Fix, manage, control. One of my good buddies introduced me to this phrase and I’ve never forgotten. It’s what we do, especially when we feel that our world, our way of doing things, or our people are slipping away from us. We endeavor to not have anything in our life alter, to hold on to the way things are just a little while longer even if they no longer serve us. We panic at the thought of change. Whew. There it is. The BIG one. The most ominous word ever. Change is perilous. It’s scary. We don’t want to upset our apple cart even if that change means moving towards something greater. To paraphrase a song from my youth, I don’t wanna be a (control) freak, but I can’t help myself!

When Abraham left his hometown we might’ve imagined him marching forward on God’s command immediately, fearlessly. But I’m pretty sure that’s not how it happened! How can I be so certain? Because Abraham was only human, a mere mortal just like us. We cannot expect that he was, himself, anything other than a regular man. He had fears and reservations just as any person would have at the thought of such a move. I once took a class where they identified the most stressful events in a person’s life. Moving was right up there with death and marriage. It can be most terrifying, even if you’re moving into your dream house. Many of my generation danced and celebrated the emancipation of a young Janet Jackson as she sang about her efforts to wrest “Control” of her life away from her domineering father. We identified with her because we “wanna be the one in control!” Nobody likes change, initially. It throws our world off, leaving us to madly wrestle it back under our control. It’s where we’re most comfortable.

So, when God said to Abraham, “Go!” can we suppose that he just up and went? Not likely. Like most of us, he probably carefully planned his going down to the most minute detail. When my children were small, I couldn’t leave the house without their diaper bag which contained all my essentials for childcare. When I go on vacation, I make lists and take inventory of everything I will need while I am gone. Careful planning goes into even temporary moves. But Abraham wasn’t ever coming back. He needed to take, well, everything. If he were anything like us, he took as much as he could to guarantee his outcome and his comfort. To further hedge his bets, he took his nephew, Lot. Think about it! What would you take on such a journey?

At some point, though, he must’ve stopped delaying and procrastinating. When he could put it off no longer, he went as God commanded. How many of us would cease our efforts to control the outcome and simply obey? We would want to know exactly where we are going and how we’re going to get there. Details. But eventually we’ll need to do what Abraham did. Believe God. Step out on faith and just go. As we realize no further details are forthcoming, we can surrender to one of two options. Get it together and go OR give up the notion altogether because we’re afraid to step into the unknown. Again, an all too human reaction.

But if we want to experience the sublime, the divine, we’ll have to go as Abraham did, with no guarantees. With only our obedience to a God we cannot see. With our faith in Him and in our assignment and calling. I saw a post on social media recently that said: Sometimes you don’t need a plan. You just need to let go and trust! I felt that. It spoke to me as I delayed the publishing of my recent novel. I had questions with no immediate answers. I wanted to plan, to guarantee my outcome. But I finally realized that the kind of success I want is out of my hands. So, I placed it in His. And I’m finding that He’s revealing the answers to me, unfurling them along the way, as I obey. I hope you are encouraged to do the same. Just go. Do it.

Be blessed.


Pale Rider is live on Amazon! Click here to learn more, read the synopsis and preview, see the trailer! Or go to Amazon to order!

Also, Pale Rider is featured among other clean fiction that you can trust your family to read and enjoy! Check out Christian Fantasy and Fiction Summer Reads on Story Origin!


Can you believe it? It’s finally here! Pale Rider will go live on Tuesday, June 15th! It’s been a tedious road to get here but I’ll spare you the details. The point is, we’ve arrived! Now that we’re here (and my heart has stopped thumping over achieving my goal) God has put on my heart to talk about outcomes. You know, the end result.

Of course, I know the end I want to achieve – fantabulous success (and yes, I do know that’s not a word, but my writing program didn’t correct it so I’m going with it!) – but how do I get there? I’m a member of some amazing writing groups that aim to facilitate that and they all seem helpful but it’s overwhelming to be inundated with so much information. And they can’t all be right, right? Do this, do that, but never do this! Argh! (Yes, that is my pirate voice!) So, what do I do when I don’t know what to do? When confusion paralyzes me, I become terrified that there is no right action to take and fear I will doom myself because I “chose poorly.” Who can I go to for help sorting through the miasma of “helpful” information?

