Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Dear Readers, I pray that you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season. You all have been such an amazing part of my life this last year and I appreciate your readership.

I will be taking next week off as I prepare for 2012. I'm anxious to see what the new year has in store for my readers!

With Christ's Blessings!
Tamara

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Time to Get Your Merry On - Repost

Today in honor of the holiday season I am posting a little blurb I wrote for the local newspaper in 2006. The picture isn't the greatest, but since it is what the story is all about I decided to go ahead and post it.





I always thought the ornaments were old fashioned and wondered why we kept them on our tree year after year. If it were my tree, I would buy more fashionable ornaments. I was young and didn’t see the value in those old ornaments. Today there are only two ornaments remaining from the set. They now appear priceless in my opinion. Every year I look for those ornaments on the tree. They tell a story of family and love and many wonderful Christmas memories.

Christmas 1960 my parents were young and newlywed. Having just embarked on their journey, they had none of the traditional Christmas items. They walked five blocks with the snow lightly falling to the store to purchase ornaments for their first tree. I can imagine my parents holding hands and enjoying the snow. In my imagination they are planning Christmases to come. They have no idea what the future holds but they face it together.

Every year for the last forty-six these ornaments have graced our tree. They have traveled to six states and two foreign countries. They have seen hard years and years of plenty. There they hung as four children were born and raised. They have seen a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law and six grandchildren join the family. If these ornaments could talk, they would tell many stories. The most amazing story would be the love of two people tying their family together for generations to come. Truly, the value of these ornaments has increased over the years. Someday they will break but the bond of the family will last forever.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Your System is Stupid

The phone call was getting frustrating and the customer service rep obviously didn’t know the answer to my questions and even after going for help wasn’t able to help me.


After the third time she started with “It’s hard to explain, but that’s the way it is” I interrupted.

“Never mind. Your system is stupid, but it is what it is.” I clicked the button and hung up on the rep.

I hadn’t yelled, raised my voice or even slammed the phone down, but a coworker heard me. She poked her head around my cubicle and said, “Did you just say it’s stupid, but it is what it is?”

When I confirmed that I did indeed say it, she responded with how she didn’t think I would say something like that. It just wasn’t like me.

That’s true; she’s known me for less than a year. I’m sure my reaction was a surprise to her. But to me it took me back a decade. It reminded me of someone I used to be.

You see for much of my life I was an angry person. I had a temper and was quick to let people know that I did. I’m pretty sure that for most of my teen years my family didn’t really like me because I was mean and nasty.

In 1997 that part of me was changed. After I came to know Jesus He made changes in my life. He worked on me until some of my hard edges were softened. My anger was tempered and I was better able to control it.

Jesus accepted me that night in 1997 with all my warts and faults. He knew exactly who I was and He loved me in spite of that. But, He wouldn’t let me remain as I was. As I grew in my relationship with Him the changes happened.

That phone call and my response to it reminded me of how far I’ve come. It also reminded me of who I was at one time. My coworker’s response was an indication of what He has done in my life. I’m grateful for the way Jesus has changed me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Week in Which I Thought There Was a Dead Body

Seriously, this week I wondered if there might be a dead body in one of the bathroom stalls at work. I realize it’s a gruesome thought and people think I have a warped mind when I think of stuff like this. I don’t know, it might be the novelist-in-residence that lives in my brain and is always turning normal, everyday things into plots and scenes. Or, maybe it’s because I read too much Steven King!


Anyway, here’s what went down. One day I was in the lady’s room and saw a pair of shoes in the back corner stall and for some reason I thought they had been there the day before. I know, I know, that’s weird also, but I refer you back to the above paragraph for explanation. That’s when the thought first came to me, but because I was embarrassed to reveal my weirdness I hesitated knocking on the stall door and asking if the occupant was okay.

I mean, can you imagine!?! There you are doing your business and someone pounds on the door, “Are you okay in there?”

So, I went back to work and forgot about it until the next day in the same stall I saw the same shoes! What a dilemma. I didn’t want to knock, but I was curious.

Then my logical side kicked in and realized that if an employee had left their desk and not come back to work for three days the gossip vine would have been ringing with the story. The next visit to the lady’s room revealed an empty stall and the whole sordid tale was done.

It would have remained quietly ensconced in my brain, but for some ridiculous reason I thought I should tell you about it.

Anyhoo, are you done with your Christmas shopping? I’m almost done finally. I made a couple trips later in the evening last night and got the out of town stuff so that I can mail it. And I found this while I was at Dad’s last night. I couldn’t resist. I had to shake them! It’s a lifelong habit!



What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? (Is this a weird question considering the beginning of the post!?!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who Gives a Poop!?!

Did that get your attention?  I thought it might.

So, why did I ask the question?

Because, quite frankly, it's not something we here in the first world think about. Indoor plumbing and bathrooms every are just part of life. In Haiti, though, not everyone has a latrine and that creates big problems.The lack of sanitary bathrooms causes health problems such as cholera, typhoid fever, worms, and hepatitis.

The answer to the question is Starfysh. This organization has been doing great things in Haiti. One of the things they have been doing is offering families who dig the hole they will provide the cement to create the base of a commode. They have had astounding response to this offer that will go a long way to bettering the conditions in Haiti.

You can read all about Starfysh's work in Haiti on their blog. And, if you feel so led, they could use some funds to help meet the need.

Monday, December 5, 2011

NaNo What!?!

Very sorry for my unexplained absence last week. I was deep in the throes of NaNoWriMo and the week flew by before I realized it and then I found I hadn’t posted anything on this little blog o’ mine.


So are you scratching your head and thinking…NaNo What!?!

Every November people around the globe participate in NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a 30 day challenge to get people working on the books they want to write.

For at least the last two years I have had the goal of finishing my novel. And, for at least the last two years I have failed at that goal. Sure, I fiddled around with it and wrote a little bit, but I never could get it done.

This year I made the same goal and was coming up with the same results. However, I have surrounded myself this year with people who are in varying stages of their writing careers and I have been so inspired and encouraged by these people. Being inspired I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo and set out to complete 50,000 words on this novel of mine.

I’m proud to announce that at 11:54pm on November 30 I hit 50,076 words! Having done that I am convinced that I can plug through another 40-50 thousand more to complete the first draft before the end of the year. After years of thinking and dreaming about it I am finally moving the dream forward.

Today I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned during the past month.

1. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to get the story on paper.



2. The more I write, the easier it comes. A friend told me that he had learned this when he set a word count goal for himself and as I went through November I found it to be true. On Wednesday, Nov 30 I pounded out over 8,000 words from 5pm to 11:54pm.



3. Once I was immersed in the story it began to unfurl like a flower in the early morning light. Things began to happen that fit the story, but I hadn’t planned ahead of time. It is much like real life where our best laid plans sometimes take twists and turns.



4. Failure comes only from not trying.



Overall, the month flew by but was a great month. There were moments when I wasn’t sure I could do it and there were moments when I didn’t want to. I persevered and am so glad I did!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday arrived in shades of gray while I was snuggled in bed with Scamp, Dad's dog. I refuse to do the Black Friday shopping thing!

