Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year, A New You and Me

As we reflect on the old year, and prepare for the new one, we are surrounded by images from our community, both local and national. These are important images for our culture: the memorial for four police officers who will be missed by our whole community, the deaths of pop icons who helped shape the culture of those of us growing up in the 80's. Death that was undeserved and too soon, and death that came naturally. As we reflect on what these deaths mean for our community, and as we prepare for the ending or death of this year, I hope that we can look forward to the New Year with hope for new life.

As a community and nation, we can use our past to help us shape our future. We know that we don't want to see our police officers killed by criminals while they are sipping coffee or while they are answering a domestic violence call. We can do something about that by having a better attitude towards each other, and promoting a better attitude about police. The fact that there are rap songs and video games that actually promote violence against police is atrocious, and we can do something about it. We can boycott those musicians and companies that produce things like that. We can thank our police officers each day, and smile at them when we see them at work.

We can promote a better atmosphere of life by having a positive attitude wherever we go, by practicing peace and patience, by asking the store clerks we interact with about their day instead of talking on our cell phones and ignoring them, by smiling at the people around us, giving our children good hugs, and doing small acts of kindness.

From my own past, and present, I know that there is only one way that I can be sure to improve my attitude, and my actions. I have to give them over to the Lord. I have to ask him for help. Without God's love and direction in my life I have a tendency to slip into crabbiness, anger, and bitterness. Without God's love and direction, I see a glass half empty each day, and everything I do reflects that attitude. With God's love and direction, I find myself drawn towards his ways, his peace, his patience, his kindness, and sometimes I even surprise myself with patience when I didn't know I had any left. If you would really like a new you next year, and if I want to keep moving forward with the new me, we need to come to Jesus and ask for his help.


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar Review

With expectations both raised and lowered by friends' reviews and by reviews I had read in the newspaper, I hoped that Avatar would simply be a fun movie to see with my husband.

My hopes were met, and exceeded.

One of the unexpected twists in the movie is the interconnected living planet idea. I've seen this idea before in science fiction novels, but seeing it on screen with brilliant CGI brought the concept to life.

The characters, the plot and the "science" of the living planet were interwoven beautifully and made the movie soar.

Only one part felt heavy handed to me when it came to the philosophy of the director, James Cameron. Knowing that James Cameron has attacked Christian beliefs and promoted non-Christian beliefs in the past almost kept my husband and I from seeing this movie.

The way that the belief system of the people of Pandora is presented is believable and intertwined with the plot. For them, the living planet's interconnectedness is a reality, and affects everything they do. However, when the main human character Jake Sully prayed to Eywha and stated that humanity has "killed their mother" meaning mother Earth, I inwardly groaned. I was sure this was just the beginning of a long diatribe. Thankfully, James Cameron skillfully moved the movie on from that moment.

Cameron comes so close to seeing the Christian faith, and yet falls so far away from it at the same time. We are the children of a loving Creator, created from the dust of the earth like the rest of the creation around us. And yet, our planet is not a living entity in itself. We are connected to our Creator, the giver of life. Each os us is a unique being with a purpose that God has planned for us.

However, there is a big difference between our world and Cameron's Pandora. We have a choice. Unlike Cameron's world where Pandora's people are interconnected without a choice but as a part of their physical beings, God gives us the choice and the chance to have our lives intertwined with his love. Even though he created us, gifted us with the breath of life, and salvation through Christ, God cares for us enough to allow us to choose him. Even though the whole of Creation declares his reality, we are allowed to use our own minds and hearts to choose him.

I may not belong to an interconnected living planet with its own personality and selfhood, but I do belong to the Lord, adopted through Christ's loving sacrifice for my life. Everything I do can be connected to Christ. Everything I think can be connected to Lord, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Savior of my life, and indwelling Holy Spirit.

