Sunday, December 30, 2012

Is your tree out on the curb?


It is better to finish something than to start it.
It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.
(Ecclesiastes 7:8 Easy-to-Read Version)



A lot of people have told me that they have taken all their Christmas decorations down and have put them away until next year. “Yup,” they say, “We put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and take it down the day after Christmas.”

Not in my house. First of all, I can’t imagine getting any decorating done right after Thanksgiving. I tend to procrastinate about everything, so it does seem as though I just finished decorating. Plus, since going to a fake tree last year, what’s the hurry? It’s not shedding any needles.

In reality, though, now that Christmas Day has passed and the shopping and wrapping (and unwrapping) and Christmas cookie baking are over with, I just want to sit back and enjoy my house. I want to curl up in a blanket on the couch and gaze at the lights on the tree or study the snow falling in the snow globes. And mostly I just want to take a few breaths and reflect on the season.

Christmas isn’t over in one day. If we can decorate for Christmas a month early, why can’t we leave the decorations up all year? Or at least keep the season in our hearts all year. Instead of saying, “It’s a relief when Christmas is over” we should be saying “Christmas has just begun.”
 
Lord, God, forgive us when we forget the reason for the season. Thank You for sending Your Son in the form of an innocent baby. Let us keep Him in our hearts each and every day. Amen 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good will to men


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
I know. Christmas is over. Or is it? Maybe if we celebrated the spirit of Christmas everyday, we would have peace on earth. 
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas Day, 1864)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What did Mary say? What would you say?


 Then Mary said,

“I praise the Lord with all my heart.
 I am very happy because God is my Savior.
I am not important,
 but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant.
From now until the end of time,
 people will remember how much God blessed me.
Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me.
His name is very holy.
He always gives mercy
 to those who worship him.
 He reached out his arm and showed his power.
 He scattered those who are proud and think great things about themselves.
 He brought down rulers from their thrones
 and raised up the humble people.
 He filled the hungry with good things,
 but he sent the rich away with nothing.
 God has helped Israel—the people he chose to serve him.
 He did not forget his promise to give us his mercy.
 He has done what he promised to our ancestors,
 to Abraham and his children forever.”
Luke 1:46-55
Easy-to-Read Version

After the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the young woman hurried to see her cousin Elizabeth who also was pregnant. I can picture the two of them sharing their amazing stories and wondering why God had picked them. Mary finally praises God with the song above. I guess God knew what He was doing when He chose Mary. What would you have said to this news?


“Really, God? The masses might stone me for getting pregnant without being married. And you know I really can’t afford this right now. Joseph, my fiancé, just isn’t making that much money building furniture. Can you wait until the economy is better? And you know with Elizabeth getting pregnant in her old age, do you really think I should have a baby so close in age to hers? I really don’t want to take the attention away from her. And you know, God, I am awful young. A baby is just going to ruin my figure forever.”

Yup, we all have excuses, don’t we? Good thing Mary didn’t.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Last Thank You

If you have been reading my blog faithfully the last few weeks, you noticed that I have been dedicating each post to one of the people or groups who helped in any way to get my book to where it is. And where is that book? It will be released tomorrow! Yeah! And I couldn't have done it without all the support from so many of you.

Last night, I was going to write about the last person on my list. Well, that blog post didn't happen because I spent the night on the couch catching up on TV with that person.
To my husband, Himey, I wouldn't be where I am today without you, and I wouldn't even be the proud Momma of Dino the Wonder Dog. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All in God's Time


A few weeks ago, I fell into this pattern of thanking everyone who is listed in the acknowledgements section of my book. Time is running out. The book will be released very soon. Who do I have left to thank?

Last week I wrote about the Green Lake Christian Writers Conference. I arrived at the conference this past August feeling the usual excitement. Five days to rejoin old friends, delve into better writing, experience speakers bring tears to our eyes from both joy and sorrow.

