Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Blessings - Every Day Blessings

Every Day Blessings

When I woke this moring, I wanted to write something profound. Instead, I found myself thankful for the every day stuff, the mediocre things of life. I decided to put off my post until later.

It's later, and yet I find myself still thankful for the every day Blessings . . . so I thought I would share some with you, and you can decide if they are profound or not.

Today I'm giving thanks for:

1. Spoons.

2. Strawberries.

3. Apple trees.

4. Mornings.

5. Tea.

6. Dogs, and cats.

7. Softball games - even the ones we lose.

8. A small child stepping on my foot and leaning against my leg, like I'm someone reliable to lean on . . .

9. My daughters, husband, parents, in-laws, family, and friends.

10. My church.

11. Trust.

Scripture Blessings:

"The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.'
Elisha replied to her, 'How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?'
'Your servant has nothing there at all,' she said, 'except a little oil.
Elisha said, 'go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and our sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.'
She left him and afteward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another one.'
But he replied, 'There is not a jar left.' Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.'" 2 Kings 4:1-7

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Writer Wednesday on a Thursday

Writing for Writers Wednesdays on a Thursday . . . well, that sums up my life's scheduling abilities at the moment, yep.

Thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes for my daughter yesterday!

So, I've been to some amazing writing sites in blogland, and I have to say that I would like to add to the fervor, the cleverness, and the helpfulness that I see being shared from one writer to another across the world. However, I think my main piece of advice, my main standby is
Just write!

Seems to simple, doesn't it? And yet, isn't that we all need to keep encouraging each other to do?
Just write.
Write when the day is l-o-n-g.
Write when the time seems short.
Write when it rains, or it's so beautiful you ache to go outside.
Write when there are tears in your life, and when there is laughter.
Write when there is rejection, and write when you've gained success.
Write every day.
Write every time you have a moment.
Be a writer. Own it. Live it. Just do it.

Scripture Blessings:
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What time is it? and a Double Digit Birthday!

What Time is It?

Well . . . it's not time for Sparkfest yet! I posted a whole month in advance! Whether this was due to lack of sleep during Creation Fest, or a sense of "busy-busy-ness" I can't say. However, I feel a bit sheepish and foolish, and . . . well, I can only hold my head under a rock for so long, so I'm just saying . . . sorry. On the bright side, I'm very ready for next month's SparkFest!

Double Digit Birthday!!!!!!!!!!

My youngest daughter is turning 10 today! She is officially into her double digits now, and is very excited about that. Ten years ago today, I went through an extremely hard and scary childbirth experience that was worth every nanosecond for the priveledge of having Trisha Faith in my life. Trisha - because that's the only girl's name my hubby and I agreed on, and Faith - because it took some faith to get her here. From the first moment I heard her voice, I knew she was going to have a big say in my life. She's a sweetheart with a generous heart, but she also has some strong opinions about right and wrong. She wants justice and fairness for every person.

So, how did we start her special day?

with chocolate chip pancakes shaped in her name.

Then, she pulled out our new sponsored child packet, and wanted to mail our sponsored child some pencils, paper, a journal, and some hair ribbons right now, before it might get forgotten and pushed into a pile of "to-do-someday" papers. She wrote a loving letter, helped make sure it all fit into the right sized envelope, and then went to pick out her favorite outfit.

Later, we plan to swim, scrapbook, and bead. She'll probably tap dance around the house more too . . . that's just a given part of the way she moves. She tap dances everywhere.

She loves art, and dance, and life, and having Jesus in her life. And I am thankful for her sweet presence, enriching our family life with her passion and her creativity.

God knows how to design masterpieces!

Scripture Blessings:

"For this reason I kneel before the Fther, 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." Ephesians 3: 14-17a

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sparkfest #1 Doomed to Be a Writer

Sparkfest is an awesome Blogfest hosted by Christine Tyler at The Writer Coaster

We get a choice of three questions, or the wonderful random choice of making up a little bit of our own idea and mixing it with the theme . . . which is more the way I write already.

So, I thought about the question: which book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?

And I have to say . . . all of them. Really, every book I read makes me realize that I'm doomed to be a writer. Whether I love the books I read, or strongly dislike them to the point of barely restraining myself from the urge to throw them across the room . . . I still come away wanting to write. And I love reading. I read like I breathe. I read fiction all the time, and non-fiction every day in smaller doses. Every time I put a book down, I am filled with the compelling urge to write, and write, and write again.

Sometimes the perfect, sweet, wow, amazing, incredible books fill me with a bittersweet hope that I will write like that someday.