I go to the one who knows the outcome, has already provided for the outcome, and engineers outcomes against impossible odds. Believe it or not, the Bible exists to provide the testimonies of people who’ve overcome, not only to poke at us poor humans and say, “You’re wrong!” It’s so we could know there is a way out and that we have a Father who has provided for us and wants to come to our rescue. Even when we are wrong, we can go to him for help. (True story! You should try it, er, try Him!) I trust God because he knows my ending, declared it before my beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and promised it would be a good one (Jeremiah 29:11). I know two things for certain: He loves me, and He is pro-Loria.

So, I move forward as though fearless, while filled with trepidation. To do so is the ultimate act of faith because faith is action. It’s what we do that shows what we genuinely believe. Years ago, when I began this journey, I believed that the premise for my series was inspired by God and downloaded directly from heaven. Acting on that impulse, I began to write almost immediately and didn’t let up for years. Then life happened and my efforts were derailed. After a series of blows I began to falter and wondered if I’d gotten it right. I know how Joseph must have felt in that pit (or when he was thrown into jail), despairing of the bright promise his future once held. Oh! I do know.

But then things began to get better, minutely, then by great leaps. My life has not been completely restored but it’s getting there. I grew much in the interim and learned that He will catch me if I fall. And when the circumstances of my life no longer weighed so heavily upon me, I began to write again. I always come back to it. It called to me, telling me the story was not complete, nor was my life. I still had work to do. By faith, I brushed aside my misgivings and looked to God. It’s not given to me to worry about how it will all work out or if this will yield the career of my dreams. It’s my job to put my head down, go to work, then let it go and trust. I can’t hold on to it any more than I could my children after they became adults. By faith I released them, trusting God to keep them and make them successful. And so it is now as we count down to June 15th. I don’t know what the future holds, but He does. He is the author and finisher (Hebrews 12:2). I trust Him to engineer my outcome.

Be blessed,


Are you excited about Pale Rider? I know I am SO READY to debut my latest book for my fans. I’m in love with the characters and I know you will be, too. Look for announcements on June 15th with the link to order your paperback copy on Amazon. You can preorder your Kindle version (available June 30th) here! Meanwhile, click here to view the trailer and read an excerpt. Enjoy!

P.S. It’s been my supreme pleasure to partner with fellow authors on Story Origin: This week, I’m participating in Magic, Mayhem, and Adventures! It looks to be a wonderful collection of all the things I love about fiction. YAY! Follow the link to check out their offerings!

Strength of Adversity

Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself. The same lessons continue to pound into me until I get it. This morning I thought of Joseph (of the Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) – AGAIN – and got a little more meat off that bone. It’s grilling season, y’all. Eating your ribs, steak, or chicken down to the bone is an indication of two things: how hungry you were, and how good or tender the meat is! So, I return to the scene of many a good Bible story often, because that’s where the best lessons can be found. It’s a perennial best seller for a reason.

Today I was ruminating on what I intend or hope to accomplish with my success. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that on a scope beyond what I would do for my own family. But it occurred to me today that everything I learn about this business of writing, I can – and should – pass on to others. It’s not meant only for me to crack the code, but to leave the door open for others to build a successful career through writing, too.

Call centers have been my bread and butter (and the bane of my existence) my whole life. While I appreciate all that this field has done for me, at the same time I abhor the dark side which usually emerges in the form of a dogmatic manager bent on proving themselves at my expense. I get that it’s because I’m an anomaly. They single me out because I’m different. I’m obviously not supposed to be there. We who are dreamers, creators, and writers are often found in call centers because we tend to be great communicators. It’s a natural thing for us, I think. But at the same time, it can be extremely repressive to those of our ilk. Our wings are clipped by being in such a restrictive environment.

Hence, the story of Joseph. He was a good child, gifted, and a prince among his brothers for which he was hated. Joseph was different right from the beginning. He didn’t belong. They handed him into slavery because his father loved him most and because he was a dreamer. God had given him a vision of a brighter future. Rather than grasp that future for themselves, his brothers sought to end it altogether because Joseph appeared to come out on top of them, his elder brethren.

But even as a slave, Joseph continued to shine. So much that he came to the attention of his boss’ wife. She wanted Joseph’s light but in a carnal way. Her attention was not a compliment but a threat to his entire way of life. A life he had carved from ashes. Joseph rejected her but his boss threw him in jail anyway. And he had to start all over.

In jail he was commended as a good prisoner and the jailer trusted him implicitly. He rose again (‘cause cream always does) to a position of influence and his fellow prisoners began to come to him with their dreams. The chain of events that followed may seem implausible and miraculous. But they can and do still happen; we’ve witnessed them in our lifetime. Stories of rags to riches abound throughout Hollywood, as well as the tech and the business worlds. But what appealed to me most this morning was Joseph’s actions after he rose to power and his dream came true.