Today I am thankful for:

  • a day to get stuff done
  • a tiny kitten to visit and love on
  • my amazing family
  • words for my novel flowing easily today

Enjoy Black Friday whatever you are doing!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I would like to thank all the readers who participated in my book giveaway. I enjoyed reading about the gifts in your life. I'm sorry I couldn't give all the participants a copy of the book.

Now to congratulate the two winners:

Lisa from That's What She Said

and

Karina from Siestas and Cupcakes

Lisa and Karina, I have sent emails to you both to get your mailing information.

Congratulations and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

1,000 Gifts - Final Day for the Book Giveaway!

Don't forget to get your comments in for the giveaway of Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts! Comment on this post or any of the posts this week and you are entered in the drawing :o)

Today my gifts include:

  • sunny, cool fall days
  • my heavenly Father's love
  • answered prayers
  • support and encouragement as I pursue my dreams
  • a soft kitty cat purr
  • an afternoon off
What gifts are you thankfully for today?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1,000 Gifts

One of my readers posted yesterday about a "movement of thankfulness" and I love that idea. I've seen it growing on Facebook and Twitter as more people are publicly proclaiming the gifts in their life! I didn't start the movement, but I'm thrilled to be a part of it because I have been so blessed.

I've lost count of where I am, but today I'm thankful for:

  • being a part of the ACFW and getting to meet some great folks on Saturday
  • the great seminar I went to on Saturday with fabulous teaching by Angela Elwell Hunt
  • the mild fall weather we are having right now
  • the forgiveness of my heavenly father even when I'm at my worst....let's just say that when the green-eyed monster and I had a tea party recently God gently brought me to my knees and then forgave me. I am thankful that He doesn't keep count of the times He has to forgive me.
  • that my family, friends, and coworkers allow me to be a little wacky occasionally, okay, a lot

What are you thankful for today?

Don't forget to share the giveaway with your friends!

Monday, November 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY! - 1,000 Gifts Continues

Numbering my gifts – my blog readers are definitely a gift for which I am thankful.


When I started thinking about November for my blog I knew I wanted to do another month of Thanksgiving. I have done this in the past and have been blessed by the slowing down of writing posts to focus on the things in my life that I have to be grateful for.



In September this year I began reading a book called 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. While I haven’t finished yet, I have been thrilled by this little book. Ann writes in Chapter 3 how she came to understand the meaning of the word eucharist.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them. ~Luke 22:19 (NIV)
Ann references this verse and the fact that in the original language “he gave thanks” reads eucharisto. Her study of this word showed:

Charis means grace

Eucharisto means thanksgiving

Chara means joy

She writes:

“So then as long as thanks is possible…I this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning – now; wherever, meaning - here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be – unbelievably – possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.”
It was after this revelation in her life that Ann began numbering her gifts. It is because of this beautiful little book that I have begun counting the gifts in my life and this became the theme for my November Thanksgiving posts.

I know I won’t reach 1,000 gifts here on the blog by the end of the month, but I know my life is so full of the little gifts were I to count them all they would number way more than 1,000. I am learning to see God, here and now. My life is full of grace, thanksgiving, and joy.


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

 
I want to share this book with my readers and was planning to give away a copy to one of my readers, but then Saturday I was blessed with a second copy so now I have TWO copies to give away and I am excited to share this little gift with you, my reader!

Here’s how you can be entered to win a copy of this book:

1. Leave a comment below sharing some of your gifts.

2. If you have a Facebook page, please use the FB button below to post to your profile page abd share with your friends to let them get in on the giveaway. If you do this, come back and leave a comment and you will get another entry into the drawing.

3. If you have a Twitter account, please use the Twitter button below to tweet this to your followers and when you do, come back and leave a comment for another entry into the drawing.



The giveaway will close at midnight (MDT) and I will do a random drawing over the weekend and announce the two winners.

Friday, November 11, 2011

1000 Gifts


One of the things I am very grateful for is the number of fellow writers who have come alongside of me as I pursue using my words for God. In the last year I have become involved with a local critique group and they continue to inspire and encourage me.

We meet a couple times a month to read each other's work and offer suggestions and encouragement. While it's sometimes hard to hear critiques of what Stephen King refers to as our darlings, critiquing is an important aspect of the writing process.

During our meeting one person reads another person's submission aloud while the group makes notes on the manuscript. Then we use the sandwich method - start with something good about it, talk about things that need work or might need to be changed, finish with a second dose of something good.

We move around the table until every one's work has been critiqued.

One aspect that has really appealed to me is hearing someone else read my words. Not because I'm such a spotlight hogger (although sometimes that's the case) but because having someone else read it reveals areas with the wording is awkward or doesn't make sense. As a writer I want to keep my reader immersed in the story and if the wording confuses them and they have to stop and think they get bumped out of it. This isn't a good thing.

The other aspect of reading aloud is hearing other's put voice to my characters. It is enlightening to witness how they perceive the people in my story by the volume and tenor they use to "be the person." Sometimes I listen and think, "They understand this character." Other times I think that's not the way I "heard" them. I actually learn things about my story as the folks who have lived only in my mind thus far come alive in the reader. It's a very cool thing.

Today I am thankful for the peeps in my little critique group. And, if you are a writer without a crit group, I highly recommend one!

Also, don't forget to come back next week for the give way! More details to come.

Monday, November 7, 2011

1,000 Gifts Week 2



16. 4 years ago today we laid my mother to rest. It was a sad day, but today I am thankful for 42 amazing years with her.

17. pre-lit Christmas trees....yes, I have my tree up...no ornaments yet, but the lights are pretty

18. an interesting and intriguing book that came in the mail unexpected

19. a job that I enjoy going to even on a Monday morning

20. my readers... the mountaineers who return to see the abundance of God in the life of an ordinary girl

Dear Readers, I love to read your comments and invite you to join me on this journey of numbering the gifts in our lives. This theme was inspired by the book 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book has inspired me so much that I want to share it with you all.

So, for the first time EVER I will be doing a Give Away here on the mountain. More details to come this week. The give away will run next week and at the end of the week I will choose one reader to receive a hard back copy of the book!

I've been the lucky recipient of give aways on blogs and am I so excited to be able to bless one of my readers!

Friday, November 4, 2011

1,000 Gifts


10. yesterdays Wordless Wednesday is one of my gifts...that's Mr. Magoo. He's my niece's kitty. It was this sweet little guy that convinced me I needed a kitty boy of my own.

11. a beautiful covering of snow yesterday morning that brings moisture to the earth

12. the amazing scenery of this semi-arid land I live in

13. peaceful evenings at home

14. a wonderful group of women who share my passion to spread encouragement through written words

15. my trusty Sheriff Woody (also known as an SUV) with his all-wheel-drive to handle snowy, icy mornings

"To fully live - to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly. I now see and testify. So this story - my story. A dare to an emptier, fuller life." ~Ann Voskamp in 1,000 Gifts

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1,000 Gifts


1. Any list of gifts has to start with being loved by my Sweet Savior

2. Family always ranks top of my list - I grew up with incredible parents and 3 amazing siblings

3. My Wilson - you knew that one was coming, didn't you!?!

4. I am healthy

5. I have a job

6. And a place to call home

7. Incredible friends

8. A brilliant moon in the sky to light the night - last night it was beautiful

9. Today is Election Day - I'm grateful to live in a country where I can vote

Monday, October 31, 2011

1,000 Gifts - November is a Month for Thanksgiving



October has slipped by and November has arrived on a breath of wind. Harvest has been accomplished and the world is settling in for winter.