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Ephesians 2:19-22

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

Psalm 139:7-14 "Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I feel from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I make my bed in the depths, you ar there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hid me
and the light become night around me,'
even then the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A new day, another story

A new day dawns and instead of continuing the story I started yesterday, I started a completely different one. I would like to work on my "True Love's Gifts" story, but this one, "Battle Worn" just popped into my head and caught my attention. I'm not even sure I know where I'm going with it. I have some ideas about war injuries, both mental and physical, and maybe even a spy. There is even, gasp, a love interest that won't, of course, be fully explored in this story. I plan for trouble, trouble solved, and the romance mentioned as something possible for the future for two of the characters.

I'm not sure Battle Worn is a good title, but it's the one I have for now. It might change to "Great Rank, Great Responsibility" or something about two officers leaning on each other. So far I have six characters involved, and I hope that will be all. Anymore and I won't be able to keep track of them, even if one of them stays off screen most of the time. I do have to figure out the crew, I think, unless I hurry through that part at the end. There is much to think about, and I need to get on with the rest of my day. I wish I could finish it today, but I'm not sure I'll be able to write all of it, and do all the other stuff I need to do.

I hope when I am finished with "Battle Worn" that I will be able to sell it to Ray Gun Revival, Fantasy Magazine or ResAliens.

Considering that I am still struggling to only use single spaces between my periods and the beginning of each next sentence, it may be awhile. Can anyone tell me when hitting the space bar twice between sentences became passe and unpublishable? Have I been out of it for so long?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Writing for Christmas

The last few days have been filled with family fun and cheer, with candles and song, with feasts and communion, with the light of Christ shining from the Christmas candle and reflecting on the faces of family and friends. I love Christmas.

The past few years, I've wanted to start a new tradition for my family. I would like to celebrate all 12 Days of Christmas. I would love to write a devotional for these 12 days. I made a start last year, but didn't get much beyond scribbled notes.

This year I just didn't seem to have time until this morning, when I hit a wall of writer's block hard. I couldn't seem to get anything going. My ideas seemed foolish, over-done, not worthy. I struggled to get out a few paragraphs in an hour and a half.

Now, finally, this afternoon, I found myself able to write something interesting, something fun and different. It's not what I planned to write. It's nothing like anything I've ever written before.

Instead of a devotional, I'm writing a story of a young woman with serious plans for her life. Her plans are derailed when she starts receiving "true love" gifts from a secret admirer. Sound likes romance, and I've never written romance . . . but I'm excited about this story. I like it a lot so far, and I hope when I finish it, that others will like it too.

Here's an excerpt from my rough draft:
Ann blushed, feeling as if she had been bragging about herself. “Do I act like I’m high and mighty, or self-righteous, Mother?”
“Well, there have been times when I think you could bend a little. Remember that God gives us joy, not only for reverence but for mirth.” Mother sat down on the bed next to Anna. “Do you remember that Christmas pageant so many years ago? When you read the Christmas story from the Gospels?”
Ann groaned. “Yes, I remember mother. I said ‘mirth’ instead of ‘myrrh’ when I was reading about the gifts of the wise men.”
“And the congregation laughed, but we also learned something that day. God does give us joyful mirth, laughter, and even unexpected love. Would it be right to refuse God’s gifts to us?”
“No,” Ann said, feeling humbled. “I suppose I should read that letter. But what if it’s someone that I don’t like? How could that be a gift from God?”
“Then it is a test, or something that will refine your walk with Him,” Mother stated firmly, and pulled Ann with her as she stood.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Encouragement

Encouragement can be found in many places, and God has surrounded me with great encouragers lately, when I have most needed it.

So, for all of my encouragers, I say thanks be to God for you! Thank you.

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life: Mom and Dad, Mom-in-law and Dad-in-law, Husband, Daughters, Friends from Dance, Friends from Church, Friends from Home-school groups, Friends on Facebook and online.

I am also blessed to be linked to some encouraging writing sites like confidentwriter.com, and blessed by facebook writing friends.

Spirit 105.3 is also a great provider of encouragement on facebook - I am so thankful for their quotes.

And then there are the devotionals that show up daily in my inbox. Wow! Some days, like today, they fill me up in places I didn't even know were empty. So I am thankful for The Upper Room and Luther Seminary devotionals for all those daily reminders of God's love.

