Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keep Your Oil Lamp Filled

     The other night I had a dream about my mother. I don't remember all the specifics. It seems she was visiting with other blind friends. (I recognized them as being people I'd met as a child) Anyway when they left there were a couple of white canes left behind. A white cane is used by a blind person to sweep the area ahead of them to see if there is anything in their path they could stumble on. Mom used hers when she walked alone or with others who weren't experienced sighted guides. I was trained at a young age so she never used her cane when she was with me.
     I don't put much store into dreams. But this one got me wondering. What is a cane used for and how does that apply spiritually? As I said above the cane is used to check for hazards in the path ahead. Looking up stumble in my Strong's Concordance I found references to walking in light and stumbling in darkness. Thinking about light led me to oil lamps. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (NIV) Oil lamps need to be filled to provide light. I believe we keep our lamps filled by being in the Word and through prayer. 
     In this season that celebrates with light and celebrates The Light I hope you don't get too busy to keep your lamps filled. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Love Gifts at Christmas

      It's that time of year again. The time when we go into the garage or other storage area and pull out the time machine identified as the Christmas Ornament and Decorations box. As ornaments are pulled out I remember when ... fond memories of my children's milestones and when they brought home their handmade ornaments from preschool, kindergarten and Sunday School. My memories hang on the tree as well. There are ornaments that have been on the Burkholder family tree for as long as I remember. One makes me chuckle. It says Merry X-mas and it belonged to my father even though he had written an essay on keeping Christ in Christmas. The irony makes me chuckle.
     The majority of the large decorations are kept in a separate box from the ornaments and don't travel as far back in time. An angel that belonged to my mother given to her in 2006. An angel I won at a charity fund raiser in the early '90's. Memories of being able to surprise my husband with the little village he'd been wanting and when and how we got the different Nativity Scenes emerge as things are put on display. Then I came to a little Styrofoam box. No memory emerged when I opened it.
       Dave didn't know where it came from and I couldn't place it either. It looked like something I would have gotten in a gift exchange at work, a lovely little ceramic candle holder with a Jewish Star, Menorah and Fish symbol on it. I pulled out the candle. Storage had not been kind to it. It was no longer round but flattened a bit and crooked. It no longer fit in the holder. I turned the ceramic piece over and there was a stamp on the bottom. It was smudged but recognizable: TBN. That solved the mystery.
          I remembered it came out of the box under the desk at Mom's house. She had a box of potential gifts in case an occasion would arise where she needed one. She gave regularly to the ministry of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and in return they'd send her something for her love gift. Dave and I used to joke that if we wanted to know what we were getting for Christmas we should watch TBN. They'd announce what they were giving for this month's love gift offering in between shows. Mom hadn't had the chance to give us this gift. I'm pretty sure it was there in the box waiting to be wrapped for Christmas of '07 but she must have forgotten to ask her  caregiver to wrap it.
        We may have joked about it, but to be honest I kind of miss those love gifts at Christmas. Mostly though I miss the gift giver. One day we will be reunited in Heaven and I shall meet The Gift Giver Who sent His Son to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, and die a criminal's death. He rose on the third day and left this earth to take His place in Heaven. He left behind the greatest gift of all: Salvation.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Fiction

Hey everybody. I'm participating in Friday Fiction today so here is an excerpt of my current NaNo project. Remember it's a rough draft but comments are encouraged. This will be a story about God's redeeming Grace so I want it to be good.

Chapter 1
 January 1970   
      Consuela put the thick envelope deep inside the old roll top desk.  She had taken her mail next door to have a neighbor read while her baby slept alone in the apartment she had up until recently shared with her husband John Richardson. “All lies,” she hissed. “How dare they challenge my competency as a mother? Retinitis pigmentosa is stealing my sight. I won’t let it steal my baby. John was just as much to blame as I was. He never helped with Jack, but he’s going to let them lie and say the baby was left in his own waste. How dare he. How dare he!” Consuela’s anger boiled up inside her. She paced the living room muttering under her breath through clenched teeth. A painful throbbing started in her temples. “I don’t care what anyone says. I am a good mother!”  Consuela collapsed on the couch. Instinctively she picked up one of the ashtrays John left behind off of the side table and hurled it at the wall. She heard it land with a muffled thud on the carpeted floor.
       The noise woke up 8-month-old baby Jack sleeping in his bassinet in the bedroom. Consuela took a deep breath and went into the bedroom. The baby was in need of a change. Before taking him to the changing table she got paper towels to clean him with and wet them with hot water. Jack wailed as his bottom was wiped vigorously. “Now you just hush. You have to be clean. The snobbish social worker says so. She says I can’t take care of you because I’m almost blind. I’ll show them. I’ll show them all.” After diapering him Consuela yanked the baby off the table and sat with him in the living room.
       The couch sagged in the middle so she moved to one side. The fabric was fading from old age or maybe it was her failing eyesight. John had promised new furniture someday but someday never came in their short three year marriage. He was so sure he could handle marriage even marriage to a woman losing her vision but he was wrong and shortly after Jack was born he just up and left. Their marriage wasn’t all unhappy so his leaving caught her by surprise.
       Jack’s crying brought Consuela out of thoughts of the past and trying to figure out what she could have done differently.  She laid him in the sagging part of the couch and went to the kitchen for a bottle. She filled it with canned formula and warmed it in boiling water on the stove. She screwed on the top and tested it on her wrist like she’d been taught in her Mother’s With Low Vision class at the Los Angeles Braille Institute. She had been reluctant to go at first thinking it was only for those who read Braille. She had never learned the print system of raised dots. But a social worker had convinced her it was also for people with low vision. They had cooking classes and mobility training as well as support groups.
      The bottle was a tad hot so she ran cold water from the faucet on it and tested it again. It seemed fine. Before leaving the kitchen she got a towel out of a drawer so she could burp the baby. Thinking of happier times with John when their romance was new had put her in a better mood. She picked up the baby gently and cradled him in her arms. He sucked the bottle eagerly and quickly. She set the empty bottle on the side table and put him on her shoulder for a burp. They didn’t have a coffee table in front of the sofa. One of John’s last acts of kindness was to remove it because Consuela had started bumping into it all the time. She patted the baby’s back until a burp came with a velocity she didn’t know an infant was capable of.  “That would have made your daddy proud.  Now it’s a bright sunny day so why don’t you and I go for a walk?”
       Consuela put the baby in the stroller which she kept by the door. She knew her neighborhood and her eyesight was still good enough to safely go out for some fresh air as long as it was a nice day.  She wasn’t sure how much longer she’d be able to see well enough to go out. Her vision seemed to be failing more rapidly than ever in the six months since John left. She forced the accusations of the social worker out of her mind and hummed a tune she’d picked up from the radio somewhere. She wasn’t sure of the words but the tune cheered her.
     When she got back home she put Jack in his crib and got a spoon for the pint of rocky road ice cream she had bought at the corner market. She turned on the television. She didn’t bother with a bowl but dug right into the carton finishing it off while the TV droned on in the background. She tried to listen but the voices in her head were loud today. The louder they got, the quicker she ate. She was sick and exhausted by the time the condition of the carton equaled that of her heart-empty. 
        Consuela had felt shame when news of her divorce got out and she left the church. But it was only a few blocks from her home and most of her neighbors went there. She’d only felt this alone once before: when she was a teen ager and her mother had done the unthinkable. Her father had moved the family then and that had seemed to help so that is what she planned on doing now. Consuela didn’t know how but she would leave this place and start over.
        Before she went to sleep that night she thought of ways she could save money from her Social Security Disability Check. The rules didn’t allow for a savings account. It seemed like for every dollar a person saved two were cut from the small check which was barely enough to survive. If John hadn’t promised to pay for the apartment, she didn’t know what she would do. But she also knew he wasn’t always good at keeping promises. But Consuela was determined to get out of the neighborhood where everyone knew her shame.
        “I’ll go where no one knows me. I’ll let them believe I’m a widow. John never comes around to see Jack anyway and if he does, he’ll just have to play along with my secret. I just have to get out of here and go somewhere. But where?” she pondered aloud as she drifted off to sleep.
     Months passed routinely. Consuela went to Braille Institute for classes. She was thankful for the daycare since it gave her a break from the demands of motherhood. Her declining vision stabilized and she was happier than she’d ever been as Mother’s Day approached. She had been ready to burst the year before. She was sure Jack would be a Mother’s Day baby but he came 4 days later. It reminded her of a song she heard once about the story of Lazarus. There was a line about God being 4 days late but still right on time. Sometimes she wondered where God was.

