Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Feast

Appetizer  Name something someone has done lately that impressed you. Hmm, nothing comes to mind at the moment.

Soup Do you have any relaxing rituals? If so, what are they?  I like to spend quiet afternoons roaming the aisles of my library every so often.  And settling down to read for a while in the evening is always relaxing.

Salad If you could spend the winter season somewhere other than your current location, where would you choose to stay?  I'd only head for our gameroom to enjoy a fire in our woodstove.  With a husband who claims combustion as a hobby, I can't see us ever spending winters anywhere else!

Main Course When was the last time you had dinner out, and what was the name of the restaurant?  Last Saturday, we went to a new local hot dog shop - Famous Al's.  Mmmmm!  And the price was delicious too - only $12 for dinner for two!

Dessert If you had a boat, what would you name it?  Today, probably Madeleine, because I'm on a Madeleine L'Engle kick right now.  How did I miss so many good books growing up?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Go Ahead . . . Answer My Prayers

Last night driving home from church, I found myself behind an old Chevy Lumina with the following bumper sticker: "Answer my prayers - Steal this car!" If that driver only knew how much I had loved my 1991 Lumina and how many times I've thought about getting another one. Somehow I don't think he'd be very happy if I followed him home and took him up on his request!

Don't we pray funny things sometimes? I know I've prayed prayers that I'm glad God didn't answer. More often though, I find myself praying prayers that I just don't expect God to answer. Case in point. I've been considering getting involved with teen small groups at my church. I volunteered, then signed up for the training session. In the back of my mind, though, I really didn't think this would work. My work schedule can be crazy and I just figured I might end up having to bow out. Oh, I prayed about it, but half-heartedly - since I was so sure what the outcome would be . Last night at the meeting, I found myself paired up with a co-leader who has agreed to host our meetings. Thursday night works well for both of us and - this was the best part - she works five minutes from me, so we can meet at lunch to pray and plan!

Once again, God did exceedingly & abundantly, certainly above all I could have prayed for (Eph 3:20). I know, prayer is about more than just asking God for things, but asking is certainly part of prayer.

Monday, September 19, 2005

These Things I Know

1. I just put a manuscript in the mail today. Wow, that felt good. Now I  do know I need to just forget about it and focus on the next thing.
2. I know I don't want to write for nothing. My time is worth something.  I'm not  saying I'll never send an article to a non-paying magazine, and I'd certainly write for my church without expecting payment; but in general, I don't think I'm wrong in expecting to be paid for my time.
3. I know I can write. I've had my doubts along the way but going through the process from idea to query to article just fed my passion to write.
4. My favorite part is still the editing! Maybe that sounds weird, but I've edited so many other people's stuff in the past and it's so fun to arrange thoughts in a logical, straightforward manner. It's even more fun when the thoughts come out of my own cranium!
5. I know I could do this full-time.
6. I know I better get myself organized!
7. I know the first thing I'm buying when I get the money - a new laptop!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fact or Fiction?

So I'm taking this Writer's Digest correspondence course and I had a Eureka moment recently. The recent unit was on short fiction, and I was determined to master the fundamentals of fiction. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, both short fiction, novels and texts on the craft itself. Oh yeah, not to be forgotten, the many authors' blogs as well. I read some Jane Kirkpatrick and I read some Harry Potter. I read some Robin Lee Hatcher and some Clive Cussler. I read some Lisa Samson and I read some more Lisa Samson. (Write, Lisa, write!)

And then I sat down hoping to turn out a passable piece of work. Ugh. Nothing would come. Every idea seemed to dead end itself. Finally, I added another chapter to my WIP and whipped it off to my instructor, just glad to be done with it. Less than two weeks later it came bouncing back to me, with a note from my confused instructor. This was to be short fiction so why was I sending her Chapter 2 from another work? And my outline, intended to be the starting point for my short story was from a totally different story! Needless to say, I was MBR (mortified beyond recognition)! Okay, back to the drawing board.

