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.

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."

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!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mushroom in a boot glass

When a mom visits a sick daughter, she might bring flowers.
Not my mom.
When she visits, she brings a poisonous mushroom, colorful, bright and beautiful orange with white spots, with crenellated edges.
We couldn't find the right vase to put it in, so now it sits in in a plastic boot drinking glass from "Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede" - a souveneir from my parent's RV travels to Branson.
Somewhere there's a story here, but I think I might have to get well to find it.
My mom sees beauty around her, everywhere, on her walks, on travels.
Maybe there is a poem here instead . . . a kind of ode to my mom, who brings me mushrooms, leaves, and sometimes even flowers. She likes to give gifts of all kinds.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Submission Excitement

Currently, I have four works out in the nether world of editorial slush piles, waiting for a response. I made three of those submissions last week, and one tonight.

I can't describe the excitement, and the hopefulness, mixed with the anxiety of waiting to get a response. Will they accept my work? Reject it? Ask me to make changes and resubmit? Just offer a contract? Reject it with good critique that actually helps me become a better writer?

I won't know until those responses come. And tomorrow, instead of thinking about it, I will write again, and maybe even submit something again. I've found it's better to keep writing, and not lose sleep over possible responses.

But for now, fresh from the submission process, I know it will take some serious distraction to get those thoughts out of my head. I wonder if I can find something adventurous, fun, and maybe even funny on netflix?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin patch poetry

Muddy pools lead us
through the corn maze to giant
pumpkins, wheelbarrows
and slingshot contests that
we actually win this year.

So we bring home our prize,
golden and round, barely
in the back of our van with
its smaller cousins.

There are plans for
the carving, and plans
for the painting,
but I just
want the seeds,
toasted crisp and
salted sweet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspired by other writers

Sometimes, when my writing feels like I've stumbled through a thorn bush, I take some time to read.

Ok, I admit it. I take time to read on any given day, no matter what my writing has been like, however, there are days like today when that reading inspires me, and encourages me to write.
This morning, as I perused everdayfiction.com, I came across a light, funny, sci-fi story by Erin Ryan. It hit the spot.
Then I looked up her website, read some of her blog, and now I feel like tackling my own stories again. Somehow, reading another writer's experiences with writing, publishing and just living with stories running around in her head, inspires me to take my own writing a little further and push myself a little harder.

Because her writing struck my funny bone, and because her blog inspired me to write with more confidence, I invite you to check out Erin Ryan's story at http://www.everydayfiction.com/ and check out her website and blog at http://interiorpassage.com/

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Stanza

Yesterday, having "Night Terrors" published at everydaypoets.com felt good, and yet worrisome. Despite all the encouraging comments from so many friends and family, I feel that there is something missing in that poem.
My husband and my kids, being delightfully and usually gently honest, said, "that's the end? It sounds like there should be a closing line."
Their words resonated with me, and I turned them over throughout the day, and this morning when I woke up.

So here's a shot at another, last stanza for "Night Terrors"

"Nearly sixty years later,
the night terrors still come
but he has found a shield.

He wakes up and
breathes in hope."

There isn't much there yet, but if I add that to the whole poem, and work with the wording more, I might have a poem I could be really proud of without any remorse or regret.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Just wanted to shout it from the rooftops - I'm published! Again! And so far, people I know are still talking to me!

The first time I had a poem published, it had such emotional response from people I knew that I gained friends and lost friends.

"Night Terrors" is a poem that is almost as gritty as that first published poem, and I have been nervous about it's appearance at everydaypoets.com today. Hopefully, I won't have anyone walk up to me in the next couple of days and say, "I can't believe you wrote that trash. Don't ever speak to me again."

It is a poem based on bitterness. I know that. I wish I could have fanagled a little more hope into it, but I didn't.

Taken from my Dad's experiences with a charity hospital, his later post-traumatic stress symptoms, and then blended in my own imagination, this poem has a "reality" piece to it that makes it hard for me to share. But I am trying to meet my oldest daughter's definition of courage: to face my fears.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mucking about

Getting published is like having excitement run through my veins, reaching every little corner of my being. However, getting a poem published that may or may not be "good enough" is kind of like having both excitment and dread running around at the same time. A strange combination that gives me strange dreams and nightmares at night and leaves me exhausted in the morning.
Even if it is publication online, with readership of maybe 100, maybe more . . . it is still exciting and worrisome.

And the horrible thing about all of it is that I've been afraid to write much. Ok, I've journaled, I've fiddled with some of my writing, adding a chapter here, and doing some editing/wordsmithing there, but it has been like walking through muck, with each step being a matter of pulling my foot out of 12 inches of slimy mud, hearing that suction sound as I finally get my foot out and then plunging it back into the mire mearly inches further.

Of course, as I write that, some part of me thinks . . . hey, that sounds like fun. I hope it rains enough soon to get some mud like that. My kids and I love playing in the mud.

So maybe walking through deep mud isn't a good analogy for what it feels like when I can't seem to find any of the right words to write, because I'm both excited and worried about the words that will be published in just four days with my name attached to them. Hmm. Another analogy . . . can't think of one - the inner editor in me is on full, and the creative part of me is staying silent, hiding and waiting for this all to pass. And now, I just sound crazy . . . trying to use my imagination to make sense of it all . . .

