Sunday, March 28, 2010

Showers of Spring Flowers

Wonderful, pink flowers bloom, and drop to our garden bed just outside our door each and every spring. They are lovely, and then, they pile up and become work.

So much of my life feels like those pink blossoms.

We have been so richly blessed, and those blessings drop abundantly, and then pile up and we realize slowly that we are responsible for them.

God blesses us so that we can bless others.

When we are blessed, we find ourselves wholly immersed in the sights, sounds, and scents of life. If we don't pass the blessings on, or share them with others, they pile up and become . . . work. Strange as that may sound, I think it's true.

We have piles of paper in four rooms. Sure, some of them are important papers that need to be filed and shelved. Some are stories and poems that need to be shared. Some are pictures and writings by my daughters which need to be posted. Did you know that the refrigerator is really too small to put everything on? We have artwork, cards, certificates, and writing posted on cupboard doors, closet doors, walls, and windows. Still, there is a pile of them to post, sort, mail and share.

Then there is the laundry. We have been blessed by hand me downs, second hand store buys, and sale bargains, coupons for 40% off, and it's all waiting for us to wash, dry, and (shudder) fold. When we grow out of things, it takes us a long time to admit it, put it into bags and take it to the Goodwill or the food bank . . . but eventually it happens.

I am thankful to the Lord for blessing us so abundantly, and for giving me the honor of caring for my husband and daughters. However, some days, when I've allowed my blessings to pile up next to me, like the pile of wrinkled clothes that must be ironed before my husband goes to work . . . I am hard pressed to see the blessing.

Even some days, when I have 3,774 words written for a story that I plan on ending around 5,000 words, I lose my excitement and see. . . the trouble with my plot-line . . . it's just too long, or too long-winded.

I know I'm going to have to revise . . . at least once. And yet, being able to revise is a blessing. Thank you Lord, for giving me a second chance, and sometimes a third, and fourth, to find the right words to write!

So, how can I use my piles of underused blessings to bless others?
I can actually sort those papers, submit my work, post my daughters' creative work, iron my husband's clothes so he can be the best supervising engineer he can be (sharing my husband's amazing skills with others), and finish that rough draft, so I can revise it, and submit it, and hope that it will make a difference in someone's life, and not just become another dust collector in mine.

How about you? How are you using your abundant blessings to bless others this spring?
Or have you let the beautifully scented blossoms of blessing pile up like I have lately?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I'm celebrating this week!

My poem, "March Snow Hare," was published at Every Day Poets on March 16th, and here's the link:

March Snow Hare

Please check it out! Vote on it by clicking on the stars, and let me know what you think.
It's just a simple poem, but I had some fun writing, and rewriting, and rewriting it.
I'm still not sure I have it "just right" but I am thankful that the editors at Every Day Poets gave me a chance to revise, and resubmit, and that they liked it enough to publish it.

Thank you Every Day Poets!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Check it out!

Celebration time!

My poem, "March Snow Hare" will be published at Every Day Poets this week on March 16! Woohoo!

It's a simple, whimsical poem and I'm thankful that the editors gave me a chance to re-write it and re-submit it.

So, if you can Check it out at Every Day Poets online on the 16th!

I'll be taking a look at it myself that day - but I won't be blogging about it then.

Have a great week!

St. Patrick's Day Challenge

St. Patrick, the legends say, explained how God can be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with a three leaf clover.

So, in honor of St. Patrick, but also hoping to honor the Lord as Creator, Redeemer and Indwelling Spirit, I dedicate this writing week to finding ways to describe His amazing trinity. I thank God that He is bigger than any words I might hope to have to describe Him . . . yet I want to joyfully praise Him as best as I am able.

What words describe His majesty, His ability to love us in the midst of our sin, and the way His Spirit speaks to each of us?

I invite you to embark on this challenge with me, how do you describe our Lord, the Lord of the universe, life, and everything?

Dancing and Communion?

Giggle, giggle, giggle.
I love my daughters, and here I am, surrounded by their giggles, giggling with them, as I blog, and they struggle with a Wii game.

We've been up since 6:45 this morning. With stage makeup applied before 8a.m., we drove for forty minutes to a dance competition. Thankfully we were there early as it took two tries to finish the final touch of their stage makeup - fake eyelashes. Early enough still to watch some of the competitors dancing before them, my daughters went from sleepy to excited, the kind of excited that can only be seen back stage at performances. If you've ever danced, acted or sung, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, take any kid on a sugar rush, put them in an auditorium with 200 other kids on the same sugar rush, and then keep them hyper for several hours . . . and I still don't think that would reach the level of excitement we experienced this morning.

