Saturday, September 30, 2006

no longer a beginner

You know how when you start something new, it's awkward and strange and you're sure you'll never catch on? Like long division or riding a bike or doing a cartwheel?

Or running through the basics of martial arts? When we started TaeKwonDo a few months ago, I had to twist my body in all sorts of directions I never imagined. In fact, the way I learned how to do certain moves was to imagine how I thought they should be done and do the opposite. My arms wanted to go every which wrong way.

But, just like teacher Tony said, practice brings understanding and skill. And today we were rewarded with a little recognition of that skill-- yellow belts.

So, I'm nowhere near an expert, but I'm learning. And I'm proud of my 54 sit-ups in 90 seconds, my 43 push-ups in the same amount of time (not the girly kind either), going through my forms and sparring with tough guys. Okay, they weren't really sparring back, so that might not count.

I'm happy to change from looking like a marshmallow, to a marshmallow with a yellow belt.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Be Among the First to Own...

And now, ladies and gentlemen, may I present...


After 30 years of thinking and dreaming, 3 years of researching and writing, 3 months of wrestling with self-publishing, JESSIE: the story of a genteel lady in frontier Alaska is in print and available for purchase.

It has been an interesting journey so far, one that has paralleled my own in many ways, but now she pulls out in front of me in offering her novel to the world.

So, world-- how 'bout it?

The book is available at Once there, do a search for Betty Wyatt and you'll find JESSIE. The price to order from lulu is $14.99 plus shipping. Or, if you'd rather and you're localish, Mom is offering to pay the shipping for those who buy directly from her. And that way you can get it inscribed, too!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Phase Two

Voila! The second wall is painted! All it lacks it a little glow in the dark paint to bring the stars out at night. I'm going to try to pretend I didn't hear the third child ask for paint in her room, at least for a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 22, 2006

instead of counting sheep

I've never suffered from insomnia. Or rather, I don't let insomnia bother me. If I can't sleep, I use it as an opportunity to read or surf the net or pray. This week, though, I've woken in the middle of the night every night, unable to sleep, but unable to concentrate, too.

I want to submit a story about a beach memory to a compilation book, but I'm having trouble coming up with the right story. So this week, in the middle of each night, I've been taking an inventory of beaches I've visited to put me back to sleep.

Here are the ones I remember, from (kind of)East to West.

Mombasa, Kenya
Grand Popo, Benin
La Plage, Robinson, and Ramatou, Togo (and various points between Aneho and Lome)
Elmina Castle, Ghana
Coconut Grove, Ghana
Marseille and Nice, France
Tortolla, Virgin Islands
Marguerita Island, Venezuela
Rehobeth and Bethany Beach, Delaware
Palm Beach, Florida
Hermosa, Redondo, and Zuma Beach, California
Newport, OR
Canon Beach and Hug Point, OR
Ft. Stevens, OR
Long Beach, Ilwaco, and Gray's Harbor, WA
Kalalok, WA
Sand Point and Cape Alava, WA
Dungeness Spit and other beaches on the Straights of Juan de Fuca, WA
North Beach, Ft. Worden, Kala Point, Indian Island and other beaches on the Quimper Peninsula, WA
Auke Rec, Sandy Beach, and others in Juneau, AK
Dyea, Admiralty Island, Portland Island, Pelican and others in the Inside Passage, AK
Barrow, AK

I have many, many happy beach memories and very few bad ones. How about you?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I'm really bummed about switching over to blogger beta since it made me lose touch with everyone in Comment World. I cannot post or receive blogs from regular blogger. It turns out that becoming a beta-ite (betazoid?) made me lose my identity as a regular blogger.

The helpers said that eventually EVERYONE will be switched over to what is now the beta program. (You, too, will be assimilated). In the meantime, here is my solution:

1. I started a new blog in the original version of blogger so I can leave comments on your blogs. The address for the blog is I've been wanting to start a new blog anyway, to host my writings on writing. Don't feel obligated to follow that blog, but do feel free to drop by from time to time to see what's up in my writing life.

