Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How I Ruined my Blog

There used to be people who read my blog. We had a lot of fun. I posted on random topics, some serious, some silly. I was very relaxed and conversational and I posted daily for the most part.

Then I got on Facebook and a lot of things that I would have blogged about I just put out in micro form on Facebook.

Then, I started reading blogs by people in the publishing business. People who know how things should be done.

They said that blogs should have a focus. All the posts should be on one general topic.
They said that posts shouldn't be more than 500 words.
They said I should be very careful about my headlines in order to attract traffic.
They said I was supposed to "offer" my reader something. Whatever that means.
They said I should be this and be that and there were so many things I needed to do to get this thing right.

So, I pretty much stopped posting. And when I did post, I felt very stilted. I didn't feel relaxed and conversational anymore. I was trying to be professional.

I've learned that when I try to be professional, I lose myself. And I wasn't having fun anymore.

I can't do this thing the right way. When it comes to blogging, I either have to do it the wrong way, or not at all.

So, I'm planning to be back with more frequent posts. They'll be on all kinds of random topics, because that's how I am. I'll be more conversational because I'm writing for you, the three of you who read this, not "they." And if I don't generate as much traffic as I could, well, I don't know. I guess that's just the way it is.

I'll still be on Facebook, but if I come up with something that I could blog about, I will. I can be two places at the same time.

So, let's have fun! I hope you're still with me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I do Lent

Last year I gave up a lot of stuff for Lent. And I complained a lot.

But I also heard from God. A lot.

Hearing from God is the point of Lent for me. Not that I don't hear from him throughout the year, but we have a lot of buzz and jangling in our spiritual ears. Somehow--and this is one of those mysterious spiritual things--going without food clears the spiritual hearing.

In the past I tried giving up Facebook for Lent. Nice idea. But it didn't open those lines of spiritual communication.

Some people think that giving up something is supposed to help us relate to the suffering of Christ. Maybe. Maybe that works for some people and that's great. It doesn't work for me because I can't see that giving up chocolate or meat or even all food comes close to the sacrifice that God of the Universe made when he stepped into human skin and took on the sin of the world.

So, I don't even look at my sacrifice that way. I don't even look at is as a sacrifice. I look at it as a tool. Somehow, giving up something that my physical, fleshy body loves and craves helps me see and hear God.

It's pretty simple really. And of course, this could be done any time during the year. I don't have to wait until Lent. And sometimes, I don't.

But the timing of Lent is such that as I open my ears to God and seek His face with more intention, I'm also reminded of how desperately I need a Savior. Not just when I was nine years old. Not only to get me into Heaven. But I need a Savior every single day. Every day I need Him in order to not be who I would be without Him.

Then as Holy Week arrives, I see my savior coming through the gates amidst palm branches waving and I am relieved and thrilled to shout Hosanna~~Come save now!

(I don't want to imply that this is a formula. Christianity is not formulaic. It may well turn out that this year I give up some things and God is honored and that's it. There is no guarantee that I will have some wonderful heavenly conversation just because I go without some of my favorite foods. Still, I do it for God's glory.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wow. I Actually Like my Kindle!

I didn't think I would like an e-reader.
I love books! I love the feel of them. The smell of them. The flipping of the pages. The cover art. I find true joy in books.

But still... people kept talking about their Kindles and Nooks and I felt a little left out. A little behind the times. So I decided to get one. I figured if I didn't like it, my husband could use it for the books he reads for work.

I love it!

Here's why:

I read several books at a time. With the Kindle, they are all right there in one place. No piles of books. No searching the house to find what I want to read. All I have to do is touch the screen a couple of times and I've switched from one book to another.

Kindle automatically saves my place. When I open up a book, it opens directly to where I left off.

I can get library books without risk of a fine because when the time runs out, the book simply vanishes from my Kindle.

I can get a lot of free books. So far everything I have on my Kindle was free.

It fits in my purse better than a book.

It's easier to hold than a book.

I still love books. I always will.  I can't imagine ever being without real books. But I also really love this reader.

