Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.

Props to anyone who gets the Elf reference in the title!
Okay, if I had to pick one adjective to describe my grandma, it would have to be sweet. Don't get me wrong, I credit her for the salty sense of humor I inherited, so though she is dear and loving, it has more to do with the fact that one can not turn around in her house without bumping into something that would make a diabetic break out in hives.
I have eaten more slices of pie this week than the rest of the year combined. Even her dogs are called Candy and Sugar. They're always running in circles thinking someone is calling their name when really we're just talking about what to eat next.
She is a grand woman and we have a lot of fun watching movies, laughing over coffee in the morning and telling stories.
Every time our family gathers at her house I leave a Which is why I am glad that a pie has a finite number of pieces.
My goal for the next few days is to savor only the sweetness of my grandma herself and restrain myself from the goodies she provides.
Starting tomorrow.
Or the next day, maybe.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hi ho, Hi ho

Yesterday I wrote about timing, which I think made God raise one eyebrow. I mentioned that we get paid by time, which for salaried folks is only somewhat accurate. But, since I work from home, I'm accountable for a set amount of account-hours per year so they can be sure I'm not watching As The Days Of our General Lives Turn and eating Dilly bars.
Due to a number of factors, including a life-changing trip to Cambodia, a relocation to the great state of Arkansas, and a few writing related ventures, as well as two weeks becoming a person-of-greater-value to my get the idea.
Even though I spent the rest of the year working like a fairytale dwarf, I was looking at a solid week of work including a half-hearted attempt on Christmas Eve, and then a semi-solid next week. Which was kind of the pits since I like to take some recoup time at the end of the year and focus for a few days on celebrating the birth of our Lord.
Then today, the magic of system bugs, my time had been reporting short. About a week short. Which means, (insert drumroll) as soon as I get my current projects wrapped up I'm free as a (what else is free at Christmas? Cheer?)
So, hats off to the Big Guy, who proved the point that He alone is master of time and that He is most generous with it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Three...Two...One...Happy New-Comet!

So, I was reading the Christmas story in Matthew. It's kinda sad to me that it's only two chapters in that book, but, it was a good two chapters once I got past the genealogies. I especially was thrilled by the part about the star and the wise men. I am not an expert at space and it's moving parts, but I've heard smarter people speculate that it was a comet. It could also be a supernova, or a special star built just for Jesus's birth. I mean, some people name stars for loved ones, why couldn't God build one? All the same, my money's on a comet. If I get to Heaven and learn I'm wrong, I'll be okay with that.

So, I got to thinking, when did God make that comet and nudge it into it's path? Ten years early? A hundred? A thousand? Was there a launch party? Did the angels count down like New Year's? I bet they did.

And then....time....passed....and passed...and passed some more.
Until finally the day arrived, Mary had her first angst-ridden contraction, and hours later baby Jesus took his inaugural breath of the air he made.

And the star shone.

They say timing is everything. And in a lot of ways that even they don't understand, I think it's true.
There's a very good chance I'm projecting my own short and long term concern on the Christmas story, I'm just surprised I didn't do this earlier. (It wasn't time I guess. Okay, that was lame...) Our world, particularly the Western bits, are driven by this intangible, uncontrollable force. We get paid based on time, we eat when it's time, we get jobs because it's time, and some of us get married or have babies because its time.

It makes sense. We only get a certain amount to do our living in.

The frustrating part is when things don't happen when we want them to.

Boy, in times like this...I mean, times like that, I'm glad that God knows the exact moment to set the comet hurling through space. Or send me here or there, or even call me home. Being unbound by it gives him the only really good perspective on this thing we call time. So, I don't have to stress about it, not that it helps much anyway. God has got it.

Thanks, God, for Jesus, for the star, or comet, or supernova, or whatever. For the way everything came together perfectly the night Christ was born, a tiny baby already worthy of worship and gifts and devotion. Thank you that through his whole life and mine, you worked all things for the good of those who love you, even the ugly parts.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Do you ever get ambushed by alertness right when you don't need it? Like at 2:46 am?