Sometimes the awful, disgusting beyond belief, yuck, crummy, no-way-would-the-heroine-be-that-naive books fill me with the need to write a better story.

I can't remember the first book that made me realize that I'm doomed and blessed to be a writer, but each time I read I feel the need for paper and pen, or keyboard and screen.

If you haven't joined Sparkfest - go and sign up. Or just add your thoughts to the comment section - what book (s) fill you with the urge to write?

Scripture Blessings:
"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." Genesis 1:3

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Creation Fest Here We Come!

Our family is off on a mini road trip to Creation Fest Northwest, a Christian concert, speaker and fun festival for four days!!!

Will definitely be missing my friends on the web, but we are excited to go, and have a little soul lifting rest with a little dancing and singing in the mix.

My in-laws are graciously taking care of our dogs, cat and frogs, and the house, so we are free to go!

Scripture Blessings:

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog Schedules? Right or Wrong? And Teaser Tuesday

Blog Schedules?

Are they worth it?

It depends. There are bloggers that have a very set schedule that they follow faithfully week after week, without fail. There is a comfort in knowing when I can read certain posts by those particular bloggers. There is also a joy with certain types of posts.

Teaser Tuesdays can be fun, short and sweet.

A blog I read used to have One Goal Fridays where all the readers were invited to share one goal for the coming week. The feedback and encouragement were wonderful.

As a blogger, there are benefits to having a schedule. I know what I "should" post every day. It's set out in advance, and I can write my posts ahead of time if I want to . . . and even give myself some "random" days in between.

I tried blogging for 365 Days for a blessings count with relative success. Relative meaning, I had plenty of missed days and make up days. I just didn't get to my blog every day.

So, do schedules work?

I think it depends on the blogger.

I have a tendency to be random. I like the idea of a schedule, but here I am breaking it one more time. I gave it up mostly for Poetry Schmoetry last week. I missed Monday. It's Tuesday. I have a Teaser Tuesday post, but this topic weighed in on my mind along with a thousand other things at 5 a.m. this morning. So here I am, blogging randomly. No plan. No pre-writing. Just throwing it out there. Is that wrong? The antithesis of all good blogging?

What do you think?

Teaser Tuesday
"What does it mean?" Stretch asked, suddenly interested in the story behind the ancient text.
"It means the Author is at work even if in the darkest of times, we just have to trust him."

from Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by The Miller Brothers

Scripture Blessings:

"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:23-24

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Blessings! July 17, 2011

Sunday Blessings Count

This Sunday I'm especially thankful for:

1. A day trip to Mt. Rainier with my family. The challenge of hiking in the snow was fun and invigorating. Wish I could find the camera I took pictures with that day, but our house is topsy turvy at the moment.

2. We prepped the girls room for painting and re-flooring this week, and have finished painted the ceiling, above the closet area, and one wall blue. Later this afternoon, we will go green for the rest. These pics were taken with my husband's camera:

3. My house is nearly free of all carpet!!! With 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 4 people with mild dust allergies, we need easy floors - fake wood is better than dust-holding carpet. Only 1 room, and the stairway still have carpet, but the stairway will probably still have a safety runner when we are done.

4. Our dogs and cat are enjoying having the girls sleepover in the living room while their bedroom is being worked over for the week.

5. The 24/7 small group hosted worship today at our church, and they are riding in the Courage Classic in August to fundraise for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Go 24/7!!!

6. Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest hosted by small town Shelly Brown was a fun, and encouraging blogfest!!! Thank you Shelly! If you want to re-read the week from the beginning, just go here: Writing With Shelly's Poetry Schmoetry Post Day 1

7. We went to see Harry Potter on Friday and loved it! We thought the Christian symbolism was handled well, and the closure with Snape brought tears to everyone's eyes. Now I'm reading the books again.

8. The ingenuity and humor of the filmakers who made the short film "Plot Device."

Plot Device from Red Giant on Vimeo.

9. We're getting really excited for our mini road trip to Creation Fest Northwest, coming mid next week.

10. Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world!

Scripture Blessings:

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:15

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blogging for a Cause: Courage Classic

Courage comes when we choose to do right even when saying nothing, or doing nothing feels easier.

Courage Classic is the name of a challenging bicycle ride in the Northwest that fundraises to support Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

We need to be aware as we go through our lives that physical and sexual child abuse has risen statistically in the U.S.A. since 1988. This is a problem that isn't going away with silence.

So I urge you to speak, write, pray, and have courage.

