Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Selah: Sunlight and dust

I have a bad habit. When I'm thinking, talking on the phone or trying to work out a problem, I sweep. I don't know when that habit started, but I've done it for at least of the last 8 years. I think it may be related to the fact that I hate wasting time, which makes me the multitasking queen. Also, sweeping puts my mind in neutral and my answers come more quickly.

Yesterday, why working on one of my plot problems, I grabbed to broom to tackle the floor in my office/dining room. The room was dark even with my lamp on. I opened the blinds for more light. And what to my wondrous eyes should appear? More dirt on the floor, even in the places I'd already swept.

That created an interesting Selah moment. More dirt is seen when a truer light is shined. Sunlight is far more powerful than my little two bulb lamp. And it revealed more. It's like when God reveals some "dirt" about us. We know it's there and that we need to sweep, but once God's true light comes, there is far more "dirt", even where we've already swept.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Name in Print

Yesterday, my children and I ventured into AAFES for a possible birthday gift for my husband. But I got a gift instead. The book featuring my story, True Identity, was sitting on an end cap of the book section. I actually screamed when I saw it even though I'd gotten my copy in the mail the day before.

It was very weird to see my name in print. I know I wrote it but it's still a little heady to see the book sitting on the shelf. I took a picture of it with the camera on my phone, like any other person would do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strange day

I spent the day in bed today. Not because I was sick. I was sick a few days ago and finally shook whatever it was on yesterday. I spent the day in bed because I didn't know what else to do. After I got the children off to school and cleaned a few things in my room, I got into bed.

The funny thing is a big project that I've been working on has just been rejected. It was rejected for a valid reason and the reason is so good that I don't think I'll have much success anywhere else. The problem is this project ruled my life for the last two months. My schedule was planned around devoting two hours a day to this project. And now, in the opening of one simple envelope, it's gone and I've found myself with lots of free time.

What will I do with all this time? Here are some things that comes to mind:
1. Shred all my old bills and give myself the biggest allergy attack of the century. Not.
2. Organize my shoes by color. Trust me, that will take two hours a day.
3. Read the telephone book.
4. Organize all my families DVD's by genre and year. That will take a minute.

Ok, you get the point. I have this huge gap in my life that I feel like I need to fill but I don't know with what. I want to write but I have NaNoWriMo starting in only five days. I guess I can really do something productive, like update my website, wash laundry and other miscellaneous mom stuff. Or I could just relax. What a novel idea!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Writing Surprises

It's fall and yesterday I experienced my first sign of colder days to come. I got sick.
I haven't been sick all summer so of course this stomach flu caught me off guard. I spent the night and today in bed. Since I was too weak to be up and around, I decided to do some research for my NaNoWriMo novel. I thought I had a clear direction of where I wanted the story to go, even started on my main character's background sketch.

And then it happened. I was answering a important question about my character: why does my MC love history so much? And surprise, surprise...my idea totally shifted. I went from writing a novel about an adult historian to a novel about a 12 year old girl.

This is one of the thing about writing. It's full of surprises. I am a bonafide seat of the pants (SOP) writer, so most of my ideas are like lightening strike in a storm. The storm clouds tell me that something is happening in the atmosphere, but I have no idea where the lightening is going to strike.

I've met people who outline their novels down to the last detail (T1). I guess I don't work that way. I just get in the storm and wait.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reminiscing about Beaufort, NC

Today, I was thinking about a setting for the story I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo. I'm one of those writers who prefer to write about places I've visited. I think it's less research to do. And with NaNoWriMo, you really don't have time to stop in the middle of your 1668 daily word count to look up somewhere to set your story.

The places that are fresh in my memory are: DC Metro/Maryland area (I live here), Meadeville, PA, Eerie, PA and Beaufort, NC. This story I'm considering has a historic element to it, but out of them all the best fit is Beaufort.