Then, there is God's Word, the best book ever written. And I hope this quote will be a bit of encouragement for all those who have encouraged me:

Philemon 4-7 "I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brothers and sisters, have refreshed the hearts of the saints."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Recommendations

I found myself "talking books" the other day with a friend, and I realized that I don't recommend the ones I love often enough. So here are a few that my family and I have enjoyed this last year or two.

"Winnie the Horse Gentler" - the series by Dandi Daley Mackall
For ages 8 and up, my daughters and I loved this book and the series!
It follows the life of a young middle aged girl who is struggling to keep her faith, and to earn her name as a horse gentler. Books in order in the series: Wild Thing, Eager Star, Bold Beauty, Midnight Mystery, Unhappy Appy, Gift Horse, Friendly Foal, and Buckskin Bandit.


"Starlight Animal Rescue" by Dandi Daley Mackall
Another wonderful series that both my daughters and I loved. My youngest, who was seven, had to discuss some of the issues presented in this series with me, since it is geared for an older audience and deals with issues like: foster care, running away, lying, drug abuse, cancer, death, adoption, and of course, faith in all things. The first book, "Runaway" was our favorite. I highly recommend it for everyone, and for moms and dads to read too!!!


"The Dragonkeeper Chronicles" series by Donita K. Paul is meant for all ages, but is best read by 10+. The first book, "Dragonspell" is the by far the best in the series, and can be read as a stand alone book. This Christian fantasy series is not for the faint of heart, and has some real ugly villains involved and some scary action sequences. However, if you like Harry Potter and don't mind reading both female and male protaganists, then you might like this series too.


"The Book of the King" is the first book in a series by Jerry B. Jenkins, and is by far the best in that series. This book is also meant for kids 10 and up, and also has some scary villains and action sequences. The world that Jenkins creates is rich, and interesting.


"Narnia" by C.S. Lewis - Christian fantasy that stands the test of time. This is a must-read kind of series for your whole family. The movies are great, but the books are even better.

"The Tail of Emily Windsnap" by Liz Kessler is a secular fantasy about a young girl who is afraid of water, then discovers that she is a mermaid! My oldest loved this book and this series, and I enjoyed it too.


"Fairy Godsister" by Liz Kessler is a secular fantasy about a young girl who just wants to be "normal" and her fairy godsister. My youngest daughter loves this series, and I have to say it is definitely quirky, fun and a good read about friendship and family. I haven't read the second yet, but both my daughters have and it is sitting on the shelf waiting for me to have time.


"Dragon Slippers" by Jessica Day George is a wonderful, secular (non-Christian) fantasy tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to read the next chapter and the next. There is humor, adventure, and an extremely strong heroine whose favorite activities include embroidery and dragon-riding! My daughters and I loved this book, and we have enjoyed the second and the third as well. However, if you want to just read the first one, you can do that without feeling required to read the rest. (There is extremely light romance in these books, with a wedding in the third book - but this is all handled with a light, deft touch and more of an emphasis on friendship).


"The White Giraffe" by Lauren St. John. This urban fantasy about a young, recently orphaned girl, who befriends a white giraffe living on her Grandmother's game preserve is great! We just happened to pick this one up at the nearest bookstore, and my youngest at age 8 really enjoyed it, then my oldest age 10 loved it, and I read it too. We had a hard time figuring out whose turn it was to read. This is not a Christian book, but I think it handles the heavy themes well. Themes include: divination of the future (?ok subject matter?) and secular prophecy, loss of family members, learning a hard truth, finding a new family, making new friends, dealing with bullies, and lying to authority to save endangered animals. It all turns out well in the end, but as I wrote this list I realized that many parents may want to read the book first.