It can make a difference. We each can make a difference.

I speak from family history, and personal experience here.

Two of my great-aunts took their father to court in Canada for physical and sexual abuse in the 1920s. They protected their youngers sisters, and were shamed by their home town. Their father went to jail. They moved their family to California and started a new life.

This didn't end the cycle completely. My grandparents continued to have violence in their lives when they argued with each other.

My parents made a pact never to live the life their parents lived. They broke the final chain.

At the age of 7, I witnessed incestous rape and abuse at a friend's house, was threatened and molested, and I went on to finally tell my mom, one teacher, and the school district psychologist about it.

The school district pyschologist tried to convince me that I was lying. For a time, I lost my ability to trust anyone outside my immediate family. I acted out in shameful ways that I will regret all of my life. But eventually, my friend's family was investigated. They received counseling. I lost a friend, and was socially labelled a "tattletale" at school, as well as other names that are too many to count. I received counseling from a psychiatric counselor I could trust as a teenager.

Would I speak up again, if I had to live those awful moments over again? Yes. In fact, I would speak up more quickly, even knowing the personal price I paid.

So please, if you have been a victim of child abuse, or have witnessed child abuse, take courage. Speak up. Get good counseling. Forgive. (That's the part that takes the most courage.)

Tomorrow, an amazing team of people from my church will be serving in all areas of worship. They are a Courage Classic team for the Courage Classic Bicycle fundraising event, and I am thankful that they are speaking up and taking a stand. Next month, they will ride a 173 mile grueling Bicycle ride over three mountain passes to "Pedal for the kids" and fundraise to prevent child abuse and neglect.

If you would like to support the Courage Classic Fundraiser, visit these links for more information:

The Cause

Courage Classic's Main Page

The Ride

Please know that whoever you are, wherever you are in life, there is life and courage in Christ. He died for our sins, for our shame, for our pains. He lives in us when we call his name, and gives us courage when we most need it.

Scripture Blessings:

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing." Galatians 2:20-21

Friday, July 15, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest: Running in the Rythm of the Dark

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest, Entry 3, Reading Day

I know, today, I am supposed to just read. And I will. There are too many awesome poems that I don't want to miss, too many blogs to enjoy involved in Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest.

But, I woke up wanting to write/rewrite/post just one more poem.

I scribbled a bit, and then I looked through my files, and found one. It isn't the one I was thinking of originally. It's one that hit me in the gut, and reminded me that not everything is as simple as pen and ink.

This poem is dedicated to all the kids who have been hurt by someone they love, and adults who still live with the pain of childhood hurts. This poem is for the girl who told me that Job is her favorite book of the Bible.

Running in the Rythm of the Dark

She finds four walls invasive
reminders of harsh words,
hard fists, and the ragged sobs
of her mother
so she runs into the darkness
running circles around the

She stops
by the bell tower, looks
up at the shadowy corners
where the bell waits
to ring away the cobwebs.
It stands still and she cannot,
running in the rythm of the dark.

She knows that boogiemen
don’t lurk in dark corners,
but lie their way through the day,
keeping their deeds hidden with
false smiles, or false tears
as needed.

They aren’t strangers
but the men we know
and call father, uncle, brother,
family friend
and yet, she knows some
are good, some are worthy
of trust.

She wonders why her father
who used to make her laugh
has turned out this way.
The pain twists inside from
the hurt love she still
feels for the man he was
once upon a time.

in a moment of quiet
when she is tired enough
to stand still again,
she tells me her favorite
book of the Bible
is Job.

So, for all us writers - why do we write? Is it all just for fun? For a purpose? Can we write to heal the hurts and share the joys?

Scripture Blessings:

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said:
'Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words and without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you will answer me.'"
Job 38:1-3

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest: Writer's Block

Before I start today's "official" post, I have to say . . . Thank You all for stopping by and reading "Let The Wild Rumpus Begin at the Library". Your comments were encouraging and sweet! Thank you. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and my earliest hours in a small town library basement where the children's books were kept inspired that poem.

My mom entrusted the children's librarian so much that she would spend an hour in the adult stacks upstairs, and I would spend that same amount of time discovering books on my own downstairs. It was a wonderful arrangement, followed by a discussion of our favorite books. She waited until I was ten to put David Copperfield in my hands . . . but for five years, I just read everything in the children's section, starting with Where the Wild Things Are by Sendak, which I checked out dozens of time each year, along with The Hungry Caterpillar. Those books just spoke to my imagination, and took me on flights of fancy, well after I started reading chapter books. And they still do.

