Monday, April 30, 2007

what i should be doing

Instead of sitting here looking at this computer screen, surfing around, writing blogs, I really should be:

cleaning, cleaning, cleaning

packing some boxes for moving

getting rid of some junk

packing up clothes and toys to take to the mission

doing laundry

making a hair appointment

making an eye appointment for my daughter

memorizing my memory verses for a class

and if I am going to be sitting here looking at this computer screen, I ought to at least be writing my book!

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest;
keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
— Robert Frost
How does the onset of spring propel your personal life into the year? Are you in sync with the seasonal cycles? What does that mean to you?
I am desperate for something to write, so I went to for a prompt. I chose the above photo, quote and questions.
I am not a Spring/Summer person. I much prefer the Fall and Winter. But it is still a joy to see the earth wake up and stretch after the long sleepy winter. I always enjoy seeing different blooms from day to day. The crocuses, which are the first, always delight me. I even love dandelions -- they are prolific here this year, too.
I am amazed how one day the trees are all bare and the next they are covered in leaves. I always want to capture the moment that the buds burst forth, but never can.
So, for the questions: Yes, I am in sync with the seasonal cycles. Spring always ushers in a time of painful growth for me. The summer is a time when I am stretched and challenged with a great intensity. It has been this way, noticeably for the past four years or so.
In the fall, things settle down and winter is a time of quite rest. There is some growth going on under the surface, but it is so gentle, I am not acutely aware of it.
So while it is a good idea to be fully in the moment-- to enjoy the spring without worrying about the fall as Robert Frost has said, I always keep my eye out just a bit for the autumn chill because I know that rest is coming.
I wonder if the plants feel this way? Is the intense summer growth wearying to them, too?
But as written in Ecclesiastes and sung by the Byrds "To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven."
I am not bemoaning my times of growth. Where would I be without them? I don't want to be a sapling forever. And the strain and pain does not wound me to death, it strengthens me to life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

pondering sponge bob

We see a lot of Sponge Bob around here. And yes, I like him -- in small enough doses.

Here's something I learned from Sponge Bob. Attitude matters. Sponge Bob is almost always joyfully exuberant. There are a couple of things that get him down, but overall, he is happy about everything. Mr. Krabs says the Krabby Patty is going to be open 24 hours a day and Sponge Bob has to work around the clock. What is our little friend's reaction? He is ecstatic! Can't wait. 24 hours of work per day! Excellent! Now that's a good attitude.

Ok, so Sponge Bob is an idiot. Some would say that it is easy to be happy all the time if you are an idiot.

Squidward is pretty intelligent, and he is miserable. He also has a lousy attitude about everything except the clarinet. Is he miserable because he is smart enough to know that life is rotten, or does he just have a lousy attitude.

Why is it that people tend to think if you are joyful and have a positive outlook, if you walk around smiling, that you are a half bubble off center?

Is it intelligent to be miserable? If so, I think I'd rather be an idiot.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


What is the biggest, ugliest thing you have forgiven?

What is the biggest, ugliest thing for which you have been forgiven?

Not an easy thing, is it? Even when it's something not so big or ugly.

Today in church I learned about forgiveness. Not for the first time, of course. And I'm sure not for the last. I don't think we will ever get a full grasp of the concept of forgiveness.

The speaker had gone to Rwanda for a visit. (Our church is actually a Rwandan church, but that is a story for another time.) She spoke of her experiences there.

I'm sure you are aware of the terrible genocide that has happened there. The movie Hotel Rwanda gives a glimpse of the terror that took place.

This lady visited sites of genocide. Memorials, piles of bodies.

The next day she was introduced to a beautiful woman. She is a Tutsi. Six of her children and her husband had been murdered by Hutus during the slaughters. She had escaped with two of her children.

As she told the tale of her escape and loss another man sat near her. When her story was finished, he got the attention of the interpreter so that he could tell his story.

"I am the man who killed her family." He said.

This man, this Hutu man, had helped this Tutsi lady rebuild her home. This entire community was made up of Hutus and Tutsis living together and working together to bring reconciliation.

What made this possible? Only true repentance and true forgiveness.