Sunday afternoon, I checked in at the desk and was informed that my reservation was in order but that there wasn’t a registration folder in my name. I told the woman not worry, I knew where I was going and what I was doing (for a change). A while later, when I ran into Jan, the conference chairman, I asked if she had an extra folder for me. She said they were all out and she apologized profusely, promising she would have one made up for me. I again said, don’t worry about it.

Sometime that evening, Jan presented me with my freshly stocked folder. Being the obedient conference attendee that I always am, I scanned through the papers. Nothing new, it appeared the schedule would be the same as the one I had been emailed earlier in the week and I didn’t pay any more attention to it.

Until Tuesday.

During our evening session, Jan reminded everyone of the speaker at 1:30 the following afternoon. Jeremiah Zeiset, from LifeSentence Publishing, was going to be speaking on effectively publishing and marketing your heart’s work. She said that his bio was on a separate sheet of paper in our packets. Hmm? I thought, I hadn’t seen anything on him in my folder. I rifled through my papers again. Nothing.

I leaned over and asked the woman next to me if I could read her bio on Jeremiah. With great trepidation, I read the information on the young man and his publishing company. I looked up at the ceiling and asked, “God, why did you keep this from me until now?”

God smiled down and simply said, “In My time”. And so, even though my book was already written, that was the beginning of the journey which “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven” had to travel to publication.

When I met Jeremiah the next day, I was pretty sure I saw God looking through the window, nodding His head. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jeremiah has been absolutely wonderful to work with. I wish I would have met the rest of his staff. Sheila Wilkinson, my editor, did a terrific job shaping my random words into sentences. So many times when I was reading her edits, I said to myself, “duh, why didn’t I catch that mistake? I know better grammar than that. I can’t believe I wrote that sentence that way.” Ruth, who did the final proofread, must have taken out or put in a million commas. Who can keep track of all that punctuation! And all the other little things that we never notice when things are written correctly, but which jump off the page when they are wrong. And Amber, whoever you are, you took my one random picture and turned it into a beautiful cover. I have had more people remark on what an awesome cover it is. 

I hope that I got your names right. And I am sure that there are more people on the Life Sentence staff who have worked on my baby. Thank you all. Like I already said, I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet you all. But maybe someday we will, in God’s time.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What can you possibly give?


Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.  Proverbs 3:9 The Message

I love the song, The Little Drummer Boy. I picture the poor little boy looking around at his meager Earthly possessions, the ragged clothes he wore, a tattered blanket which he wrapped around him as he slept at night, and his drum. Surely the infant lying in the manger wouldn’t want his clothes or his blanket and if he gave the baby his drum, his livelihood, the boy would have no means to earn a living, he wouldn’t be able to feed himself. But maybe, the boy said to himself, maybe I can play my drum for the newborn king.

It reminds me of the parable of the woman who only gave two mites as her offering at the temple. To the wealthy men around her, it looked as if she had given so very little. But Jesus knew that she had given everything she had.

The amount of our offering isn’t what matters. What we should give to God is our very best, whether it is our money, our possessions, our time or our talents. Look at what He gave us? His very own Son.  

This Christmas season, when you are finished with your shopping – or have just given up on buying all the presents on your list – think about giving to the church or charity of your choice. If you are plum out of money right now, give your time or talents. Someone out there needs you.

And in your prayers, don’t forget the families suffering in Connecticut. 


Some of the charities I support. 

Compassion International   I sponsor a little girl in India through Compassion. I also witnessed two of their projects when I was in Kenya. They totally do what they claim - rescuing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

HEART  This is the organization that I worked with while I was in Kenya. You should check them out and see the work that Vickie is continuing to do.

CSI Ministries - Kenya  This is the organization that Dave and Jen Bell are working with now in Kenya. They were our Team leaders when I went to Africa, and I know where their hearts are and that any money you donate is going directly to help the orphans they work with.

Kinship  If you want your time and money to help out kids closer to home, get involved with a group like Kinship, if they are in your community, or Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Spend just a few hours a week making a difference in the life of a kid; you may be the only positive adult role model that child has.