After their awesome dance performance, my daughters and I hurried out to our car, and drove down the road to meet my husband as he drove to meet us after worship. We ate fast food, exchanged hugs and kisses, and then my oldest daughter and I went to a special after church class with our Pastor on communion, while my husband and youngest daughter returned to the competition to attend the award ceremony.

Our church has a "Faith Stepping Stone" program in which kids are introduced to different Biblical concepts in different years. These classes are usually 6-8 hours spread out over 3-4 weeks and include fun games, laughter and Biblical study. This year, my oldest daughter is going to the Communion Stepping Stone class.

Despite her love of performing, and her love of dance, my daughter enjoyed our first week of Communion class so much, she wanted to be sure and make it there today.

Unlike the old days of my youth, everyone is welcome at the communion table during worship - young, old, member, and non-member. My oldest daughter started taking communion when she was two and a half, at a friend's ordination. We've talked about communion many times, since I wanted her to know that it wasn't just "snack time" at worship. The Communion Class is a way of digging deep in the Bible to find out why we do this "Communion thing", and why it isn't just snack time.

So, what in the world do dance competitions and communion have in common? Is there a common thread at all?

Well, yes, if you count joy as a common thread.

We came from the dance competition on a "high" of adrenaline and excitement that carried us throughout our drive, and through communion class where this concept resonated with me: Communion is a joyful event, where we take bread and wine/juice in rememberance and thanks (joyful thanks) for Christ's loving sacrifice for us.

Then there was this question: who would you like to bring with you to the communion table?

Everyone! Really. I wish I could have brought the entire dance competition to the communion table today. And everyone that reads my blog. And everyone that I know, and run into every day.

Jesus loves each of us so much that he gave his body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. I Love remembering and thanking him for that. I love it so much, I could just get up and dance!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

Amazing, but true, I've received two blog awards in the last few weeks!
This one, the Honest Scrap Award, was given to me by Emily Ann Benedict at Benedictions Thank you Emily!

However, there is something about being given my first two amazing blog awards while I've been fasting from blogging . . . what is that something? Irony. Is someone trying to tell me that silence is golden and I should be silent? Lol.

Actually, both awards come with the invitation/obligation to list 10 things. For the Honest Scrap Award, I am supposed to list 10 things that people may not know about me:

1. I have certificates from the United States Fencing Association to coach Basic Foil, Level 1 Foil and Basic Sabre fencing. Of course, these certificates are 13 years old, and I haven't practiced, so they are as out of date as I am out of shape.

2. I've had 13 surgeries. Most of my family and close friends know that, but not every friend or every person has been reveled with my scar stories. Most of them are just not that exciting, and most of my surgeries have been to fix my ears. I had three sets of ear tubes, and 4 ear surgeries to patch up a broken ear drum. I've also had my tonsils and adenoids out, one surgery on my right arm and two on my left, and two c-sections. I don't like being put to sleep or needles, but I've learned how to deal with them.

3. I like picking up worms. I think they are cool, wonderfully slimy, and I like how they wriggle, seeking good soil.

4. I took communion before being baptized. That may not seem like a big deal, but it was very uncommon in the church I grew up in for any children to take communion. To be an unbaptized child taking communion was relatively unheard of by anyone, and I'm still surprised to think our Pastor was ok with it. He had to have known, because he baptized me when I was seven. I started taking communion at the age of five.

5. A dog bit me on the chin when I was 2 and 1/2. I still have the scar, if I pull my face to the side and squint, you might be able to see it too. Despite that, I like dogs a lot. I just don't trust those cranky black labs that everyone else thinks are perfect people lovers.

6. Keloid Scars run in my family. Really, the ugly scars I have are not because the surgeons I've had (see number 2) were horrible, but because I have a genetic predispostion to big, ugly scar tissue that continues to grow for up to two years after an incision or injury. The surgeons were actually really talented and tried their best to minimize scarring. My mom has keloid scars, and my Grandpa (her dad) did too.

7. I like to dance around my house when no one is watching. Actually, I dance just about anywhere, but quietly . . . wouldn't want anyone to know that it isn't just my kids that tap dance while waiting in line at a public restroom, or walking the grocery store aisles in a crowd.

8. I used to make up my own songs while walking home from school, or playing outside. I still do sometimes.

9. My first, major, Christian mentor committed suicide in the midst of post-partum depression. I nearly lost my own faith over this, but then God showed up (He never really left), and He gave me the amazing love and grace I needed to return to Him. I still pray for my mentor's daughter. I've never met her, and I don't even know her name, but I know God hears my prayers for her.

