Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


Nature calls

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com

It’s funny how a family tradition can begin. One year, after my sister sneaked out of bed and ripped open all of the Christmas presents under the tree, a new tradition was born. Santa Claus came to our house extra early on Christmas Eve.

When darkness fell, we all piled into the car for Christmas Eve service. Every year, after we were all buckled in, my father would announce he had to use the bathroom. He left the car running, with the heat on, as he took care of business. Ten minutes later, we were on our way.

After church, my father drove through the neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights. My sister and I were never interested; we wanted to get home since we knew Santa always came to our house when we were at church. Our house was his first stop, at least that’s what we were told.

As the year passed, my sister and I caught on to my father’s, “I have to use the bathroom,” charade. One year, our suspicions were confirmed when we noticed the light in the garage turn on; there was no bathroom in our garage.

We still open gifts on Christmas Eve, after church. The only difference is, when we’re ready to leave, my father doesn’t get the urge to use the bathroom.

Merry Christmas! Next week I’ll be on a break, so I’ll look forward to seeing everyone on January 3rd. Happy New Year!

In the meantime, what are your family traditions during the holiday season?


Strike three, you’re out!

In 2011, I submitted a short story for publication. Following eleven months of silence, I resubmitted the story, per their guidelines. I didn’t want to spend another eleven months waiting, so I wrote another story for the same magazine and then another.

Fast forward to November 2013, a cold and damp Friday night. I went to the mailbox and there it was, my self-addressed stamped envelope. I knew it was a response to one of my stories.

I remembered several writers, who had been published in the same magazine, told me the longer they take to respond, the more likely they’re going to publish it. My hands shook. Was this a contract for my first story submitted in 2011?

I paused and then tore into the envelope. There it was, a two-line letter, thanking me for my submission, but declining my story. There was no contract. My heart sank.

I went back to work on my current project with thoughts of the declined story entering my mind periodically. Finally, I came to terms with the fact it just wasn’t a fit for them. Perhaps one of my other two stories was what they’re looking for.

Two weeks later, there it was, on top of a pile of junk mail, another self-addressed stamped envelope. I knew the news wasn’t good. It was too soon. I had no expectations as I slowly peeled open the seal. Once again, I was denied.

The following week, another envelope arrived. At the risk of being repetitive, you can guess what the letter said. I swallowed hard and filed the letter, along with the other two rejections, into my submission notebook.

I figured I have two choices. I could turn my nose up to this magazine, like they did to my stories and never purchase it again, much less submit another story, or I could continue to do what I love. This weekend, I plan to begin another story for this same magazine. Am I a glutton for punishment? No, I just like to make up stories and when they get published along the way, well that’s just a bonus.