Sunday in the Park with Sherry

At the day job recently, I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone. After lunch, following a disturbing report from one of our retirees who had just called the police, I crept to the edge of our private park just to see if what was told to me could possibly be true. A man on a picnic bench faced the church behind our park and shouted in its direction. Was he mad at God? After a while, he put on a hoodie, pulling the hood over his head and rested on his elbows. He stared at that church, deep in conversation with himself, or something (one?) that haunted him. He would then shoot to his feet and gesticulate in a mad pattern, conversing like an impassioned composer.

Having someone terribly haunted by life is not so unusual in our park, but to have someone so dramatically unwell go seemingly unnoticed by all but one sent my mind into divergent overload. A handful of residents trickled by me, laughing at my warning. “I’m not sure if he’s a danger to others or not,” I would say, “but it’s probably a good idea to stay out of the park”. One of them chuckled and mentioned that she had seen him earlier that morning. “He’s quoting Bible verses…some kind of mental religious illness,” she said. I was caught between my own chuckle and wondering if she got her religious education from the evening news.

She promised not to go near him, but she would walk along the paths outside the park. I watched her circle the lot, then enter the park the corner farthest from me. She walked slowly past the man, paused in deep study, then went on her way.

Another man came out with his beautifully fluffy dog. I asked him the breed. “Dog,” he said. Another chuckle greeted me before he said, “You people and your need to know the breed.”
“I guess dog is all we really need to know,” I said, understanding, as I scratched her beautiful fluffy head. I then explained the possible danger in the park and he responded in his lovely British accent. “If he comes near me or my dog, I’ll pound him to the ground.” I will say he put some chipper in his step and continued into the park. Neither he nor his dog seemed to pick up any bad vibes from the guy.

An impression came over me that I was to learn something from all of this. Many times in my life, people have accused me of spacing out in mid thought when the reality is I have a very active mind that pummels me with so many avenues on how act that I have to absorb things first. In my assumed slowness, my ideas travel at lightning speed and tend to tangle into some sort of metaphorical puzzle—so much so that I could write entire novels on how certain events could go before I decide on the best path. In this moment, when I was thinking about the one resident who complained when all the others did not, I asked God for his take. Why not? He seemed to be at the crux of this issue anyway. A tree showered down a thousand leaves, turning the park into a fairyland while this man continued to shout Bible verses. It was like Disneyland attempted a takeover of the property. Ahh. I recognize this. This is not normal. This is actually the best day I’ve had at work in a loooong time because it was so delightfully weird.

I managed to warn a few ladies away who thanked me. They hung around and we watched to see what would happen. We could have used some popcorn.

It was about an hour from the initial phone call before the police arrived. The cop, very friendly, asked me if the park was ours (yes), and if I wanted him to move the guy on. How could I not hesitate? This was not a normal world that had come upon our park. It was a fantastical picture where only people who had lived a good long while and had seen a good many things knew: time will tell.

Leo Tolstoy said in War and Peace, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Of course, it took my own erratic paragraph of words (oh, the thoughts that piled on top of each other) to finally ask him to make the man leave—it wasn’t really a choice because it was my job to do so, but the creative human, non-minion of a corporate company wanted to be able to say, leave the man alone with his Jesus. Whether sane or only a little bit sane, I believe a person should be free to ask, and even yell at God, all the hard questions in their own way. In fact, most people yield to man, who is restricted to rules, culture and bias. Where’s the truth in that?

The man left peacefully. We shall see if he shows up again. Word has it he’s been to our park before. I hope answers are gently showered upon him.

Time is on my list for May. Let’s take closer looks, investigate, lean into the quandaries of time. Join me on IG and facebook.


Someone asked me the other day if I held a management position at my day job (it’s actually a night job). Makes sense, considering I’ve been at the retirement place for 23 years, and the American Dream, interpreted as it is today, is the formula we’re expected to follow. But the answer for me is always an easy NO for several reasons. Mostly, management should be for people interested in the administrative world, which is not for me. So, is it a dead end?