Life Promotions Life Promotions is the group that puts on Lifest. But Lifest is just the party at the end of their year, the rest of the time they are reaching out to youth across the country, instilling them with hope.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Do Over"

A few weeks ago, the movie "City Slickers" was on our TV. I have seen it many times, so didn't sit down to take it in again. As usual, I had other things to do. I did however, as I passed through the living room, pick up a few gleanings.

Don't we all have things in our lives which we wish we could do over? Mistakes we made? We think that if we only would have done things differently, everything would have turned out better. I feel that way about a lot of the mistakes I have made. How would my life be different had I not dropped out of college? Would my life be better if I hadn't married my first husband? Why did I move to Colorado? Why did I move back to Wisconsin?

All those episodes though pale in comparison when I think of how I raised my kids. Oh, I wasn't a horrible abusive parent. But I yelled at them a lot more than I should have. And I was gone more than I should have been. If I had to do it all over again, I would have spent more time with Nick and Val, been more patient with them, taken them more places, praised them more and criticized them less. Somehow, no doubt through the grace of God, Nick and Val turned out pretty good. Each day I am more and more proud of them. I look at our lives and think that I have more to thank them for than they have to thank me for.

In this blog, I have been thanking various people who have helped me create my memoir of my trip to Africa. That trip would have never happened without Nick and Val, and this blog would have never happened without them, thus the book certainly wouldn't have been written without them.


And my "best day"? Every day. Because at least once every day  I think of my son and daughter and I find my smile.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why we need to bond with other writers


In the spring of 2010, my co-worker Ron told me about a writer’s conference he was going to in California that fall. He knew that I liked to write as he had been following this blog. He said that I should think about going to a writer’s conference and he shared the information on the one he was going to.

I knew that a plane ticket to California was not in my budget, but it did start me thinking. Back in the early 1990’s I had belonged to a local writers group and remembered that at one time someone there had mentioned a writers conference in Green Lake. I could drive to Green Lake. I went on line and checked it out.

Who would have ever guessed where that would lead? I’ve attended the Green Lake Christian Writers Conference for the past three years. Not only have I acquired a myriad of skills, I’ve made wonderful new friends and rediscovered the beautiful Green Lake Conference Center. GLCWC has opened so many doors for me. I’ve made so many connections, grown so much in my faith, taken way too many pictures.

Had I not attended the conference this past August, I never would have discovered my publisher, Life Sentence Publishing.

It never fails to amaze me the plans that God has in each of our lives. Who knew? Who could have imagined that one simple conversation with a co-worker would lead me to having my book published? Only God can orchestrate those kinds of things.

So, to all of my fantastic friends from GLCWC, who are too numerous to mention here, thank you so much for bringing me to where I am right (write) now. 

My first year, 2010, I was part of Mary Pierce's class. We were always serious. It was here that I wrote one of the final scenes of my book. The woman on the far right, Lisa Klarner, has just published her book.

 I was in Cynthia Ruchti's class on writing longer fiction in 2011. Cynthia is such a dear woman. She holds God so close to her heart.

This year I was back in Mary Pierce's class. Yes, and once again we stuck to business and hardly had any fun. Until the night of the banquet that is. You truly had to be there. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A baby is born


 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33 Easy to Read Bible

Finally after three years of writing, two months of endless revising, and a lifetime of dreaming, I can hold my book in my hands. What will the next few months bring for my baby? Will it sell? Will it receive good reviews? And in the coming years, will people still discover it on line and purchase it? Will it remain on people’s bookshelves, collecting dust, or will it be decomposing in the landfill? 

There was another baby born two thousand years and I wonder what his mother’s thoughts were. Will my baby be different from the other children? Will he make friends? Will people like him? What will his future bring? What does it mean to be the Son of God?

Within the next few weeks, my book – my baby – will be sent out into the world to be read by at least a few people. My dream would be for it to make a difference in those people’s lives. 