Clearly, I do. Okay, it was not a total ambush, I did have that Diet DP at 6 when I knew I shouldn't indulge in caffeine. This is a lesson I relearn a few times a year.

But, as I lay in the dark and try to resist starting another novel, my mind wanders. And, oddly it enough, it flutters to rest on Mario, an 80-something year-old vineyard keeper in Tuscany. He wears a wide, crooked grin and a neat Robin Hoodesque outfit, complete with cap.
Every. Day. Except, once a year, he changes the feather in his hat.

When my friend Autumn and I visited Italy a few years back, we had to do a Tuscan wine tour, and the whole thing was grand. The hills undulated beneath the lacy green of grape leaves. Clouds frolicked in an azure sky and the sun was two degrees brighter. The vineyard itself was the ancient castle-home of a seriously bad pre-Napoleon family, and the wine...oh, the wine.

But among the rich, timelessness of that experience, Mario hovers as the star on top of the tree, to use a seasonal metaphor. He lived his whole working life on that land. Loved it, embraced it, was a part of it. He embodied Tuscany. He beckoned strangers into the cellar, brought around seconds of fresh bread to dip in the vineyard's olive oil, and kissed an American tourist full on the mouth.

If I hadn't met him, the day would still shine among memories. But it is the Marios in life that lift experience beyond two dimensions.

So, thank you, Jesus, for Italy. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship. And thank you for the Italian culture, one of joy and passion and legacy. And thank you that I got to sample that, if only for a few far. Thank you, too, for Mario and all the other people my life brushes against, who make this path so deep and verdant. Please bless him today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's a wrap.

I have done about half my Christmas shopping. I love Christmas shopping. It's so much fun to find something that you know somebody dear to you will enjoy. Especially if they aren't standing next to you pointing at it. But one thing makes giving, and to be honest getting, gifts more fun.
Wrapping paper!
I have purchased two rolls of paper and have three gifts waiting under my tree. They look so much prettier than they would as just a ------, -------, and ------- heaped in a pile. Wikipedia has very little to say on the subject of gift wrap, so to whoever is responsible for this fun tradition that preserves an element of mystery and makes a gift giving an event, thank you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

cookie time!

I'm grateful for kitchenaid mixers! It cuts in half the time to make five batches of sugar cookie dough and three batches of icing.

Thank you, God, for Kitchenaid.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I just closed my blinds because it's night and I live on the first floor. And I thought, "Gee, I'm so glad someone invented blinds. That way I can enjoy the view out my window by day and then have privacy by night."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

100 uses for a...

I love it how everything has a purpose. Like even play-dough. It makes kids have fun and keeps them occupied so they won't chase the cat.

What I also love is how things are useful beyond that intended purpose. Like play-dough makes a salty snack when there are no Goldfish under the couch cushion.

And like the book that is not only a fabulous world waiting to be unlocked, but is also currently a little mini-table upon which my chai tea sits. I don't have to worry that the carpet fibers underneath will sit funny and make it spill, and I can't tell you how distracting that can be when one is trying to write.

One might, if one wished to make this a multi-purposed address (!) note the parallel with people. I want God's will in my life. I want to matter. To discover what my purpose is. For ages I lived with frenetic worry that'd I'd veered off the skinny black line denoting my destiny. What if I was supposed to go to UW instead of GT (go Jackets!). What if I was supposed to go to Starbucks instead of Caribou this morning? I would be hopelessly lost in a dark sea of pointless existence (melodrama intended.)

I don't remember when...I think it was more of a dawning than a bolt, but I came to understand that there is not one skinny road I'm meant to wend my way upon. I don't have one singular, isolated purpose. I'm made to glorify my God, to know him, but that is not a one-shot deal.

