“I DON’T WANT TO DIE TODAY!!!” was the cry coming from the backseat. My youngest brother, Eric, has always had a way of expressing his feelings. Not that I ever helped him develop this in any way.
We lived in a little town called Broken Bow, Nebraska, and were taking my middle brother, Mike, to Omaha to catch a flight. I was only sixteen but quite confident in my driving abilities. I had talked my mom into letting me drive, at least starting out. I remember being annoyed because she said, “We’ll see how it goes.” What did that even mean? We’ll see how it GOES? I couldn’t believe she didn’t have faith in what a fantastic driver I was.
The trip started out beautifully. Just a slight haze as the sun was beginning to rise on a typical Midwest summer morning. I settled in for the long drive relieved my mom made the right choice—putting me behind the wheel. (Having six children myself and having taught two of them—and in the middle of the third—how to drive, I now understand my mom’s uneasiness.) I was happy to finally be able to get out of town and open up the car’s throttle. Mom didn’t seem very “chatty” with me in control, especially while I was behind the wheel of the family cruiser going 60 MPH. I mean who doesn’t fall right to sleep when their sixteen-year-old is driving?
We couldn’t have been but a couple of miles out of town (if that) when a deer streaked across the highway, right in front of us. Now let me say; I knew how to react in this situation because I grew up in Indiana and Nebraska. You either know someone who has, or you know someone who knows someone who’s hit a deer while driving. All through the process of learning how to drive, people would tell me what I should do and what I didn’t want to do if I was ever in this situation. None of those things mattered. Now, in mom’s defense, she didn’t scream or grab the wheel. I just remember her hand on the dashboard as I locked those brakes up. I was afraid I might have jammed the brake pedal through the floorboard. My foot was NOT coming off that pedal. Now, not only was the car skidding, I jerked the wheel to the left to avoid hitting the deer. Of course, that put us in the left lane of oncoming traffic. Frozen. That’s the best way to describe me at that moment. Our hulking, late-70s Buick finally came to a stop, sideways, in the opposite lane. The smell of burning rubber and the cries, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE TODAY!!!” filled the car. I just sat there for a second listening to the critiques from my seven-year-old backseat-assistant-driver expressing disapproval of my deer-avoiding maneuver.
Luckily for us, it was early in the morning, so there was no oncoming traffic. Otherwise, this story could have gone much differently. Mom had me get the car going the right direction in the proper lane and had me pull over to the shoulder. My driving day was done. I reassured her I could do this and she reassured me that while I might be able to do it, she could not.
While starting a blog may not be as dangerous as having your sixteen-year-old take you on a road trip, it can still be scary. As a writer, I want to write things you want to read. I’ve put off starting this blog until now because I wanted to have it all figured out and for it to be perfect before I even started. But just like learning how to drive, you can have all the head knowledge in the world but truly learning to drive comes from experience. So stick with me as I figure this thing out. I promise not to hit any deer along the way!
What I want this blog to do, is to encourage, inspire, and uplift you. The only thing I can honestly say I am an expert on, is my story. I have had some tough breaks, and there have been horrible things that have happened to me. But who hasn’t had this? As my children reach the age of going out into the world on their own, the only thing I know to equip them with is: You are in control of your life. All of us experience heartache and misery. It’s not the horrible things (or even the great) things that happen to us in life that define us; it’s how we react in those times.
Trust me; I do not view myself as a self-help guru or a prophet of positive thinking. If anything, I view myself as one who encourages. So the very thing I hope you derive from my writing, is to be encouraged. I want my writing to help move you from where you are now toward the hopes and dreams you have for your life. A Community is my goal. A safe place where you can be yourself and feel the hope and encouragement you need.