Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friendly Caspers and Wanda Witches traipsing through the neighborhood
Shorter days and longer nights
Colder days and even colder nights
Visits from Jack Frost
What else? Please add to the list.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sometimes, I feel as if I’ve spent a lifetime saying goodbye.
So instead of saying goodbye, maybe we should say, “See you later.” It focuses on what will be instead of what has passed. There’s hope in that. And peace. And, I don't know about you, but in this crazy world we live in, I need all of the peace I can get.
So, see ya later:)
In memory of Randi, here’s the column again:
It was an unlikely place to share her faith, but that’s what Randi did. We were at a friend’s party, sitting on the couch, margaritas in hand. The music was loud. People were laughing and dancing. And Randi talked about her love for the Lord.
I’m not even sure how we got on the subject, but somehow we did. Maybe she sensed that I was struggling with my faith and needed to hear what she had to say. I remember telling her how envious I was of her relationship with God and how I must be a terrible person for feeling that way. “Why couldn’t I feel the way she did?” I thought.
And in her sisterly way, she told me that I wasn’t the one in control. That God hadn’t abandoned me even though at times I felt like he had. All this party chaos was erupting around us, but for those few moments, on that sofa, in that room, we were in the eye of the storm — just Randi, me and Christ. It’s a moment I will never forget.
Several months later, Randi White got sick and died. That horrible disease, cancer, took her away from all of us much too soon. She was only 48. She left behind her loving husband, Rick; children Jessica, Josh, Richie and Philip; an incredibly warm family; and too many friends to even think about counting.
We were all searching for answers and asking why. Why had someone who was doing so much good in the world and making a difference in other people’s lives have to die? I was overwhelmed with grief. And I was angry at God for, once again, allowing someone I loved to die. But then I remembered the conversation on the couch, the last real conversation we had before she died. I couldn’t help but think that we were supposed to end up on that couch, having that conversation, experiencing that moment.
I’ve been trying to follow Randi’s advice. It’s not always easy, but I’m trying.
I miss you, Randi. Thank you for a moment I will never forget.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Here are some of my writing tweets. Enjoy. And please share any you have.
· Writing is like opening an unexpected gift. It surprises us and makes us smile. I love unexpected gifts:)
· Sometimes the writing just comes and we're like, oh yeah. Gotta love when that happens.
· Writing can be agony and joy and every emotion in between.
· Revising is like surgery. Cut. Cut. Snip. Snip. Cut. Snip. Cut. OUCH! All better.
· I am so over you, Rejection. You can't get to me like that anymore. I won't let you squash my hopes and dreams. (Slams door) So there!
· Why is writing sometimes like trying to get gum out of your hair? Ouch! It's a mess & hurts. Sometimes you just have to cut it out. So there.
· Writing is like making rich delicious chocolate for our minds to savor and enjoy.
· Writing is like peeling an orange. You pick away at the shell until you get to the delicious fruit inside. And then enjoy it.
· Writing is like opening a treasure chest -- you never know what you will find.
· Writing that inspires us is like getting candy as a kid - a delightful treat:)
· I'm in love with writing, but sometimes I swear it hates me. Doesn't want to cooperate. Can be stubborn and downright nasty. Listen up, U!
· Writing is the key that unlocks the stories battling in our brains to get out.
· If I write as well as I golf, I'm in trouble!
· Writing is like eating dessert -- you can never get enough of it.
· Writing sweetens our day and makes life so much richer.
· Letters make so much more sense to me than numbers. I guess that's why I'm a writer:)
· Writing is a mental massage that soothes our soul in ways nothing else ever could.
· Writing is as natural and essential as breathing.
· I think that following your passion is a gift you give yourself. I hope that you are giving yourself this gift.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
If I could write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself at 17, here are some things I’d say:
Acne doesn’t last forever.
It’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from your failures.
Sometimes you have to lose.
Watch your speed limit on North Hills Road.
Study for the chemistry exam instead of going skiing with your boyfriend.
Who cares about a silly pageant anyway?
Keep playing the violin.
Don’t go parking on that dark country road. The cop shows up.
You will survive the breakup and your life won’t end, in fact, it turns out pretty great.
Tell your mom and dad every day that you love them. And Wendy, too.
Apologize to your dad for keeping him up pacing the kitchen floor at night, worrying until you come home.
Don’t hog the bed and give your little sister some room. She’ll never forget how mean you were.
Don’t worry so much.
Tell your teachers how much they inspire you.
Mom and Dad really do know what they're talking about.
Be a better daughter, sister and friend.
I could go on and on, but how about you? What are some things you would tell yourself? I’m sure it’s way different for guys, too. Waiting to hear from you guys.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It started like an ordinary day, sunshine sneaking through the cracks in the blinds and spilling into the bedroom and the whiff of bacon snaking through the quiet house.
It started like an ordinary day, but it was anything but ordinary.
And it all started with an unexpected gift.
.. .. ..
Annie rolled over and hugged her stuffed lion, which was missing a brown eye and some of its tan fur. The lion was a present for her fourth birthday and every night for the past ten years she had slept with it. Well, except for when she stayed overnight at a friend’s house. She didn’t want the other girls to think she was a baby, so she left Charlotte at home. That’s what she named him – Charlotte after her mother who had died shortly after giving Annie the lion.