As his brother’s kneeled before him he repaid them, only a little, for their actions and played a few mind games. But in the end, he brought them to be with him, to experience plenty during famine, and took care of them and their families. It was more than they deserved. But Joseph had always been different. He thought on another level, saw things on a spiritual plane. The very talent they’d despised him for became the saving grace for the entire family. They meant to do him evil, but God turned it for good.

Folks will despise you because you’re different. They will make your life harder because they can. But adversity strengthens. You may lose a job or people. It’s all part of the process. These events propel you to become the person you’re meant to be, to get to the place where you belong. God will use your struggle as a tale of overcoming. And like Joseph, you can reach back for your brothers and sisters who need to get where you are.

Be blessed,


I’ve got goodies for you! Two exciting things have happened and I wanted to share them with you. The trailer for the Pale Rider is here! The Kindle version will be released June 30th – preorder your copy NOW!

P.S. In my continuing efforts to expand readership for this blog and the Touched series, I’ve partnered with Story Origin. This week clean, YA series starters, are FREE! Click here for more info and ENJOY!

It’s here!

You can now preorder your copy of Pale Rider on Amazon! Click here to order! It’s been a long journey but we’re finally here. I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love that enabled me to finish strong. This is the book I would have written first, had I the courage. It’s my best foot forward and the reviews so far are encouraging. I just know you will love it, as well. Wanna see a preview to whet your appetite? You can read the first few chapters here! Thanks so much for your support!

Be blessed,


Just Desserts

For I, the LORD, love justice … Isaiah 61:8 (NKJV)

When I was a child, my sense of fairness was massive. I got my share of whuppings, as children of my generation often did. Now, such things are frowned upon but back then, it was just life. On one occasion, I cried and cried, not for the corporal punishment administered but because of something my Uncle Edmund had told me.

“You’re a big girl now,” he said. “You not s’pposed to get no whuppin’!”

I was too little to recall the infraction for which I was punished. But my mother often told the story of the outcome. I sobbed, broken-heartedly, saying over and over:

“Uncle Edmund said … I wasn’t s’posed to … GET NO WHUPPIN’!” My sense of outrage over the unfairness of an act that I was told could not happen was enormous. And that perception of fair play (or how I think things should go) continues to this day, though I’ve since learned not to cry so hard about it. C’est la vie, as the song goes. That’s life.

I’ve worked at many places. Done many things. My resume is longer than a page, just put it like that. When I began one job, the new hires consisted of a bunch of folks younger than I. Though my resume was more impressive, their education beat mine. I could have been discouraged but I put my head down and went to work, determined to distinguish myself. One of the new employees was full of herself, for more than just her education’s sake. She acted entitled and assumed she would go to the head of the pack. She didn’t. The class soon found that experience beats education many times.

I found out one day that she said some harsh things about me while I was out of the office. I tend to take younger folks under my wing. I treat them as I would sons and daughters. I had done so to her, despite her catty attitude. I was surprised to find that she’d disparaged me, behind my back. Her comments regarding me had to do with my standing with the company and an allusion to my salary. When I received some sort of recognition on the job (I don’t remember which), she remarked that I wasn’t like herself and the other hires. She saw me as less than them.

Still, I didn’t address it but continued to love her and treat her as a daughter. I excused her actions because of her youth. Meanwhile, I continued to work and impress my bosses. My reputation grew while her own waned. And then I was offered a promotion. Because I hadn’t let her actions phase me, it took me a while to make the connection.

With the promotion, I became more. While she had been relegated to the ranks of mundane employees, her efforts unnoticed by management, I continued to shine. Though I wouldn’t wish anything bad on her, I couldn’t help but see the justice in the situation. I had done nothing to defend myself, but God elevated me anyway. I didn’t need to seek her out to tell her off, nor hate her because of what she said about me. As far as I was concerned, there was no rivalry. There are lots of attributes which younger people have that I cannot compete with, so I don’t even try. Here’s where I can excel – in being me. I know I have that market cornered, always. But she didn’t have my revelation of security.

To this day, she and I remain friendly. She never knew that I knew what she said. I have been her friend even when she has not been mine. Not because I’m better but because I am me. To respond to such foolishness would diminish me. But God saw. He justified me, rewarded me, and avenged me without me having to lift a finger. We can trust God to do that. He loves justice. And He will get it for you.

