Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Hogmanay

Are you sitting there, wondering what this word is? I would have until today. I signed up for a new word each day on Doctor Dictionary. Great way for a writer to build vocabulary. And today's word was...

Hogmanay \hog-muh-NAY; HOG-muh-nay\, noun: The name, in Scotland, for New Year's Eve, on which children go about singing and asking for gifts; also, a gift, cake, or treat given on New Year's Eve.

Pretty cool, I thought. Yeah, that's good blog material. So what's the point? Let's explore that, shall we?

Let me show you my train of thought here. In my mind, I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2006. Everyone's posting their goals, and I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. Why?

Now here is what my heart is saying.

In 2006, I want to love more, pray more, worship God more, play more, relax more, celebrate more, enjoy my family more, serve more, learn more, read more, go for walks more, write more, BE MORE...

These aren't goals. They're desires, but from them goals will form. Stay tuned for those on New Years Day. One has me shaking in my writing chair.

But here's an idea that hit me at 3 am. I can't do this life alone, and neither can you. According to God, we dont have to. We're His children, his tools.

I got an idea. Want to hear it? Here goes.

It's Hogmanay. Knock on my door and ask for a gift. Tell me a need. A physical one. If I can fill it, I will. There is a fee though. You have to do it for someone else.

Let's see what happens with this. If you see a comment for a need you can fill, leave a comment saying so. I'm serious here. No jokes. I'll start with one. That person will do one. Let's see how many lives we can touch.

There's the comment button. Are you going to click it?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tribute to Melody Belz

The picture above shows the candles lit in honor of Melody Belz. Melody was Jewish, so I found these floating candles that have tiny Manorahs on them. Since yesterday was the start of Chanukah, I thought this would be an appropriate way to remember someone special.

Melody was a dear friend of my mother-in-law's. Melody's children grew up with my husband and his brothers. They were neighbors, they were friends, they were family.

Earlier this year, lung cancer claimed Melody's life. It was a loss deeply felt by the Millers. My mother-in-law lost a deep connection in her life. I know they talked almost everyday despite the 800 plus miles separating them.

I feel privileged to have known Melody, even if we met only occassionally. I know how much she meant to the family I call my own. So, in honor of Melody, may these candles burn in her honor and memory.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Reflections

Here's this year's Christmas tree. I think it's one of the prettiest trees we've gotten. Just the right shape, tall and thin, to fit in its predestined spot.

I'm amazed at how our roles in the decorating process have shifted. Dad still does his he-man act, getting the tree into the base and into the house. Mom (that's me!) strings the lights on the branches and the pretty glitzy ribbon. But my two girls are older now and have taken on "ornament duty." I loved watching them place the ornaments on the branches, asking again the stories behind each one. Some of the sparklies are from my husband's childhood, some are from our travels in Europe, some were gifts from dear ones, and others commemorate the birth and stages of our girls. The tree is an decorative representation of our lives, precious and meaningful.

Several years ago I bought one of those Christmas Words magnet sets for our refrigerator. My family had a ball playing with it and actually created our Christmas card that year from what we wrote. Here's what two adults and two children can do with magnetic words:

The icy cold of morning,
the snowy storm of night.
Christmas LOVE is warming,
at the fire’s light.

Sweet songs of yuletide,
drift through the Christmas cheer.
Hearts sing like an angel,
for PEACE has come so near.

Dawning is the gift,
in the form of one small boy.
Given us so long ago,
Assuring lasting JOY.

May the GOD of LOVE, PEACE and JOY bless you richly now and for the New Year.

C H R I S T M A S !

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Landmark Day

Have you ever noticed now certain days or events hold special meaning? You can almost feel it in your bones. Today was one for me. My oldest daughter turned sixteen.

Last night, at midnight, she came out of her room, face shining brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree. Her excitement was tangible. She whispered to me, "I'm sixteen."

I had this sudden urge to tell her about her birth. She'd heard bits and pieces over the years but for some reason it seemed the appropriate thing to do. She sat down next to me at my bidding.

I think she just humored me. (grin) And that's okay, because I don't think it was for her benefit anyway. I think it was for mine. The memories came back in a rush, more clear and vivid than usual. I could even remember the feel of my lips on her tightly screwed face as I kissed my new little girl for the first time. My daughter laughed at my recounts of her birth and my stumblings into motherhood.

It was the beginning of a her special day of celebration and my introspective day of this journey called life.

So precious. I treasure not only the memories but also the new memory of this landmark day. And I'm sure plenty more are to come.

Friday, December 16, 2005

One Winner and Two Christmas Lists

Thanks to everyone who commented. Lynetta is now the proud owner of a copy of Made of Honor. Don't you just love that title? I do.

Now, for a little fun. What are your five favorite and least favorite things about Christmas? Leave me some comments over the weekend. Let's have some fun with this.

Here are my lists:

1. Making cookies with my daughters.
2. Finding the exact gift and knowing the person will LOVE it.
3. Watching the lights twinkle on the tree.
4. Marveling that Jesus was once a little baby and wondering if he knew who he was.
5. Watching the advent quilt fill up with ornaments and lighting the advent candles.

Least Favorites
1. Shopping (LOL, not that does not negate #2 above)
2. Trying to keep up with everything that has to be done.
3. The end of Christmas vacation (no, I will not call it Winter Break.LOL!)
4. Gaining weight. (We should be allowed to eat all the yummies one time in the year without paying for it!
5. Not being with my family.

Okay, your turn. Leave comments here or do it on your blog. If you do, let me know so I can come visit!

God bless and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Interview with Marilynn Griffith

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Marilynn Griffith, author of Made of Honor.

DM: Hi, Mary. It’s great to have you here. I understand Made of Honor is your first book to be released but not the first book you’ve sold.

MG: Right. It’s a little confusing, but I actually sold Pink first. Due to scheduling changes, Made of Honor will be released first even though it was contracted second. Does any of this make sense? Sometimes it doesn’t to me.

DM: Made of Honor is a chick-lit. What is it that you like best about this genre?

MG: The chick. It’s nice to really see into a woman’s head and realize that she’s not perfect. She runs her pantyhose and envies her friends and loves God. She’s not perfect but she’s trying. I love those types of characters. I feel like they could be my friends, too.

DM: For this story, what came to you first, the storyline or the characters?

MG: Hmmm…the characters, I think. I know they both came at different times.

DM: Now, your first book’s in print and due to be released December 27th. What has been your favorite part of the journey from unpubbed to published writer?

MG: Each little development meant a lot, the galleys, the cover, the cover flats, my author copies. All of it. I cried when my author copies arrived and I realized what they were.

DM: Least favorite part?

MG: The waiting, revising, waiting, revising again, waiting… You get the idea. It’s a part of publishing though.

DM: The spiritual journey your characters undertake, did you draw upon your own experiences and growth, both past a present? And how does "living" this journey with them affect you now?

MG: Dana’s journey was the journey I was going through while writing Made of Honor and to an extent, the journey I’m still on. It’s a woman who has to learn how to let God love her. She knows how to love God, but she’s having to learn how to let God love her. All that juicy beloved stuff can be really overwhelming, but it’s good.

DM: I know sometimes our characters can do things to surprise us. Did this happen for you and can you share one without giving away too much of your story?

MG: This is hard to explain without giving too much away, but let’s just say that Dana wasn’t supposed to do something, but when the time came, she looked at me and said, “Girl, please.” And she went for it, leaving me huffing and puffing behind her.

DM: So what’s next on the horizon? What new releases can we be waiting for?

MG: Let’s see. Pink is next from Revell in February. That one is about a fashion designer who has to make a million dollar wedding dress for the woman who stole her fiance’. Then there’s Jade in June from Revell. That one is about another designer at Garments of Praise fashion design. She’s caring for her mother and has no time for love, but it finds her anyway. If the Shoe Fits, the follow up to Made of Honor, will release sometime in late 2006 from Steeple Hill Café. It’s about Rochelle, a shoe designer and Dana’s single mom friend. She got pregnant in high school and hasn’t really dated since. She signs up for a Christian dating service with some pretty hilarious results.

DM: What would you like your readers to know about Made of Honor?

MG: Made of Honor is a funny story, but there’s lots of other stuff in there too. It’d make a great gift for a group of friends, a wedding party, sisters or well, anybody! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

DM: Thanks for sharing with us, Mary. It’s been such a pleasure having you here!

Be sure to leave Mary any comments you’d like her to get. I’ll forward them on to her. And if you do comment, you’ll be entered to win a copy of her book, Made of Honor, at the end of the week. You can also visit her website at Thanks for joining us!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Somewhere Between Death and Sleep

It's that strange little place where you know you're on your feet, but you just don't know how. Ever been there? (Insert maniacal giggle here.) Well, I'm there. Care to join me?

The only cause I can identify is the simple existence of the month of December and all the accouterments and events which fall in this somewhat fiendish month. No, I am not Mrs. Scrooge. I am simply a tired woman who has fallen victim to all this self induced chaos.

Have I talked you in circles yet? Yes? Well, then we have something in common.

The list goes on. (Insert moment of sanity here.) This month kills me every year. I have two daughters and both of their birthdays fall in December. Thus, in addition to all the school activities and Chistmas shopping (which I have yet to begin), I have two birthdays to buy and plan for. Am I complaining? Absolutely yes. But just a little. These two gems are worth every wrinkle.

