Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where did the words go?

I realize this post is very late, sorry.  I have been working out the last couple mornings and did not have the time to work out, make my breakfast, and write the blog post.

I had good words this morning to talk about the changes in my routine and my fears and concerns and frustrations.  However, all those words flew away when I looked at the clock and realized that I had 20 minutes before I have lunch duty.  Now I'm just thinking about the time I don't have.

In absence of words, let me share a couple fun videos with you.  I will keep thinking about these words that flew away and I'll write them down for Friday.





Sorry!  Friday will be better!

Monday, October 29, 2012

She has a name and a friend

Emily walked home without seeing anyone else.  She went in the back door of the store to her research room. She noted all the information from her rubbings and prepared to frame them.  She looked up to see one of her inspirational sayings printed on the wall, 'Beauty is everywhere.' Yes even in these gravestones, she thought to herself. "It is just a shame no one else sees it." She said aloud to the walls.

"Sees what?" a  new voice responded. Looking up, she saw a new person unexpectedly standing in the doorway.

"The beauty in old tombstones, " she said cautiously.

"I think people are just so afraid of death that they  don't want to see the beauty in it." The woman posited walking toward Emily. She held out her hand. "I"m Cora Bartley. My husband is the new minister at the Methodist Church. I just love books, so I had to make this my first stop. I know you aren't open yet, but I saw a light on so I thought I would take the chance. You don't mind I hope?" She said in a rush.

"Um. No. Come on in." Emily said dusting off her hands. "My name is Emily Jones. It's lovely to meet another bibliophile."

"Ah, and you use big words too! We will be great friends." Cora exlaimed grabbing Emily's hand.

Emily smiled at her bewildered by this miraculous sprite who appeared in her life.

"Are you also an artist?" She asked indicating the rubbing she was framing.

"This? No. Just trying to do something useful with it. I am a historian at heart. This is further research for an author friend of mine. The names and dates are helpful, but the phrases and carvings tell me much as well. Getting a picture of the whole thing is useful when looking at birth and death practices from bygone centuries."

"That must be interesting work. How did you begin that work?"

"A lot of letters and email to strangers!" Emily said with a chuckle as she continued,"I found a blog from a blog from a research assistant and thought it would be a perfect way to supplement my income because e-books are killing my business here. So I started searching publishing sites for information. I found a few mentions of researchers, but nothing solid. So I just started sending letters offering my services. Eventually, I got some calls and then a few jobs."

"Patience must be one of your virtues. I don't think I could wait around for responses. Of course, I don't think I would be brave enough to send random letters to people. God certainly did bless your hard work."

"That he has. Being able to make a living doing something I love is certainly a grand blessing."

A look of surprise flitted across Cora's face. Emily knew the locals had been telling stories in the short amount of time she had been here. Thankfully the stories didn't seem to have an effect on this lovely new friend.

A comfortable pause settled between them as Cora investigated this new woman through the research studio in which she now found herself.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 10-27


Quotes, Pictures, Videos
The Grocery Run - Monday's Inspiration: Be You 


Articles to which I can relate
Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - Excuse my Albanian  - This is for speakers of multiple languages!  I totally understand this.

The Well Thought Out Life - Small town cemeteries and pieces of history  - There is someone else in the world who thinks like I do!  I so love this article.

101 Books - Mr. Fitzgerald deserves a good shaking  - So I'm not the only one that thinks some classics just aren't that good.

Run with the Big Girls - I I I I work out - It is her honesty that keeps me coming back.

Campfire Cowboy Ministries - The four-second cat bath - This one will make you stop and think ... for a long time.

The Grocery Run - All the Reasons  - Read this one with the one above and you will find a deep down string of your eternal self being pulled.

A Deeper Story - Haunting - This one explained a piece of my soul.


A Deeper Church - Church Words  - As I get older and grow more in Christ, I find myself thinking these things more often.

Life and Theology - Christian Fatigue Syndrome  - This month my family and I are here.  We are so here.

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - Times they are a changing  - I so love this story. It gives me hope for the future and a new perspective.


This Ordinary Adventure - Foreign Policy beyond war, terror, and "national security"  - What exactly should foreign policy mean? I was disappointed with the debate and I wasn't the only one.

