the barn.

For those that don’t know, the Amish don’t speak English as their primary language.  They speak a sort of Pennsylvania Dutch.  As they get older they do learn English though.  One of the boys was very hard to understand, but he tried really hard to find the right words.  His older brother spoke very good English though and we were able to communicate very well.

Amish Gentleman, “You can come in if you don’t mind cows pooping on you.”  Sure enough, there were two long rows of cows that are faced out, so we had to walk between their hind ends.  Neither of us was afraid, so in we went following the boys.  They both held up 2 pups each, 2 boys and 2 girls.  Their very friendly Momma was standing right there at our legs.

Of the 4, there was one that just tucked herself right back into the boy’s arm and softly grunted.  When Ben picked her up she put her head right down on his shoulder.  The look in his eyes said it all.  She was ours.

As soon as we got back to his truck, I sat down and put a blanket on my lap.  The little puppy crawled off the blanket and up onto my shoulder, tucking her head in against my neck and went right to sleep.  Soft snores and chuffs, she was perfectly happy right there.

Choosing her name was easy actually.  Faith is something we always talk about.  You don’t have to be religious to have faith.  All you need to do is believe in something greater than you.  It’s a rule we live by.  Some people go to church on Sunday’s to worship.  We go out on the water and enjoy what nature has given us and say thank you.  So she quickly became our Faith.

I whispered in her ear all the things she would get to have and about her new family, two cats, a little girl, lots of dogs in the neighborhood.  I promised her that we would always keep her safe, and she would help heal us and keep us safe too.  She softly chuffed at me.  At a red light Ben looked over at me and smiled.  So begins our life with Faith…


Faith and Ben found sleeping in each others arms

Faith and Ben found sleeping in each others arms

Our first car ride!

Our first car ride!



As I sat watching Ben interact with his daughter the other night, I was taken back to times with my own Dad when I was a little girl.  I suddenly became inspired to write something outside of my normal comfort zone….


Despite his own fears, a real man will hold you while you cry.  Even when he doesn’t know what is wrong, he will envelope you in his arms until things are better. 

No matter the consequence, an honest man will tell you how you look without being cruel.  Even though he sees you as beautiful no matter what, he knows how to make you feel beautiful outside and in.

Although he is miles apart, a dedicated man will find a way to still make you feel special.  Be it a phone call, an email, or a letter, he will never fail to let you know he is thinking of you.

Even though he is the strongest one, a tough man will not go and destroy the person who hurt you, but feed you ice cream and hold you until your soul is soothed.  No amount of violence cures a shattered heart.   

While you cannot see him, a loving man sits there while you sleep and watches over you, silent tears run down his face with the deepest joy, fear, and love only a Daddy can know.

A Daddy’s love is like no other.  No one else will ever take his place.  Not one dance partner can carry you along with on his feet.  No other love will ever come first.  No one else can hold his heart like his little girl.   Her eyes that melt the worst of days.  Her hands that fit so small in his.  Her laughter that brings the most joy.  Her unconditional love she gives to him. 

It is true what they say, a Daddy and daughter bond is the strongest most important relationship a girl will have.  Daddies are one that cannot be replaced.

Fish Whisperer with Nature’s Orchestra

The past couple of weeks had been a little stressful for Ben, long hours at work on big projects, balancing schedules out, preparing for a long stay with Mallory, and working hard around the house to make it nice on the outside by Memorial Day weekend.  He really hasn’t had much time to himself.  So last night I suggested we go up to a local casting pond that is in a park near our home, we had at least an hour until sunset, plenty of time to relax.

It doesn’t take long when you get out of the car and see the water for it to wash the stress away for a while.  It wasn’t long before he was bringing in fish after fish.  They aren’t very big at this pond, or at least the ones you catch aren’t.  As I say, the big fish don’t get to be big by getting caught.  It doesn’t seem to matter though when you are there.  He caught blue gill and sunfish and even the world’s smallest bass (barely the size of his pinky finger).  All of which were safely set free so that they might grow up to be big fish.

