Jill Weatherholt

Pursuing a Passion for Writing


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That Old Feeling

007I’m not ashamed to admit I still own my first VCR player. Many of you probably have children or grandchildren who would have no idea what to do with this machine. Perhaps some of you reading are scratching your head.

In the day of Blu-ray, Netflix and streaming, I still long to pull the clunky, hard rectangular piece of plastic from the cardboard case to watch “When Harry Met Sally”, “Grease” or “A Rebel Without a Cause.” I get that sentimental longing for the past, known as nostalgia. When I look at this outdated piece of technology, so many wonderful memories flood my mind I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

I remember crying with my best friend as we watched “Terms of Endearment”. At Christmas time, my sister and I would pop some corn and watch “White Christmas.” On this old machine, I’ve watched “Good Fellas” and “The Shawshank Redemption” with that special someone so many times, we’ve lost count.
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I have many of these movies on DVD and I could upgrade the other cassettes to modern technology, but nostalgia is a powerful emotion and one I can’t control. For now, the VCR player will remain in our guestroom for those cold winter days or rainy summer evenings when I’m in need of that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Is there something in your house you can’t part with because of the feeling it ignites?


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Refueling the Tank

001Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

Yes, I did all of these puzzles over the past couple of weeks. You might wonder why someone would waste her time puzzling. I’ll tell you why…I was procrastinating or so I thought.

My goal at the start of November was to enter two writing contests this month. I knew the two contests I wanted to target and I had familiarized myself with the guidelines. I had plenty of time…no problem.

Turned out, there was a problem. Each evening I planned to write, like a hummingbird to the sweet nectar, I was drawn to the puzzle. With my iPod set to shuffle, I searched for connecting pieces. Eventually my mind and body relaxed and in what seemed like a few minutes, an hour had passed.

This continued night after night until it dawned on me the month of November was half over. That’s when I panicked. What about my goals? Why had I wasted time working those puzzles when I had goals to reach? I should have been connecting words to create a story, not pieces of cardboard.
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In the end, I submitted my contest entries. I discovered what I thought was time wasted puzzling was actually feeding my writing tank. Few activities work both sides of your brain simultaneously.puzz When puzzling, the creative side works to see the finished product, while the logical side works to fit the pieces. Relaxing and listening to the music allowed my stories to come to life in my mind. By procrastinating, the stories traveled with ease from my mind onto my computer screen.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?


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Plan B

005When a glorious autumn weekend goes from this,007 sunny with temperatures in the low 70’s, to this,004 a cold rain with falling temperatures into the 40’s, you need a back up plan.

Here’s my plan. First, make a big crock pot of chili, without following a recipe.001

While Derek does a little of this,006
I’ll do a whole lot of this.
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It’s always good to have a Plan B. What’s your go to back up plan on a raw and cold day?


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Holy Smokes!

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

In the movies and on television, things happen in parking garages. They’re the perfect place for the bad guy to hide. However, sometimes, the most obvious setting for a scene is often the least interesting this wasn’t the case for me.

Recently, after an uneventful day at work, I walked through the dimly lit parking garage. I spied my car and hit the button to pop the lock. As I sat onto the seat, I fell back with a hard slam. This happens when I take my car for an oil change and the mechanic moves the seat back.

Something felt different. I glanced toward the passenger seat, it was farther back than usual. Someone had been in my car, but why? How? A chill ran down my spine. I was in the Twilight Zone. I had to get out of this dark garage. I needed daylight.

I slid the key into the ignition, but the steering wheel was locked. I jiggled the key to release the wheel but it wouldn’t move. Panic set in…what was happening? What once felt comfortable, getting into my car to go home, now felt completely foreign.

My hand shook as I turned on the overhead light. I had to get the steering wheel unlocked. I had to get out of here. I glanced down and that’s when I saw it. Lying on the console was a box of Marlboro Lights. What? I don’t smoke…that’s when it dawned on me…holy smokes I’m in the wrong car. The car was the same color, make and model, but definitely not mine.

I jumped from the car as fast as I could and raced two spots over to my car. I slid into my seat and breathed again. As I exited the parking garage, I hoped Big Brother hadn’t captured it all on camera.

Have you ever found yourself in the wrong place?