Thank God that He has the big picture of the universe in his hands . . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Submissions log

Various thoughts on keeping a submission log:

Keeping track of my submssions this year with a submissions log has not only kept me organized but also kept me writing.

Twenty-one submissions for this year seems an amazing feat at the moment, especially since I didn't start being brave enough to submit my work for publication until April.

Last year, I only made three submissions to different publications.

Before 2008, I hadn't submitted anything for publication since 2001.

A seven year submission-less dry spell doesn't help anyone become a published author.

The more I've submitted, the more I've been published.

And the more I've submitted, the more rejection letters I've racked up as well.

But I keep all those letters, acceptance for publication, and the rejections.

And I have that log with 21 entries for the year. 21 submissions equals more confidence and courage with my writing than I've ever had before.

The year isn't over yet. I wonder how many submissions I'll have made by New Year's Eve.

Friday, August 28, 2009

hard work, hope and perseverance

Hard work, hope, and perseverance. These three elements are key to getting anything done.

Today, I haven't put in my hard work yet for my writing. When will I make the time? After my next segment of hard work on cleaning and packing. Sigh. It always seems like there is something.

Today though, it seemed like I needed a little hope to get started. And I found it . . . slowly, after searching through some of the usual spots I find it like at everydaypoets and everydayfiction, and mindflights, flash fiction online, and the Tacoma News Tribune. And my Bible.

All those are good places for hope and inspiration to drive me through the hard work with some perseverance. And yet, I found myself stalling. So I searched out my own story at mindflights.com in the archives, and re-read it. Dragon Fold is actually pretty good. I know that sounds like bragging, but I was starting to doubt my writing ability, and sometimes I have to read something that's been published to realize, "ok, I can do this."

So now for the hard work. I think I can spare at least twenty minutes before I start anymore housework, or packing.

Twenty minutes isn't very hard at all, if I do twenty now, twenty later, and twenty tonight, I'll have my hour minimum in. Sometimes making those kinds of adjustments is what perseverance is all about. Getting it done with all of life crowding for a spot at the timetable.
So here goes . . . another story like Dragon Fold, I hope.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Waking Up to the World, and Hope

Waking up this morning to grey skies, and a cool breeze has been wonderful. Reading the news reports has me longing for scriptures. Only God has the strength to prevail in this world. I put my life in his hands. I put my family's life in his hands. He has the only hands big enough to hold us all.

"but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31 (happens to be my confirmation verse)

God is our hope and our refuge, and he makes us soar, helps us run and not grow tired. I love this verse because if fills me with energy, and the desire to run the race God has set before me. Powerful images for me, since I grew up flying in my Dad's ercoupe, and running wherever I went, and racing whenever I could.

So, this morning, as I perused my Submissions file, I took heart in the fact that I have submitted 15 poems and stories to various publications this year, and three have been accepted for publication. So despite odds and obstacles, I keep writing and I keep submitting.

And, that count doesn't even include the awesome support and encouragement I've received from my church home, Peninsula Lutheran Church. PLC published 15 devotionals written by me, and everyone has been so amazingly supportive, I praise God for that support and for the wonderful people in my life. Thanks be to God! I need to put more of my writing into His capable hands, and even though I long to write some amazing, thrilling, adventurous sci fi, I think I'm being called to write some more devotions . . . aah, so much to write, and that is exciting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Published, Rocked, and Thankful

Everydaypoets.com published one of my poems yesterday. "Unexpected Grace" will be on their site for the next 18 months or so, making its way into the archives after 4 days or so on their main page. Today, it will show up second in the line up, tomorrow third, etc.

It's cool to be published again. Now, I just need to be my writing routine back . . . maybe after Creation Fest. We've been enjoying amazing musicians, inspiring speakers, and fun worship.

Hawk Nelson and Skillet "rocked our faces off" on Wednesday night.

Yesterday we had fun in the kids tent, and heard a good speaker. Stellar Kart rocked the Fringe stage in the afternoon, but we were too tired to enjoy Kutless and Casting Crowns, which is too bad. We like Casting Crowns. 10:30 is a little late for us when we haven't had enough sleep for two nights previously.

I'm so thankful that we are able to be here, and that I'm able to write, and that I've been published. Thank you Lord!!!

Hopefully today we will be awake for more . . .

Monday, July 13, 2009

art spills

Grape juice spattered on new clothes, vanilla rice milk puddled on the floor, chocolate rice milk flung to the ceiling and the far reaches of the room - these are the artworks that dominate my life.

Searching for frogs in the woods take precedent over my writing, and so I write on my facebook and my blog in little blurbs that just offer me a momentary taste of words.