The pond is really neat for me because I can stand on the side and actually see the fish as they interact with his fly fishing.  It’s not very deep at all.  As the sun began to melt down behind the trees and Ben said, “Just two more casts.” (Which I have found to multiply by 10, because I do the same thing to him) I sat down on the bend and just opened my eyes and ears.  I was inspired by the sounds and beauty of all that surrounded me…


Nature’s orchestra

 Plip plop plip

Soft beat begins

Lazy fish feeding

Surface bugs dance


Twitter tweet whistle

Backup singer call

Birds flutter in

Distant trees nest


Honk rustle splash

Crowds start cheers

Geese landing by

Bodies crash landing


Chirp buzz croak

Band tunes up

Insects and frogs

Anticipation hangs thick


Swish swoosh swish

Lead steps up

Soft lullaby cast

Fish whisper begins  


The Perfect Cast

Life had finally caught up to me last week when I had to put my cat, Booger, to his final sleep.  It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  He had many ailments and at 13 years old, there was nothing more I could do that would guarantee he wouldn’t be in pain anymore.  While I knew in my head it was the right thing to do, my heart screamed in protest.  I rode wave after wave of depression through the week afterwards.  No matter what I did I could not pull myself out of it.

That’s when things changed for me on Friday.  As Ben and I were sitting at home after work, we were talking and preparing for a weekend of fishing and kayaking, when we heard from our good friends, Todd and Cheryl Brown.  They own The Blackfork Inn up in Loudenville, Ohio that we are in love with.  After some catching up and talking, we decided, at 10pm Friday night, that we were going to scratch our previous plans and head on up to see them and spend some time wading in one of our most favorite places to fish.

So Saturday morning we arrived at the Inn about 9:30 in the morning and met up with Todd who insisted on making us one of his wonderful breakfasts, and who were we to argue?  After some French toast, cinnamon apples, and farm fresh sausage, we unloaded the car and got ready for a relaxing weekend.

Ben sat at the table and tied up some flies for us to fish as I unpacked and went around taking pictures of the house while we waited for the fog to burn off in the gorge.  Around noon we geared up and took off for the water.  The scenery alone captivates you when driving into the forest, the sounds of the wildlife and river running along chases away anything that you could possibly be holding onto from a long hard week.

Ben barely had the car in park before we both were out and scrambling into our waders and boots.  Neither of us could wait to get out on the water.  Now I’m still sort of new to the fly fishing world, I’ve been a huge fan of Joan Wulff who was the first woman to take fly fishing by storm and was a champion since the early 1940’s.  To this day she still out casts any man and does it with a smile and grace that leaves one speechless.  She’s even fished in an evening gown!!

So between learning what I can from her books and videos and watching Ben, I’ve picked up the rod and tried, and tried, and tried.  I’ve caught a lot of trees, lost a lot of flies, and never seemed to get it quite right.  I’d get frustrated because I would sit there and watch others out on the water and they all made it look so easy.

I took my three weight that Ben gave me and set out determined to catch a trout, or at least a fish to prove I can catch a fish on something other than my spinner rod.  The good news was I didn’t catch any trees this time, I didn’t even lose a fly, but my casting was all over the place.  Ben must have heard me mumble in frustration and stopped his own casting to help me out.

I’m not the easiest student, but we have something that is a very important thing, good communication.  He sat to watch and coach as I tried to figure out what I was doing right in all of my errors.  Between his, “you’re laying out your arm,” and, “slow down,” I started getting some of it right.

At this point I started remembering something I learned years ago in racing.  Even if you are doing a cool down lap, drive your line.  So I sort of took this lesson and put my own twist on it.  Even if it was a bad cast, I was going to do my best to make the most of it and not just pull it right back in and do it over.  That’s when I felt a tug on the end of my line and I tried to do what I thought was right all while shouting, “Ben!  Fish!”  He coached me how to bring a fish in on a fly rod, and I kept the tip up and stripped the line carefully as he waded over to me.  How I didn’t fall over or lose the fish is beyond me, but I successfully fought hard and brought in a whopping a six inch blue gill.

Okay so it wasn’t a trout, and it wasn’t a monster fish, but I was happy I had caught a fish on a fly rod finally.  After getting the above traditional picture of me holding the fish and then letting him go, we both went back to it.  Shortly after I caught another bluegill, this one was bigger, and then I caught a river sucker (better known as ‘not a trout’).  I even had a fish on and was stripping the line and he threw the hook before I could get a good look at him.