And Mary’s baby? Look at the difference he made in the lives of millions of people. Look at the difference he continues to make in the world all around us. Do you think Mary had any idea of what her baby would do for this world?  

Thank You, Lord, for sending us Your Son in the form of an innocent baby. Thank You for coming into our world and for saving us. All praise and glory goes to You. Amen

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Amigas



“Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.” Today was rather a stone. And on days like this only a good friend can get you through.

I’ve been writing the last week or two about the people I have thanked in the acknowledgement section of my book. Tonight I show my appreciation to three women, each very different and each offering something totally different as far as friendship and support. Looking back, I see that I have told you about two of them.

Phyllis has been a dear friend for close to twenty years. A lot of people still are friends with someone from college, but Phyllis was my sister’s friend from college. Strange how we have been drawn into each other’s lives. Especially since she lives 275 miles away. But distance can’t keep a good friendship down.

Denise also lives a few miles away and I also only see her a few times a year. But again, friendship is about so much more than minutes and miles. Denise was one of my first blog supporters and she has had no qualms about telling others about it. She believes in me, and even if we don’t always agree, we always come back for more.

Finally, let me introduce you to Doris. I referred to her in my last post; she is one of the founding members of our Tuesday morning Bible Study. I’ve worked with her for twelve years, lots of ups and downs. Lots of co-workers have come and gone in that time. Sometimes I want to cling to Doris as the only certainty at my place of employment. But then she would remind me that there is only one Person to cling to. And I would turn around and tell her the same thing. On days like today, when not much seems to make sense, Doris, turn it over to God, cling to Him as the one sure thing.
 
Believe it or not, ladies, as I write this, the book that you each inspired in your own way is sitting next to me, taunting me. Waiting for me to call up my publisher to give the all-clear to release the book. I can’t wait for you each to have your own copy.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Mornings with . . .

I can’t remember when it started, but it has to be five or six years ago. One of the doctors that I work with and another co-worker go to the Northwoods Vineyard Church here in our town. They asked their pastor if he could join them in starting a Bible study at the clinic where we work. Tuesday mornings at seven was the chosen time.

I maybe wake up fairly early every morning, but I really don’t like talking to anyone or even seeing anyone for at least a couple hours after crawling out of bed. I used to be quite the grouch at work when I first arrived. But I knew that God would get me through those Tuesday mornings and that I would learn to be a morning person.

I still can’t say I’m a morning person, and though I can smile and converse, I can’t honestly say that I think too deeply. But I have managed to make it to Bible Study many Tuesday mornings.

We have gone through five or six books of the Bible and studied three or four other books on living the Christian life. The group has fluctuated over the years, averaging from four to ten people. Many people have come and gone as their schedules and other outside factors have come along. It seems that when someone drops out there is always someone else who starts coming.

We open and close each week with prayer and the discussion in between often veers from the book we are supposedly studying. If anyone has a particular need, we will spend the time encouraging them and praying with them. Or we might spend an entire hour on one Bible verse or even one word. It never fails to amaze me how rich the Bible is, each verse, each word means something. Definitely a book which the writer should study for writing tips.

But that’s not the real reason I included a thank you to this group in the acknowledgements of my book. It is a rare thing in this society to be able to openly share your faith with others and even more rare to share your fears and doubts. The members of our Bible Study have supported me and strengthened my faith more than words can say. I’ve been reminded through that group, time and time again, that God is always near.

 Thank you, guys, and thank you God, for bringing us all together.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's all part of God's Plan


“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11Easy-to-Read Version

Here it is December already. I’ve been thinking of what I was going to blog about on Sundays this month, what Christmas theme I was going to use. So I went back to last year’s December blogs and see that I really out did myself. I wrote about Christmas three times a week for a whole month. And I had a theme for not only Sundays, but for Thursdays too. I can’t keep up with that kind of stuff this year. I have had so much going on the last two months that I am completely brain-dead. I should be in a coma.