November is a time for thankfulness as we remember all that we have. It is an acknowledging of that hard first year as the pilgrims started their life again in this new country.

For the past 2 years I have devoted November to gratitude here on the mountain. This year, as I once again focus on my gifts, I have been reading Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts. This beautiful little book has helped me to capture in my heart the many things I have to be thankful for.

Ann recounts her journey of listing the everyday gifts she has been given. She daily jots down these gifts in a notebook from 1 to 1,000.

In her book she offers this quote from Sara Ban Breathnach:



Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter
Everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe
That change forever how we experience life and the world.



I love this idea of everyday epiphanies and moments of awe. These are the moments that fill our lives and give us something to hand on. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get so caught up in the big that I lose sight of the small.

This month I will be counting my own gifts here on the mountain. Each day I will be posting and adding to my list.

I would love to have you join me by posting some of your 1,000 gifts in the comments each day

A Daughter's Tribute

Four years have flown by
And yet they crawl
It seems just yesterday
I held your hand and sang to you

I miss you so much more
Than I can find words inside me
To express the feelings
You gave me life and filled it with love

I think of you every day and I pray
That each day the world sees more of you
In me because you were everything to me
And I am proud to be your daughter

The words don’t rhyme and the meter
Is off in this little verse of mine
But the love that flows with these words
Will never end

Doris Fickas
My Mommy
1942 - 2007

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

This Rocky Mountain Writer loves the mountains. They tower over the city and are always such an amazing sight. This time of year morning commutes are often beautiful as the mountains are lit from the sun rising east of them and bathing them in purples and pinks.

This morning the snow capped mountains greeted me as I drove to work. This was my morning welcome...

My sad little camera phone doesn't do it justice, but I think you can get the idea.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Guest Posting at Soar with Eagles Today

Hi Readers!

Today I've joined my friend, Cynthia Howerter over at Soar with Eagles as I talk about my experience with unemployment.

Hop on over to check out her series Happy Endings Do Not Only Exist in Fairy Tales for my story of A Hard and Beautiful Year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Can You Tell a Story in 78 Words?

Flash fiction is a form of fiction where you tell a story with a very small amount of words. The word count can vary depending on the circumstances.

I recently saw a call for entries for flash fiction stories of exactly 78 words. It was a challenge and I decided to give it a try. I wrote my tiny little story and submitted it to the contest. I have not been chosen as one of the 10 finalists. I did make a very rookie mistake on the submission. The entry was online and required that the story be submitted in a Word file. Silly me forgot to put my name and contact info on my Word file. Oh well, live and learn.

Anyway, today I want to share with you Harley's Story told in 78 words.

There once was a pig named Harley who lived in a house with a family. He had his own bed and a basket full of toys. Harley thrilled the family with oinks and wagging his curly little tail.


Harley especially loved his human mom and wanted to be near her all the day long. So much so he one day ate the drywall to get into her office.

Now Harley is on his way to the slaughter house.
There you have it folks. Based on a true story although I took liberties with the ending...Harley found a nice home on a farm and not at the slaughterhouse.


Any of my readers game enough to try writing a very short story? I would love to see your stories, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crazy Life

So, you know, my life is perfect. My house is always trendy, comfortable, and neat. I’m uber organized.



Always on time. The appliances all work like they’re supposed to.


Yep, MY toilets never get backed up and MY lawn always looks perfect.


The car tires never lose air. The projects I start always get finished and look fabulous to boot.


You will never see me with a hair out of place. I always look like I stepped off the pages of Vogue Magazine.


Perfect and unchaotic, that is me…

My perfect kitchen cabinet with one missing door. Trendy!?!


Bwahahaha! If you believed me, I’ve got some lovely ocean front property…

Last week a friend posted on Facebook about all these seemingly tough things happening in his life. He followed it with the words, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

His post got me thinking that about my own life and my sometimes lack of gratitude for what I have. This was my own post about life:

Up since 4am this morning after taking my daddy to the airport, hours cut at work and potential layoffs in the future, a wild cat chasing his tail, more things on the weekend to-do list than hours in the weekend, clicker on car still doesn't work, went to work this morning with a black sock hanging out of my sleeve because of static cling. Life is a crazy ride and God is squeezing me out of my comfort zone, but I love my life. Thanks Dan for reminding me to relish the life God has given me no matter how out of control it sometimes seems.
This friend’s post reminded me that though my life isn’t perfect it’s the one God has given me. It’s the one He will use if I let. I am right where I’m supposed to be and there is a lot to be said for living my own life even if it isn’t perfect.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review - Kisses from Katie: a Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis

She’s just 22 years old and she has given up an easy life here in the United States. She traded college, a yellow convertible, and a boyfriend she loved for hard work, a 15 passenger van, and life as a single mom of 14 children in a foreign country.


Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption is so much more than Katie Davis’ story. It is the story of a country ravaged by poverty and war that needs a bit of hope. It is the story of a God who calls us to love one another because He first loves us. It is the story of a girl who knows the value of God’s love and knows that she can’t swoop in and tell the Ugandans that God loves them. Many of them have never been truly loved before. She can only demonstrate that love by loving them just as they are. It is truly a story of relentless love and redemption.

As an 18 year old senior in high school Katie went with her mom to Uganda for a three week mission trip. During that trip she was overwhelmed with what she saw and her desire to help. When she was asked to come back and teach kindergarten after high school she promised she would try. With much talking, she convinced her parents to allow her to go back and make good on that promise. After graduation she set off for a year long stay in a foreign country with the additional promise of coming home and going to college at the end of that year.

During that year the Ugandan people stole their way into Katie’s heart. When presented with children who had no one else Katie began the process of legally adopting the girls. She never asked for the children and she made heroic attempts to find blood relatives when children showed up on her doorstep in need.

Still, God brought her 14 children who needed her. She became mom to the girls. She struggled with the idea of going back to her world of comfort but leaving her heart behind. She’s young but she knows how to love. And it is with that knowledge that she has given her life to these beautiful girls and this beautiful country.

Kisses from Katie is an amazing story. It’s all the more so amazing because this isn’t about Katie. She’s a main character, but this is God’s story. She knows that she can’t do this without Him. She believes that everyone should know the love she does and she knows the only way they will is if she lets God’s love shine through her.

I’ve been following Katie’s story through her blog and on Facebook for some time now but this book brought me to tears. Tears of sadness at the tragedy that some people live each day. Tears of joy as I looked at the pictures of children being loved and nurtured. And, tears of repentance as I realized that though I love the Lord I still struggle to live a life of surrender. After reading this book my prayer is that I not hold back, that I would allow God to infuse my life and that I would be able to love as unconditionally as Katie.

You can purchase Katie's Book through the 147 Million Orphans web site or from other booksellers. If you purchase the book through the 147 Million web site 50% of the proceeds will go to Amazima Ministries which helps support the children Katie works with in Uganda.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Just Like Riding a Bike

Alone on the gravel, curving, downhill driveway with the sun shining brightly on her purple bike with the banana seat the young girl decided to ride without hands for the first time. Her brother did it, why couldn’t she?


