Staying positive is half the battle. Many issues are overcome when you kick negativity to the side, or better yet, behind. Way behind.

Yes, Get Thee Behind Me Negativity.

We all have negative thoughts, I certainly do. But, I don’t wallow in bad things that happen for long. That’s the time I pull up my pants and take the bull by the horn. I know, I know, that’s a cliché, but it’s true.

As life and its struggles take a dip into a valley, I step back and assess the circumstances and actions needed to correct and deal with the issue at hand. When isn’t that the case? When I know I there isn’t anything I can do about the situation. Maybe the situation surrounds me, but doesn’t directly involve me. Mostly, I try to do what I can to help, but I step back at some point and realize I can’t fix every issue that hits me in the gut. All problems that hem me in aren’t my babies.

Negativity is harmful to health, and I don’t need outside issues bringing me down. None of us do.

There isn’t a roller-coaster effect to correcting issues without planning and action, if you aren’t actively involved.

Such is the case with my character in CHRISTMAS at APPLE LAKE. I wanted to create a character that had lived too long under someone else’s control and finally came to realize she’d lived in another’s shadow. Now she’s ready to break the mold, but finds her children want to continue where their father left off.

When Gage meets Matt, her entire thought process takes a life changing turn for the better. She’s ready to live. Really live.

Does Gage come into her own, or will she allow her girls to send Mom back into the plastic mold where they want her to remain?

Gage Lander’s husband, Ken, dies in a freak accident. She and Ken had just argued and Ken storms out of the house in a blind rage. He’d been drinking and his car had rammed a telephone pole. Now, her girls blame her for their father’s death. They throw his death in her face; if they hadn’t argued, he’d still be alive and at home where he belonged.

Gage knows that isn’t true.

She believes in a higher being. She believes we are on this earth for a reason and it’s the same in death. We leave this world when our time here has ended, not before.

Gage fights to help her girls understand death and how to deal with their grief. But as in real life, that’s a long time coming. Gage realizes it’s hard to absorb death, much less understanding why, especially when the girls  oppose her on every level.

Here’s a short excerpt.


If Gage had known, Ken, her husband, would die, she’d have planned for it. No one ever said happiness was forever. Least of all Gage. She knew all about forever. It wasn’t.

Her life was upside down now and righting it was up to her. No one could do it for her.
But how was she going to go about it? Certainly her girls had their own idea of how she would get back on track. No, maybe that was an understatement. They wanted her to become a shadow of them. To live the way they wanted her to. Well…that wasn’t going to happen. She’d had enough control.

A shadow of what she knew would keep her from being what she wanted to be. What she knew she could be. What she wanted was to overcome her situation without being under someone else’s thumb, even her girls. Maybe, especially her girls. As much as she loved them, and as much as they loved her, relying on them wasn’t fair to either of her girls, whether they realized it or not. And, they didn’t. At least now. Gage prayed both girls would come to appreciate she’d have to make her own way.

Ken hadn’t wanted her to work after they’d married, and since they both wanted children right away, Gage hadn’t argued, but felt blessed to have a husband take care of her and the children that blessed their home.

Now, being taken care of had blown up in her face.

Ken had been the decision maker for the biggest part of their marriage. She’d had enough of control during her marriage. Control she hadn’t wanted or needed, but she’d allowed her husband to make most of the decisions without a thought of what may happen if he wasn’t around.

And now that day had come. She wasn’t ready, but life wouldn’t be put off.
Ken hadn’t been abusive, he just liked things to go smoothly and Gage had gone along. Still the marriage had been mostly good. She’d learned to adjust. Adjustments now would be a test. A test she was ready to meet head-on once she realized control was a form of abuse.

Gage lay in the king sized bed, flipped back the sheet and stared up at the ceiling. Her mind’s eye followed the swirls embedded in paint, paint she and Ken had applied together. For twenty-two years she’d shared the bed with Ken and now that he was gone, the bed was lonely and empty.

Ken had been a good man but had no knack for finances. But, it wasn’t entirely his fault the house was mortgaged to the hilt, and the credit cards maxed out. The medical bills had stacked up and now it was up to her to do something about them.

But what? She had no job, nor any skills other than organizing the house as one would a business over the years. You’d think she’d welcome her children coming in and taking over. To make everything easier. To remove the burden of paying stacks of bills she had no way of paying. But paying her out of debt wasn’t their responsibility. Gage wouldn’t be part of putting them put in a position that would put a strain on their lives.

Gage wanted more for her children. More for herself. More than to simply exist. She’d existed long enough without their help and to burden her children financially wasn’t in her plans.

So, the time had come to get up off her duff and do something about being head over heels in debt, to find a way to do what she had to do. By herself.

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  1. I’m a firm believer in positive thoughts. Negative thoughts can weigh you down so much, you’re drowning. If something is bothering me, I try to be pro-active. I lived in the shadow of my mother for most of my life. It was only when I left the country to marry MR N did I get out from under her.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Staying positive is important! I think negativity breeds more. I’m one of those who usually rants, gets it out of my system, and moves onward. Negative things happen and wallowing in them is the worst thing we can do.

    I live by something Winston Churchill said “When marching through hell keep going!’

    I remember when a friend moved to southern California, he discovered that the pavement was so hot that the soles of his sneakers or flip-flops would melt if he stood still. Suddenly everything fell into place for me. We have to keep going or we will glue ourselves into that horrible place.

    The hardest thing for me was picking up the pieces of my life after I lost my husband. I kept telling myself to keep going but I really wasn’t going anyplace. I was too busy mourning. Maybe that’s what I needed to do, but my life had turned into a big black mess that I didn’t know how to get out of – nor was I ready to leave. But time helps.

    I love your stories, Carol. You have a way of finding those basic emotional things that we all have and writing about them. Probably everyone on this planet can relate to your stories. I think I’ve read A MATTER OF TASTE eight times and every time I see another layer in it. That is a very haunting story! Can’t wait to read this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. E. I certainly can identify with Churchill’s quote! And yes, if we don’t keep moving, we are often glued to our worst nightmare. You’ve been strong and brave since you lost your beloved George. I commend you for that. You’ve suffered through your grief, though the loss always remains, and arrived at a higher plateau. I know too much about death and my heart goes out to you.

    I’m so very pleased you like “A Matter of Taste.” I often wondered if I shouldn’t just pull the story since it’s a bit stormy, but many people, like you, have written to say “Thank You” for writing the story. I’m always amazed when I receive those emails. There are times I wish I’d written it in novel form, but didn’t. Once I wrote it, that was the end. 🙂 I hope you like Gage and Matt’s story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Joan. I like it too. Gage simply popped inside my head. I had a woman who was evaluating how to go forward with raising two young girls after her husband’s death. She was engaging with life as she never had before. So the Gage from engaging, fit. 🙂 Five foot four, slim, well-toned, short auburn, curly hair, naïve, sweet smile. It was amazing to see her as a whole. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

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