The Creativity Post - Salvador Dali's creative thinking technique  - Having studied Dali, this post was so amazing and so on point. I think it is a must for any creative.

A Deeper Family - In which I challenge feminism  - This post and the following conversation was so real and useful. I learned from it and you might as well.

Inspiring Articles
This Time Around - Defining SuccessI also remember having a hard time – particularly in high school – figuring out what I was good at. Maybe that’s why I liked re-lacing my shoes so much as kid. 

Jen Hatmaker - The election thoughts form a Christian Independent  - That any believer imagines a political platform will either usher in or threaten the kingdom of God is worse than dramatic; it is unbelief.



The Isle of Man - Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose  - Whether you dig Star Wars or not, you have to admit -- he had a point.

Anger, fear and aggression will do nothing good for you, specifically when they are working together. And I think it's interesting that they would be grouped together in this particular quote.
A Deeper Family - No less good - Even now, three weeks after everything crashed around me, there’s still a pull to “just be okay” – to act as if nothing is wrong. I’m learning this isn’t the way to live. True, the other way leads to uncomfortable conversations and awkward emails. It’s difficult to let someone else hold your pain for awhile. But I’m recognizing the goodness in admitting I’m not okay – that my expectations were shattered and I just don’t know where to land outside of His hand (and wasn’t I there to begin with? so what does this mean of His goodness?)

The Well Thought Out Life - I don't like the word "missionary" -  Do you think missionaries are a super holy group of folks doing the most difficult work of God?

Ah, your respect is appreciated and I hope what we do is worthy of honor, but your workplace may be a more difficult mission field and you persevere in daily. What we do is not so different, it's just in a different place. 
The Isle of Man - If I ever teach a Class on Parenting  - You'll eat, drink and go to the bathroom on their schedule.

And you'll like it.

At some point, you're gonna get pooped on

Friday, October 26, 2012

In case you were wondering...



I thought I would post a few updates on some various blog posts I have written recently.

On Monday, I posted part of my new story. I needed a name and a few of you came through. She is now Emily Jones. Her mother is named Charlotte. So in that family there is a Lottie and Liddie. Not sure why that is important yet, but it will be. And Emily now has a new friend who showed up, Cara or Cora.  I'm leaning towards Cora. She is the wife of a new pastor in town.

A couple weeks ago I posted about my new tattoo. It has healed nicely and is still pushing me to be more story-like.  For instance on Wednesday's post when I was tempted to tell what happened when we were eating out, I stopped and decided to show you the story instead. Less telling, more showing. That's my new goal here. And I obviously started a new story and I am pushing myself not to give up on it and to work through the 'I don't know' parts.

In September, I wrote about my bad service at Starbucks. I did email them and received a lovely email response. They followed that with a couple coupons and a nice letter.  It totally wasn't coupons as a pay off for bad service. They were genuinely sorry for my bad experience and wanted to try to do something to make me feel better. And they did. So yay Starbucks!

And finally way back in January, I wrote about trying to manipulate God.  (I forgot it was that far back!) Last week we thought I might be pregnant. It turns out I was just late, but it brought this post to my mind quite a bit. I'm still tired of the manipulating and I have made strides toward doing it God's way. However, I still have a ways to go because I still feel a smidge like God might not know what he's doing and that he might not love me enough to give me the desire of my heart.  In my head, I know that is not true. My heart just isn't quite there yet.

Thanks for listening all the time! I really appreciate you all and that you have allowed me to create this space here for my thoughts and my life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fuzzy slippers and dirty diapers

 Photo Credit: Me!


"Ooooh." He said walking through the door picking up his new slippers. Ignoring the plastic piece tying them together, he attempted to put them on his feet. His father managed to stop him long enough to separate the shoes and then put them on his feet.

The gift cards from the local restaurant were waiting, so with his new blue monster slippers we set off. Arriving at the restaurant, Daddy carried him in. There was no waiting and we were seated. The wonderful waitress took the drink order and he settled into the booth with his crayons.

"Mom, what color do I need?"

"Blue."

"Nooo. Red." He replied patiently.

After getting his order, Mom began to look for her own.  Not yet ready when the waitress arrived with drinks, she kept looking. A few color picks later the waitress returned. Mom chose at the last minute as usual. Deciding on one thing to go with is not her strong suit.

