We hope this digital letter finds you safe, healthy, happy, and enjoying a wonderful holiday season. In the spirit of the annual holiday letter, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights of the past year with you.
I know, this is a blog. You've been keeping up. But for the sake of those that don't like to log in twice a week for my ramblings, well, here's a summary:
Rick just wrapped up a 3 year term on church council at Mt. Tabor. He was heading up the IT committee and did a great job updating the website (which was his major project for his first year on council) and with keeping up staff technology needs. It did get to be a bit of a challenge this year, though. We lost both of our pastors this year - the head pastor left for a higher position with the Synod in March, and the associate pastor left to head up a congregation in Charleston, which is where he's from. It was tough losing them - and then major changes at Rick's job drastically altared his work situation, which has required more overtime work and made serving a bit more challenging. But he stuck in there and was determined to see his term through. We're very proud of him for hanging in there despite the challenges of the past few months, and for all he's done for the church. You can check out the church website that he designed at www.mttaborlutheran.org
Unfortunately, I had to quit both of my church committees. I had always planned to step down from the IT committee when Rick's term ended, but major changes in my own work situation and my writing picking up cut significantly into my spare time for volunteer activities. There are some things and events that I do hope to continue participating in, but right now being on a standing committee isn't something that's practical for me. It's a shame, too, because I enjoyed it and hated to give it up. Maybe in another season of life.
My work has picked up with additional duties. I'm now working with 4 licensure programs, and recent staff shortages have put more of a burden on remaining staff. I do finally have a window office, which is good (although I got the workload that came with it), and I'm also required to travel twice a year for the landscape architect program. Last year I attended the spring meeting in late February in Miami, and the national meeting in September in San Francisco. That trip to Miami was the first time I've ever flown! It's not bad, either. And while I'm not a big fan of travel, well, I'm hanging in there to see how it works out. The next meeting up is the regional meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in March. We'll see. That's all I can say for now. Overall the job is good, although it has been very stressful lately. Our workload usually peaks in December (exam deadlines, plus people in a rush to get licensed to get projects in the new year), and being down a person has been hard. Hopefully, we'll fill that open position soon and things will level out. I'm off work until January 2, so hopefully some time with family, friends, and at home with Rick and the birds will do me some good.
My writing is also making progress. I published my second fiction novel, Anywhere But Here
, through Whiskey Creek Press in April. They offered me a contract for my third fiction novel, a sci-fi apocolyptic novel titled Splinter
, last summer. I'm already working on two writing projects now that I hope to wrap up in the spring. One is another mystery novel titled Move
. It's about a young woman that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn (genie), but unfortunately his help is rather radical and leads to more problems than solutions. The other is a non-fiction book titled Feathered Frenzy
. It's basically a "quick reference guide" to give people tips on making their home and lifestyle bird-friendly. And believe it or not, I ALREADY have an idea for my next project. That one is still in a very early brainstorming stage. I'm not even considering working on that one more until I get my two current projects finished. I'm building an audience and working on many promotional things for my published novels. It's slow work, but worth it. I enjoy writing and I think going the "independent author" route was the right choice - especially with the traditional route going into decline as e-publishing picks up. I hope I hit the e-book wave at just the right time!
The birds are doing well. They'll be doing their own Christmas letter to you on their blog over at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
soon. Santa has big plans for them and I think we're going to have three very happy birdies in a couple of days!
Our families are doing well. Mom and Dad are staying busy, as usual. Mom had surgery for carpral tunnel last summer and I tell you, that's the fastest surgery recovery I've ever seen! She was back up and running in no time! Dad is still working. Retirement talk comes up from time to time, but no definite plans or timeline yet. I tell you, those design professionals - they love their work and don't like to retire! Stephen and Nicole are doing well too. Stephen's still keeping them straight as a department head at Public Safety, and Nicole is working at home in medical transcription. She graduated from a medical management program in the spring, but unfortunately she had to have surgery for diverticulitis shortly after graduation, so that was an unexpected hiccup in her life. But she's doing fine now and moving forward again.
