Blowing, Blowing, Blowing

Spring in Texas means one thing to me: wind.

I hate wind. It blows things in my contacts. It makes warm days feel cool when sitting in the bleachers watching a baseball game or track meet. It burns the skin and chaps the lips. It tangles my hair and makes reading outside a challenging experience. It makes it difficult even to walk upright sometimes! It encourages my car to stray from its lane. It stirs up things that clog my nose or make it run.

I know it will only last a few weeks. Then the world will turn still. And hot. But I still don’t like wind!


The Help

I’ll admit, one of the reasons I put off reading this book for so long was because so many people I knew were reading it. Something in me hates to follow the crowd. But every now and then I find I can agree with the New York Times Bestseller List. And this is one of them.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett gripped me from the first page. I literally couldn’t put it down. The writing is amazing. The characters so clearly drawn. The twist and turns in the story, flawless. It is a story that illustrates the good and the bad that comes out in all of us. It makes me examine myself, my shortcomings, my attitudes. And that, to me, signifies good fiction. Those are the kinds of books I keep on my shelves for years to come (although I have to give this copy back to my friend and buy my own now!).

But after turning the last page, the afterward parts fascinated me even more. As a writer trying to tell a story with its roots in the true history of others, this book showed me it is possible to grab the essence of what you want to say without having to hold to the facts that inspired it. That facts can intertwine with story and still convey truth.

This story and these characters will stay with me for a very long time.


Walking by Faith

The door is still open. I really have no choice but to walk through it, although I have no idea what is waiting on the other side. Maybe Ruth felt this way. Or Esther. Or Jacob. Or Daniel. When God so obviously clears the path before your feet, you can either move forward or not. Fear and trembling walk with you as you step into the bright light of His way, but that light sometimes obscures what’s ahead in the distance.

Can I trust Him? My experiences of the past scream yes. That niggling little voice says I’m not sure.

Yet that is the definition of faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

I hope for His glory to be shown in my life. I can say with surety that He desires that, too. And although I cannot see the way, I am certain of His goodness and His amazing love.

So I’m stepping forward by faith. Trusting the Lord to do what He wants to do, not expecting it to necessarily look anything like what I envision. I know it is the thing to do. But faith is never quite easy. If it were, it wouldn’t be faith!


A Book is a Book

eReading has changed my life. No, I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook. And I haven’t pre-ordered an ipad—yet. But I did get the free Kindle app for my ipod touch. I did it to see if I could be satisfied with a book on a screen. So I downloaded a couple of free “classic” titles and off I went.

Truth be told, I forgot about them for a little while. Then we had our travel day from the bad place after Christmas. What I thought would be seven hours of airport and airplane time turned into two days. Of course I finished the only book I had with me.

Now what? I couldn’t spend all that time with nothing to read! So I pulled out the ipod, adjusted the font size and coloring, and started reading. And guess what? I loved it! I loved it so much that I came home and bought a case for it that opens like a book. And now I love it even more!

I don’t know if I’ll ever have the money to plunk down for one of the larger ereaders, but that’s okay for now. I like what I have. My ipod fits in even a very small purse. And that has changed my life. I no longer have to carry a purse large enough to stow several books. And I don’t find myself in a situation where I’ve left a book behind or finish it and have nothing to read. In fact, now I look forward to being at an appointment or stuck in traffic or early for a ball game. I just power up and read. And with a screen that small, there is no losing my place on the page!

I’m not saying I’ll ever give up books with paper pages. My stuffed full bookshelves are testimony to that. But I’ve definitely seen the advantages of embracing the new technology. If only there weren’t so many books and so little time!


Just the Right Words

I don’t often do devotional books. I prefer to simply read Scripture. But last year I received a wonderful, leather-bound edition of Streams in the Desert that I keep by my favorite chair. Days, weeks, months may pass without me cracking open its spine. But then a day arrives that I feel drawn to it.

Yesterday was such a day. I turned to March 22 and began to read. It was all about waiting.


Here were some of the sentences that leapt off the page:

Yet when God delays, He is not inactive.

As Joseph did, we should be more careful to focus on learning all the lessons in the school of sorrow than to focus anxious eyes toward the time of our deliverance.

If we have gained the qualities that make us ready for a throne, nothing will keep us from it once His timing is right.

He is never late.

And just to put an exclamation point on those words, He sent them to me at the exact moment I needed to hear them.

It still doesn’t make waiting fun or easy, but at least it reminds me waiting has purpose.


A Sunday Psalm

I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me,
I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2


My Silly Waiting Ditty

(Sung to the tune of the theme from Rawhide. I watched the reruns—along with The Rifleman—almost every Saturday afternoon when I was growing up.)

Waiting, waiting, waiting,
Oh, anticipating,
Day and night I’m waiting,
How long?
Imagination soaring,
Oh Lord You get the glory,
Or maybe I’ll be left
High and dry.
Trying to keep busy
But not forgetting, really,
That sometime my fate
They will decide.

Yes or no, no or yes,
No or yes, yes or no,
Yes or no, no or yes
Which one?
Waiting day, waiting night,
Waiting night, waiting day,
Waiting day, waiting night,
How long?


clip art courtesy of www.webweaver.nu

For a nice history of St. Patrick, check out Niki's post on Inkwell Inspirations today!


Spring has Sprung

This week the Bradford pear trees burst into bloom, white flowers covering them like a shy bride arrayed in her finery. It’s always a very noticeable sign of spring around here—and it seems to come almost in an instant. That first day I noticed the bits of white clinging to bare branches, the sun appeared and the temperature hovered in the 60s. Suddenly I have hope that I won’t be cold forever. Warm is on the way. 