She pedaled hard to get moving and then released the handlebars and clapped her hands. The front wheel hit a small rock and turned sideways. The bike toppled and the little girl flew into the gravel on her bare knees and hands.

After being bandaged up by her mother the girl got back on her bike a little older and a lot wiser. She would save the riding with no hands practice for a flat, smooth surface.



This is me on my first big girl bike circa 1970 something. I loved that bike. It was purple with a real banana seat and later a white basket with flowers on the handlebars.

Throughout my childhood riding bikes was fun and everyone did it. I rode this bike for many years. I did eventually learn to ride with no hands on this bike. In my teen years I traded my purple bike for a blue 10-speed and then 4-wheeled vehicles starting striking my fancy.

The 10-speed traveled with me to several apartments and then was relegated to live under the sundeck at my parent’s house and was eventually given away or donated. I moved on and for years never missed my bikes.

Last week, though, I was in Michigan visiting my sister. On a crisp, sunny Monday morning we pulled hers and her daughter’s bikes out of the garage. It had been 30 years since I had been on a bike that wasn’t stationary. Excited and a little nervous I took the bike helmet when offered.

I found that riding a bike really is just like riding a bike. It’s not a skill that’s easily forgotten. We took off through the neighborhood and then 1 block “in the city” as my nephew call’s riding on the sidewalk down one of the main roads to the park near their house.

After finishing our ride and returning home I felt thrilled all day. It was a feeling I haven’t felt in 30 years. It made me feel like a child again, living freely and enjoying life. It’s a feeling I should strive to find in my life more often. Being a grown-up is something I can’t change, but remembering to let my inner child have fun is something I can change.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Will You Deny Me?

Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”


Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”

And so said all the disciples.

Matthew 26: 34 – 35



Peter was a good man. Jesus declared him the rock of the church. But like so many other great people of the Bible, Peter had his faults.

When confronted with the idea that he would ever deny Jesus he was vehement that it would never happen. Before the day was out Christ’s words had come true and Peter was forced to acknowledge he was not as strong as he believed.

Tonight I came face to face with my own weakness. I was driven to my knees by the desire for my life to be more than it is, for God to use me in whatever ways He chooses.

In the next moment when confronted with what I might have to sacrifice I dissolved in tears. I found I couldn’t say the words. I struggled with the knowledge that I hold tight to things more than I do to God.

They are worthy things, but when anything comes before God it becomes an idol. These worthy things become stumbling blocks in my path.

I wept bitterly at the knowledge of these idols. I imagine Peter did also when he realized what he had done by denying his Lord. He didn’t back off and give up. He kept going knowing that Christ loved him and would continue to do so. He was open to God’s plan and God was able to use him despite his failings.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month

This is a repost, but I thought it was appropriate since October is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness month.



October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and everywhere I look I see pink. I picked up a sales circular for an office supply store from the Sunday paper and was blasted with a jolt of pink. These days you can buy pink phones or bikes or yogurt and a portion of the proceeds support breast cancer research and awareness. The pink items are part of the fundraising done by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In the last few years Komen and breast cancer have become closely associated with the color pink.


Don’t get me wrong, I am all for breast cancer awareness and research, but I have often wondered at how this happened. It’s amazing, really; the color pink on a product immediately brings to mind the fight against this deadly disease.

Today, Nancy G. Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was on the Oprah show. This was the first time I have really heard the story of Susan G. Komen. She was 33 years old when diagnosed with breast cancer in the 70s. Before she died she made her sister Nancy promise she would do everything in her power to fight the disease. Out of that promise grew the amazing organization that has done so much for beginning to tame this disease.

As I listened to Nancy talk about what it was like for Susan and her family as she was struggling with the disease in the 70s it struck me how much it mirrored what my family went through when Mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD.) Nancy talked about the lack of support groups, information, and understanding at the time. That is what it is like for LBD patients and their families now.

Today breast cancer is well known. Information is more abundant and because of the work of Nancy Brinker women don’t have to feel so alone when the diagnosis comes. Pink has succeeded in giving a face to this illness.

When Mom was diagnosed with LBD we found the Lewy Body Dementia Association. This young organization is working to increase research and raise awareness of the disease but we still have a long way to go. As with so many causes these days the LBD as well as the Alzheimer’s Association has taken a color to signify their fight. For the groups fighting dementia that color is purple. During recent Memory Walks for the Alzheimer’s Association purple balloons, t-shirts and banners were everywhere. For years I have been curious about how to get people to know purple like they do pink.

Today I learned how Nancy took her family's fight and turned it into a nationwide initiative. It’s a lofty thought, but as I watched I formulated ways of moving our fight into the same type of nationwide initiative. I don’t want to draw attention from breast cancer, but I do want to draw attention to the plight of dementia sufferers. In a perfect world this wouldn’t be necessary. I live in an imperfect world and so I have decided to wave my purple banner high.

Someday people will see purple and know that dementia is a horrendous disease. People will be able to purchase a purple phone or bike or yogurt and know that their money is supporting something important. They will understand that their jokes about having Alzheimer’s really aren’t that funny. They will understand and the stigma associated with dementia will begin to disappear. They will understand that others have walked this road and they don’t have to walk alone.



For more information about Lewy Body Dementia please visit the LBDA website

Friday, September 30, 2011

Epic

Driving to work the other day a sign caught my attention….




EPIC SALE on CIGARETTES!



No kidding, it was epic and it was at the liquor store. I don’t know how epic it was because I don’t smoke cigarettes and the liquor store wasn’t open at 8am.

It got me to thinking, though, about how we use words. According to my Oxford American Dictionary epic is a long story or poem or something on a grand scale.

Was this cigarette sale really something that could be classified as grand!?! I doubt it. I mean it was just cigarettes after all.

As a culture we tend to do this. I know I do. We love things, we hate things. This was the worst day ever! Oh my gosh, I am starving to death right now.

Life can be so melodramatic sometimes, don’t you agree? Now, I really am starving to death so please excuse me while I go eat an epic dinner.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Conquering Uncertainty

It is dark and cool. The light sound of traffic and the soft chirping of night creatures drift in on the breezes through the open window. The sweet scent of the night air surrounds me and has dissipated the dry, cooped up air from being closed all day.


My stomach growls softly with a small hunger. I consider going downstairs to get a PBJ sandwich and a glass of ice cold Diet Pepsi despite the clock reading 12:32am.

I sit in the dark and snippets of life stroll through my head. The uncertainty that permeates my life weighs down like heavy blankets on a winter’s night.

It’s my uncertainty, not God’s. I find that oddly comforting.

This world hasn’t been completely certain since the moment Eve took the fruit from the tree. Uncertainty is now part of the human condition.

A friend once called me a Type A- personality, not totally A, but definitely not a B. That A- minus in me makes me loathe the not knowing; makes me uncomfortable with knowing my plans are tentative.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 which says the Lord has plans for us. These plans are to prosper us and not to harm us. I cling to this verse like a toddler clings to her binky. I know that prosper doesn’t mean He’s going to shower me with worldly things and riches. I also know that hurt, pain, and ugliness of this world come before the prospering.