But you know, no matter what I write about, it seems that for whatever reason, God blesses it. I don’t want to sound all sure of myself or overconfident. It really is not me. When God decided over seven years ago that He wanted me to go on that mission trip to Kenya, I never imagined it would turn out this way, that He would totally guide me to write a book about my experience and that He would send this fantastic publisher to me and that so much of this book would fall into place.

It is all in His plans, not mine. Just like sending His Son to us on the first Christmas. It is beyond our control, all we can do is follow God’s plan.

Lord, God Heavenly Father, there is no way that I could ever praise You enough. I am nothing without You. You follow me, You guide me, You care for me, You love me unconditionally. You have granted me everything that my heart desires. Amen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Baby's Feet: A Book Review


I don’t usually post on Saturdays. I also don’t usually write book reviews. No matter how much I like a book, I never know how to describe it in more than a few lines without repeating the whole story. But I am going to give this a shot, and maybe down the road, I’ll review a few more books. There are a lot of good books out there which aren’t getting much recognition. We will just have to see how this goes.

“My Baby’s Feet”, written by Shelia M. Luck, is published by Life SentencePublishing, the same place which is doing my book. The description of the book sounded pretty good and I wanted to see how the books put out by Life Sentence Publishing look, so I ordered it.

In 1975, Sheila had an abortion. At the time it seemed the only option for the seventeen- year-old. Abortion was, and still is, legal and it was, and still is, the choice many teen-age girls and young women make to deal with a difficult situation. It took Sheila many years to come to terms with what she had done. At first she had herself convinced that it was no big deal; that she hadn’t aborted a baby, that it had just been a lump of tissue. But she couldn’t erase the feelings she carried around. She couldn’t put it behind her.

(And this is where I get stuck writing a book review. How much more should I tell you and if I don’t tell you anymore, how do I wrap this thing up? Maybe I need to find an on-line book review class.)

Anyway, I do want to tell you that Sheila shares all of her emotional pain. I ached for her as I read the pages. This book would be so helpful to anyone struggling with abortion and would be just as helpful for anyone who has made any difficult decision which they now regret.  

“My Baby’s Feet” is available on the Life Sentence Publishing website as well as Amazon.com.   

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Down the dark road

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you make the whole trip that way." E.L. Doctorow

Along with multiple other quotes on writing from writers, I received this one from my doctor friend. If you've ever written fiction, making up characters who converse in your head and make you wonder if you need psychiatric help, you know what it's like driving in the dark. These characters sometimes do things you hadn't planned. You feel like slamming on the brakes and saying, "hold it, where are we going?" And other times, you feel like you are just along for the ride. You just hope somebody knows the road.

But isn't real life just like that? You may not know what is up ahead in the dark, but you still keep going.
 And sometimes I have just the right picture to go with my blog and sometimes you have to use your imagination. I took this in Las Vegas last March and the caption I used for it was "Someday I might need this picture". I guess someday is now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pictures of the Team

I have suddenly, inadvertently started writing one blog each week thanking all those who made my book possible. I should really start at the beginning and thank my team mates who endured the trip to Kenya with me. 
On the bus which was like our second home. Geoff, Teri, Tomas, Nate, Brandon, Kalea, Jon, Michelle and lots of  bananas, known as monkey-fingers. 

Kari, Val and Amanda - what beautiful girls! 
Carson, Nate, Brandon, Kari, Sarah, Val, Brea, Amanda. At the park Paradise Lost  
The kids at the Tanzania border while we were on safari in the Masa Mara game preserve 
In the yard at Pastor Joseph's home. 
Brea, Carson, Kari, Amanda, Val, Brandon, Sarah, Nate, Jen doing a skit for the orphans.
Michelle and Jen with the youngest orphan Chris
Ok, maybe you can't see them really well, but Kalea Tomas, Dave, Michelle, Amanda and Jon are in this picture. But also, way over on the left edge is what we used for a bathroom for two days and three nights. 
Anyway, thank you to the entire Life Missions team. You guys were great. I never would have survived those two weeks in Kenya without you. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving - a participation holiday


 Keep your roots deep in Christ Jesus, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7Good News Translation

Because my husband had to work on Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day on Saturday. It seems funny using the word “celebrate”. Celebrate makes it sound like we danced or sang, maybe jumped around a little or at the very least opened presents.