The food arrived quickly and he picked at it.  He was done and asking to go play before Dad had tasted his burger. Mom finished quickly with uneaten pizza making a great assist in the entertaining department. While playing with the arcade games without money. Mom smelled something.  Steering him back toward the table, she asked him to go to the bathroom. He refused her company, but did accept Daddy's. After a short time away, Daddy returned with bad news the massive diaper needed a changing table and the men's restroom didn't have one. So he assented to go with Mom. On the changing table they had a discussion about why the potty should be used. He disagreed, but Mom talked on anyway.

Upon opening the diaper Mom discovered that the antibiotics had taken full effect. The nasty green covered everything and ran out in a few places. As Mom reached for the wipes, she remembered they were low. She shook them and was worried. She opened them and found one. That one didn't go too far. She told him to keep his feet up while she grabbed some paper towels.  They did the best they could, but were no match for the antibiotic effects. She did the best they could to clean him. She put on a new diaper and continued to talk about the need for the potty.

She was forced to put the spotty clothes back on and return to the table. When at the table, he requested his colored page to go home in his bag. Then she noticed more clothes in his bag. Back they went to the bathroom. New clothes and the same potty discussion proceeded. A superhero shirt, black shorts, and his new blue monster slippers clothe him as they walk through the restaurant and back to their table. Finally he is settled and the bill is paid. Home they go to the bathtub.

Moral of the story: Take a change of clothes with antibiotics. And sometimes a change of shoes is necessary too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

She needs a name


This month I have been participating in Writers Unite. I have written a couple posts based on things I have written down, like herehere, here, and here. I have also had snippets of scenes or stories. In some of those snippets, a character began to appear. In those she was very undefined, but I liked her voice. So it was hanging around the back of my head. Saturday while showering a background for her came together.  Today I am sharing what I have.  There's only one problem.  I don't have a name for her yet.  So read on and then suggest a name.
*********************************************************************************

            It’s warm and comforting. Yes, even with the mists swirling around the damp ground. She pulled her navy sweater tighter around her and thought again, Yes, warm and comforting. So many thought her dark clothing was a sign of her dark personality. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The dark color absorbed the light and warmth.  Not to mention it was slimming. Her green eyes were set too close together. Her nose was too big for her face. Her mouth was too thin.  Her white blond hair was stick straight and negatively accentuated her overly long face. She couldn’t depend on her face. Dark colors emphasized the few pretty features that she had and they had nothing to do with her personality.
            Everyone in this little southern mountain town was convinced she worshiped pagan gods as most ‘Yankees’ were apt to do. So she went to church down the mountain to the large Episcopal Church. Her absence on Sunday seemed to confirm all their incorrect suspicions.  When in fact her absence only meant she wasn’t comfortable at their churches.  It was the liturgy that captivated her.  Words that so many before her had said and lived just filled her spirit to overflowing.  As a kid, she had gone to a first Presbyterian in her tiny New England town.  The liturgy seemed boring and false.  Now she knew it was her that was boring and false.  As a teen, she had been inspired by the frantic and chaotic God of the charismatic church. Now she saw it was her inside that was frantic and chaotic.  Then Mr. Thorn introduced her to St. Ignatius in his History of the Early Church class at the local community college. 
            After high school, she had wandered into community college and worried her parents by dropping as many classes as she took.  The English, math, science, arts, and music were alternatively boring and excessively difficult. She tried to want them. She tired to want the college degree, but she couldn’t make it happen.  The only classes she managed to finish were the history and religion classes Mr. Thorn taught. At the end of her 4-year community college stint she had enough to graduate and none of the requirements.  Her retail jobs left her just as bored as classes.  Just when her parents were convinced of her life being wasted, Aunt Liddie died and left _______ her bookstore.  The building, which housed the store and the apartment, had been paid fro ages ago, so she only needed to sell enough for her basic needs to be met.
            As easy as that sounds, it wasn’t an easy business. The popularity of e-readers forced her to rethink and redesign her business. While she kept the store open for the few regular customers that wanted physical books, she had found an outlet for her love of history, rare books.  Her tenacious pursuit of history had often led her to finding first editions and rare books. She in turn sold those editions to collectors. Those collectors came back to find her and enlist her services in their search.  This funded many of her needs, but not all.  So she was again forced to come up with more work.  A quick internet search and many cold calls later, she found her way into research.  An author would hire her to research the time period and place of their novel.  She would prepare a dossier of information for their project.  Later they would send her a copy of their work for her to fact check. Once again she was able to use her passionate pursuit of history for her financial gain.
            The morning mists reminded her of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews to create a warm and comforting environment in the old cemetery. Her research paid off as she found the tombstones for which she was searching. She rubbed the charcoal pieces over the name and dates. She could use them later to narrow down census record searches. After her research was done, she strolled through the rest of the decaying cemetery looking at names and dates wondering what stories those dashes held.
            As she exited, she saw Mrs. Mantz, a regular customer.  She raised her hand to wave.  Mrs. Mantz turned away. And they say that outsiders are mistreated in New England. I know several newcomers that are beloved back home. Of course there are a few hateful people that aren’t beloved, but that has more to do with being hateful than with being an newcomer or an oldstayer.
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So who is she?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 10-20