God’s plan for prospering me means to save me from eternal death and to bring me to heaven. Jeremiah 29:11 doesn’t promise me no uncertainty. It promises that my only certainty is that regardless of this life I will spend eternity with Him in heaven.

So, here in the night I lay the uncertainty at His feet. I tell Him what I would like but that I’m open to His plan. I pray to mean those words because only in trusting can I conquer the uncertainty.

Friday, September 23, 2011

4 Quick Lessons from the Cat

My wise kitty cat has been offering words of wisdom on my Facebook page. He thought I should share them here on the mountain also. And, he thinks he needs a Facebook page also. Still undecided about that, he is wise, but he is only 6 after all.


Anyway, here we go…

1. Life will give you hairballs. Hack them up and move on.

2. Live with gusto, embrace your crazy cat ladyness, embrace who God created you to be.

3. On a rainy, dreary night it is advisable to have a human to slog through the wet to bring home the bacon and kitty kibble.

4. If someone comes home and doesn’t feed you dinner in a timely manner, sit in front of your bowl and stare at it until said someone gets a clue. Looking cute while doing it helps them get it faster.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend in Review

Happy Monday Readers! Hope your weekend was good. Mine was busy, but that’s pretty much the norm for everyone these days.


I spent the evening Friday with my dad. It was my weekly clean his house time. That means we usually talk for a couple of hours before I actually get to the toilets and floors. We talk about things that happened at work. Well, I guess I should say that I talk about things at work ‘cause he usually can’t get a word in edge wise when I’m talking! Dad and I have good conversations about politics and religion. While we think a lot alike on many things he often says things that really make me think. That’s a good thing. Let me tell you, if the president and congress would listen to me and dad they could fix the problems of this country pretty quick.

Saturday started bright and early. It was a weekend day when I woke the cat up instead of vice versa! He usually has to work pretty hard to get me out of bed on the weekends.

Speaking of getting me out of bed….when I have something important to tell Wilson and he’s not paying attention to me I will put my hand under his chin and lift his little face so he can look in my eyes and see how serious I am. The other day he was trying to get me up to feed him breakfast and I was ignoring him. Finally he reached over and put his paw under my chin to lift my face. In other words, “Listen to my words Mommy, this is important.” He’s done it twice again since then. That’s my boy.

Anyway, Saturday was a brilliantly beautiful morning in the shadow of our mountain. The sun shone and the air held just a bit of a chill. My friend Renee and I headed out to the park to walk in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You all know that since my mom came down with dementia this battle is very near and dear to my heart. This is the fourth year the Lewy Ladybugs have walked to fight dementia. It’s a nice brisk walk on a fall morning and it supports a great cause.

Saturday night is always my night with my dad. We go to church and then do dinner either at my house or his house. This tradition started when Mom got to the point that she couldn’t go to church. I would stay with her and Dad, my sister and the kids would go to church and bring home communion for Mom. Then we did family dinner. This tradition is something that we have continued and now that my sister’s family moved out of state it’s just me and Dad. I look forward to Saturday nights with Dad.

On the subject of dementia, did you all hear about Pat Robertson and how he believes that because Alzheimer’s is a sort of death and that divorcing a spouse with it is justifiable!?! I have to say that I about fell out of my chair when I first read this. I can’t believe that a man who purports to have studied the Bible would come up with this conclusion. Life isn’t fair and marriage is tough. People make a vow to honor in “sickness and in health.”

Yes, it is true that dementia is a sort of death because your loved one is often gone long before their body gives out. But, they are still the person you married. I walked alongside Mom and Dad through this and I have to say that watching my father was one of the most amazing things ever. His love never wavered. He gave up large parts of himself and his life to care for Mom. It was the most beautiful and tender things I have ever witnessed. I know it had to kill him inside every day, but he continued on. He did it because he loves my mother and he made a vow and he stood by that vow even when times got tough.

I am disappointed that a man of faith would say such a thing and advocate divorce. He really needs to take a look at his heart and his priorities. I pray that if anything horrible were ever to happen to him that his wife, DeDe has more compassion and commitment to her marriage vows than he seems to have.

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't Ya Love Dishwashing!?!

I’m pretty spoiled. I have many of the modern conveniences. I even have a dishwasher; her name is Tammie. Sometimes she needs to be prodded to get the dishes done.


Actually I have a real dishwasher. It sits there next to the fridge and taunts me. She stopped working about a year ago and I just can’t convince myself to shell out my hard earned bucks to replace her.

So, I wash dishes the old fashioned way. Truth is I think there’s something soothing about washing dishes. I came up with this revelation when I worked at Baskin-Robbins years ago. After a busy day it was nice to fill the sink with hot water and suds and wash the grime of the day away and put things in order.

When I wash dishes I often think of my grandmothers. Both hardworking women that helped shape my life. My paternal grandmother long ago taught me that hot water grew your suds and cold water killed them. That little nugget rocked my teenage world.

My maternal grandmother is a farmer’s wife. She fed and cleaned up after a family of 14 and always looked for ways to save money. Her water comes from a cistern and it is precious. From her I learned that you don’t need to start with a sink full to the brim to still get your dishes clean.

Believe it or not, I also think of my brother during my one-on-one time with my dinnerware. When we were growing up we had to clean up after dinner. Every night it was fighting over who was going to wash and who was going to dry. But it was often an adventure. There was the time we took a lit candle into the kitchen and almost set the cabinets on fire. And, I will never live down my comment, “Stop it Tommy, you’re getting the dishes too wet!”

Washing dishes is just one of those things of life. Some may wonder why I’m blogging about such a mundane thing. Well, while cleaning up the kitchen recently this verse ran through my head…

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men ~Colossians 3:23

Really, that’s what life is all about, in the everyday tasks (even dish washing) we are to work for the Lord.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Changes and Possibilities

There’s a delightful feeling of fall in the air. The temps have dropped some and the mornings are blissfully cool. I am in heaven since fall is my favorite time of year. I’m looking forward to leaves changing colors, pumpkins and scarecrows showing up, and sunny, cool days.


I find fall and spring to be wonderful times. The transition from a cold, bitter winter or a hot, cranky summer is for me the perfect time. It seems that as the world transitions so does something in my soul.

Transitions are happening a lot in my world. The hospital is going through a time of transition and struggle. The last few weeks there have been talks of layoffs and that makes things even tougher.

Upon review of my life I realize that layoffs and uncertain job futures has been a prominent message in my work going back to about 1993. So, what is happening at work is nothing new for me and in some ways that is comforting. I know how to handle it. I did get laid off in 2007 and God was faithful during that time.

He took that time of transition and uncertainty and gave me an incredible gift. I spent much time the 10 months I was unemployed with Mom and Dad. Those were the last 10 months of my mother’s life and while walking with her during those months were hard I also have sweet memories of being so intimately involved in hers and Dad’s life. I wrote about one of those beautiful moments here.

In the midst of this, though, God is whispering in my heart about something. I think it’s a new writing project but I’m not sure what it’s all about yet. I’m excited about what this might be and keep listening for that quiet voice.

In the writing world, I’ve been trying my hand at some new forms of fiction. I’ve been working on a fantasy short story and a mystery/thriller. These are not my norm so it’s been fun to see where that leads me.