When I was a kid, my sister and I both took piano lessons, she of her own accord while I was forced. Gosh, how I hated when we had to play duets. Finally, I got my mom to understand it just wasn't for me. Someone had to do the listening, I would tell her! Many nights as a teen I would prepare dinner while my sister did her practising. Some kids might have complained, "unfair," but not me. I was doing what I did best - listening.

I think that's the way it is with fiction. I have to do what I do best - read for enjoyment. I don't enjoy reading fiction while I'm subconsiously studying plot and character development. I just want to read. Now give me a bunch of facts and ask me to organize them into an article or training document - I'm all over that. But when it comes to fiction, I'm content to be a reader for now. Someone's got to do it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Do What You Gotta Do

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to
do. -- Epictetus (55-135 AD) Roman Philosopher

Isn't it easy to talk about what we want to do? A young couple moved in next door to us recently and one of their first goals, apparently, is to chop down all the trees on the lot behind their property. Naturally none of the neighbors want him to do so, as he doesn't actually own that property. My thoughts are simply wait and see. It takes a lot of time and money to chop down 40-50 full grown trees, not to mention clearing the downed trees from the lot. I'm reminded of when we first moved into our house. I had such great hopes for the place, including an addition. I figured within a couple years, we'd have turned our little two bedroom ranch into a spacious two-story. Seven years later, I've learned there's a big gap between our dreams (okay, my dreams) and making them a reality.

I've learned to be patient when it comes to home improvements, which is about the only way I can put up with a rotting back porch, with its broken windows and door that hangs on one hinge. I just look at the positive improvements we have made - a remodeled gameroom complete with wood-burning stove, new kitchen floor, new retaining wall and widened driveway. Bit by bit, piece by piece, we're seeing our dreams come to fruition.

But I'm veering from my initial thought. I see three groups of people in the above quotation:
1) Those who dream
2) Those who do what they have to do in order to reach their dreams
3) Sadly, there are those who don't dream at all. I can't imagine a life without any dreams, without any hopes, without a feeling of dissatisfaction pushing me towards something better, towards excellence. But there are people who don't dream at all.

Just curious - which category do you fall in? I think the challenge for most people is making the leap between the dreams and the reality. I often linger too long at the dream stage, trying to qualify it. Is it worthwhile? How much will it cost? Do I have the time to invest in this? I'm learning that lingering in the valley of decision does nothing to get me up the mountain. If I'm confident my dreams & plans are God-given and I've allowed God to define and refine them, then what I need to do is move ahead in faith.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

30 Day Challenge to Wives

Revive Our Hearts has posted a 30-day challenge for wives to encourage their husbands. The jist of the challenge is this:
"* You can't say anything negative about your husband your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband.
* Say something that you admire or appreciate about your your husband...and to someone else, about your husband!"

Each day there's a suggestion for putting the challenge into practice. Unfortunately, you can't "sign up" for email reminders (not that I can see), so bookmark the site and check back each day.

Now I will once again try posting to Blogger . . . haven't been able to for about a week. Hmmm.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Each One Reach One

On Sundays at church, I try (not always with success) to introduce myself to someone I don't know. I have a sneaking suspicion if more people would take the time to meet and greet others, more people may feel connected to the body of Christ. If they in turn do the same, I wonder what the results would be?

I was blessed this morning almost to tears. I picked up the local newspaper and found a section devoted to messages appearing online at, which has forums for offers of support as well as a missing persons section for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Several families were offering to take in survivors; one in particular caught my attention:

"Two bedrooms, food and clothing available in Central PA. Prefer family. Free. Ride to schools available. Not rich but we will make do. Will travel to south to pick you up."

Not rich? How can they say that? Indeed, doesn't the blessing of opening your heart and home far outweigh any bank balance?

What if everyone who could, would do something like that? There are endless opportunities to reach out, and be the hands and feet of Christ to people in dire need right now. What can I do? What would the Lord have me do? Will I sit back and just breathe a sigh of relief that once again, I was spared in my safe little corner of Pennsylvania? Or will I take a risk and try to be of help?