Earlier on, when the opportunity to move up the ladder was suggested to me, I let it be known I’m a doer (but thank you for the confidence).

Working at night with little or no team for support can be challenging, but it’s also an introvert’s dream. We hold the fort together free-spirited style. Sometimes it’s three emergencies at once, and sometimes there are long stretches to twiddle our thumbs. I’ve chased a dementia-inflicted resident down in the snow at 1am, I’ve filled concentrators in oxygen tanks (I’m not medical staff, but I’ve learned a lot of random things because there was no one else to do them), I’ve been given private musical performances in apartments, I’ve helped an intoxicated artist track down a mysterious beeping noise in his apartment, which ended up being the bad language censor from his TV. He was mighty drunk and boy, did we have a good laugh.

I’ve seen the culmination of many life stories and how the hurt or the healed things manifest themselves toward the end. I’ve laughed with those who see life as one big comedy, and I’ve been with people as they lay dying. I’ve heard a woman whisper about Heaven’s music as she unknowingly approached the last year of her life. Sometimes the transition between this life and the next is a long process, and rarely do the discerning ones talk openly about the experience, at least in my experience.

How great is the night where the mysterious workings of God are revealed.

As for those of us with long quiet stretches, we have the choice to ponder these things. We’re looked down upon by some as being the lowliest of departments, but I don’t think anyone there has it better. Why? It’s the very thing that sets us peasants of the night apart from the gentlefolk of the day: The opportunity to mingle with ghosts. To learn from them.

Stay with me. Night owls and insomniacs carry a universe of life within them. The characters that have strolled into my life have been many: former soldiers, spies, people haunted by their pasts, people haunted by their present, teachers, artists, authors, alcoholics, mentors, partiers (oh, that WWII generation), people who wanted to die, including one who tried to purposefully catch COVID, people who wanted to live and didn’t have long to do it, missionaries, Christians, atheists, activists, pacifists, elderly parents who lived long enough to see their children grow old, and if you’re disappointed because I haven’t mentioned non-metaphorical ghosts, I’ve seen two of those, although I’m unsure how to interpret them. That will be addressed someday.

Do you realize how much wisdom I would have missed had I chosen the path more traveled? I would have climbed straight past all the things that have matured me, educated me, inspired me, and led me to become a writer. What more obvious career to pursue when I work among living, breathing stories? I mean, I couldn’t find a better education on writing character. What would I have done without those quiet hours to think about all I’ve been given? How thankful I am to have chosen the peasant’s path.

There are things I will discuss when I have a little more time and distance from certain events, but my point in all of this, and the word I’m exploring for April, is Rise. Rising comes from within, and the choices we make. Rising doesn’t require formula, or other people’s approval. It might take great sacrifice and humility (Hello, Easter), and it may take many quiet hours of thinking and observing. Thinking for ourselves is a lost art, which many fear will make America fall. So, let’s take the time to learn, and to go forward.

To observe along with me for the month of April, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.


When we were expecting our daughter, I had my list of names, my husband had his, but the name Chloe was the only one we had both written down.

It means verdant. Some translations say green herb, or young green shoot, and these basic definitions branch off to garden, fertility, and blooming.

Chloe was born with lungs bearing the strength of a thousand green shoots that blossomed to the tallest trees in the world. We didn’t sleep for more than a half hour at a time for months while our little green herb let her feelings be known.

And then she started school and became shy for a while, remaining quietly motivated to bring forth good things from her talents. There it was, that little bloom, that little namesake we placed upon her when she was wrapped inside my belly, quietly suffering the lessons of the playground and schoolwork and bullies; the tiniest signs of spring in a field of snow.

And then, the sharpest of thorns came. I believe junior high is The Test. No one feels like they’re enough as they go through junior high. They were my own worst years, and the terrible, no good, very-bad-day years of most people I know. If you survive it with the tiniest shred of self-esteem and a fragment of an idea of who you are, you win.

