Rose-Colored Glasses

A few years ago, I found a pair of glasses.  They were very pretty, indeed.  They fit perfectly on my face and  I want to tell you why these glasses are so special.

Before I found them, my world was a different place.  Before I put them on, I couldn’t see that well.  What I could see, was dark, dreary and usually out of focus.  Sometimes, it was so difficult to see, I cried, which made it worse. I could barely see myself without the glasses. Worse still, when I looked out into the world, I could barely see anything at all. Much to my chagrin, there was little to laugh about or enjoy at that time. It seemed as though I was trapped in a cave.  Light filtered through porous rocks in bits and pieces.

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The world was filled with images that I couldn’t understand, explain or embrace.  My eyes strained to focus.  People seemed to be frustrated, angry, and hurt as if I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t focus.  I read of murder, war and uncountable tragedies around the world and even in my own back yard.  People were dissatisfied with politics and economics.  Even social media platforms reflected these bitter tastes in everyone’s mouths.  I felt I would soon fall victim to the same.

The images prevented me from seeing clearly.  Children were starving and dying everywhere.  Women were abandoning their babies. People were killing each other over the most ridiculous things.  I would rub my eyes and wonder what made people act so irrationally and irresponsibly.

My broken heart had trouble healing, not just for my circumstances, but also for the world.  I fought to find healing in a divine power.  I struggled to rise up against the horrible things going on around me.  People I thought I knew, were cruel at times. They perjured themselves with their own perceptions of right or wrong.

It was when I fell into utter despair that it happened.  One day, without notice, I found these glasses.  I put them on.  They were a good fit.  Suddenly, I could see clearly.  Through the horror and devastation, there was light.  In the light, I could focus.  I didn’t have to drown in a world of darkness and foreboding.

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Strangely, there were people who said mean things to me and tried to get me to remove my glasses.  They claimed I wasn’t focused at all.  They thought I was fooling myself. They insisted the world was truly a ghastly place and everyone had to take care of themselves.  They believed evil outweighed goodness. They were convinced I was wearing the wrong glasses.

I felt sad for them.  They were frozen in their beliefs, bitter in their circumstances and spoke out of fear.  I refused to believe what they believed.  I refused to be fooled into thinking the world was a dark, hopeless place, filled with ugliness and terror.  I began to search for brighter things with my new eyes.  I began to find places and people who also wore the same type of glasses.  Eventually, I began to feel better because I had always believed that where there is light, darkness cannot exist. I wanted to be in the light.  I wanted to be the light.  I learned how to see better with corrected vision.  I began to feel hope and confidence in myself again.

I learned some very valuable lessons.

Without hope, there is only despair.  Without confidence, there is only failure.  I began to structure my mind and eyes around positivity.  I found goodness in terrible situations, including my own.  In fact, I began practicing this new mindset with myself first.  It took a few years to find the right focus.  I failed and tried again, but I never took the glasses off.

Over the last year, I encountered daily challenges that dared me to take the glasses off.  I persisted and overcame difficult situations.  I began to see positive changes occurring in my circumstances.  New things began to appear that weren’t there before – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  I knew that I ‘d made the right decision.

It is okay to be practical and realistic.  It is not okay to dwell in darkness.  Charles R. Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  In a world that seems discordant at times, it is important to find peace and harmony.  It is even more important to pass that peace and harmony on to others, so that they may share in the light.

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My message to you is this: If you should find a pair of rose-colored glasses, try them on.  They may be exactly what you’ve needed all along!  Step out of the darkness and into the light!!

 

This Is How I Do It!

Hello everyone!

While life prepares to whip me around another corner on this great adventure,  I have a special treat for you today. I have prepared an excerpt from my first baby, I mean novel, (he he) “Silver, The Dream Dragon.”296-ancient-grey-dragon

First, I’d like to share some thoughts about the day.  I woke up this morning to the smell of crisp country air, birds chattering about their morning activities, and a full dose of clear skies, blended in with brilliant golden sunshine.  I grabbed my first cup of coffee for the day and quickly took myself outside to take it all in.  The sunlight came through the trees in perfect rays that ended their journey on the soft clay soil known as North Carolina.  The smell of fresh grass and new foliage was in the air.  I knew this would be a perfect day for writing.