Pictures that matter

World Vision - A goat is more than just a goat 

Pictures of Poverty - Seen in Ethiopia 




Articles that I loved this week
my heart belongs to Jesus ... citizen of the world - The Holy Sprit heals?! ...What?!  - As I was thanking God and declaring health over myself, I felt the edges of the network of boils begin to shrink. They were no longer hard as a rock, they were becoming soft and they were shrinking! At this point I started balling my eyes out like a baby and I began worshipping, thanking, and praising the Lord even more! I began declaring more and the boils kept           shrinking more! 

Elizabeth Hyndman - The coolest guy ever [a guest post by Jim Woods] - Who is the coolest guy ever? There is only one correct answer. It’s not Elvis. (Although he is definitely up there.) Not James Dean. James Bond? Nope. Brad Pitt? No way. Definitely not Tom “couch-jumper” Cruise.
The answer is none other than the rock star of the ABC TGIF lineup: Uncle Jesse.

Special focus on an amazing blog week for Katie Hawkins

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - Language Learning  - Sometimes, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. And I’ll always be stuck there. Like I’ll never get to that next level.
But then I have experiences like I had today. 

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - The City Life  - Cities attract all kinds of people. But horses?!? Yep. Durres is a great place to spend the day if you’re a horse looking for adventure!


Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - Truth be Told  - Dear world,  please don’t hate on Albania if you’ve never been here or gotten to know the people here. Because it’s the people who make all the difference. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Together



This week has beat me up and been so encouraging.  I suppose when things are moving along spiritually and encouraging is when Satan starts attacking with sickness, tiredness, and irritating commentary.  I've had a little bit of all that this week, but we also had revival this week.  I was blessed to see teens make commitments to live all out for God.  I got to worship God and learn what I can do better.  If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen several tweets from the Tri-County Area Wesleyan Revival.  The speaker said so many good things that I had to write some of them down.  I didn't have a notepad, so Twitter seemed the most convenient.

I have been to a few revivals in my time.  Some have been at churches I have attended.  Others have been at churches I have never attended, but I liked the speaker.  I can say that many of them have felt very special and God has moved amongst us.  I think I figured out why that is.

We meet together everyday.

During a revival, people meet together every day for a period of time.  One of the features of the new testament church is that they met together every day.  There is a power in coming before God with a group of people every day.  God gets much accomplished in those times.

After realizing this, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't continue the revival longer.  In our society, it is nearly impossible to meet with someone every day.  So that dream of meeting every day seems rather far fetched.  However, I could think of a few examples of an every day meeting time (or almost every day).

Maybe there is a someone you work with that you respect.  You could take some time before or after work or during a break time to study the Bible together.

Maybe you have some neighbors to whom you are close.  You all could take some time every evening.  Turn off other things for a little bit and study together.

And of course, you have your family.  Most of us have family living with us or near us.  Maybe there is some time you can set aside with these special people to study God's word and grow.

Hebrews 10:25 
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

God takes a seat

The Empty Chair Photo Credit: Smabs Sputzer

The news was a little disappointing. She is ready for more than this, but God hasn't given more yet. She wanted to be disappointed. She looked down and saw the commitment she made. She remembered there is a bigger story being written here.