I’ve been thinking on the rough seasons lately, and on ways to tackle them. I heard someone say on the radio the other day that not good enough is better than not at all. Ten minutes of exercise is better than none. Less sugar today is better than the gallons you had yesterday. Maintaining—yes, even just keeping what you have but not increasing—your balance and core strength could mean being able to pick yourself off the floor when you’re older.

Our young green shoot who, very early on, foreshadowed her ability to paint her garden vibrant, survived the early years of school, and is becoming quite the creative force. She’s on her way to tackling the world, multiple books, multiple schools, and a plethora of ideas at a time. But no matter how big, small, vibrant or delicate her garden becomes, or what the seasons bring, it will always be enough because she’s learned the gift of resiliency, and will become what she’s designed to be.

And so will you.

March brings us a closer look at what verdant means (See my January post to read about my years-long quest). To discover along with me, follow me on IG and facebook.

A Tale of Two Loves

If you haven’t read my January post, I’m choosing a new word every month for 2023 to explore through the lenses of the arts, family, wellness and wonder. I tried resisting the expected theme for February because it will be shouted from every corner and screen and store. But, after thinking about it for a while, and considering the recent political misuse of the words, love and hate, I thought I’d take a more honest look at love than what the loudest voices tell us. So here I bring you two true stories of love.

For those not familiar, I work part time at a retirement resort. Years ago, a couple from the WW II Generation came to live several apartments away from my desk. The man, O, had been a successful rancher. His once-baked skin and wiry body told everyone how hard he had worked. His wife, K, also worked hard, but from what I understand, served quite a bit of time in the kitchen feeding the men. She became ill in her later years, and was forced to slow down. They had to leave their ranch and move into a place where they didn’t have to work so hard at their day-to-day life. O, still sound in body and mind, in order to care for his wife, traded in his manly man spurs for an apron.

I didn’t get to know K very well—she stayed in her apartment most of the time, or at least the time I worked during the swing shift. But O, a product of a time where gender roles were set in stone, gave up his tough cowboy status for that of a caregiver. I can’t imagine it was easy for either of them. No one wants to be a burden, and no one wants to exchange their heroic storybook reputation for the role of what cultural assignments at that time called the duties of the “weaker”sex (Don’t get me started on the strength it takes to be a mother).

But he did it, and managed to keep a smile on his face. One of my favorite memories is when he shared with me a recipe for the perfect biscuits. He sacrificially loved his wife. It wasn’t his cowboy years that made him a man among men. It was the time he hefted that cross upon his shoulders and cared for his wife in the ways she used to care for others.

My second story brings us H and A.

H used to come out late at night. He was quiet and didn’t talk much to those of us at the desk, but he was friendly enough, and regularly carried his telescope outside to gaze at the stars. He was very patient with all the times we had to check on him after receiving complaints about “some strange man sitting outside in the dark.” Something about his bearing makes me think he’s of the intellectual variety. I don’t know what H or A’s earlier life consisted of, but everyone knows that H loves the stars.

It seemed that he declined fairly quickly, in body and mind. Recently, he had to move over to our unit for people with failing memories. A, as independent as she still is, chose to move with him into a much smaller, controlled, locked down area of our building.

I had never seen her join him on his starlit excursions before, but being the faithful leader that she is, she sometimes brings him through the building for walks after dark where large windows with great views are plentiful. We don’t normally see those suffering with memory loss able to venture out very far at night, but I would like to ask A sometime why she does it. Is it because it’s less busy then and easier for him to balance with his walker, or is she honoring his love for a good nightscape? Maybe both.

I don’t know who wore the jeans and who wore the slacks in their more active years, or if they are even each other’s first or second loves, but every so often, A patiently walks him around when the stars have winked to life. Even when she doesn’t realize she’s seen, I’ve heard kindness come out of her in spades.