Rick's parents are also doing ok. You know his father has dementia, so there are good days and bad days - that's just how it goes with that. They joined the Methodist church up the road last month. Our nieces and Rick's sister and brother-in-law are also doing well. We just got back from our Christmas visit with them in Greenville this morning. They stay busy with work, school, and activities - much like all of us.
And yes, in case any of you are wondering, I did complete my New Year's resolution of reading through The Bible again this year. I actually finished it in September!
Well, that's pretty much it. We are truly blessed and thank God every day for all that He has done for us and allowed us to do for others. We hope all of you are doing well and that life is being good to you. You know that everybody is welcome to visit this website and blog. I strive to update it at least twice a week. Some people have themes for their blogs and while the theme of this website is my writing, the blog isn't limited to that. In fact, I believe all of life inspires my writing, and this blog is open to anything and everything happening in life. Feel free to read, share, and pass it along to anybody interested, whether it's family, friends, readers, other writers, or anybody that's interested in how one writer's life inspires her tales!
Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and that your new year is filled with joy, peace and prosperity.
God bless and best wishes,
Rick and Sherri
As if the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning weren't bad enough, apparantly there are some in Newton, Connecticut that want to keep bringing the chaos as a Catholic church in the community received a death threat for their noon mass today. Fortunately, Yahoo News
reports there was no incident and the church was evacuated, but it's still a disturbing reminder that there are people out there that want to do nothing but cause chaos and keep people in a state of paranoia and hysteria during a time that's supposed to be about forgiveness, celebration, and peace.
It's sick, I know. It's tragic and incomprehensible to even fathom what those families are going through. They were preparing for Christmas and now they're planning funerals - something that's too much for most of us to even think about, and we wonder how they can possibly live through this. And the #1 question on most minds is "how could God allow such an awful thing to happen?"
As a Christian, I'll tell you the truth: I don't know. And I won't even try to justify or explain it either, because I'm not afraid to admit that I have absolutely no clue why this was allowed to happen. Honestly, I can't imagine how this tragedy could work toward any kind of good, now or even in the long term. How could the senseless death of 20 children be justified? How is that possible? I don't know.
Really, that's a conflict that many Christian's face, although many won't admit it. You can't justify faith, and when it comes to situations like this when you don't have the answer, I'm afraid that even many believers have too much pride to admit that they don't have all the answers and they can't explain why they choose to maintain a trusting faith in God when the truth is that they struggle with fear, doubts, and our own lack of understanding. They say "it is well with my soul," but I have yet to meet a person that's ok with any old thing that happens. "Whatever - praise God anyway!" is something I hear a lot from the mouth but I've NEVER seen in practice.
Here's my take on it: I know there's a big picture and this is part of it. I know God is grieved and will comfort the families in whatever way necessary, but I don't know why He let it happen. We aren't going to know that "big picture" this side of Heaven and for that reason I say: It's not alright. No, it isn't. It's evidence of the sin and imperfection of this world. It's tainted creation. I remember reading in one of C.S. Lewis' books that man was not created to die, so the very fact that we do as a result of sin is unnatural. Sin is unnatural. Bad things are unnatural. This world wasn't created for it, and yet everything got screwed up and God decided to let us keep on going anyway - to offer salvation through Christ, but we still have to do our time in this world, that teeters on the balance of the joy of creation and the chaos of sin. It's completely mucked up, and I'm putting that mildly because I try to keep this a PG-13 blog. So no, I don't say it's alright because it isn't. Suffering is NEVER alright. And yes, I know the paradox arguement that we wouldn't appreciate joy if we didn't know suffering but in the case of 20 dead children - yea, shove that arguement. Nobody wants to hear it. There is no justification for it.
You know what I say? If you're confused, admit it. If you're mad, go ahead and say it. Yell and scream at God if you need to. Tell Him where it's at. He can take it. And frankly, He would rather you get mad and just let it rip then lie and say "ok, whatever, you lead the way." I think you come through these shattering trials a lot better if you're honest enough to say "hey God, this sucks! It's Festivus for the Rest of Us. I've got a lot of problems and You're gonna hear about it!"