Flash fiction is also something I’ve given the old college try. Flash fiction is very, very short stories. A blurb in the paper about Esquire’s 78th anniversary and a flash fiction contest caught my eye. The word count was to be exactly 78 words. I tried it and came up with a story. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to submit it or try another one first, but I promise to post some of my attempts when I decide what to submit.

So, lots of stuff happening in my world and I thought I would share with you. Have a great week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where Were You That Day?

Do you remember where you were that day ten years ago?


Here in my world that Tuesday dawned sunny and warm. The sky was an amazing shade of blue as I drove to work. It started as any other day in a string of days. Work beckoned and after work various duties around the house.

The light of that morning belied what was about to happen. Before I reached the office the brilliant hope of that morning had parted and a darkness descended on our country. It became a day of fear, tragedy, and despair.

My heart ached for those whose lives were intimately involved in the terrible events of 9/11/01. I tried to imagine what it was like for them but knew my imagination couldn’t touch the horror of what they were going through.

The evil of that day couldn’t triumph over the spirit of the American people. In the midst of the chaos and fear people put their lives on hold. They gave until they could give no more. They did what needed to be done to help.

Yes, we were all changed that day. It is my hope that as a nation we will never forget those who were lost. I also hope that we won’t forget what this great nation stands for and how we pulled together in those dark moments.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Who Do You Say that I Am?

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" ~Matthew 16:15

Jesus asked these words of the apostles and they responded that He was the Christ. A few weeks ago this was the topic of the sermon on a Saturday night at my dad’s church. This question has followed me for the last few weeks.


He is the Chris, the son of God. True, but as I’ve pondered this I wondered if these words go far enough. My desire is to know Him more and in a very personal way. So I began to ask myself each day this question. “Who do I say He is?”



  • During moments of missing my mother that take my breath away He is my comfort.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” ~Isaiah 61:2-3



  • In threats of layoff in a tough economy He is my provider.
“There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.” ~ Genesis 45:11



  • When sickness of body or soul comes He is my healer.
“For I will restore health to you, And heal you of your wounds,' says the Lord…” ~ Jeremiah 30:17


  • When I am fearful He is my peace.
“And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you…” ~ Genesis 26:24

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can You Say Discombobulated?

I can because that's how my week has been. I have been confused about what day it is all week. Then I realized late Wednesday night that I never posted anything for Wednesday. And, it was late this evening when I realized I didn't have anything ready for Friday.

My apologies. Next week I will have it back together. In the meantime, I leave you with this Wordless Wednesday picture on a discombobulated Friday and wish you all a very happy weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Why I Fight Dementia - Repost of Two Pictures

The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's is gearing up all over the country. I am once again forming a team to walk. My mom had Lewy Body Dementia, the 2nd leading form of dementia. I walk to help raise funds to help people with dementia. I also walk to help raise awareness of Lewy. I wrote this a few years ago. It highlights why fighting dementia is so important to me.

Two Pictures

On the shelf in my cubicle at work are two pictures that tell a story; one of happy times and love, but also one of hard times and struggles.


In one picture I stand between my parents on my graduation day in 1998. My mother is a vibrant 57 year old. She smiles for pictures and tells people how proud she is of her daughter. This is the mom who taught me to be strong and independent. Mom raised me to be someone who pursues her dreams. She believed in me and was proud of the fact that I could do anything I put my heart into. Mom instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, be anything. In reality I am who I am because of my mother.

What that picture doesn’t show and that we didn’t know at the time was that tangles in Mom’s brain were beginning to change her. Lewy had already taken hold at that time and had begun its insidious creeping, overtaking, destroying.

In the second picture Mom is surrounded by my sisters and me; the strong women she raised. This picture was taken in May 2007 and is the last picture of Mom before her death. In the almost ten years since the first picture she has become frail, a shadow of her former self. Lewy has stolen her ability to do the basic things in life. The family that she raised is now taking care of her. She showered us with love over the years and the family returns that love.

It’s been almost four years since Mom died and I still think of her often. I still talk about Lewy and I still fight dementia. I won't stop until dementia doesn't exist or until I am no longer on this earth.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Art as Consolation

Friday we had the opportunity to visit our local art museum where one of the exhibits was by an artist named Joellyn Duesberry.


In one of the descriptions she talks about Mozart and his concept of art as consolation for the chaos in the world. As I pondered that thought I realized how true those words are. In a world full of war, poverty, national debt, murder, illness, etc we are blessed with beautiful paintings, photographs, music, writing to soothe our souls.

One of the paintings I especially liked was of a beach in Maine. I took a picture of it, but the photo doesn’t do the work justice.



Places will settle in my imagination as if they were people or acquaintances that I want to revisit. ~ Joelleyn Duesberry

Friday, August 19, 2011

Turtle Girl has a Friend

Turtle Girl has a friend. Do you remember Turtle Girl? I wrote about her here.


Turtle Girl and Peacock Boy have become friends. One day Peacock Boy told Turtle Girl that he is no longer a peacock.

“See, TG, I have this wig. I’m now a lion! You can address me as King because I am the new king of this zoo.”

Turtle Girl asks, “Why, PB, why do you want to be a lion?”

“Because the lion is majestic. People flock to the zoo to see him. He prances around his cage and the people ‘oh’ and ‘ah’. I want people to do the same for me. I can be just as good a lion as Lion Dude can.”

With that Peacock Boy plops the fuzzy wig on his head and parades around the zoo.

Turtle Girl watches as he preens and struts. The visitors stop and stare and laugh, then move on. Peacock Boy drops the wig and runs away.

Turtle Girl searches high and low to find him. She worries about him. Finally she finds him in front of Lion Dude’s cage. She hears lion as she walks up behind the boys.

“But Peacock, I don’t understand why you want to be me? You’re free to wander the zoo while I can only pace my enclosure. People can come right up to you in the park and are okay with it. If I were to be loose in the park people would run and scream. You have it made.” Lion Dude shakes his furry mane at Peacock Boy.

“Well, I can go wherever I want.” Peacock Boy nods. “But, people want to be you for Halloween. When was the last time you saw anyone being a peacock for Halloween? You are handsome and people are awed by you.”

Lion Dude looks over at Turtle Girl and the crowd that is gathering behind her. “Tell you what, PB. You know all those fancy feathers you’re dragging on the ground? Puff them up like you do. Strut your stuff. Be who you were created to be. Go ahead, do it now.”

Reluctantly Peacock Boy raises his tail feathers and turns around. Seeing the smiles in the crowd he primps and then struts. He busts a move and the crowd goes wild. Light bulbs flash as the paparazzi strain to capture him in all his glory.

Peacock Boy looks over at Turtle Girl. “They don’t even realize that Lion Dude is back there. They’re taking pictures of me!”

She winks. “See, LD was right. You are amazing just as you are.”

“You both are right. We are different, but that doesn’t mean he’s better than me. I’m gonna be the best Peacock Boy I can be and let Lion Dude be the best he can be.”

“Good plan, man.” Lion Dude roared his approval and the crowd cheered for both the boys.