It’s not easy for many women to become the protector of her husband. While women protect their children and, often, themselves (especially modern women), they don’t normally need to protect their husbands. But A has stepped into that role, as well as being his provider and gateway to his view of the night sky. And another thing—not every partner sticks around when their loved one begins to fade away. But A, in her great sacrifice and with tremendous grace, has heaved her cross over her stately shoulders for the love of her husband. She is a woman among women.

I find it a great privilege to be able to witness how love continues into old age, especially with our current society being “in it” for quick pleasures and selfish ambitions, but ignorant—or just unwilling to see—what that finish line will look like. Love is sacrifice, no matter what kind of relationship it is. It’s a continuously active, difficult journey through learning to be unselfish and gaining perspective for the good of all. It’s a word. An action. It’s joy and pain wrapped up in a weathered bow. It’s following Christ’s example to the cross, where it reaches so far into the light it will pour out into every generation until the end of the age.

Feel free to tell us your stories of love in the comments below.

Follow me on IG and facebook for quick snapshots of love throughout February.

INTO 2023

A retiree I once knew and loved shared a piece of her story with me at work one afternoon as she whirled by in her long skirt and dangly earrings. Always busy, she was, creating art and offering her talents to the community into her eighties.

A long time ago, when she was pregnant with twins, and living her early years in the age when women mostly stayed home amidst domestic expectations, her husband passed away unexpectedly.

She had to give birth with the knowledge that she was the lone parent and provider of four. A momma. How to make it work when her plans as she knew them were doused in one cruel moment?

What was birthed, along with two healthy twins, turned out to be a renaissance. Through pain and exhaustion, she discovered abilities within her that she had to reach deep down into the darkness to discover. I wish I could remember which profession she found, but it wasn’t one that a person could just enter today without diplomas and experience.

She was a hero of the mightiest kind. She flourished in her career, and somewhere along the way became a respected and honored artist, and a beloved mother. She stayed active in her artwork as long as she was able, and while she was still flourishing at the retirement resort, had the honor of her work displayed in the local arts district downtown, and inside a bustling international airport.

She was a member of the Greatest Generation: a people forged from challenges that never stopped coming. When the retirement place was still full of them, it was like walking through a building full of Phoenixes, the ashes they rose from blown and scattered by the wind long ago.

I feel like the last few years have been a series of birth pains. It’s our time–all existing generations. The outcome could look like anything. Nothing but raw honesty will do if is to be victorius. You see, most of us haven’t been repeatedly sifted quite like the Greatest Generation, and I’m afraid we’re choking on the ashes. It looks like we’re not even done with the battle yet. This could take time to figure out.

Did anyone else feel a restlessness before COVID took hold? The arts had been on a nose dive with remake after remake in theaters. Literature followed suit, and continues to do so. AI is the latest technology used by designers, and humanity is a weakening heartbeat, steadily replacing itself with what’s easier and faster. It seems our culture has found profit to be the most revered god.

The simple act of telling the truth, or challenging someone’s opinion amidst new cultural demands can destroy a person’s life now. No redemptive creatures can come out of such an unhearing mob.

So what to do with 2023?

I’m going on an in-depth, honest exploration of the very things we’re losing ground on. I’d like to invite you to join me, and/or do your own honest exploration of the things that most trouble you. I’ve decided to study a new idea every month and see what it looks like through the lenses of The Arts, Wellness (body*soul*mind), Family, and Wonder. I’ll post about it here at the beginning of each month, and will show my discoveries on Instagram 2-3 times a week. Some of those will spill onto my facebook author page.

Anxious to recapture originality, I’m beginning January with New in a new way.

I’m planning on stearing clear of poliltics as I want to get to the root of things. On some posts I will talk about my faith, so that it remains completely honest.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Join me.

Me on Instagram.

Me on Facebook

My kids help me with my projects and it’s never boring

Art beauty books cats childhood memories children christian Christmas courage dogs dreams encouragement encouragment failures faith Faith Seekers family finding joy freedom free ebook friends God God's grace grace hope Jesus love memories miracles parenting peace perseverance purpose rest sherry rossman speculative fiction strength success superheroes travel unique Wake Wild writing YA Fiction

Greetings from the corner of chaos and art. As you might have seen in my last post this site is under construction, but it doesn’t stop my hands from working. I have a quick update and an offer for you.