Be blessed,


Singing, You can have whatever you like …

Champagne corks

My epiphany was sudden but at the same time, gradual. I cocked my head to the side at the revelation. Could it be that easy? I scratched my head in disbelief, but I had no choice but to believe. It had happened, again.

I’ve worked in some form of soft sales and customer service most of my life, dealing in numbers and productivity. At first, I was resentful of the reports they generated because I felt it wasn’t a true representation of myself as an employee. I was more than the numbers, especially if the numbers showed me lagging. I later found, I’m also competitive. These stats tell us where we are in comparison to our co-workers but also, in my mind, if we are worth our salary! I endeavor, always, to be that person worthy of my hire. I began to see the reports as a tool to be used to spur myself on to greatness. This day, as with many others, I looked at my numbers. I was several spots away from taking the lead. On a good day, I could do enough business to overtake the lead, but this day was slow. The last few days had been tankers as well and not my best sales days. How, then, could I hope to jump to the lead?

I looked at the report and calculated how much business I would need to get ahead. And I spoke to it and to myself, saying: I need to get so many by the end of the day to jump into the lead. Now, mind you, I had no control over how much business I could generate. That’s the problem with the numbers. Some days are just down days for sales. All I had was my spoken desire to overcome. As you might have guessed, I ended the day in the lead by one. I had met my spoken desire, exactly. And I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to attain it. With little effort expended (other than to be alert to opportunities, but that was normal), I’d realized my goal.

Just so you know, it wasn’t a fluke. This has happened many times over the years. As I looked back, I saw all the occasions where I simply said what I wanted to happen, and it did. I’ve even had some things happen that I didn’t want though I later realized I’d spoken it! Entirely my fault. True story. Agh. When I had to rebuild my life after divorce, I asked some specific things of God. One was to become “a mover and a shaker,” in the business world. After a few false starts, I found myself in a management position with a rapidly expanding company. My sister began to call me E. F. Hutton because when I spoke, people listened, LOL!

Time after time, God has shown me the power in my tongue to declare things and watch them come to pass. But somehow, I’d forgotten. The Bible is full of instances where the Israelites’ short memory failed them. God delivered them so many times, but they quickly forgot. Reading their stories, I always used to think, HOW COULD THEY FORGET HE PARTED THE RED SEA? But we do. Humans, that is. And then He will remind us of who He is, who WE are to Him, and just how far He will go to save us.

Thank you for the reminder, Lord. I hear you. In the past I’ve struggled because I see my limitations and my goals are daunting. But as the saying goes: If your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough! It’s not my job to worry about how it will get done or let the impossibility of my goal deter me. I see that now. I only need to speak what I want and watch you work.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Be blessed,


Get To This!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV

I’ve been really grooving to Marvin Gaye lately. He penned a song back in the day that I’ve recently grown to love, Get to this. The music has me mesmerized. It makes me want to do a little bopping (If you’re from Chicago, you’ll know what that means). I wish I could step, too, but as you might recall, I can’t. I wasn’t gifted with that gene, LOL! As an adult, I can now appreciate the lyrics that flew right over my head as a child. MG’s words are unabashedly sensual (as was his style) and spoke of a much longed for reunion with his lover. But I gleaned a deeper meaning from the words, drawing the sublime from the secular (as is my penchant): The anticipation of greater things to come.

Perhaps we are always on the cusp of … something. Hopefully, right at this moment, we stand on the precipice of a great adventure, just waiting to begin. I find myself looking forward to that next chapter with great expectation. Somehow, it makes me more appreciative of where I am now, instead of being frustrated because I’m not where I hoped to be. I can celebrate this moment as I bop to the music, knowing – anticipating – that this is not all there is. My future calls to me like a distant lover, bidding me to do all I can to get to this!

When a friend celebrated his 40th birthday, he immediately exclaimed: “I’m old!” But I quickly reminded him that Moses’ life didn’t really get started until after 40. According to the Bible, he returned to Egypt at 80 years old and led the Israelites into the desert. They wandered another 40 years which would place Moses at 120 years when his time on earth ended.

So, age has no bearing on what’s in store for us, as Sarah – wife of Abraham – could attest. She was elderly and far beyond childbearing years when she gave birth to Isaac. I imagine her as she must have been, holding her distended belly in expectation of the child she would bring forth. She, who had never been pregnant, now felt life stirring within her. She could relish the moment even as she looked forward to the climax and culmination of the deed.

