Fairy Tale . . . Shoot!

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Fairy Tale Shoot was my January 2015 post. My first and only post of the year. The reason being, our daughter Rachel was diagnosed in February with breast cancer. The dreaded C dragon swooped into our realm and darkened our family fairy tale.

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(Before things went dark.)

2014 had been a difficult year for our family, so I was happy to say goodbye to it and welcome 2015 with open arms. Rachel traveled to Nacogdoches with me to be my personal assistant, (a.k.a. hairstylist, make-up artist, photographer, cheerleader), as I attended my very first Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend. I met Kathy Murphy, the founder and Queen Herself, along with many fabulous authors and book club members. It was a fun, enchanting time. At the end of the weekend. Rachel and I went to a wooded spot and did a magical photo shoot of my Fairy Godmother persona. ( Rachel is a fantastic professional photographer. Score.)

Then February came along and on our granddaughter’s birthday the dreaded news came, and our world turned upside down. It is still upside down as she is still in treatment, but the prognosis looks good, and we are grateful for God’s presence with us in these hard days, weeks, months, and now year.

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(Siblings: Sean and Rachel)

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(Family Racing for the Cure!)

This has been her personal fight, but not without the support of our entire extended family and many, many friends. We have all surrounded her with every ounce of love and strength and courage we could muster, and then, we abide. It’s a helpless feeling to watch your child fight for her life. There are no words to truly describe the depths of these emotions, so I won’t even try. But, I have watched her stand strong, and on those days she could not stand, I watched her husband carry her . . . I watched her brothers lean in . . . I watched her family and friends circle up around her . . . I stood with her dad on her behalf.

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And yet . . . there are days when no one else can stand up for her, and she fights on because she is a warrior. She is strong and brave and beautiful. And I love her with all my heart.

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The battle continues. It requires the drinking of poison for an entire year, but she has beaten the C dragon, and she has the scars to prove it. Fairy Tale . . . shoot! This is real life!

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And because this is real life, I write fairy tales. There are days I cannot gather one creative thought, and I sit. Then, I am carried away by my own emotions and I write. Several characters lost their lives in 2015. It was a dangerous year. However, no matter how dark and desperate things appear, I will bring light to my story, and my heroines will be strong and courageous, ever-flawed, but heroes just the same.

I have come to realize I cannot wish away bad years, bad months, bad weeks, bad days. What I can do is embrace each day as a gift. I have to take it as it comes and do with it what I can. I have to live in the middle of the pain and the mess and feel it completely. And, I am grateful for the days that are full of joy and beauty and light, because I have those as well. Life is an adventure! Grab your sword, your bow, your wand, your pen, whatever weapon you use and join in.

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This hangs on the wall in my writing studio as a reminder.

(Original quote by G. K. Chesterson: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children dragons can be killed.”)

 

Fairy Tale Shoot

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The morning after I attended the Great Big Ball of Hair – Ball at the Pulpwood Queen Girlfriends Weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas, my daughter, Rachel Archer, of Rachel Photography followed me into the woods and did this enchanting photo shoot. https://www.facebook.com/rachelphoto 

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I felt like a fairy princess at the ball, but in the woods I became an elven queen. I kept waiting for the woodland creatures to come out to play or a gnome to appear from under a mushroom. Let’s just say for now they were camera shy.

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I did bring my own owl with me into the woods, but he was quite tame.

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I wandered through the trees in search of the perfect spot.

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The sunlit leaves glistened . . .

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. . . and I attempted to fly.

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My wings are now hanging in a closet in my home, hidden like selkie skins. They’re waiting for me to take them out and put them on, leaving my humanness behind, and disappear into the woods.

Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend 2015

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(Author, Pat Montandon, Darlin’)

“If you take a book with you on a journey an odd thing happens. The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it…yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”  INKHEART by Cornelia Funke

I have a stack of books I purchased at the Girlfriend Weekend. It is not quite as tall as the Empire State Building but close. I will need to buy a new bookcase to house them. And, we will not be able to buy groceries for the next two months. But, what can I say. I could not resist. Each time I heard the authors speak I was intrigued, first by their story, then by their book’s story.

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(A sampling of my book purchases)

As I begin to read each of these books the quote from INKHEART will be true because I will remember the author I met and the amazing time I had this weekend . . . and the memories will return. I will smile, I will laugh, I will dance, dance, dance.

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(The Queen Herself, Kathy L. Murphy)

Thank you, Kathy for following your dream and allowing all of us to be part of it! I love your energy, your heart, your creativity, and your love of books and their authors. You are amazing!

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(Our Grimm’s Tales Table)

Saturday night, we concluded the fabulous weekend with The Great Big Ball of Hair Ball – Around The World With Books! Our table chose Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Thanks to Jan Ward and Marsha Toy Engstrom for the fabulous table decorations!! It looked as magical as the tales themselves. We all dressed as one of the characters. What a fun group!!!!!!

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(A partial group pic)

I wasn’t sure how I would fit in with a hot pink, leopard print, tiara wearing group of book lovers. I discovered they accepted my fairy crown in place of a tiara and my bohemian dress in place of the hot pink leopard print. I met a lot of kindred spirits and made many new friends. Such an open-hearted group of people with a love of books and literacy.

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(Carolyn Turgeon as the Little Mermaid)

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was meeting and hanging out with Carolyn Turgeon, author extraordinaire and editor of Faerie Magazine. Dreams do come true people. She’s as beautiful and enchanting as her magazine. Subscribe to it now!!! And, if you love an amazing retelling of fairy tales buy her books.

I know you’re wondering which character I chose to be for the ball. Well, thanks for asking. I chose the twelfth fairy godmother from Sleeping Beauty. There were thirteen in the Grimm’s tale. The thirteenth was the evil fairy who cursed the princess with death. The twelfth fairy godmother held back her blessing till after and then saved the princess by changing the curse to sleep and not death.

would like to thank my son, Matt, for the beautiful fairy crown, my Christmas gift. What mother doesn’t want a fairy crown for Christmas. I’m so easy to buy for! I want to thank my daughter, Rachel, for traveling to Nacogdoches with me and doing my enchanted makeup and hair! And, last but not least, I want to thank my sister-in-law Cathy, for making my incredible feather cape! 

There is a long list of fabulous authors that attended the weekend. Too many to list here. So, I will just have to blog more about each of them in the future. I highly recommend you check out the Beauty and the Book website and look for the reading lists!

The weekend was magical and enlightening. I will remember it always, or at least till next year when I attend Girl Friend’s Weekend 2016. You should join us!