There are more stories at An Open Book

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

God Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time

     It's that time of year again, no not Thanksgiving. It's NaNoWriMo time.(Okay have to admit that now the tune Howdy Dowdy Time is going thru my head). But now back to the blog subject. NaNoWriMo happens during the month of November and it's the insane attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel  in 30 days. They say a 50,000 word novel but the reality is that 50,000 words, in spite of being a herculean task, is not a novel. And writing that fast and furious means cutting and editing later. I'm picking up where Atrophy of the Heart left off. It left off with a question about a neighbor boy. I'm mixing fact with fiction once again to explore how one's faith can be nearly destroyed and built back up. I've got new friends supporting me along the way. On Facebook there's a page called Writing  Fun and Support and as far as I can tell we're all Christians which is helpful. We can encourage each other to continue to glorify God with our words. Maybe it's because I'm so far behind (I may not finish) but I posted the other day that "Writing words that count is more important than word counts."

      This time around, the subject matter is out of the realm of my firsthand knowledge. My main characters are Catholic. The mother and father are divorced. The mother has some issues with mental illness and the son turns to alcohol and drugs. It is his faith that is all but destroyed and built back up. And it is this man's testimony that I am basing the book on with his permission. He is a friend of mine that I haven't seen since childhood. There are some holes in the testimony I pulled off of his blog and that is where my fiction storytelling skills come in. And of course he just states the facts mixed with his philosophical musing so being that I'm writing a novel, I need to call upon those storytelling skills.

    Now you would think I need alot of research because there are so many areas in this story that I know nothing or very little about. I do need to do research but not now. To get those 50,000 words I have to write fast and furious what will essentially be an outline with corrections to be made later. I have done a little reading so hopefully no major changes will have to be made.

     It just dawned on me that it might be nice to have a time machine and go back to fix my friends life so I have no testimony of abuse and pain to base my story on. Did I learn nothing from Atrophy? The main character in that book learned the hard way that to change the facts is to change the very essence of the person. My friend is doing very good things with his life now and is happily married with 4 beautiful children.

     So no time machines in this story, just seeing how God makes all things beautiful in His time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back to the Glory Hole

     My morning routine involves the morning news, coffee (notice I didn't say a cup) and whatever HGTV has to offer that day. This morning it was a re-run of That's Clever!
     One of the featured artists was Jeff Price, a glass blower from my hometown of Santa Ana, California. Today he was making an ornament and he explained that the reheating chamber (a very hot furnace) was called the glory hole. As he worked on the piece he said that when the glass gets too cold to work with he has to take it back to the glory hole. 
      That got me to thinking. How often does my faith grow cold? Are the trials and heartache due to God putting me in His glory hole so He can work with me? 
      Jeff used a long pole to get the glass out of the furnace and to put it in the glory hole. He had to keep his distance because of the heat. But then he sat at his work bench with the glass right next to him as he shaped it with the jack.
       When I am in the midst of a trial I feel as if God is distant. And when I realize he is working on me I am grateful that He'd care to put the effort into the hot mess that I am. I am grateful so I feel Him near. He is shaping me. I may have to go back and forth to the glory hole during the process but He IS Shaping Me. 
       When Jeff had finished shaping his piece and attached extra glass that he shaped into a hanger so the ornament could be put on display he put it in the annealing oven. This is an oven that allows the glass to be cooled slowly so it won't break. 
       It takes me time after a trial to really realize what God has done.  I wonder about it all through the process and when the worst of it (the reheating) is over I am not always sure what has just happened. He brought me through and was with me during the process but for what purpose. Sometimes my heart is in the annealing oven longer than other times.
     Oh, and I didn't even mention the torch Jeff used which is Hotter than the glory hole. It is used to smooth the glass and bring out the color. All in all, Jeff put in alot of time in a hot studio to make one little ornament.
     God is just as willing to patiently and skillfully work on little ol' me. He knows which oven to use and how much time is needed being reheated. He always picks up the right tool to shape me. And He knows how much frit (broken pieces of glass) and which colors to use to make the one of a kind ornament that is me. Hopefully I will display His glory.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Thanks for the things you have allowed me to go through
They have brought me Savior much closer to You
Thanks for the heartache, thanks for the pain
Thanks for the sunshine after the rain

Poverty, blindness, alcoholic parents, being orphaned, a child with a birth defect, widowed young, an alcoholic son, cancer, spinal cord injury. These are just the things I know about. Mom wrote this song in 1981 when she went deaf. She didn't know it wouldn't be permanent. Her faith challenges me.

Thanks for choosing one such as I
Thanks for being willing to die
Thanks for going to Calvary
Just so I could be happy and free

Happy? Really, with all she went through? Yes, I believe she was.

