Wednesday, March 30, 2005

An Untended Plant

During my recent kitchen project, I had kitchen items scattered everywhere throughout my house to protect them from my sloppy painting. I thought I put everything back together this weekend but I just noticed a plant in the corner of the livingroom which I've neglected for several weeks. It looks so sad and droopy.

It reminded me of my "story" I was so enthused about last week. I just looked at it today - yikes, it too looks sad and droopy. It hasn't grown at all since I left it. What happened?

Okay, I'm really not dumb enough to think a story would write itself. But it did occur to me when I opened the file this week that I've neglected this story that's yearning to be told. I'm learning that stories, much like plants, need nurturing attention in order for them to thrive. So this is just a lesson, an observation, on my writing journey that I want to remember.

In case you wonder why my posts never seem to have a finish to them, forgive me. Ten minutes at the computer is sometimes all I get these days when hubby's school demands computer time!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


I just finished reconciling my checkbook. It's such a satisfying feeling to see those zeros which indicate my checkbook is in agreement with my bank statement. But before I get to that point, I usually have to do a bit of adjusting. Somehow things don't usually balance out at first. Inevitably, I've failed to record a few transactions in Quicken, and sometimes there's a discrepancy between my amounts as recorded, and the bank's report. In most cases, I end up relying on the bank's statement rather than on my record, and so far I've managed to keep my checkbook balanced.

Imagine though, if I chose to rely solely on my records. What if I marched down to the bank over every little discrepancy and insisted the error lay with the bank. Or what if I just chose to ignore the few minor differences every month, instead of considering possible error on my part?

How ridiculous, you'd say! But isn't that what so many people do with God? Rather than accepting God's word as the inerrant, unwavering source of truth, they make up their own standards of what is right and what is wrong. And in their minds, that's the only thing they have to measure up to.

I like knowing for a fact that I don't measure up. I can't and never will measure up to God's standards of righteousness. But thanks be to God, I don't have to try. God in His mercy has already afforded me His assurance of reconciliation through His Son. II Cor. 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation (KJV). I'll take God's accounting system over mine anyday!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Can I Scream?

I'm at work on Saturday, trying to make heads or tails of a project that was dumped on me. Worrying just about ruined my week off so I decided to come in for a few hours today and tackle it. I'm getting nowhere! So frustrating! But there, I feel better now, having vented a bit.

Monday, March 21, 2005


My sister wrote a poem about me once that started, "Your favorite color must be green . . ." And up until a few days ago, it was true. Until that horrid pastel wishy-washy mint green appeared on my walls. (Okay, I put it there!) In my haste to bring this kitchen project to completion, I almost just left it and moved on. But something in my crazy mind wouldn't let me leave it. I picked a new shade of green yesterday called Pickling Spice, and I absolutely love it. Well, my shoulders and arms are screaming at me for putting them through this again, but I made the right choice.

And that's not the only choice I feel good about today. In recent weeks, I've become convinced that I need to heed the call I heard 30 years ago when I decided to be a teacher. Wow, has it been that many years? The road back is exceedingly long and filled with obstacles, which is why I've put off this decision for ten years.

It all starts with my having attended an unaccredited school, and, shame on me, never trying supplement my degree at all or pursue certification. I'm about done being bitter and full of regret over a past I cannot change. Doors are opening (not without a bit of effort on my part) and I don't want to let another decade end with me looking back at missed opportunities. So the last week I've been busy requesting transcripts, filling out college apps, looking for loopholes which might make my degree worthwhile and applying for several certifications.

This week I plan to do something that takes every last bit of nerve I have - apply to some local Christian schools as a substitute. I just have visions of them looking over my transcripts and laughing at the gaping holes there.

Instrumental in this decision has been a great book called "Behind the Stories," a collection of stories of God working in the lives of different Christian authors. Although the book focuses on those blessed with the gift of writing, the author emphasizes the underlying truth that we are all endowed by God with certain gifts. It's only when we're using those gifts for His glory that we find fulfillment.

I still feel like writing will be part of this journey in someway. Perhaps it will provide the means to leave a good paying job and start from scratch. But in a way, I've never felt more fulfilled than when I'm encouraging some young person to follow their dreams. Maybe there's a budding writer out there who just needs some encouragement. All I know is I'm ready to quit resisting God's leading, eager to follow and see where He leads.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not All Things Green are Lovely

I finished painting my kitchen yesterday, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Ugh! My walls look like they're covered with McDonald shamrock shakes. Instead of turning out a sage, citrusy green, they're rather cool and minty. Minty is fine for gum and lifesavers, but please, not all over my walls! Now I have to decide if I want to go get more paint and do them over, or just leave them be.