"Oh. Hey God, I didn't see you sit down. Good to have you here."

*********************************************************************************

He pulled the burgers out of the bag. "Hmmm. I didn't order a BLT. I guess I have lunch tomorrow."
He handed her a burger. "This is not what I ordered."
They checked the receipt. It most definitely said the wrong thing. 'I wasn't crazy when I thought she called out the wrong thing to the kitchen.' She looked over and saw the BLT that they did not order. 'Ah ha! That's what I wanted.' She put the bacon on the sandwich. "Now, I have what I wanted, but you don't have lunch." He isn't worried about that.

"Oh. Hey God, I didn't see you sit down. Good to have you here."

*********************************************************************************

She looks back over her tweets from the last few days. They are filled with some amazing words about God, revival, and our faith. The speaker has truly been a God-send. Tonight there is only one tweet because she could tweet the entire sermon. Fasting has been a struggle for her to understand and to complete. This man spoke the words she needed to hear. And even with a squirmy toddler on her lap, she heard them. Now she knows what to do.

"Oh. Hey God, I didn't see you sit down. Good to have you here."

Monday, October 15, 2012

My own bed

unmade bed  Photo Credit:  scarycurlgirl_photos

I wake to hear him coughing.  I look over and the clock says 3:46.  I listen again hoping it was a isolated cough, but knowing it wasn't.  I hear another cough and my husband begins to stir.  I tell him this on is my turn, so go back to sleep.  Not going to bed until 4 am yesterday was enough work.  By the third cough, I am pulling myself out of bed.  I stumble over my sneaker in the darkened room, but still make my way to the door.  I go down the hall and search with my hands in the dark for a sippy cup.  I can't find it, but I know he put it close by.  I resign myself to the light and turn it on.  It is right in front of me.  I pick it up, turn off the light, and put some water in it.

I go back to his room and give him the cup.  He takes it thankfully and drinks big.  This is the only medicine he's willing to take.  He lays down again, but can't get comfortable.  He reaches out his and and I hold it across the expanse of his bed.  He turns this way to my hand and then lets go to turn away from it.  I begin to wonder if I can get him to take more medicine.  It will help him sleep and he will stop coughing.  I'm not sure I'm prepared for this fight at 4 am.  So I put it off.  I listen to more coughing and resign myself to the fight.

I go back to the kitchen and fill up the dropper.  I come back in and he knows what I have.  He wants his daddy to give it to him, but daddy is asleep.  I try to imitate daddy's routine with no luck.  I end up forcing it down him while he spits out at least half.  This does not make me mother of the year, but at least he go something.  Now I wait for the medicine to start working.  He is still tossing and turning.  He is still reaching out for my hand and then letting it go.

I start to wonder when I am going to get back to my bed.  I know this is will only lengthen to process, so I pray for people.  Then I try to write characters in my head.  None of those last long and I am quickly back to wondering about my own bed.  I lay my head back in the age old rocking chair and try to close my eyes. I keep an ear out for him and somehow slip off into sleep.  I wake later and I see him settled down.  Sleeping in a crazy position that only children can manage.  I pull myself out of the rocking chair and head back to my own bed.  I look at the clock and it now says 5:23.  I must have slept awhile in the chair.  I climb into my own bed slightly disappointed that I have such a short time period left in my own bed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 10-13



My thoughts
The Well-Thought Out Life - Ignatius and Road Trips - This post makes me want to read the writings of  Saint Ignatius.  See what you think!

Red Letter Believers - Say a Prayer for the Pretender  - This one spoke directly to my heart.  And it still is.

Writerly Stuff
The Office of Letters and Light - Pantser? Planner? Percolator?  - I’m intrigued by people’s approaches to writing a novel because writers’ processes can seem as indelibly etched in their psyches as their genetic makeups. Some of us like clutter. Some of us need clean, organized spaces. Some of us live somewhere in between.


Unknown Jim - Fears, Lies, and Doubts: A Breakdown of the Inner Voices - But I’m tired of listening to lies, what ifs and could bes.
I refuse to give in.
Here is a breakdown of the voices I have been hearing and why each is a lie.
This Time Around - Sometimes you need to shut your eyes - He said sometimes you need to shut your eyes to what you see and look at what God has said to or shown you. And if what you heard or saw is indeed from God, then you need to keep looking for that thing, whatever it may be. Don’t listen to what others are saying to you about it, to what you are saying to you about it – listen to God. Follow Him.



