Jill Weatherholt

Pursuing a Passion for Writing


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A New Day

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who discovered books could take her to faraway places. She could meet people and animals that she could never meet in the real world. She would go off to her room with a book, and experience exciting adventures.

As she grew, she realized she could create her own stories. Her joy of writing blossomed. Writing for pleasure provided peace, in a hectic world. One day, she decided to submit her writing to a contest. The results were encouraging, so she continued to write.

Recently, questions flooded her mind. Why was she writing? Why was she blogging? What was the point of it all? Yes, she loved to write, but she was feeling overwhelmed. Her peaceful writing world was slipping away. As her peace diminished, self-doubt took hold and began to steal her joy.

Yesterday, that girl received an e-mail from an editor. The encouraging words within the e-mail reminded her of why she wrote. The perfect timing of this email was an answer to all of her questions. She was ready to walk away. Instead, empowering words from a stranger, told her to keep writing.

Self-doubt can paralyze our creativity. Our dreams and goals are uniquely ours. Continue to do what gives you joy and push away the self-doubt, and it will make you stronger. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who constantly encourage you…thank you, Derek, Mom, Dad and Jan.

I’m curious, what’s your secret weapon to deal with self-doubt?


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Penny Candy

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Growing up, Saturday was haircut day for my father. My sister and I loved to tag along to the Barber Shop. We didn’t go because we liked to hang out with a bunch of old guys, we went because Ben Franklin was next door and they sold penny candy. If you’re not familiar with the concept, penny candy was sold as individual pieces, rather than a larger package.

The cashier provided me and my sister with a brown lunch bag. Once my father gave us each fifty cents, we were set. I remember the excitement I felt as I strolled down the aisle. My eyes scanned the bins that held a variety of candies, so many choices for a child.

One of my favorite candies was the Jolly Rancher. It was a hard and somewhat sticky candy. It came in a variety of flavors of grape, apple, cherry, watermelon and raspberry. Cherry was the best.

Smarties were another favorite. The small pastel colored wafers tasted sweet at first, but then they tasted tart. The great thing about using one penny to purchase Smarties was that each roll had around fifteen or so wafers. Even as a child, I was a smart shopper.

Despite all of the mouth-watering and cavity causing candies to choose from, the majority of my fifty cents went toward my all-time favorite candy, the Atomic Fireball. This candy would set your mouth on fire. I remember having contests with my sister and friends to see who could hold it in their mouth the longest. To say Fireballs were hot was an understatement, but if you could survive the heat, you arrived at a sweet layer of rock hard sugar.

The days of penny candy have long passed, but the memories remain. I still enjoy an occasional Fireball now and then, but they don’t seem as hot as when I was a kid.

Did you have a favorite candy as a kid?


108 Comments

Nice to Meet You

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I always love to hear stories of how couples met. My good friend met her husband years ago through a personal ad in the newspaper. This was long before Match.com or other dating websites. They’ve been together for over twenty years.

My parents met while on a double date. My father was actually my mother’s friend’s date. When my mother tells the story, my father was driving and as she and her date sat in the backseat, my father kept giving her the “eye” in his rear view mirror. Of course my father’s story is different, she was eyeing him.

Derek and I worked in the same building for over three years before we met. He was one floor above, working as a loan officer. I was below, working for a law firm. We never met. I always took the stairs and he rode the elevator, so there was never an opportunity for a chance encounter.

One night, my girlfriend and I went out to a local bar to listen to some music. When I spied Derek walking by I mentioned to my friend that he looked like my high school crush. Sometime later, Derek approached me and we talked until the bar closed. He asked for my phone number and as they say, the rest is history.

Meeting in a bar doesn’t make for the greatest, “How we met story.” I do think it’s interesting that Derek worked one floor above me for three years without us ever meeting until that night.

I would love to hear your, “How we met story.” Let’s share how we met our husbands, wives, partners, significant others, best friend, etc.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Sisterly Love

Image Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Image Courtesy of Morguefile.com

“Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five.” ~ Pam Brown

My sister, Jan, is three years older than me. Growing up, we had our share of sisterly battles. When the battles broke out, lines were drawn and our bedrooms were off limits to one another. It wasn’t uncommon to see handwritten signs taped to the door that read, “NO TRESPASSING, THIS MEANS YOU.”

After each battle, we’d eventually forget what we fought about, with the help of our mother. However, there is one thing my sister did that I’ve never forgotten. It involved candy, a sleeping bag and lack of oxygen.

It was a Friday or Saturday night and we had decided to have a camp out in the finished basement. We watched a few of our favorite televisions shows and devoured a large bowl of popcorn and then I got sleepy. About that time, my sister said, “Jill…I hid some candy in the bottom of my sleeping bag. Do you want some?”