I took a break and tried to calm my excitement.  I felt bad because Ben hadn’t caught anything yet and despite all our playful banter, I really don’t like showing him up on the water.  It’s more fun when we both catch.  As I sat there taking pictures I kept remembering what I had read from Joan.  Fly fishing is a graceful dance.  I’m hardly graceful on land, let alone in the water.  I thought it couldn’t hurt to try some of her techniques and see if I might not make it look like I just had dumb luck.

Back into the water I went, with a new goal set.  I tried changing everything all at one time.  Ben suggested I work on just one thing, not letting my hand move more than six inches.  I about fell down in the water when just that little bit made such an improvement.  I could actually see my line loop over my head!  Something Joan had said was to rock back and forth on your feet with your cast to get a little more distance.

Suddenly I couldn’t hear the other people that were camping or fishing.  It was just the water, my rod, nature, and myself.  Eight out of ten times I was casting beautifully and it felt incredible.  Nothing else mattered, my worries and frustrations washed away in the current.  The water cradled me as I cast again and again hitting my target.

As our stomachs started rumbling louder than the water we decided to pack it in for the day.  Ben still hadn’t caught anything, but he had noticed my improvement in my casting.  To avoid me getting too full of myself he told me that I needed to do it again the next day.  Though I swear he said it with pride in me.  After a filling dinner at The Mohican Tavern, we went back to The Blackfork Inn and spent the evening catching up with Todd and Cheryl.

The next morning, Todd got up early and had breakfast waiting on us, he knew we would be all too ready to hit the water again and he made sure we went out with full bellies.  When we got to the spot, we decided to head out to a different area, one that we had heard about, but never done because it is a mile and a half trek through the forest.  It’s not an easy path either, with the ups and downs over roots and rocks, around trees, and off small ledges.  It was worth it though as nature enveloped us in her arms and shared a beauty that most never see.

We went right out into a spot we liked and started fishing.  My casting started off shaky again, I fought the water around me and struggled getting my line to lay out straight.  Ben had me take a break and come over to see a sight that was really neat.  An entire school of red horse sucker fish.  They weren’t interested in any of our flies, but they didn’t just scare off either.  We watched, fished, and interacted with them for a couple of hours.  My casting even got better again.

We hiked back to the car and said we’d fish for another hour right there.  I took a deep breath and sat down to focus myself.  I would have my perfect cast back.  Wading out, I tried a side cast to get under some trees (I had watched Ben doing that earlier).  That was a fail right off, so I just backed up and decided to try that another time.  After that it didn’t take long for me to find my rhythm again and get lost in the feeling of dancing in the water.

At the end of the trip, I had not caught anything else, nor had Ben.  We didn’t feel as bad as we have in the past for getting blanked; we both knew we just didn’t present the right fly.  However we did get to enjoy a beautiful weekend at our favorite place and those dark shadows that had chased me the week before were long forgotten.  As we left the water behind to head back for home he looked at me and said, “Joan would be proud of you.”  That feeling and those words will stay with me for a very long time.


Grey clouds creep on cold breezes.

Moist flesh embraced frozen lovers.

Electric currents rake gooseflesh armor.

Molten pool encases feet, licking ankles.

Face cradled by hands of bone.

Razor teeth drag swollen lips.

Tornadoes swirl, heating frozen breath.

Blue flames alight in hollow sockets.

Darkness glows frenzied storm.

Anguished moans chorus.

Lightning sears the break.

His corpse falls.

Blood stained tears.

Her wings spread.

Azrael’s passion denied.


I thought I would never get to finish it.  I had panic attacks, thoughts of my name being slung through the mud, and dreams of being drawn, quartered, hung and burned at the stake.  After months of working to keep my life going in the right direction, helping my best friend through his Mother’s illness and then the loss of her at Christmas, working tons of overtime, I have done it.  I finished the edits on Knightwatch Press, Ultimate Angels anthology.  I cannot thank the publisher and all the authors for their amazing patience with me as I had to continually put off the deadline to have it complete.  This past weekend I put it all together along with my introduction to the book and sent it off to be formatted.  I think the fans will be happy to get a copy of this one, the stories are very well told.