Writers Space - Ten things I wish I learned... - I think there comes a stage in our life when we recall the many things that make us into the persons we are today.  We realize that despite the pain, the loneliness or the discomfort these experiences brought us, life couldn’t have dealt with us any better (or worse) for us to learn what we needed to know.

Drip Jesus - I'm okay with me  - I’m okay with being me.
Why?
Because I understand that I was fashioned in the image our our Creator and I know He is ever transforming me into His likeness.
Missional God Stuff

True Beggars - The "Nones"...Nothing is Something -  I agree. But I am afraid that most of the Amercian church, while cringing at such statistics, will respond in its usual way. That means we will likely take our "let's-just-hope-it-goes-away" stance while trying to convinve ourselves that things are going just fine. But that's unacceptable. 

The Well-Thought Out Life - Nations in our backyard - The thing is, the Protestant church in America sends missionaries around the world. Do we realize that the nations are in our back yard? If we do, and we don't care, then our missions passion is disingenuous and fueled instead by a desire for adventure and influence.

The Exodus Road - Sponsor an Investigator  - And here’s where you can help. We are launching a new initative where YOU can hire one of our trained operatives for an evening of local investigations. We know that you probably can’t travel oceans and enter brothels, but our coalition of investigators can, and does. For $35, either one time or monthly, you send a qualified investigator out into the streets of SouthEast Asia to look for victims of sex trafficking on your behalf.


People and  God Stuff

Magnolia Lane - My heart - But the fact is, this burden I carry is too heavy for me and I cant carry it anymore. And it was never my burden in the first place.There should be no guilt in my abundance. I no longer see how I can be of use to him when I myself am always questioning why I have so much and feel so abundant, while others suffer. I am blessed and that is not a bad thing or something that should make me feel guilty. And is it crazy that my idea of abundance is this? My simple life, our small budget, my second hand clothes...all of it. Its all abundance. Its a time of less guilt and more action for me. What could he do through me? What does he want to do? What is possible?

The Church of No People - Worse than an unbeliever, a guest blog from Sonny Lemmons - Although some pastors and theologians believe I as a man am supposed to be THE provider, the reality is that I was simply one financial provider in our marriage. To some Christians, this already placed me behind a biblical 8-ball, failing to fulfill the spiritual obligation I held to lead in every aspect of our relationship. The fact we were going to invert our “biblical” roles as mom and dad pushed our heresy to eleven in the eyes of many.

The Well-Thought Out Life - I don't care if I never see a miracle but...  - This is the true miracle to me. Marriages that are characterized by deep intimacy and love and respect life-long, sometimes that initially had no earthly reason to survive. That.... now that is amazing. Children, unloved and neglected, who somehow have hearts taken ahold of and are transformed to wholeness and health as adults. Inexplicable. People with enemies, deeply wronged, who somehow forgive and pour out their lives to help those they should hate. Those who have nothing and are completely content and filled with joy despite all they lack.


Life Stuff
I'd laugh, but this all happened to me - The Magnificence of Baseball - In many parts of my life I am a progressive, someone who enjoys and embraces change.  When it comes to baseball, I am a purist.  I have never liked the DH.  No baseball team (including my beloved Rays) should play in a dome unless it has a retractable roof. 

The Rantings of a Dad - How to eat a sandwich - Two results are possible: 

Daddy: Sees your shirt, exclaims "Oh no!" and rushes upstairs to get you a clean shirt. If you have done your job properly, you'll get a free Happy Meal and won't have to go through this process again for a few days.

Mommy: You get a bath and an early nap time. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Marking my commitment

Saturday I got a tattoo.



Maybe that sentence doesn't blow you away and make your jaw drop.  However for those that know me in real life, your jaw probably just dropped.  When you mix my ultimate "goody-two-shoes" -ness with the questionable nature per society of tattoos, you would expect to find oil and water.  But I proved that theory wrong.  Answering a few questions is in order before we continue.

