man

Sometimes, I can’t remember life without that man of mine, can’t imagine an existence that makes sense. For fifteen years, MTM has been the engine of my soul, steadfast believer, selfless supporter, ardent lover, best friend.

My only man.

When I think back to our first “hello” and “hi,” it could’ve happened five minutes ago. A flick of the fingers. A few blinks of the eye. But stacking up everything we’ve done, each trip, every emergency and job change and life-altering thing?

Life condenses memories into a highlight reel. I never thought I’d be with another person long enough to make a highlight reel. Seriously, I didn’t think a man would ever tolerate me for more than a few years.

And this remarkable man makes me take my medicine. He reads every first draft. And tenth draft. He cocoons me when I curl up in a ball and sob over failure. Especially since I find spectacular ways to fail.

My ONLY man.

Every day, he slaves in the kitchen and puts food in front of me. He keeps my travel straight, making sure I have cars and tickets. Without him, I’d struggle to pack a suitcase. Nobody can stuff luggage like MTM.

His stressful, demanding, sometimes maddening job pays our bills. Gives me medical insurance. Enables me to create without monetary fear.

He’s never surprised by my accomplishments. Almost like he knew I could before I did. No matter how impossible circumstances appear, he never tells me to quit.

My only MAN.

I can’t count on my fingers the number of times I’ve seen him angry. He has a bottomless well of patience. Everything he touches becomes better than it was without him.

He never takes credit for his accomplishments. I can’t drive a mile without seeing a piece of city fabric improved by his stalwart advice.

He’s a loyal friend, a giver to everyone lucky enough to be in his life.

MY ONLY MAN.

Today. Tomorrow. Forever. I love you, MTM.

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One of my books is dedicated to MTM. Don’t know which one? GET THEM ALL HERE.

struggle for what you believe in

Struggle as hard as you can for whatever you believe in. ~ from fortune cookie

 

Today’s fortune is poignant because it wasn’t mine.

MTM texted this photo to me on the first day of my Natchez Trace walk. HIS fortune. HIS cookie.

He considered it a sign. A blessing, even. An exclamation point in my journey to claw my way toward what I believe. My husband would say his belief in me is unwavering, but few people know how he struggles as hard as he can for who he believes in. How mightily he fights for me.

MTM never works less than sixty hours a week. Every weekend, he’s answering messages and fielding phone calls. Most weeknights, he’s in meetings until late. He shoulders our household and makes it possible for me to write without any guarantee of my own paycheck.

Whenever I want to quit, he tells me why I should believe. Every time I see the dark side, he shines a light. Tough love? He’s sensitive as he gives me unvarnished critique. He puts up with my road trips. He listens to me describe inane character details. He holds me when I cry from both frustration and the pain of rejection.

If MTM didn’t believe in me, I would’ve quit long ago. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I believe in my dreams because he does. Because I can’t help it. Because I know my struggle will make them live.

Do you believe in fortune cookies, Dear Reader? Are you like me, hoarding an envelope of  fortunes you hope will someday come true?

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Photograph Credit: Andra Watkins

This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

postcard, multnomah falls

On September 13, I head to Portland, Oregon. Lewis and Clark country. Six events. Three days. Plus a day to mimic their footsteps. Explore a new-to-me site or two.

Travel looks glamorous.

It isn’t.

Yes, I love meeting current fans and making new ones. Yes, I adore adding destinations and making memories. Yes, I’m grateful anyone shows up for anything I do.

But I miss MTM.

A bone-crunching, heart-stopping ache.

Yes, I plow through everything and make it look fetching, but I do it while craving my soul.

I’m lucky he supports my crazy dream. Even when I wonder how anyone makes money writing books. Especially when I get another snarky review and cry for an hour or several. He keeps saying I believe when I walk through the valley of author atheism, a place bereft of belief in myself.

So many of you bolster me in ways you don’t know. You cheer and critique; you check on me and say exactly what I needed more often than you realize. In my loneliest moments on the road, when I struggle to keep up with myself and my stuff while being ‘on’ 24/7, you reach out and send me thoughtful messages, funny pictures and tender texts.

It’s my turn to give back to you.

If you’d like to receive a Lewis and Clark postcard from my trip to Portland, please leave a comment today. I’ll reach out to you by e-mail if I don’t have your mailing address. I’d love to spend part of a day at a picnic table, staring at the river Lewis loved to hate, breathing a few expedition molecules and penning notes to you.