Now back to chaos. A solution to all the hub-bub still eludes me as is evident by the exhaustion sagging through my body. I trudge on to the next task, determined to persevere. A running dialogue in my mind attempts to convince me this will all end soon. The delusion is immense. Parts of my brain shut down in a bizarre replication of an emergency computer back-up.

Eyes heavy, body weary, I fall into bed, pray my heart out for protection and strength, giving thanks for every twisted moment of it. Am I darranged? I'll let you to decide. The voting booth is disguised below under the word "comment."

Deck the shoppers who walk so lazy,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
'Tis the season that makes me crazy,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Stop me now, before I lose it,
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
Tell them all I'm no longer lucid,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Merry Christmas to all and to all a very bizarre night.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Tagged!

Tagged again by Ron AND Robin, so double grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Looks like a fun one, though. Let's see how I do.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (Lord willing):
1. Publish several books
2. Spend a week at a monestary
3. Spend a week each year writing in a cabin with my buds. ;-)
4. Lose the twenty pounds I've been trying to lose for the last five years.
5. See my daughters marry the men God is preparing for them now.
6. Hold my grandbabies.
7. Grow old with my wonderful hubby.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Deny Christ
2. Resist a second piece of chocolate
3. Skip reading my Bible for more than a day
4. Leap tall buildings in a single bound
5. Grow orchids
6. Stay in my daughter's messy room
7. Bathe a cat

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!):
1. His hands
2. His smile
3. His laugh
4. His ability to be positive in EVERY situation
5. His playfulness
6. The dimples in his cheeks when he smiles really big
7. When he's being a dad to his two daughters

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. No Way!
2. Yeah, right
3. You have got to be kidding
4. Just shoot me now!
5. Bummer
6. That's great!
7. Where's the nearest Starbucks?

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. The Dragon Star series by Melanie Rawn
2. The King Author's Camelot series by Lady Mary Stewart
3. The Stand by Stephen King
4. Thr3e by Tedd Dekker
5. 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
6. Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
7. Ender's Game by Orsen Scott Card

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Pride and Prejudice (BBC version)
2. Princess Diaries
3. Princess Diaries 2
4. Bridget Jones Diary
5. A Wedding Date
6. Serenity
7. You've Got Mail

Seven People I Want to Join in: (be tagged)
1. Jeff
2. Jennifer Tiszai
3. Deb Raney
4. Brandilyn Collins (ganging up on her with Ron, LOL!)
5. Ronie Kendig
6. Camy Tang (yes, again!)
7. Lynetta

There, I did it! Have fun, you guys.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tagged by Allen (grrrrrrrrrr)

Allen tagged me for this book meme thingy. I have to list 15 facts and personal preferences about books. Here goes. WARNING: It's late, I've been with sick kids all day, and my body may collapse at any moment. I cannot be held responible for the quality of this list. Read at your own risk.

1. Books have pages. (Oh wow! That was an easy one.)

2. I like to read books. (Well, duh...)

3. The oldest book in my possession is in German and is over 100 years old. (Keller's Kleider machen Leute by Gottfried Keller)

4. I always use a bookmark. (Stole this one from Allen)

5. I cut my teeth on King and Saul. Now I munch on books by Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Ted Dekker, and too many others to name.

6. I always take books with me to doctor's appointments. There's a myth to this too. If I take one, I get called in quicker. They don't want to see there patients content to wait. If I don't take one, I wait...a long time. See? Test it, it works.

7. Books are treasures. My house is lined with shelves full of them. This household reads!

8. My youngest daughter's favorite book was about a brown bunny and it was called, yep, Brown Rabbit.

9. When I'm looking for a new book and it's an author I don't know, I read the first page or two. If I'm not hooked by then, it goees back on the shelf.

10. My reading stack grows faster than I can read them. And I keep buying more books! (No, this does not negate number 9)

11. I always read one fiction and one nonfiction at the same time.

12. Confession time. I never read books twice. Not as a rule but as a fact. I keep books I love, thinking I'll read them again, but then I don't. (Except for the Bible, LOL)

13. I prefer to buy my books than go to the library.

14. I love character driven stories but prefer suspense or supernatural. (I am not a chick-lit girl!)

15. The first book I read that taught me reading could be for pleasure was Johnny Tremain, given to me by my eigth grade english teacher. Bless his heart!

That was fun! Ok, now I'm tagging Camy Tang, Ron Estrada, and Pammer.

45 Master Characters

As you can see at the side bar the word count for my WIP changed and the non-fiction book I'm reading has changed also. I always try to read one fiction and one nonfiction at the same time. Keeps life interesting.

I have to say 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt is a definite must for a writer. Ms. Schmidt breaks down characters into eight archtypes for females and eight archtypes for males. Then she breaks down each archtype into heroes and villians. Under each breakdown she gives character description, then answers these questions:

What does the character care about?
What does the character fear?
How do other characters see this "character"?

Then she discusses developing the character arc and gives a list of assets and flaws. You can identify not only your character, but also the character types that work well with yours.

And there's more. Ms. Schmidt talks about supporting characters and goes in depth about the male and female journeys. She even includes worksheets for this at the end.

Every page of this book is full of valuable information. By page twelve I was competely hooked. The questions on this page alone helped me flesh out my characters with a depth I'd not experienced before, and I can already see a difference as I write my characters. I can hear them.

So, if you want to deepen your characters, this is the book to help you. I just read Donald Maass' book, Writing the Breakout Novel and found 45 Master Characters to be a great companion to what Maass refers to as "larger-than-life characters."

On a scale of five stars, I have to give this book a five. I know I'll be using it over and over again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Turkey Carcass

The bones are picked clean. There's nothing left, except the remnants of a once fabulous or tolerable meal in the fridge. Family and friends have gone home, for the most part, or perhaps an occasional one or two will linger. The cook collapses in a chair, marveling over the feat of his or her creation, or what went wrong.

Then there are those of us who left the cooking to another and ventured into the unknown and accepted a most gracious invitation. The meal was wonderful, the company divine and the whole day more relaxing for the simple fact that we were relieved from kitchen duty for the first time in years. For just that alone, we are thankful.

We've come home to a cold kitchen and an empty refridgerator, still glad to have, for once, been free of the hectic cooking of the one day of the year we are required to coordinate an impossible number of dishes at once. A year to breath, catch up on rest and look forward to Christmas.

Hmmm, it was close to perfect. I almost made it, free of the fixings and fixing. Yet now a turkey sits in my fridge, waiting to be a late Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, just so we can partake in those wonderful leftovers and turkey sanwiches.

What is this, you ask? Simply this. The ramblings of a fool who thought she had gotten away. Alas, my kitchen awaits.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dreaming Evangelism

I drive my car into the bar as if it were the most normal thing to do. I get out of my car and look around. My car vanishes. To my right two people sit in a booth, casually talking. One glances at me, then returns to his animated conversation with the person sitting across from him.

In front of me sits an older woman at a small table, alone.

To my left the bartender is wiping down the counter with a white rag. He finally notices me and says, “You’re supposed to tell something to that lady over there.”

I glance at her. Her head hangs over a bare table. “But I don’t know her.”

He shrugs and walks away.

I look down and notice I’m wearing a nametag, except it’s upside down. I realize it’s not my name but these words on it:

Are you ready to get serious about Jesus?

This is the tail end of a dream I had several years ago. I’ve never forgotten it for obvious reasons. Lately it’s been on my mind again.

Originally, God used this dream to convict me. The evening before I had driven through a blizzard to get to a Christmas party with my Bible study group. Needless to say, when I got there, I was relieved to be alive and ready to relax. I said a brief hello to one of the member’s husbands, who I knew wasn’t a believer, then spent the rest of the evening entertaining myself.

That night I had this dream, but I didn’t put two and two together until the next morning. I knew the dream had meaning, but I didn’t know what. In my prayer time, God convicted me of my oversight.

Later that same morning, the unequally yoked group that I was part of had a date to meet. It was at the house of the woman whose husband I had neglected. I knew I would have to ask her for forgiveness. As soon as I arrived at her doorstep, I did. She then told me how her husband had wanted to leave early the night before because he didn’t feel welcome.

I was convicted again. A room full of Christians and the poor guy never felt welcome. Now you see why I’ve never forgotten that dream.

How does this apply to writing? It makes me ask these questions. Do our words reach the downtrodden person sitting alone? Do they reach the Christian, who’s ready to quit doing thing’s Jesus’ way because it’s just too hard? Do we offer a light in a hopeless world? I think we do, and will continue to as long as God is the one at the keyboard as well.

Something’s moving and changing lately. I’m not sure what it is, but I can feel it. The dream has been more prevalent lately, more readily remembered than usual. I know God’s at work, I just don’t know what he’s doing yet.

But I do know one thing. I’m ready to get serious about Jesus. How about you?

Friday, November 18, 2005

More Thoughts About Info Dump

Wow, awesome comments, people! Thank you. All this input has really given me more food for thought, so to speak. I even received some great comments from some fellow ACFWers privately.

I’d like to clarify, though, that the question is not whether or not to market ourselves. That’s something I’ve long accepted and quit resisting. We may not like it, but we see the necessity. It’s part of the whole shebang.

The question is, HOW?