If you don't do you, you don't get done and creation is incomplete. ~ C. McNair Wilson

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Experience of Dementia as a Journey ~ Author Unknown

My friend, Kathy over at Living with a Thief Named Lewy is an amazing woman. Her husband has Lewy Body Dementia. Kathy blogs honestly about the good and bad of being a caregiver to someone with dementia. She has experienced all of the tough times that Lewy brings, but she also knows those amazing, special moments that are buried in the world of caregiving. It's those moments that keep a caregiver going.

Kathy recently posted this story after finding it on one of her friend's blogs. I wanted to share it here on the mountain also. A lot of people who haven't been closely affected by dementia don't understand. I think this little story does a great job of presenting what it more than likely feels like to live in a world that no longer makes sense.

The Experience of Dementia as a Journey –Author Unknown


I am going on a long journey by train. As I begin, the city skyscrapers and country landscape look familiar. As I continue my journey, the view reminds me of times gone by and I feel relaxed and comfortable. The other passengers on the train appear to be feeling the same way and I engage in pleasant conversation with them.

As the journey progresses, things begin to look different. The buildings have odd shapes and the trees don’t look quite the way I remember them. I know that they are buildings and trees, but something about them is not quite right. Maybe I’m in a different country with different architecture and plant life. It feels a bit strange, even unnerving.

I decide to ask the other passengers about the strangeness I feel, but I notice that they seem unperturbed. They are barely taking notice of the passing scenery. Maybe they have been here before. I ask some questions, but nothing seems different to them. I wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me. I decide to act as if everything looks all right, but because it does not, I have to be on my guard. This places some tension on me, but I believe I can tolerate it for the remainder of the trip. I do, however, find myself becoming so preoccupied with appearing all right that my attention is diverted from the passing scenery.

After some time, I look out the window again and this time I know that something is wrong. Everything looks strange and unfamiliar! There is no similarity to anything I can recall from the past. I must do something. I talk to the other passengers about the strangeness I feel. They look dumbfounded and when they answer, they talk in a new language. Why won’t they talk in English, I wonder? They look at me knowingly and with sympathy. I’ve got to get to the bottom of this, so I keep after them to tell me where the train is and where it is going. The only answers I get are in this strange language, and even when I talk, my words sound strange to me. Now I am truly frightened.

At this point, I figure that I have to get off this train, and find my way home. I had not bargained for this when I started. I get up to leave and bid a pleasant goodbye. I don’t get very far, though, as the other passengers stop me and take me back to my seat. It seems they want me to stay on the train whether I want to or not. I try to explain but they just talk in that strange language.

Outside the window, the scenery is getting even more frightening. Strange, inhuman-looking beings peer into the window at me. I decide to make a run for it. The other passengers are not paying much attention to me, so I slip out of my seat and quietly walk toward the back of the car. There’s a door! It is difficult to push, but I must. It begins to open and I push harder. Maybe now I will get away. Even though it looks pretty strange out there, I know I will never find my way back home if I do not get off this train. I hear the door shut. They take me back to my seat. I realize now that I will never get off this train. I will never get home.

How sad I feel. I did not say goodbye to my friends or children. As far as I know they do not know where I am. The passengers look sympathetic, but they do not know how sad I feel. maybe if they knew they would let me off the train. I stop smiling, stop eating, stop trying to talk, and avoid looking out the window. The passengers look worried. They force me to eat. It is difficult because I am too sad to be hungry.

I have no choice now. I have to go along with the passengers because they seem to know where the journey will end. Maybe they will get me there safely. I fervently wish that I had never started out on this journey, but I know I cannot go back.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I am not a Homeschooling, Mormon, Mommy Blogger

So, a few weeks I started a post that I've been thinking about for quite some time. I had it all set to post and then at the last minute felt it wasn't quite right and took it down. That very same day my blogging buddy, Lisa over at That's What She Said posted this post about being a Mormon mommy blogger.

When I saw the post I about fell out of my chair because the post I pulled down for that day started out very similar to hers. It was if we were on the same wave length. Now, just for the record, Lisa and I only know each other through our blogs so the fact that we were having kindred feelings is pretty amazing.

Make sure to visit Lisa's blog and read her post. She and I are both just bloggers talking about our little corner of the world. This is the post I wrote that day...


Confession time. I’m not a homeschooling, Mormon, mommy blogger. I like a good craft every so often, but I don’t think up amazing crafts that people will pay for. I’m a writer, but not an expert who can teach you how to publish a book in 10 easy steps. I’m not a single mom making a difference in the lives of children in foreign countries and I’m not adopting sweet Ethiopian children.

I’m just a common girl making my way in life while learning to see God’s grace in the nooks and crannies of my world. It’s been said that life is a journey and for the last 14 years I have walked in the shadow of an amazing creator who loves me unconditionally and shelters me through the storms. He fills my life with an abundance that is immeasurable by the world’s standards.

Years ago I read the book Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. This allegorical story follows the crippled Much-Afraid as she leaves her village to journey to the mountaintops to live with her Shepherd. As she starts out she is joined by two traveling companions. Suffering and Sorrow are definitely not the ones she would have picked to travel with her, but they are the ones the Shepherd has appointed.

The path is not easy and sometimes dangerous but Much-Afraid soldiers on toward the mountaintop home of her Shepherd. She finds that the Shepherd is only a call away. Through the high points that seem to be the summit and the valleys that threaten to overwhelm Much-Afraid, Suffering and Sorrow have to push her to keep going. However, at the end of the journey Much-Afraid finds that she and her companions have been changed by their trek. They reach their destination and find themselves renewed. It is the journey that has marked them and shaped them.

I like this story because it echoes my own. Once I thought that someday I would arrive at my destination and life would be perfect. I suffered the journey simply to make it to my mountaintop which I mistakenly thought existed this side of heaven. I kept waiting, hoping, dreaming. But I was missing out on life because of my waiting. I’ve figured out that life happens in the valleys as well as the summits. Over these last years I have been trying to make the most of my trip through this place called earth. It isn’t always easy, but my Shepherd is always near. He has filled my life with grace in the most uncommon places. I miss those uncommon places if I’m not careful.

The women in the first paragraph are all incredible women. They are living out their own path and finding grace in their uncommon places while on their own journeys. They blog about their lives and I am blessed, inspired, encouraged by their words. This is what I want for my readers, I want them to be blessed, encouraged, inspired in some little way when they visit my little mountain.

As a blogger I sometimes find myself wanting to be something that I’m not. It’s easy to look at other blogs and try to emulate them. In doing so I’m doing a disservice to you, my reader, and to myself. God hasn’t called me to be any of the things He’s called others to be.

He’s called me to be me. He’s given me a life that at times has seemed to me to be common and boring. But He’s nudging me to see the grace and glory right here amidst my own journey through the valleys and the summits.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and what I am trying to do with it; what the take-away value is for you, my reader, who comes to visit. I chose the name Rocky Mountain Writer because of my love for the mountains and my love for writing. In the last months as I have prayed through my life and my writing career I’ve come to see Rocky Mountain Writer as something more.

