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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nope. Nuthin'.

I feel like Yukon Cornelius. You remember, the prospector in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"? He'd throw his pickaxe into the air. When it landed, he'd pull it out of the snow, sniff it, taste it and then say, "Nope. Nuthin'."

How am I like good ol' Yukon, you ask? I have a deadline tomorrow. Not a "set in stone" one--just an opportunity to write something "on spec" if I submit it by the end of the day. So I toss my laptop into the air (figuratively) and when it lands I sniff the words on the screen, taste them..."Nope. Nuthin'." Ah, well....

Monday, December 12, 2005

Merry "Kid-mas"

Let's face it...kids make Christmas just that much more fun! Here are some Christmas "kid-isms" (how kids interpret the world around them). Most of them I "borrowed" from Robin. A couple I've witnessed personally.

Noel, Noel, Barney's the king of Israel
Deck the halls with Buddy Holly
Deck the halls with balls of holly
Deck the halls with balls of folly
See the blazing mule before us
On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me
And a cartidge in a bare tree
He's makin' a list, chicken and rice
Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names
You'll go down in Listerine
Frosty the Snowman is a ferret elf, I say
In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is sparse and brown
Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire
Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap, and hay
Sleep in heavenly peas
With the jelly toast proclaim
We three kings of porridge and tar
O come, froggy faithful

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Reason....

This time of year, it seems everyone is trying to tell me what Christmas is "all about."

"Christmas is all about family."

"...all about giving."

"...all about counting our blessings."

"...all about peace on earth."

There are a lot of wonderful things we associate with Christmas. All of them are good things to celebrate, but they are all fleeting.

What happens when my house burns? When I lose my job? When my family member dies? When someone I love is spending Christmas in a combat zone?

If the fleeting things are my only focus, then circumstances like illness, death, poverty, and war can rob me of my reasons for celebration. Unless I am celebrating the REALITY of Christmas, life can unleash its harshest attacks on me at Christmas by robbing me of the transitory things I celebrate.

The reality of Christmas is JESUS, and God's love that sent Him to us. Christmas is a celebration of the irreversible fact that Jesus was born on earth, died on the cross, and arose from the dead to save us!

He has already accomplished all of that!
It has already taken place!
There is NO WAY we can be robbed of it!

If we are celebrating the reality of Christmas, then,

"...(neither) trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword...neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35,38-39, NIV)

We can say with the prophet Habakkuk,

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NIV)

For all time, Christmas is here! Jesus is here!

We are redeemed!

HE IS RISEN!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

FISH!

OK, now for an explanation of my comment about fish....

My daughter's church youth group is going to an out-of-state conference after Christmas. To raise money for expense, they held a fish fry. (You pay a set fee for all the fried fish you can eat, along with sides and optional dessert.) I was heading out to help set up for the evening--starting with breading raw fish fillets. So that was the source of the cryptic post. Ooooh, big mystery! ;)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Gentleman in training

"Post something twice a week..." -- Am I embarrassed!

I want to share something that happened the other day, just because it made me smile.

Two friends and I were walking into a fast food restaurant this past weekend. Just ahead of us were a little guy, maybe seven or eight, and his dad. The father opened the door and as his son walked in, Dad bent down and whispered something in his little boy's ear. The son nodded and walked into the store, while Dad held the door for the three of us. I assumed he had told his son to go on ahead while he held the door for the ladies. I was ALMOST right...

It soon became evident that what Dad had said was something like, "I'll hold THIS door for the ladies while you go open the other one for them." The little gentleman walked to the inner door of the restaurant, opened it, and stepped back out of the way as we entered. We all thanked him as we walked past--how could we not appreciate such a gentleman?

As I passed the dad later at the counter, I whispered, "Good job on the door-holding training!"

So here's to all the moms and dads out there who are working so hard to teach their little ladies and gentlemen about the common courtesies! I'm proud of all of you! You're helping to reinforce the fabric of civilization. Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

confession....

OK, I just saw how "gripey" the last post looks....

I have a confession to make....

There's another word in my vocabulary at this moment, that's right up there with "bleagh"....

WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Bleagh!

Snoopy said it best--"BLEAGH!"