Go ahead and do it. It's not a dare and I'm not speaking in jest. Because above all the chaos, beyond all the madness, God is love. That's why He let us go on and chose Salvation over abandonment. Because sometimes life sucks, but He still loves us and the creation He made. He still wants us. And nothing you say or do will make Him stop loving you. So go ahead and yell and scream. He can take it. In fact, I believe He'd be glad you trusted enough to tell Him the truth. So let it rip.
I'd also like to say one more thing. This is awful, and it's no secret that people are crazy and lunatics are everywhere. No doubt, our mental health system is in need of drastic reform because things like this just keep happening - but I dealt with that particular issue after the massacare at the movie theater in Colorado last summer, and there's no need to digress. But please try to remember that there is still good out there. I heard the story of the mother that told her child that if she was scared to look for the helpers because the helpers are always there. That's absolutely true. God did allow this to happen, but He also made sure there were people there to help. That there were healers and protectors and leaders around that could be there and guide those that were lost, confused, or hurt. It might be hard to see, but good is out there. There are still people around that want to do what's right and to help others any way they can. Look for their light in this darkness.
Ok, that's my soapbox speech for the day. No doubt, it's been a crazy few days. I pray we can all heal and come to some sort of resolution to this, even if it's a unity in our grief and confusion now and in the days to come.
Pray for those families, folks. They need all the help they can get and while we can't all be there for them, collective prayers could be the most powerful help for them now.
Have a good start of the week, folks. Take care and be careful out there.
Hi all, sorry to not update for a while. Life seems to naturally get much busier for me in the fall, and I've been trying to squeeze out one more draft of Move before the holidays. Thank God, I finally managed to finish draft #4 last night. I tell you, I struggled with this one. I found out that both of my publishers now require a minimum 60,000 word count for mystery novels now, and the last draft of Move came in at a little under 50,000 words. I had to add over 10,000 words. It resulted in six new chapters and adding a lot of detail. I beleive the changes are well worth it and make it a much better novel, but this wasn't easy. I have done three read throughs to make the additions and make sure that everything is "plugged in" and fits together correctly. I'm happy with this draft, though. The plot is much stronger now and I feel the story benefitted from the additions. I hope to have a final draft of this done and submitted to one of my publishers by May 2013.
Oh NaNo participants, this is what you have to look forward to. Yes, writing that rough draft is the hardest (and most time consuming) part, but the rewrites can be a pain too. But don't worry about that now. Just get that draft out there and you can worry about editing hell in 2013.
I also managed to squeeze in a revision of Feathered Frenzy this morning too. That's a very short work - I actually call it a guide because it's more the length of a novellette (at 15,500 words). I'm going to self publish that one, so it will get done when it gets done. Maybe I'll have it ready in late winter or early spring 2013.
But for now, my current writing projects are caught up and I'm putting them on hold for the holidays. Life is just too busy now. We're doing a major housecleaning to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that season is always a whirlwind of activity. There's just too much to do and trying to squeeze in time for ongoing writing projects with family activities, social activities, and work is more stress than it's worth. So I've decided to just do promotion for my published works and blogging for the remainder of 2012, and I'll pick up my ongoing writing projects again in 2013.
In other news, Rick's term on council is drawing to a close. He and the other three members had nominees put forth to replace them next year, and the congregation will vote on them December 2. Rick has one more thing to follow up with on his committee and he's helping with the congregational meetings for the elections, but it's winding down. Only one more meeting in December and he turns in his office key and goes back to being a regular member of the congregation. I say yay. He's done a lot the past 3 years. We all have (meaning the fellow council members and their spouses). I wish the nominees luck and blessing as they take over the reigns.
You know I left my committees? I'm helping Rick with his through the end of his term, but I had to come off the other committee. They're planning ongoing activities on weekdays and I just can't do that with my work schedule, so I had to quit. It's too bad because I did enjoy being more active in church, but my writing is building up and my workload is increasing since one of my colleagues resigned to go work for another section in the agency. The good news is that she has a window office and I'm moving in it when she moves out in a couple of weeks. So for the first time in my almost 15 years of working full time, I'll have a window office. The bad news is, I'm also getting her Board - so there are more meetings I have to put on and disciplinary actions to deal with until a replacement is hired. *Groan* And we all know that can be a slow process. But I'll survive. If the Lord brings you to it, He'll bring you through it. It just meant that I had to quit my church committees. Too bad really, but hopefully I'll be able to help out with activities here and there in the future. There are a couple of things I really enjoy helping with like greeting and our free thrift day, and I'd really like to continue helping with those things.