So what is next?  Well Ben and I have found a new place to live and will be spending all of March ‘moving on up’ to a beautiful duplex.  It is a home built in the 1920’s and still has it’s very well-kept original hard wood floors!  It has three bedrooms, the entire attic over the whole house, the basement, and our own backyard.  The landlord is still doing some final work on it before we can move in, but we will be getting the keys over the next week or so.  Ben’s daughter Mallory and our dear friend Savannah have helped us pick out colors and we will be going and painting all the upstairs rooms.  We have started the process of sorting through all the things we have at our current apartment, and are slowly purging clutter from our lives.  It’s the 5 second rule, you touch it and if you cannot figure out what it does, where it goes, or where it came from then it gets sold, given away, or tossed.  So far we are doing an amazing job.

One of the best things in this house is we will have a library.  This will be where we will not only keep our books and have comfy chairs to sit and read in, but will have all of our horror art we have collected at conventions over the past few years hanging up!  As authors this alone has been just an amazing thing to have achieved, getting to have our own library.

After all of this running around (did I mention I am still working a ton of overtime at my day job?) cleaning, packing, moving, purging and unpacking, I know of one thing I will be doing.  Something I have always dreamed of having, a long hot soak in a beautiful tub.  This is our new bathtub.  There are still some renovations, and we plan on changing the sink back to the era specific style.  Right now, my focus is getting to the point where I can fill this tub up and say, “Calgon, take me away!”

I hope this post finds you all well, and I hope to give you more updates soon!


Life update

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  A few snippets here and there, mostly of random writing, but even that has been sparse at best.  I’ve been asked recently what is going on and if I have any upcoming projects.  The answers are it’s complicated and yes.

Trying to sum up the past two years and make it a long story short.  My best friend Ben lost his Dad, then his wife, his house, his dogs, and very recently his Mom.  I know many that would insert a joke here about a country song.  However I have been with him through every step of this.  Watching and sometimes feeling the same, all the emotions from anger to sadness, depression to guilt, frustration to anxiety.  I have watched him day in and day out for over a year now from when I opened my home to him and gave him what meager life I could.  It has been incredibly difficult for him and for me, the helplessness I feel sometimes to not be able to take away some of the bad can be overwhelming.

One of the positive things in his life is his daughter Mallory who will be 3 in May.  She is such a breath of fresh air and a spark of life to both of us.  Hearing her laughter can take away the darkest of days.  Watching her long eyelashes rest upon her cheeks while she sleeps melts my heart every time.  Ben will never understand the gift he has given me as I had never wanted children, by having him in my home and my life; he has brought her into it too.  Wild horses couldn’t drag me away from either of them.  I am truly lucky to not only have discovered this joy, but to get to continue to be a part of it.

So what else do I do you ask?  Ben and I have found a common love of fishing and the outdoors.  Most every time he doesn’t have Mallory, we are out in some stream, river, or pond fishing.  For my birthday I got a fishing kayak and you can hardly pry me out of it when I get out there.  To be able to be out on the water is the most calming experience I’ve ever had in my life.  The cell phone gets turned off, no computers, no work, no bills, no traffic, no headaches, and no drama on the water.   I’ve gotten to see so much wildlife and beauty out there, not to mention the fish I’ve caught.  I have to admit, the rush of feeling that fish on my line and then fighting to bring it in, only to take a picture and set it free is incredible.  You have only to go to my Facebook page to see all the pictures I’ve taken.

Now understand I grew up racing cars and the high paced environment.  So this experience is considerably slower and even more relaxing for me.  The best part is I have someone to share it with who feels exactly the same way.  Which is a good thing because you should never go out there alone; you have only to read Ben’s blog to find out why.  For Christmas I got a fly fishing rod.  As the weather has been conducive this winter, I’ve even gotten to go out a few times and use it.  I never understood Ben when he said it’s an art, but it really is.  The graceful movements are extended all the way past the rod and the line out over the water.  There is such pleasure in it when I cast just right.  I haven’t caught a fish on it yet, but I’m not discouraged.  The fish will come, they always do.

That brings us to winter.  There are some days that are too cold to go out and play in nature.  That does happen inOhio.  So I do have some writing projects I am working on.  I am currently finishing up the edits for an anthology by Knightwatch Press called The Ultimate Angels.  I should have that done and off to be formatted within the next week or so.  Then it’s back to my novel.  My characters are calling to me to finish their story and it is my goal to have exactly that done before spring.

So keep watching here, and I will try to do better at keeping you all posted on my life’s happenings.  Thank you for reading!