Every job has its "un-fun" parts, and today I'm dealing with one of those along my chosen path...the dreaded "book proposal."

The "name" I referred to in my previous post? Their rep recontacted me and suggested some resource material--written by said "name"! I'm taking that as a go-ahead to start work on my idea, hence the BOOK PROPOSAL.

BLEAGH!

In case you're unfamiliar with the term, it's basically a justification of my book's "right to life", and my right to write it. I have to explain the premise of the book, justify the need for such a book, outline the book, give some samples of the proposed content, and explain my qualifications to write the book--all in a few pages. And in this instance, have it all ready to go in a couple weeks' time when I'll (hopefully) have the ear of an editor or two for a minute or two!

To sum up:

book idea is to book proposal as:
expecting a baby is to changing a poopy diaper

I repeat--BLEAGH!

Well, I can't say I have no focus for the next two weeks! Bring on the creative fuel (chocolate and diet Coke)!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Okay!

OK, here's the deal....

I may not be writing as much here, but I am writing! The dry spell is over!

My son and I are enjoying the "never-ending bedtime story". At the rate he's giving his input on names and descriptions of characters, I may have to give him co-authour credit! :) And yes, I'm taking notes so I don't forget what to write about!

In other news, I contacted a "name" this week to ask about using an idea of theirs as a "jumping off point" for something I want to write. Their rep called it an "interesting request" and is planning on discussing it with them when they return from a business trip in a few days! Looks like I've made it past the first level--the "screeners"!

Last--and maybe least--I discovered an intriguing event yesterday. "NaNoWriMo"--National Novel Writing Month! Participants sign up to attempt writing a 50,000 word novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30! Curious? Here's the address:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/ Sorry if the link doesn't work...I'm a "neophyte" (word of the day)!

Friday, October 14, 2005

I just want to say....

OK, well, I'm just posting to say that right now I have nothing to say! Something has definitely shifted. I wonder if my life is getting too full of "everyday junk"? You know...run that errand, do this chore.... Necessities? Or stalling tactics?

The odd thing is, I have all these "great ideas", but seem to lack the creativity to set any of them in motion. Besides, my office chair is REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE! I guess I'm too short for "big people furniture"!

Now that I've whined and made excuses long enough, I need to go try to kick-start my creativity!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Something New

Last night, I started something new. My 10-year-old asked for a bedtime story, so instead of reading him something or "recycling" an old faithful, I headed off into new territory. I have a story idea that's been "percolating" for some time, so last night I started telling it to my son. (Think "test market") He didn't want me to stop so he could sleep--good sign!

Now, all I have to do is figure out what happens next!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Silence?

My laptop had been giving me fits, and last week I lost all the music stored on my iTunes. Usually I have music playing while I work on the computer. Maybe the silence has been so deafening I can't hear myself think? Or am I just distracted by watching the combines at work outside my office window?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Dead Zone"

Greetings from "The Dead Zone"! For the past week or two, I've been thinking a lot and feeling a lot, which are usually very creative times for me. For some reason, though, this time is different. All the thoughts and feelings are there as usual, but they're not processing as words. Hmmmmm....

More later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Awe Star

A shooting star -- how brief his span
Not still a boy, not quite a man
Already part of God's great plan

A warrior in the battlefield
A faith in God that would not yield
Through his young life, Christ was revealed

He saw the harvest, saw the need
"I'll do Your will, Lord," he agreed
Lay down his life, a willing seed

His shooting star -- how quick its flight
He blazed his way through sin's dark night
To point us to the Savior's light
©
******************

In honor of BJ's graduation to heaven - 9/26/05

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Sheep Psalm

(A psalm of Mac Addict. To the tune of "$99-$139".)

1 The iPod is my shepherd; I do not want silence.

2 It maketh me to lie down to Green Day: it leadeth me to listen to Muddy Waters.

3 It exhausteth my soul: it leadeth me in the paths of credit for its name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of explicit lyrics, I will hear no evil: for it hath numbed me; its high definition earphones and its car adapter they comfort me.

5 It preparest a distraction before me in the presence of mine family: it surroundest my head with sound; my attention span runneth short.