So that's where it's at for now. Things are coming along and I'm happy for that. Thankfully, I have today off for Veteran's Day, so hopefully I'll be able to get even more in order and on track. I've already made great progress today, but now I need to log off to deal with other matters, like holiday shopping and housecleaning.
Thanks to all the Veteran's that fought and gave their lives so we're free to live our crazy, hectic lives under the blessing of freedom. God bless all those who have served and continue to serve our country and to protect our freedom. We do appreciate you and pray for your safety and well being every day.
That's all today. Take care and have a great week.
I think what I really need is to cut my life back to basics and take stock of what I have and how to best nurture the things most important to me.
Fall is naturally the busiest time of year for me, and coiencidentally it's when people want to "get together" the most too. Football season is usually the excuse for this - "let's get together to watch the game!" And I've been a social butterfly these past couple of months and participated in all sorts of gatherings, visits and get togethers.
But folks, this butterfly needs to retreat to her cocoon. No offence, but the Carolina's bye week didn't come soon enough for me this year. I need to sit out a few. The season is going on, but my "to do" list and my schedule don't get it. There are things I need to tend to around the house and with the technology committee at church. I know I said I was going to take a hiatus from my in-progress writing projects, but I really do want to get back to them with as few distractions as possible, and that means I need to put my nose to the grindstone and get things done now. And if you want me at my best during the busy holiday season, well, I need a break.
I mean no offence, of course. I just need some time to myself every now and then to catch up, rest up, take stock, and move on. I need to recharge my batteries and right now I'm running low. I've come to the conclusion that I must be an anomoly, because this seems to be a need that not many other people have. Other than my family, only Rick and one other person has admitted to needing time to themselves. It seems others actually clamor to fill those empty spaces in their lives to the point where there's no quiet, no hiatus, no opportunities to simply "be" and exist in communion with the Lord and the world. Doing, doing, doing. Well, I admire their energy and their tireless dedication to their social schedule, but I'm not afraid I can't operate like that. My life is very full right now and all the "blessings" keep me quite busy. It can be a challenge to find those moments and days with an empty spot on the calender. And they aren't usually give, so it looks like I'm going to have to take them.
I'm burned out. I need to clear off my plate to I can be true to my priorities and focus on what really matters - not on what the world says should matter.
So I'm starting today. I'm sitting out the USC-Florida game. I know, it's a big one and how could I. It's simple, really. The need for quiet in my soul outweighs "the big game." As I said, I need some time to catch up on some stuff around the house and with church so I'll be free to resume work on Move next month when I end my writing hiatus, and what better time than by focusing on that while the rest of the world (around here) is tuned into the big game. Plus, I still have Feathered Frenzy to finish, and I already have an idea for my next writing project which is a novella I hope to start in 2013. And promotion work on my already published works never ends. So there's lots to do there and I really need to get focused and get back to work on my writing soon, and taking care of the other things on my plate will really help with that.
I know life won't always be like this. I'm quitting volunteer activities in 2013, so I won't have to make decisions based on things like this soon. That was another decision I made this week. I need fewer meetings in my life and the truth is that I need to focus my time away from work on home, family and writing and that doesn't leave time for much else. I wanted to be more involved at church, and I will certainly continue to be a greeter and help with activities as I can, but I can't be bound to a committee anymore. It just doesn't work in my busy life.
As for the rest - well, eventually I'll retire from work, so that won't always be eating up most of my weekdays, but that's far away as I'm not even at the halfway point of my career. Frankly, I do have concerns about being bored if I didn't work, but those aren't concerns I need to ponder now or any time soon. Until then, it's the immovable object in my life and I have to work around it. Those aggrivations and annoyances aren't going to stop and I have to march on and do what must be done because it's my responsibilty and financial support, now and in the future. That's a reality for most people and it's something that should be easy to understand and respect.