First, I’m rebuilding this site because it’s time to refresh and redesign things more in keeping with my writerly direction. More to come on that later.

I had all kind of plans last year, but when the world shook up a little we ended up moving like so many Americans, which took our logical, doable family schedule and smashed it into a million stained glass pieces. The pile of debris was quite vibrant and beautiful, but a pile nonetheless. However, Goodness still leads me forward and the ink still flows.

Earlier this year my short story, Inheritance, was publishsed in Ink’d Publishing’s first anthology. Working with Ink’d was a fabulous experience. If you’re a writer or reader of short stories, I encourage you to check them out. Hidden Villains is a great collection of tales, and one that will not only entertain you, but get you thinking…

Second…….Thanksgiving approaches. To celebrate, Welcome to Velvet, AZ is on sale for .99 November 1st-8th. The characters came to me a few years before the story did and lived in my head until I wrote them into the ficticious town of Velvet. WTVAZ is one of those that wrote itself, and I believe it came to fruition for such a time as this. It’s a tale about a town that gets visited by a curse every Thanksgiving. It’s about the power of words, and how deeply they affect the characters’ lives. Written from multiple points of view to explore the mystery from several different personality types, it’s a work of the heart. Unlike my previous works, it’s darker. To write truthfully, it had to be so (For more sensitive readers I would give it a PG 13 rating).

In the meantime, I’m working on a new novel. It’s taken me longer than usual to complete it, but it’s an incredibly fun story to write and I can’t wait to bring it to you. Think teenagers, the night sky, and a magical trunk.

I also have another short story in the works….more info to follow.

Take care of yourself and I’ll see you soon.

Painting Your Portrait

I once knew a girl who was an accessory. This twenty-one year old memory surfaced this morning as I ran through the squishy ground near my home, swirls of hardening mud from our recent flood beneath my feet.

The contrast was startling: A storm can mix the earth together, spit it out and make it look like a newly painted canvas, but when a storm is finished with a human? The scars always find cracks to grow through.

Her dad needed to appear like a family man to one of his clients, so he brought his daughter to the theater with them—a highly anticipated movie in which to delight. But the experience wasn’t meant for the daughter to take part. It was a shiny lie. She sat in the seat, surrounded by the darkness of her father’s ambition. It was her only memory of going to the movies with her dad.

She developed emotional problems. A low self-esteem—all the symptoms for immediate family members of workaholics.

I worked at the boarding school where her parents shipped her to. A true introvert, she was stuffed into a roomful of bunk beds, and suffered almost as much from lack of space as she did being separated from the parents who didn’t take the time to raise her.

On more than one occasion, I broke the rules and let her slip into a private spot for some breathing room. I’m in the same needs-space club, I get it. Determined to finish the program and get back home, she always reappeared at the right time. But, as she attended regular counseling, strict discipline, and held to a high behavioral standard, what she didn’t understand was that her dad was an addict and the problem wasn’t hers to fix.

The American dream comes with a high cost, friends.

Workaholism is called the best-dressed addiction for a reason, luring everyone from the career-driven to supermoms. Don’t let anyone ever guilt you into biting off more than you can chew. A few quality projects is better than a hundred rushed ones. Feel free to park the mini van and give yourself some breathing room, ladies. In fact, if you don’t chill you will suffer, your spouse will suffer, and your kids will suffer as much or more than families of alcoholics.

I don’t like losing my momentum, but I can’t help but pause my run to take a few photos. My eyes open wider with the question again. How can the land look so freshly renovated after a storm tears it to bits, but a human cannot?

While the same spirit that runs through the earth runs through us, provides us with the same oxygen and infuses us with the same minerals, humans were given the ability to make decisions. We were given souls.