The more I consider what I myself will have to do down the road for promotion, the more I question what I see out there. Let’s look at just one, say the author newsletter. This can be a very effective tool. Coming from an advertising background, I’ve designed and implemented my fair share of institutional newsletters. When they are targeted at the right audience, the results are great. So there’s the rub. Are they really effective for us as writers? Who are they being sent to? Or are they just adding to the marketing bandwagon everyone’s jumping on? (Any commentss from pubbed authors out there who can shed light in this area are greatly welcomed.)

I heard DiAnn Mills once say in reference to websites that they shouldn’t be just about the writer. They should give something back. Those aren’t her exact words, just my interpretation, but they have stuck with me for months. The message is pretty clear though.

The very mission we serve in writing our stories should carry over into our marketing strategies and tools.

So, for now, here are my conclusions thus far in the marketing dilemma:

Be Prayerful. Enter any marketing idea prayerfully. No matter how great an idea may be, if God doesn’t like it, he will stop it cold. God has given us a mission. The Great Commission in Print, I call it. If we take this mission and turn it into self-glorification, then we’ve missed the mark.

Be Intentional. Carefully consider what we do. Let’s not just throw our stuff out there without being sure it’s the right method and above all, the right timing. The Jesus Films are an excellent example of that. Bill Bright had the idea in the 1950s. Did he do it then? No. The timing wasn’t right. Twenty years later it was. Now these films have reached millions. (Our Journey has a great article about that featured today.)

Be Considerate. Keep in mind the people who will be exposed to your plan. Will it just clutter their boxes and their time? Or will it help, inspire, and/or direct? Again, I think this comes back to motivation. Why are we doing it?

If these people don’t mind, I want to use two as an example of effective marketing while helping other writers. Gina Holmes has an awesome blog. Author interviews are some of the most educational, inspirational and encouraging methods I’ve seen, and she does a great job with the information she putting out there. Another is Forensics & Faith. Brandilyn’s blog is truly a writer’s educational tool. Lots of pertinent information and lots of purpose.

To conclude, I think Ron and Robin are both right to the extremes. Yes, we are called to write and yes, all these other activities will make us better writers. But if you leave God out of the equation, you’re just left with an overwhelming mess.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Information Overload: To Dump or Not to Dump

There’s an issue on my mind of which I spoke to a dear friend about—a burden in my heart you could say. What do you think she said? “Why don’t you blog about it.” I laughed, then realized it was great idea. So, here I am about to share this burden with you.

Times are different today for writers. We have to market ourselves and promote our work before our first novel ever hits the shelf. Contests, newsletters, websites, marketing gimmicks—even short video clips. The web is filled with sights offering writing helps, insights, book promotions of the most unique kinds and a mishmash of inspirational self-helps.

As a hopefully-soon-to-be-published author, I find myself in an interesting predicament. With limited time in a day to write and perfect my craft, I am inundated with a plethora of information to the point of being overwhelmed. Reading takes time and time is in short supply these days. (Remember, I just turned 40. LOL!) We all have lives that need some level of attention as well.

I myself am on the very same track, trying to market my “future” book, but I wonder if we are doing new writers and ourselves a disservice. Personally, I can spend an entire day reading all the sites, blogs, and newsletters as well as reading books in my genre and on writing, and not write a single word. I could do this day after day. I could entrench myself in everything writing related, everything I’m being told I should do, but not write at all. There is so much, too much, in my currently perturbed opinion.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think most of what’s out there is very beneficial. And I do believe it is up to the individual to determine how much time is allowed to spend on the “business” of writing. So many published authors have graciously dedicated parts of their websites with a lion’s share of their hard-earned knowledge. (Now tell me if that isn’t just contrary to the worldly push of get ahead, even at the expense of others.)

My concern is this. As an unpublished author, I want to learn as much as I can, yet I realize there is no way possible to read, do and see it all without sacrificing my writing. Thus the dilemma—what do I intake that will best benefit my goal of becoming published and more importantly will honor God on this path He has placed me? Discernment is definitely a key issue and necessary practice here.

Insert large sigh here…

But here’s my point. Don’t we as writers need to be careful that we don’t become part of the information overload? Are we just doing a newsletter, contest, marketing gimmick (you fill in the blank) just to do it, just to do what we think we should be doing?

Again, I’m not saying these things are bad, but we have to be careful what we put out there, just like we take care over what goes into our books. If we’re doing these things, just to do them, then we are just part of the info dump that’s already become an overwhelming surge. We have to examine our motives and bring them under God’s lamp—just like we should be doing in our writing, our lives and our relationships.

These could just be the ramblings of a frustrated writer or this could be an alert to something bigger. The danger here is getting so caught up in the marketing and the pressure to know as much as we can, that we become a part of the pressure surge that pushed us in the first place, and will in the end overwhelm other writers.

This upsurge is not only overwhelming, it’s discouraging. And the last thing I would want to do is discourage another writer.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

40 and Blessed

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. The party was wonderful—so great to sit with friends and family and enjoy one another's company. We ate dinner on the patio of a great little Mexican restaurant, and Mike even tied balloons to my chair.

Over the course of the last week, I have been showered with gifts and cards galore. Between family and friends, I've receieved over thirty cards. What does that tell me?


Sorry for the shouting, but I just don't see how else to describe it. Saturday, I sat alone doing my bible study while my hubby took our two girls shopping. (Yes, for birthday presents. LOL! Sunday was the actual day.) Anyway, I went out to the malibox and found four cards from totally unexpected sources. I read each one, stood them in front of me, and cried. It was almost too much.

I was overwhelmed by such caring and to be remembered, well, my heart jusy about burst. See, the thing is, I don't deserve it. Not at all. I didn't earn it either. Again, I see it's all about relationships. That's what life's about. That's what God's about.

Overwhelemed, humbled, shown again just how amazing God's grace is. And this is just an earthly example that flowed over me. Can you imagine what God's love is like? Oh, wow. I don't think I can wrap my brain around it.

I am so incredibly and richly blessed. For each card, e-card, e-mail, personal note, present and song of Happy Birthday—thank you, thank you so much. You have blessed me beyond belief. I would say I'm the luckiest woman on earth if I believed in luck, but I don't.

I believe in God.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Big 40

Book Update: 79.7K
Goal: 80 to 85K, almost there!
Deadline: Ok, now I can really say next week, for sure.
Current Reads: 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt/Fame by Karen Kingsbury

Yes, I'm still reading the same two books. Fighting with a couple scenes consumed a lot of my reading time this week. But, as you can see, the numbers show I'm almost done! Woohooo! I've added 2k since my last post, so that buys me some consideration, right? If you disagree, kindly keep your comments to yourself. LOL! Just kidding.

Anyway, I've realized the last few days that I'm not as cool about turning 40 as I thought. And I think it has a lot to do with expectations. I'm not going to go into detail but I think you can follow where I'm headed with this.

Sometimes we have expectations of ourselves at certain stages, what we'll be doing, what we'll look like, or what we'll have accomplished or even overcome. Seems like expectations really gum up the works though when they aren't met.

We mope and mourn over the loss (or should I say failure?), then create a whole new set of expectations. Do we never learn?

I loved turning 30. I was just so relieved to be free of the crap of the twenties. Little did I know the thirties had their own crap. I think the key here it to just enjoy whatever stage we're at. Hmmm, why does this sound familiar?

Paul said he'd known all ranges of wealth and poverty and had learned to be content in every state. I always thought of that as a materialistic reference, but I now see we can be in "wealth" or "poverty" in our attitude. I suspose that means my attitude has been a state of poverty the last couple days. Time for a reality check.

Sunday I turn 40. Tomorrow night I'm going to celebrate with my friends and family as I prepare to turn the decade clock. I will stop looking at it as the end of opportunities and see it as the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. I'm ready to let go of what could have been and move on to what can be. Only this time, I'll leave the expectations behind.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Short but Sweet and a Thousand Words Down

Book Update: 77.8K
Goal: 80 to 85K, still!
Deadline: Oh, I'm so close! Next week for sure.
Current Reads: 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt/Fame by Karen Kingsbury

I'm only on page twelve of 45 Master Characters. This book is awesome! I've already got two pages of notes for the protagonist for my next book. Can't wait to start on this new book. I love the idea. Stay tuned for that one.

I actually managed a thousand words today despite a run to Target and constant interruptions. Tomorrow will most likely be a bust between church, children's choir, adult choir, and a trip to Michaels for a school project. Oh, what joy. Story land will jsut have to wait.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Laughter and Tears All in Two Minutes

Book Update: 76.8K
Goal: 80 to 85K
Deadline: Umm, sometime soon? LOL!
Current Reads: 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt/Fame by Karen Kingsbury

Ok, ok. I know it's small, but considering I was gone all day, 500 words isn't too bad. I'll get moving more tomorrow.

Something's afoot. I can feel it. Not sure what's up, but something feels off kilter. Don't know what the big guy upstairs is up to, but I sure am glad He's in charge.

Oh, got several cool birthday presents today. Pampered by a friend this morning over coffee. She brought me fresh sunflowers, sunflower earings, and cupcakes! Then I got home and found a box at my door. Opened it up and found a pink t-shirt with the words, "I'm too sexy to be 40." I laughed my you-know-what off. Then found a beautiful box that had the words "forever true, forever friends" printed inside. That's when I cried. LOL!

Overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed but the blessings of my friends. They are incredibly awesome.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Are we there yet? (Now say it 3 times in a row.)

Book Update: 76.3K
Goal: 80 to 85K
Deadline: Friday? Um, considering I won't be home most of the day, NOT!