Then They Will Know

One of the things I’ve learned from years of doing Precept Upon Precept Bible Study is to pay attention to repeated words in a book (or chapter) of Scripture. It makes sense. If God wants us to get it, He’ll repeat it. Over and over. For He knows we are but dust.

So on my last reading of Ezekiel, I kept running across the same phrase: then they (or you) will know that I am the Lord. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 54 times in 48 chapters. I guess it was important to the Lord that we hear that.

He said it after revealing hard things that would happen, like being defeated and taken captive, and after good things, like restoration from captivity. Through all of it, one of His purposes is for us to know that He is the Lord.

Can you look at things that have happened or are happening in your life through that lens? I’m trying to. Because the more I know that He is the Lord, the less I worry about my circumstances, the less I feel the need to figure out how to make it all work.

My knowing is still far from perfect or consistent. Sometimes I sweat the small stuff while I have great trust for the looming doom. Sometimes it’s the other way around. But if His intention is for me to know that He is the Lord, He won’t hide it from my view. I simply have to pay attention to things going on around me.

Easier said than done!



I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to laugh at the situations in which I find myself. I tend to take life too seriously, missing the joy—or even just the cathartic nature of a good laugh. So I look to others to help me see the humor.

Like cartoonists.

When my kids were small, I found Baby Blues. Every morning I’d read the three or four frames and chuckle, because I found it so true to life. When my kids grew past the ages of the characters, my enjoyment waned. But in the past few years I’ve found a replacement. What's funny is that both are collaborative comic strips, and one of the guys is involved in both!

If you have teenagers, or even remember having teenagers, check out the Zits comic strip. I don’t think you can help but be amused. It never fails to hit close to home—be it with a teenaged boy or girl. In fact, I’ve been known to laugh until I’ve cried! And for this parent of teens, a functioning sense of humor is absolutely necessary to survival.


Decisions, Decisions

There are moments when a strong-willed child is a joy. I think the college search can be one of those moments. Child numero uno knew exactly what she wanted to do, where she wanted to look. It was a painless (though expensive) process.

Child number two, the compliant one, is proving to be much harder. We don’t want to make the decisions for him. We want his future to be his. But he refuses to make decisions about even where to look. And time is winding down. Yes, we have a whole year and two months until graduation, but with not wanting to miss days of school before finals in May, a summer of work, and senior seasons of football and basketball on the horizon, we know there will no be time to make campus visits. So we have to go now. But we have to choose some places to visit.

We’re driving him crazy. He’s driving us crazy. I think he’d just prefer us to make the decision for him, but I won’t give him that out. He has to learn to decide, to know what HE should do, not simply let others’ opinions sway him. It’s when you worry about that child that you’ve always been thankful was “the easy one,” for sometimes their later days are paved with hard lessons they sidestepped in their younger years.

I’m sure things will all work out in the end, for we continue to do the one thing that works—we pray. I just wish I could see that end a little more clearly in the now.


The Soggy Middle Ground

I’ve never had trouble starting a new project before, but this time it’s different. I’m not sure why it’s different. It just is.

I have an idea. I have some characters. I even have a bit of research done and a couple of fun opportunities for research in the next few weeks. But I can’t seem to write that first word because I can’t seem to get a good picture of things in my mind.

Is fear holding me back? Fear that this one won’t be as good as the last? Fear that I’ll spend all that time and energy only to have another book to put on the virtual shelf? Maybe it’s the anticipation that the year of writing will be my son’s senior year of high school. My second child, my oldest boy. One I will miss terribly.

Maybe it is simply a lack of faith on my part. A worry that I’m wasting precious time. A look at the waves lapping my feet instead of walking with my eyes fixed on Jesus. All I know is that I’ve been floundering for about a month now, and it has to stop. I have to move forward or lay it down. That soggy middle ground simply won’t hold my weight much longer.


Finding the Right Fit

I tried to go clothes shopping the other day. But clothes shopping depresses me. Clothes are not made for long-legged people. They just aren’t. Just like shoes aren’t made for skinny-footed people. Especially sandals. So after trying on a dressing room full of rejects, I hung the clothes back on a rod, turned to my mother and said, “This is why I prefer shopping for books. They always fit.”

So there you have it. One of these days I’ll only own pjs and books. And I’ll be quite happy. As long as the kitchen is stocked, that is. Of course that might be difficult in the pjs. Perhaps this plan needs more work.


Inkwell Inspirations

Come join me over at Inkwell Inspirations today for part three of our five part serial story!


The Young Victoria

I’ll admit that I have a lifelong fascination with royalty. And truly, if I trace it back, it probably began with checking out Jean Plaidy’s The Queen’s Husband back when I was 11 or 12. It told the story of Victoria and Albert. And I was hooked.

So it really isn’t any surprise that I’ve wanted to see the new movie The Young Victoria. But it was only showing at one theater around us—and that one was over 30 miles away. I thought it a long shot, at best. But lo and behold, we actually found ourselves in that area of town on Sunday and went.

While I understand that movies (and books) based on lives of historical figures often skew the historical fact, I didn’t mind. When the credits rolled and the lights went up in the theater, I was still wiping my eyes.

“That may be the most romantic movie I’ve ever seen,” I told my husband.

The screenplay wove the story well. The actors were topnotch. And the fact that it has been nominated for Academy Awards in art direction, costume design, and makeup tell you it was beautiful to watch as well. Definitely a film that will reside among my DVDs when it becomes available.

A Serial Story at Inkwell Inspirations

Have you ever read a serial story? We're doing one at Inkwell Inspirations this week. It's a story that continues for five days and it is written by five different people. This is the second time I've been involved in such a thing. It is very fun for both the writer and the reader! Read the first installment here.