Monday, March 14, 2005


BJ Hoff had a couple of great posts recently on the topic of "story" over at her blog, Grace Notes. One thing she said was "that stories are not made up: they’re found. Stories are discovered." That one little thought has stuck with me for days. Go read her post for yourself; I couldn't begin to do it justice here. Make sure you check out "Part 2" as well. I immediately purchased the book she references by Stephen Koch: the Modern Library Writer’s Workshop. Already I've found my approach to writing revolutionized. Suddenly I'm enjoying the process of of watching this story unfold. I kind of feel like a news reporter, following my characters as I try to capture their feelings, and keep up with the ever changing events in their lives. It's there, it really is!

It makes sense, really, that stories are there to be discovered, like "bolts of material, layer by layer by layer" as BJ points out. After all, aren't we all stories created in the mind of God? I doubt God is sitting on His throne, inventing all kinds of plots with twists and turns to make our lives more interesting. Even if something surprises me or throws me for a loop, God is never caught off guard. How comforting to know He will complete the work He began in me, because He knows the story from beginning to end. And when I'm stuck, be it in my life or my writing, I can always turn to "the Greatest Story Ever Told" for guidance.

But Blondie Did It!

Did what, you ask? She read in bed. I'm talking about Blondie Bumstead, wife of Dagwood Bumpstead, who often ended her evenings reading in bed. Meanwhile her husband Dagwood tossed and turned, dreaming of confrontations with his little old boss, Mr. Dithers, then headed for the kitchen to make one of his famous mile-high sandwiches. That's me and hubby to a "T"! Well, kind of. He has these recurring dreams in which he's working at an old job . . . night auditor at a hotel. More often than not, he's up halfway through the night to get a drink or snack. So, why, I ask . . . does he not like me to read in bed? It's not fair, I tell him. Blondie did it!

I can't figure out if I'm a morning person or a night owl. When I have to get up for work in the morning, I can't. But come weekends or my day off, I'm up at the crack of dawn. And I love to stay up late reading or writing, which makes it even harder for me to get up for work on time. It makes for some really ugly mornings, the ugliest part being that I rush off to work with wrinkled clothes and two-day old hair snatched back in a ponytail holder (how much longer can I get away with ponytails, now that I'm forty, I wonder?)!

So tonight, we hit upon a compromise. If I get up on time for work, I can stay up and read or write as long as I want that night. But if I get up late, he gets to make me go to bed early, and I have to. Now lest you think I'm making him sound like an ogre, let me assure you that I am married to Mr. Wonderful and 'tis I that am the sluggard. Most mornings he has the dog walked, cat fed, breakfast on the table and his clothes ready for work before I get out of the shower! I don't know where that man gets all this character. Maybe he got my helping when God was passing it out. Yeah, that must be it!

So do I get to read in bed now? Well, only if I beat him to it . . . but this is a fair trade, I think!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I Answered My Own Question!

Or rather Blogger just did! I just wrote an entry entitled Mismatched Socks, published it and poof! It's gone. Rats - I hate when that happens.

Question for Bloggers

Do you blog elsewhere first (on your computer) then copy & upload the entry to your blog? Or do you just blog away?

Friday, March 04, 2005

How's Your English?

Here's a fun quiz to test your English skills: The Commonly Confused Words Test

Thanks to Cindy for the link. Here's my score:
You scored 93% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 94% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Hmm, is this a sign I should pursue my goal to return to teaching English? :)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Throw-away Words

Is there such a thing as throw-away words? I used to frequent a Christian forum where much of the discussion included slamming the associations, beliefs and lifestyles of the other posters. There's something to be said for healthy debate and discussion, but after a while, I stopped posting altogether and rarely read anything there. The negativity was oppressive.

I can't help but wonder if we're not accountable for every word we speak or write. It seems like some people, even Christians, must think we're alloted a certain number of "disposable" words, seeing all the words wasted entirely on fluff and fussing.

In this issue of Today's Christian Woman magazine, Lisa Welchel explains how she encourages her teens in their blogging pursuits, while reminding them that for the most part, the words we blog are out there forever. I guess it's possible for my words to reside on a remote server somewhere long after I abandon this blog, which is likely to happen at some point! Aside from blogging, what about the words I speak on a daily basis? Are there twinges of some hurtful words I spoke in haste nagging at someone's self-esteem? Is someone resisting the call of Christ because of some careless, unChristlike words I blurted out without pausing to think first?

No doubt, God's Word is the only true eternal word, and the only all powerful source of God's instruction to man. Yet as we are made in God's image, surely our words will have some lingering effect. Likewise to a limited extent, our words have a sense of power. I find it amazing that with a word, God spoke our world into existence, and He has chosen to impart the power of words to man. Our words can build or tear down. They can encourage or defeat others. With our words, Christ can be honored or disgraced. We can't speak, or write, lightly therefore.

Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Lord, may all my words be aptly spoken.

Memo to self: Do a study on the word "word" in Psalms & Proverbs.