So, let's shoot for the weekend. DH is out of town, so I plan to work, work, work. As much as my kids will let me.

Getting there, getting there. Not much farther. So close. The mantra goes on and on in my head. The end is in sight. I'm praying for guidance, strength, endurance, and WORDS! LOL!

Yeah, those pesky little units made of letters. They're kind of important. And I need more of them. Lots more, 'cuz after this one, I've got a 50K book that needs to go to 90K. Can you say, "woe is me?" I sure can.

Goodnight, dear ones. Darkenss has fallen and so have my eyelids.

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Little by Little

Book Update: 75.6K
Goal: 80 to 85K
Deadline: Friday? Still hoping...

Ok, as you can see from the numbers, I managed to add over 1,000 words today. That's pretty good for a slowpoke like me. Especially since I had to backtrack a bit into other chapters I thought I was done with and add a new conflict. Oh, how lost I would be without my crit buds to help me work it out. They know who they are.

I've decided to enter this manuscript into the Golden Heart. I better get my fingers to move faster. Kind of hard to type with my right index finger bandaged from a burn. Halloween left its mark on me. LOL!

It's late, I'm tired, and this day is toast. See ya on the bright side.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Update, Heartbreak, and Hope

Book Update: 74.5K
Goal: 80 to 85K
Deadline: Friday? LOL! We’ll see.

So last Friday brought me a bit of news I hadn’t expected—a rejection letter from an agent I truly respect and hoped would represent me. I’ll admit I was a bit crushed and set back for a day or so.

But I have the most awesome friends. Every single one of them came to stand beside me in spirit. In the midst of heartbreak, I was reminded of how blessed I am. Amazing how quickly God brings good out of everything.

He was the true source of my comfort. By Saturday, I simply thought of Him each time my heart drooped and was instantly comforted and restored. This is the same source that brought my friends’ caring out in my time of need. We’re thousands of miles apart, yet their comfort brought them to my doorstep. Totally awesome…

This writing business is tough. And as difficult as that letter was, my determination to keep writing never wavered. I may have only written a few lines on Saturday, but I did it. I got back up on the horse and continued on.

Then Sunday I read Psalm 23 as part of my devotional time. I get really tired of this Psalm sometimes, because it’s so over referenced. This time, the end of the fourth verse took on new meaning in light of my set back.

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Suddenly I understood God’s rod and staff. I always took it to mean his weapons to fight against our enemies, but they’re even more than that. They’re His strength and guidance. In the midst of discouragement, I understood God stood by me—guarding me, protecting me, uplifting me. By His presence, by His Word, and through my friends. I’m covered. What a blanket of warmth and encouragement! Again, totally awesome…

I write for God. No one can take that away from me. It’s all for His glory and under His control. I can’t imagine being on this journey and getting anywhere without Him and these wonderful friends (and my family). Truly, getting a book published is a group effort. Not a one-man show. And I have a feeling the best is yet to come.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Accountability Blog?

I think I'm going to use this blog to motivate myself. I've only got about 10k to add to one of my books and then it's done! Yet I drag my feet. Hubby flies out tomorrow for a week and a half, so I plan to work and write a lot. Hopefully. By this time next week I want to be done with that 10k.

A daily post of my progress or lack there of ought to shame me into to working, right? LOL! Stick around and see...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Said No.

I had the most wonderful and liberating experience today. I told a car salesman, "no." LOL! I know that sounds funny, but if you had my experiences, and regrets, with car salesman, you'd be celebrating with me.

I really hate that pushy, dishonest mentality. Now granted, not all car salesman are like that, but the ones I've dealt with were. I've been on the bad end of a deal too many times to mention.

This time I went alone, with my mind set on the conditions I would even consider before making a move. I went, I saw the car I've been drooling over for years. (A Toyota RAV 4. My tastes are simple. LOL!) It was even the color I wanted.

So, we sat down. Let's talk numbers. What can you give me for my car? The RAV is used, how much will you negotiate with me? And so forth. I write down info, salesman dude runs back and forth between his manager and me, sprinkling in stories to build my trust. Blah, blah blah.

First round of numbers come back. I look at the figure they're willing to give me for my car. I know the blue book value. This is lowballing. I eye the "nice" little salesman. "Are you serious?" He runs back to the manager.

Sales guy comes back. Then I get this. "We weren't supposed to sell the car you chose."

Okaaaaaaay. Fine. Not my problem.

"But wait." Oh, here it comes. Can you hear me groan? Salesman dude runs back to his manager. I don't understand why the guy is still overweight. If I had to run that much I'd lose twenty pounds.

He returns and shows me the numbers again. Okay, they upped the amount for my car a little. A little. I hedge. He tells me how he convinced them to sell the car "they weren't suppose to sell." He's keeping good faith with his customer. Me. Can you feel the pressure? I sure could. But this time, I didn't let it get to me.

I look at him, I look at the numers. I say the words I've never said before. "No thanks. I'll pass."

Salesdude? His eyebrows went up and suddenly, he wasn't so friendly anymore.

Oh well, I was outta there. I grabbed my bag and left with something better than a car. My dignity. And it felt great.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Oh, the life of a writer. Whatever! as Ronie would say. This manuscript is killing me. Still have about 10K at add. But I think it's going to be really rich for it. Characters are coming out, as well as character traits and quirks. Love it!

So, yes, Heather, I am blogging. See? Let's have a par-tey! There will be some celebrating when that book contract comes along. See again? That's me thinking positively.

Ok, this is what they call freewriting. Just letting it all hang out. Trouble is, what's hanging out ain't so pretty. Using all those icky words I wouldn't dare use in a manuscript. They've been building up and now the dam has broken. Be warned! Who knows what will show up in this blog.

Yes, I promise it is indeed me writing it. Wacky at the moment. Hey, it's late. What can I say? The fingers take on a life of their own at night. It's a mystery even to me.

This is the result of waiting to hear back from an agent or an editor. I'm learning that word Robin hates so much. Patience. She's gonna kill me for saying it. In the meantime, I'm losing my mind! And sleep.

But you know, I love being a writer. Just the friends I've made and meeting authors, agents and editors that knock your socks off makes the waiting and heartache all worth while.

Well, I'm heading off now. Leaving the area. Turning off the lights. Saying goodnight. Eyes are drooping.

Wham! I think my head hit the keyboard...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Firefly, the TV Series

If you liked the movie, Serenity, then I highly recommend the TV series, Firefly. Joss Whedon's characters are worth studying and the subtexted dialogue is excellent. This is story and writing ing its highest form.

Now I will warn you, there is violence and some sexual situations, but I'm sure you know how to press the fast forward button if those scenes offend you. I will leave that choice to you.

The point of this rambling blog is to give you something. Yes, that's right. To go along with the movie Serenity, I came up with a nifty idea to spead the wealth of this amazing, action packed, and entertaining show. I will be giving away two copies of the Firefly DVD Set at the end of October. All you have to do is go to my website and sign my guestbook at the bottom of the homepage.

So, I hope you're enjoying this incredible season called Fall. I love the smells of cinnamon, the vibrant colors of pumpkins and changing leaves (yes, we get a little in San Jose), and the promise of the upcoming holidays. This is my favorite time of year. What better way to enjoy it than to sit with a loved one, sip a cup of coffee and read a good book. Or better yet, watch Firefly!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Serenity, The Movie

Last night I had the honor of seeing a prescreening of Serenity, the movie based on Joss Whedon's series, Firefly. True to his nature, Whedon delivers a story with high action, unexpected turns and great subtext. The characters are completely true to the original series and pretty much pick up where it left off. The effects were handled well and kept that wonderful mix of Sci-Fi meets western. Whedon gives you just enough info in the beginning that, if you're new to the Serenity gang, you won't have trouble catching up. Great use of backstory—cleverly placed—not the no-no variety us authors get nailed for doing.

As a die-hard fan of Firefly, I came away pleased, and judging by the audience's reaction, they did, too. Lots of cheers and laughter mixed with seat-gripping suspense. The humor is classic Whedon and if you've watched Firefly, you know what I mean.

What I really love about his shows though, is his subtext. I saw this in the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series as well. One scene stands out above the rest where Mal asks Zoe a question about the ship, but he's not really asking about the ship. That was classic. I won't share anymore—don't want to ruin the scene.

Great movie. I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed with Whedon's newest addition or the cast performances. Very well done, very well acted, and very well written.

Hope you get a chance to check out this highly entertaining film.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I'm A Slug...

Oh, Heather will just love this one! I title this blog in honor of our mutual sluggishness. We've come back from conference happy, but fried! And not the Kentucky variety.

Conference was fantastic. Made some great connections with some of the most fastastic people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I am truly honored. And I'm already planning for next year's ACFW conference. Best week of my life, guys!

So, now the challenge is coming down from the mountain back to everyday life. I don't want to! Just being in the midst of so many Christian writers, unified in worship and purpose—what a glimpse of heaven that was.

Now the wait begins. I would love for something to develop from this conference—an agent, a book contract—but mostly I think I'm pleased to see God moving ever so softly. I prayed He'd be at the center of all I did and do. He kept my focus on a Him all weekend and ever since.

I walked away with such confidence of the path I'm on, the assurance that God is working in me, and closer connections to people I'm proud to call friends.