Thanks for Your love and thanks for Your care
Thanks for always being right there
Thanks for being my companion and guide
Thanks for always being by my side

She KNEW He was right there. I struggle to feel Him near. Her faith challenges me.

Thanks for things I don't understand
Thank for lending a helping hand
Thanks for strength each days tasks to do
But most of all Lord, thanks for You.

So many things we don't understand. Yet First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL things, not just the things we understand, or the pleasant things. If I still had Mom's Braille Bible I would no doubt see her fingerprints on this verse. It may even be worn down a bit. She certainly lived it out. Her faith challenges me. 

She sang this song just 2 weeks before her passing. The previous 7 months she had suffered the spinal cord injury that would make her bed bound with pain as her constant companion. Yet she sang. She couldn't read her Bible, her source of strength, anymore. Yet she sang and meant it. 

Her faith challenged me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coin Purses

      So I decided to make some beaded Christmas ornaments to try and make a few extra bucks. I needed to display them. The problem was I wasn't sure if I had kept the miniature tree Mom used to display her crafts. So I went looking which sounds a lot easier than it actually was. The container with her things is in the storage bin in the garage--UP in the storage bin.
      I had to move my daughter's car and pull the old doll house off the top of the bin. I opened the lid and saw the teddy bear she made. I gave it a hug and set it down. There were other little mementos and her music and and the little piano music box. I wound it up and listened as I looked. Because of the position of the bin I was looking more with my hands than my eyes.
      Most everything I felt was soft with a few hard surfaces here and there but nothing prickly. No tree. I found a tote bag I'd given her years ago and decided to use it. In it and among the soft things in the bin were coin purses. She had quite a few. A couple were snap top but most had zippers and were bought as a set of cosmetic bags. Why so many. Organization? Maybe. She would use one for cash, one for various cards she needed, one for her lipstick and one for change. So why were there 8, twice as many as she needed?
     Mom didn't buy things she didn't need and she used things until they wore out. So why 8 when she only used 4? Who knows? Maybe I'm not supposed to know. Maybe it's just supposed to make me think about what I'm holding onto that I no longer need.
     Something tells me there's a spiritual/emotional application here but I just can't place my finger on it. What I can do is encourage you to examine yourself. Are you holding onto things that serve no purpose?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spiritual Vegetarians

     I was listening to a Keith Green CD in my car the other day and To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice came on. (Click post title to listen) When Keith sang about thriving on milk but rejecting meat the term spiritual vegetarians came to mind. Before we go any further I am not knocking vegetarians--it's just a term that came to mind. I'm not sure what Keith or even Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church exactly means by milk and meat. I think it is this: milk is the easy stuff of the gospel to digest. Salvation, peace, Heaven waiting. Meat is a bit hard to digest if you will: denying self, discipline, obedience.
    We are called baby Christians when we come to the faith and it is fine to thrive on milk but we are also expected to grow. Just as a human can not grow by only giving its body milk, spiritually we can not grow if we do not chew on the issues and get into the Word. But we are content to go to church on Sunday, crack open our Bibles (which we leave in the car during the week) and rely on the book index tabs to find the scripture because we don't know our Bible. The Bible is God's Autobiography. How are we to know Him if we don't read and study and scratch our heads in wonder once in a while?
     As good and as educated as they may be we cannot expect our pastors to be our sole source of nourishment. You wouldn't eat once a week. You wouldn't call your spouse once a week and not give him or her a second thought the rest of the time. We are called the bride of Christ but are we acting like it? The traditional wedding vow is to love, honor and obey and that is to be our vow to Christ. We can't obey if we don't know what He expects of us and that my friend is the meat of our relationship. It isn't always easy but it will be worth it.
     When it comes to my faith I want a well balanced meal: meat, potatoes and vegetables washed down with a cool glass of promises (milk).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with Kathi Macias

Hope you watched the trailer. If you didn't please click the link above.

How did you come up with the idea for A Christmas Journey Home?

I knew I wanted to do a Christmas book—the first of what would become an annual event that my publisher and I were discussing—and I also knew that despite the lighter tone required in a Christmas book (as opposed to the darker themes of the persecuted Church and human trafficking, which I’ve been writing about), I had to stick to my “brand” as closely as possible: hence, an “issues-related” Christmas novel, dealing with the issues related to illegal immigration.

What was your favorite scene to write in A Christmas Journey Home?

I loved writing this entire book, and the characters are delightful (except the villains, of course!), so I loved almost all the scenes. But I think I liked the scenes with Isabella’s old abuelo best, as the grandfather reminded me of my own grandpa and even my dad, both of whom I loved dearly. I love incorporating at least one elderly saint in each of my books, and in this one I decided on a man since most of the other books have had women as the elderly, praying characters. I also brought in a little boy because children can add such a delightful element to any story, and six-year-old Davey certainly does that in A Christmas Journey Home.

What was the most difficult scene, and why?

The toughest scene had to be when Francisco and Isabella thought they were finally on the verge of being able to get away from the migrant camp and find a small home of their own, where their baby could be born in relative comfort and safety. If you’ve read the book, you know that isn’t at all what happens. But this heartbreaking scene had to take place to bring the story to its miraculous conclusion.

What is there about you, apart from writing, that many people don’t know?

First, my “road name” is “Easy Writer” because my husband and I were Harley riders for many years. (We’ve traded the bike in on a 2005 Corvette, so I’m still “Easy Writer” but in comfort now!) Also, I served on staff at a large Southern California church for several years, training small group leaders and doing biblical counseling, among other things.

Who are some of your favorite writers, and are you an avid reader?

Absolutely I’m an avid reader! I have always loved books/reading/words and been fascinated by them. When I ran out of books as I child, I started writing my own. (Voila! Look what came of that!) As for favorite writers, that’s tough, but here are just a few: Brock and Bodie Thoene, Francine Rivers, Patti Lacy, Athol Dickson, Jim Rubart, and Alan Paton, who wrote my favorite all-time fiction book, Cry the Beloved Country. That book changed my life and inspired my novel set in South Africa in 1989, No Greater Love. I also enjoy reading Brennan Manning, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Oswald Chambers, and Max Lucado for nonfiction.

What’s on the horizon for you now, so far as future book projects?

I am currently finishing up the final book of the three-installment Freedom series (Deliver Me From EvilSpecial Delivery, and The Deliverer). Then I will jump into my Christmas 2012 novel (working title is A Home For Christmas) and a novel called Last Chance for Justice, which is part of the multi-author Bloomfield Series with another publisher. After that I hope to get going on a new fiction series, which is still in the discussion/planning stages with my publisher and agent. So life is busy, but most contracts coming my way seem to be fiction right now. I am also keeping busy with very occasional editing projects and some speaking/teaching around the country.