Micah 4:2 says. “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” My goal in life is to continue going up to the mountain of the Lord and letting him teach me His ways. My goal for this blog is to share that journey and the lessons I’ve learned right here in my common life that is filled with uncommon grace. I pray that you are blessed by your visit and that you feel comfortable to share bits of your journey with me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Long, Hot Summer

It’s that time of summer when the sun seems to beat down everything. The temperatures have been soaring and with them people’s tempers. The heat ripples and changes everything it touches. It has been so hot at times that I find the cat sprawled out in front of the evaporative cooler with his legs in the air. Sometimes I long to join him there.


(taken on my cell phone, so not great quality)


Along with the heat this year we have been very dry. Our winter was dry and that trend continued into the spring. Lawns are dry, brown, and crunchy. Rain drops were few and far between. Life is like that sometimes. We all go through periods of dryness and discomfort. Times when it seems the heat will warp us into something ugly and malformed.

Thankfully though the rains do come. In the last week we entered into what is loosely called the monsoon season. Mind you, it’s nothing like monsoons in other parts of the globe, but the rain has fallen. Last week we saw rain everyday and it was so very wonderful.

The refreshing rains have soaked into our lawns and souls. It has replenished and the green of new life is showing again. God is good that way; He provides renewal when needed.

You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land. ~Psalm 68:9

Friday, August 5, 2011

15 Million Unpaid Workers

Did you know that approximately 15 million people* are unpaid caregivers to people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia?

If you've ever taken care of a sick loved one you can probably relate to the fact that caregiving is hard.  The job of caregiver is often a 24/7 position with little or no vacation and sick time. It's constant and it can be overwhelming.

One of the important aspects of organizations such as the Alzheimer's Association and the Lewy Body Dementia Association is the support they offer caregivers.

This is one of the reasons that I am walking in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's. It's a great way to help an important cause. You can find out more about walks in your area by visiting the walk page.

* Source: Alzheimer's Association

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Says Christian Don't Have Fun!?!

Smoke seeped into the room. Heat pressed in from all sides as did the crowd. The noise level grew as the people came together in the dark chanting, “R3D, R3D, R3D, R3D.”


It was after 10pm and the first two bands had whipped the crowd into a frenzy and left the stage empty while the final band set up. People were eager for the music to start again.

Then they were there… Michael, Anthony, Randy and Joe and they were on fire! The music reverberated through the room as people danced with hands raised in the air. The hard driving beat of the drum intermixed with the lead singer’s words. The energy was incredible.


Copyright July 2011 by Wendy Zieres

Eventually a mosh pit formed in the midst of the crowd. The mass of humanity moved back to give room to those who felt the need to throw themselves at each other. I have to admit, I don’t understand the mosh pit. We were on the edge and I watched but never could figure out the appeal, but a group of people seemed to be having fun there.


Copyright July 2011 by Wendy Zieres


Yes, it was much like any other rock concert with one exception – R3D is a Christian band. Their music was intense and rivaled any rock band out there but they openly praised Christ on stage and their lyrics spoke of the hope and love that can overcome sadness and despair.


Copyright July 2011 by Wendy Zieres


My friends and I were a somewhat unlikely trio in the midst of these rockers – two forty-something women and a sixteen year old. My friend and her son have been fans of the band for a while now and they have shared with me how the music has ministered to them. When we heard they were going to be in the area it was a no-brainer to try to see them in person.


Copyright July 2011 by Wendy Zieres



I’m not a musician, but I love music and I loved the concert. In fact, I found myself dancing along with the music, clapping, and pumping my fist in the air right along with everyone else!


Copyright July 2011 by Wendy Zieres


Some people think that Christians lead boring lives. They believe that we don’t know how to have fun. Some non-Christians even think that we’re prohibited from having fun. But Wednesday night was living proof that we do know how to have fun and we do indeed have fun. It is possible to honor God while enjoying this life and rock n roll!

We were thrilled to be there at the generosity of Provident Music who is the agency that represents R3D. Many thanks go out to them for the opportunity to enjoy the show.

R3D is made up of four amazing Christian men: Michael Barnes, Anthony Armstrong, Randy Armstrong and Joe Rickard.

For more info about the band please visit the R3D web site.

Rock On!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Serenity

No post for today. My sister and her kids came visit and blogging kind of went out the window this weekend :o)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Social Media Marketing for Writers: How to Blog, Tweet, and Peep your Way onto Amazon’s Best Seller’s List

Good things come in small packages and Edie Melson’s Social Media Marketing for Writers: How to Blog, Tweet, and Peep your Way onto Amazon’s Best Seller’s List is no exception. This book is a mere 19 pages long but is packed with nuggets of information.


The image of the solitary, recluse writer is no longer accurate. While we labor in solitude to bring the words to paper and computer screen these days it takes more than just a good work to get published. Writers need to be able to build relationships.

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media are an important part of the relationship aspect of being a writer. In her book, Edie doesn’t just talk about the technical aspects of these tools. She encourages the reader to delve into their passions and what they want to succeed.

Social Media Marketing is quick to read and is full of step-by-step directions on how to get started. This little gem is definitely worth a little bit of cash and time.


About the Author (from the author's web site)
http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for life’s stories. She loves to share her 16+ years experience in the field of writing through mentoring and teaching others. Her first foray into professional writing was as a technical writer in the 80’s. From there she quickly moved into freelance writing and editing, a perfect fit for someone who loves new challenges. Hundreds of articles and devotions, including those for Focus on the Family, CBN.com, Crosswalk.com and Christiandevotions.us, have flowed from her pen to her audience.

A savvy business owner, Edie has numerous copywriting clients who rely on her expertise in SEO and keyword formatting. She also consults on web content and social networking.

Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home, is Edie’s latest project. This devotional book for those with family members in the military has just been contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

A frequent faculty member at writers conferences, Edie shares her insights with other writers around the country. She's also a contributing editor with The Book Doctor Blog.

She’s a member of several professional writing organizations, including The Christian Pen, The Christian Writer’s View I and ACFW, where she serves as the Editor for the Southeast Zone Newsletter and staff reviewer for Afictionado Magazine. She’s also an assistant proofer/editor for the Voices E-zine, a publication of My Book Therapy.

Married 29 years to husband, Kirk, they have raised three sons

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dear Diary

Dear Diary, today I…




Recently one of my writing mentors has been publishing excerpts from a diary she kept as a young girl. It’s fun to walk down memory lane with her even though I didn’t know her back then.

Posting old diary excerpts is not something I would do. Well, better put, I can’t do because keeping a journal is not something I have ever done.

Gasp, I know! When people hear this some are shocked since I’m a writer and by nature many writers are also journal keepers. But, I’m not, never have been.

Several years ago another writing mentor suggested I keep a journal. He even recommended a very good book about the subject. I read the book and tried to journal. It just didn’t take.

I don’t know why I can’t journal. I’ve started many times but it always falls by the wayside eventually. In my closet I do have several mistrials that I go back and look at occasionally. And that’s about the extent of it.

I love journals. Actually I love all office supplies. I’m just a geek that way. I even wrote about my love of office supplies. Every time I go into a store I gravitate toward the journals and notebooks. And often I’ll buy one or three or four. Sadly, they languish half used in my closet because it just doesn’t seem to be in my genes.

So, there you have it, my sordid confession of being a non-journal keeping writer type.



What about you, are you a journaler? If you are, what kinds topics do you journal about?