My amazing crit group got solidified with the addition of one new member. Welcome to the nutty group, Ron! I am so deeply blessed to have Ronie, Robin, and Ron to work with. And, no, I stopped my plans to change my name so it would start with an R. I will just have to settle with being unique to the group.

Stay tuned for more. Things are just starting to heat up.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Off To Conference

Well, happy campers, T-time is two days and counting. All the time spent getting ready for conference, and neglecting my blog, culminates early Monday morning as I catch a plane to Nashville. Please don't ask me if I'm packed yet.

I'm going a couple days early to catch some time with a friend in Memphis. Then I shoot back Nashville Wednesday for the ACFW Conference. If you're unfamilar with the ACFW, check out the link to the right. They're an awesome group of published and unpublished Christian writers. Over 700 of us, and growing. Such an awesome group.

So, I guess we get to see how much further my blood, sweat and tears take me to catching the eye of an agent or editor. In the end, I know it's all in God's hands and according to His plan. He's the one that put me on this path to begin with. My faith in that is what is keeping me from getting too worked up about it all. That and lots of prayer. LOL!

If you don't hear from me next week, you won't be surprised since I haven't been blogging very consistently. But, I hope to remedy that when I get back.

In the meantime, I'm tickled to get a short quote in Our Journey, formerly Soul Journey in the October edition. Didn't even know it until the copies showed up in today's mail! One step closer.

In the meantime, God's blessings to you. May He shine His light on you and give you peace.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Little Man That Lives in My Daughter's Purse

Yes, there is a little man that resides in my daughter's purse. His name is Edgar Allan Poe, and he is a six-inch action figure. If you ask her why, she'll tell you, "He just does."

What amazes me is, she can always tell you where Edgar is, but she can't tell you where her house key is. The sanity of it boggles my mind.

However, I chose to search for some meaning to this teen-age madness and discovered it's a matter of priorities. For her, having Edgar in her purse is a priority. Why? Again she says, "It just is." But knowing whether or not she has her house key is not. She has chosen the more important item to keep track of. A six-inch action figure has won her allegiance.

So, where do our allegiances lie? In this present life? Money? Television? Food? I'm sure you can think of several to add to the list, but one is surely missing here.


There, I said it. I used to think giving my allegiance to Jesus was the easiest thing in the world to do. Now I'm learning it is, indeed, easy to give it. It's just hard to keep it there. That is the daily battle, though, isn't it? What Paul called "running the race."

Well, I'm a weary runner, but I have hope tonight. (Or today I should say as I look at the clock.) Tonight I bought a copy of Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and read the first chapter as I waited for hubby to finish perusing. The first question to fill out talked about your heros. Who are your heros? List one.

Yeah, you guessed it. Only one name fit on that line, literally, "in my book." And I'm so glad He's not limited to a book.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Spiritual Wasteland

Ever been there? Well, I'll be honest. I'm residing there at the moment. And let me tell ya, it's a really dry place. I don't like wastelands. Lush greenery is my preference. Lots of running streams, fruit trees, moist earth.

A wasteland is defined as an unused area of land that has become barren or overgrown. So, how does one define that in terms of the spirit. Unused? Barren? Overgrown?

Unused. Am I not serving God as He wants? Are my gifts being used in vain? The struggle of the writer is not knowing how your work has affected others, if at all. There are not immediate results. Not that I write for that reason. I write because I know God has called me to. There is a purpose to this madness.

Barren. Nonproductive. Nothing comes to mind there. I'm writing most days. I'm even close to finishing another book. But it's like squeezing water from a rock. Now I know why Moses hit the rock. Impatience and frustration are not productive.

Overgrown. By what? Weeds? Flowers? The term implies something uncared for. Is that what's wrong with me? I've not taken care of myself spiritually. And how does one do that when the morning quiet time with God is an effort in and of itself.

I know God's there. I'm looking at myself searching for the answers because I know the problem lies within me. Still searching, still waiting, still hoping.

I know God's there. I just wish He'd speak a little louder at the moment.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Modern Day Pentecost

Oh my! It's been a while. Special thanks to Heather for reminding me. She's such a doll!

Big news? I finished my book. I'm now doing edits and getting it ready to pitch at the ACFW conference in September. I have a second book I need to finish for that same reason. Yes, I am a very busy person at the moment. And this is just the beginning.

So, to move forward. One of the most amazing things I ever experienced in our church in Zürich was being in the unique position to worship with people from almost forty different counties. That experience turned into an indelible memory the day our pastor had us all say the Lord's Prayer—in our own languages.

The church was an old, castle like building. We shared it with the French Church. And as you can imagine, faces changed frequently. Most people were only there for two to three years before going back to their home country or on to the next.

The people were amazing. So many cultures and walks of life, bound by one purpose—to serve God. Bound by one Spirit—the Spirit of Christ. Bound by one love—God's.

Those voices ringing out, all at once, including mine. The vaulted ceiling echoed with our chant. It felt like a modern day Pentecost. All those languages, yet I knew exactly what each was saying, as did all the others. I can only imagine what God felt that day, how He viewed his children, so different on the outside, so alike on the inside, joined in worship, united.

It still takes my breath away. I hold the memory in my heart with pride. Pride in the body of Christ worshiping God as one. We can walk away and go about our separate lives, but in a moment like that, you get a foretaste of heaven.

I will treasure the experience always. Only when I finally go home will I get to do that again. And I am really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Exact Change

Hey there! I'm finally back from my cross country trip. What an adventure. We saw some pretty interesting things along the way. And, we are now more familiar with our own country. I am incredibly grateful for that.

But what I'm most grateful for is the strengthening of our family ties that resulted. My hope and prayer is that it will continue.

So, another European adventure. Let's see. Here's one I wrote a story about. Hope you enjoy it!

Exact Change

I stood in line at the grocery store that I had finally gotten accustomed to. We had been living in Switzerland for the past three years and had found it to be as much of a challenge as an adventure. The first two years alone had been a real struggle for our two daughters. Learning the language and trying to make friends in the small community we lived in had proven to be more difficult than we had ever imagined. Just shopping for groceries had been one of the biggest adjustments in my life. That and coping with the daily struggles of living in a foreign country had to taken its toll.

As I stood in line the only thought that kept going through my mind was this. "I can't do it anymore."

It was the same thought that had dominated my mind before my two daughters and I had joined my husband in London for a week. He had been assigned to a client there two months earlier, and it now looked as if he would be there a couple more months. That meant two more months of handling things on my own, and I was already worn out.

Managing the house, being the main interpreter in the family and coping with some of the stigma that came our way because we were foreigners had finally caught up with me. There was no escaping it now. My mind was overwhelmed and my heart was about to shrivel. I felt I had nothing left to offer, or the energy to even try.

Hopeless. That was the word that fit the best. I felt completely and utterly hopeless over the whole situation. I cried out to God for help with what little strength I had left. I couldn’t form a request at that point, and it wasn’t even a cry really. Just a simple statement.

"I can't do it anymore."

I put my groceries on the counter and waited for my total in a daze. All I wanted to do was get my groceries and get home as fast as I possibly could. The cashier finished ringing up my items and told me the amount was 45.56 CHF (Swiss Franks). I pulled out my bankcard to pay for it but was completely confused when it refused to work. The cashier said to try the card again. I did, but it still didn't work. Once more. Still no results.

Since we had just flown back from London the day before, I hadn’t had time to go to the bank. I had only come to the store for a few things to get us by until I had the strength to do serious shopping. I can only imagine the picture I made in that store that day as I opened my wallet in the hopes that I had enough cash to pay for my groceries. The thought of having to put something back was more than I could handle at that point.

As I counted out the bills I was partially relieved to see I had exactly 45.00 CHF. Now at least I had a chance. I dumped my wallet over into my hand to empty the change, but the cashier held out her hand to count it for me. I think she realized I was a woman under stress. This, I have found, is an identity that transcends all cultures and languages.

The next moment is still clear in my mind to this day. She looked up at me with eyes bigger than the largest coin she held and said it was the exact amount. She was in more shock than I. My wallet lay empty, not a single coin remained, and the groceries were paid for. Exactly.

The next day I went to the bank to order a new bankcard. The teller took my card and ran it in the pin machine. It worked perfectly. There was nothing wrong with it. As I left the bank I suddenly felt as if a light clicked on. It had been no coincidence that my groceries had totaled the exact amount I’d had in my wallet. That was when I knew I would be okay. God had shown me I didn’t have to do it alone anymore. He had used a simple activity such as grocery shopping to remind me of what I had somehow forgotten. He was the one in control and was with me every step of the way. I simply had to quit trusting in my own ability and trust him. Where I fell short, He was exactly what I needed. Right to the last penny.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Smiling shyly, I type in the words of my next blog. Yes, it's been over a week. But you know how vacations can be. I'm not on the road at the moment. Actually I'm in Florida visiting family. That's what this trip was all about—family.

Families are amazing entities. The bonds that hold them together are an enigma to me at times. For the most part we're motivated out of love, but sometimes I think it's partly to do with identity. We identify ourselves with this certain group of people, and this identity grows.

What amazes me too is the ongoing pattern. The children grow up and start having children of their own. The family grows, changes, redefines, yet it's still family.

I sat at a baby shower the other day. This is part of the children growing up and having their own children. A few days later another of these little ones turned eighteen. I can see the next wave soon to come. Hopefully not too soon!