We aren’t just torn down and re-formed like a patch of earth is, we were given wills and internal moral codes to navigate with. Choices. And it’s never all about the individual. We all feel the responses of the ones closest to us in this beautifully ravaged landscape.

I pass a stagnant puddle. It stinks. Bad. Complacency is no good either. When I was a young child and wasn’t ready to give up swimming when late August rolled around, I swam in stagnant creek water. I developed sores all over my scalp that sent me to the dermatologist. It’s the same with humans. Keeping your talents to yourself produces rot.

Without hard work and adversity, a creek can’t grow and bring water to the thirsty. But too much and it floods homes and drowns the living.

But it’s okay to lose momentum sometimes. The bubbling of a creek is soothing and beautiful. It’s okay to slow down and make less money. I just bought my kids an armful of school clothes from discount stores. They’ll learn the gift of balance (eventually), and their peers will learn to deal. Designer labels, for us, is nothing but a siren’s song.

Rest. Enjoy your family.

Did you see those details in the landscape today?

Continue reading

Happy June!

Just dropping in for a quick update. First off, phew! *wipes forehead and reaches for the caffeine.* Who knew re-entering civilization after Covid would feel like the world’s to-do lists exploded? Ever since our state opened up, we’ve been slammed with parties, summer camp, event this, event that.

Have you been in Walmart? How many people can fit in one aisle? ALL of them, apparently!

But halleluiah through it all, because hugs and unmasked faces are worth it.

Right now, I’m working on my newest novel (Stars! Young adults! Mystery! A creepy attic!), while planning something different for the blog. It’s quite a challenge juggling it all with the day job and the family while we ask ourselves every day if we should pause the house hunting, or forge ahead (evidently, half the state of California is moving into AZ) while the housing market is ridiculously ridiculous (really, there are no other appropriate words).

In the meantime, Welcome to Velvet, AZ is free on kindle unlimited. If you like creepy, non-violent horror stories with a fantastical twist, this book is for you. Come one, how many Thanksgiving stories are there out there? Get yours here.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about how stories have shaped me–how they’ve changed the way I look at life, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve found as much truth in fiction as I’ve found in real life. Fiction might even be a little kinder.

Next month, I’m taking my first flight since Covid to meet the author who changed the way I look at the world. More on that later, but consider the books you’ve read and how they’ve shaped you. Feel free to share in the comments.

So Busy, so Bored

Greetings from the Desert!

I suppose an update is in order! Writing? Yes! Parenting? Every moment!

Being a follower of all the things? Heck no!

I don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing extreme boredom from the excess of repetitive things (even though these are good things):

Superhero movies, and all the other remakes upon remakes.

Back stories on reality shows (because, after awhile we become numb to the overwhelm).

Newsletters. Because who has time to read them?

ShonEjai from Pixabay

It’s like everyone is afraid to take the road less traveled.

I deleted my own newsletter…I may refurbish it and throw it back up, but for now, I don’t even read most of the ones I’m subscribed to. I can only take in so much information before the brain quits retaining anything new (the new sameness). After feeling like every expert at everything was trying to program me to follow the formula, I dug my heels into the ground for awhile.

I AM working on a little something different, though, which I’ll bring to the blog. Just because I want to stretch my wings. It’s currently in the planning stages, and may be for a bit because we’ll be buying a house with my mom (multi-generational living, here we come), and I’m dreaming of more space to create. But it’s coming, friends.

How about you?

Is anyone out there who has something a little different to share with us? Please, for all good things, share it with us in the comments: links, photos, originality–whatever is uniquely you.

My daughter, the teenage creative wonder, may be assisting me in a huge project I hope to bring to you before long. It involves lots of messiness, random locations, and the best of all–it’s something very different that I think you will enjoy.

In the meantime, you can see me most active on Instagram (sherryrossmanauthor) and my facebook author page. I might even give a special ebook gift on Thursday. Just come back here and click on Welcome to Velvet, Az in the right column.

See you on the trail less traveled!