Where can we find out more about you, The Freedom Series, and keep up with your to-be-released books?

Please feel free to visit my website at

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services ( 
I will give my copy to the first person who can tell me what I said in yesterday's post about the abuelo

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Christmas Journey Home

     The picture on the cover is lovely and genteel. The subtitle, Miracle In The Manger, suggests something wonderful is going to happen. But this is not a sweet and sappy Christmas story. The only thing predictable is that it will take place at Christmastime.
     "Two worlds separated by fear and anger collide at a most unlikely time and place." The quote on the back cover and the heart of the author, Kathi Macias let me know I was in for more than just good story telling. The plot took a detour I wasn't expecting.
     Isabella, one of the main characters will find out that the road to wonderful is full of twists and turns and potholes that jar body and soul. Miriam, a widow who isn't looking for wonderful, just a way to survive will realize something important too. Isabella's road to wonderful can not exist without the pavement of forgiveness Miriam must lay. 
      There is nothing to forgive Isabella of personally. The two women are strangers until they meet Christmas Eve. Isabella has come a long way and escaped dangers we would like to believe don't exist. Miriam is just trying to keep body and soul together on the ranch she must now run alone.
      I can't help but wonder if there is a spiritual application in all of this. Isabella has an abuelo, a grandfather who faithfully prays for her and has even encouraged her to go on this journey. Our spiritual journey is not always easy and it would do us all good to know we are being prayed for. But the abuelo represents something else to me. He represents someone older and wiser, like a mentor which we also can benefit from having. Mentors can help us navigate these twist and turns and heal from damage done by the potholes on our journey Home.
     I suggest you read this book. I've been careful not to give anything away. But I will give away this: my copy of the book for the cost of a comment when you tune in tomorrow and for the interview with the author. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leaving This Den Unharmed

       I was doing my morning reading in a women's devotional Bible yesterday morning when one of the devotionals caught my eye as I was flipping through to find what I was supposed to read that day.. It wasn't in my daily reading but I stopped and read the verse. It was Daniel 6:23, "The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God." (NIV) That got me to wondering what it will be like when my King, and hopefully yours, pulls me out of the den of iniquity that is this world.
       According to previous text the king spent a restless night after placing Daniel in the lion's den. This den was a pit Daniel was lowered into and it was full of hungry lions and empty of a means of escape. It grieved the king to invoke the punishment for the breaking of the law. He was overjoyed at the beginning of verse 23 because he found Daniel alive. Now God doesn't need sleep but I think it does grieve Him that sin has placed this punishment upon us and part of that punishment is separation from Him. One day He is returning and I hope He looks down into the pit and mire and finds me spiritually alive.
       Knowing if I will be spiritually alive when He comes requires some self-reflection. It says Daniel was found unharmed because he trusted God, not because God was trust worthy (thought of course He is) or because of God's Grace and Mercy (although that is certainly true) but BECAUSE HE TRUSTED HIS GOD. Self reflection sometimes asks harsh questions. Do I trust God? Do I really trust God? What came to me as I read that verse yesterday was that if I really trust God, then when I get Home I will be found spiritually unharmed.
      My physical body hurts and has been injured and been labeled defective but I'm leaving it behind. What matters  for Eternity is my spiritual being. I've had my hurts, my doubts, my fears but have they left lasting scars? I don't think so. He isn't called the Great Physician for nothing. He can mend those broken places and make them whole and take away the lingering reminders. If I let Him.
       So maybe it's not the question that is harsh but the answer. "Lord, have I let You work in my life?"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Only Pebble on the Beach

         Last week I decided to schedule a road trip to see a dear friend who had moved. As it always has been, I can't just take off. I have others to consider. I am responsible for getting my son to and from school so naturally I checked his spring break schedule. I'd love to go sooner but winter travel is out of the question. 
      I e-mailed my friend and told her the dates of spring break and asked if I could visit. She loved the idea of me visiting but figured on having a houseful with her grandson visiting from college and her other children also planning to visit. I hadn't thought of that. I responded back with, "Boy don't I have only pebble on the beach syndrome?" 
      It's a phrase I grew up hearing. Mom would usually tell Paul he wasn't the only pebble on the beach, meaning she had other things to tend to. She still took care of both of our needs but on her schedule so if his favorite shirt was in the laundry and it wasn't laundry day, he was out of luck. (He could have hand washed the shirt and used the solar dryer but I don't think he ever did.) 
     I don't know if it was a control issue or just part of her independent armor. It suited her though. She lived life on her own terms as much as possible. So no, I wasn't the only pebble on the beach but I was a much loved pebble living in the shadow of independence and strength.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where Are My Children?

      Silent movies are not something my mother would have enjoyed. Fortunately talkies came out by the time she was old enough to go to the movie theater. She could enjoy a good dialog driven movie but someone would have had to read the title cards and explain the pantomime to her during a silent film and well, that's just not practical.
     Why am I telling you this? For some reason an old silent movie came to mind the other day. I saw it many years ago during a sleepless night. Restored in 2000, it was originally made in 1916 so the content surprised me. The main character was a prominent lawyer. The movie portrayed his wife and their high society lifestyle against the background of a trial he was prosecuting. A doctor was on trial for performing abortions. At the end of the movie the doctor discovers his wife's name in the doctor's log. It is in there three times and he asks, "Where are my children?"
      I wonder if God is asking the same question. I'm not talking about abortion but denying other's the chance to be called His by our silence. I don't know about you but I have never led anyone to the Lord. I've shared my testimony and led my brother back to the Lord but I've never brought a new believer into the fold. On judgement day is God going to say, "Where are my children, the ones you were supposed to lead to me?"
      Are we holding up title cards to a blind world or are we preaching the gospel in such a way that it draws others to Him?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