The cycle repeats. As do so many things around us. The seasons cycle and change, yet repeat the same basic pattern. A seed germinates, grows, blooms, dies, then distributes its seeds. The next flower comes and so on.

God created such wonderful patterns for us to see, if we only look. They tell us much about His intricacy and brilliance. God's creation is so interdependent. The food chain. A seahorse. A snowflake. A family.

God's family is the same. I think all the examples here on earth are designed to point to the family of God. And we are connected by blood. Christ's blood. It runs in all who accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

Interconnected, interdependent, integral and invaluable. We all matter. We're all a part of something bigger than the individual.

We're family.

(Next time we'll go back to the European adventures, so stay tuned. There's more to come! Blessings!)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Forgotten Dreams

Hello! Nice to be back. I've been waiting two days to tell you some pretty cool things that have happened on our cross-country trip. So, I'm going to put the European stories on hold, for just a bit. Funny thing is, in some ways our past experiences there have tied into this trip. That's what I want to tell you about.

First, I want to share an amazing thing God showed me at, of all places, Meteor Crater. Seeing the Grand Canyon was amazing, but what I learned at Meteor Crater was precious.

At one point I felt drawn to go to one part of a small amphitheater, which sits on the edge of this massive, mile-wide crater. Most of the other visitors had gone off to the observation area or back into the semi-cool building housing the museum.

I stood in the corner against the railing. All the noises around me fell away, becoming distant. Suddenly I heard…nothing. Complete silence. No background hum of interstates, neighborhood cars, or daily life. Just that silence that almost makes your ears ring. Do you know what I mean?

Guess what I did? Like a child, I asked, "God, are you there?"

I'm laughing at myself as I write this. Such pondering. I guess somewhere in my mind I thought without all the background noise, God's voice would boom out like a man on a speakerphone.

He was there…is there. I loved that moment. I loved the silence. But what I loved most of all was knowing that God is there no matter what the "noise " is in my life. One day, I'd like to spend more time in the desert like that, away from all the hum and just have a conversation with God. I know He's there. I just want to hear him better.

Now, some fun stuff happened after that. Later in the day (Tuesday), we stopped at a comfy hotel in Gallup, New Mexico, another state I wanted to see. We were just leaving the restaurant in the hotel when we saw the waitress struggling to understand a party of eight. Can you believe they were German? Yep, I played translator that evening. Both the party and the poor waitress were relieved to be understood. It was such a joy to help, and fun.

So, the next day we head father into New Mexico and hit…guess where? Uh-huh, Roswell. I have a confession to make. No, I am not an alien nut, but I loved the TV show, Roswell. We drove down Main Street and got to see the area the TV set was modeled after. And get this. I went into three different shops and two were Christian run. Didn't expect that.

And onward we drove into the evening, until we stopped at a Best Western in Pecos, Texas. We chose it because the restaurant attached was called the Swiss Clock. It even had a bunch of the kanton (region) flags hung on the hotel front. Kind of corny but cute. In the morning we had breakfast there and found out the owners were Swiss. How funny!

Where am I going with all this rambling? Back to God, of course. It's all about dreams. God makes dreams come true, even the small ones that don't really seam like a dream, but more like a "maybe," like going to Roswell, New Mexico.

God loves to delight in us, and I believe He likes to delight us. I think He likes taking those forgotten dreams and making them a reality. And at the same time, it makes Him seem even more real…more present…more involved in our lives.

My trip is turning into a reminder of forgotten dreams. Here's one delighted traveler saying, "See ya soon."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tests & Trials Along with a Few Surprises (part 2)

Hey there and welcome back. I'm sitting in a hotel in Williams, Arizona as I type this. My family and I are on our cross country vacation. Yesterday we saw Las Vegas, today it was Hoover Dam, and tomorrow it's the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater. What a whirlwind tour! And how wonderful to see some of our own country! Here's a picture from today.

The desert has such an errie beauty. I'd forgotten how beautiful Arizona is. Of course, I'm partial to the desert and the southwest.

Now, on with the story. There I stood, looking at the glass doors of what used to be my bank, my Mom and daughters still with the groceries I didn't have enough money to pay for. In desperation, I knocked on the doors, hoping I might be able to make a withdrawal inside.

A tall, nice-looking gentleman came to the door and explained to me the transition taking place. In my feeble German, I explained my plight. He must have seen the panic in my eyes. He switched to English and asked me a question I never expected.

"How much do you need?"

I vaguely remember stuttering a moment, unsure why he asked. I told him the amount I needed, which was close to a hundred Franks. At the time that was about $75. Now get this. The man pulls out his own wallet, hands me a hundred Frank bill, then gives me his business card and tells me to just drop it buy when I get a chance.

Shock. Pure shock. I couldn't believe it. This guy didn't know who I was, or if I would even pay him back. Yet he still pulled out his wallet in good faith. I could have kissed him…but I didn't.

I went right to the store and paid for our groceries, determined to show this wonderful man-angel that I was as good as my word. Not only did I find the atm machine in the next town over, which was a huge step for me to drive in an unknown area. I returned to the shopping center, and knocked on those glass doors again. The very glass doors I had stood in front of just a half hour prior.

I wish I'd had a camera to take a picture of his face when he saw me standing there. The smile that lit his face was priceless. Just as he had surprised me, I had surprised him. I left the shopping mall walking on air that day.

And praising God every step of the way.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tests & Trials Along with a Few Surprises

Hi there! Thanks for coming back. I'm sorry I've let a week pass by. My family and I are getting ready to go on vacation, so things are a bit crazy at the moment and will remain so through mid-July. I plan to keep posting while on vacation, so be sure to keep checking back.

For those of you regualar returnees, thank you. My prayer is that this blog will bless you as you see the mighty hand of God. And a mighty hand it is indeed. If you're a first time visitor, my prayer is the same. May you all be richly blessed by God. He is AWESOME!

So, it's time to transition into a slightly different direction. You've read so far how my family and I wound up living in Switzerland. Now I want to tell you about some of the amazing things God did while we were there.

Here's one of the first ones.

Shopping in Zürich can be a real challenge for an American. We have grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it, even at all hours of the night. This is not the case in Switzerland, and in most of Europe for that matter. Shops close early during the week, though some might stay open until 8pm on Thursday evenings. This is a recent consideration to accomodate the working class. Otherwise, the main day for most people to shop is Saturday. And only until about 4pm. Needless to say, if you work full time in Switzerland, your Saturdays are spent fighting crowds, and I do mean crowds, just to get your staples for the week.

I don't like crowds. I don't like grocery shopping. I was very thankful I could do it in the morning during the week. Lighter crowds then. Let me expound on crowds a moment. You know how your favorite mall gets so crowded at Chistmas time? I mean, December 24th-crowded in a densley populated US city? Well, guess what? That's a normal Saturday in Zürich to shop. What's it like at Christmas time? Ever opened a sardine can? I think you have the picture. And I can reassure you, I am NOT exaggerating.

Okay, back to the first of these interesting stories. I was, guess where? Yes, grocery shopping. Mom, the girls and I found this shopping-mall-like-place (malls are a fairly new concept there). We shopped a little, then went to do our grocery shopping at the Migro, which is like saying Albertsons or Kroger.

Funny thing about Migro. They came in all sizes. If the store had a single large M outside, is was a basic store. Sometimes as small as a large living room. Two Ms meant a bigger store with larger selection. Three Ms was a superstore, which included household items as well. This was a two Mer. I was actually relieved to find a bigger store with more choices. Our US grocery store aisles devoted only to hair products would be considered outrageous there.

I happily filled my cart and got in line to pay. This was one of my first times to shop without the security of my husband, so I really wasn't completely aware of how things worked. And I had no clue how much money I was spending since I still was unaccustomed to the Swiss Frank. I went through the line, and guess what? I didn't have enough money. And all I had was a bank card, which was only usable in an ATM machine.

I knew how this worked in the US, but what about in a foreign country? Did they arrest you, get mad at you, throw you out? I tried not to panic. I looked the young woman in the face and did my best to explain what happened. Well, you don't put things back there. I couldn't anyway, because I was way over the cash in my wallet.

Luckily the mall we were in had a branch of the bank we dealt with, and ATM machines. I only had a bank card at the time, which meant I could only use machines that belonged to my bank, UBS. I asked if I could quickly run over and get some cash out of the machine. The cashier told me, no problem. She even smiled at me. Whew! I left my girls with my mother and trotted off to the ATM.

Relieved that a potentially sticky situation had been so easily diffused, I stuck my card into the ATM machine and got my finger ready to punch in the code. The machine promptly spit out my card and told me I couldn't use it there. Why? I had before. I looked at the bank doors and saw they were closed. I walked up closer to read the posted sign.

My heart dropped. The bank was no longer UBS, but CO-OP. There I stood, stranded. No money, a basketful of unpaid gorceries waiting with my family, and absolutely no idea what to do next.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 8)

Hello all! Sorry for the delay. It's been a really productive week. Got a lot of writing done. Woohoo!

What an awesome Saturday. Went to a book signing (no, not mine…but hopefully soon!) and met Brandilyn Collins. What a fun lady! I so enjoyed meeting her, laughing with her, and getting my copies of Stain of Guilt and Dead of Night signed. She is such a gracious person.

Ok, back to the story.

Here I sat at this lovely Swiss lady's table, never expecting to get asked a question like that. I told her, yes, I was a Christian. She then asked, "No, are you a believer?"

