Thursday, June 27, 2013

Master Chef ... Master Inspriation

Did you enjoy the video? Could you imagine having to cook blindfolded? Every now and then I see something on television and I wish my mother was here to watch it with me. I didn't catch all of last season's Master Chef where blind home chef, Christine Ha beat out her competitors ... her sighted competitors but what I did watch was impressive. She began having trouble with her vision at age 19 and was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica. Her vision now is described as trying to look in a mirror after a steamy shower. But her lack of sight didn't keep her out of the kitchen, it just made her more careful.

While I'm impressed by her, I wonder how Mom would feel about all the attention she gets as the first blind contestant. I read an interview with Christine and she did say that the judges were fair to her meaning she didn't get special treatment because of her visual impairment. No chopping jars like Mom used for her. She used a real knife, on a real cutting board, with real care. I heard she cut herself once but sighted people do that all the time.

So what of all this attention? Mom, I wish you were here to discuss this. I know you fancied yourself a trailblazer so I wonder what you'd think about Christine Ha. I wonder what Christine thinks. Maybe I should schedule an interview with her and have her cook for me. I wonder if she minds that I was rooting for her because she's blind. I didn't see enough episodes to get to know the contestants and their personalities which is usually how I decide who to root for.

Bottom line is this. I couldn't cook or do much else blindfolded. I'm glad my mother could.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I missed my original blog so have done what I should have done in the first place. I created a new blog. My devotions can now be found at with the name I had given this blog at remodel: Beyond The Scenes. I know it's a lot to ask but can you go follow that blog too? I will be posting devotions there weekly. This blog will probably become a little less consistant, more likely when I feel inspired or something reminds me of my mother. I realize now though that it was wrong to abandon it. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

First Love

There are things I never would've talked to my mother about and things I'd like her opinion on. I've been wanting to do something for quite a long time but have felt held back---by exactly what I don't know. It's not the voice of doubt telling me I can't---I learned how to silence it. It's not that I don't know how---I know just enough to be dangerous and what I don't know, I can find out. 

In the quietness of the morning it hit me. You see I want to go back to my first love but there'd have to be a change in the relationship and I'm not sure how my first love and my current love will get along. I want to go back but I'm just not sure I'm ready for the relationship to change. Before any of you start worrying, I'm talking about writing. But it does kind of remind me of girls who said they didn't want to date a guy who had been their friend because they didn't want to ruin the friendship. I never really got that, perhaps because none of my guy friends ever asked me out, but the thought did cross my mind. 

The relationship would definitely have to change. No longer could I treat my devotional writing casually, writing when I'm inspired. I'd have to be more committed to it because I'm thinking of being defined by it. I want to be published on my own as a devotionalist. I couldn't just dabble here and there like I used to, going for long periods of time without writing. It would have to become a daily practice to fit my dream. The dream is to be a published devotionalist that people want to keep reading new material from. I also love novel writing but I'm just not sure that relationship is going to last much longer.

It's sad to say but I'm just not sure I'm ready for a committed relationship with devotional writing. I'm comfortable with the "friendship" even as the dream calls to me. I've got characters in my third novel that need me to finish their stories. I know I can't give them the attention they need if I'm all wrapped up in this new relationship. 

(side note: because I'm comparing writing to relationships I now have a late 70's pop love/breakup song going through my head)

Sigh. Sure wish Mom was here to talk to about all this, because I know after she was done talking to me, she'd be talking to God. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Edie Melson had a helpful blog post over at The Write Conversation yesterday and I couldn't wait to share what I learned. The second week of March is National Bubble Week. You should hop on over to Edie's blog (after reading mine of course) to find out other fun dates on the calendar. For now I'm going to stay with the bubbles: they're wonderful aren't they? I mean think about it, you take something that's usually used for a chore (dishsoap) and add a couple ingredients and give a kid a wand and watch magic happen. Suddenly soap isn't cleaning crud off dishes, it's clearing the grumpies and making room for smiles. And not just on the children's faces. Bubbles have transforming power on adults too.

I can remember a time when bubbles made me very happy. When I told Mom about it, she praised my cleverness. My daughter, her strong-willed grandaughter was about 3 years old. Her other grandmother was babysitting and my little girl didn't want to leave. But I had to get home and start dinner. I can't blame her for wanting to stay: Grandma Pat was blowing bubbles with her. I was not in the mood for a fight (whereas my daughter always was) and, thankfully, a brilliant idea came to me. I told my daughter the bubbles were going towards our house and we'd better hurry to go catch them. She jumped right in the car and off we went without a fuss. I'd tell you her reaction when we got home and there were no bubbles but I can't remember--I was too busy basking in the fact I'd impressed my mother-in-law. 

That little girl is 20 now and she still likes blowing bubbles. I've even gotten them for her on her last few birthdays. The only problem with bubbles is they're hard to describe to a blind person and I don't know if Mom blew bubbles in her childhood. But Mom could hear giggles and I suppose if I ever blew bubbles she would've heard the jingling of bells as I chased them around the yard. (For you newbies, that's a reference to the bells I had tied to my shoes when I was a little girl so Mom could hear me better when I was outside playing.) 

Bottom line is this: happiness is a wonderful thing to hear even if you can't see the source of it. So go ahead laugh out loud for the joy Christ has placed within you. There may be a spiritually blind person within earshot that needs to hear it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Facebook Fast for Lent

Growing up in a mainstream evangelical church we did not participate in Lent. Back then it was still seen as a Catholic practice and it has only been recently it's become an observance among other churches. Now I grew up less than a mile from a decent sized Catholic church and Mom had a good friend who was Catholic. I'm sure I saw people around town with the mark of the cross on their head on Ash Wednesday but I never thought about what it meant.