Yes, life is busy, and sometimes it won't give you what you need so you have to take it. That's what I'm going to to today. Because if I don't take care of myself and my needs, then I'm not much good to anybody else, now am I?
That's all today. I hope you have a great weekend.
Well, we bid our pastor farewell this morning. He's moving on to accept a higher position with the state synod, after serving as our leader for 11 years. Rick and I were service assistants for this morning's service, so we got to see the full range of emotion. Lots of well wishing, lots of good luck, lots of tears. Everybody's nervous as we wonder what the new dawn will bring, and what comes next.
Personally, I think that we as the congregation have the easier job. Although we are in a position where we have to find a new leader, we're still here. We have one another, the associate pastor, church council, committees, and the synod to help us. We have a huge support system to help us through this transition and frankly, I believe that the Lord already has our new pastor selected and that it will be what's best for us. Our challenge is not only to use discernment in our call, but in believing that we can be a blessing to a new leader as much as they can be a blessing to us. It's easy to lose perspective of that interaction between flock and leader, especially when you've had the same leader for a long time. And in time, we will adjust to the loss and move along, through the transition to a new day ahead.
Of course our pastor will too, but I know he has a more difficult road because I've been in the position of leaving a place behind. He's going to wake up tomorrow morning and face the reality that he's not coming back to his office a the church, but going to a new place that's unfamiliar. He has to be retrained, and to meet new people and adapt to a new environment. There is no familiarity where he's going or, if there is, not as much as he's had at our church. A job change is a substantial life change - in fact, I'd go so far as to say it changes your entire life. I know it did for me. Yes, his is the steeper road, but opportunity is always worth that journey. I believe that he too will move along through his own transition into a new day ahead. It may be a steeper learning curve, but it will probably happen over a shorter period of time. It will likely take us a year or more to call a new pastor, amd by that time he'll be well settled in his new job while we start the process of adjusting to new leadership.
Hmm. So in light of what it's going to take timewise, it may be that he's in the better position. We do still have one another, but perhaps it's a longer road ahead than he has.
I, like everyone else, will miss him. However, I also can't begrudge him for taking this opportunity. I'm glad it came his way and that he was wise enough to consider it and brave enough to accept the change and challenge. Change is how God moves us ahead, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up to that fear, admit that it's time to move on, and take the first steps into the unknown.
As our choir sang at the close of the service, I too hope he road rises up to meet him, and us as well. We all have a new adventure ahead, and we have to find the courage to face them. Transitions are never easy, but they're the only path to a better day. And I believe that, as this door closes, another one is preparing to open any minute now.
That's all today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I wish you a great start to the new week.
Hi everybody; I'm sorry I disappeared for a while. I was doing final edits on Anywhere But Here early last week and travelling on business to Coral Gables, FL late last week - needless to say, I fell a wee bit behind on some things!
Actually, this was my first experience on travelling for work. Until last Wednesday I had never flown or worked outside my home office. The flying seems to be the #1 question I'm asked and yes, I liked it fine. It was ok. Besides the fact that the landings seemed kind of rough and there was some turbulence, it was ok. I wouldn't hesitate to fly again, if need be. And it would have to be "if need be" due to the high cost of airplane tickets!
As for the rest of the experience, I'd rate it as a solid neutral. I rate it as such because frankly, I found an equal amount of pros and cons to the situation. For example:
Pro - I got to meet a lot of people that work in my field and it was good to share experiences, insights and knowledge.
Con - I was still working, the same as I do at home. The difference is that here I can go home after work. There, I went back to a hotel room, and every night I was checking e-mail for the office online to make sure I didn't get railroaded by an emergency or swamped with simple questions that I could answer "on the fly."
Pro - I didn't have to cook, as meals were either covered or will be reimbursed.
Con - The food in Miami is awful. Sorry folks, and I mean no offence, but they even managed to mess up mashed potatos with funky spices. Everything is either 5 alarm spicy (which is suicide with my acid reflux) or so bland you might as well chew on cardboard. I know now why the girls in south Florida are so skinny - the food isn't edible!
