The Power Of Surprise

In early summer of 2001, Eldest Son gave me a fabric CD holder inscribed with the name of his high school and date of his graduation.  Ideal for holding CDs for my car, when I opened it, I noticed there was already one CD inside.

My son had made it for me on the computer from a list of songs I had given him ages before (and forgotten about), writing the words ‘Mom’s Mix’ on the front in black, permanent marker. He was due to leave for college that autumn and I struggled to hold the tears back when he handed his gift to me as a surprise.

High School Graduation, Paso Robles, California (Son second from left) June 2001 (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

High School Graduation, Paso Robles, California
(Son second from left) June 2001
(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

That summer, while George Bush and Tony Blair held hands and the Twin Towers stood tall, I moved with my family into our ‘dream home’ in California. But as world events barrelled towards disasters we could not dare to believe, troubles of my own escalated in my tiny corner of the planet.

Crazy Grandma (my back then mother-in-law) had given me a Sony CD Walkman for my birthday the year before (it was yellow and black, with anti-skip and everything and I loved it).   ‘Mom’s Mix’ became my go-to CD for my early morning walks.  Pounding the neighbourhood streets lost in music helped me cope physically and mentally, a surprise all of its own.

But with the passage of time comes healing and the unexpected; today, my son and his brother live and work (and walk!) in England by the sea, and I no longer walk just to cope.

Which way to Walk? Many years ahead before high school graduation... Los Osos, California 1986 (c) Sherri Matthews

Which way? Many years ahead before high school graduation and life back in England…
Los Osos, California 1986
(c) Sherri Matthews

But I do walk for many reasons, not least of all for the exercise: sitting down at a laptop all day writing is not good for physical health.   Walking is also great therapy; I’ve made more decisions and written more words putting one foot in front of the other than at any other time.  And I always listen to music while doing so.

If I’m stuck when writing and can’t get the words to flow, I’ll plug-in my iPod’s earphones (sadly, my Walkman didn’t last forever) and head out to the park to walk a few circuits, a process which never fails to get those creative juices flowing.  But when I sit down to write  back home,  I do so in silence.

In fact, it was while out walking many years ago pushing Eldest Son in his stroller as I did every afternoon, rain or shine, that I first ‘knew’ I wanted to write, and maybe even one-day, write a book. Only time would tell…

From morning…

Somerset Sunrise (c) Sherri Matthews

Somerset Sunrise
(c) Sherri Matthews

To night.

Somerset Sunset (c) Sherri Matthews

Somerset Sunset
(c) Sherri Matthews

And it was over thirty years later, while walking with hubby high above the Devon coastline last September, elated at having finished the first draft of my memoir, that its title, at last, found me.

Such moments of clarity are rare, but we don’t forget them because they remind us of the brevity of life, of where we stand in our world today and of where we hope to go tomorrow.

When we quiten the noise in our heads and let the whispers of our hearts ring true, we are renewed, empowered, and we are never the same again

‘What good is power?’ Charli asks in her excellent pre-amble for this weeks flash fiction prompt:

‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that explores the question, “What good is power?” Is it a story of empowerment, or a story of a dictator? Poke around power and go where the force takes you this week.’

My thoughts on power are of the kind that see us through tumultuous times, of the ability to forgive and forge ahead to find our way as we walk along the path of our calling and most of all, to love and be loved.

Here’s my flash, in 99 words no more, no less ~

Power Walk

The faster Joan walked, the more enraged her thoughts. All day long, there he sits, like a useless lump in front of the TV, saying nothing, doing nothing…I can’t take much more.

An hour later and almost home, she softened as worry replaced anger. What if he needs a doctor? What if he needs help?

The smell of coffee greeted her.

“George…?”

He never made coffee, or tea or…

“I booked that walking holiday,” he smiled as he handed her a mug of fresh coffee.