I bet Moses did a lot more in his time on earth than lead Israel from Egypt. That alone would be a killer destiny, but for forty years, he lived in the desert. Lived. Not just existed. And after Joseph saved his family from starvation and hooked them up with a sweet property in Goshen, he lived. Lived. Raised kids, sheep, and other stuff.

And I? I'm made to go to Cambodia, have coffee with friends, fall asleep on the couch, shamelessly justify naps as the will of God, write, laugh, travel this beautiful world, read the brilliant stories of others (here's looking at you, Tim Downs. Bugman is heelarious!), make cookies, enjoy cookies, relate to friends, play with my niece, etc. Maybe some day I'll get to lead a people group to a promised land...but I'm not holding my breath. I imagine my life's designed purpose won't clarify this side of the grave, but in between now and then, I'm grateful for the little things that put meaning in life and make a tiny, pale pink mark on the world.

Monday, December 6, 2010

do ra me

I am watching Sing Off, an a capella competition on NBC, while I wait for Castle to get far enough along that I can fast forward through the commercials.

While they're all very good, today I'm grateful for instruments.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is officially the Christmas season! I'm grateful for this special time. For Christmas trees, and in particular the Fraser Fir now adorned with white lights and shiny Christmas balls that is keeping me company tonight.
And for Christmas Carols, that make any day brighter and warmer.
But mostly, for Jesus and for his precious life. And for the way this whole season carries residual magic from when God was born on earth. It's not a Hallmark thing, or even a media thing. Christmas has always been special, since before TV sing-a-longs and Rockefeller Center. Even since before Mariah Carey's seasonal album.
I think there is something precious and pure about the Advent that nature itself celebrates. Air molecules, mountain peaks, the deer that survive hunting season all sense the profundity of this time. That angels perhaps sing another rendition of the song that terrified the shepherds. The seen and unseen worlds connect in a way closer than normal, in memory of that day, two-thousand-and-some years ago, when Jesus put one foot in each.
The first Christmas was a celebration complete with choir harmonies, lavish gifts, and brilliant stars. A moment in time when all was as it should be. Not easy, and not an escape from reality. But rather a taste of what life is meant to be. The way things really are, or at least the way they will be when the darkness is over. There was not sadness on that night. It was a tiny sliver of Heaven on Earth and that is what calls to the well of my soul.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And, skip.

'Tis the season for those cheesy jewelry commercials featuring a guy of variable age who buys a diamond set in yellow gold and a woman who just about wets herself when she sees the box. If the most exciting part of a new piece of jewelry is the box, something is wrong. If every kiss you ever have truly begins with a jeweler, mall or otherwise, something is wrong.

All this makes me grateful, once again, for DVRs. You can fast forward through all commercials. Especially those designed to replicate what men who don't know what to buy think women fantasize about.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The extra

Can you imagine starting Black Friday without leftover dressing and green bean casserole?
This girl can't. Some things get better with age. I submit that Thanksgiving dressing is one of them. I'm not sure if the actual taste improves, or if it's the knowledge that 363 days stand between me and another serving, but let me tell you, I licked my fork clean.

I'm so glad that on Thanksgiving, we have more than enough. I suppose I'm grateful for that on every day, but I'm particularly aware of it now, sated as I am with leftovers.

And, on a somewhat parallel note, I am so glad God is bigger than what I need. WAAAY bigger. I can't conceive of what He has in store, can't need more than He can provide, can't even wrap my head around the bounty of who God is. As much of Him as I gobble up, there will always be more and new for tomorrow. It's like that verse in (wait for it...getting on biblegateway...) and I think Paul says it perfectly, so I"ll pass the pen to him.

Ephesians 3:19-21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

40,000 down, 10,000 to go!