I love books. Love the feel, smell, and look of them. But it turns out what I really love is the words.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Some days I feel quite villainous. Like Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Or Almira Gulch from The Wizard of Oz.

The other day my husband and I were grocery shopping and he said, "You're in this lady's way."
I said, "I don't care." And I didn't even care if she knew that I didn't care.

Sometimes I feel like I could kick puppies and steal candy from small children. Pop a kid's balloon like Gru in Despicable Me. Say what I think without giving a flip what anyone else thinks like Ouiser in Steel Magnolias.

Some days, the most frequent words out of my lips are "I don't care." Because I don't.

I kinda enjoy my villainous feelings when I have them. That's because villains like that kind of thing. I could wring my hands and mwahahahaha with glee. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel and embrace the side of me that would crush everyone who irritated me. Destroy them with a glare or a precisely aimed barb. I could do it!

I gave my life to Jesus when I was nine years old. I can't say there was a grand transformation or anything like that. My life didn't take a huge and drastic turn. I didn't leave a life of debauchery to follow Christ.

But I can say that without His presence in my life I would be a fairly nasty person. Maybe not as awful as I think, but I do have a yucky, selfish part that likes to rise up from time to time. A part that would be pretty ugly without the fruit of Kindess gracefully grown by the Holy Spirit. It get's bad enough as it is.

But thank God that He reins me in. He reigns. I have fully given myself over to Him and He knows that no matter what my flesh may desire, my heart desires Him.

Still, I have my bad days. The only thing I can advise if you catch me on one of those days: stay out of my way!

Monday, February 6, 2012

We Will Remember

Yesterday in church we sang a song. "We will remember the works of your hands."

You know, Deuteronomy is nothing more than Moses telling the Israelites their own story. It's him telling them everything they went through in the book of Exodus. Right before his death, he remembered. And he reminded.
"You are going into a wonderful and dangerous place. Let's remember what God has done so far."

Once, while getting a massage, I decided to use the time to remember. I reminisced with God. "Remember the time you..." "Remember when..."

Another time a friend and I were talking. I said, "You know. I've had a very easy life. I haven't really suffered much at all."
Then I thought of some things that were difficult and mentioned them.
She said, "Wow. It sounds to me like you've been through a lot." And I was surprised by her statement. I guess I have, but it's not what I remember. God has always been there. I remember.

We know people who have been through a lot and we know it because it's what they remember. They would say, "I've had a terrible life." I know there are things people have endured that can't be forgotten. I'm not saying there should be no painful memories. But does God's faithfulness outshine the pain?

What do you remember?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why is Painting More Fun than Writing?

I have a friend who is a writer. She's good at what she does.
She took up knitting. And for a while it seemed that she had traded being a writer for being a knitter. But now, she's back to the writing and the knitting is a fun little side thing.

Another writer friend, who is good at what she does, took up crochet. She made a bunch of hats instead of writing. But now, she's back to the writing and the crocheting is a fun little side thing.

Me? I've taken up painting. Art. I love it. I'll paint something and show it to the world on FB. "Look what I made!" Like a kindergartener. "I made this!" And they can like it or hate it and I don't really care a lot because I had so much fun creating it.

When I'm trying to fall asleep I'll think about what I want to paint the next day. I can't wait. I'm so excited.

I've never felt that way about writing. And you know what? Something I realized, or was finally willing to admit: I'm good at writing. And yet, it terrifies me.

Why? What's the difference? Both writing and painting involve putting bits of myself onto the paper. Both of them expose me for criticism or rejection.

Is it because when I paint something, that's it? It's painted. I don't have to think about submitting it to someone who may reject it. And even if they do accept it, they then have to pass it on to someone else who may reject it, as is the case with writing.

No, I don't think that's it. Because I could choose to go the Indy publishing route and eliminate those factors. But that doesn't feel any more comfortable to me.

Why does writing scare me, but visual art doesn't?

I want to have the same passion and fun with my writing as I do with my painting. It seems to me that they shouldn't be that different.

What do you think? And if you are a writer, have you find yourself sidetracked by other creative pursuits?