I have never had to forgive someone for murdering my family. I don't know if I could do it. In fact I know that in myself I could not. The only thing that makes true forgiveness possible is the overwhelming love of Christ by which I have been forgiven all things. All things, ugly, big, small, terrible, or simply annoying things.

What is the biggest, ugliest thing for which I have been forgiven? Well, I don't want to tell you. But I do know it has been forgiven. Completely.

What is the biggest, ugliest thing I have had to forgive? Well, it wasn't the murder of my family. Not even close to being that big and ugly. If this beautiful woman could forgive so much, and if I have been forgiven so much, how can I even hesitate to forgive those who hurt me?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

best of contemperary fiction

I think that Barbara Park is a literary genius. I have never loved a character more than I love Junie B. And yet, I'm so glad she isn't my kid. If you haven't had the privilege of meeting her, I recommend you take the next available opportunity. Run to the library and fill a bag with Junie B. books. Quick.

My personal favorite is Junie B. Has a Peep in Her Pocket.

The kindergarten is taking a field trip to a farm! Horrors! Haven't you heard about the killer ponies? Read about how Junie B. faces her fears in this wonderful book. Then let me know what you think of her.

Friday, April 20, 2007

what is normal?

We are all odd. My family. We don't seem to be quite normal - whatever that is.

My boy. He has worn the same outfit everyday since Christmas. Yes, I wash it. But still. I bought him a hoodie and he loves it, apparently. Every single day, the same shirt. The same pants. It doesn't matter that he has two pair of jeans that are alike, he has to wear the same pair.

But I tell him that weird is good. We like weird around here. What else are ya gonna do?

My girl. She was in a school musical the other night. She did a wonderful job. She was in a choreographed basketball scene and didn't drop the ball, literally. I would have. She had a narrator part and did it perfectly. I'm not allowed to tell her how well she did, though. Or that I'm proud of her. When she's in any kind of performance, she gives us a rundown of the rules.

"Don't look at me and if you do DON'T SMILE AT ME."

"After it's over, don't tell me I did good. Don't smile at me."

We are allowed to say, with a straight face, "it was a good show."

My man. Well, he's got a couple of things. Things about what food isn't supposed to touch what other food and stuff like that.

Me. I don't think the things I do are weird. My family thinks everything I do is weird. So do my friends. Ok, so I talk in foreign accents from time to time. I thought everyone did. I tell myself jokes and laugh at them. I'm funny. I can't help but laugh at my jokes.

Weird is good. We like weird around here.

Go be normal if you want. Whatever that is.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

i laughed, i cried

I don't often see movies while they are in the theater, so I only just today got around to seeing Stranger Than Fiction. I loved it. Highly recommended for anyone who writes. Also, for anyone who watches movies.

Other than a few totally unnecessary shots of various male backsides, it was a completely enjoyable film. The backsides distracted me from the dialogue so that I had to rewind and listen again - honestly. If you've seen it, you'll understand.

If you've already seen it, what did you think?

Monday, April 16, 2007

now we're cookin

I have written nary a word in my novel for two weeks.

BUT, yesterday I bought three books on writing.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott,
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

Now I'm really making some progress!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

foreign relations

This morning our sermon was presented by a Bishop from Pakistan. He leads a group of believers in a land where they are beaten, discriminated against, arrested and murdered for their faith. It is an offence punishable by death to blaspheme Allah and of course preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is considered exactly that.

This man from a land of intolerance stood up in our pulpit, looked out on the gathering of spoiled Christians who consider being wished "Happy Holidays" to be persecution, and said, "I am here to encourage you."

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

going deeper

I'm in therapy. Not because I'm nuts - that's a whole different issue. But because my husband and I are working through some difficult, tough, messy, painful things.

I have to say - it stinks. I hate being prodded and examined. My entire life opened up for the counselor to inspect and poke and analyze.

Put the wall up! Don't let anyone in here!


But, alas, that doesn't work. So I can fight it, or I can surrender to the process. Open up willingly. Let the searchlights scan every nook and cranny. Find the junk and get it out. Because, truth is, we all have junk. I have to see this as a wonderful opportunity to get that junk taken care of. Call the waste management people, (also known as garbage men) to carry it away.