I write today from the cozy and familiar cafe table of Borders. It's not my Borders, but it's been so long since I got to enjoy their trademark ambiance that I'm soaking it up. I can see, just beyond the magazine racks, countless volumes waiting to be read.
It is grand. And inspiring. And as I continue to scrape my way towards fifty thousand words this month, I need all the inspiration I can get.
So, thank you, Jesus, that you are everywhere and for the creative ideas you foster and for Borders. And for the unique and unbeatable combination of coffee and milk. And for laptops.
All my love.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I am working my way westward to Oklahoma City today to see the family for Thanksgiving. This means Dirk the Blue Impala and I get seven hours of quality time today. Dirk is already loaded up and riding a little bit lower than normal. He's got my red suitcase that could easily hold a small country in the trunk, two computers, and enough Monsters to wake Lazarus. Again.

One of the reasons I like road trips is the ability to bring way more clothing than even the highest maintenance diva would use on a tour around the world.
And the aforementioned supply of Monster. Were I flying, I would have had to consider each article, choose separates that could be combined into multiple outfits, and squirted all my liquids into 3 oz. containers. But with Dirk, I just turned on a Christmas movie and tossed stuff at my suitcase until it was full.

I am rather hard pressed to think of a deeper spiritual justification for cramming the Impala with quantities of stuff that will probably come back unused. But here goes: God is big enough for all our baggage! And then some! And then some more!

While Dirk has a massive trunk, even he reaches capacity at some point. I haven't found that point yet, but as he's bound by the laws of physics, I know it's out there. But God invented physics, and He's bigger than a trunk. And not only does He want me to cart my luggage to him, but he'll carry it for me.

Dearest Lord, thank you that I am never too nuts for you. That my baggage, both real and imagined, is safe within your hands. That you are ripped and so my stuff is never too heavy for your broad shoulders. All my love!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nearly dead

It has been a grueling week in my corner of the world. God has been good and hidden little raisins of delight amidst the gruel, primarily in the form of people who are too funny to adequately describe. All the same, I'm so glad it's Friday and so grateful to be living in a society where weekends are free days. And, I thank God on High that Blackberry batteries die if you choose not to plug them in on a Friday morning...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


In church on Sunday the pastor was talking about Nehemiah 9. (Quality book of the Bible that I think is underplayed.) To end the service we had a time of confession...silent, thank heavens, but still, we all sat there for while with the singular intent of purging our souls.


Confession is so underrated. It is one of the most freeing things we can do. Yet it gets ignored because, a) it's a little uncomfortable. I don't like looking at the ugly side of me. And because b) we forget how powerful the Holy Spirit is. Or at least I do.

I tend ask forgiveness and focus on the fact that God, in his grace, delivers me from the death my wrongness deserves, as in, I get to go to Heaven instead of Hell. But an equally, if not more, beautiful deliverance is that from the sin itself. I no longer have to walk in that way. Even thoughts, slippery fish that they are, can be contained and directed by the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps this is a duh for most people, but I was just struck with amazement that God will forgive me three and a half million more times for doing the same dumb thing. BUT that He doesn't have to, if I truly release myself to the Holy Spirit.

It's not an "Okay, Kimberly, get up and try again." It's more like, "You know what? You lay there and rest in my shadow, kiddo, and I'll deal with this issue." That's not to say that resting in God's shadow is an easy thing. I can't hardly keep my mitts to myself. But, it is a stunning promise to know that when I fail to manage my own life according to God's standards, I'm only doing what he expects. And from that place in the dust where I land after my best efforts, He can use me and work in me and pour love over me more effectively than when I strive in my own power.

Thank you, Lord, not just for sparing me the consequences of sin, but for sparing me from the control of sin. Thank you for your might and for the moments when I actually see you at work in me. You are most beautiful. All my love!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Going, Going.....stil Going

Nanowrimo is officially halfway through and I've stayed on track. So I'm grate for stamina.

And, I'm grateful for the bottom of the sorbet pint. Because otherwise I'd never stop.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

abbreviated funness

Nano week 2:

I'm grateful for hot cocoa. Yum. And new Christmas CDs. Yum. And word count. Yum.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The extra chunks

Okay, I've been thinking about this one Bible story for a while.
It's a pretty common one about Jesus found in Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus feeds five thousand people with two fishes and five loaves of bread that a conscientious mother packed for her son before sending him out to listen to the rabbi.