Today's poem is well, about yesterday.

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest, Day 4, Entry 2

Writer's Block
I could blame it on a busy day
Or I maybe just the month of May
But that would make no sense in July.

Yesterday I went to the dentist,
the Seattle Aquarium, a restaurant,
the library, and a winning softball game.

In the month of May, we were swamped
with the beginning of the end of our
homeschool year, dance year, and . . .

Like I said it makes no sense in July.

I had a headache, my schedule was off,
my tea turned cold before I drank it.
I stubbed my toe, and broke a pen.

I could blame it on a busy day,
a headache in the month of July,
but yesterday I sat and tried.

Two paragraphs, and the words died.

And today, this poem just stinketh,
but I keep writing and thinketh
day after day, word after word,
line after line will push that
writer's block out to sea
and make it sinketh.

Ever Had a Day Like That? And how do you recover from it?

Scripture Blessings:

This scripture just stood out on the page today, and I'm still working it over in my mind and in my prayers.

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." 2 Corinthians 7:10

I like the "leaves no regret" part.

Have a Blessed Writing, and Living Life Fully kind of day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest: Wild Rumpus at the Library

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest is Here!
Check out Writing With Shelly for more details.

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin At the Library

Once upon a time in a basement library nook
I stumbled upon my first favorite book
Pulled into adventure as the pages unfurled
I found treasures greater than gold or pearls

In a book that took me sailing through night and day
I joined in the wild rumpus just long enough to say
a home with love and a supper waiting, nice and hot
was more important than being Queen or King on the spot.

My imagination took my swinging through trees,
and I could return home when I pleased.
I met wild characters and creatures from many lands
and had adventures in mountains, seas and sands.

Once upon a time in a basement library nook,
I fell in love with the soft pages of a book.
The pages turned, the adventures unfurled,
and I held a treasure greater than gold or pearls.

If you know what "first favorite" book I'm referring to, please comment!

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Black Bears and Writing Prompts

Cool morning air, beautiful bird song, and alternating views of trees, grassy fields, and the sea greeted me this morning as I went for my every day walk. My beagle wagged and trotted just a little out front, taking the leash to full length and then coming back, happy to sniff a little in the ditch and then return to a steady trot by my side.

Slowly, I realized I hadn't seen any other walkers, or runners. I remembered one of my neighbors telling me of a black bear sighting on our country road. I walked a little faster, and started looking at the underbrush beneath a treed area beside the road.

My right shoe started eating my sock, pulling it down under my right foot. I slowed, thinking about fixing this annoyance.

Then a strange musky odor filled the air, and my dog stiffened with interest.

What happened next?

Imagine the possibilities, consider this a writing prompt, and write your ideas in the comment box.

Scripture Blessings:

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Sunday Blessings

Summer Sunday Blessings!

Too many blessings to count that I am thanking and praising God for today, but here are a few:

1. Frozen Blueberries.

2. Banana pancakes.

3. Walnuts.

4. A packet of Mango Black Maui Tea that reminded me of the sweetness of our vacation in April.

5. A winning softball game played well, with a close score.

6. Feeling God's call to give a message to my church, relying on Him to guide me through it, and having it turn out all right.

7. O Praise Him by the David Crowder Band.

8. How Great is Our God

9. The Great Commission - Matthew 28:18-20.

10. The Word of God is Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword, even a Lightsaber!

11. The silly short skit with a serious message that I wrote for the Children's message today, which was acted out by three talented actors all 12 and under. Check it out:

Sharper Than Any Lightsaber

(Cue: Star Wars theme music)

(Two fighters come from opposite sides of the church, brandishing their jedi swords, jumping and leaping, turning and doing all the fancy moves they can think of while the music is playing.)

(They meet in the middle and start to sword fight in slow motion . . . super slow motion.)

(Then a third kid comes in from the front with a Bible in her hands. She brings the Bible down in the middle of the two swords, the music stops suddenly, and the two fighters break apart.)

1st Fighter says: Whoa! Did you see that?!

2nd Fighter says: What is that? Is that some kind of new weapon?

Bible-toting kid says: It’s the living and active Word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword or weapon made by mankind.

1st Figher says: Whoa! Cool!

2nd Fighter says: I have to get one of those! That’s awesome!

Bible-toting kid says: Come one, I’ll show you where you can get one.

(They all exit.)

Scripture Blessings:

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blogging for a Cause: First Steps

When I wake up, my first steps lead me to water and medicine. Due to hypothyroidism, I have to take a daily dose of medicine, and with that I drink a glass of clean water.