Within a split second, I crawled head first into her sleeping bag. Next, I heard the sound of a zipper and then darkness. I remember I yelled for her to let me out, but I only heard muffled laughter. I kicked and screamed. There was no air. I was smothering.

What felt like hours, but was really only a couple of seconds, my sister unzipped the sleeping bag and my lungs inhaled the air. She laughed and I tore up the stairs to tattle on her. The camp out was officially over when I hung the “No Trespassing” sign on my bedroom door and crawled feet first, into my bed.

Today, my sister vaguely recalls the night she almost suffocated her only little sister. I can laugh about it now because I know she was only playing. However, I do blame her for my claustrophobic tendencies that I experience today. Thanks, Jan. You’re still the greatest sister!

Did you battle with siblings, cousins or friends?


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That’s Just Weird

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Growing up, I put peanut butter on my pancakes. The taste and the smell of syrup made me sick to my stomach. It still does. Come to think of it, I didn’t like any breakfast foods when I was young. My poor mother had to deal with my finicky eating habits for years. Sometimes I would eat leftover chicken or pasta for breakfast. She wanted me to get something into my stomach, besides a sugary cereal, before I headed off to school. My sister called me weird.

Each year, during the first weekend in November, I ask Derek to go up into the attic and bring down all of our Christmas decorations. Since the autumn decorations have been up since September 1st, by early November, I’m ready for Christmas. My dad says I’m weird.

Whether I’m working a five hundred or one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, I never use the picture on the box as my guide. In fact, my box is always turned face down on the table. I use the shapes and the colors to work the puzzle. Derek and my good friend, who are both puzzlers say, “That’s weird.”

After years of hearing people say that I’m weird, I’ve concluded that might be true. But aren’t we all weird in one way or another or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Do you have any weird (strange or unusual) behaviors that you would like to share?


107 Comments

We’re Free!

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Image courtesy of morguefile.com

Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
~William Wordsworth

Growing up, I loved recess. The elementary school I attended had morning and afternoon recess. Each session lasted at least twenty minutes. I remember I watched the clock in anticipation of that moment when we were set free.

Once the clock struck that magical hour, we were off, like a swarm of bees. It was a time to release our pent up energy. We didn’t have to be quiet, sit still or pay attention. We were able to just be kids.

Sometimes we’d take off running toward the swings or maybe the jungle gym. We’d organize games of Kickball or Red Light Green Light. The activity didn’t really matter, what mattered was, we were free.

On those dreaded rainy days when confined to the classroom, one of my favorite indoor activities was the game “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.” The rules were simple. Without peeking the class would wait, with our heads down on our desks.  A chosen student then hid an object, usually the chalkboard eraser. When the hider said, “Ready,” we wandered around the classroom in search of the eraser. Once you spotted it you didn’t touch the eraser or draw attention to it; you quietly went back to your desk and only then shouted, “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.”

This would go on until everyone was finally seated. The object was not to be the last student wandering around the room. I don’t recall ever being the last one standing.

It’s funny, the vivid memories I have of playing this game. I remember the sound of the rain hitting the windows and the muffled giggles of my classmates. Life was simple.

Did you have recess growing up?


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Don’t Worry…Be…

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

Image Courtesy of morguefile.com

If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Like my Mamaw, I’ve kept a journal for many years. At times, I’m diligent about writing my thoughts every day. But when life gets in the way, weeks can go by without an entry. When that happens, I try to recall past events and play catch up. I realized this is probably why many people don’t journal, they don’t have the time.

 

During the holidays, a friend gave me a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Since I do most of my reading on my Kindle, I headed to the stationery section to check out their journals. Among a sea of leather bound books, I was thrilled when I discovered this.

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The one sentence journal; it was perfect. After all, if I couldn’t record one sentence a day, how could I be a writer?

Similar to a gratitude journal, it’s a great tool to gain insight as to what really makes you happy. What I like the most is it forces me find something to be happy about, even on those days where anything that could go wrong, does.

Last week for example, after I started a load of laundry, the machine stopped working in mid-cycle. I was left with a full load of wet clothes, floating in detergent. We spent the next half an hour up to our elbows in icy water rinsing and wringing out the clothes.

Later when I sat down with the journal, through my frustration, I tried to think of something to be happy about. I wasn’t happy we were going to have to spend money on a new machine. Or that we would have to wash clothes by hand until a new machine was delivered.  Yes, there are Laundromats in the area, but I’m a germaphobe. The thought of putting our clothes into a common washing machine…well, that’s a whole other post. After some reflection, my entry for that day: “I’m happy the washing machine didn’t create a flood, like the pipe that burst last year.”

Each day this little blue book makes me realize that my happiness doesn’t have to be based on what’s happening to me at the moment. I can find happiness in all situations. After all, life is so much easier when we’re happy.

What makes you happy?

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