I've been a Christian for 24 years now, raised in Sunday School and Children's church. I saw a flannelgraph of this story back when they used those. Every time I read it, I think, "Wow, Jesus is so cool. He can create. Really. Still." And then I thank him and pray for mustard-seed faith.
But this time, for the first time ever, my whole mind hitched on a new element, found in verse 20. And I quote, "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over."

Twelve baskets of broken pieces that were picked up. I don't think they tidied up to guard against littering fines. I think Jesus and his men, and probably some of the hungry who came, ate those pieces. The blessing didn't end when the last person tore a hunk off the never-ending loaf, it kept blessing for twelve whole baskets.

I hate to admit it, but I think if I'd been there and Jesus told us to pick it up, I'd be like "Why? Everyone's had enough already. We don't need it. Besides, some of it has fallen on the ground. There could be grass bits."

But Jesus didn't consider that. Blessing is not just for the moment, not only for the immediate need. If we're good stewards and can see outside of one moment, we will be amazed at how many people one blessing can touch. Crazy.

Thank you, God, that you overwhelm me in moments. And thank you that those moments are in fact timeless through your crazy power to reach through time, space, circumstance. Please let me not waste your blessing. Let me not eat my fill and drop crumbs to the ground. Show me where there is extra bread in my life that I might gather it up and create blessings beyond my moment, that your name may be greater praised and your love more broadly felt.
All my love!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's what time?

It is late and I haven't started my Nanowrimo stuff yet. So I'm grateful for the Soundtrack to Dan in Real Life and chai tea and Friday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Join the club

Panera Bread has a new thing with cards, like a Kroger card, only with a picture of bread on the front.

I put the tab-version on my keychain. I kind of like tabbies. They make me feel like I belong somewhere. And this particular tabby has, in two weeks, given me two free espresso drinks. Now that is a generous piece of plastic.

Thank you, God, for espresso drinks and most especially for the free ones! All my love.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have been sitting in my red leather chair for about six hours doing the novel thing. (Granted, that includes a twenty minute snooze...letting my brain relax, you understand. All part of the process.)
Now, as it is past my bedtime and my mind is whimpering in the corner, I am grateful for the calculator feature on my computer. Because adding two four-digit numbers together is beyond me.
Two days down, 28 to go.
Thank you, God, for words. For naps. For months only being 30 days instead of 40.

Monday, November 1, 2010


So it's National Write a Novel Month. Which means I'm pumping out six plus pages a day. Waaay above my normal, conservative minimum.
This means two things.
One, it will be even more important than ever that I find a bright spot in days that could easily be sucked up by the stress of being creative on command.
Two, I will not have a lot of time or extra words for this, my beloved blog.
So, I will continue to post but it will be unusually concise.

Starting today, I'm grateful for Nordy's online catalog. I found my hero and heroine BOTH. And they're just adorable. Can't wait 'til they fall in love!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Name your price

I am travelling to a writing workshop this weekend. It is in an inn off the beaten path in Minnesota, which sounds glorious. I am SO excited!
It also means I have to rent a car. Not a cheap endeavor.
Enter, Priceline.
I got a car for the prices of an enchilada plate (not counting taxes)!
Thank you, Jesus, for good deals, writing retreats, expandable carry-on bags, good writing pens, authors who share their mad skills, and Alamo rent-a-car. All my love.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So. Gross.

The maintenance man came today to fix my towel rack. While he was here he also replaced the bulbs and then decided to address my clogged sink.
It was after this last chore that he informed me he'd found hair lumps in the pipe from the two previous renters. He could tell, he explained, because one lump was blond and one was brunette.
Yes, my gag-reflex got a little workout too.
But, at least it wasn't me cleaning wads of old hair from the pipe.
So today I am grateful for Johnny the maintenance man.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Say Cheese

I'm in this "new to town" group at church and was asked to bring some pictures of the people in my life. I am not that girl who totes a Nikon and documents every other moment. Most of my facebook pics have been shot by others, and I have only about four photos up in my apartment...for now.