1.  Is it real?
Yes
2.  Is it permanent?
Yes
3.  Did it hurt?
No, but I already knew I could have a kid without an epidural.  I expected a tattoo to hurt less than my almost 9 pound kid.  I was right about that.  I will say that is was uncomfortable almost to the point of hurting around the curves of the Hebrew letter "P"
4. What does it mean?
It is the word "story" in Hebrew.  You read it from right to left.  It is pronounced "See-Poor" with the "oo" sounding like it does in cool or pool.  (If you want more detailed information than that, ask me in the comments and I'll answer.)
5.  Why did you get that?
It is my commitment to myself and to God to be the story teller and story keeper that he has made me to be.

Those are the questions I have gotten and they have pretty much all been in that order.  And just in case there are any parents out there worrying that I as a teacher and youth leader are corrupting children by getting one, I have told them all to wait until they are 25 when their brain stops changing.  Should they decide to do it before that, then save up their money.  Because when they are 30, they will want to change it.  The person I am at 32 is not the person I was at 18.


Now with the formalities out of the way, I can get to the what I have learned in this first week.

There is more than once I have looked down at my tattoo and thought, "Live a better story."  So I fixed breakfast for myself instead of grabbing a Pop-Tart.  I fixed myself lunch instead of grabbing a Hot Pocket or Lean Pocket.  I have eaten English muffins, eggs, cheese, rice, crackers, and Greek style yogurt.  I think those are better food choices.  Thanks for the inspiration Julie and Judy!  If I can't live a better story, how will I ever be able write one?

As I was driving to the high school football field to sell tickets for the middle school game played there, I saw buildings along the way and thought of how I would describe them in a story.  That may not sound like much, but it is pretty huge.  I haven't done that in years and observations like that are vitally important for a writer.

Besides those buildings, I have been paying attention to how I am feeling and writing it down.  That is where Wednesday's post came from.  Paying attention to my feelings and fleshing them out into words is another vital tool for a writer.  How can we explore a characters feelings if we don't explore our own?

I have been complimented on my writing by a few people that I REALLY respect this week.  I didn't expect to get the compliments.  They just came out of the blue and was exactly the affirmation I needed to keep pushing this week.  It is so easy to get down on myself and my talents.  It is so easy to believe that there is nothing special about my ability.  Then I hear these people I respect tell me that they couldn't do what I do with words.  Wow!  That is encouraging.  And it is truth I needed to hear.

I have been reading more and watching TV less.  Not just this week, but for the past few weeks.  This week when I thought I really wanted to watch TV, I looked down and I was like, "No.  I want a good story."  So among other things I learned how to check out books from my local library to my Kindle.  And I searched for a couple memoirs to read because I think that is closer to the style God is calling me to write.  So I'm actually doing research with a future book idea in mind.

These may not sound like huge things to you.  However to a person who has been struggling to put words on paper and believe it is God's plan, these are continual steps in the right direction.  And continuous progress forward is the only way I will become who God is calling me to be.

Who is God calling you to be?  How are you getting there?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From the women of my generation


Letters Photo Credit: paul-simpson.org


Dear World,

We don't want to be confined to the house while the 'professionals' pass us by like our grandmothers.
We don't want to be confined to the office while daycare centers raise our children like our mothers.

We try to be everything to everyone in search of happiness and validation.  However, we want to make our own decisions. We want others to trust us to make them.  We don't want everyone to second guess us.

We want to make a difference in our world.
We want to make a difference in the world.

We know we can't be everything to everyone.  We know that just injures us and those we love.  But there are harsh words and sad faces that accompany disappointment.  Those we fear.

Can someone just give us a break and love us?

Signed,
The Women of Generation X

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Just Church

http://www.amazon.com/The-Just-Church-Justice-Seeking-Disciple-Making/dp/1414371284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349728731&sr=8-1&keywords=the+just+church


Every church needs this!,

I would love to say that I couldn't put this book down. That would be a lie. I had to put it down regularly because it challenged me. I had to stop to think about what it said and what that meant for me in my walk as well as for my church. The phrases he uses and examples he gives will not only stick with me, but have changed the way I look at my faith, justice, my church, the Church, and God. (Yes, it really is that good.)