"The Ranger's Apprentice" by John Flanagan. A fantasy, adventure book that I have found to be impossible to put down. I picked it up in the kids section of the library, checked it out and read it three times, and then eventually bought it. My oldest daughter enjoyed it as well. There are a few scary villains, but overall this is a fun adventure. The main hero is a young teenage boy, and he becomes apprentice to a Ranger, a mysterious group of people in his land. Adventure ensues. This is one of the only books where I have seen a bully and a victim befriend each other in a believable fashion. This book can be read as a stand alone book, or as the start of a series. However, I think the first book is best. My oldest daughter enjoyed the series until she got to the 4th book, and then lost interest. I recommend it for ages 10 and up. (again, as long as scary villains are not a problem - also there is fighting in the book with swords, bows and arrows, and hand to hand).



"The Little House in the Big Woods" - that whole series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you haven't read it, please read it! One of the best book series that I have ever read allowing us a glimpse into our country's past by someone who lived in it. I think that boys and girls alike would enjoy this series. Ages 8 and up, or read with your whole family out loud.


Reading aloud.
Just do it. It has been proven to help with reading comprehension, vocabulary, and helps stir our imaginations. Please read aloud with your family. It makes for better car time and cuddle time than any movie or video game.
Check out Jim Trelease's books on reading aloud if you don't believe me, or need some stories to start with.
If your kids are wiggle, let them wiggle, or start with some books that you can act out, like "Going on a Bear Hunt" and "Guess How Much I Love You."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Parry-Riposte 2

En Guarde!
After receiving a rejection letter on one of my stories last night, I woke up, read an inspirational blog about writing, wrote for nearly two hours, and then submitted another story to another e-zine.
I will not be defeated by rejection letters! I will write, and submit, and write, and submit, and . . . parry-riposte.
The blog I enjoyed reading this morning was called "Essential Frames: Ten Ways to Frame Your Words" and I'll try to post a link here:



Ok, I'm seriously annoyed with myself - because I am not as tech savvy as I need to be to run a blog . . . not sure why I can't seem to add a link to this correctly, but if you would like to read the blog I read, search out confidentwriting.com.

Lessons I'm learning

Lessons I'm learning from my Bible study these days:

God keeps his promises.

His love is unfailing and neverending.

When my heart feels like a desert, and my mind feels like a wilderness, I know that
God can change that because He can make the desert glad, and the wilderness bloom.

We are blessed when we believe in the Lord and His awesome power and wonderful love.

We have been blessed by the faith of a one young woman, the birth of our Savior, and God's love working through ordinary people in an extraordinary way.


Bible Verses:
Psalm 45:9 "Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love."

Psalm 45:14 "For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide to the very end."

Isaiah 35:1-2 "The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God."

Luke 1:41-45
"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she excaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!'"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Names

Recently, I read a blog about names, specifically about how names affect us in the workplace, and throughout our whole lives.

Personally, I love my name. I would never change it, even though other people often assume things about me based on my name. Sometimes, other people assume gender, age, ethnicity, or background based on my name. Sometimes, they are even right, but usually they are not.

As I thought about names, and naming, and some of my opinions and assumptions based on names, I started thinking about the name of our Savior. As our world pauses for a day to celebrate Christ's birth, I would like to invite everyone to think about His name and what it means to you.

Lamb of God. Prince of Peace. Savior. Redeemer.

What are the names of Jesus' that affect you and your life?

As I thought about this for me, I started remembering the lyrics to Chris Tomlin's song, Jesus Messiah.

"Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Parry - Riposte

Sometimes, life feels like a grey sky,
and I feel like the bare branches reaching upward, hoping for blue.

And yet, we have gingerbread dough in the refrigerator.
We plan to visit the Cat Rescue in a half hour.
I made the phone calls I needed to make, despite a bout of phone phobia.

This morning, I loved the color of the sky, and I was day-dreaming of fencing.

So, following that analogy, what is there to do when I feel under attack?

Parry-riposte.

Turn it around.

Turn a defense into an agressive offense, so quickly that it all looks planned, like an intricate dance.