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I don’t know about the rest of the planet, but this writer loves nothing more than a fresh blue ink pen that fits perfectly in her hand and a blank piece of paper. I usually hand-write my stories and transfer them to the laptop later.  It’s more inspirational to me to write the old-fashioned way.

In the midst of God’s beautiful creation, I knew I’d be sipping coffee and writing in no time. This is my kind of day!  Perhaps the only thing that could be missing was the soft gurgling rush of water over the rocks in a brook or stream.  I love to write by the water – any kind of lake or stream.  I’ve even written short stories next to a lighthouse at the beach.  It is so exhilarating and peaceful to me that I can stay there for hours at a time.  Unfortunately, there were no bodies of water nearby, but I didn’t let that stop me.  It was just as perfect here in the natural quiet of the woods.  Life is beautiful in its natural state.  There’s a sense of spirituality that invades my DNA and causes all kinds of creative scenes to pop into my head.

I was raised in New York City, so I appreciate this kind of country.  There’s virtually no traffic here, even on a busy day.  I can hear every sound and every chestnut falling off a tree. Every creature tends to his business, except the bluejays, who are the drama queens of the bird world. I could hear them stirring up trouble already for the cardinals. Baaaaaaddd birdies!  

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Coffee in hand, pen in the other, I was overcome with an uncanny sense of nostalgia.  It was so strong and so familiar, I almost burst into tears!  In fact, I felt the spirit of depression attempting to take over my nostalgic mood.  You see, there is someone who joins me every morning for coffee.  Although it’s been four years since I’ve seen him, the sun, the moon, the stars, the birds, the crisp morning air, and yes, even a great cup of coffee, all remind me of this guy.  We spent many mornings together, enjoying a fresh cup of brewed coffee on a day just like this.  I have a heart full of wonderful memories.  Sometimes, I can’t breathe when these memories visualize as vividly as they did this morning.

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One of my main characters – who is named Seth – is a character that reflects the absolute best this guy had to offer.  I kept all the good memories, all of my favorite parts of this unnamed guy’s personality, and put every one of them into Seth.  Therefore, Seth is sometimes a very painful character to write, because I become nostalgic and drift away into my real-life memories of that guy.

Some would say, “Let it go, man.”  Some would say, “It’s been almost four years.  Move on!”  But I say,  “No!”  I love my memories of that guy.  Were it not for him, I would never have known what the word “soulmate” means.  That guy was my inhale, my other half, the greatest love I’ve ever known.  Therefore, he deserves a warm place in my stories.  He deserves a place in my heart and he is worthy of being a main character in any book I choose to write.  That’s my prerogative as a writer.  Besides, Seth had been created long before we broke up.

In this case, Seth is one of two main characters in “Silver, The Dream Dragon.”   Seth was born in 2006. I created him and the idea for this novel after I had a wild dream, while napping in my sister’s sun room.  In the dream, I heard a dog barking.  I heard a voice in the distance saying, “I have to save the dog.”   That voice turned out to be my own.  Then, I saw a tree in the yard.  The tree took the shape of a smoky human being with a tall hat on his head and fire in his eyes.  He looked directly into my eyes and said firmly, “This is your story.  Now WRITE it!

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When I woke up from the dream, I looked into my sister’s backyard for any signs of a talking tree, but I didn’t find one.  I wasn’t surprised because talking trees are very hard to find when you’re awake.  Usually, you have to digest, inhale, or inject some type of hallucinogen to find them.  I don’t do any of those things, so I have to wait for dreams.  Needless to say, I began writing this novel shortly thereafter.

As life will have it, things got in the way of me finishing this novel.  I won’t go into all the details here, (I may reserve them for a memoir someday), but I couldn’t continue to write this novel until recently.   I DID find the tree that was in my dream, though.

 I have provided a picture of the talking spellcaster for all to see.  It turns out thatIMG_5339 my other sister in North Carolina, where I am currently staying, has such a tree!  I was flabbergasted when I saw it!  Seth is the spellcaster-talking-tree that appeared first in my dream and then was developed into a character in my story.