I visited a Bed and Breakfast in Beaufort the first week of October and completely fell in love with the town. Well, some of my love come from the fact that there is a beach about 10 minutes away from Beaufort called Atlantic Beach. Interesting enough, I can't swim and I get horribly seasick on every boat I get on, but I love the beach.

Beaufort is a quaint little town, a tourist town for sure. Front Street, the waterfront, is lined with shops and boutiques. It was something out of a TV show. There is an island with wild horses just a ferry ride away. My husband and I went and it was quite romantic, walking the streets, holding hands.

I took lots of pictures and videos while I was there so it won't be hard to remember. I'm not the biggest fan of North Carolina. Maybe it was because all the hot summers I spent at my grandmother's house. But Beaufort stole my heart. Best of all, I got a library card while I was there. Now all I need is somewhere to live!

NaNoWriMo, here I come!

It's almost November and I'm getting ready for NaNoWriMo. For those who don't know about this wonders of all wonders, it's when writers all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Last year's NaNoWriMo was a life changing event for me. I decided to sit down and write a novel from beginning to end. It was one of the most labor-intensive things I've ever done. I had a cramp in my right hand by the time I was done.

I'm doing it again this year. (mainly because I like pain. Not.) The funny thing is I had all these grand plans to have my character sketches done and outline my scenes. Of course that didn't happen. Many are the plans of a man... As a matter of fact, I decided today what I am going to write about. I've had two story lines in my head and one seems more interesting and more salable than the other right now.

But I've figured out something very important in this: the life of a novelist is revising one novel while you write another. Good thing I can multi-task. I've always had more than one story going in my head but never thought that was normal. I still don't know if that's normal, but it must be my normal because I can't get it to stop. It should be an interesting month.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Behold, I do a new thing

I love variety. Change keeps my life exciting. I'm a medium risk taker so I am very familiar with the feeling of trying out something new. My problem is my heart forgets that feeling just as soon as I master the new newness.

It is very easy to give up on new because...it's new. New is the land of "I don't know." You don't know how things are going to turn out or how they should turn out. You don't know how long any part of the process should take, and if you do, that idea was planted in your head by someone who's not you. Someone else's new is not the same new as mine.

I realized that trying something new is like waking up in the middle of the night in your new house, apartment or condo. You're committed to the place but you don't know yet how to maneuver to the bathroom in the dark yet. You have to turn on the lights to see where you are going until you put all your furniture where it's supposed to be and you know your place like the back of your hand. It's a good new, but new none the less.

This gives me hope that new can be good and even it takes a while to figure out my way around my dark house, it's still my house. Just because I don't know how to do the new things I'm trying doesn't mean I'm not committed to seeing it through.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I hate working out. I just wanted to preface this post with that fact. I don't know if I hate it more because it causes me pain or because I sweat. Ursh. But there is something I hate more. Not being able to fit my clothes, so working out has become the lesser of two evils.

It's a tight race. Some days, my hatred of sweat wins and I go straight to my office. Some days, my really nice New York & Company jeans remind me of how much weight I've gained. If I was running a count, I would say workout hatred is winning and the voter (me) goes to the polls three times a week.

But on a rare occasion, we have a recount. Today was a recount day. I woke up today at 6:45am and instantly made the decision not to work-out today. I began to console myself with reasons, good ones, too, of why I made the right decision. I had woke up earlier than normal and went to bed late last night. It was a dreary, rainy day. So what I hadn't worked out in more than three days. Today was a good day to take it easy.

I got out of bed and got dressed to take the children to the bus stop. Without thinking, I grabbed a pair of my New York & Company jeans and prepared to wiggle into them and to my surprise, they fit better than they did the last time I put them on. And I thought, this working out stuff is working. The jeans won the recount and I popped in the kickboxing tape. I'm celebrating with the jeans today. But Thursday will be a different story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My mother died March 12, 2002. It’s been six years but it feels like six months. The strangest thing is sometimes I feel like she’s here on the earth somewhere, I just don’t know where, like she’s gone on a trip where there are no phones. I’ve been dreaming about her lately, the last dream she was talking about how to arrange my shoes and sometimes having to do things a little different to make them all fit (shoes in dreams represent your life or walk.)