2. I'd love for you to leave comments on this blog. Until you are assimilated, though, I'll have to moderate your comments (don't be offended-- it's the only way I can get them to post). So sign in as "other" and leave your comments.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Monday, September 18, 2006

John 15

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful... No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing... This is my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you... This is my command.

Love each other.

Jesus is the vine, the root, the life giver; God, the gardener.

I am but a branch. My only job is to stay stuck on the vine. Beyond that, it's all up to the plant and the planter. Even fruit bearing is ultimately not my job. If I'm attached to the life source and if the gardener has pruned me well, I'll produce good fruit. Just as the branch cannot will itself to produce fruit when it sees the gardener headed over with the lopping shears, so I cannot force fruit out of myself.

It is the product of living water flowing through my heart.

Friday, September 15, 2006

books, books, books!

Book tag-- now that's more like it! And at such a great time. The very first copy of Mom's book arrived yesterday. It's beautiful. I am so proud of her. For those of you who are waiting to buy your copy, we've got to comb through this one for errors first. I'd say within a week or two she'll be ordering her first batch to sell.

And now, on with the game!

Jessie: the story of a genteel lady in frontier Alaska by Betty Wyatt
Healing Grace by David A. Seamonds
Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey

Letters from Togo by Susan Blake
Edge of Eternity by Randy Alcorn
Where There Is No Doctor
Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel (and a host of other picture books)

Foxes Book of Martyrs
1,001 things you can do with palm leaves

Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You Will Ever Need

God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
Sayonara by James Michener
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Great American Novel

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Hercule Poirot Quitte La Scene par Agatha Christie

Rebecca's Heart by Lisa Harris
The Taking by Dean Koontz
Detours by Bette Nordberg
How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart

Mister God this is Anna
When Choice Becomes God
Anne of Green Gables
The Hiding Place

Dad, Entropy, Sara, Lori, and Shelli. If you don't have a blog, post your list in my comment box. I want to add your favorites to my list of books I'm intending to read!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Bad News for Pluto

Poor Pluto.
As if it wasn't bad enough to be stripped of his planethood.
Now he's been assigned a number, like a common criminal.
I can just see him clinking his tin cup on the bars and crying out for justice.
The warden glares at him. "#134340-- quiet down!"
The unjustly punished former planet hangs his head and mutters, "The name is Pluto."

**Don't worry. This is not an ongoing topic. It's just that the strength of my own reaction to Pluto's demotion surprised me. Maybe it's because I was always the shortest kid in my class. Maybe it's because my 5th grade teacher got a kick out of singing "Short People Got No Reason To Live" whenever I was around.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Big Idea's Veggie Tales has been picked up by a major network as a Saturday morning cartoon. NBC said they would buy new episodes in their original format, if Big Idea would remove the Bible verse segment at the end of each show.


Then, apparently, the executives at NBC actually watched an episode or two and found out that Veggie Tales is religious programming to the bones. They insisted that the whole show be changed. I've read a couple of blogs by outraged Christians insisting that this represents a double standard. The networks tell parents it is their responsibility to screen programs for language, violence and inappropriate content. But when programming has a Christian bent, NBC insists that it cannot condone such teaching.

God forbid we should teach about sharing, loving, and cooperating.

Veggie Tales will air on NBC in its adapted format. Phil Vischer, creator of Bob the Tomato and all his friends, had some interesting things to say about the changes and the way we witness in the world. One thing that struck me is that the same network that refuses to air the vegetables quoting Bible verses is planning to show Madonna in concert, hanging on a cross, mocking the crucifixion.

Is it just me, or is the world upside down?

Monday, September 11, 2006

"There's no such thing as luck!"

I've been promising the twins for most of their lives that we would go to the circus. For the past 3 years, I've assured them that this is the year! Of course, things came up and we haven't taken them to the circus yet, despite the fact that they've had Ringling Bros. tickets tucked away in their files for 11 years.