Now, without further adieu, here is a very small excerpt from “Silver, The Dream Dragon.”  I hope you enjoy it!  All comments are welcome, as always.  May the world always see you in the light!

 

From “Silver The Dream Dragon” by Tricia McHugh, under digital copyright protection.

Unlike Osiris, Uluru resembled an old medieval village.  There were no towering buildings here; no flying escalators, and from the looks of everything, no buildings that were ready to sink into the ground, in case of invasion.

There were small clay homes everywhere.  The town had an old medieval feel to it.  The buildings had been constructed so long ago that some of the clay homes were weather-worn, chipped in various places, and faded in color.  They were all made of earth tones – brown, beige, rustic orange, and splashes of maroon.

The entrance to the town was made from some type of metal and shaped like an arched gate.  There were delicate angels welded into the design, as if they had been put there to protect the town.  Some of the homes closer to the gate were lined up and down the street.  Others were scattered across the hills on a variety of farmlands.

Destiny thought she had walked into a Nintendo town, much like an old Final Fantasy game she used to play. There were homes and small shops on every street.  Women dressed in long flowing gowns and men wearing strange hats strolled up and down the streets, accompanied by friends or family.

As the party came through the gate, no one took notice of Kira or Shannah.  Apparently, it was normal to see dragons walking up and down the streets.  It also helped that they had shifted their actual sizes down to people size, so that they could walk without destroying anything with their enormous wings and tails.

It was mid-morning, so all the shops were open and bustling with business.  Produce stands were scattered here and there; clothing shops and other boutiques had samples of their products placed outside for all to see and touch. The fresh smell of bread wafted through the old streets causing Destiny’s senses to come alive and alert.  Brick ovens were ripe with fresh dough and pastries.  The smell invaded Destiny’s nostrils with longing.

“All this smell of bread is making me quite hungry,” she said aloud to no one in particular.

“I know a nice cafe where we can taste the finest bread and drink the best coffee in the world,” Seth said.

“Yes, please!” Destiny replied enthusiastically.  She longed for a good cup of coffee.  She remembered brewing a pot for herself right before she found herself cantering through a foreign desert on top of the largest bird on the planet.  She couldn’t remember when she’d eaten last either.  Suddenly, she felt famished!

The cool morning air carried all kinds of fresh aromas to tease her senses.  There was the smell of sweet rolls, eggs, bacon, and peppers.  There were pies of all kinds placed on shop windowsills, as she passed various food stores.  She inhaled deeply as she passed a peach cobbler pie.  She closed her eyes for a second to savor the smell.  Suddenly, her stomach groaned loudly.

“I heard that,” Seth said with a smile, “and I agree!  Let’s get some food!”  Apparently, the fresh smell of newly baked food had gotten to his senses, as well.

Seth led the way up a short hill to an outdoor cafe called “The Shepherd’s Pie.” Destiny and the dragons found a corner table with a beautiful view. It seemed they were further up the hill then she previously thought.  It was breathtaking! Kira pointed to the western horizon.  The town was sprawled across rolling green hills that faded into the distance.  Just beyond the farmhouses to the west, she pointed to the Twisted Forest.  On the east side were two rivers – the Sedina and the Yam.  They were joined by the Rainbow Crossing – one of the two bridges that crossed both rivers.  To the south and southeast were Osiris and the desert.  On the north side, there were towering mountains named after the land she was in – the Ikula Nappa mountains.  For the first time since she had arrived, she was able to relax and concentrate on her three new friends.

After everyone was seated, Seth disappeared into the cafe to order for everyone.  While he was in there, Destiny realized how considerate he was to let the ladies rest while he handled the task of ordering food for everyone.  There was a hint of chivalry in that man that she had not witnessed before and Destiny like that bout him.   He had pulled out a chair for each of them and bowed before he left them.  She shook her head, as if to get him out of there, and turned her attentions towards Shannah.

“How are you feeling today?” Destiny asked.  She leaned over in her chair to examine Shannah’s leg.  There seemed to be no trace of the gaping wound that had been there just one day before.