Every year when March 12th comes, I’m caught off guard. Today was no different. I went into my office to organize what I need to get done today and was staring at the date on my calendar. I kept thinking that there was something significant about today, but I couldn’t remember what. Oh, yeah. My mother died today.

I always remember her birthday, but what kind of remembrance do I do for the day she died? I don’t want to be sad, but what other choices do I have? Being sad won’t help. I was sad for an entire year after she died. I didn’t realize that I just miss her being proud of me, because she never said it. I miss her rejoicing over the accomplishments of Emmanuel because she only held him once before she got sick. I miss her being a mom, one I needed and I would like to miss not feeling like an orphan.

It wasn’t until I lost my mom that I realize how much children grow up trying to please their parents. And I didn’t do a very good job of pleasing my mom. And it was not for lack of trying. She was a difficult woman with impossible standards. Now, I think there are some things in my life that may please her. But she’s not here. She’s traveling and I can’t call her.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about death. Not in a bad way. I’m building a memorial website for someone who passed last year.I've been studying her life and looking at pictures of her and her family.

It’s got me thinking. One of the things I've been thinking about is leaving a legacy. It’s odd that whenever people think of leaving a legacy, they think trust funds and houses. That leaves those of us who don’t have much to leave behind feeling concerned. We wonder what it is that we will leave behind for our loved ones, other than bills.

Tonight, I took my children to the library. We go often because my youngest child has to read a book a night for his homework. I love taking them to the library and helping them pick out books. It’s fun to watch them select books and see how those books fit their personalities. I often talk with them and ask them why a certain book piqued their interest. It’s major mommy time.

I noticed was that they act and think much like I did at their age. They select book much the way I did. My middle son is really like me, a ferocious reader. He reads fast and likes to read lots of different subjects. I don’t have to pull teeth to get them to select books. As a matter of fact, I have to limit the number they can check out. They see the library the way I do, a place filled with knowledge and wonder.

By the time we left, it was already after dark. As I drove, I noticed books started popping up in my rear view mirror. My sons were trying to read from streetlights and the headlights of the cars behind us. That’s exactly what I used to do. I would stay up at night and sit in my bedroom window to read by the streetlight behind my house. My daughter wasn't reading at all because, like me, she gets car sick really easy. But she jumped in her first book as soon as we arrived home.

As I watched them, I realized I have something to leave as a legacy: a love of books. I know once book love is instilled in a child, it never goes away. Each time I take them to the library, I’m leaving a legacy. Every time I discuss a book with them, I add another brick to my legacy. I would love to leave them money, but I think teaching them to love books is one of the most valuable legacy I can leave them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So Close...

I'm torn. I find myself at this point stuck between the life of my dreams and the reality of my life.

For the last year I have found myself moving steadly closer to the dream. You know, that thing that when you are asked, "What's one thing you want to do in life?" you already have an answer. The thing I dreamed about went from being some obscure fantasy to a possible reality to a plan.

And just when I set the plan in motion, a 13 car pile up! By the time I sort through the wreckage, count up the bodies, reconstruct the accident scene and tow all the cars, I'll be too old or too tired to be hopeful anymore. I was so close.

I feel like I'm standing on the highway with my dreams heading south and I have no way to catch them. I feel a little like Moses. I saw the promised land, but maybe my foolishness or impatince or disobedience is going to keep me from living in it.

So if you see me sitting on the side of the road, crying, just know my dream has gotten away from me again and I can't figure out how to catch up. Who knows? You may be sitting right with me on the highway. Maybe we can talk about our dreams. Maybe we can will them back together.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Miss America 2008

My dirty little secret is I like watching beauty pageants. I think the thrill for me is watching people do what they are good at. And the fact that they have been wearing some slammin' shoes really helps. Anyways, I haven't watched a Miss America Pageant for a while, mainly because I just lost interest. It didn't have any relevance to me anymore. Pretty but fake girls. Barbies: good to play with, impossible to be.