They say it's postpartum

     A very sad thing happened here in Orange the other day. A desperate woman, possibly suffering from postpartum depression, dropped her baby over the 4th floor railing of the parking garage at Children's Hospital Orange County (CHOC). She was not from the area and the baby was not a patient. NEW INFORMATION REBEALS THAT THE BABY DID HAVE HEALTH ISSUES and THE MOTHER WAS PREVIOUSLY HOSPITALIZED FOR DEPRESSION AND THAT SHE HADN'T ACCEPTED HER SON'S CONDIDTION. Postpartum depression is suspected. I read a brief article on WebM.D. about this disorder.
     But I also had first hand experience. I suffered from it after my youngest was born. As far as I know the difference between me and this woman is I got help. I don't know about her family and support which WebM.D. also stated plays a factor. HER HUSBAND WAS QUITE CONCERNED AND ASKS US NOT TO JUDGE HIS WIFE. Because of the help I got, and a few prayer warriors, I did not act on the fleeting thoughts of driving my car off a cliff with the children in it. My postpartum also stayed at the depression level and did not go into the realm of psychosis. Psychosis turns a fleeting thought into a thought that must be acted upon.
     The older I get, the more like my mother I become. Sure her first reaction to the news, which someone would have to tell her because she refused to watch the news, would be disgust. But after that initial reaction, she would lift up the entire situation to the Lord. The baby, last I heard, is in critical condition at UCI. Mom would pray for God's Will first and if it be His Will, healing. Then she'd pray for the mother with grace and compassion.
      That is the other sad point in this story. I've been watching my friend's and their friend's reactions on Facebook. I didn't divvy up the comments into condemnation and prayer so I don't have exact numbers for you. I can tell you though that it appears to be condemnation with a sprinkling of sympathy. As a Christian I believe it is our first priority to take this woman to the throne of God rather than send her to the electric chair. We don't know the full story but God does. We need to ask Him to become real to her and supply her needs in the days, months, and years to come. THE BABY"S DEATH DOES NOT CHANGE MY VIEWPOINT.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lord Teach Me to Pray

      We're having a prayer meeting tonight at church. There will be music and the pastor will guide us by telling us it's time for a prayer of thanksgiving or petition. We will praise God for what He as done in one segment. Another time we will focus on Who He is.

     Lord, teach me to pray. 

     The church did this about a month ago and it was a moving service. I participated but not as much as I could have. In my silence was dishonesty. I did not boldly petition my Abba, my Daddy, Who only wants the best for His children. I did not sing when Mom's song Thanks came to mind. I was self conscious but it's not about me. It's about Him.

     Lord, teach me to pray.

     I know the answer when the disciples asked the same question. What I don't know is how to be more like my mother. She'd pray out loud for you on the spot. One time she even started praying before I finished telling her the problem. I don't know how to forget the other people in the room. And I want to know.

      Lord, teach me to pray.

     I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. I am content with what God has given me. I have reason to rejoice and sing His praises. No, life is not perfect. A new health issue has come up but I know He will be with me as I take steps to regain my health. My salvation is secure and my hope is in Him. My silence has no place in church tonight.

      Lord, help me to pray.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Triangle

     Watching design shows the most popular piece of advice that comes up when designing a kitchen is that it should be a triangle. I don't think it matters if it's equalateral or right angle or one of the other terms I've forgotten from geometry. The point is to have your oven, refrigerator and sink on one of the three points. By design both my childhood home and current kitchen adhered to this advice but when I used each kitchen the design had been altered and the triangle broken. For some reason as I write this I am seeing the instrument known as the triangle. It is open on one end yet still works. I guess what that's telling me is that my kitchens still worked just not efficiently. 
      Let's go on a field trip today shall we? Back to my childhood home in Santa Ana where I'll show you the origianl design of the kitchen. We enter the kitchen from the dining room. To the left of the doorway is a long wall with a window in the middle. The refrigerator is at the far end of the wall facing out. Next to it on another wall is a counter and sink (under another window) and then another counter. Across from the sink is the oven/stove. Did you see the triangle. It was there by design. My father broke the triangle somewhere along the way. He moved the refrigerator to the service porch and built a long counter with storage underneath along the wall. The window was lower than the counter so he went around it. Not sure why. The window couldn't be opened because you couldn't reach it: the counter was too wide. Now the refrigerator ended up on the same wall as the stove but there was a wall between them. Our food pantry was also on the service porch. The oven still baked. The burners still held a pan and boiled water. The sink was still useful for washing dishes and the garbage disposal worked. The refrigerator/freezer still kept our food cold and colder. They just didn't work well together, according to recommended design. The triangle was broken. 
      Let's get out of the time machine now and come to my current kitchen. The sink is on one wall. The stove/oven and space for the refrigerator is across on the other long wall. Wait a minute, did I say space for refrigerator? Yes, you heard right. Our french door refrigerator is too wide for the space. Even if we could remove the molding on the wall and shove it in there, it wouldn't work. The doors wouldn't open and it would block the built in pantry. So our refrigerator isn't even in our kitchen. Talk about a broken triangle. The frig is in the dining area--yes area--too small to be considered a room. It's also open to the living room. Space broke the triangles. My father wanted more storage space and I don't have enough space. There's another triangle that comes to mind: the trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. You remember them? They're the 3 men Don McClean admired most in his song American Pie. Anyway, nothing can break the trinity but sin puts space between us and the Triune God. But the Great Designer provided a way to bridge that gap by sending us His Son to die for our sins. We cross that bridge by faith, by believing in Him and repenting of our sins.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Muir House

I just finished reading The Muir House by Mary DeMuth and you know what? You need to read it for yourself. There are 7 main characters: Willa Muir; Genie, the caretaker of the Muir House; Blake, Willa's high school beau; Hale, her current beau; Rheus, a friend of the caretaker and the hole Willa needs desperately to fill. Yes, I called the mystery of her past, a missing piece of her childhood, a character. I suppose it's really the main plot line but the way the memory sneaks in and out of the story, waiting for just the right time to reveal itself makes it seem almost human. The caretaker, although she invited Willa to come redecorate the home so it could be converted into a bed and breakfast, doesn't seem to want her there. She wants a decorator, not a daughter bent on unlocking secrets. Mom would agree with Genie and others who felt Willa needed to leave the past where it belonged--in the past. You'll have to read the book to find out why. While trying to solve this mystery that won't leave her alone Willa is drawn into a love triangle, although at times she's not so sure the third person in the triangle is still interested. I know which boy Mom would pick for Willa but she has to choose for herself. You'll have to read the book to find out who. And there's that pesty secret which reveals itself in bits and pieces. Oh, and I didn't mention one other character--Willa's estranged mother who never seemed to want her. Willa thinks she has an explanation for her mother's distance but does she? Visiting her mother in a nursing home only adds to the mystery. You'll have to read the book to find out how. Mary DeMuth decorates The Muir House with the right amount of plot and sub-plot so that the book is not cluttered but not sparse. I think Mom would like the story telling but she'd be cautioning Willa the whole time. Knowing Mom though, when she saw Willa wasn't backing down, she'd be praying for her. Click on the title to go to the web-site to order and to find out more about this lovely author who seeks to help others live an uncaged life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A chat with Mom in my head