She named everything Charlotte. Every doll was Charlotte and every stuffed animal was Charlotte and every goldfish she ever won at the fair was Charlotte. Her dad, Will, figured it was Annie’s way of keeping her mother close. Charlotte had told Annie that the lion would give her courage. All Annie had to do was squeeze its right paw and say “a posse ad esse,” which Annie later discovered meant “from possibility to reality.” It didn’t make any sense to Annie, but she did it just the same. Anytime she needed a little courage, like when she tried out for the cheerleading squad, she’d squeeze Charlotte’s paw and say “a posse ad esse” and she always felt better.
The doorbell rang. Annie rolled over and looked at the alarm clock. Who’s that at 7 on a Saturday, she thought. Annie whipped back her pink sheet and ran to answer the door. But when she opened it, the porch was empty. She stepped outside to look around.
Still, no one.
That’s when she saw it – a gift wrapped in pink paper and topped with a lime green bow, her favorite colors. It was beside the chipped black rocker her dad loved to sit in and read. Annie took the box inside and put it on the kitchen table.
“What’s that you got?” Will asked.
“It was on the porch, but no one was there.”
Will walked over. “Is there a name on it?”
“Yeah. Mine. But it’s not my birthday or anything. Who would give me a present for no special reason?”
Will picked up the gift and shook it. Whatever was inside slid from one end to the other. “Seems OK to me. Go ahead and open it. Maybe there’s a letter inside telling you who it’s from.”
Will nodded and patted Annie’s head. He couldn’t believe how fast his little girl was growing up. With her curly blond hair and green eyes and long arms and legs, she looked more like her mother every day. God how he missed Charlotte. He dated some over the years, but no one ever came close to his Charlotte. He just couldn’t bring himself to open his heart to anyone else. Maybe someday. But not now. Now was for Annie. He would concentrate on raising Annie to be the young lady her mother always dreamed she would become.
“Mind if I open it upstairs?”
“Want some privacy, huh?”
Will smiled. Yes, his daughter was a typical teen – spending hours in her room, listening to music Will couldn’t stand and needing lots of privacy. It was hard for him to get used to at first. They had spent her childhood doing everything together. But he understood that she was growing up and needed her space. God he wished Charlotte was here. Wished they would have caught the hit and run driver who had hit her. She’d know just want to do. Annie needed a mother, and all she had was him.
Annie carted the box to her room. She wanted to open it in private in case it was sent as a joke from someone at school. It would be just like The Sisters (They weren’t really sisters but the group of popular girls called themselves that.) to pull such a prank. Get Annie all excited about a getting a gift only to open a box with some sort of joke inside. Like a pair of granny pants. They did that once to Petra, Annie’s best friend. Gave her a gift bag in the middle of the cafeteria and when Petra pulled out the granny pants everyone laughed. The Sisters ere mean. And, well, if it were them, she didn’t want her dad to see. He already worried about her enough. Thought she studied too much and needed to have more fun. Annie tried, but it didn’t come easy to her. She felt more comfortable with her nose between the pages of a book. And, besides, the other girls laughed at her when she tried out for cheerleading. She hadn’t told her dad, but after the first practice she didn’t go back. She went to the library instead and read until it was time for him to pick her up. When she didn’t make the team, he told her how proud he was that she had at least tried. She hated lying to her dad. But what she hated even more was disappointing him. Maybe one little lie, the only one she had ever told, wasn’t so bad if she didn’t do it again. Cheerleading wasn’t for her any more than playing basketball or softball was. She hadn’t made those teams either.
Annie sat on the bed. She took off the lime green bow and unwrapped the gift, peeling back the tape at the seams so the pink paper would remain in one piece. That’s how she approached life, carefully and methodically. She wasn’t the type who’d rip into a gift and have a million pieces of paper everywhere. She folded the pink paper and placed it next to the box. She’d find some use for it. Maybe she’d use it to wrap Petra’s present. Her favorite color was pink, too. Annie shook the box again, trying to guess what was inside. Then she opened the lid and her mouth dropped.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The “family” pew where I sit has scratch marks on the back made by my late father-in-law’s suspenders. He sat in this spot for decades and the marks are a lasting reminder. When I think about the scratch marks, I think of the marks we leave in life – some good, some bad. It reminds me to live life thoughtfully because we never know when we might leave a mark that might be harmful. We are powerful in that way, whether we realize it or not, and need to be careful not to abuse that power. How many times have we left marks that have hurt people? I once had a teacher who said something to me that I will never forget. Many years have passed since, and the words still sting. That’s the power of the marks we leave behind. Like the pew, the scratch is always there. We might be able to sand it and apply new stain, but it remains underneath. It’s what we do with the marks in our life that count. Use them to make us better and stronger and wiser.
And that’s where the observation yesterday led me. Now your turn.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
P.S. I tried to shelve the box story but it keeps wanting to be opened. It’s hard for me to resist and then I figured, why even try. Go along for the ride and see where it takes you. What do you think?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Frozen and cold food together.
Bread and rolls together.
Paper goods together.
And, to be honest, it looked pretty – all neat and lined up and separated with barcodes, if possible, visible at first glance.
“I wish everyone was as organized as you,” the cashier said. “It makes it so much easier. Some people, they just dump everything on and then they get mad if something gets squished.”
Oh yeah, I’m thinkin’. Finally found someone who appreciates my obsessive self. And, like, that was way cool.
So are you a dumper-on-topper or an arranger like me?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It started like an ordinary day, but it was anything but ordinary.
And it all started with a box.