Five Tiny Things



The other day, someone asked me how I write the way that I do, and whether it is as effortless as it appears to be. Truthfully, I have spent many years working hard to make it look easy. I can’t even remember how old I was when I wrote my first short story, but my childhood is littered with chicken scratch in thick, spiral bound notebooks. It has taken me decades to get to where I am, and I still do not consider myself a great writer. I do not even consider myself a good writer. The more I know about the art of writing, the more I realize how little I know. Even so, I’m going to share what …[ MORE ]

In Memory of Darren Patterson – 1970-2013



I first met Darren in a job interview.  My job interview, to be precise.  I was nervous, fidgety.  My back straight.  I mentally reminded myself to make eye contact.  To smile.  To channel a confidence I didn’t feel.  Darren sat across from me in a pinstriped dress shirt and khaki pants.  His arms folded; he leaned back in his chair.  He was quiet for a moment… deep in thought.  I could tell he was gathering his words, preparing them for launch.  While he hesitated on his mental tarmac, I began to worry.  He looked displeased.  The corners of his mouth were turned down, his eyes deep pools of expectation.  His folded arms were apologizing for unfortunate news he had yet …[ MORE ]

A Joy Unending



As the frantic holiday chaos winds down, after the mysteries under the Christmas tree are revealed, and the cries of delight faded.   After guests pack up their bits and pieces of holiday cheer, slide into warm coats and with sad hearts exit the holiday into the waiting train of farewell.  Once the crinkled bits of paper are balled up and discarded, Santa takes his holiday, fading into the brightly lit background of a life deferred.    As the quiet peace of an idle afternoon settles in, the children revel in their lingering freedom and the adults reflect on the absence of noise. When I was a child, the holiday season was one of idyllic joy.  It was nearly unrealistic in its …[ MORE ]

A Thankful Wish



The air is crisp and biting, the sky a river of blue.  The trees have donned their autumn finest – great gowns of gold, russet, orange and red dot the landscape, glinting bright in the Indian summer sun.  A cold breeze blows from the north, bringing promises of cozy, hot cocoa-cupped winter evenings before a roaring fire.  The leaves rustle and gossip in the air, speaking of moments past, of lives lived.  They whisper their secrets in stolen moments between breaths, waiting for a final curtain call, and ending in great, bristling piles – sweet temptation for the child in all of us. We dig out our woolen hats, and our gloves.  We pull on our boots and wrap our …[ MORE ]

Growing up with XS


Paula Hunter

Time goes by so fast! I’ve been at XS eight years now, and they have flown by. While I sit here today and look back, I begin to see how my own personal growth as an employee and as an individual parallels the growth that XS has also experienced. In November 2004, I realized that college was nearing an end and that only meant one thing to me; finding a job where I could make money.  I had met the man of my dreams a year earlier, and I knew I wanted to marry him. However, I also knew I needed to prove to myself and others that I could have a real job and be my own adult before …[ MORE ]

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