Pro - The weather was great! It was in the 80's and felt like April/May around here. That definitely agreed with me, especially when I found out that it rained here all day Friday while it was sunny and warm there (although I didn't get to enjoy it until 4:30 p.m. when my meetings broke for the day).
Con - The traffic was awful. Add to that the fact that President Obama was at the University of Miami Thursday (which happened to be my first day of meetings), which pretty much put things in gridlock during the late afternoon.
Pro - Lots of things within walking distance.
Con - Because you don't park for free in Coral Gables or Miami. I see why downtown is so opulant! It's $2 just to part for a few minutes, and an average of $10-$20 if you need to park for any length of time. They do not waste time, money or public resources on parking lots. It's meters everywhere. McDonalds and the hotel we stayed at were the only places that had free parking.
Pro - Flying really is the fastest way to get anywhere. Our trip home Saturday, including layovers, was roughly 4 hours. That's a fraction of the time it would have taken to drive.
Con - Miami International Airport must be about 20 miles long, and I walked every bit of it. I (unwisely) wore boots with a slight heel on the way in Wednesday, and had huge blisters. I wised up Saturday and wore socks and well padded shoes for the return trip Saturday.
Given all of this, I rate travelling on business as a "church camp experience." What does this mean? Well, when I went to church camp as a kid, I came home and told my parents "I had fun, but it's the kind of fun I only want to have once." I never asked to go back and never did. It was a perfect "once in a lifetime experience."
And that being said, it brings up a point that may be awkward for some - overall, travelling on business is the same as church camp. I'm glad I had the experience, but really don't care to see it again. And if this is going to be a requirement of my job from now on, well, I'm not aiming to become a high-power, globe trotting career woman. It might be time to pursue a mid-life career change. But that's a whole other issue to be discussed at another time.
So that's my impression and analysis on travelling on business. It's opened my eyes - some in good ways, some in bad ways, and some in ways yet to be determined, as I'm still processing a lot.
Take care all. More later.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost here: Christmas, the most magical time of the year. Weeks of planning, coordination, and frantic planning are about to come to their purpose as that blessed date finally arrives.
As we come upon Christmas, I’d like to urge all of you to remember the reason for the season. It’s so easy to get caught up in full schedules, gift buying, parties, family, friends, food and fun that we forget WHY we’re celebrating. It isn’t about gifts, decorations, meals, or Santa. It’s about the most wonderful gift that humanity has been given: Christ, our King who brings our salvation.
We talk about family, friends and church. These are wonderful gifts, but remember that the core of why we celebrate is the personal victory that Christ gave us when he died on the cross and defeated Satan for once and for all. It’s our responsibility to claim that victory and the free Grace of God that is offered with it. Nobody can do it for us. This is a free gift offered to each and every one of us and we alone must claim it. This is a time to give thanks for it. Remember that we join together to give thanks to Christ for coming into this world. We give gifts to one another as symbols of the wonderful gift of Salvation that Christ has given to us. We celebrate because we know that we’re free from the devastating consequences of sin on our soul and know we have eternal life.
I know the days ahead are full, but please take some quiet time to reflect on the reason for all of the activity in the coming days. Otherwise, it becomes another item on the “to do” list. Christ deserves better than that.
It isn’t about putting on the “perfect holiday.” It’s about celebrating the “perfect gift” that we have, now and always, throughout all of eternity. Thanks be to God.
Hi folks; I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend. It's been ok. Rick and I have had colds this past week, and it seemed to be at it's worst for me Friday and yesterday. Thankfully, I am feeling better today. Mom will be relieved. The big Holiday Craft Show that we go to every year is Friday (November 4th) and she was afraid I would be sick. But no worries because I seem to be getting better.
The short story project is going well. Wow, I didn't realize how far off I was on that one! I was treating short stories basically as one act novels, but they really are their own unique creation. I think I better understand the basic elements and the importance of capturing emotion in that format now. Basically, I was simplifying it way too much. Just because they're shorter and simpler than novels doesn't mean they require less work. The work may take less time, but they need the same type of planning, investment and respect as novels do. Eventually I do plan to bring back the "Short Story" tab to this website, but obviously I want to work on this more to make sure I bring you quality content.
