Tuesday, November 27, 2007


There's a new movie coming out by Morgan Spurlock, the guy who made Supersize Me. It's called What Would Jesus Buy? Just looking at the ads, I'm not sure I relate to the Reverend Billy with his white suit and platinum blond hair or to his Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir. But then, I'm not his target audience since I own neither flat screen TV nor ATV.

Just the question What Would Jesus Buy? brings up questions in my mind. Was Jesus concerned with global economics or the hearts of men? Would he be disappointed in the way we've turned a holiday in his memory into a commercial extravaganza? He overturned tables in the temple, upset that God's house had been turned into a den of thieves, yet he paid taxes and told others to do so, too.

I have another question for you, much less thought provoking, but we'll call it research for a current project.

If you had $8000 fall in your lap that you could blow any way you wanted to, what would you do with it? Don't be responsible here-- no paying down the mortgage or helping out the poor. You have to blow the whole wad on yourself.

How would you spend $8000?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Non-verbal Communication

My husband and I don't always get a chance to talk about news stories that interest us. Instead, we leave CNN blips open on our shared computer desktop. There's no telling what type of story will greet me when I wake up in the morning.

It was through this sort of non-verbal communication that I learned that Bai Yun and Gao Gao's baby will be named tomorrow.

It's also how I learned about the man who is suing God, the legless chihuahuas, and the dog who adopted a litter of squirrels.

Admittedly, not earth shattering news.

In return, I leave open pictures of derelict boats that need rescuing, free stuff from craigslist, and blogs of interest.

My brother got in the act this week with a gross story about a hairball. If you really want to see it, you'll have to look it up yourself. Yuck!

I have a grandmother who still clips articles from the newspaper and sets them aside to share when I visit every 5 years or so. Sharing news via Internet is just an instant twist on an old tale.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks Around the World

created at TagCrowd.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ain't Rejection Sweet?

I just got the nicest rejection. It made me feel so good. Someone from a major publishing house read my chapters and liked them. She can't use them, but she liked them and wished me the best finding another house for my work.

Ahh... sweet rejection.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Skipping Thanksgiving

My 5 year old has big plans. She's been counting down to Christmas since there were 52 days to go. She's down to 38 now. I'm not sure if that's right or not, but it's what she says.

She's been through the wish book and circled something on every page. She NEEDS a remote control parrot, not to mention a mermaid doll that converts to one with legs, a roller coaster kit, and anything with dragons.

"Did you know," she asked the other day, "that Christmas is Jesus' birthday?"

"I've heard that somewhere," I said.

"Why is he always a baby in the Christmas pictures? Why aren't there any grown-up pictures of Jesus on Christmas?"

"Good question."

It's not like she's seeing commercials on TV that tell her Christmas is coming. It's just in the air. I hate to break it to her that there's a whole 'nother holiday before Christmas. She must have picked up on the subtle vibe that holiday season starts in August when the stores put out the holiday displays.

I, for one, refuse to wrap any presents or sing any carols until Friday. House Rules. I want to spend the week being thankful, not greedy.

Fa la la la la la la la la.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dragons and Dreams

Last night the kids and I attended a talk by Bryan Davis, author of the Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire series of books. He spoke on fantasy writing and detailed his own journey from computer geek to fiction writer. A couple of things he said stuck out to me.

1. He spent 7 years writing his first book 24 times before it was published.

2. He received over 200 rejections before he got an acceptance.

3. When his first dragon book was picked up by a publisher, the publisher came to him to ask for it.

Writers are a stubborn bunch. It takes pretty thick skin to put yourself out for criticism and rejection again and again and again. You've got to believe in your book: you've got to believe in yourself.

Or you've got to be driven by something that you can't control, a story that burns within you that you must release.

When I sit at my computer and agonize over the fifth draft of a book, it's not because I love failure... it's because I can't NOT write this story.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Close Friend of a Close Friend

Jay was a special guy... a guy who loved life and people and fun. He took in strays and he had the gift of making every person who came through the door of Gary's Auto feel like she was his most important customer.

He died too young.

I wish I had a copy of the letter Jay had tucked away inside his address book to be read in case of his death. He told people not to grieve, but to have fun remembering him. Everyone should write such a letter.

Something about the things people shared at Jay's memorial today reminded me of Anna from Mr. God, This is Anna. Curious, loving, outspoken and a tease.

I wasn't close to Jay at all. I only knew him as a close friend of a close friend. But watching the faces of those who scattered his ashes in the bay, I was struck by how much influence one man can have if he shares his enthusiasm for living.

God bless you, Jay. And God bless those who loved you.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Magna Carta and the First Amendment

For those of you who would like to follow along in your history texts, we talked about the Magna Carta yesterday. For those of you who don't remember why this document was so important, here's a quick review and a current event that brings its importance to the forefront again.

The Magna Carta was put into effect in 1212 by a very reluctant King John (the bad guy of Robin Hood fame). It limited the power of king and offered rights to citizens, including the famous "no taxation without representation" law that was so important in our own revolution.

Fast forward 550 years.

Our founding fathers borrowed the ideas of the Magna Carta while drafting the Constitution and, especially, the Bill of Rights.

Pop quiz time.

Q: What rights are granted by the First Amendment?
A: Freedom of religion, speech and the press.

An e-acquaintance shared a struggle with me this week that hit on all three of these rights. She's marketing a book on homeschooling by offering a free seminar at her county library.

"FOUL!" cried the mayor of her town. "You can't host a homeschooling event at a public library because homeschooling takes monies from the public school system."

He cancelled the event.

A city mayor cancelled a homeschool event at a county library, reportedly because it stepped on the government's toes.

The event has since been "uncancelled" and the mayor has backed down from his alleged strong wording, but it gives me pause.

Freedom of speech, religion, and the press are messy things. But they were worth fighting for in 1212, in 1776, and they're still worth fighting for in 2007.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Reformed Dirt Eater

Something I've noticed about my new floor is that is doesn't eat dirt very well. In fact, I find myself sweeping twice a day and mopping almost every day, trying to keep the new looking new and fresh and clean.

I've heard it called the halo effect, that urge to paint the next wall, to polish the next floor in order to keep the old from looking shabby next to the new.
Isn't there a halo effect in life, too? When you're made new, dirt shows up more starkly against the pure background of forgiveness. What used to blend in is now revealed as ugly and stained.
I love it that my life can be swept clean every morning, that God's mercies never end.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

dirt eater

This photo does does show the full character of our old kitchen floor - brown and orange linoleum in all its 1978 glory.

The one redeeming quality of this floor, which I didn't realize until too late, is that it ate dirt. I don't know if the dirt disappeared into cracks into the linoleum or was absorbed into the pits of its texture, but I rarely swept the floor when it was brown and I almost never mopped it.

Dirt disguises dirt. Deep down ground-in sin makes surface sin seem okay.

But redemption changes everything...