A home invasion of the poultry kind!

Good Afternoon Hearthside Adventurers! I have a bit of a story to tell you that I hope brings you a smile. The dog and I had quite the eventful day!

My dog Peaches and I have a routine. I take her outside for a romp everyday before lunch. Most of you are aware of how bitingly cold it has gotten-even in North Carolina.

I looked at the thermometer I have on the window before we went out. It had heated up from a mere 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) to nearly 38! Whoo Hoo! Heat wave!

As soon as we went out there was a loud rustle and the crooning of excited hens. They always run to greet me, so I really didn’t think anything of it. They sort of constantly assume I am there to feed them-even when they have already been fed.

Peaches did her thing, frolicked a little, and then we headed for the house because it is still really cold! Peaches doesn’t have tons of fur, and I have no tolerance for the cold. Today was different though. As soon as I opened the door we were bombarded by four hens beating us to the entrance! The dog, of course, bounds in after. I couldn’t even get her to hold still long enough for me to take her leash off. I guess the chickens are also miffed about the weather!

I entered into a mad house! There was a hen in the sink. Another was cowering under the dining room table from the cats. Still another had made it all the way to the master bedroom and was blissfully gulping down cat food and one was perched blissfully in the Christmas tree trying to eat the tinsel (I know- I know- bad Sarah! Why is your tree up already!? Well, we usually don’t put it up until mid December, but being 35 weeks pregnant I worried that I wouldn’t end up decorating because I ran out of time!)

It took me an HOUR to wrangle these hens out of the house! Partly because Peaches was chasing them and was absolutely no help at all, and partly because every time I got one out of the house, another one that I had previously escorted out would charge back in!

Sitting in the aftermath, there is cat food everywhere and the tree is now leaning decidedly to the left! I do sort of wish I had had someone on hand to film the chaos! In any case, I hope that you are all staying warm-and perhaps got a chuckle from the home invasion I just quashed.


Strength through Struggle

Happy Saturday Hearthside Adventurers!

Many of you may be facing the first real cold of November- I hope you are staying warm. Here in NC it got down to 20 degrees last night. When I lived in NY I would think nothing of that temperature. Now…it seems so bleak! I wish that you could be reading this sitting by my fire. Ah well, perhaps you have one of your own!

I have been debating on whether or not to write this post for a while. However, I have decided to “man up” as my father constantly tells me. We all face struggles, and perhaps sharing the struggles that we have worked through will give strength to others who are also struggling.

Four years ago I was a naive and boisterous college freshman. I could do anything! Absolutely nothing held me back. I had been top of my class in high school. I was a runner, a dancer, and my father had been grooming me for Air Force ROTC.

I was so strong. I never had a moment when my body didn’t do what I told it. While I was at school I received intensive language training in Farsi. I was absolutely dedicated to my career path in the Air Force. However, budget cuts made it clear that I would not be accepted to field training, or given a commission. Bummer.

I followed my father’s footsteps and dropped out of college. My mother was completely horrified. I confidently strolled into a recruiter’s office and enlisted. I made it through MEPS and was completely set to take my place. I was going to live the dream. I was going to be an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist. I absolutely aced the DLAB (language aptitude test).

Then, slowly, getting out of bed became painful. I shrugged it off. I was used to muscle pain and found it to be satisfactory. It meant that I was getting stronger. It got worse. Moving became harder. Workouts that were simple became monumental efforts.

The doctor at MEPS had noted that I had one hip that was higher than the other. I moved just fine through processing and I didn’t think anything of her comment. When I went to the doctor complaining about back pain they brought it up again. One shoulder and one hip was higher than the other.

They sent me to get an MRI. It was March. I was set to leave for basic training in August. The results revealed that not only did I have scoliosis, but I had also worn out the cartilage protecting the discs in my spine, slipped several discs, and damaged many others. The scoliosis had lead to pressure being unevenly distributed so my exercise routine had more or less permanently damaged many places in my spine. Because the curves where the trouble spots existed were so tight, the neurosurgeon that I was sent to declined to operate. He said that the risk of paralysis was too great.

On top of this they had found a tumor on my thyroid. After several sonograms a thyroid specialist decided that it might be cancer and that it needed to be biopsied.

I was released from service. My career was over before it had started. The tumor on my thyroid turned out to be benign. However, the damage to my spine could not be fixed. I was doled out pain medication and informed that the condition would deteriorate over time.

No…things like this don’t happen to people like me. They just don’t. I completely spiraled into depression. I wore a trench in my mattress from the days that I could not be coaxed out of bed. I cried and mourned for my lost career like I had lost a loved one. The Air Force had been home to me. I had grown up on military bases and loved my childhood. It was the future that I wanted for my family. My parents and fiance  had no idea how to drag me out of the abyss I felt myself drowning in.

It was a future that no longer existed. It took me a year of mourning to pull myself back together- and even though after a year I was returning to education, my heart was still longing for what I thought should have been. I didn’t think that I would ever find the camaraderie that I had grown to love in ROTC and I yearned for that fellowship.

Time heals all things…and in the many dark nights that I lay awake I decided to do something that I hadn’t done since high school. I pulled out my laptop and started writing. I wrote poems at first. Then, one night I opened a blank document and a narrative just started flowing. I have been working on that story ever since. It has changed as I have. It has been given more depth as I gave it more thought. It languished for a little while- untouched- while I put myself back together. One day, I swear to myself that I will finish it.

I am no longer on pain medication, and even though pain is a constant struggle I finally adapted to my new life. I have found the brotherhood that I thought I would be deprived of in all of you! I have discovered that people who write absolutely love to talk shop with those who are eager to learn. Writers are such amazingly giving people who aren’t afraid to share the secrets to their success. We are a community. All of us.No matter what style, no matter what genre, we are united under one banner: we are writers.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you. I have read your posts. Many of you have written through your own struggles, and I have felt your pain. You share your joys and I have smiled with you. Life may take us down unexpected paths, but I am so happy to share the journey with a group as worthy as you!



It’s that time of year again!

When many of us think about how autumn is portrayed on Facebook, Instagram, or the Internet at large, many of us picture perfectly manicured fingers clutching Starbucks cups and long rants from impassioned fans about the virtues of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Then there are those that spend most of October gearing up for one grand event…NaNoWriMo…aka National Novel Writing Month (this isn’t to say that novelists are not also pounding down the PSL). If you love writing (which I’m assuming most bloggers do) and you want to try your hand at writing a novel this is a great way to jump in head first! You don’t have to ever have been a novelist before, all you need is an idea. nanowrimo.org lets you track your word count, provides motivation, inspiration, and community for aspiring novelists. This is an annual event that is free to enter and takes place every November!

I actually had every intention of signing up this year, since I chickened out last year. However, I have come up with another excuse. I’m already knee deep into a novel. So I have decided that instead of trying to come up with a brand new novel for the sake of NaNoWriMo I am going to try to finish my current novel this November tracking my progress on my own. If I want to finish this book by the end of November I will have to write about 980 words per day. “That isn’t so bad” I tell myself…unfortunately…I have a severe procrastination habit…particularly when the waters of writing get murky.

In any case I challenge you to either sign up for NaNoWriMo or push yourself to finish whatever book you have in progress in celebration of National Novel Writing Month this November! We can do it! Leave a comment below if you are in the process of writing a novel and what the genre is, or if you have signed up for NaNoWriMo this year! Together we can provide encouragement and support. Fellow and aspiring novelists please feel free to introduce yourself below and tell us about YOUR greatest hurdles to sitting down and cranking out those words!