It's Wednesday, I almost forgot. You'd forget your head if it wasn't attached. Yes, Mom I know. You always used to tell me that. I've got a good reason though. I don't have a calendar hung up yet. I'm plugging along with the unpacking but haven't quite got to that part yet. It's a decision and decisions aren't always easy to make. Do I want the calendar over by the office or by the kitchen? Am I going to put artwork above the computer desk or a bulletin board. I mean really, do I want my living room to look like it has an office in it or a living room with a computer in the corner? And then there's Jesus, what am I going to do about Him or should I say the 4 different artists' interpretations of Him? Stop worrying. If we had a worrying contest you'd win. I know Mom, and I'm not worrying. There's just alot of decisions to be made. Tell you what, why don't I take my mind off what's left to do by sharing pictures of what I've done?
There's a shelf and pot mitt holder made from the old heater vents. I'd share more but they aren't going where I want them to and I've got more things to do. Okay I know pictures don't mean anything to you but trust me, these are clever repurposing projects and my friends are gonna like them. Nice chatting with you Mom.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Use It or Lose It

Good morning. I'm back after a few hectic weeks dealing with the move. Clearing all the stuff from the old place required some tough choices. There isn't room for everything, and by everything I mean things I inherited from my mother. I sold the piano and sorted the massive bead supply. I even gave away some beads but none that Mom left me and that was a huge bin full. I'm in use it or lose it mode and can't wait to get organized and start creating again. There's extra furniture in the garage because it's hard to give up good pieces, especially the ones my father built. In fact on Father's Day I had a bit of a connection to him as I took the top off his old desk (not built by him) so I could make the desk wider. It's still a work in progress. My current top is a piece of wood and a shelf I had in the garage--use it or lose it. The top half of the hutch is my nightstand while the bottom is in the garage providing enclosed storage to protect my fabric--use it or lose it. The other 3 small pieces of furniture in the garage will be coming in to be used but I'm still getting organized. My favorite project is the repurposing of Dad's work bench. It's been base painted and I plan on working on the top today. Then it will be in our dining area as an extension of the kitchen counter with seating for eating or doing schoolwork--use it or lose it. And the project I've thought about for a long time and finally did is a pot rack using brackets from shelves that hung in my childhood home's kitchen and a couple dowl rods also found in the garage--use it or lose it. Mom's old silverware will be used as the S hooks (man I hope I find my vice grip soon)--use it or lose it.
Well there's lots to do on my use it or lose it list so I'd better get to it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's time for the piano to go to a new home. We are downsizing. Truth be told I didn't have room for it in this apartment but I definately won't have room in the new place. It's hard to let go of something that has been part of your life all your life. Mom composed music for some of her over 20 songs. She and Dad were jailbirds--that's what Paul and I called them. Once a month they went with the jail team from The Christian & Missionary Alliance Church to the local jail. If I dig deep in my memory file I can see Mom sitting at the piano with Dad standing over her left shoulder as they practiced. I usually sat in the orange chair sideways reading a book. I got rid of that chair when she passed cuz it just wasn't comfortable anymore. I balled my eyes out a year later when I say the salvage company that took it on TV. I hope I handle this better. The piano is going to a good Christian home and I find peace in that. Grandpa McKinney told me once that I still had my memories even though the church building I grew up in was being sold. It was a nice sentiment but memories do fade. While I can still see my parents in my mind, I can't hear them singing anymore. Daddy's voice faded a long time ago and Mom's recently began to. But the only other option was to keep the piano and get rid of the couch. Standing's good for you, right? I guess I made the right decision for my family and I've taken some lovely photos.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Earl Hamner

I picked up Sunday's Parade magazine this morning and on the cover were favorite TV moms, according to the editors I guess. I only knew one of the moms and recognized one as a former child star. Where were my favorite TV moms? Miss Michael Learned and Ellen Corby were not on the cover. You know them better as Mrs. John Walton and Mrs. Zebullon Walton, or Olivia and Esther. They were characters based on Earl Hamner's own mother and both grandmothers were rolled into one. Yes, the last character was a grandmother but grandmothers are mothers too. In fact when Ellen Corby died I felt like I lost a grandma. These women showed what real strength is. They lived through the depression and second world war. They lived under the same roof and that was sometimes problematic when it came to raising John and Olivia's 7 children. Grandma was stuck in the old ways and Olivia, while she did not run towards them accepted the new terms of a changing society. So sometimes they butted heads. They were religious women who never missed a church service or prayer meeting. And Olivia's form of discipline was to have the offending child spend time reflecting on God's Word by memorizing scripture. I remember in one episode one of the kids, I think it was Jim-Bob stepped out of line. He got the "look" from Mama and just asked, "How many Bible verses this time?" I must admit I'm a bit torn at the idea of learning Bible verses as discipline or punishment. Reading the Bible always brought my mother such joy and I too liked the challenge of memorization. I think it might take the joy and the ah ha moments out of my time in the Word if it had once been used as punishment. These women are the TV moms of my youth. My mother liked them as well and in some ways was like them. She was a strong woman of faith who wasn't afraid to discipline her children. She was born at the end of the depression and didn't have to see any sons off to war but she still had her share of hard times. She was a tiny little thing like Grandma Walton and you just wanted to provide protection for her much like Zebullon did for Esther. So happy belated Mother's Day Olivia and Esther. I'm glad you came into my home every Thursday evening. And thank you Earl Hamner for sharing them with me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Momma read King James--I read NIV

I am excited to have found a website for Christian bloggers which allows guest posts and had writing prompts. Today's prompt asked which version of the Bible do you read and why? I have 8 versions. This helps sometimes jog my creativity when I'm writing devotionals. The one I read most and take with me to church is the NIV. I like the language and am used to it. It was quite a transition though. I grew up with a King James Bible. It is what both my parents read. I have Daddy's in a shadow bow and I donated Mom's to Braille Institute. Although I know Braille I can't actually read the raised dots--my fingers aren't sensitive enough. Where was I-- ah yes transitions. They can be tough to make. I had and memorized scripture from my King James until I was a fresman in high school. Then our youth group was introduced to something called Bible Quizzing and a few of us formed a team. We were told to use NIV and John McCollum, our coach and dear family friend bought me one. I still have it even though it's falling apart. I remember there were 4 types of questions. Quote the verse, finish the verse, answer a question, and quote the reference. (I'm not sure about that last one--it's been a few years.) Most of the time we were in a book of the Bible I hadn't previously done memorization from or I could have easily slipped back into KJ mode. I recently spent alot of time in the King James for my devotional project. It was hearing Mom reading her Bible that sparked the idea so it seemed fitting. It was also easier as a user of the Strong's Concordance to find words because his concordance is based on the King James. I still like it and understand it. And if there's an obscure word I check the verse out in the NIV. I liked being in the King James--it felt like going home again. But to answer the question simply. I read the NIV the most because the language is easy to understand and sometimes in class at church I read out loud. The Bible needs to be understood so that's why I take my NIV.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Out On A Whim