I suppose the better word to use would be “observe”. But to observe something makes it sound like we sat back and just watched it happen. Ok, I know that is what goes on in a lot of American households this time of year. After eating way too much turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie, many sit back and observe football games on TV. The rest of us nap.

I guess that’s why I can’t decide whether we celebrate or just observe.

Nope, I think I decided that the word should be celebrate after all. Giving thanks is definitely a participation activity and one which we should do every day, and not just the fourth Thursday of November.

What are you thankful for this year?
 Thank you Lord for filling this table with food and these chairs with my family. You bless me every day through out the year. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OK, I refuse to get sappy

If you have been following my blog or if you know me personally, you know that the book I have been working on for six years is going to be published soon. You also know that this is all new to me and if you know me really well, you know that I have given up eating and sleeping to get this book ready for publication.

With this whole new getting-published thing, I am not sure about all of the proper protocols. At the end of the book, on that page entitled Acknowledgements, I list a lot (but unfortunately not all) of the people who have helped get this book to where it is, people who encouraged and supported me in various ways, people who helped send me on my trip to Africa. People who I believe are totally oblivious to the impact which they have on my life.

Last week, I mentioned one of those people, and I know that I did not do him justice. If you know Ron, though, you know that there are no words to describe him (I mean that in the best possible way). I am so blessed to have him in my life.

But I digress. Tonight I wanted to throw out there another one of the men in my life. He’s not just a co-worker; he is my boss, the doctor that I work for. At the end of the day, he is the one who has to be happy with my work. It helps if my patients are happy with me, too, I suppose.

Maybe I shouldn’t share the following story, but we writers have a saying. Everyone we meet is fodder for our stories and you might just end up in my next book.

Anyway, I had been driving 30 miles one way to work for twelve years, when an opening came up at the clinic here in town. I called up the manager, who I had worked for before, and asked if I could apply for the position. We set up a time for me to interview.

A few days later, I was in that manager’s office and she said she would go get the doctor so he could interview me too. He had seen my kids in the past so I already knew him, so it wasn’t really a big deal. He came in the office and asked, “Do you give shots?”

I answered that yes, I did. He said something like “good enough” and went back to work.

Some days are still like that, others not so much. But after twelve years, I'd like to hope it works.

Thanks, Russ, for everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. And by the way, you haven’t brought us Lindt chocolates in a while.
Or some home-made chocolates would work too.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Distractions


But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke 10:40 New International Version



Friday morning, I brought the laptop upstairs from my basement office. I was tired of the lousy internet connection and thought maybe it was because the office is at the furthest point in the house from where the internet connects with the desktop computer in the living room. Actually, my wireless connection has been much better, so maybe that was the problem.

Here is the new problem. There are way more distractions in my living room than in the basement. I thought I had attention deficit before. You would not believe all the things there are to do in my living room that I can’t do in the basement. I even have a view out the window up here. Not to mention that the pets seem to prefer this big comfy chair I’m sitting in to my old creaky desk chair. The refrigerator is a lot closer too.

In the story of Martha and Mary, I am certainly Martha. I wouldn’t say she was distracted; she was uber-focused on the fact that there were all these preparations she had to . But in Jesus’ eyes, her attention was on all the wrong things. Wow, that is me sometimes.  

Lord, help me to focus on what is important. Help me to turn my attention to You and Your saving grace. Amen
And God, thank you so much for this distraction. I know that you sent Dino the wonder dog straight from heaven. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Go after your dream

"Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell." Charles de Lint

One of the many, many things that God has blessed me with is the wonderful caring people I work with. I know I maybe never show it, but hopefully they realize what they mean to me.