I guess, that’s how I feel today. I know that God is stirring up something great within me. Mentally, I’m salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs at the prospect, even as I endeavor to wait patiently for my blessing. But the waiting is not as difficult as it once would have been. I know that my Father has something wonderful in store for me. And for you, too. It’s in our not too distant future, singing to us like MG: Come on, sugar, get to this!

Be blessed,


P.S. I’ve partnered with Story Origin’s Key to Richly Fantastic New Worlds to get the word out about the Touched series. You can become a subscriber, receive updates and download the first book and that of many other great authors here!


Casting down imaginations … (2 Corinthians 10:5)

I’m up. But I don’t want to be. Sigh. A former co-worker once dubbed these early morning hours, “the butt-crack of dawn.” I’m paraphrasing. He didn’t say it quite as nicely. Not that I blame him. 4:00 a.m. is not a good time to be up, especially when I don’t need to be. I have a friend who recently confessed that she always gets 8 hours of sleep. I envy her the accomplishment and told her whatever she’s doing needs to be bottled! Alas, that is not my lot on this here morning. So, what do I do with myself after rising at such an ungodly hour? I write.

Writing is cathartic for me. A form of meditation and therapy, I guess. I catalog my hopes, and dreams, my fears. In most cases, after dialoguing with myself, my fears seem to lessen. I can breathe again. But fear has been an unwelcome companion for a few months now, seemingly rising out of nowhere. I developed a phobia, most notably, about publishing my latest novel. Being a bit of a word smith, I decided to look up phobia just to ensure that word truly encapsulated what I was experiencing.

Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Yup, that was me. It was extreme in that sometimes I couldn’t breathe at the thought of taking the next step. Irrational, in that I’ve done this THREE TIMES already. I’ve published three books. I know the process. Fear is for the unknown. Fear is for the unfamiliar. And even then, I’d never let it hinder me before. I’m terrified of my dreams and ambitions most of the time, LOL! That couldn’t have been the reason. I read a quote once: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. That has become somewhat of a mantra for me, my personal slogan. It took me four years of editing and waffling to get up the courage to publish my first book. The following novels, less so.  Fear of publishing? That just didn’t make sense. Why now, after all this time?

“If you ask a question,” as my brother always says, “the answer can’t hide.”

Once I challenged that unreasonable trepidation, my mind readily supplied the answer. Because I let it take hold, not questioning its validity, the phobia grew unchecked. I never stopped to examine it. That was the day, I think, I got tired of being afraid. I reminded myself of all I had already accomplished. Of the bear and lion which I’d already slain. Surely, another giant would be a small thing. I asked myself, where is your faith? Fear cancels out faith, but the reverse is also true. Faith trumps fear, every time. Faith in myself, my abilities, my calling, my God. Nothing can stand against that. After that realization, fear and all the stuffing that supported it lay crumpled in a heap at my feet like a scarecrow without a pole. It was no longer sustainable. Or reasonable.

Fear is normal. It’s what we do with it that determines our outcome. My son, a successful entrepreneur, said to me: “I get negative thoughts all the time. I throw ’em against the wall! Get outta here with that!” He said it so convincingly that I laughed as I pictured that conversation with his fear coming out on the losing end. But that is what I needed to do. I followed his example and took captive the thoughts which were crippling my progress. My debilitating fear needed to be forcefully ejected from my thinking and my life. Get wit’ it or get gone. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

With that being resolved, I’m moving forward with publishing a book that I’ve held onto for too long. The promise I’ve made to myself and to you, my readers, is that it will be published fully by May 30th. Advanced reader copies are available for those who’d like to be part of my review building team. Without further ado, here’s the complete cover reveal and a preview of Pale Rider. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Pale Rider

P.S. I’ve partnered with Story Origin to get the word out about my work and that of other authors. Get your free copy of Touched and check out Jennifer Kropf’s Christian fantasy, Harmonies: A Winter Novella.

Be blessed,


Make Me Wanna Holler

“Make me wanna holler 

The way they do my life …

Make me wanna holler 

And throw up both my hands.” Marvin Gaye

Sigh. A lot’s going on in America. Again. Black folks are dying. Again. Must be summer. But I’m still exhausted from last summer! I resolved that this time, I would not allow myself to be pulled into the abyss of hopelessness. Yes, I feel – and strongly – about so many things. And I have many thoughts that I will not express except to say, in summary: I feel awful. My brothers and sisters are being used for target practice and it sickens me. I’m not ok, whether the perpetrator is one in authority or a member of the black community. A recent Facebook post screamed: How can we say their names when there are so many? Social unrest, coupled with COVID, threatens to send me into a downward spiral. Emotionally, I’m stretched to my limit at such times and become most unproductive. Definitely not what I need right now. But I read a statement from a young lady, Greta Thunberg, who helped put it in perspective for me. I hope it helps you, too.