10. I like dandelions, and blackberry bushes, even though I know many people think they are weeds. One produces abundant flowers, and the other produces sweet fruit. I would rather grow like a persistent, fruit-filled blackberry bush than any flower that is overly picky about soil and sunshine.

I would like to give the Honest Scrap Award to these wonderful writers:

1. Jessica Nelson at Booking It
2. Julie Dao at Silver Lining
3. Jennifer Shirk at Me, My Muse and I
4. Shannon O'Donnel at Book Dreaming
5. Nisa at Wordplay, Swordplay

Please check out their blogs!

Creative Writer Award

Many Thanks to Julie Dao at Silver Lining for giving me this awesome award! My very first blog award!
Thank you Julie!
I apologize for being so late in my acceptance. In my Lenten fasting from blogging and facebooking, I decided to take mini-Easter Sundays and allow myself some web-time, but my blog has been neglected due to extremely crazy Sundays . . . I wanted enough time to sit down and collect my thoughts before/while I wrote.

So, to accept the award I have to post 10 things that make me happy:

1. My Bible and God, Creator, Redeemer, and Indwelling Spirit, all in one, and holding me up in every moment, with me in the good and the bad moments. Due to a recent mini-storm in my life, I've had reasons to be very thankful for His presence in my life, and to be glad that I have been spending a little more time in prayer, study, and fasting.

2. My husband's wonderful hugs. He knows how to give supportive hugs, fun hugs, tickling hugs, squeezing little hugs, soft hugs, and just right cuddly hugs.

3. My daughter Anna's laughter, and her dancing shoes. She loves to laugh, and make people laugh with her quirky, dramatic humor and she loves to dance everywhere she goes in tennis shoes, ballet slippers, and taps.

4. My daughter Trisha's expressive eyes, and her dancing feet. Trisha's eyes show exactly how she feels, lighting up with excitement and narrowing into anger or sorrow, and she dances on bouncing feet, tapping, jumping, and leaping.

5. My mom's hearing aids. Struggling with "half" deafness all of her life, my mom's hearing aids help her to keep going, and keep communicating, and communication is an important part of her life. She communicates with words, a listening heart, and amazing artwork with paints, pencils, beads, and paper folding.

6. My Dad's hands. Although he has rheumatoid arthritis and he can barely hold a deck of cards these days, my Dad has very capable hands. He has always fixed things with them, and always figured out how to solve problems with his mind, his heart and his hands all working together. I think the reason I can accept God's grace and His handiwork in my life is because my own earthly Dad has such loving, hard-working hands.

7. My dogs. My older dog, Lady, has such a great, happy spirit. She may have sore joints, but she still leaps at the chance to walk, and play. My younger dog, Jumper (often referred to as The Beagle), is persistent, stubborn, and has trained me to keep all food put away, and the front door firmly closed. He loves food, and escaping all boundaries.

8. My cat Emily. I've had three cats before, and love more than I've owned, but I have to say that Emily is the Perfect Cat. She's clean, neat, loves to play with my husband, keeps my feet warm at night, and sits on my lap if she's sure that I'm going to stay still. Occassionally I want her to be cuddly on my terms, but she is a pro at saying "no." I hope my daughters can learn some lessons from her before they get into that teenage dating scene.

9. Hair. I have great, bushy, messy, all over the place hair. Thankfully, there are organizations like Locks of Love that take hair and use it to make wigs. Just yesterday my daughters and I each gave 10+ inches of hair to Locks of Love. I had more than 12 inches taken off, and I am loving my new short, graduated bob. I think I'll enjoy the shortness for a while, and then grow it out again. I mean, why not? I have plenty, and it isn't gray yet.

10. Tea with goat milk and honey. Currently, my favorite drink of choice. I'll take tea with just sugar if honey and goat milk can't be found, but I have this particular mix that I really like, 3/4 cup Red Rose Tea, 1/4 cup goat milk, and a heaping gob of honey. Mmm. Good. But I know it's not the choice for everyone, just strange taste on my part.

11. (Bonus) Food Intolerances. Ok, I'm not sure this fits into things that make me happy, because there are days that my food intolerances drive me nuts. Yesterday, as I watched my kids eat gummi worms for the first time ever, because we finally found some made without corn syrup, I was glad. Really, really glad. I am a better cook/baker, the girls eat healthier, and our family has very good reasons not to do a lot of restaurant eating all because of our digestive troubles. So, food intolerances kind of make me happy . . . in a challenging kind of way.

I would like to give this award to:
1. Emily Ann Benedict at Benedictions
2. B.J. Anderson
3. Tamika at Write Worship
4. Laurel at Laurel's Leaves
5. Karen Lange at Write Now