Well, needless to say, I was confused. I asked her if there was a difference. She told me that in Europe they believe they are Christian simply because they were born there. I guess this goes back to the early crusades and such. A believer is someone who follows Christ, what we call a Christian here. I found the distinction very interesting.

I told her I was indeed a believer and was rewarded with a very happy smile and an excited, "Me, too!" I couldn't believe it. I'd only been there a week and the first friend I make is a Christian, I mean a believer.

Folks, that's what I call a God-incidence. I was so humbled, grateful and thankful all at once. God was there, looking out for me in the smallest details.

In the weeks ahead this dear woman and I got to be great friends. Her daughter and mine became fast friends, as well. My days were spent amidst a pile of documents to translate, and there were many. I spoke the language (German) fairly well, so, of course, I was the one to do it.

It was a wonderful summer spent exploring castles, hiking in the gorgeous Swiss countryside and mountains, exploring Zürich, and getting the lay of the land.

We met our immediate next door neighbors and discovered he was English, and she was Swiss. More English speaking poeple! Praise God! Then the neighbors put together a little party to welcome us. I was so surprised. What kindness. I felt sure this was a sign of things to come. We were thoroughly welcomed in our new home.

Then summer ended, and so did the tranquil days. We got to meet our oldest daughter's teacher, who also spoke fluent English. Then came to find out, our youngest daughter's teacher was a Christian. Again, I was amazed and blessed. That first day of school was so hard to send them off, but we did. And off they went to a school taught in German. I can only imagine what their first days were like, but we felt confident things were going well.

And they did. For a while. Then the real tests and trials came.

And my question. God, what were you thinking?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 7)

My buddy Heather is away, so I don't have someone reminding me to make a new entry! LOL! Hope she's having a great time.

I know we left on a bit of a down note. Brave soul that she is, Mom got on that plane Monday morning and off we went. I was still clueless as to how to help her. We all were in shock, especially Mom.

Well, we came to our new home, bear of furniture. Our possessions wouldn't arrive for another few weeks, since it was coming from Amsterdam. Thankfully, Mike had aquired some air matresses and discovered a place called IKEA. I'm sure many of you know it. We actually have two here in the San Francisco Bay area. Oh, by the way, in Switzerland they pronounce it differently, eee-kay-ah. Took me almost two years to quit saying it that way!

Back to the story. We settled into our new home in a little town, or village, called Sellenbüren. We were one of the first foreign families to come into the area, and it was only about ten to fifteen minutes from Zürich. The community we lived in was nestled in the side of the Ütliberg, a well-known mountain.

At first it was like a long vacation. I had asked the Gemeinde, the local governenment that was in each town, to allow my girls to wait to start school in the fall. They had technically already finished their school year in the US. Even though the german schools still had a month of school left, they allowed it, which I found out later was highly unusual.

You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? It's true. Starting school when we got there may have helped them adjust better, but who knows.

We'd only been there maybe a week or so, and my daughters come running in all excited. They made a new friend. This bright and beautiful young girl was the same age as my oldest daughter. I was thrilled. Then I had the pleasure of meeting this girl's mother.

I'll never for get sitting at this dear lady's table, praising God in my heart that she spoke perfect English. She was ready to help in any way, but what really surprised me was one of the first questions she asked me. I think I had asked her about an English speaking church.

Her eyes lit up, and she put her hand on my arm as she asked, "Are you a believer?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 6)

Hello there! Sorry I delayed again. I've got a new writing project that's keeping me so busy, my head is spinning!

Well, needless to say I was pretty confused at this point, but I had a sense of peace about it. I think I was starting to realize I needed to let God take control and back off. That's a lesson I'm still learning.

What happened next? God's timing, of course. I look back at it now and see had we sold our house around Christmas, we would have been stuck with no place to go. Moving to another country involves a whole lot of paperwork. So does selling a house. Things were happening, just not fast enough for me.

Right before Christmas, my mother moved in with us so she could let her apartment go. She was coming with us, after all. That's right. Mom was moving to Switzerland with us. She's a brave soul.

The New Year passed and spring approached. A date was finally set for Mike to fly over ahead and find a place to live. As a contractor, everything comes out of your own pocket. This move was on our dime. We were to follow him over in about two months time.

My girls were pretty young at the time, 5 and 9, so we felt good about them making the transition. The idea was for them to go to German schools, so they could learn the language and the culture. Tons of stories coming about that. Stay tuned.

Once Mike left, I had some pretty large tasks ahead of me: pack what we needed for our new home and arrange international shipping, secure what we didn't want to take in storage, and get our four silly cats cleared by a vet for travel. Yes, I was a very busy person for those two months. But it all got done and, so far, everything was falling into place. Except for one of those cats going AWOL for a day, but she turned up, cranky thing that she is!

I have to confess here that I did push things a bit. I thought staying in a hotel for two week before we left would be a great idea. NOT! You know how they say hindsight is always 20/20? It is, and I should have taken the new house owners up on their offer to let us stay in the house longer. Would have saved me a lot of stress and a chunk of money. Oh well…

One thing I remember clearly from this chaotic and crazy time is laying in the hotel bed and thanking God for all that He was doing. I was so overwhelmed and, well, afraid of what was to come. I was so grateful He was in charge and keeping me from drowning.

We were to fly out on a Monday, my daughters, my mother and I. My poor Mom. At the time, she really didn't like to fly much. She was such a trooper. And her boyfriend, dearest man you'd ever meet and who had encouraged Mom to take this opportunity even though it took her away from him, was strangely unreachable.

This is the sad part, folks. The Saturday before we were to leave, this wonderful man died. My heart breaks again thinking about it. My Mom was crushed.

I was shocked and didn't have a clue what to do next.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 5)

Hi there! Welcome back. Please know that if you are coming back to read my blog, I am so very thankful. My hope is that God will use this to inspire you with His greatness. The one thing I learned in this journey: God is ever faithful. It has become my mantra.

So, God kept very silent after we got back from Switzerland. I was pretty confused…and frustrated. Then, guess what? Yep, the phone rang again. They found another company willing to deal with all the paperwork to bring Mike over as a contractor. Later, when I learned what was involved, I had a lot of admiration for the first company trying and the success of the second company. It was a go.

Oh my, it suddenly hit me. We're moving to Europe. Wow. That took a while to sink in. And when I told my friends, it was like listening to someone else. That's not me you're talking about. Oh, wait. Yes it is!

The next task was selling our house. We decided to have an open house the weekend after Thanksgiving. Life became a whirl of packing unnecessary items and putting them into storage. The For Sale By Owner sign went in the yard, and we were ready.

Let me tell you, this house was our dream home. We'd built it four years earlier on two acres of land on a cul-de-sac in the country. It was truly idyllic, but leave it to God to shake things up when you get to comfy. I know that's why He moved us. I had gotten way too comfortable. Too comfy means no growth.

The day of the open house came, and I was really stressing. I have a tendency to push things through, (yes, control freak here, thank you very much) and that's what I was feeling I had done. I remember going to sit out on the deck to pray. I'll never forget that prayer.

"Lord, if this isn't your will, I pray no one comes."

I was exhausted, to say the least. Life had been in high gear for weeks. Packing, painting, cleaning. And there we were, house decorated, candles burning, and little lights in the trees in the front yard. It all looked so pretty, despite the dreary, dismal, rainy day. One o'clock came, and we waited for the door bell to ring.

The four hours passed. And not one single person came.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 4)

Thank you so much for the comments. They are encouraging and wonderful, like water for a wayworn desert traveler. Oh, before I start, dear hubby clarified that it wasn't a hurricane, but Tropical Storm Francis. Sorry about that. So, onward we go.

Let me tell you, this was one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had. As we got on the interstate, Mike hands me the map and says I need to help him pick the best way out of there. We had two choices. If we took I10, which went around the city, it would put us closer to the storm. The other route went directly over Lake Pontchartrain, which was shorter but put us over water the entire way. We reasoned it out and went for the shorter route.

Visibility? None. Traffic? Bumper to bumper. Everyone was fleeing out of the city. We moved at a snails pace but at least we were moving. The storm was blowing in and there we sat on this long waterway bridge, surrounded by water, rain and wind. It reminded me of the Seven Mile Bridge out to the Florida keys. Low and long!

Then traffic completely stopped. I kept looking to the left and the right, praying and hoping nothing was coming our way. Never did I expect to see siren lights behind us. Cars started pulling as close to the cement walls to let the ambulance inch slowly past. Could this be the reason for the slowed traffic, I wondered. What if we're stuck here for hours? The idea of sitting in a car on a bridge in the middle of a tropical storm did nothing for my already wound-up-tighter-than-a-spring nerves.

Honestly, from that point on, it's a blur. Whatever happened that day on the bridge, we never found out. Traffic started moving again, and we slowly made our way back to Memphis. I was so grateful to God for busting down those walls and keeping us safe in the storm. What a relief it was to get home.

Then the objective was to pack, because in four days we had a plane to catch to Switzerland. Was I ready? Yes. Did I want to go? Yes. Did I know what God was up to? Definitely not.

Why? Because after we got there and ewed and awed over all the wonderful sights, the gorgeous city, the funky grocery stores and flats, the whole deal fell through. It wasn't looking good. All that rush for nothing. For nothing? Ah, come on, God. What's going on here?