6 Surely Genesis and Maroon 5 shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will drown out the voice of the LORD for ever.

© 9/22/05
************

True silence is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. - William Penn

Sorry....

Sorry about the "dry spell"! I had a writing deadline on the 15th that I was scrambling to meet. Then, I was gone all weekend. More today, I promise!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What a pain in the neck!

I injured my neck somehow. Pulled something, I think. It feels like I sprained it!

For two days, these are some of the things I've dealt with....

1. My balance is off. I'm more easily knocked down.
2. I have trouble reaching out for things. When I reach out, it hurts.
3. It's hard for me to look around. I can't just turn my head--I have to turn my whole upper body.
4. It's hard for me to rest. No matter what I try, I just can't seem to get comfortable.
5. I have pain when I walk. What should be smooth movement is instead a stiff hobble.
6. I'm having trouble working. I work less efficiently and tire more easily.
7. All the rest of my body has to compensate for my "owey" neck. This is causing other aches and pains to show up in various places.

1 Corinthians 12:14, 19-21, 24b-26

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
24 ...But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Hmmmm....

I need to remember these days when I feel like a weaker, "sprained" brother or sister is "dragging me down".

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Parabolical"?

I've always like curved lines.

I've always been drawn by fables, allegories, parables.

I don't know why it took me so long to see the connection.

par·a·bol·ic - (adj.)

1: resembling or expressed by parables
2: having the form of a parabola

Although I often trace the history of words, it never crossed my mind until this week -- "parable" and "parabola" have the same root!

When I see something out of the corner of my "mind's eye" like that, it begins to nag at me on some deep, semi-aware level. What do parables and parabolas have in common? Why do I enjoy them both so much? The questions kept pulling me back.

I think I've reached a conclusion...at least one that will satisfy my curiosity for now. Both are very effective ways to "sneak up" on a target!

If I run at you full-tilt, you'll probably see me coming and dodge out of the way. Then, I have to run at you again. If I want to get through the gates of your fortress, it will probably take me repeated charges with my battering ram. In other words, not very time- or energy-efficient.

However.... If I use the parabolic concept, I can easily lob a water balloon that lands on your head. Or, I can compromise the safety of your fortress by using a catapult to deliver a well-placed rock, flaming bundle, or cow!

How does that compare with a parable? If I preach and pronounce and denounce, it's often easy to duck out of the way of truth. To put up defenses.

But suppose I tell you a story....

Once upon a time, a storyteller spun an enchanting tale. Her listeners sat entranced. They laughed. They cried. They followed the intriguing arc of the storyline. As they sat, fascinated, watching and listening, a projectile of truth hit them squarely in the head or the heart. They never saw it coming.

So I guess you could say that when it comes to communicating truth, my methods are sometimes downright "parabolical"! Mwahahahaha!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Starfish and water bottles

There once was a man who walked along a beach at low tide. As he walked, he couldn't help but notice the numerous starfish stranded on the shore in the tangle of seaweed and debris.

When he had walked a little further, he noticed a small boy in the distance. Over and over, the little boy squatted down, picked something up in his hand, and flung it as hard as he could into the ocean.

Intrigued, the man walked closer. As he neared, he realized that the boy was picking up the stranded starfish and throwing them as far as he could back out to sea.

"Hey, buddy," the man called, "what are you doing?'

"I'm saving the starfishes," the little boy puffed between throws.

"I hate to disappoint you, kid, but there are too many! You're just a kid! You can't make a difference."

The little boy flung another starfish. As it splashed into the water, he turned to the man beside him.

"I just made a difference for THAT starfish," he said.

----------------------

In the face of the devastation in the Gulf Coast, it's easy to feel like the man surrounded by dying starfish--"I'm too small to make a difference."

But over and over, the Bible talks about the way God uses small beginnings.

a staff in Moses' hand
five small stones in David's pocket
a handful of meal and a few drops of oil in a widow's pantry
five loaves and two fish in a little boy's lunchbox
a cup of cold water

So maybe all I can give is enough for one bottle of water or one PB&J sandwich--that's one person who isn't as thirsty or as hungry as they were before. As God said to the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 4:10) "Who has despised the day of small things?'