As I dug through my computer files of pictures, memories came flooding back of the truly special events in life. What had been another day in a string of days became a portal to some of the most splendid moments of my life. All through pictures.

I am all about finding little joys in each and every day, and for me, today, that little joy was a reminder of the big fatty joys. Images of Cambodia, Rome, DC, my niece, friends' weddings, Turkey Trotting, graduating, dinner parties, making weird faces with my sibs...

All the memories tend to go sepia over time. They blend into the background and I forget to dust them off and look. But with pictures, not just the scene, but the emotion, the feel, and the importance of that instant are relivable. And it makes life bigger than just today.

Thank you, God, for my cybershot, for the smart people who invented color photos, and for all those moments worth capturing. May I be ever alert for more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ambling versus plodding.

I love my microwave as much as the next girl. And text messages. Instant gratification is a shiny thing. I have, on this very blog, bemoaned the time between setting out to acquire and the actual obtaining of a specific goal/item/event. The patient among us call this The Journey, just like that in italics. The rest of us call it plain old lag time.

There are entire categories of my life that fall into this position. And, probably sick to death of my moaning about the lag, God has decided it's high time I started seeing this as a journey... still can't work myself into italics, yet.

You see, I have a propensity to fixate on a specific mile-marker. Get a book published. Run two miles. And always, when I get to a specific point, I see more road ahead. I will have to publish another book, maybe win an award. I'll have to run three miles...or at least two and a half. Hmm, oddly journeyish. The end point is never the end point. This used to be daunting.

But now? It's kinda cool. It means that all this time between the goal and it's achievement is for a purpose. Valuable. And just coming to terms with that makes the experience so much richer.
I'm not one of those folks who has a great "I gave my dating life to the Lord, and the very next day at sunset, Prince Charming's white stallion galloped into view." But I do have days and days spent ambling along a path, hand in hand with my Dearest Jesus and he points out fabulous things, like flowers, and friends, and truths too big for me to find on my own.

And I know that when we get where we're headed, the scenery will be so much richer for having hiked there, one mile at a time.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I used to see between as a sort of purgatory to be survived. Or at the very least, a trial I had to withstand to prove how much I was willing to give up for this one thing.
But the truth is, this time is not meant to be painful and needn't be. It is only painful if I let my gaze wander too far ahead as I plod along and lose sight of the flowers.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I woke up feeling rather beige. Even the backs of my eyelids looked beige instead of pink as I smacked blindly for the snooze button. It is a mournful thing for so young a day to have lost its luster. And, I wasn't content to write it off just yet.

The question then becomes, how do you remedy this?

Two words.

Red lipstick.

This probably doesn't work as well for guys, but y'all ladies know what I'm talking about. I couldn't bring myself to don festive sweater (so I'm head to ankle black...I told you it was one of those days) but I did bust out the Dragon red. Just the feel of it on my lips makes me want to grin, nay, smile at the world. It is innately sexy and cool, so putting it on lets me be sexy/cool by association.

Plus, when you look in a mirror, there's a bright focal point.

So, thank you, Jesus, for red lipstick. I'm not sure you take direct responsibility for it, but I'm sure you played your part, if only coming up with the idea of red as a color and then making lips a different skin type so its easy to know where to stop applying lipstick. I love you dearly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Off the Shizelf

I. Love. Stories.

Which means, many of my dearest treasures are books.

However, when you have two bookshelves that are wedged so tightly with novels that not one more H author can be squeezed in--and you've started putting the T-Z section in your armoire instead of the sweaters you originally thought to put there--you start to feel a bit gluttonous.

And a little sorry for Warren, Wingate, and Wallace, who, through no fault of their own, have ended up behind the winter clothes.

