Monday, August 30, 2010

Quest for the Green Papaya

Sounds like a great adventure, right?

I was more like a comedy of errors. I wanted to make a green papaya salad for a luncheon, but didn't want to make a trip to the next town to the Asian supermarket I knew would carry it.

So... I looked up a local Asian market online and promptly decided (for no reason that makes any sense to me right now) that it would be easier to go on a random papaya hunt than to go to the market that might actually carry such a thing.

3 hours and dozens of red papayas later, I was no closer to finding the object of my quest than when I had first begun.

So... I went home and called the Asian market that I should have called in the first place.

Yes, of course they had green papaya. Hmmm.

And it made a lovely salad for a lovely luncheon.

Lesson of the week: Don't make things more complicated than they actually are.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've settled on a theme for my website and have been writing over there for the past week. I've still got some glitches (like making the RSS feed function and some of the other inner workings), but it's off to a good enough start that I'd like to invite y'all to stop by.

The address is The topic is P.S. God's Continuing Story: everyday reminders of the creator at work.

Mostly I'll be telling stories--true stories about people I've met, fictional stories about people who learn the lessons we need to learn, lessons from my own experience and the experience of my friends, stories of faith and hope and inspiration.

Come on by and stay a while. Meanwhile, back to my regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Worst Fiction

Every year, the Bulwer-Lytton contest dredges up the worst (and some of the funniest) opening lines for fiction. Have a good laugh at some of this year's winners, then give it a whirl yourself.

Winner: Adventure

The blazing equatorial sun beat down on Simon’s head and shoulders as he dug feverishly in the hot sand with the ivory shoe-horn his mother had given him before the homecoming game with Taft, when the field was so wet that he’d lost his low-tops seven times in the cold sucking mud.

Adam McDonough
Reedsburgh, Wi

Winner: Children’s Literature

“Please Mr. Fox, don’t take your magic back to the forest, it is needed here in Twigsville!” pleaded little Isabel, but Mr. Fox was unconcerned as he smugly loped back into the woods without answering a word knowing well that his magic was only going to be used to make sure his forest would be annexed into the neighboring community of Leaftown where the property values were much higher.

Pete Watkins
Broken Arrow, OK

Winner: Purple Prose

The dark, drafty old house was lopsided and decrepit, leaning in on itself, the way an aging possum carrying a very heavy, overcooked drumstick in his mouth might list to one side if he were also favoring a torn Achilles tendon, assuming possums have them.

Scott Davis Jones
Valley Village, CA

Winner: Vile Puns

It was a risky production unlike any mounted prior on the Met stage, the orchestra first imitating the perpetually beating heart of a man walled-in while in pursuit of wine , and then a soprano singing the plaintive aria of a barely alive woman stuffed up a chimney as her ancestral home was destroyed; however, it certainly was Opera Poe.

Amy Torchinsky
Greensboro NC

Winner: Western

He walked into the bar and bristled when all eyes fell upon him -- perhaps because his build was so short and so wide, or maybe it was the odor that lingered about him from so many days and nights spent in the wilds, but it may just have been because no one had ever seen a porcupine in a bar before.

Linda Boatright
Omaha, NE

Now it's your turn. See what kind of wretched prose you can write. One sentence only, but please make it as long and awkward as possible.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rescue is a Long Time Coming

I've missed a lot of news lately, but a couple of stories crept through the airwaves to remind me of what's going on in the world.

Kyron Horman, the 7-year old boy that went missing from Skyline Elementary School in Portland is still missing. It's been 12 weeks. My heart still breaks for the little guy when I remember. But time is going by and the memories fade. Newer, more immediate events push out the older ones. But Kyron, wherever he is, and his family have not forgotten.

800,000 people in Pakistan are still stranded by the floods. 800,000! If we had that many people affected by a disaster in the States, we'd form a human chain to get help to them. Let's lift up a chain of prayer for those people and ask God to open supply lines to them to get them fresh food and safe water.

And then there are the miners in Chile. 33 people are trapped deep beneath the earth's surface ... and will likely be there until Christmas. 33 people in a chamber the size of a living room. All their food and water must be sent to them through a hole 6" in diameter. It takes 4 hours to get the supplies from the surface to where the miners are trapped. So many things could go wrong for them - malnutrition, disease, despair - but they are not forgotten. The best resources in the world are working to speed their rescue.

Aren't you glad God doesn't forget about us? Suffering and hopelessness seem to stretch on and on, but we are not forgotten. The rescue may seem to take a long time, but his hand is there, waiting for us to grab on and be pulled to safety.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Culture Mindset

Beloit College puts out a mindset list every year that gives a snapshot of what this year's incoming freshman class had experienced. You can view the complete list or just enjoy the sampling I've selected.

This one's for Marion and all her classmates.

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992.

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

4. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.

5. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

6. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

7. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

8. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

9. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

10. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drumroll, Please ...

The winner of the random prize in the "help me with my website" contest is ...


Brenda B!

See me Sunday to claim your prize!

Sorry, Johno. You're not getting your basket back. :-)

Thanks for all the help. I'll be working on the new format over the next several days, but first I have to push through the last 2 chapters to finish the rough draft of my WIP (work in progress). Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Last Chance

I've seen a couple of ideas for my new website, but I'm looking for more. You have all day today to give ideas (see 2 posts ago for what I'm looking for) if you want to be entered in a drawing.