I may not be able to do much, but what I can do--I should do!

Now, if you'll excuse me--I gotta go throw some starfish!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ungrateful people...

"I'm tired of giving to ungrateful people!"

This was part of my friend's response to the budding anarchy in New Orleans, as portrayed by the media. This is a person who normally "gives 'til it hurts" - cutting corners and tightening their own belt in order to help others - reacting in frustration to the anger expressed by the Katrina survivors.

Sure, we see the work that's going into the disaster relief efforts. We see the myriad Americans, and other nations, already pouring funds and supplies into the Gulf Area. But cut off from the outside world, the people of New Orleans don't see the "bigger picture". They don't see the work going on behind the scenes to get them the food and water and medical care they so desperately need. And being human they assume that since they see no action, there is no action.

My response to my friend?

"I'm sure God gets tired of it, too!"

The reply just popped out of my mouth on the spur of the moment, but ever since I heard myself speaking those words, they've been echoing in MY ears.

How often do I shake my fist and scream in frustration when God's help doesn't arrive "on time"? How often, in my human nature, do I assume that since I don't SEE God at work, that He's doing nothing on my behalf? How often do I ignore all He's done for me in the past (starting with LIFE and SALVATION) and throw my selfish little tantrum, demanding MORE--NOW!

Guess it's time to forget myself for a while and start acting a little more like God, who gives and gives and gives...to us ungrateful people.

http://www.redshield.org/crisis/

http://charitynavigator.org/

http://www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Please PRAY for BJ!!!

Not doing much writing today. Focussing on prayer for BJ, age 16. Here's a little bio and a web address.

BJ spent 5 weeks on a mission trip in Peru this summer, spreading the love of Jesus. A few weeks after returning home he was diagnosed with pneumonia, which quickly turned much more serious and became the lesser concern as an infection throughout his body was discovered. He is in the hospital on full support while his body tries to heal from this unknown infectious disease.

http://prayforbj.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 26, 2005

Running the race

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(NIV - Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

Two fourth-graders running through the chapel--one wearing a heavy backpack, the other with a fishnet wrapped around his ankles. Eighteen other fourth-graders, wearing costumes from various time periods, screaming and shouting at the tops of their lungs. Encouraging their buddies on.

"Untangle the net!"
"Drop the pack!"
"Run! Run!"

The runners keep going until they reach "Jesus", waiting for them on the platform.

Do you think the K-5th grade "got it"? Do we get it?

If I read Hebrews 11 and 12 correctly, the concept is mind-boggling!

Moses is wanting us to stop thinking that we're not eloquent enough to speak for Christ.
Daniel is cheering for us to keep praying, in spite of distraction, delay, or danger.
Abraham is encouraging us to follow God, even when He leads us into the wilderness.
Peter wants us to stand up for our Savior, even when it's scary or embarrassing.
The apostle Paul and other Christian martyrs through the ages are reminding us that any suffering will be more than outweighed by the glories of heaven.

And to top it off, Jesus is interceding on our behalf EVERY second of EVERY moment of EVERY day!

In the light of all this, how can we ever say, "I can't handle this, I just don't know if it's worth it "?!

Will you join me? Let's lace up our shoes and get our focus on the finish line.

On your marks...get set...GO!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Disclaimer"

I would like to officially distance myself from Pat Robertson's comments on "The 700 Club", August 22, 2005.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200508220006

WHAT was the man thinking??!! How does this fit with God's longsuffering? How does this fit with Robertson's well known pro-life stance?

The most charitable explanation I can come up with is the thought that, at 70-something, maybe he's slipping a cog now and then?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Apologies to Emily

I'm in a mood today, so without further ado....

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong day --
To an admiring "BLOG"!

(with apologies to Emily Dickinson)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"He knows my name...."

From the time I began to grasp the concept of spelling, my name has been an issue (to a greater or lesser degree). Even though it's spelled "M-a-r-c-i-a", it's pronounced "Marsha". So for 40 years, more or less, I've spent a varying amount of time correcting people's perception of my name. Those who could pronounce it didn't know how to spell it and those who knew how to spell it couldn't seem to pronounce it. ("Marseeyah?" "Marcie?" "Maria?")