But He didn't say a word.

Friday, May 13, 2005

What was God thinking? (part 3)

Hi there! Thank you for coming back. Please leave me a comment, too. I'd love to hear from you.

So, to continue. New Orleans had been hit by a hurricane and most of the city was flooded. We couldn't believe it. Had we come so far with our Act of Congress for no reason? My mother had taken a day off work to watch our kids, we'd driven over five hours, and now it looked as if it were all in vain. The offer the senator's office made to do it for us was looking mighty good.

I started praying. God, did I read this all wrong? If this is your will, knock the walls down.

Or maybe move the water just a bit?

The building we needed to get to was on the main drag, only about two miles from our exit. It took us almost two hours to get there. Our journey became a maze of flooded streets that had to be carefully chosen lest we became one of the many stranded cars. We could only judge if a street was passible by the amount of cars stuck under the water and how deep the water came above the wheel wells. Thankfully I had recently changed from a sedan to a SUV. That truck saved us, literally!

We finally got to the street and found the government building. Mike managed to find a place I could get out without getting too wet and dropped me off. I dashed through rain and puddles, finally making it into the building. As I came into the doors, I had to pass the usual security baracades and police security. One officer was telling another they were about to shut the building down. I started to panic again.

I went to the man and asked for clarification. He said I had about ten minutes. My gaze shot to the elevator that was just opening. I dashed in and punched number eleven. Up I went, wondering if I would leave with passports and worried if Mike had found a safe place to leave the car.

And what if the people at the passport office were already leaving? I prayed more. The elevator doors opened. I ran out and flew through the passport office door. There, behind the counter sat a man reading a newpaper, looking bored as can be. Whew! I trotted to the counter and handed him my paperwork, along with my Act of Congress. Then I waited for the shocked reaction I anticipated this paper would surely get. The document was basically an order to give us passports without argument.

Nope, he stayed bored. They get them frequently. He said to give him a few minutes to run them through the machine. No big deal.

No big deal? Did you take a look at the streets in the last hour or so?

Mike finally made it up to the office, thank goodness. They hadn't shut the building down quite yet. We sat and caught our breath as we looked out the window over the city to a very dark and threatening sky. A shuffle of papers and a few stamps later, our passports were ready and we were on our way.

We did it. Or should I say, God did it. The wall fell down. We had only one other challenge left to face. Not only were they about to close the building but the entire city. We ran to the car and drove to the freeway as fast as we could, considering all the flooding. We just managed to get on the interestate before they closed it. Now the question was, could we outrun the second hurricane that was about to hit the city harder than the first?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What was God Thinking? (part 2)

Hey there! Welcome back. Well, to continue this story, first I need to backtrack a little. Before all this happened, God had already told me a change was coming. He impressed upon me he had plans for a move, but I thought he meant to another church. At the time I was serving as a Stephen Minister, and I just figured God wanted to bring this ministry to another church. I guess I wasn't thinking big enough. Nor had I made a connection yet to what was going on.

So, back to the phone call. My husband (Mike) and I talked, and agreed it wouldn't hurt to look into it. These kind of things take time due to the waiting periods for work visa approvals. Yes, we'd be willing to go over. Mike sent his lastest CV and we did what you can imagine.


Then another call came. Sun Microsystems, Switzerland, had implemented a hiring freeze. Okay. There was our answer, at least that's what I thought at the time. Everything went quiet for a while. Toward the end of the summer, the phone rang again. The freeze was still on, but they really needed Mike's expertise. Could he work through an independent company as a consultant?

Sure! They went back to the proverbial drawing board and developed a plan with an outside company to hire Mike as a consultant, who Sun could hire as an independent contractor. That was no problems for us. We were already accustomed to the independent contractor/consultant life.

Then they called back. Could he come to Zürich for an inteview? Definitely! And can he bring his wife, so she can look around with an eye for living there? Oh, yeah! I'm there. Could we get there by the end of next week? Gulp…sure.

Only one thing. We had no passports. I had less than a week to get something that normally takes six. I went to a friends to cry. Oh well…nothing I could do about it. My friend picked up the phone and dialed our senator. "It's an election year, and he wants your vote."

Wow! She has guts, I thought. I got on the phone and answered some questions. Yes, this was an employment opportunity. Yes, we would lose it if we couldn't go next week. No, my husband had no other contracts lined up as of yet. My mind reeled. This seemed like a spool of redtape larger than the one we already faced, but then it was done. With an offer. We could Fed Ex our paper work to the senator's people and they would walk it personally into the main post office in Washington themselves, or they could fax an Act of Congress, done on our behalf, to take to the nearst state postal office that was set up to produce passports.

Again, wow! An Act of Congress? (I still have a copy of this thing.) Mike wanted to keep control since we were down to the wire. We'd make the five hour drive to New Orleans (from Memphis) and do it ourselves.

Off we went on our fun little road trip. Kids were with Mom. Papers in hand, including our Act of Congress. As we got closer, we noticed a storm had come through the area, but not worries, we could manage. Got off the right exit and came to a stop. It wasn't just a storm but a hurricane. And the city was under two feet of water.

Friday, May 06, 2005

What was God thinking?

Well, I am long overdue to post something, but I promise it hasn't been wasted time. I've been seriously considering running a series, an ongoing story, about how I wound up living in Switzerland for three and a half years. Let me tell you, the year prior to this move all they way through to moving back to the States, I have never seen God more tangibly active. God-incidences and miracles abounded. So, this will be the first installment, and I promise to post more often so as not to torture you.

First let me set the stage. Spring 1998. Two dear friends came over to play Spades. We loved getting together whenever we could to play this lively game. It was an enjoyable evening like so many others we had spent together. Then they dropped the bomb on us. They were moving to Switzerland. Needless to say my mouth dropped open to my knees.

My first thought? Whatever for!?

They wanted to live abroad. I didn't know that. He'd been looking for a job in France, their first choice, but his one presented itself first. I didn't know that either. Wow! Okay, I can see this could be a really cool experience.

My brain went to my second thought. I'm going to miss you terribly, BUT have a wonderful time. Keep in touch and let us know when you're moving back. Finished. What else could I say?

We had a final evening of Spades, said our farewells, and off they went. I was amazed. A move like that took courage in my book. We kept in touch. Learned the hard way you should sign up for a foreign long distance calling plan before contacting friends in Europe. A very expensive lesson, but oh well. They were so far away.

Then Summer came, and so did the phone call that would set into motion a trip I never imagined. Our friend called my husband at work with news. They needed more people. How soon could he get over there?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Worry Mode

I know it's been a while. Please forgive me. I've been caught up in the "worry mode" again. What's that you ask? Well, it's when you get so caught up in what might might or might not happen that you forget to enjoy what is.

God gave me a very poignant reminder of this today. Funny how we can think we've matured and grown beyond the mistakes we've made in the past, and then we make the very same choice—just in a different form.

Mine was a house. Yes, you read that correctly. A house. This was my family's dream house. We built and landscaped it ourselves. It was perfect. Or so I thought. I began to worry. Did I have the right plants? Did I have the right paint? Did I have the right furniture? Did we build our deck the right way? I got so caught up in all these worries, I fogot to just enjoy and treasure God's provision.

It took a picture of this house to remind me I was doing the very same thing with writing my book. I went into "worry mode." Will it be good enough to publish? Do I know enough? Am I a good enough writer? Am I falling behind my writing friends? Am I following God's leading? Am I writing for the right reasons?

Hmm, do you see the pattern. I'm realizing worry can only happen when "I" is in the middle of it, not God. So many times I'm remined of this, yet I continue to forget and repeat my mistake.

Next time "worry mode" kicks in my prayer is that the "I" will be replaced by "God." I may not know what the right way is at the moment, but God sure does.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Control Freak

I debated on whether to tell a story today or talk about my latest discovery. Decided to save the story for another day. (Now you have to come back!)

My lastest discovery? I am a control freak. Oh, I already knew this a long time ago, but I thought I had gotten over it, most of it anyway. Well, I've recently discovered I was wrong. If anything, I've backslided into that old familiar groove.

What was my first clue, you ask? I felt like everything was out of control. Is that an oxymoron, or what? Yeah, that was clue number one. The second clue came when I got angry one day with my youngest daughter and realized it was because I was mad at my oldest daughter. Oh brother! Hadn't done that in years. Not good.

Well, finally, clue number three. (My mother always said they come in threes.) My spirit was so unsettled. I don't know if you've expereinced this feeling, but in my book, it's one of the worst. I really and truly (here comes a word I don't lightly use.) hate this feeling.

But you know what? I'm thanking God for it. He got my attention and showed me what I was doing. I was trying to be in control. What did I do? I whined, of course. I kicked my feet and complained. "God, why do you want me to be a writer when it's so hard and downright discouraging at times?" Know what he said?

"I never said it would be easy."

Hmmm. I quit complaining. I stopped whining. And I listened. Slowly but surely my peace is coming back. I know I still have a very long way to go. I know I will most likely pitch another fit at some point. I know I will try to take control again.

But I also know God will continue to remind me He's the one in control, and that's where I truly want to be. In His hands. His wonderful, loving, strong hands.

So I've decided to pray each day that God will change me from a control freak to a control giver. And I'm going to give it all to Him.

If you're a control freak and would like me to pray for you, too, leave a comment for me. I'll be glad to spread the joy. Maybe we can even pray for each other…