Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't You Wish!

I was informed this week by a very Christmas savvy little girl that you only have to good from the beginning of December until Christmas for Santa to deliver the goods.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I couldn't sleep last night. All my ideas and projects and things to do drove me from my bed. After working on a couple of things, I curled up with a blanket in the recliner and tried to rest.



The living room clock and the dining room clock played ping pong with each other. Back and forth. Back and forth.

I don't hear these sounds very often. The quiet click is drowned out by the noise of life - kids, TV, music, talk. Yet underneath the clatter, the clocks mark time, steadily and silently doing their job whether I take any notice or not.

In the craziness of December, I want to remember the clocks. Not for their sake, but as a reminder that God is constant. He doesn't scream for attention, but speaks in a still small voice.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Deadly Sins

As I drag myself out of bed at 8:45 this morning, I wonder...

Is sloth a deadly sin if it only lasts for a day or two?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Price of Parenthood

You makes your choices, you pays your prices.

And one of the prices of having children, even homeschooled children, is attending their recitals, open houses, and various other performances.

It can be painful. Not to watch your own children, of course, who are the most talented, the most brilliant, the most beautiful and amazing kids on the planet (after mine). But you know your child's performance will take 17.3 seconds of the evening. And then there are the other 14 hours.

So, last night we went to a showcase of what the kids have done in our homeschool co-op for the past semester. And you know, it wasn't bad.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Strike Out!

You've probably heard by now. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska has conceded the race. With the highest seniority among Republican senators, Stevens was and is a mainstay in Alaskan politics. Honestly, I can't imagine him not being in Washington D.C.

I predicted he'd be acquitted of fraud charges.

He was convicted.

I thought he'd step down from running for reelection.

He ran.

I said he'd be reelected.

He wasn't.

A swing and a miss. A prophet I am not.

Just as well. The senate was set to kick him out if he was reelected. Rough week for him. Happy birthday, anyway, Senator Stevens.

Face Lift

Some people like change, and some people don't.

I think I'm one who likes change, for the most part. I like to see things get a fresh new look, especially a less cluttered look.

That's what I was going to for when I went with a friend to get my eyebrows waxed. My husband doesn't like it much. He says it looks like something's missing.

That's what I was going for when I redesigned the church bulletin. Mostly people like it, but not everyone.

That's what I'm going for today as I tear apart our home office and try to make it appear more spacious and less cluttered. (Wish me luck!)

And that's what I'm considering for my blog. Do you think it's time for a face lift?


We've still got a ways to go to get that counter to 20,000. But I'm eager!

So... whoever bumps it up there and is the 20,000th visitor will get a prize. Maybe it will happen before Christmas!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Regret

Two of the hardest words to hear are "We regret..."

The first thing that comes to mind, and by far the most serious, is the military or police chaplain that shows up at the door of a spouse.

"We regret to inform you..."

But there are other kinds of messages that say "we regret." Apparently, it can substitute for "I'm sorry," when you don't want to apologize. Consider how this statement about Fannie Mae mucky-mucks spending $6000 on a golf trip this month.

"We do regret that the activities surrounding the customer meetings in Dallas may be perceived as excessive," company spokesman Brian Faith said in an e-mail message.

"We regret" are dreaded words for us aspiring writers.

I got a "we regret" letter this week on a piece I had high hopes for. Shortly afterwards, I got news that a friend of mine was chosen as a semi-finalist in the same competition.

I'm happy for her. I really am. And for the three others I know who have signed their first book contracts this month.

At the same time, it makes me wonder if all the hard work and sacrifice is worth the constant rejection.

What if I pour years and years into becoming a better writer and no one ever reads my books? What if I've wasted all this time and money on what might just be a lonely and expensive hobby? What if I pour myself into something I will never succeed at?

Questions born out of insecurity. They don't mean a thing because, whether I ever "succeed" or not, I have to write. I have to tell stories.

I have to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Around the World In 80 Days

Every four years a grand event takes place that sends my family to the computer several times a day for updates. It's not the Olympics and it's not the election, though those also got some coverage.

It's the Vendée Globe. I'm sure you're following it, too. (Click the little British flag in the upper right for an English version.)

The Vendée Globe is a solo sailing race around the world. The 30 skippers in this year's race left the coast of France on Sunday and already three are out of the race. Names like Moitessier and Gautier will pepper our conversations for weeks and we'll pull out Moitessier's memoir, La Longue Route, for story time.

This year, the kids are racing their own boats in a virtual version of the game. Don't imagine a Wii or X-box. This is a real-time game with little blips on the screen that will take 80-100 days to make it around the world. Maybe longer, depending on the winds. Even the six-year old has a boat and has rounded the northern tip of Spain.

Can you imagine actually doing this race? All the way around the world without touching land and without any face to face conversation? If you want a picture of how harsh it can be, I suggest The Godforsaken Sea.

We might be the only ones on our block checking Vendée Globe stats instead of football scores, but I think it's part of what makes us unique.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Water's Edge

Did you miss me? I was only gone two days, but thanks to a very generous invite by a friend to hang out with her at the coast, I come back refreshed.

From our room, you couldn't even see the ground. The mighty waves crashed up against rocks below. The sky shifted constantly from blue to gray to white and back to blue.

A verse kept running through my head during the two days and this morning I looked it up.

"Who shut the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waters halt'?"

If not for those invisible limits, the condo on the rock would be swept away. But the creator holds back the seas with his invisible breath.

What beauty. What majesty. What a treat.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Leaf Dump

One of the most frustrating aspects of having neighbors is living with their choice of trees. The cottonwoods just over our back fence constantly drop either cotton or leaves into our yard to be cleaned up. I suspect the neighbor trained them to do that so they wouldn't make a mess in his own yard. On the few weeks a year when they're not dropping junk, they're busy sending up little shoots, recognizance spies who plan to infiltrate our grass.

In front is the brilliant yellow maple tree whose personal mission is to lay an even layer of leaves on the street and mask any hint of asphalt. Nice special effect until it rains. Then it turns to an even layer of brown sludge.

This tree law goes both ways. When some neighbors moved in behind us, they thought we were throwing grapes at their dogs. No, it was our cherry tree throwing cherries at them.

Sorry 'bout that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What are You Doing Tonight?

*artwork by B and J

Teachable Moments in Civics 101

Togo wasn't officially a dictatorship when we lived there, but any country that has had the same president for more than 30 years might have a dictator.

Elections there were always hairy - hairy enough that UN task force sent in to monitor would throw up their hands in defeat and leave the country before election day saying, "Whatever happens, it's not our fault!"

We were often advised not to travel during elections in case of riots. And on the last occasion, our teammates were evacuated from the country for their own safety.

Any country that requires its citizens to vote and threatens them if they don't vote the right way has lost the meaning of democracy, or was never striving for it in the first place.

So, treasure your right to vote today. But also treasure your right to not vote. It's a sign of true freedom.

Happy Election Day!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

An Opinion

I've been told this week that I don't have enough opinions.

Not so, I say. I have plenty. I just like to chest my cards.

Here's an opinion:

I think we should do away with Standard Time. I don't need light in the morning. I need it in the afternoon when the light fades away to darkness and rain and I have to do all my errands in the dark.

So there.