Growing up, my name issues (along with my reserved nature) made me feel distinctly "forgettable". I was always pleasantly surprised and mildly shocked when someone remembered me from one occasion to the next. I thought it was just me who felt that way.

Years later, I worked in a coffee shop where we wrote the customer's name on their order and called it out when the order was ready. Working there, I discovered I had a knack for remembering names. I also discovered that most people felt that same pleasant shock when I remembered their name as soon as they walked in the door. God has given all of us a desire to be known and recognized.


A few years ago, I discovered a simple little song--"He Knows My Name", by Tommy Walker. The chorus says:
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call.
(© 1996 Doulos Publishing)

God speaks in His Word on more than one occasion of knowing someone by name.

The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus as the Good Shepherd "calls his own sheep by name".

The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:19, "The Lord knows those who are his."

Still, today, people struggle with my name. In fact, it happened again just a few days ago. But someone else's ability to grasp my name isn't an issue anymore. I can smile or even joke when it happens. HE knows my name! That's good to know in a culture that tends toward "namelessness"!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hmmmm....

Teenagers come to us looking for something to die for... and we give them pizza. - Kenda Dean

Thursday, August 11, 2005

who will tend the garden?

Writing "gardensong" got me thinking...about gardening...literally and figuratively. Mom and Grandma and Great-grandma all love/loved gardening. At least, I got that impression from watching them. That leads me to a whole new set of ponderings.

Do they/did they really enjoy it, or was it just done as a duty or necessity?
"If I don't garden, I'm a bad wife and mother."
"If I don't garden, we won't have enough to eat."

If they didn't enjoy it, did they grow to do so by gardening? Maybe it's like the theory that if you try a new food enough times, you'll learn to enjoy, or at least tolerate it? Is there a grace that comes with accepting genially that which cannot be avoided?

Is "enjoyment" a legitimate justification to do or not do? I imagine their generations would say "no". They are the generations who tamed the wilderness, who survived the Great Depression. For them, "enjoyment" had little to do with the deciding. Enjoyment had more to do with the accomplishment. My heritage has much to do with the fact that so often, they did not think of their own enjoyment first.

Grandma and Mom inherited the garden. It went like this: Della started the garden when the land was cleared. Ida married Della's son and took over the garden when Della couldn't do it anymore. Ruth married Ida's son and took over when Ida couldn't anymore. Ruth has no sons--only daughters (that would be me).

If I want the "garden experience" to be there for my kids and grandkids, maybe I need to become actively involved in the gardening process?

But I'm from the "if it feels good, do it" generation. I don't like to garden. Too many bugs (ew!), too hot, too boring, too much dirt under my nails. How do I make myself do it/enjoy it?

Who will tend the garden?

I don't enjoy getting a tetanus booster shot. I don't particularly enjoy going to the dentist. But in those instances, I would see "lack of enjoyment" as a childish criteria for making the decision. Maybe it's time for this baby boomer to grow up and "just do it"?

Who will tend the garden?

What are the allegorical meanings to the garden? What other "gardens" do I want to leave as a legacy for my children and their children? Faith in God. Industriousness. Life-long learning. Meditation. Purpose. Empathy. Family. Creativity. Prayer. What do I need to do to create that heritage in their lives?

Who will tend the garden?

"The way is long...let us begin."
© 8/11/05

Monday, August 08, 2005

gardensong

I stand in the garden, nibbling one of the freshly picked snow peas. Watching the last of the evening sun as it slants over the roof of the house and gilds the walnut tree in the back yard. A petunia-scented breeze ruffles my hair. What a relief after the day's heat. I curl my toes in the sandy soil, dry and crisp on the surface but still damp from the morning’s rain underneath. A quarter mile away, the neighbor’s dog is barking. The wind sighs through the pines. Behind me, I hear the faint rustle of my mother picking the beans. In my memory, I see the beloved forms of Grandma and Great-grandma, as they were then, stooping over the same garden’s rows. I consider the very real possibility that someday my grandchildren will stand where I do now, drinking in another August evening. A rush of thankfulness and contentment squeezes at my throat.

(Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! Thanks for "choosing" such a wonderful heritage for me!)

© 8/8/2005