I have been given an opportunity to go deeper. To gain a greater understanding of myself. To change. To grow. And most importantly, to let God in further, to let Him make His presence more firmly entrenched in me. To let Him do the work of conforming me more to His likeness.

So, I say

we are now

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This is from a prompt I got somewhere. I can't even remember the rules of the prompt or I would share.
Honest, Goofy, Compassionate and Sensitive
Sister of Julie
Lover of my God, my Family and my Friends
Who Feels Happy on the mountain top, Irritable when people whine and Sad when people are hurting
Who Needs Laughter every day, Tears every week, and Hugs every hour
Who Gives Smiles, Encouragement and Ideas
Who Fears Loss, Failure and Rejection
Who Would Like to See the Church United, Christ Exalted and God Glorified
Who Lives in a Brick Box on Prospect Street

Monday, April 9, 2007

wiki meme

My friend Jenny at Joyful Notes tagged me with this meme. Perfect timing, I say, (today's my birthday!).

The rules are:
1) Go to Wikipedia

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday

4) List two important birthdays and one death

5) One holiday or observance (if any)

6) Tag 5 other bloggers to complete

Here are three events that happened on my Birthday, April 9th:

1682 - Robert Cavelier de La Salle discovers the mouth of the Mississippi River, claims it for France and names it Louisiana.

1865- American Civil War: Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia (26,765 troops) to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, effectively ending the war.

1867 - Alaska purchase: Passing by a single vote, the United States Senate ratifies a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska.

There are a lot of interesting things that happened on my birthday. The Battle of Bataan in WWII, The invasion of Iraq in 2003, when they toppled Sadaam's statue, and other cool things.

Ok, so here are two birthdays and one death:

born 1932 - Cheeta, animal actor chimpanzee (from Tarzan)

born 1937 - Marty Krofft, children's television producer (without him we would not have Land of the Lost! One of my favorites!)

died 1945 - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian (b. 1906) (Martyred by the Nazis for his Christian stand)

The observance is:

I tag Bet, Will, Susan, Megan, and Lauri

Saturday, April 7, 2007

visual dna

not what you expected?

Have you ever been going along in life when suddenly everything changed? All your expectations crashed to the ground? Your hopes and dreams crushed in an instant? The way you thought things were turned out to not be reality at all?

If so, then you can relate to how the first disciples of Christ must have felt these past few days. This man was the Son of God - they had seen it, they believed it. He was building a kingdom, He had said so. He was going to change their world.

But then, gone. Arrested. Dead.

All of them betrayed by a friend. Someone they trusted was a deceiver. And I imagine they questioned whether or not they had been deceived by Christ himself.

What devastation. What fear. What anger.

On this day - the day that Christ lay in the tomb- they must have felt such hopelessness and confusion. Their world had just turned upside down. The moments of acute fear had eased. The high feelings of the trial and crucifiction were behind them. Now, shock. Grief. I imagine them sitting in the upper room together just looking at one another. Unable to even figure out an emotion to express. Staring. Their minds spinning without forming any definite thoughts.

When life pulls a one-eighty and your feet are knocked out from under you, what do you do?

Well, that tends to bring us to our knees. Figuratively and literally.

That's a good place to be.

See, those dreams the disciples had were good dreams. They envisioned wonderful things. They had exciting plans. There was nothing wrong with their expectations- except that they were not in line with God's expectations.

God had something far better in mind. Do you think one single disciple imagined the Truth? That Christ was going to ransom their very souls? That He was dying to give them eternal life? That He would walk into their very midst the following day. That He would send His Spirit to indwell each of them?

We see today. We see the pain and grief and lost hopes. But look to tomorrow! God always has a better plan than we can ever imagine!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

planet earth

If you have not yet watched any of the Discovery Channel's series Planet Earth you are missing out.
It is worth watching just for the cinematography. Gorgeous.
There have been so many nature programs that I kinda got to thinking that maybe I had seen it all. But this series has things I'd never even imagined. The Birds of Paradise in the Rainforest were a real hoot! Just like something from Dr. Seuss.
I have learned several new interesting facts. Weather patterns are fascinating. The sand from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon Rainforest? Who knew?
Watching the cranes fly OVER the Himalayas was breathtaking.
There are still several opportunities to check it out. Go to the Discovery Channel website to see the listings. I think you won't regret it.