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say: Rejoice!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Treasure

This morning, full of busy-ness and sleepiness, doesn't give me much time for Bible study. However, these verses stood out for me this morning. I find myself longing for Christmas, for the celebration of the birth of our Savior and the rest that he brings, as well as longing for the second coming, when Jesus' peace will be eternal. I long for the treasure made of joy in Christ.

Isaiah 33:2
“O Lord, be gracious to us;
we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.”


Isaiah 33:5-6
“The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on
High;
he will fill Zion with justice and
righteousness.
He will be a sure foundation for your
times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom
and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to
this treasure.”


Isaiah 33:17 “Your eyes will see the king in his
beauty
and view a land that stretches afar.”

Luke 1:30-33
“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shepherd Boy

“Did you see me?” asked the little boy
His face, lit with eternal joy.

“I was the littlest shepherd,” he said,
The pride coming from his heart, and not his head.

“Oh,” I said, “I didn’t know it was you,
The littlest one in black, grey, and blue.”

“When the angels spoke, we knelt down,
Before journeying on to Bethlehem town.”

“Yes, yes,” I said, “I saw that. You were wonderful.”
Then we pondered the Living Nativity with our hearts full.

A community coming together to recognize the birth,
Of our Savior, Christ the Lord, who brings us joy on earth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Living Nativity

Christmas lights shimmer on the bay
As we come home, warm inside
On a cold winter night
With Christ’s birth in sight

His mother cradled him in the hay
We touched the donkey’s hide
As we witnessed the living nativity
Shown to us with glowing activity

Christmas lights shimmer on the bay
As we come home, warm inside
With Christ’s birth in sight
In spite of the cold winter night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Published title list is short

I made a list of the published titles I have that can be found online, and the list is sadly short. I have a lot of work to do . . .

I'm also not sure if I should count the novel excerpt I wrote, and had published in New Voices IV: An anthology 2001, from Goodfellow Press, and the University of Washington Commercial Fiction program. I can't even find the thing online anywhere, even at amazon, and it is 8 and 1/2 years old. I own at least six copies of it, but I'm not sure I want to hand them out to anyone but family. I can see so many parts that could be better, even in that short bit of writing.

Then, there are those three old poems, so badly written and published in Western Washington University's Viking newspaper nearly 16 years ago. I'm not sure I would want anyone looking up those.

I feel like I am still beginning . . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

Daily Advent - journey with John

As I prepare for Christmas this year, I keep coming back to these scriptures about John the baptist. He wasn't the Christ, the messiah, God's son. But his birth was foretold, his life given a purpose by God. He was chosen to to call God's people to prepare their hearts. He was chosen to introduce Jesus.

John the baptist's life, and his ministry were very close to the heart of the ministry that God gives each of us who follow Christ. We are to live our lives for him, preparing ourselves for Jesus' return, and introducing Jesus to everyone around us.

So as I prepare for Christmas this year, celebrating the birth of Christ, and yet also looking forward to his return, I wonder how well I've fulfilled the purposes God has placed in my life. Am I prepared? Have I introduced Jesus to others? Thankfully, John the Baptist also showed us what to do when we have fallen short: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 3:2b


Here are the scriptures I read earlier this morning:


Isaiah 40:3-5
"A voice of one calling:
'In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'"

Luke 1:11-17 "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Zechariah), standing at the right sid of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; yourprayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back ot the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous - to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'"


Luke 3:2-3 "during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the dsert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentence for the forgiveness of sins."

John 1:23 "John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of the one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.''"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Morning

"Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you . . ."
That song makes me want to dance, sing, and head outside.
But wait, I already did all those things this morning.

The frozen dew sparkled on the neigbhor's field, making it look like something out of a fantasy novel, with every leaf etched in frosty designs, and the 2 acre wood on my parent's property feel like Pooh's 100 acre wood.

The dogs sniffed over animal trails, the girls and I marveled over the curving madrona making a half-circle around a tall pine tree, and Grandma showed us where the little toadstool villages were growing, and the ant-hills with holes dug into them by some hungry animal.

We heard eagles, and saw them flying in perfect formation through the trees and out over the fields. A black-capped chickadee greeted us from his branch, peering at us as curiously as we did him.