Clean water and medicine are scarce, precious resources in many parts of our world. Children and adults die every day from disease and illness that could be prevented with clean drinking water, and basic medicine.

If you would like to know more just check out this World Vision Video
Clean Water

and this video on
Health Prevention

They are each approximately 3 minutes long, and wortwhile reminders of just how precious clean water, and basic medicinal care are in our world.

Let's take some first steps towards clean water and access to healthcare for the world outside our homes.

Scripture Blessings:

"For God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that his all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting Outside: Going to the Zoo

Tigers, leopard cubs, and elephants, oh my!

Today we are off to the zoo with friends. Our local zoo, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium located in Point Defiance Park is a highly recognized zoo for the way that it treats the animals, and its visitors.

A full, one way circuit of the zoo is 2.5 miles . . . if we don't go zig-zagging from one place to another for any reason. Usually we zig zag, so it's a great way to get some walking exercise for everyone.

When my kids were little, we used to go there weekly for a good, outdoor walk/dash/chase. My oldest daughter loves to sit and watch the sharks in the aquarium, and founded her love of marine biology there. My youngest has been drawn the big cats, especially the tigers, but she is also fascinated by the aquarium. The touch tank there is small, but it is the best one we've ever visited. Now, that they are older, they attend zoo camp once a year, and learn about animal care, research, and conservation in small groups of 10-12 kids with fun, experienced teachers.

Today is just about fun, getting outside, and going dewy-eyed over leopard cubs.

Do you have any favorite places to get outside and play?

On my exercise and health track: I've walk-jogged 11 miles so far this week and plan to get in 2-4 today, plus I've logged 1/2 mile while swimming. And I've been eating salads every day.

Scripture Blessings:

"Now, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Go, Be Free, Get Outside, and Praise God for His awesome creation!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7th Writing and Living with Joy!

This week is by far better than last week. I have more energy, which seems to equate to more time. My kids have a friend over, and I have a clean house. I've walked every day, yesterday I swam a 1/4 mile in addition to my 3 mile walk, and today I managed a 4 mile walk-jog. I feel great! And my writing has been flowing a bit better too.

In fact, I just want to get back to that writing right now, and skip posting, but I have a little something to share from A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves.

"The writer-self is the part of you that is unequivocally for your writing and believes in you absolutely. This is the sweet voice that urges you to put pen to paper and tells you writing is noble and necessary and names the many ways it adds to the quality of life . . . You can tell when the writer self is present when

*You look forward to your writing time and go on the arm of joy to the special writing place you created.

*You're not writing - it's before or after your writing time - but anticipatory or lingering thoughts of writing come to you, prologues or epilogues to doing the work.

*You can't help yourself - if a scribble of paper is there along with a pen, you write something. Words or phrases, an image, or the line of a poem. Crayons and paper at a restaurant table make you giddy."

Reeves' writing prompt for July 7th is:

"I remember once in _________________________________"

Write, enjoy, live life, and laugh today!!!

Scripture Blessings:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Messiness and Writing

Real life is messy.

And I don't mean the kitchen counter with papers, a tap shoe, jam, and books spread all over it kind of messy, although at my house that happens too.

I mean the "oops, I lost my phone book and didn't invite three Aunts, 2 cousins and one friend to the 4th of July party and now I have half the family offended" messy, or "the moment when someone I respect just rubs me the wrong way like sandpaper on skin and I know it's not their fault, but I'm still stinging anyway" kind of messy.

These are moments that I often agonize over, or want to just ignore, or fix, or over-analyze.

But they happen anyway. They are a part of life, and human relationships. Mistakes get made, things are forgotten or lost. Someone makes the wrong remark too many times.

Yesterday, I agonized and prayed over some moments like that.

Then I woke up this morning, thinking about my writing, and wondered,
What can I do with that mess, other than stew over it?

and What does the messiness of real life have to do with writing stories?

Hmm. Well, I think it goes into creating authentic characters that feel real, because they have messes in their lives. They don't have perfection. I admit I like suphero stories and epic fantasy stories, but even there I am secretly thankful when the heroes and heroines are flawed, when they have a little mess in their lives.

So, today, I'm going to create a little more messiness for my characters to deal with in their story. Something they can learn and grow from, and not just stew over, I hope.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Heaven is for Real

"What had I learned? I was reminded yet again that I could be real with God, I told my fellow pastors. I learned that I didn't have to offer some kind of churchy, holy-sounding prayer in order to be heard in heaven. 'You might as well tell God what you think,' I said. 'He already knows it anyway.'" p. 84 Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Teaser Tuesday: Random (last week not so random) pick of 2-4 sentences from a current read.