I'll draw from all entries I received by midnight tonight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Horse Power

The youngun' has been busy all afternoon creating what started out as a carriage for a princess and ended up as a carriage for the horse.

The invention of the car really did make life easier for our equine friends.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I need some help... prize offered!

I recently launched my website ( because that's what writers do. I imbedded a blog in it so I would have a place to write.

Problem is, what do I write on the blog? This (scribblings) is my blog for family and friends, my place to rattle on about whatever tickles my fancy. My website blog needs to be focused, though. It needs to have a purpose, a theme, a ...

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm already bored and it's MY website.

I'd love your help kicking around some ideas. What should be the central theme of my website's blog?

Here are a couple of things that have crossed my mind, but I'm open to (almost) all suggestions.

1. Write about writing (or editing)... honestly, this has been done. I don't think I can really add much to the discussion. I want to break out of the "writers write about writing" rut and do something different, something I can sink my heart into.

2. Find the central theme of all my books and write about that. (Problem is this: I have a book on a voodoo priestess, one on hoarding, one on a woman feeding the homeless, and a mystery story for young girls. I'm having trouble identifying a central theme.)

3. Finding beauty in the mundane-- stories or snippets about seeing God's hand at work in every day events

4. ???

5. Blogging my way through the Bible (or Oswald Chambers or...)

6. P.S. - God's Continuing Story, inspirational stories of God at work around the world (I love this idea, but I don't know where I'd come up with enough stories to tell)

7. Post chapters of one of my manuscripts as sample reading... not sure which one (or possibly podcasting one of my manuscripts)

8. Something about homeschool, though this has been done a lot too and doesn't have anything to do with what I write.

9. Life lessons (there's already one by that name, but I could come up with a different name, maybe make it a little humorous, a little serious a la Everything I Needed to Know...)

10. Your choice. You know me (maybe). What do you think I'd be good at sharing on an ongoing basis?

I'll randomly choose a winner (of unspecified prize) from among all those who leave a comment either here or on Facebook. Deadline is a week from today, Wednesday, August 18.

Farewell to a Statesman

Senator Ted Stevens, 86, of Alaska, was killed in a plane crash in southwestern Alaska last night.

In a way, I'm speechless. He was the type of man I expected to live forever. He served in the US Senate from 1968 until 2008 when a very public fraud trial forced his loss in the senate election. He was convicted, but the conviction was later vacated because of prosecutorial misconduct, whatever that means.

Senator Stevens was in a plane crash before, in 1978. His first wife Ann died in that crash. Even before that, he expressed the belief that he would some day die in a plane crash.

For those who grew up being represented by this Senator, it is no surprise that he cheated a slow, pedestrian death. He lived his life in big Alaskan fashion, and he died that way, too.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Fruit Cocktail

2 of us picked 24 pounds of peaches in 5 minutes yesterday.

5 of us picked 10 pounds of blueberries in an hour today.

None of us picked green beans this weekend, even though we should have.

Guess which produce people are gobbling up like candy?

Friday, August 06, 2010

It was good... really good

Once in a while I have an experience that's hard to put into words. Even though it was a life-changing time, when a friend asks, "How was your week?" I answer vaguely, "It was good...really good."

I had one of those weeks out at the Oregon Christian Writers' Summer Coaching Conference.

I got to meet with some agents and editors and their advice was good...really good.

I attended some workshops and the teaching was good...really good.

I sat in a good class taught by James Scott Bell on how to better shape my fiction. I listened and participated in worship with talented leaders like Julie Hoy. I served on the committee that worked really hard to make the conference a success. It was our last year at Canby Grove (next year at Aldersgate) and our last year under the direction of Pat Rushford (next year, Lindy Jacobs will lead the team).

And I listened in wonder and thanksgiving as keynoters Bill Myers and Jeff Gerke shared the hard lessons they've learned and are learning in their faith walks--powerful reminders that our dark times are not designed to destroy us, but to make us more fit for what God plans for us. Incredible teaching.

So, while I might say the conference was "good," what I mean is that it was one of those small moments that changed me ever so slightly in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Guilt Trip

I recycle. Honest. But this stresses me out.

Obviously the battery can't go directly in the trash (though it's smaller in real life than it appears in this photo). It's hard to believe such a small item could bring about our planet's demise.

Here's my problem: To recycle the corroded battery, I have to place it in a plastic bag... which will also lead to global warming and the death of hundreds of sea turtles. Or is is penguins?

What is more likely to happen is that I will set this battery on top of the dog's kennel where it will sit for a year or more while I debate which is worse--battery acid in the soil or plastic bag in the ocean.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Village at Work

Mom and Dad provided the RV, the transportation, and the flowers.

The hubby gave the go ahead and signed up to help at VBS.

The kids are old enough to make their own lunches.

The OCW team got everything done on time.

If you're looking for me this week, I'm schmoozing with my writerly friends at the Oregon Christian Writers' Summer Coaching Conference. I've already had a lively insider conversation with two best-selling authors, an agent, a publisher, and a magazine editor. I'm looking forward to a week of encouragement, direction, worship, and renewal.

I love it when a plan comes together.