“But…”

“I know, I wanted to surprise you, been doing a lot of thinking…”

*******

This post is also written in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Time’.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Family Life, Flash Fiction, My California, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to The Power Of Surprise

  1. I too treasure my walking times and quiet times Sherri. I’ve always needed a lot of quiet time – I think that really I’m a hermit! I never seem to solve anything during my quiet times or walks – but as I re-emerge into company and bustle I always find I have the answers I was seeking. After quiet and meditative times I find I can set to work and it all just flows. It’s a wee miracle really isn’t it!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sherri says:

      A ‘ wee miracle’ indeed Pauline! 🙂 My big problem is remembering some of those ‘light-bulb’ words or ideas while out and about (unless I write them down, which, of course I rarely do at such times, kidding myself I’ll remember…ha! ) but somehow, the process of walking and listening to music (although I don’t listen to music when I’m walking in the countryside or with hubby, only on my ‘power walks’ around the park) helps me remember – so long as I hit the keyboard as soon as I’m home again! The great thing is finding what works for us individually…and I’m so happy you’ve found yours! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. S.w.e.e.t. Delightful. Sometimes surprises come when least expected. Heartwarming story, Sherri.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Amy says:

    Sweet memories, we don’t forget them… Thank you for sharing. Beautiful post, Sherri!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful story, Sherri! I feel the same about walking and running. Throw in some music and it’s even better. Gorgeous photos! I especially enjoyed the photo of your son as a young child. His tiny hands on his hips as though he contemplating going after the gulls. So cute!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Jill. I love that photo too, seems like only yesterday! Those gulls were egging him on I think 😉 You’re doing better than me with the running, I never did manage to pace things up to that level. But just getting out there and moving is so theraputic isn’t it? Best therapy out there, and music helps along just great 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Annika Perry says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Sherri. I was nearly in tears at the gift from your son as he left for college.😀 What a handsome young man and so kind and considerate. Did the cd Sony Walkman really work for walking? I got one and it didn’t even play in the car, losing tracking over every slight bump – we turned the car around and got an immediate refund! I too love walking, therapeutic, consoling, comforting. Ever since young we would love going out for walks and I continue to this day. I often recall places by the walking routes I had; in Yorkshire up on the moors, around the city and station at Leipzig, round the fields and woods here. Bliss and an absolute must for thinking! I love your photos and can just imagine you out there, traipsing across the countryside. Enjoy and have fun listening to your music. By the way, liked your story and glad George saw sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Annika…it was a touching moment, I remember it now so clearly 🙂 Interesting what you say about your Walkman, I don’t blame you getting a refund! I had one before the one I write about here, but it skipped everytime I moved so was useless to take walking. The one my MiL gave me had a special anti-skip button, so the CDs played beautifully, which was a lovely surprise 🙂 Your kind of walks are mine too, it’s great to have the variety isn’t it? Same here, always loved walking. Our home in Suffolk was surrounded by fields and woods and so I also grew up walking in the countryside. Nothing beats it. I’m glad you enjoyed the flash too…I wasn’t sure where I was going with it at first, but in the end George came through 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a wonderful story, Sherri. I miss walking outside. I still ocassionally do it, but the asphalt here is hard on my feet. I do my workouts at the gym, but I may be trying the treadmill instead of just the recumbent bike for cardio and see how that is on my feet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Patsy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thank you! I hope the treadmill will be better on your feet, I’m the same, I find hard ground difficult so I wear inserts. I had a foot problem a few years ago which left me in agony for about a year and a half, but the inserts work wonders. That’s great you are still going to the gym. Let me know how you get on 🙂

      Like

      • Hi Sherri. I’m doing well. I didn’t like the treadmill so I’m sticking to the bike. I did strain my back on something in the last few days, but it is getting better. I still went today, but took it a little easier. I hope you are doing well! 🙂

        Like

  7. jeanne229 says:

    I love your take on power Sherri. I have found this week that my thoughts on Charli’s prompt kept going in a different direction that the obvious. (I’d better get going on finishing that if I want to get it in on time!) And as I frequently do, I found that I resonated with you on so many things! I am a walker too. (This time is year is wonderful for it, though this week our chilly weather has suddenly surrendered to highs in the mid 80s. It is always too sudden for my taste.) And though I prefer to just listen to the sound of children in the park or trees rustling or other whispers caught on the breeze, that time is always one of reflection for me. And the CD! That made me smile. My daughter is deeply into music, having deejayed at clubs and immersed herself in an arts community. She’s been making me “mom mixes” for years. It’s fun to go back and listen to some of those songs that we liked when she was a teenager and compare them to her more sophisticated taste now. Wonderful flash too. The power of love and possibility of change that you captured left me feeling hopeful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Since you left your lovely comment Jeanne, I’ve read your incredibly moving ‘power’ post as you know. I think it’s wonderful how often we resonate, sharing our stories from then and now, our hopes and our fears. I’m not surprised that you also enjoy walking, but I hope the temps don’t get too hot too quickly for you. No chance here; although an unseasonably mild winter, we’ve had one deluge of wind and rain storms after the other and barely any frost. As for March and beyond…well, you know full well how itinerant our weather can be here on, as you call it, this ‘blessed isle’ (love that, thank you, it brings me such joy knowing those who have travelled and/or lived here for a time have such fond memories of my homeland ❤ )! How wonderful that your daughter is a DJ, she would get on well with my kids who are all into music in a big way. I too have other 'mom mixes', also from my daughter. I have a couple she made me when she was in her teens (she's 23 now), very much into 'emo' and 'goth' stuff. I liked a lot of the songs she liked at the time, and as with you and your daughter, it is very interesting listening to those songs now. I'm glad you enjoyed the flash, thank you. As with you, I wasn't sure with the direction of it, nor the post. I even had a para about the Power of Love accompanied by 'the song'… It's great letting the writing lead us isn't it? Hold on to that hope for change Jeanne…

      Like

      • jeanne229 says:

        My daughter Emily is 23 too 🙂 The song we really cringe about now is the very treacly “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. Ughh 🙂 But happily we both still love a CD from Penguin Cafe that I always played when my kids were small, dancing all over the living room together. Love this gradual “getting to know you” dance we are having 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Oh no…not James Blunt! Ha…I heard that song the other day on the radio and cringed 😮 Isn’t it great to be silly and dance around like that? You know, I had a feeling our daughters might be the same age… 🙂 And yes, me too, love it. I feel like we could be chatting around a table in a London boozer on a Friday evening, bottle of wine and a bag of crisps to share 🙂

          Like

  8. Tom Merriman says:

    I think I need to take up walking, Sherri… just slowly at first though; nothing too powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely story Sherri. It demonstrates that we must not assume what another person is thinking. Interesting story about the CD mix your son put together for you. My son did the same for me and I play it in my car when travelling. It’s a great gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Good point Bev, and yes, a lesson I’m learning every day… Oh that’s wonderful that your son did the same for you. I love it when our kids do things like that. The best kind of gift! I’m glad you enjoyed the story, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Already crying and only read the first paragraph. Be right back…

    Ugh! Tears! “I no longer walk just to cope.” Yes! ❤️ Brevity of life, clarity of thought, quieting the noise in our heads… (((❤️))) Lovely post, my friend.

    Great flash, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. dgkaye says:

    Loved the beautiful photos and thanks for sharing such intimate memories Sherri. There’s nothing like a walk to escape into the fresh air and clear our minds. Much of our best work comes from those moments inspired by life away from the keyboards. It’s all part of good writing. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you Debby ❤ It really is amazing how much writing we do in our heads before we sit down to actually write 🙂 I hope you're getting in lots of good walks whether town or country, and also that your internet woes soon fade away… xo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I do my best “writing” when I’m in bed supposed to be asleep!
    That is so precious that your son gave you a mix CD!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jennypellett says:

    Definitely agree with you on the walking front. But I love the silence that walking alone brings. I value time to myself – doesn’t happen very often! I have music in the car which is fine…more often than not, if I’m travelling alone, I switch it off. I’ve never had a portable music thingy with ear phones. Is that weird?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jenny, not weird at all! That silent time alone precious. As I replied to Pauline, I don’t listen to music when walking in the countryside with hubby, but on my ‘power walks’ (that’s what I call them anyway, ha!), I do find the music really helps me over writing humps and sort out pressing ‘stuff’. I suppose because I’m at home all day and spending a big chunk writing in silence (I can’t write with any distraction), I like the other distraction music brings when I do go out. The Walkman idea was new to me back then, and took me by surprise how much I enjoyed it. I’ve been ‘plugged in’ ever since. But never while travelling. I prefer to take in all the sounds and people watch while I’m about it! You never know what good story might be out there waiting to be told 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sacha Black says:

    Aww this is a lovely piece of flash. Really felt the tension and release :D. I agree about walking. When I was on maternity leave I would walk for miles. No time now. I know thats not really an excuse, but you know how it goes, life gets full and other things take priority. but they shouldn’t it IS good for you. I must make more effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Sacha, I really appreciate your feedback on the flash, that’s great to know and really encouraging 😀 I so understand about finding the time. I struggle too and on those days when I can’t get out, I feel tired later but in the wrong kind of way and I don’t sleep so well and then it’s a vicious circle. Life gets so full, especially with a toddler…and I’m pretty sure you get plenty of exercise just keeping up with your little boy! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Lisa Reiter says:

    “I no longer walk just to cope..” Oh gosh. Pulled me right back to exactly those times I have walked because it was that or lie on the floor in a heap. It’s still my saviour as my back won’t take sitting all day. Today the sun is out here and the birds are declaring spring so I shall think of you as I clock up a few points on my pedometer!
    Great flash. A nice surprise at the end there – I thought she was going to leave him! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Lisa…those ‘lie on the floor in a heap’ moments… I’m so glad that you are able to get out and walk to help with your back. Today the sun is shining here (hope for you too!), so I shall be thinking of you too as I head out shortly after catching up here. So theraputic isn’t it? Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the flash. It surprised me too, I wasn’t sure where either of them were going to start with, lol 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Annecdotist says:

    What a great take on the prompt, Sherri. I’m sure lots of us are with you in spirit on those power walks, and what a lovely surprise gift from your son.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Anne, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I struggled a bit at first with this post and the prompt, so the end result came as a surprise to me too, ha! I know how much you enjoy your walks and the part they’ve played in your writing journey; It’s a lovely thought to share them isn’t it, even if just the cyber variety. Ahh, yes, I still have said CD holder… 🙂

      Like

  17. There is a lot of good stuff here, Sherri. I used to “power” walk when I had my dog. Not so much anymore. Always a reason not to. I’ve let go of the music too. I sometimes listened to inspirational audio books while I walked. You’ve made me realize how much I miss it. You can get your brain back to work by moving the body. I love that your son made you a mix to help you cope with missing him. He has a good heart. How a man treats his mother is how he will treat his wife Enjoyed reading this. Hugs. M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dogs are great for walking, but we don’t have one either anymore. Had two when the kids were younger, a Lab/Collie mix and a pure black Lab. Both adorable. I never got into audio books, strangely, I’m usually not much of an ‘audio’ kind of person, other than for music. I never liked earplugs (I used to do a lot of audio typing and hated it, but that was probably more because of the boring job itself…) so the walking/music thing took me by surprise when I discovered how theraputic it was. You are so right about sons, absolutely vital I think. I’m glad you enoyed it, thank you Marlene, and hugs back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Charli Mills says:

    I loved my walkman, now my ipod. I walk to listen to my playlists! What a sweet gift from you son, and a sweet gift of inspiration for your title! It means you are processing much. Loved the flash and how each did their thinking differently! Power Walk, great title.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I know that feeling Charli! It’s a great excuse to get out there and get those playlists going isn’t it! Ahh, yes, this post took a different turn from the one I intended, another surprise, ha! Oh, it was so sweet, and I remember that day like it was yesterday 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed the flash…thank you! The sun is shining here after a frost first thing..time to head out for that walk I think! Happy listening, walking and writing to you Charli 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: What Good is Power? « Carrot Ranch Communications

  20. Mumblypeg says:

    Love this post and touched by your sons’ gift that showed his loving heart. I loved that George had been ‘thinking.’ We all need to take stock and do a bit of serious thinking from time to time. It is good for the soul I find. Lovely pictures and so glad that you can go walking for pleasure not just to cope. Very well done my lovely LS. . . Love from Mumblypeg xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you dear MP! Ahh…such a sweet, loving gesture, one I have never forgotten from that lovely son of mine, love my kids 🙂 ❤ I wasn't sure what George was going to do, but he came through in the end. Nothing like doing some thinking is there? 🙂 Much love & blessings to you.. xxx

      Like

  21. An excellent, heartfelt entry to this week’s challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. TanGental says:

    I’m with you on the joy of the Walkman. Happy days. Well except the time I tried to change disc while running and watched M people roll under a post office van. Heather Small never sounded so odd. And the flash is a nice twist. Captured the rollicking emotions very well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Well, there is that about them…ooops!!! Oh thanks Geoff, really nice to know about the flash…I struggled at first, took me in a different direction than the one I first imagined, ha! Glad to give a twist…smiling now 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Loved your flash fiction, Sherri. Just perfect. 🙂 What a lovely gift from your son; so thoughtful. Love the 1986 beach photo. Such happy memories, and memories are what make us into the people we become.. When is your book going to publication? Hugs to you. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh thank you so much Sylvia, I’m really happy to know that 🙂 Ahh, yes, those sweet, precious memories… The target I’ve set myself is, I’m working now on my second round of edits and revisions and will be polishing and refining up to the end of June. Meanwhile, I’m researching agents and publishers, hoping to go the traditional route. In my wildest dreams, I would love to think I’ll get my MS accepted for publication this year, but I’ll update with progress here as I push through! Hugs back, your support means so much! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I loved the story. It brought tears to my eyes. The husband in the story reminds me a great deal of my own husband who retired July 2015. I hope he’ll surprise me someday in a similar manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Donna, that scenario is what I had in mind when I wrote it, a man newly retired and not knowing what to do with himself. It must be very difficult for you both. I hope too you are in for a lovely surprise, or two. Maybe he and George could meet up 🙂 Big hugs… xo

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Like you, I do lots of creative thought while walking — although prefer to listen to the music of nature around me, rather than music through earphones.
    I love this post, Sherri, and the piece of flash fiction, as it shows that there’s always beauty and hope out there 🙂 xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you Sarah, I love the post and flash left you with a feeling of beauty and hope. You’ve given me a huge smile knowing that 😀 And I know how you love your walks! I only listen to music during my ‘power walks’ around the park, like you prefering the sounds of nature when out in the countryside. For some reason, the music really helps me, even though most of the time I prefer the peace and quiet 🙂 xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I have a whole new appreciation for the pictures that you often post from your walks Sherri. Walking really can be quite therapeutic, can’t it? I love the evolution that walking has had in your life. From coping, to exercise and simple enjoyment. You have me quite excited for your memoir! You are such a gifted writer and have a knack for sharing the intimate experiences of your life through a story. The CD that your son made you made me think of a CD that I made for my dad after he had heart surgery. He said that he listened to it the entire time he was in the hospital and always brought a smile to his face. Music can do wonders for the soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Heather, your comment has me tearing up, but in a good way! Thank you so much, I can’t say enought what this means to me, all of it. And what a beautiful story to share with me about the CD you made for your dad after his heart surgery. Wow. I can tell you categorically, knowing how much the CD my son made for me blessed and helped me through some dark times, your CD helped your dad heal and recover in powerful ways. No wonder he smiled everytime he listened to it! Gifts such as these from the heart of grown children to their parents bring amazing blessings! And you are right, music truly does do wonders for the soul…as does the love behind its beautiful message 🙂 xo