I did have a bit of success today. My paragraph was featured at Paragraph Planet today! You can check it out at www.paragraphplanet.com
! (You'll have to check the archive to see it after today).
In other news, Mt. Tabor had their big Reformation Sunday/125 year celebration service today. Reformation Sunday is a big deal in the Lutheran Church. It's the celebration of when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the doors of the church at Wittenburg (it was actually October 31, but we celebrate on the closest Sunday). And a little thing called the printing press gave it to the masses. We should hope that e-publishing has an equally significant impact on society. I'm all about power to the people, and I hope e-books bring independent authors to the forefront of the writing business and allow readers to see that they DO have other choices besides what the bookstores and bigwig publishers force feed them.
Wow, I got a wee bit off topic there. Well, consider it my "I hope e-publishing allows independent authors to take over the publishing industry" speech for the day.
But anyway ... our church also celebrated 125 years in the community. My great great grandfather was the
first pastor. If he could see it now - well, he'd meet me and say it's probably a good thing they invented better over the counter headache medication. And wonder if they'd ever find a name for whatever's up with me. Not yet, so far.
I had to winterize my roses yesterday. Yep, we had our first frost last night, so I had to go out there and trim off all the growth - so the 2011 growing season is officially over. It's always kind of sad to do that. I have the last bloom of the season in a bud vase on my computer counter in the kitchen. It's a red rose - my favorite. They did really well this summer (despite the searing heat), and I pray they make it through the winter to have another great growing season in 2012.
So the end of growing season means more time for indoor activities. Tonight, we're going to watch Captain America - The First Avenger. We never made it to the theater to see this one. In fact, we haven't been to the movies since we saw Harry Potter in August. Oh well. Netflix sent Captain America yesterday so we're going to watch it tonight. Then - I don't know. There are short stories, of course, and reading, and I do have a couple of small
cross stitch kits in my bag. We'll see. No NaNoWriMo for me this year (National Novel Writing Month). I enjoyed it last year and am kind of bummed, but frankly I've got nothing in the way of ideas for novels now. Well, the focus is on short stories now anyway so it's ok. I would like to participate again sometime, though, but it won't be this year.
I can't believe Halloween is tomorrow, but alas, it is! We don't get trick-or-treaters out here in the woods, so I guess it will be watching Halloween again. I like the original with Jamie Lee Curtis better than the remake. Not that there's anything wrong with the remake. I just prefer the original.
That's it for now. Mindless rambling and dribble. I hope you've had a great weekend and that your week starts off well tomorrow. Take care and I'll see you later.
I had an epiphany in the church cemetery in December 2010 that changed my view on life.
I wasn't sure why I went out there that day. I ran an errand before work, and was strongly prompted to see where my grandparents were buried. I haven't been out there since Granddaddy died in October 1989, but I felt like I needed to go out there then to deal with some emotional issues before I could really move on.
So there I was on a cold, windy day. I overshot the row, so I had to walk to their plot. As I got to that place, I realized something: Despite over 20 years of history, I had nothing to say. I stood there with the weight of two major life changes that had recently started a new season in my life and for all the months of wishing they were here to give me advice - nothing.
I felt like a moron, standing there in a ridiculous looking hat with my work ID flapping in the breeze until traffic noise from the nearby highway snapped me out of my blank mind. That's when it hit me: Of course there was nothing to say here. Everybody in this place had completed their journey! This was no longer their world. They had passed their trials, had served their purpose in the world, and now had their reward. I and I alone was responsible for leaving this place and resuming my place in that world, to serve my purpose and to complete the mission the Lord sent me to serve.
That alone was a profound insight. It's what happened next that really nailed it.
As I walked back to my car, I realized that I parked next to where my great-great grandparents were buried. I looked down as I hit the "unlock" button on my car to see my great-great-grandmother's epitapth, which read: A GOOD AND FAITHFUL HELPMEET.
Something inside me snapped. I realized that I would one day lie in this place - and I expect the world to know more about me than that when I'm gone! "Oh hell no," I said to the wind, "I better leave behind more than that. I'm not a sidekick!"