“If you feel bad today, so many people are so sad and so depressed but that’s a good thing because that means they still have empathy and they don’t want to live in this world where we have lost empathy,” Thunberg said while fighting back tears. “So many people come up to me and say they believe that there’s something wrong with them because they are feeling like s***. But I think it’s the opposite. It’s the rest who can maintain living in this society where we only care about prestige, and these are shallow things that don’t matter, and being the best and so on. Those are the people who are not normal.”

So very young, she is. And so very right. The rising tide of frustration, despair, anger, and hopelessness – it all makes sense now. I’m supposed to feel this way and anyone with an ounce of humanity remaining should be disturbed, also. So it’s ok to not be ok with what’s going on. From that place of despair can come a strength, either to endure and outlast or outright fight against heinous injustices even if the odds seem insurmountable. And perhaps, as long as we have empathy for the struggles of our fellowman, perhaps the world is not so bad as it can seem.

Be blessed,


A Caged Bird

“His wings are clipped, and his feet are tied, so he opens his throat to sing.” Excerpt from Maya Angelou’s poem, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

“You sing?”

From time to time, I get asked this question. It’s usually voiced by someone who doesn’t know me or has never worked near me. To their query, I just shrug. Meh. Yeah, I sing. Most folks have found that I always sing, even when I don’t realize it. I sing as I work and as I play. I may even do so when things aren’t going well, to forcibly inject some gaiety into my day. I’m known for humming tunes in the middle of meetings and at the beginning of my workday. (I even occasionally whistle, though I don’t have a talent for that, to my lasting regret!) Singing is my way of announcing to everyone, Loria is here! Not only have I arrived, but I am focused and ready to work, not just piddle around. It sets the stage for my day and says: I am determined to have a good mindset and be productive. So, singing is kind of what I do, nearly always.  

When I was a child, my older brother would call for me. He’d lift me up and set me on a coffee table and have me sing for his friends. Far as I could tell, I put on quite a show back in the day, LOL! But not so much these days. I’ve been on hard times before, certainly worse presented than my current circumstances but through most of it, I’ve kept my voice. In fact, I didn’t really know anything was wrong until it occurred to me one day: I didn’t sing anymore. Nor did I want to. WOW.

Maybe life was heavier than I had allowed myself to believe. Surely, a pandemic of the likes I had never expected to see in my lifetime, riots, shootings, uprisings, and just general mayhem – surely, they can’t have worn me down to a nub. (And stop calling me Shirley, ala Airplane!) The lockdown, a year of working from home – something I’d always longed to do but now has lost its luster – and limited access to my favorite leisure activities began to have a negative effect. Not only had depression set in but anxiety, as well. Staying at home turned out to be exhausting. I tired more easily and only the most beautiful and sunny day could coax me outside. Moreover, a year of doing nothing led to more worries over doing more than nothing. Should I be doing this? Is it safe? Previously I thought, if I and my loved ones survived, if we could just weather this storm, everything would be fine. But as Michelle Obama said recently, “none of us will come out of this unchanged.” I realized, unsurprisingly, I was not OK.

Music – of the portable variety, meaning, just me and my pipes – has been my constant companion for my whole life. Singing has always given me great joy, often allowing me to transcend my situation. But more than that, it’s been somewhat of a temperature gauge. A way of checking in and knowing how I’m doing. Of communicating that mood and passing that joy on to others. If I can sing, things are not so dire that I cannot overcome them. But with my wings clipped and my feet tied, could I find it in me to sing again? Then one day while out doing routine tasks, suddenly and unexpectedly, I found my voice.

I received my first COVID vaccine two weeks ago. Perhaps it was that hope of freedom that loosened my vocal cords. I can potentially see my loved ones, travel, engage in corporate activities, and maybe even one day be unfettered by a mask altogether. It was something, at last, for which to look forward. Winter is gone. Spring has come and life is being renewed. Not just in the plants around us, but in the awakening animals and insects. Better days are ahead. So, I sang of freedom, even though I haven’t realized it yet. I sang for the promise of that one day when I would. I sang though I’m still bound as if I were already free. And I found myself lifted, exalted, above the confines of my prison, on the wings of my voice. Wings that have not been clipped after all. Not as long as I can sing.

Be blessed,


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