This is why, today, I'm thankful for the newly assembled bookshelf #3. I now have room to line all my books up, spine out, side by side, as they were meant to sit.

I fully own that this may verge on pathetic, but understand that these stories represent more than just cute imaginings to pass the time. They are how I've studied the craft. They are places I've been in life.
They are memories.

Kristin Billerbeck always makes me think of Chicago because it was in a Borders in Chi-Town that her novel, She's Out Of Control, opened my eyes to the world of Christian fiction. Siri Mitchell's Kissing Adrien reminds me of being home on Christmas break. Kristen Heitzmann's Diamond of the Rockies series reminds me of Palm Beach, oddly enough. Twilight makes me love vampires....ahem...and Jan Karon's Mitford series will from now on recall to me the sense of being home, even in a new place like Little Rock.

So, when I look at the masses of volumes that decorate my library/bedroom, I see stories written by others, yes. But I also see the stories I've lived.

Thank you, God, for stories scrawled on pages, for the designers who make their bindings so eye-catching, for the shiny espresso shelves in my new bookcase, and for Donna and her help putting it together. All my love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Changing my name to Ghirardelli

I had to get up this morning while the radio was still playing their "Late Night" show. And the day was about six time longer than I expected. Don't get me wrong, it was a good day.

But, the oversized bar of dark chocolate that is keeping me company during Project Runway is making me love Jesus a little bit more.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Over the river and through the woods

It is easy to become so accustomed to things that you quit really noticing them. I see it as I review my manuscript. Every now and then I find that, in this document I've combed through at least five times, there are whole words missing. I know what it is supposed to say, so it was easy to just read what I intended.

It's a dear thing to be in a new place where the sights, smells, and cupcake flavors are all new. I notice all kinds of things that had faded into the bland wash of background in Atlanta. Like this morning.

I drove over the river just after the sun peeked over the hills. The surface of the water was tinted gold by the young light, and the whole thing emanated a living, moving mist. The tendrils grew and melded as I watched. Some curled up five feet above the river, others scaled the banks. It was crazy cool.

It was one of those beautiful moments that took me totally by surprise, and though I was going about seventy, I tried to savor it without running through the guardrail. I mean, I didn't expect it, never would have imagined it. And there it was, too pretty to capture in black and white phrases.

As I write I pray that God will inspire, because as much as I like to think of myself as a creative-type, the honest truth is that I'm incapable of an utterly original idea. Novelistas know how fabulous it is to find a story with a fresh voice or perspective. But the story, in its rudest form, is never truly unique.

Which makes me so grateful for a Creator God who has filled the world with as yet untold beauties. Who creates moments and inspirations and mist. He has given us a wealth of glory to work with. And He'll even do us the favor of pointing them out if we ask.

Thank you, God, for the Arkansas river at seven a.m. Thank you for all the wonders you've created. Please, help me live aware.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

God and Gourds

This weekend, fall came. It wasn't the armload of leaves that has made itself at home in my walkway. Nor was it the profusion of football team flags whipping frenetically down the interstate....go Jackets. It wasn't the way dusk falls just after lunch, or even that mysterious edge on the wind that makes goosebumps rise on naked arms and then disappears into the mild warmth of a distant sun.

No, it was in the sweet warm aroma of pumpkin spice coffee brewing early on a Sunday.

Indeed, the official flavor of fall heralded the changing of the season with much enthusiasm and very little restraint.

My sister was in town this weekend and after a brisk walk around the lake, we stopped by the local Fresh Market to refill the coffee canister. And there, to our delight, was pumpkin spice. They say that scents trigger memories better than any other sensation. It proved true. Pumpkin Spice is always reminiscent of sweaters and scarves that smell vaguely of storage, of cold noses and warm gloves, of a single starter log burning in the fireplace.

I have been listening to Christmas carols for a few weeks. I offer that as a confession, as it seemed too early, even in the privacy of my earphones. I just couldn't wait.