It may seem hard to believe that one book could affect that many areas, but it is true. The process that a church would follow to grow into an impact player in justice is clearly delineated, but not narrowly defined. I truly believe any church of any size in any location can read this book and find a way to move forward on the road to justice ministry.

Jim Martin is very realistic in his timeline and goals along the way. He does not put any unrealistic expectations into the book.  More than that, he tells you what your unrealistic expectations are.  Then he tells you how to avoid them and why. He also gives great examples of what a justice ministry will look like at the end of the process. I have already recommended this book to two churches. I plan on buying a copy for my pastor to read.

Every church needs to read The Just Church!

Buy it here, so you can read it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 10-6



Pictures of Poverty - Friendship even brings smiles to the most challenging situations 


Shawn Smucker - Are you annoyed by the right people? - I am beginning to realize that I am annoyed by all the wrong people. That is, if I’m going to attempt to live with Jesus as my model. Talkative down-and-outers routinely put me off, drive me away, and set me to biting my nails in a how-can-I-extricate-myself-from-this-conversation kind of way. I have far too little patience for people who do not impress me.

The Chruch of No People - The American Gospel of Self-Reliance  - We are indoctrinated with the gospel of self-reliance, of individuals pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.  When we say that “God will never give you more than you can handle,” we are hoping our downtrodden friend will read between the lines: “Buck up! You can handle whatever God throws at you…by yourself.  Please don’t ask for my help.  You can handle this.”

Campfire Cowboy Ministries - Gas station sunglasses - What I remember clearly is that I was talking to somebody who was on the bucking chutes….so my back was facing the arena.  I was having a good ‘ol time, not thinking about the fact that bull riding can be hazardous to one’s health…because I wasn’t competing in it.  As I was looking up at the bucking chutes laughing at something one of my buddies had said or done, all of a sudden I hear, “Jake!  Look out!”

The Arizona Russums - The problem with dresses - I always thought dresses were my best friend...

but I've learned the truth.

Those backstabbing dresses are actually my worst enemy.
101 Books - One mistake many writers make - Do you see any difference between example one and example two?
1. I love dogs.  I hate cats.
2. I love dogs. I hate cats.
Anything stand out there?

Finding Beautiful - No, I don't think it's that great  - But what if he IS a bully?  What do we know about bullies?  Why do they bully in the first place?  Usually it's because they feel bad about themselves and/or they feel a great lack of control in what's taking place their lives.  They're trying to make themselves feel better by taking down someone else and taking back a measure of control over their world.  Do you solve this problem by making the bully feel worse? 

Youth Pastor Without a Guitar - Don't call it a comeback 2.0  - I also let it bother me that I'm not a worship leader and we don't have a youth praise band like so many other groups.  That's completely the wrong focus.  Maybe that's something you're struggling with in your line of work or somewhere in your walk with Christ.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lovely life!

I got an email yesterday from a friend.  She is struggling with some life stuff.  I emailed another friend because I started doubting something I know God told me.  She had amazing words for me and I was focused again.  Some other friends and I had some words of love for the friend in question.

Friendship is so important!

I have had lots of other good stuff, but it is getting late and I want to publish this!  More Monday!

Love ya'll

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday is my Muse: Temptation


Temptation by Andrea Ward

That old feeling resurfaces
That feeling close to flying
A chance at her finger tips
Just a step or two this way
She'd be in.
Its the normal thing to do.
She has extra money this month.
It would make the others feel better.
Less awkward, less aware

Less aware of her failings.
Less aware of her faults.
Less aware of her struggles.

Behind the mask of perfection,
She is broken.
She has been used by this feeling before.
She knows the adreniline rush.
She knows the dreamy air
She knows the pounding of the heart
When the forbidden is near.

It makes you feel more alive
It makes you feel more connected
It makes you feel the world at your feet
The spirits are alive
The air is in your lungs
And the devil is in your mind.

Just tonight would be okay.
It wouldn't beat her just tonight
She could hold it off for just tonight
She could be strong
She could stand the pressure
She could prove it wrong.

And then an angel takes her hand
It leads her away.
She sits on the sidelines
Knowing she has made the right decision
She sits alone and comforted
The silence joins her
As do her tears

She is not strong
She can not stand
She is still that broken girl
But she has a healer
And upon Him she will depend

Creative Commons License
Temptation by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.