Monday, July 27, 2009

Velvet Hammered!

Just one little velvet hammer milkshake from Coffee People at 9 o'clock at night. It tasted so sweet, so cool going down after a long, hot day. I chewed on the little black specks and hoped they didn't get stuck in my teeth. Got home at midnight and crashed.

For an hour.

Then I was wide awake. Wide, wide awake. I read 200 pages. I stared at the ceiling. Until 5 a.m. and even then, I slept fitfully.

I woke up feeling like I'd been clonked by that velvet hammer, only someone forgot the velvet part.

For all you coffee addicts out there, I can see why you feel like you need to cure your coffee hangover with more coffee. I can't imagine feeling this way every morning. No thanks. A caffeine addict, I am not.

Unless it comes in the form of chocolate.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Third Place Hang-outs

I told you I lost my third place hang-out, my morning version of Cheers, where I could go for a good cup of tea with a friend and where I was bound to run into someone I knew. Cafe Divine closed down months ago and has recently been converted to a church meeting place with a really good espresso bar. I finally realized that it won't be open as a coffee shop business again. It's time to find a new place to meet.

I put the word out on my home school community chat loop that I'm looking for a third place. Here are my requirements:

1. It must serve coffee AND tea, several varieties of each to satisfy a range of tastes.

2. It must have comfortable seating that invites you to stay a while.

3. It must have a peaceful atmosphere so we can carry on a conversation without having to shout above the music or the people next to us.

4. It shouldn't cost as much to have a drink as to eat a meal. Price points matter.

I got back about a dozen responses, but for my first sortie I chose a place on my own. Excellent, inexpensive coffee (with a 25-cent discount if you use your own cup), comfortable couches, a knowledgeable barista, and no music being piped in. And a book exchange shelf. Who wants to go?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tunics and Togas and Peplos, Oh My!

It's that time of year again, when the straight rows of chairs in the sanctuary are stacked and stored to make room for an ancient marketplace, this year in Rome. With five of us to costume in ancient Roman dress, the living room is draped in toga fabric (aka old sheets bought for a song from the Goodwill Outlet store).

I am the local scribe, a task I found myself drawn to, the write job for me. (buh-dum-ching!) Bamboo styluses (or is that styli?), parchment, and sealing wax are the tools of my trade. There's been word around town about a prisoner, Paul, who can't shut up about some Jewish rebel named Jesus. Have you heard of him?

If you happen to be in the Roman marketplace next week, Tuesday-Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m., drop by my booth and I'll help you write a letter to a loved one or transcribe a poem for you. And maybe we can both learn a little about this rumor going around.

See you there?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Prayer and Praise

2 big events today.

1. My mom, who broke her back in a fall a couple of months ago, is having surgery to glue her back together this morning. I'm heading over to the hosptial soon to check on her. Pray for her?

2. My nephew, quite possibly one of the cutest boys on the planet, is turning 1 today. Happy Birthday Elijah Hugh!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oregon Christian Writers

I'd like to interrupt this blog for a brief commercial. In two weeks, Oregon Christian Writers will host its summer coaching conference. Can I just say, if you're a writer (or hope to be one some day), this is a great conference for beginnings and professionals alike.

I'm polishing up the first 10 pages of my novel to send in for review by agents and editors. At the conference, I'll be able to take classes from Lisa Samson, one of my favorite authors in the Christian book marketplace. I'll meet up with old friends, make new ones, learn some new skills and polish old ones.

It's going to be a lot of fun! Why don't you join me?

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Power of Story

I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns last night and was amazed at how Khaled Hosseini was able to do what 8 years of TV news coverage on the war in Afghanistan has failed to do--make me see the people of that country as real people. I find it ironic that a cast of fictional characters lends more humanity to the place than the faces of real people, but I suppose that's the power of story.

To find love and acceptance, to provide for their children, to survive whatever hardships come along... these are the needs of women around the world. I've been working on my own story about a woman in Africa who faces different struggles, but they are really the same. When I finished reading this book, I felt like pressing the delete button on my own story. I want to tell an important story in a way that begs to be read, to expose glimpses of hope that survive the worst persecutions. Some day, perhaps I can capture the human condition as beautifully as Hosseini does, but I doubt it. All I can do is tell the story I have in the best way I can. I don't know if it will move anyone to tears, but I pray it will put a face on the people of West Africa, people who are real to me but are just video clips on the news to so many others.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Hallmark Religion

We have a birthday celebration this weekend for 5 people who camp with us over 4th of July weekend each year (including 2 of my kids!), so I had to stock up on birthday cards. I got the card for the sweet sixteen and for the toddler boy, but needed one for the grown up lady. My eyes roamed to the "religious birthday" section and I picked up a sweet looking card to read it.

Front: On your birthday, may God bless you with the greatest blessing of all.

Inside: Birthday cake.

Really? It's probably supposed to be a joke that got mis-filed under religion, but in a way, that's kind of how people seem to treat their faith. It's fluffy and fun and all about instant gratification with no thought to consequences.

Oh, Hallmark, God has so much more to offer than birthday cake.