If you follow my status updates on Facebook, and I know you all follow me religiously--LOL, then you know that I posted the other day, "The worst they can do is say no." Now I'm not so sure. I entered a proposal writing contest without even a rough draft of the book done, just an outline. What can I say, it was a whim. I started working on the book and it feels like it's taking a different direction than what I proposed. While I think it is better than what was proposed I wonder if I have to write what I proposed if the powers that be say, "Yes." So if the rule is that I have to write what I proposed then maybe the worst they can say is, "Yes." Don't get me wrong I'll still jump at the opportunity and write to the assignment I've given myself but I think it'll be a tough project to reign in. Writing can be like that. As a writer you want to harness it and have it heel but sometimes you gotta let that dog off the leash to romp and play. Ya I've got dogs on the mind. Strudel is the Seeing Eye Dog in the novel I started writing in 2009. That's another concern of mine. Maybe I'm not a novel writier. Or maybe it's tough because I've got characters based on my family but with a good deal of fiction thrown in. NaNoWriMo was a whim afterall. I hope it's not an indicator of how well I do with whims. Only time will tell if this latest whim turns into something whimsical or a whammy. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inkless Writing Tool

I feel like I'm between conferences right now, still riding high from the National Writer's Conference in San Diego a couple weeks ago and preparing for the OCCWF conference at the end of this month. In fact as I prepare for the next one I still have to use my prize from the last one. I've got my proposal page set up and will be uploading the devotional later today. But back to yesterday. I was suppossed to blog but got busy doing inventory for the conference. One of the things I needed to do was check to see that the pens worked. Face it, pens in storage can dry out. In fact there's one brand I'll be recommending we don't get again. None of the pens left in the box worked and they all had caps. My mother never would have had this problem. Her writing tool was a stylus which is a small tool with a wooden handle and metal end. The end is about the size but not the sharpness of a picture hanging nail. Occasionally it got dull so she'd sharpen it (but not too sharp) on the porch step. Those little styluses last. I still have one Mom used in college. She left me a couple others she'd bought along the way which I use in jewelry making. To Braille on metal requires a hammer and I can't imagine using Mom's college stylus for that. A stylus may not run out of ink but they can get lost which explains the spares. The handles on the newer one are longer and chunkier too and I bought one a few years ago that is plastic and has a saddle shape. This is for user comfort. I keep Mom's, now my styluses in a container on a shelf. In this house there is one more hazard, especially for the wooden handled ones. We have a dog that eats pencils. I can't write Braille quickly enough to use it in my writing. Imagine if I could though. As long as I had paper I wouldn't have my thoughts interrrupeted because the pen ran out of ink or the computer crashed. And no ink smudges on my left pinky.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Touching The Words of Christ

I had a post on my Facebook wall a while back asking where my blog was. The blogger was busy trying to meet a deadline and she collapsed after meeting it. I didn't litterally collapse but I did veg for a few days. I put together a devotional book for the Westbow writing contest. The devotional is called Touching The Words of Christ and I used Braille Code as a jumping off point. So what I have now is a devotional with 80 individual devotions that took runner up at the contest. I only used whole word contractions and only about half of them. A story about hearing my mom read Braille through a baby monitor we had hooked up when she lived with us served as the introduction. It was a cool project to do. I was inspired all along the way. One of the contest chairs encouraged me to edit it and bring it to the next conference where I can pitch it to publishers. The other chair person just asked to see my cover letter, marketing plan and summary again but I'm not sure why. At the conference I was inspired to keep doing what I'm doing. I am also thinking of turning my speech called The Gift into a book. I also heard someone talk about other products that go with your books so my crafting creative wheels are turning. My mom always liked my writing and she got me started crafting so I think she'd be happy for me if she were here. It's her birthday today so I'm sure I'll be thinking about her. Well the next conference is less than a month away so better get to work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

He Said, She Said Book Tour

He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion By Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God? Try He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion. This compilation of 54 devotions includes scripture verses, space for journaling, individual prayers and words of wisdom from two of today's funniest and insightful Christian authors. This heart-warming collection of stories will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God. These deeply personal devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the perspective of one man and one woman. Perfect for your quiet time. No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you. Begin this new year committed to spending a few moments each day connected to God. He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship. The concept of He Said, She Said devotions introduces the readers to looking at one scripture, from two perspectives—his and hers. The beauty in this unique type of devotion come when a man reads the perspective of a woman suddenly grasping a new outlook on the scripture; likewise the same for a woman to read the thoughts and views from a man’s perspective. The reader can then mesh the two together for a deeper and more intimate learning experience. Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles have captured the essence of scripture through the heart of a man and a woman, addressing the passions of loving your spouse, your children and ultimately loving the Father deeper than ever before. He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion is available on Amazon Kindle now! Reviews: From Gina Holmes, author of Crossing Oceans Cindy and Eddie are not only good friends of mine, but a regular source of my spiritual renewal. It's a great idea, the he-said/she-said concept and I always enjoy their devotionals. Both are not only grounded spiritually, and super nice people but they both keep me laughing. It's that humor and heart that makes the spiritual more relatable in the most practical sense. From Ane Mulligan, Editor of Novel Journey I've know Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles for a few years. Each has a way of tickling my funny bone, so I wondered what a devotional book by them would be. I can heartily recommend it. The humor is there, but it's coupled with deep truths that go straight to the heart of the problem. You'll find a path that winds closer to God through He Said, She Said. From Scott McCausey, Radio host, Christian Devotions Speak UP! This devotional series is how I discovered God's gift through Christian Devotion Ministries and all the talented writers who grace their web site, [...]. The relationship between Eddie and Cindy will remind you of the brother or sister you grew up with, full of bantering and love for His word; they will guide you on a spiritual journey full of incite and humor. Don't miss the next He Said She Said, I know I won't! From Reader, Nancy Dutton I enjoy the male and female approach to the heartfelt, refreshing and thought-provoking devotionals. Reading these devotionals helps me draw closer to God. "He Said, She Said" is available and may be delivered to you in various formats, for your convenience. From Reader Matt McCurry My Mom and I both have read the book which is a great collection of devotionals and it's not just for married people; I'm single and can use it in my life as a Christian man. Great reading, I really enjoyed it! He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion – Link below HSSS VIDEO INFOR.txt (0.5 KB) HSSSBOOKCOVER2.jpg (1188.8 KB) HSSS BUY BUTTON TO AMAZON.doc (38.3 KB)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Young Adult Pirate Author Seeks to Raise $10,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation

Sharing a new book with a mission with you today. Contact: Diana L. Flegal, Literary Agent , 412-915-1790 Raleigh, NC— Social networking has changed the way young people communicate. Can we keep books in “their” loop? According to KidSay Market Researchers, Facebook is now the favorite website among tween (8-11) boys and teen (12-15) girls. Over 90% of tween boys and girls play games online. Could a pirate tale be the perfect antidote to the adolescent blank-stare fascination with video games? “My goal in writing this book was to spur the imagination of young readers. Boys especially,” says Young Adult author, Eddie Jones. “I wanted to create within them a desire to read and set sail for a life of adventure on the high seas.” Note: Eddie sails and surfs and sometimes works. “I also want to help kids (and adults) who suffer with epilepsy. My goal is to raise $10,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation in honor of Ricky Bradshaw, the hero of the book.” (Ricky suffers from epilepsy.) “For each book sold, the publisher will donate a few pieces of eight—half a sandy dollar—to the Epilepsy Foundation.” Jones says, regardless of how well the book sells, if it helps others become “Seizure Smart!” and raises money to fight epilepsy, it’s a success. About the Book RICKY BRADSHAW has never sailed the Caribbean Sea, searched for buried treasure or battled pirates on the deck of a Spanish Galleon. He’s never fallen through the floor of Davy Jones’ locker or watched an old fisherman morph into a porpoise. All Ricky knows is his lonely life with his widowed mom in a tiny apartment overlooking a marina on the Chesapeake Bay. But all that changes on a snowy Christmas Eve when Ricky’s apartment building burns down and he falls into the chilly waters while trying to save a dog with shrimp breath. Suddenly Ricky finds himself thrust into a world where there is surprising beauty on every island, danger around every corner and great honor and glory ahead of him… if only Ricky can summon the courage to survive the curse of Captain LaFoote. About the Author Eddie Jones is a full time freelance writer and author of five non-fiction books, one young adult novel, and one adult romantic comedy. He sails, surfs and freely admits: “I'm a boat swab at heart and thief and liar when honest work proves unprofitable.” A Young Adult / Tween novel, Rated PG13 eBook ISBN - 978-1-935600-05-3 Available in Kindle Print ISBN - 978-1-935600-04-6 Available on February 14, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Denying Natural Attitude

My son has been sick since Sunday. He came down with this cold that's going around and like his father developed a fever. His body (which recently surpassed mine in height) was down for the count. And so the demands began. It's day 4 and to be honest I was done at day 1. No joke folks he would call me to come get his water which was on a table right next to him. I feel I must pre-empt this next statement by saying don't pray for me but I found myself wondering if patience is genetic or enviornmental. Again, though my patience well seems dry I am not asking for any. As you all probably know the only way to develop patience is to be put in situations where patience is needed so please do not pray for it for me. Three dozen plus (more than half but not quite a whole dozen) years ago I was born into a family with parents who were patient with people. They volunteered with mentally disabled adults which takes gentleness and patience. I followed in their footsteps by working with disabled adults. I would've volunteered but hey a girl's gotta eat. Mom and I even had clients in common. So it would appear my patience was genetic or was it? I was also on the receiving end of patience very early on. My cleft lip and pallet made it impossible for me to suck a bottle. My mom had to squeeze every ounce into me. Before she could even do that, she had to boil bottles down to get them pliable. That of course was done ahead of time. Once she got them pliable they stayed that way through normal use and washings. It took and hour and a half for mom to give me one 8 oz. bottle. Though she never said she minded I think she was glad when I could eat solid food. I also had a great role-model for patience: my Aunt Nellie. Don't check my family tree, she's not there. It was simply a term of endearment and respect for a friend of my mom. Aunt Nellie had a foster home for special needs children. She had 4 biological children of her own and while we were outside jumping on the trampoline she was inside feeding no fewer than 4 children in high chairs. I didn't realize it then but knowing her meant knowing patience personified. So is patience part of my genetic code or something I saw and emulated? Realizing that my recent impatience with my son's illness stems from my own selfishness I'd have to say it's DNA. I don't mean that long scientific word that they had to reduce to initials because we couldn't pronounce it. I'm talking about Denying Natural Attitude. It is only natural to be self absorbed every now and then, to grumble about disturbances to your routine. Or at least it is for me. Mom taught me alot and gave me alot. The least I can do is take good care of her grandson without grumbling and with plenty of patience.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A new faith

I cannot believe what fell in my lap this week. A childhood friend who recently reconnected with me through Facebook had an interesting post about how the streams of life shape us and his have been rough torrents. This man was the son of one of my mother's friends so we were more-or-less friends by default. When his family moved that was the end of it or so I've always thought. He is so on fire for God which is not what I expected. The last time I saw him was in my Senior yearbook, his solemn face and blond mohawk starring out from the page. To be honest I don't even remmeber seeing him at school. I found out why when he directed me to his blog. His testimony is there and it is remarkable. It totally fits the theme of my next novel and I've asked if I could use it. But back to when the friendship between our mother's ended. The memory is foggy but upon reflection I realize it ended before they moved. The family didn't move til some time after the young man finished high school but I don't remember visiting with his mother much when I was in junior high or high school. The last clear memory is me helping him with his fourth grade school work so I must've been in 7th. I don't know if the women had a falling out. There are things about his mother that I now know but I'm not sure if my mother ever knew. I've been trying to think back to a time when Mom said, "There are ears in the cornfield" when talking to another friend about this woman. There is nothing in my data bank to tell me Mom knew what went on behind closed doors 2 blocks away. The one thing I do know is that Mom probably took whatever information, whatever hurt she had to The Father. Perhaps that is why a young man came back to a faith that was destroyed by his mother. I've heard it said that the best thing a child can have is a praying mother. I'd always just assumed that meant the child's own mother.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Will Amber-Rose come to life?

January is well under way and I'm feeling optimistic about what the year ahead holds for my writing career. I'm doing all I can to win a Sally Stuart Market Guide and one of 2 guidebooks from Mary DeMuth. I've talked about her here before when I did her Life in Defiance blog tour. Her characters are so real I'm sure Mom would've prayed for each and every one of them. I have the choice between a non-fiction and fiction proposal guidebook. As far as what I've published so far I'm a non-fiction writer but I'm trying to write fiction. It's fun creating characters. I wonder if Mom would like the character (Amber-Rose) I'm creating based on her. All the characters in my first fiction book are family members fictionalized; some more than others. Mom is basically herself except for how she went blind. I know she wasn't too thrilled when I first wrote the true story of my life so maybe she'd be happy if I opted for the fiction help. I probably won't write another memoir and I'm not sure if a collection of my devotionals is in the future. For now my devotionals are included in others' collections and on the web. Thanks for listening. I think I've made up my mind and will choose the fiction proposal book. Well speaking of the year ahead I've got manuscripts to clean up for contests so I'll sign off now. Wish me luck.