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!

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!