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The Good Stuff

Imagine Courtesy of Wikipedia

Imagine Courtesy of Wikipedia

I grew up in Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington, D.C. My neighborhood had two kinds of houses during Halloween, the houses with the “good stuff” and the houses with the “cheap stuff.” The good stuff was Snickers, Milky Ways, M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Then there was the little clear package that held four or if you’re lucky five candy corns, this was known as the cheap stuff.

Trick-or-treating was all about strategy. You had to hit the houses with the good stuff first, before they ran out. You also wanted to pace yourself in order to conserve energy. Passing up all of the houses with the cheap stuff in order to get the good stuff could be tiring.

I remember there was a particular house that went all out to celebrate Halloween. It was always decorated like a haunted house. Cobwebs and ghosts hung from the trees and Monster Mash blasted through the sound system. They even had a coffin in their foyer.

In order to get your King Sized candy bar which was known neighbor wide as the really, really good stuff, you had to reach inside the coffin. Some years there would be someone under a blanket who would grab your wrist when you reached inside. Other years a large mummy would pop out from behind the bushes and scare you away. You had to snatch the candy fast or fear would send you running empty handed.

Sometimes I would get that huge candy bar, but other years I was too scared and took off running. That family went to a lot of trouble each year to make the Halloween experience extra special, so special that after forty years, I can still picture it perfectly in my mind.

Do you have any special memories of Halloween?


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The Summer of 2014

Image courtesy of Yolanda McAdam

Image courtesy of Yolanda McAdam

One of my favorite segments on our local news is “The Good News.” Each week the stories vary. At times they make me laugh and sometimes I cry. I’m often left with a feeling that there are still good people out there and good things do happen, more often than the network news reports.

This past summer as I was enjoying the Summer Spotlight Series, I had a bit of good news of my own. As some of you know, I’ve been living with Crohn’s Disease for over twenty nine years. I don’t talk about it very often on my blog primarily because I don’t want to be defined by a disease. It’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life, so there’s no use whining and complaining. To use a quote that I’ve never cared for, “It is what it is.”

In April of 2013, I began a new drug called Remicade. It’s a two hour infusion that is administered every six weeks. In the past, other drugs only managed my symptoms. The purpose of Remicade is to stop the spread of the disease. This summer, after being on the medication for over a year, I had a colonoscopy. I was elated when I was told for the first time since the diagnosis, the disease is currently inactive.

For now, I’ll continue with the treatments until the drug no longer controls the disease or another treatment option comes along. Whatever happens in the future, I’m thankful for Derek, my family and friends who have provided so much love and support along the way.

Another bit of good news I received during the summer involved my obsession with lighthouses. In April, I wrote a post about being driven to write a story about a lighthouse keeper. I had a strong character and his backstory in my mind, but getting it down on paper was a struggle. Not only did the story hit close to home, but I had other obligations in my life that consumed my free time.

Image courtesy of Yolanda McAdam

Image courtesy of Yolanda McAdam

In the end, a story was written, one that will always have a special place in my heart. The story was submitted and a couple months later I received an email from Southern Writer’s Magazine, “Memories of the Lighthouse Keeper” had won second place in their Best Short Fiction of 2014 and would be published in July. It was a good summer.

P.S. The beautiful lighthouse photos were a special gift I received in May from my dear friend and talented photographer, who many of you know, Yolanda McAdam. She was on a hike with her husband and thought of me when she saw the lighthouse. Thank you again, Yolanda!


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Mission Accomplished

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

When I came up with the idea for the Summer Spotlight Series, I went straight to my favorite editor, Derek. I explained the idea to him and his first response was, “What if no one wants to participate?”

Fast forward twenty weeks and I’m one happy blogger. The series accomplished exactly what I had envisioned. First and foremost, I wanted to learn more about those of you who faithfully visit my blog each Friday. I’ve been blessed to meet some wonderful people and consider you all friends. However, being the inquisitive person that I am, I wanted to know more, so I thought asking a few questions would be fun.

Each week I was thrilled to see the interaction that was happening. You asked additional questions that revealed more interacting facts about the person in the spotlight and yourself. That part I loved!

What made me the happiest was to see you go to the person’s blog for the first time, leave a comment and then start to follow that blog. When that started happening, I knew it was mission accomplished. So thank you to all who participated both in the spotlight and in the conversation. You all are a talented and often comical bunch!

Next week I plan to share some good news I received during the summer of 2014 and I hope you’ll have some good news to share as well.

Enjoy your weekend!

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