Following a three-day intensive in Dream Tending and Deep Imagination, I recorded a dream about cosmic egg soup. A week later, I’m processing the nourishment this dream image gives me.

A massive egg floats in space. It’s been hard-boiled and sliced in half. The yolk is rich, more orange than yellow. The firm white portion is hollowed out and forms a cauldron where a raw egg and star-dust batter is about to be poured. The batter twinkles, the cauldron bubbles. The egg, floating among cosmic gasses (yes, gas, you snickering citizens of Tittweaking) is both the vessel and the food. Somehow, I know it will be delicious, stellar, and dessert-like.

I can still feel the anticipation of cosmic egg soup. What it is remains open to exploration among the stars where it originates. I want to eat it, slurp it, and unravel its mystery. It smells inviting, promising, invigorating. Is it an answer? Did the egg come first? Is it an intergalactic joke? So much to question, and yet what I do know is this — I’m starting to climb out of a long and dark hole. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and fighting dread, I’m hungry for what next.

I have gained clarity and I’m tackling tasks without the brain fog of forgetfulness and worry. I’ve faced the underworld and have returned with an appetite. For two weeks I’ve held my own with the VA medical system, even daring to add more responsibilities to the plate I cleared before Todd and I drove 4,000 miles to Nevada and back in the dead of winter. Before we left, I knew what I wanted to “try to do,” but now I feel ready “to do” again. I’m like the hollowed out part of the cosmic egg ready to receive an infusion of soul-knitting soup.

Have you ever had seasons of your life where no matter what you did, the season was going to run its course? Mind you, I believe our frame of mind and hearts impacts our experiences when we have no control over circumstances and outcomes. I believe in cultivating a positive (growth) mindset. As Seph Fontane Pennock, co-founder of, wrote is a recent newsletter:

And so the real value of experiencing positive emotions isn’t in how they make us feel in the moment; it’s in how they help us build functional reserves we can draw on to improve coping as and when we need it.

Seph Fontane Pennock, 2024

I’m expanding my belief in a positive mindset to make room for the hollowing out necessary to grow something new. Maybe this last year, these last 12 years, were not to deplete my reserves but to make way for a new egg I hadn’t even imagined, yet. The return over and over to community, creativity, beauty, and love spiced a new batter waiting to become part of the bubbling soup cauldron. Maybe cosmic egg soup is evidence of functioning reserves, not a depletion.

Whatever it is, I’m feeling more free and hopeful than I have in a very long time. I can see a path inviting my steps, and goals begin to glitter once again, losing their intimidating shadows. I feel an acceptance of what is as something simple and not sinister. Todd and I are joking with each other in happy ways, not out of a space of fear. Spider Bones no longer sits on my chest, but settles outside of my bio field seen, but no longer driving my anxiety. Ol’ Spidey even accompanies my travels and writing.

Slowly, deliberately, I’m returning to the familiar parts of myself with renewal and purpose.

For now, I’m facing the challenges of “brain insults” which has become my new favorite descriptor to explain Todd’s complex health conditions. I’m buoyed with support from my community, CLF Peer Mentor, caregiver lifelines, Warrior Sisters, therapist, Dream Triad, Sixter, doggos, and Todd who is facing life and death on his own terms as we each are called to do. This literary community fills me with wonder, inspiration, and company along the trails of the writing life. As we write collectively each week, we are making inroads to deep space where cosmic egg soup becomes something particular to each of us. We are trusting our literary art to a community container we call a collection each week.

We are egg openers.

I’d also like to share a hopeful message from a documentary about brain healing and based on a book penned by a veteran with blast injuries. The important message is that with brains like butter, they do receive insults in many ways, not just professional sports or combat. Be aware. Learn. Have hope — brains can also heal. New pathways can replace damaged ones.

We have a hopeful new neurosurgeon on the horizon and may find our way to a CTE brain expert yet. She’s the first to not scoff at Todd’s request to see a CTE expert and even told me to get her a name and she’d put in a referral, something no other VA doc has been willing to do in six years of requesting. As I was looking up a few items this morning on her Brain and Spine website, I took time to read her bio. It’s no coincidence that she’s a graduate of the medical school on Grenada where Todd received injuries, saving American students on that very campus. He had no idea at the time of the impact it would have on his brain. Or that a helpful doctor would later graduate from that particular campus.

There are no coincidences. Maybe it’s all cosmic egg soup! Go crack an egg and follow where it leads you.

February 20, 2024, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a cosmic egg soup. Is it something new on the menu or the deep horizon? Who is making the soup and why? Who will it feed and how will it change the story? Be inventive, imaginative, or playfully serious. Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by February 26, 2024. Please use the form below if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Thursday following the next Challenge. Stories must be 99 words. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Writers retain all copyrights to any stories published at Carrot Ranch.
  3. A website or social media presence is not required to submit. A blog or social media link will be included in the title of any story submitted with one.
  4. Please include your byline with your title on one line. Example: Little Calves by Charli Mills. Your byline can be different from your name.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99WordStories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts on social media.

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