I couldn't believe that an entire lifetime was summed up in a sentence that was nothing more than a passing tribute to her supporting role to helping my great-great grandfather in his efforts as the first pastor of our church, and his other endeavors. Who was she? How did she do it? What were her passions? What kind of personality did she have? We'll never know. Heck, I didn't even know her name until that moment.
At that, I left. It was cold, and windy. I was wearing a really stupid hat. And I realized I had stuff to do.
Now, I fully realize that women in the 18th century were largely defined by fathers, husbands and the men in their life. My point is twofold: First, it isn't like that anymore, and I think it's a pity that their identities are lost. Sure I accept my role as my husband's "helpmeet," but I'm also a unique individual and I have my own way of doing all things, be they God-given missions of my own or supporting others in their God-give missions. Second, I hate to say it but most people do still define themselves by others. They get so wrapped up in roles and relationships that they loose sight of who they are at their very core - the place in the center of their soul where the Lord made them a unique and wonderful creation. And they do it willingly to fit in with societal norms.
My purpose in this blog series is not to buck any systems, or to lash out against conformity. My purpose is to share this epiphany with you and to tell you the powerful truth I learned in the Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church cemetery that day: That we are all uniquelly and wonderfully made, and our ultimate purpose is to be the person God made us to be so we can serve the purpose He sent us to serve in this world. We shouldn't fear or deny who we are because everything God makes is good. That includes us. We need to embrace our authenticity and take our place now. Others might be able to do what we do, but they can't do it the way we can. God sent you to do what you're purposed to do because you have a way that nobody else that has ever, does, or will live can do it. We need to learn to accept ourselves and embrace what makes us unique!
Why? Because this is our world. All those who have gone before have served their purpose. Those ahead of us have not come to their time yet. lt's our world, right now, because the Lord has ordained it for us. We need to find our purpose. We need to own it. We need to make sure that the world knows we're here and that our presence makes a difference. Because that is, after all, why God sent us.
When I die, I want my epitapth to read "It's your world now. Go do stuff." Maybe that epiphany will spread. Maybe it will inspire the future. But that's yet to come. It's my time now, and I have to own it.
Because I have stuff to do. And so do you. Now let's get out there and own this world!
Next time: Who Are You? Devine Purpose, Authentic Soul.
Hi folks; I hope you're having a good week. It's been really busy the past couple of weeks, and not just with writing. It seems everything in life has exploded recently in every area. It's like that sometimes, and I should have figured. The summer was relatively sedate - as sedate as it gets in my life, anyway - so I guess it was bound to happen.
*Sigh* It seems that the older I get, the more complicated life gets. Everything keeps growing. Don't get me wrong - of course, we all want to see the fruits of our labor and to see things grow in our life. I'm very glad to add "independent author" to my life, and I've worked 10 years for this, and hope it keeps moving forward. That's the whole purpose, after all. Life in the 21st century seems to be a complicated web of activity. Everything's always in motion.
Or perhaps that's just the nature of life. Maybe it's always been that way.
The ironic thing is; I don't want to give up anything..(Well, if my writing did well enough to not make a full time job necessary, I'd gladly let that pass out of my life :) But seriously, my point is that I wish everything would take it's proper turn. It seems everything happens all at once. Does my work schedule HAVE to fill up with meetings right when I'm trying to get publicity stuff done for my writing? Do things have to take off with church committees when friends are coming in from out of town to visit? Do people addicted to drama have to start acting up (or rather, acting like themselves) when all of this is going on at once? Does Chloe's neck spasms have to start back up when there are things at home that need immediate attention?
And yet again, I say it's probably the nature of life. I hear others complain of this problem. The fact is that the world keeps turning, and it doesnt' stop because it would be convenient to hit a "pause" button for a while. Each and every one of us must find a way to cope and to keep on moving. Because life does, whether we feel like it or not.
So I suppose the point of this blog is to say that my life is rolling along, just like everybody elses'. Life on Planet Earth is progressing as it always does. We're all still here and alive, and by the grace of God, we'll make it.
That's all today. Happy Friday to you. Hang in there and I hope you have a great weekend.