The freedom to control one’s work is absolute gold.

Photo by Alexei Scutari on Unsplash

I’ve been a freelance writer for 13 years now. I’ve worked on a number of gig platforms and sold writing services directly through my own website. Occasionally, I need to part ways with a client. I’ve learned to recognize some warning signs that a business relationship lacks a future.

The warning signs had been building with one of my clients on a freelance platform for the last half of the summer. When I heaved the relationship into the garbage this past Monday, I wasn’t surprised to be doing it.

I had…

Articles at Medium make women think it’ll be impossible.

Photo by Leandro Cesar Santana on Unsplash

I successfully breastfed two children for approximately a year and half each. It was an empowering experience that saved the family a lot of money and made my life as a new mother easier.

Except for a few bottles during the first weeks of life, my children were exclusively breastfed. In fact, once both babies were about 10 to 12 weeks old they refused to drink from a bottle. I introduced solid foods at the normal age of about 6 to 8 months and continued breastfeeding both for about a year after that.

Breastfeeding is easier because:

  • There are fewer…

Bargains with glimpses into the lives of others

Dead people sell so much stuff.

The estate sale season is off to a strong start in my neighborhood. Spring is officially here, and the leftover personal property of the recently deceased is up for sale.

I’ve shopped estate sales on and off for years. They can be great fun and a source of good deals. I’ll buy odds and ends for the house and yard and sometimes find cool art prints and furniture. I’m currently in the market for a living room set.

Friday started with a big sale around the corner from my house. I let…

And how this identity motivates my writing

Photo by Ryan Walton on Unsplash

Empathy is a state of perception that allows you to actually feel the emotions of others (people, animals, plants, the Earth). An empath describes an individual who has a natural ability to detect and absorb the emotional energies of others. Neurologists have identified mirror neurons within the brain that give us the ability to feel or “mirror” the feelings of others. Mirror neurons could be the biological mechanism of empathy.

The perceptions and abilities of empaths range through a spectrum of sensitivities from highly sensitive to fully empathic. I believe that I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

Old Truck Chronicles Part 1

Photo by Tracy Falbe

This is my 1999 Dodge Ram 1500. It seats six, has four-wheel drive, and a 5.9-liter 8 cylinder hemi engine. Driving it around makes me feel personally responsible for global warming.

But it’s what I have.

And with a splendid polar vortex hitting the Midwest, I’m firmly in winter mode for traveling in my old truck.

Battery Anxiety

I live in constant fear of battery power loss. If the truck sits out in the wind at the end of the driveway in frigid winds for too long, a dead battery is a definite possibility. To combat this…

Or how you should think before slapping a label on something.

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

I almost always use subtitles when I watch videos. Menus within DVDs and Blurays for turning on subtitles fall into two categories. They either say “Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired” or simply “Subtitles.”

Every time I see the qualifier “for the deaf and hearing impaired,” I cringe. I know there are real problems in this world, and I should not let it bother me, but it does.

I loathe the assumption that I am deaf or hearing impaired. I have nothing against people with hearing impairments. …

Insights about poverty and modern living while waiting for a new furnace.

Bundle up with a space heater.

On November 3, my elderly furnace kicked the bucket. The repair man declared that the heat exchanger had cracked and the furnace was no longer safe to operate. As a 42-year-old piece of equipment, a replacement heat exchanger was not available.

Since I had never bought a furnace before, I spent a week getting quotes from local HVAC companies. I hired a contractor within 6 days of furnace death, but I faced a 20-day wait for installation. …

It’s easy and your vote just might matter.

By Heather Mount on Unsplash

Young people vote the least of any age demographic. Young people, however, will live the most years with the outcomes of political activities, which should motivate them to participate.

When I was 18, I was eager and excited to vote after 18 years of being shut out of political society. I admit that I had every advantage. My parents were politically active in my hometown, and my mother gave me a voter registration form on my 18th birthday, watched me fill it out, and then turned it for me.

In the following…

Rescued from kitty jail, he enjoyed 14 years of freedom and grudgingly shared his home with dogs.

Leto in his youth 2005

On August 23, 2017, Leto died of old age. I removed his stiffening body from behind the washing machine. That was one of his safe places in the house, and he had gone there to die because I refused to let him out for the night. I knew that he wanted to slink away and die alone on the land because he was Super Wild Boy.

He earned that name during the first half of his life when he lived free in the…

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Every novelist or aspiring novelist longs for that moment when the last line of the story is written. Whether it takes weeks, months, or years to compose that final sentence, the achievement could startle the author. It startles me every time.

On July 3rd, I finished composing my next novel. A combination of pride, liberation, and disorientation hit me all at once. Pride naturally arises from meeting any goal, especially a big one. My sense of liberation came from the release of the constant daily voice that commanded me to work on the novel. …

Tracy Falbe

Gen X author of many novels, permaculture inspired gardener, and wine maker.

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