The Gift of Time


After years of feeling the pull to write more, I have finally rearranged my life in such a way to devote more hours to writing.

This rearranging involved downsizing and rebelling against consumerism which demands I spend money to keep up and impress others.

Oprah Winfrey starts her podcast, “Super Soul Conversations,” with these words, “the most valuable gift you can give yourself is the gift of time.”

I learned at age ten no one is guaranteed time. My father was thirty-five when he died, leaving my mother to care for eight children. I’ve come to believe we are all broken in unique ways.  Unfortunately, my dad wasn’t given time to heal his broken parts.  Carved into his gravestone are the words, “Greatness in Disguise.”

My smart and sassy nineteen-year-old sister, Carolyn, lived comatose for almost two years after a horrific car accident irrevocably damaged her beautiful brain.  A brain so full of possibility. Stopping for gas on her way to community college, she pulled out into traffic, colliding with a semi-truck.

I myself brushed against death’s door with a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots deadly and silent.  I don’t know if these experiences made me more fearful of dying before completing all I want to do or if it made me more willing to make the most of whatever time I am given.

Either way, here I am with the massive goal of writing a book.  Each week I’ll share thoughts about the writing process, what I am learning and a short excerpt from the book in progress.

Thanks for spending some of your gift of time with me.


I’ll keep it short and sweet since, as you know, I’ve got a book to write.  This week I’ve learned my talent for procrastination is quite advanced.  I want to work on getting my butt in the writing chair more expeditiously.


In high school I learned John Brown was an abolitionist executed for his unsuccessful attempt to steal guns to free slaves. His life was summarized in a marching song I sang many times.

“John Brown’s body lies a-moldering in the grave.    John Brown’s body lies a- moldering in the grave.  John Brown’s body lies a-moldering in the grave. But his soul goes marching on.  Glory, Glory, Hallelujah. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah. His soul goes marching on.”

John Brown was not alone the night of October 16, 1859 when he attempted to ignite a slave rebellion. Twenty-one men were with him. Mostly white men who had fought with Brown in other skirmishes.

There were also five black men in Brown’s small army. If they were mentioned in my school history books, it was merely those three words. Five black men. As if that is all worth knowing of them. But who were they and what were their reasons for crossing the bridge at Harpers Ferry?

Osborne Perry Anderson, John Anthony Copeland Jr, Shields Green, Lewis Sheridan Leary and Dangerfield Newby were five black men who risked their lives fighting with John Brown at Harpers Ferry to break the chains of slavery. In the end three of their bodies were desecrated. One was mortally wounded in the waters of the Shenandoah river. Only one lived to tell the story of his time as a soldier in John Brown’s army.

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