      Like

  27. Norah says:

    What a beautiful post, Sherri. I particularly enjoy the sentiment behind these words: “When we quieten the noise in our heads and let the whispers of our hearts ring true, we are renewed, empowered, and we are never the same again.” That is really beautiful. Another quote from @WriterSherri in a pic? Maybe even pic of son as a small boy. How glorious was that day! Walking is definitely therapeutic, Sherri. I don’t do nearly enough of it. My excuse is no close-by parkland, but that is only an excuse. I love my morning swims now in summer. They are just as therapeutic, and the only music is the wind in the leaves, the birds in the trees and the word plays in my head.
    I’m so pleased you shared the story of your son’s gift. It has given me an idea. I collect Gorgeous 2 from kindy on a Tuesday, and as we drive to collect Gorgeous 2 from school, my Van Morrison CD is playing quietly in the background as we chat. Each of the last two Tuesdays G2 has requested “We will rock you” and launches into the percussion intro with her hands and knees and then the song. Now I realise I can put it on to CD (shh! Don’t tell anyone) and have it ready for her enjoyment next week.
    I’m so looking forward to hearing the title of your memoir, and to reading the finished product. I’m certain it’s going to be inspirational.
    Oh, and your flash – great stuff. George might have some good qualities after all. Some like to sit and reflect, some like to power walk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..you are a swimmer then Norah! Now that’s something I don’t do enough of. Great exercise that. I expect it’s similar to California, mostly outdoor pools in Australia? It’s just great to find something to get us out and moving and listening, to nature, music, clearing our minds. Oh, I love how you give me ideas for quotes on photos. Haha…maybe…watch this space 😉 And I’m so glad that it’s my turn to give you a good idea for Gorgeous 2 (love that ❤ ), so cute! What a wonderful surprise for her 🙂 Thank you again Norah for all your support, I have had to stop work on my memoir these past few days as it's my mum's 80th birthday (yesterday actually),we're having a family gathering at the weekend and I've been up to my eyes in arrangements. My boys arrive this evening, so I will be signing off shortly until next week. And I'm so glad you enjoyed the flash…took me somewhere different this week! Thank you as always for your lovely comment Norah. Oh, one more thing, the title of my memoir is 'Stranger In A White Dress 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I’m not sure that my style of swimming would be classed as “great exercise”, but it’s better than none. Most pools are outdoors. Ours isn’t heated so we use it for only about five months of the year. If I could just convince Hub to heat it I’d be swimming longer!
        Thank you for your idea for G2. I’ve realised today that I don’t have to copy it to CD, I can play it from my iPad through the car’s sound system, just like I listen to my audiobooks. That will be a lot better. But it took your suggestion to get me there, so thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Hi again Norah, I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s weekend 🙂 How wonderful to have your own pool! I knew a few folk in California who had one, and most of them didn’t heat their pools either due to the high cost of electricity. Oh yes, I didn’t think of that, much easier! I’m still getting used to the sound system in my new car, yet to figure out how to use the iPod and my phone through the bluetooth ‘thing’, ha! To show you how useless I am at such things, I haven’t got around to updating the clock since the time changed back in October (I thought it would do it automatically), so it’s been running one hour ahead. My son sorted it for me this weekend and when I asked him how he did it, he said, “It’s easy Mom, look, there’s a ‘Set Clock’ button right next to it!” Duh!! Can you believe that in 6 months I’ve never paid attention to that, a button staring me in the face all that time? I guess that proves I have other things on my mind… 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Norah says:

            That’s funny. We do have different priorities from the young ones, don’t we? If you know your clock is one hour out for six months, why bother changing it back. It will be right again very soon for another six months! I usually set the clock beside my bed five minutes early to help me avoid being late. It’s not very effective though as I know it’s five minutes early! 🙂
            But isn’t it lovely to have young ones who can just fix these things in a jiff for us! 🙂
            I hope you had a lovely weekend. Memories are fading now as the week gets busier. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  28. Rachel M says:

    I love walking and listening to music too. I don’t do it so much now because I cycle everywhere but I always listen to music when I go running.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Sherri, you never cease to amaze me. You have a delightful way of combining the past and the present, the sorrows and the joys, walking and music, and the US and the UK, and weave it all artistically together. I walk every day, no exceptions even if I have to wear ice trekkers on my boots or carry an umbrella. Walking shakes out the tight muscles of hours at the computer, plus it also gives me fresh air to think and plan and pray. Walking is a gift I give myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Seyi sandra says:

    Life’s full of surprises Sherri, and the truth is, we shouldn’t be overly bothered when things turn out the way we hadn’t envisaged, maybe it’s for the best. I love walking, and like you rightly pointed out, creative juices flow easily when we’re out walking or running. I love all the pictures, you know how to connect the dots in a story. My love and warm regards to the family!
    Much love to you my friend. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      It certainly is Seyi, surprises keep us on our toes that’s for sure, one way or another! Of course, those happy surprises are the best kind 🙂 I’m glad you enoyed the pics, thank you! – and I love what you said about ‘connecting the dots’. You always have such a great way of getting to the jist of things 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day my dear friend, and enjoyed a lovely weekend. Sending much love and blessings to you and your family, and I hope you have a productive, energetic and happy week ahead…with only the best kind of surprises along the way 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Ste J says:

    Walking is great, it clears the mind and demands quite a few sit downs to write up notes I find. Then of course there is all the weather to photograph or the spider webs, each one making a story idea itself, the world is so much better when wandering aimlessly, now if I just had the energy hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I so agree about the walking, Sherri. Like you, I get so many of my ideas for blog posts and short stories from walking (usually with Toby). Yes, I get stopped every now and again and chat with other dog owners, but even our conversations with them bring ideas and stories.

    I loved your piece of flash fiction. Just goes to show that what we see isn’t always what we think is happening.

    Lovely to see you back here with your flash fiction.
    xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Hugh! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment when you’ve been so busy with your move, I really appreciate it! I hope you’re all continuing to settle in well and happily enjoying your new home and life in Wales. I’m so glad walking works in the same way for you too, and now you and Toby will be able to take lots of lovely new walks and meet new friends (and get even more great writing ideas)! And I’m thrilled you enjoyed the flash, you’ve made my day! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  33. restlessjo says:

    I’m not long home, Sherri, and if I don’t get on with my Monday walk soon there won’t be one, but you do have to pop and see friends, don’t you? 🙂 I much prefer silence to write in, but my walks invariably have the rumble of football (TV) in the background. 😦 I do find haiku comes easily when I’m out walking, but if I get a really good idea I have to scurry home before I forget it. Somebody seems to have stolen my memory 🙂 Enjoyed your sweet memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Jo, I love that you popped in to see me so soon after your travels, I always love to see your beautiful smile at the summerhouse 🙂 Thank you!! And yes, I’m the same, if I don’t rush home to write something down, it’s gone! Hmmm…TV in the background? I’ve done my fair share of writing like that, but it is so distracting, amongst a few other things I can think of…those moments of pure silence are rare indeed, but we do what we can… 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Love those walks Sherri and glad you gain power from them in more ways than one. What a beautiful gift your son gave you and the power of music combined with that walking must make you quite a power yourself which I know you are. First draft finished, title set (I love it). Flash is superb. The surprise twist at the end was perfect. He showed he had a lot of power over himself to change his behaviour as few do and she must have had power over him with love that made him want to. Great post. Lets walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Irene! Not long back from a Monday morning walk, and the sun is shining, although cold, but keeping moving takes care of that 🙂 Yes, it was a lovely surprise gift, I treasure it still, and I still enjoy the songs on it. I certainly do feel empowered walking and listening to music, but not sure if I’m much of a power myself, ha! Glad you think so though! Thrilled you like the memoir title and the flash, I love your feedback, thank you so much. You’ve really encouraged me Irene, as I wasn’t sure if I had demonstrated the kind of power I hoped to, but reading what you say shows me that you ‘got it’ and that makes me very happy indeed 🙂 Yes…let’s walk! We need as much power as we can muster 🙂 ❤ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  35. marianbeaman says:

    You have accomplished so much here: recording a family memoir, reflecting on memoir writing, and creating a sparkly flash memory. Incidentally, my son recorded a Mom’s Mix CD for me on Valentine’s Day one year. Love the photos too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Marian, how lovely of you. And what a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift from your son. We have quite a lot in common it seems, including our own ‘Mom’s Mix’ CD! So lovely to meet you 🙂

      Like

  36. Ali Isaac says:

    I’ve always been a walker (I even married a Walker!). When I was younger, it was long distance treks and mountains. Now it’s mostly dog walking. But walking definitely brings moments of clarity. Getting out in nature, whatever the weather, always clears my writers block and never fails to inspire me. The only difference is that I like to do it without the music. I like the silence, the rustle of trees, the babble of water, the singing of birds. Living in a house with 3 kids , I need the calm of it!

    This piece was written so beautifully, so from the heart, that I know your memoir is going to be a wonderful read. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Wow, you really are a walker Ali and wonderful that your husband is too! I would love to try some long distance treks like that (properly kitted out of course!). Yes, getting out in nature is the best for therapy and inspiration, no doubt about it. The music is great when on my ‘power walks’ around the park, but I don’t listen to music when I’m walking with hubby in the countryside, like you, preferring to listen to nature’s music, and yes, I can well understand your need for calm! My days of having my three young children in the house are gone, but I remember it too well! And thank you so much for your lovely words about my memoir…it means a great deal to me… xxx

      Like

  37. Hey Sherri I love my walks with the birds in the mornings. Where does time go? Can’t wait to read your book. Those photo’s are stunning by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Marie Keates says:

    You know how much I love my walking. If I haven’t had a walk of some kind I don’t feel human!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I definitely know how much you love your walking Marie! I am envious of all the lovely walks you have near you. I’m so bored of the park which is another reason the music helps so much, but it’s great to get out more into the country for those walks without earplugs in 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  39. I’m very lucky where I live to have lots of interesting walks nearby and they never fail to inspire me, whether it’s what I see when I’m out there or what’s going on in my head. One of the things to be grateful to my dog for, for getting me out and about on all these walks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Having a dog is a great excuse to go out for all those lovely walks, rain or shine! I love reading your ‘walk’ posts Andrea, you always take such lovely photos and your narrative, always so beautiful… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Ana Spoke says:

    That’s wonderful – and I second the motion. I wrote my first book in bits when I had a habit of walking to and/ or from work for 45 minutes every day – I would fantasize whole scenes in my head and it was a matter of quickly jotting it down later…

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Walking and music: an ideal draught to the blank page and muddled thoughts. You are inspiring me to get outside this minute!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Oh Sherri, where does the time fly to? As you knew I would, I loved the photos of Michael. He looked so happy at graduation and then the one on the beach is a story in itself-precious. And nice flash fiction-I love a happy ending and a nice surprise too! We need more of those in our lives, eh?! 🙂 Well as I say so often I feel as if I am on the journey with you my friend. I can see it all so clearly in my mind’s eye! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      You are on the journey with me my friend!! I knew you would love the photos…so many wonderful memories ❤ How many times did we walk down to the bay in Los Osos? My other home…. We do indeed need those good surprises…phew! Thank you for everything dearest Diane… xoxoxoxo 🙂

      Like

  43. Elissaveta says:

    Ah walking. I love it too, so much better than any other means of transportation. You’re right in calling it powerful.
    And your flash fiction is great! Nice little punchline!
    Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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