This is the year. I promised.

The problem with the tickets they have is that we had to go down to the box office to get assigned seats. I'd been putting it off and putting it off. I don't really do downtown driving by myself. But I didn't want to drag my husband down to the arena, so I decided to brave the traffic and the unknown parking situation and take the kids down myself.

104.1 the Fish, our local Christian radio station, announced they would be giving away circus tickets on Friday at noon. What better time to go since we had to go anyway? So we arrived exactly at noon and made our way through the maze of corridors, navigating past the tile layers and through the bowels of the building with the help of a construction foreman.

20 minutes late, I was sure the tickets would be gone. But when we reached the edge of a small crowd of people, they let us through to the front.

"Too many people showed up," the station representative said. "So we're having a drawing. We'll draw 3 winners every 10 minutes." I glanced at my watch. We could only stay for 2 drawings and then we'd have to go.

The 2nd name pulled from the box was Bethany's! She went forward and claimed her 4 tickets. A few minutes later, her sister was chosen to receive a free CD of her choice.

"Wow!" I said, "You guys are so lucky!"

"There's no such thing as luck," Bethany said. "It's a blessing!"

A blessing indeed. As are my children.

Moving Day

While I may not be the first on the block to own the latest gadget, I do like to mix things up a bit from time to time.

So today I moved my blog. It should still pull up in the same spot for you, but I'm trying out the beta version of blogger, tying it in with my email and Picasa accounts. I've been happy with Google's other beta programs, so I expect I'll like this one, too.

Tell me what you think of the changes.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Searching for Hidden Meaning

We like to look for hidden meanings, to search out the deeper nuances of scripture, even when they are not there.

I sat in a Bible class once where we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. A woman near the front raised her hand to ask a question. "I notice it says here that the people sat on the green grass. Does this symbolize new life?"

I chuckled at the question, then sat in disbelief as the teacher and a couple of others proceeded to discuss the meaning of the word "green" for ten minutes. Couldn't it just mean the grass was green?

Last week I sat in another Bible class where we read through the story of Samson. When we reached the story of him killing a lion, a woman asked, "Is it symbolic that he killed a lion?" Someone else piped in to suggest that it referred to Jesus in Revelation as a lion. (I wanted to throw in that it could just as well refer to Satan as the roaming lion, but I refrained.)

Sometimes I think we look so hard for some hidden, secret meaning that we miss the point. Jesus was going to perform a miracle. The people had to sit somewhere. Isn't it better to sit on the grass than the dirt? But the point is that Jesus is Jehovah Jirah, the Lord who provides.

And Samson was strong. (Not to mention that the lion dying set up the story for Samson to defile his parents, anger the Philistines, and start dishing out God's wrath against them.)

So while it's interesting and often appropriate to search the scriptures for depth and truth, sometimes its might just mean what it says.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Order out of Chaos

Bits of ideas churn in my head, disconnected thoughts until I get them down on paper and form them into an outline.

Dozens of Post-it notes piled on a table seem like a mess until we start to arrange them into the plot of a story or the pages of a website.

Children run wild, the house is a mess. Books and papers litter the floor. But as we settle down to start a new school year, a schedule emerges, the dishes are done, the folded laundry stacks grow taller than the dirty clothes pile.

As much as I love vacation, I'm always ready for the normalcy the routine of the school year brings. I wonder if it's a function of being created in the image of the God who took a handful of chaos, mixed it up with a bunch of nothing and created the order of the universe.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bread and Jam for Francis


Mushy, squishy oatmeal.

Slimey, gray, drippy oatmeal.

Tabitha loves it.

So much she wanted it for every meal for two and a half days. And in one of my finer moments as a mother, that's what she got.

Every meal.

Every snack.

Every dessert.

Just like Francis in Bread and Jam for Francis. And now, lo and behold, she'd ready to taste things like lasagna, pork and green beans.

And she still likes oatmeal.