One of those people isn't just a co-worker, he is my next door neighbor. The other day he gave me a pile of inspiring writer's quotations. Out of everyone at work, I think he best understands what my writing means to me. I think it is because he understands the importance of having a dream and going after that dream with all of the passion you can muster. A big club helps too.

Ron, this book never would have happened without you. The rest of you can pre-order by clicking here, but Ron, your free copy will be autographed and hand-delivered just as soon as I have one in my hands.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And this is how I rate...


Well, maybe Mom shouldn’t have changed her little story at the top of her blog page, coz now here I am writing her blog for her.

She has got a LOT going on this week, and I know she just doesn’t have time to write her blog. She had to work til seven last night and tonight she has a self-defense class with her kinship kid and then she is baking cookies at church. It doesn’t get better the rest of the week. Tomorrow night she is going out to eat with everyone from work and the night after that she has to pick Dad up in Rhinelander. I hope she doesn’t have anything going on Friday. She is going to need some rest by then. Oh, that’s right, on Friday she likes to work on her writing.

So here are pictures of me with the stupid cats. Why do they like me so much? Oh, that’s right, coz I’m the Wonder Dog.
Alice is that such a good place to lay?

Me and Ches. "Does this cat make my butt look fat?" ha, ha


PS And then did you notice that Mom moved my picture down lower on her blog, so that her book could be at the top. I suppose her book is pretty important to her right now, but really, Mom? That’s how I rate these days?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More Remembering


Get ready to fight, you and the whole company that’s been called out. Take charge and wait for orders. After a long time, you’ll be given your orders. In the distant future you’ll arrive at a country that has recovered from a devastating war. People from many nations will be gathered there on the mountains of Israel, for a long time now a wasteland. These people have been brought back from many countries and now live safe and secure. You’ll rise like a thunderstorm and roll in like clouds and cover the land, you and the massed troops with you. Ezekiel 38:7-9 The Message

As often happens, I’ve had many “God moments” again this week. I’ve been blessed with constant inspiration from above and sometimes I sit at the computer, hands on the keyboard, not knowing which of many things I should write about.

While going through my e-mail this morning, I read a blog post which reminded me what today was. November 11. Veteran’s Day. I wrote a post a while back in memory of my cousin Ben who died in Vietnam. What our veterans have done for our country, for our freedoms is staggering. Unless we have been in those battlefields, carried a weapon, slogged through mud and death how can we begin to fathom the sacrifices made for us.

Pause today and remember the men and women who have given so much, have given their lives so we can have our freedoms. Praise God that we don’t have to worship Him in secret, that we can meet on Sunday mornings in His house without fear.

Thank you Lord, for letting me live in a country where my freedom is guaranteed and thank you for all the men and women who have fought for that freedom. Let me not take that for granted. Amen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Party, now and later


Saturday night, the hubby and I attended a retirement party for one of the surgeons I used to work with. I hadn't seen most of these people in over ten years, since I moved onto my current position. I have talked to some of them on the phone or kept in touch by e-mail, but in general I've had very little one-on-one interaction with many of them.

E-mail and Facebook and all the other internet social networks are a great way to meet people and stay in touch with old friends. And since I tend to hole up at home, in my basement office writing, whenever I can, I really don't get out and see many people outside of work.  I also feel so pressed for time on a daily basis that I put off going out with friends or visiting relatives.

Sometimes I think that is really quite a shame. We humans are social animals. We need the touchie-feelies, whether we like to admit it or not. We need to work on the relationships we have, even if that means that the house doesn't get cleaned or we don't meet some deadline.

I wrote this on my lunch-half-hour at work yesterday. On the way home last night, I called my mom as usual to see if she needed anything. She said she had some bad news but wanted to wait to tell me until I got home. Really, Mom? You need to just tell me now.

Her uncle, who turned 104 years old in January, had passed away. We say that life is short, live it while you can. Uncle George's life couldn't be considered short and he did live fully right up until the end. It still leaves me very sad, with a bit of a hole in my heart. But I know that we will meet again, that one day in heaven we will have a party with all of my family and friends who are believers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Thoughts


Will Rogers said, “Even if you are the right track, you’ll just get run over if you sit there.” I would switch that slightly to say, "It's ok to be middle of the road, but you'll get run over if you just sit there."