And here I go again . . . even though I know the frogs are in my strawberry patch eating all the slugs that are trying to steal the fruit. But the woods have an appeal that the strawberry patch just doesn't have.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Approaching the crossroads between an ending and a new beginning slows me down every time. I keep looking back at where I've been, and trying to plan ahead for where I'm going. Thankfully I don't drive like that, but when it comes to just living life, I seem to do a lot of slowing down and speeding up, with no steady travel time.
Traveling has been on my mind lately since I am writing some summer vacation devotionals for my church. I've been writing about maps, steering wheels, sunglasses, tents and campfires, and connecting them all to God's word.
This whole process has been like a journey for me since it is the first time I've done any writing like this . . . not my usual strange short stories or poetry. When I journal, I come close to devotional writing if I'm journaling about my Bible studies. I still think that maybe I was a bit arrogant to tell my music and worship director, and my Pastors, that I could write devotionals for summer that were as good as any that could be found for free online.
There is actually some decent writing done online, although not necessarily here at my "writing spot". When I named this blog, I was thinking of Winnie the Pooh's "thotful spot" at Pooh corner.
So here I am in my "thoughtful spot," thinking about endings and beginnings. Yesterday we ended our regular school year. We ended a four year long commitment to WAVA - a distance learning experience like none other. Next year we will be starting something new, and hopefully better at the Homeschool Co-op here in the Harbor, and with a completely different curriculum at home. Math will stay the same . . . at least in textbook format, but without the online component. tmi
Regular dance classes have ended, and we are headed into Recital Week, with rehearsals M-Th, then rehearsals and recitals F-Sat. The girls are signed up for two classes in July, just to keep their feet tapping and their "wings" sharp. Then they have zoo camp - 1 week, and VBS - 1 week, and we are going to try and sign up for skateboard camp - 3 days. We have one "camping" type trip planned out, and one nebulously working in our minds. Despite all these plans, we are looking at most days filled with swimming and friends, and relaxation. A nice change from our hectic pace these last nine months.
Tomorrow night I'll be putting the finishing touches on my summer devotional series, and yet I'll be starting summer and I plan on writing more steadily all summer.
Definitely at the crossroads.
Jeremiah 6:16a "This is what the Lord says;
'Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk
in it,and you will find rest for yours souls.'"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Writing Sruggles

An awesome day, and I'm already in the thick of life this morning. My daughters and I are working on our lessons, and I sent off two devotionals to the worship music director, and my Pastors at PLC. I volunteered to write some summer devotionals, and it has been challenging. Fun, and interesting, pushing me deeper into God's Word . . . so altogether good. However, some of my writing has been a struggle. Ideas that just don't seem to flow when I get them on the page, and overused words that keep popping up again, and again.

In my other writing, I have had a good news/bad news thing. Another poem of mine will be published at everydaypoets sometime in the next 18 months (love the timeline). Sounds like good news, right? However, I wrote that poem in a bitter mood, and there is no hope at all in it. I sent it off without thinking, and everdaypoets has an interesting submission process where the authors sign a publishing contract while submitting. If they don't accept it for publication, the publishing contract is destroyed. If it is accepted, the publishing contract is valid.

So, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to seeing "Night Terrors" in print. I wrote it well, as far as just writing goes, but from an ethical standpoint, it might not be something I can take pride in.

Night Terrors is a poem based on my Dad's experiences at a charity hospital where he lived for nearly three years, and the night terrors he's had as a result of those experiences. Not happy stuff.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"The heavens declare the glory of
the skies the work of his
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the
Psalm 19:1-4

Once, when I asked my dad earnestly about his beliefs, he replied, "I don't know about Jesus and all of that, but I know that there is a God. Just look around. Look at the mountains, the people, the oceans. There is too much detail for just some random event."
I don't know if I have his reply right. I was sixteen at the time, and we were driving from Enumclaw, Washington to Eugene, Oregon together.
His faith was, and is, of burning importance to me. At the time, I wasn't even sure what he believed. He had come to church with us, off and on, and had even sung in the church choir for a year. Most of the time, however, when I was growing up, he grumbled every step of the way to church and all the way home. He always seemed to come on those few Sundays when money was mentioned, and he believed that "the church" was just trying to swindle us out of our money so that someone of power in the church could live "high on the hog" while we didn't.
Thankfully, almost thirteen years later, my Dad attends church every Sunday. He has a small group with my mom, and they enjoy Christian fellowship and Bible study. He knows the Lord more intimately now. And I am thankful for that. My prayers have been answered in many ways.
I know that God is responsible for the faith of my Dad. I know that prayer is powerful and effective. I also know that having the heavens declare His Glory every day, God has a powerful witness in his creation. Am I, one of his creations and adopted daughter through Christ, declaring God's glory as much as the heavens, the birds, the mountains and the valleys do? I wish I could answer yes, but the real answer is no. God's creation declares his glory every moment of every day. I declare his glory when I keep my eyes on him.
So today, one of my prayers is: Lord, awesome God, creator of heavens and earth, help me keep my eyes on you, and help me to declare your glory as unconciously and freely as the heavens. Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

so many words, so little time

Whew! The days are rolling by with little time to write. A few lines of poetry, and a few e-mails just don't quite satisfy the urge to overflow a word document. So, I have 13 minutes to write and I had better get at it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Newness of Blogging

Blogging and using facebook are new to me. I hope that I can explore my writing and create a space is encouraging to writers, Christians, friends and family online.