“Good as new, thanks to you!” Shannah replied happily.  Her mouth spread into an enormous grin, revealing teeth that could tear a large lion in half.  Except for two top fangs that were slightly rounded, each of her teeth shot up and down from the gums about two finger lengths and ended in a very sharp point at the end.  Mind you, This was the down-sized version of Shannah! Destiny cringed and immediately attempted to hide her reaction.  She could only hope that she would never end up inside the mouth of a dragon.  She’d never have a chance against those razor-sharp teeth!

She swallowed hard at the site of those teeth.  She returned her own feeble smile and said lamely, “Well good.  I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

Shannah had gorgeous eyes that matched her enormous smile.  They were a gleaming amethyst color that sparkled in the sunlight.  Against her aqua body scales and her teal wings, her eyes were even more stunning.  There was something incredibly beautiful about a dragon’s eyes when they were smiling at you.

“Shannah, might I say that you have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”

Shannah shifted in her seat and brought her body in very close to Destiny’s.  She said very slowly, ” The – better – to – see –  you –  with – my – dear.”  Then, she grinned broadly.

Destiny jumped out of her seat and stumbled back a few steps, almost falling backwards over the table behind her.  Both dragons burst into uncontrollable laughter.  The sound seemed to reverberate throughout the whole cafe.

“That’s not funny,” Destiny said angrily, as she balanced herself from falling over.  “Do you even know what you just said?  That sounds like a statement from Little Red Riding Hood.  You wouldn’t know THAT story, now would you?  Yea, well, the wolf says that very same thing when he is getting ready to eat the grandmother.  Ugh! Never mind!”  Her hands were still shaking from the vision of Shannah swallowing her whole.  She folded her arms against her chest so they wouldn’t notice that she was shaking in terror.

The dragons burst into more bouts of laughter, so loud now, that it seemed to be carried all through the hills. Their booming cackles bounced off the cafe walls, as Seth reappeared with two trays in his hands.   He and everyone else in the cafe could hear the laughter coming from somewhere outside.   All the customers had their heads turned towards the door.  Most of them were smiling.

Seth placed the trays on the table and looked from Destiny to Shannah to Kira.  His eyes continued to drift back and forth between the three of them.  The laughter was so hearty, it was contagious.  A smile gradually formed on his face, as he held out Destiny’s chair and motioned for her to sit down.

She gave him a mean look when she saw the smile, but she didn’t let on that she wasn’t serious.

“What’s so funny?” he asked as he sat in his own chair. He removed the coffee from the trays and placed each cup down in front of his lady friends.

In between bouts of simmering laughter, Kira filled him in on the joke.  He began to laugh, too.  Destiny listened to Kira’s interpretation of what had just happened between them.

“Real funny, guys! So you know the Little Red Riding Hood story,” she said half-heartedly.  The smell of the freshly baked bread was right in front of her now.  The smell of the coffee was at the tip of her nostrils, as she raised the clay cup to her nose.  She closed her eyes and inhaled its aromatic flavor.  The hunger pains exploded in her belly and she knew she needed to satisfy her bitter hunger immediately.  She took her first sip of coffee hastily.

“Oh – my – goodness!” she said loudly.  “This is simply delicious!”  She turned to Seth and smiled contentedly.

“Thought you’d like it,” he said as he sipped his own cup of coffee.  “It’s made from the finest beans in the land.”

“Where’s the trust?” Shannah interrupted while staring at Destiny.

“What?” Destiny asked, completely surprised by the off-handed question.

“You were thinking something about my teeth, Destiny! That’s why I said, “The better to see you with, my dear.”

Both dragons broke into hearty laughter all over again.

Destiny looked at both of them and shook her head in confusion.  Then, suddenly, she understood.

“Oh crap, I forgot you guys can read my mind,” she said as she rolled her eyes. Then Destiny joined her friends and burst into a hearty laughter all her own. Seth joined her.  Soon, everyone was laughing and enjoying the beautiful morning sunshine on their faces, the crisp country air, and the taste of fresh bread.

It would be the last time they all laughed together for a very long time.”