My other election day thought is, “If you are too open-minded, it will all just fall out.”
But mostly, and unfortunately, I just want the election to be over with, so that I stop getting all the annoying, pre-recorded phone calls and so that my mail box can once again be filled with nothing but bills. 

Shortly after my husband and I got married, I bought him a flag pole, because he always wanted one. Last year, I bought him a second one so that we can fly the Wisconsin state flag. My fear is that he wants a third one now so that he can fly the Green Bay Packer's flag. I guess it could be worse. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Everything Has Its Time


To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3, New King James Version

What has happened to you this week which could only be done in God's time? 

(And yes, I know this post looks funny, once again - thank you, Blogger - but I don't have the time to fix it. God has other things for me to doing today.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Snippits

Many years ago, back when I did rummage sales to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, one of our team members brought over this huge copper kettle to sell. I thought it was terribly cool, so I threw five dollars into my own cash box and put the kettle on my front stoop. Where it sat for many years, not being so cool anymore.

This spring, I hauled the kettle to the back yard and parked it next to my deck. My wonderful husband drilled some holes in the bottom for drainage and filled it with dirt.  

The rest is a story told in pictures.
May, just got the dirt in the kettle.

May, just got the flowers in, pansies and Gerbera daisies.

June

July. I don't know how I missed August.

September

October. I guess we are done til spring
I am taking a diversion in my usual blogging schedule this month. Instead of sharing the many fascinating (not!) stories of my life, I am going to blog only short snippets of where I am at in my writing. I have a lot of accomplish in the month of November. I hope you will be a part of it, but I understand if it becomes boring. I just pray you come back to me when things get exciting again. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What do I love?



A fellow blogger posed this question in her blog and asked that others write their own posts on this. What do I love? Where would I even start?
 
I love my family, my pets, my friends. I love chocolate and milkshakes and mashed potatoes. I love Lake Superior and Kenya and Peru and Germany – even though I have never been to Germany.  


I love my house, my yard, and sleeping in my own bed at night. I especially appreciate that last one on nights like this where I have been up since 3:30 am because I couldn’t sleep. (One thing I do not love is when blogger does what it wants to with my font size.)
  
I love walking on the beach, hiking in the woods, taking pictures of random things and laying out in the sun on my deck. I love a quick hot shower in the morning. I can’t say I love cleaning my house, but I love it when the house is clean.

I love to travel and discover new places. I really love learning new things and reading about obscure news and odd facts. I love hearing about history.

Oh, and I love to sing. It should go without saying that I love to read and to write.

What a joy-filled life I have! To love so many things and to get to experience them!
I am blessed!

Thank you Lord for giving me this beautiful world to live in and this wonderful life to lead. You have blessed me beyond measure. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Which way do I go?

I saw this sign when I was in southern Wisconsin last spring. I just thought it was interesting. Let's see. You can't go left. You can't turn around. I guess that means you can only go straight or go left. A while back I even saw a sign with the arrow going straight ahead with the red slash through it. Sometimes we can't even go straight, I guess.

Thanks to all these signs, and vision issues, I don’t like driving as much as I used. I used to love to jump in the car and take a road trip all by myself, listening to books on CD or just singing to the radio. I kind of like to drive where I want to though.

GPS? No way. It is much more fun to drive around until some instinct points the car in the right direction. Or the clerk at the convenience store on the corner would be more than happy to tell you where to go. I’ve met some very nice people that way.

If I have a conference at the Best Western in a medium-sized city, I usually don’t look up the directions at all. I figure, this town can’t be that big, the Best Western is surely going to be easy to find. Needless to say, I often arrive at my destination late. 

And what’s my point? Life should be an adventure, one without a road map, or Mapquest, or Garmin. It’s about the journey not the destination (and I apologize for stealing that from some advertisement).