We tap danced to Christmas music in our living room, entryway and kitchen, and sang Christmas carols with the radio over breakfast.

All in all, a wonderful morning.

A wonderful, advent kind of morning.

Preparing our hearts for Christmas.

"The weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn,
fall on your knees,
oh hear, the angels' voices,
oh night, divine,
oh night, when Christ was born."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Home school

My oldest perches on her chair
her hand sifting through her hair,
her legs bent in frog pose.

My youngest daughter
pokes her lip with her pencil
and asks a question.

Around the table we ponder
subtraction, division and
that white cloud streak across the sky.

Concentration renewed,
scratching pencils do the work
of erasers, never used.
Mistakes are corrected, but not forgotten.

The white cloud streak across the sky
behind layers of stretching tree branches
calls us to finish, to move on and upward.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ideas

Ideas are
like ideals, they need a
rock-like foundation,
a hard-working dedication,
the sweat of perseverance,
and the hope of belief
to become something more
than a thought,
somethng real.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Inbox

Inbox

A surreal mailbox,
filled with encouragment and
rejection letters,
sales and "helpful" tips,
funny forwards and inspiration.
Sometimes there is even something
from a long lost friend,
but only sometimes.



Just a few moments with words that never seem to dance for me, tangled with the discontentment I feel, the frustration of receiving a rejection letter from a poetry site I aspire to be published at someday. Even if that poem was as poorly worded as the one above, I didn't expect the stilted horrible tone of the rejection letter. "Nothing in your submission that we could use." I think I like the "this piece didn't work for us, but we would like to see more of your writing," type rejection a whole lot better. "Nothing" that they could use. Ouch. I feel like my writing has been dry, stale, repetitive, and just flat . . . maybe occassionally whiny, but still flat.

Yet, I still want to write. I still want to try and wrangle the words into something worthwhile. I'm not going to quit. Today, I'm going to finish chapter 7 of the Crystal Sword, and tomorrow I'll start on chapter 8, and write a few more poems, and . . . keep writing no matter what response my inbox holds.

Trying to capture the winter sunshine

Dazzling sunshine so bright
that the shadow line of trees

is cut in distinct bars across the road

like the refining fire God uses
to separate my sin from my soul.



Aah, only giving myself five minutes to capture a thought, just isn't enough.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

why I love mornings before sunrise

Oh, the beautiful line of tree branches hanging and reaching, black against the dark blue sky that grows ever lighter with each passing moment. A winter sunrise comes with a slow bliss of awakening.

I love my mornings.
I love being able to sit down with a cup of hot tea, my Bible, my own thoughts, and my laptop.
I love writing.
I love sifting through the marketplace of e-zines, and looking for just the right spot for my writing.
I love being inspired by the language and humor of other poets and writers.
I even love submitting my work when it's something I feel really good about, something that I hope inspires, or captures a feeling just right.

I love having enough rest, to wake sleepily and stretch my mind in prayer, and then to get up, stretch my body, and be able to have this time before sunrise, before everyone gets up.

I love my family, but I love them even more when I've had this time alone, with God, with my own thoughts, with my writing. Thank you God, for this time!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Christmas Wish List

This year, I don't have much of a Christmas wish list . . . except for big things, amazingly huge God-sized things like:

Peace - something no human can achieve

Adoption - something I can't do without my husband being whole-heartedly into it

A more organized mind, house, etc - not sure if this is within my ability or if I need some divine intervention.

A healthy lifestyle - this is a gift I have to give to myself.

Continued love, protection and wisdom for my life and for my family - again, definitely a God made gift.

A Savior - wait, I already have received that!!! Thank you Lord Jesus!


And then there are the little things that I can actually write down on my wish list:

Mary Englebreit Calendars

A few books on writing

Maybe a few books to read

A ski helmet - since everyone else in my family has one, I think I should too.


But I really would like those other ones first . . . the ones that either take more effort from me, or are dependent on the Lord's amazing grace and divine intervention.