I never thought about purposefully giving up something during the 40 days leading up to Easter. We were poor so we went without but never with the intention of turning our focus to the suffering of Christ. We had our Sunday school lessons about Good Friday and the joy of Easter but they were reserved for the week before. Maybe they didn't think we could remember much longer.

Ten days ago my church started a Bible reading program for Lent and that seemed like a good start. Then my husband told me a friend was taking a Facebook fast. Yipes, I could never do that I thought. Funny how just what you think you can't do is the very thing God calls you to do. 

I could've chosen chocolate but really, would that evoke suffering? No, I'm probably better off without it. But I have become quite attached to the Swamp as I affectionately call it and already miss it. The good thing about this choice though is not only am I giving up a time waster I have already started using that time wisely by working out more. 

Now I am not saying Facebook is bad. I've been able to have some very encouraging interactions there. I will go back but now that I've given it up, it is time to look at the other two components of Lent mentioned when I asked (on Facebook) about the practice as it pertained to the church I grew up in. Besides fasting, prayer and other spiritual practices were mentioned. 

It seems to me that the focus of Lent is what we give up. But prayer isn't about giving up, it's about getting in touch with God, being in communion with Him. As for "other spiritual practices" the only thing I could think of is Bible reading and study. They are two different things. I read daily. Study indicates going deeper.

So if I understand this correctly my suffering will give me time to focus on the One Who suffered for me. I am giving up something I enjoy so I can fully appreciate all my Savior did 6 hours one Friday. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


A simple collage that is more than just pictures. It is one woman's journey through MDS. (Do I really have to spell it? Ok, here goes: myleodysplastic syndrome.) I am sitting here listening to Mandisa sing Stronger on Good Morning America on Robin Robert's first day back at work after her bone marrow transplant for the same disease. I wasn't sure how I'd feel watching today with the anniversary of Mom Going Home coming up on Saturday. I was okay til Mandisa started singing and they cut to a shot of Robin and her sister hugging. Mom would've loved this song. She would tell me to stop crying if she was here now. If she were here now I wouldn't be crying. (Who am I kidding? The sisters were crying, I would've cried no matter what.) Robin said earlier in the show that she was grateful for all that doctors have learned from those who have gone before. If Mom's doctors learned anything it was what faith in adversity looks like. It looks like a 4'11'' tall woman who didn't let blindness stop her from blazing trails and didn't let MDS stop her from singing praises to her Lord, Savior and Dance Partner for the last 5 years. I don't know about you but I'm stronger for having Jesus in my life. I'm also stronger for having Mom in my life. Even though it seems she wasn't here long enough, I know her faith blazed a trail deep enough to follow all the way Home. When I think this life is too much to handle I can look back on her example.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reviewing Old Posts

As I often do, I reviewed past posts this morning to make sure I wasn't overdoing a subject or reusing a title. Turns out I was about to reuse a title. The subject itself was going to be different but then I read an older post and decided to do a follow-up. In November of 2011 I did a post called Friday Fiction. It was during National Novel Writing Month and I shared the rough draft of chapter 1 of what I then called Rehabilitation of Faith. I had 9 encouraging comments on the story of a woman struggling to deal with failing eyesight and mental illness, not to mention a husband who left her to raise her young son alone. 
Well I was encouraged to clean up the rough draft and keep writing. Most of my commenters looked forward to reading more. Since that time I have finished the manuscript and presented it at a writer's conference. The first thing one of the agents I spoke to told me was to change the title. Specifically, I was to go home, read her blog post on how to title a book and send it to her. Well a scene came to me during the next session so I wrote it out quickly along with the potential title: Nothing Left To Shatter. That didn't feel right but by the end of the day I'd decided on Seeds That Shatter. See, this story was inspired by the true story of a neighbor of ours and the thing I remember most is eating apricots in his backyard and then he would throw the seeds at the greenhouse. 

So Night Blooming Jasmine has been published and is book 1 in my Shadow of the Steeples series. Seeds That Shatter is book 2. It's now in a contest for publication. I suppose I could've waited til I got the results to catch you up on what's been happening but I just felt like doing it now. 

Here's the link if you want to order the first book. Night Blooming Jasmine

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Don't Destroy A Burnt-Out Bulb

Seeing people take down Christmas lights takes me back to my childhood when I was around eight years old. I am across the street at Neil's house. His father is checking the strand and discarding the burnt-out bulbs before putting them up. Somehow my friend, who was about a year younger than me gets them later. His father is nowhere to be seen now as Neil's throws a bulb in the street to watch it explode. I don't know if Neil's dug the bulbs out of the trash or if his father let him have them but for some reason he found a thrill in shattering glass.  

Strange, isn't it to want to destroy something that once brought light and smiles. Well, it was already broken so it couldn't bring light anymore. Still, the adult in me looks at the memory and the green shards on the blacktop and wonders: as Christians are we sometimes broken, discarded, and then shattered? Beyond repair?

They have lightbulb repair kits now and even if a bulb couldn't shine, it could be repurposed. But not if it's shattered. The same holds true for Christians. Yes, we go through burn-out but we can shine again. It may be we have to step away from ministry but we can be nurtured to serve again. We can be repurposed but not if we're shattered. 

So next time you see a brother or sister in Christ going through burn-out, don't stand on the curb and chuck them high into the air to see what will happen. Put them aside in a safe place and see what God will do. He may repair them to full glory or change their purpose. Still with God guiding, we will see them shine again, albeit differently, as long as that is what we are hoping for.