But something new happened. My new favorite TV channel, TLC, gave the Miss America competition a makeover. I watched almost all of the episodes and I had my favorites. Miss Utah, Jill Stevens, won my heart right from the beginning. She is Sargent in the National Guard and I must admit I was rooting for her because she was the tomboy. I connected with her. She wasn't sappy girly girl, which I am not. She is extremely pretty, but she's tough. That's what I think America is all about. Pretty enough to capture your attention but tough enough to come in and take over your country if we need to.

Another one of my favorites was Miss Florida, Kylie Jean Williams. She told a heartbreaking story of being disfigured in an explosion. She had spent most of her life hiding her scars. During one of the competition, she had to go without make-up that hid her scars. She got cool points for me because I think society makes beauty a standard of goodness, and there is no hope for people who don't have it. So they end up hiding. But they are still beautiful none less. But not Miss Florida. She embraced her flaws.

Based on these two contestants, I decided to forgo writing my paper that is due Monday to watch the pageant. And at this point, almost halfway through the show, I wish I would have written my paper instead. I am really disappointed in the pageant. Why, you ask? Even though lots of smack was talked about revamping the pageant, it's still the same thing. Both my favorites were eliminated in the first two rounds. There were several contestants who moved on that were completely uneventful. They were pretty, but plain. No character. Barbies.

All in all, it was an educational experience. I do have a new favorite, Miss Washington, who was just eliminated. Yeah, it's all the same. But the coolest part of the whole show was was when Miss Utah was elemniated. The rest of the contestants dropped and gave her a pushup salute. Way cool. God bless America.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Great Escape

Sometimes, not very often, I want to escape my life. Not my outer life, my husband, my children, ministry and friends, but my inner life. My thought life. Sometimes I just want to take my brains out of my head for a few hours and be free from the pressure in there. And I don't mean sinus pressure (although, that would be nice, too.)

It's a lot of pressure being me. Most people don't know that because I keep my inside life to myself. It's hard work cataloging my thoughts, feelings, concerns and all the other random junk that runs through my mind. I think a major factor to my pressure is that I'm a passionate person. My passions sometimes consume me and it doesn't help that I'm completely aggressive. I try to be more passive, but it just doesn't work out.

I have an internal image of what I'm supposed to be and it changes from year to year. And my real life isn't even in the neighborhood of that. There are some very brief similarities of my inner life in my outer life, but not many. I want to be a better person. I want to change the world. I want to impact people for the good. But I end up here, just blogging.

So if I could escape myself, I would be someone who thought less. I would be someone who didn't care about how she looked more. I would be someone who was content, but not passive. I would be someone who could feel, but not drown in emotion. I would be someone who relaxed and threw all my responsibilities to the wind and watched them swirl in the air before I caught them all before they hit the ground. I would be someone who ate more gourmet food and drank more water. I would be someone who liked to snuggle and be snuggled. I would be someone who wasn't compulsive about buying CDs and someone who liked folding laundry. I would be someone who said yes without feeling guilty. I would be someone who was sure. I would be someone who can kiss each passing moment goodbye and embrace each new one like a long lost friend. I would an airhead who laughed at things that weren't funny. I would be someone who got pedicures and went swimming. I would be someone who wasn't me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Clearing my mind before bed...

Sometimes I journal before I go to bed. Most times it's not because I have some profound thing to record or that I had an incredible day. It's because I need to clear my head.

If my thought life was a car, it would be a hot rod, which goes hundreds of miles an hour. My mind is always working, which contributes, I suspect, to my extremely active dream life. (I dream almost every night.) All those miles add up. I'm sure my mental odometer has turned over three of four times in a night. I even talk fast because so much I want to say in one moment.