Mini Review: Heaven is for Real is a book I picked up with a reserved sort of skepticism and put down with a bigger faith intact and renewed. It says that it's "A little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back," but it is actually the story of the journey his parents took alongside him. Grab a box of tissues, prepare to smile and cry, and read it. At 162 pages, you'll find yourself finishing it in one sitting.

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Celebrate our Freedom!

Let Freedom Ring!

"Now where the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Declaration of Independence

Here is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence.
The original spelling and capitalization have been retained.

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

"Now where the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Blessings!

1. Being part of an awesome body of Christ that gives generously, and lives out loud!

2. Prayer and Praise Worship!

3. The Praise Team at my church, who were willing to sing and lead eight songs today, singing live with keyboards, singing along with some video worship songs, and singing a few songs acapella.

4. All the readers today at worship who read from God's word with confidence and feeling.

5. Holy Huddles! Prayers that take place on the spot, in huddles.

6. A body of Christ that is willing to try something new for worship!

7. Salad with fruit, salad with nuts, salad with quinoa, salad with all of those and more. Salad that fills me up and keeps me going, energized and ready for life. (plus, helped me lose three pounds this week!)

8. Raw spinach - it actually tastes good, especially with strawberries, or mangoes.

9. Our wonderful niece Amanda's graduation party yesterday - she has her dipoloma, an A.A. degree and a Certficate to be a Certified Nurse's Assistant. She has plans, and sweet friends, along with great cooking skills.

10. Giving the gift of a wish-come-true for a family we know and love. One little girl facing multiple surgeries and traction, her big brother, and their parents will be able to go on a much needed vacation before having to head to the hospital for two months. Our church body is so wonderful, and I am so thankful to be a part of a group of people that can raise the kind of money and prayers needed in less than three days via e-mail, phone and word of mouth. What started as a holy huddle on a softball field grew to prayer chains, and a decision to make at least one wish come true.
Plus, there are plans underway to continued to care, prayer, and love for their family.

"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 all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that suprasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-18

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blogging for a Cause: Make a Wish

Blogging for a Cause: Make A Wish

All over the world, children make wishes. Some come true.

Some children wish for world peace.

Some children wish for peace in their homes.

Some children wish for food, clean water, and basic shelter.

Some wish for a chance to live.

Some wish for hope.

Currently, I’m involved with a church project to make a wish come true for one child and her family. We aren’t a part of the Make A Wish foundation, but given the nature of this child’s upcoming surgeries and the struggles that his family faces, we could be. The way that our church has stepped up in prayer, giving, and loving kindness for this family brings tears to my eyes. In less than 24 hours we've raised more than half the amount needed to make their wish come true so they can have a trip to Disneyland as a family.

I urge you today – Make A Wish come true for a child you know, or even one you don’t know. There are many organizations that do wonderful, life-saving, hope-forming things for children. If nothing else, check out the Make A Wish foundation at this website, and see what you can do.

Make a Wish

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Friday, July 1, 2011

Running Uphill with Baggage and a Bag of Open Chips

Running Uphill with Baggage and a Bag of Open Chips

On any given day, in the rain, sunshine, fog, flood, or dry cold, I love to walk my walk uphill and downhill and back again.

This week I felt every single extra pound of fatty baggage weighing me down. Little tiny hills bothered me. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My shoulders felt heavy. My walk encompasses up, down and flat, but it all felt uphill this week – like it was uphill both ways.

Is it even possible for me to get in shape for a half marathon by mid September?

Last week I would have said yes. This week, I felt like saying no.

Instead, I went out the door, and down the street. I bought new shoes for my feet. I walked and jogged, and walked again, even though I felt heaviness weighing me down.

My usual exhilaration at the end of the walk was muted. It was there, but it felt far, far away like my fitness goals.

When I came home, I faced another temptation – a bag of open chips, leftover from my mom’s birthday party. I wanted to eat them, and I wanted to eat them all. On Monday, I had a small cereal bowl full of chips for an afternoon snack. On Tuesday, I grazed my fingers over the top of the bag, and then I walked away.

I walked away.

I walk every day.

And, I will walk today.

And maybe I will run, even if it means running uphill with pounds of fatty baggage, as long as I’m running away from that bag of open chips.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; be we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27