So journaling has become my parachute that slows my hot rod mind down. It's a release of thoughts and a settling of my mind. Sometimes it works like a charm and I'm off to sleep. Sometimes, it dredges up other thoughts, which means another hour awake.

I love the fact the blogging is so much like journaling. It allows me to exhale on paper...or keyboard. As I'm winding down this totally random post, here are some totally random thoughts.

  • My son is on crutches because he sprained his ankle. Problem is he is a huge klutz. That means I'm going to have to drive him to the bus stop. I hope I don't have to go the school and be a black parent.

  • I wrote "I saw her first" in Greek

  • I'm really overwhelmed with my life, but it's almost 11pm. Sleepiness does strange things to the mind

  • I want to eat some ice cream, but since it IS 11pm and I can't fit my size 6 jeans anymore, I'll pass

  • I love God and I know He loves me. He is the coolest.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Making sense

I watch the news often. Having children who catch the school bus, I have to check the weather daily. I watch the evening news and I'll love reading Yahoo! News. With all the intake of news, I started noticing a pattern.

I first noticed it when Obama and Huckabee won Iowa. It was interesting to watch all the commentators scrambling to explain how this happened when these two candidates weren't expected to win. Lots of pollsters, university professors, and political analyst were all spinning their logic on the outcome.

Then today, I read a story on 2 church fires in the south. In the lead of the article, the reported said that the two arsonist dabbled in Satanism. It was like it was they were trying to explain why someone would burn a church. To me, if the two only dabbled in Satanism, that doesn't warrant mentioning it. That could be completely insignificant. They may have dabbled in drugs, too, but no one mentioned that. But Satanism is now listed as a reason people burn down churches, when the problem could actually be something else.

We get a lot of explanations with the news, which is actually isn't their job. We watch the news for facts, but if we looked closely, we see that only a very small part of the news is actually fact. So much of it is opinion and statements that cannot be proven. If I hear one more person talk about who going to win the 2008 Presidential Campaign, I'm going to scream because at this point, no one knows but God.

I must admit I can see why we get some many explanations in the news. It's because it's what we want. We want the movies with a happy ending where everything is all wrapped up in a neat tidy box. We want to know why. It's so much a part of our diets, it should be put on the food pyramid, right between the grains and meats.

Now, isn't it more interesting that God doesn't give us the whys all the time? We are asked to live by faith, which sometimes means having no explanation at all, when we thrive on knowing why. God challenges us to go beyond our understanding when understanding has been elevated to such a high degree in our culture.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Officially Old

I've never felt my age. I usually think of myself 7 years younger than I am. But every now and then, something happens that reminds me of my 7 year miscalculation. Something about being surrounding by screaming teens...

On Saturday night, I went to a Christian rock club. It was the first time I've heard a rock band live. As a matter of fact, I was reluctant convert to Christian rock. Too much screaming. But once I was introduced to Thousand Foot Krutch, P.O.D and David Crowder Band, I joined my fellow rockers.

So back to this concert. My fellow rocker, Linda, and I were pretty excited about the trip. We decided before we left that we were going to do some major headbanging. But to our surprise, we were the oldest people there other than the organizers. I was old enough to be someone one's mother. As a matter of fact, my oldest child, Jaz, is the same age as most of the teens there. The concert was a place called The 7:30 Club in Mitchellville, MD. And it's obviously a place for teens. But...I really didn't care if I was the oldest person there. I was excited about seeing Seventh Day Slumber.

Anyways, it didn't take me long to figure out I was old. I barely made it through the first rock band's set. They were called Manic Drive and they were from Canada (I found out that night that Canadians, Catholics and Lutherans rock the party). Anyways, they were so loud that I had to tear up pieces of napkins and stuff them in my ears. That helped but I felt really old because the other little 13 year olds were bouncing around with no earplugs.

But the cake topper for my "I'm old" revelation came this morning, when I tried to get out of bed. Apparently, headbanging is not good for the muscles in the back of your neck. I am hurting and stiff. Someone pass me the Geritol, a heating pad and put me to bed.