But, it's as if this weekend and the sudden and robust presence of fall has granted permission for that unique energy that comes with the holidays. And I love that.

Every seasonal change reminds me of what a blessing it can be. I speak from the fresh experience of having moved to the grand town of Little Rock, AR. I think we all fear change to some degree and I am NO exception. However, when God is tugging at your hand, it's best to follow. This transition has been great in some ways and hard in some ways and is far from done. But it's been good. And in the midst of a lot of differentness, I am so wild about God's invent a word. He doesnt change. Ever. So when things get unfamiliar and overwhelming, it is so amazing to cling to the Lord, who goes through it all with me, and is the same God I've known for the past 22 years. Phew.

So, today I'm grateful for Pumpkin Spice and all it brings to mind. I'm grateful for family and holidays, the pinnacle of which is the birthday of my Lord, my Savior, my Love. Thank you, Jesus, for coming at all and especially for coming with a message of such joy. I love love love you! Thank you for changes in weather and in life, and that through it all you've sprinkled little joys and reminders of your the familiar scent of pumpkin and spice.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I looked in the mirror today and caught my eyebrows making a mad dash for my hairline. Half my eyelid was occupied territory and the battle wasn't looking so good.

I am grateful for tweezers. And for little scissors perfect for eyebrow shaping.
And for TSA agents who don't see these as a threat to national security.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Today I stood along the road in Madison, WI and waved as the President's motorcade whizzed by. It was, honestly, very cool. I could see him through the glass waving back at all of us. It the closest I've ever been to a leader of the free world...or the unfree world, I guess.

The secret service cleared out every building around the block hours beforehand and a blackhawk buzzed the area. A line stretched for a mile long before his plane landed.

Two thoughts kept zipping through my head. 1) Wow, this is seriously organized. 2) I am so glad I'm not famous.

Though I succumb to the occasional daydream about being recognized for my talent/looks/innate specialness (and in the daydream it is deserved), in reality that blessing comes with a lot of strings. I mean, I don't want people constantly snapping pictures when I'm not ready. I would miss people watching--I doubt it works very well when all the people you want to watch are watching you right back. And I would very much miss the freedom to make declasse jokes with my friends. It would be rotten to have everyone feel like they know you and can thus judge you when, in fact, they don't know you. And probably, I'd have to eat mushrooms at fancy dinners. I abhor mushrooms. Bleh.

But the most off-putting aspect of fame is that the people around you tell you you're untouchable. You're above the law.
Until you break it.
With that kind of lie being constantly shoved down my throat, I fear eventually I would swallow. I honestly don't think my soul would be very attractive on my own. It is so good to know that God won't give us more than we can manage. And that, if He so wills it, He will provide the grace to remain true. I love a lot of things about God, but today His will seems so precious.

Thank you for where you have brought me and where we have yet to go. Thank you for the freedom of being anonymous to the masses, and the blessing of an irreplaceable position amongst my dear ones. Thank you for never letting me get too big for my britches, and never letting me languish in self-abasement. You have me right where I am for your good purpose and I can't tell you how freeing and splendid that is. Keep me in your will. Thank you that I'm not big enough to mess it up. Please always grow my desire for you and for your glory and please kill the weakness in me that wants my own.

All my love!

Monday, September 27, 2010


This weekend, fall came. I wasn't expecting it until mid-November, but apparently Little Rock isn't so laid back with its seasons.

It is beautiful. I sat, two mornings in a row, in the cozy embrace of my papassan chair while leaves of red and gold whispered overhead and a little curl of steam rose from my coffee. Days like that are so precious to me. They draw out the beauty of what it means to just be. I felt no pressure, no hollowness.
And when it was done, I was invigorated and ready to make the most of the rest of my moments.

Thank you, God, for fall. Thank you for papassan chairs and coffee and novels and the way leaves get more beautiful as they age.
All my love!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Speaking of...

So, me and Dirk the Impala are listening to a book on CD read by a man. It is heeelarious....only not on purpose.

The main male hero talks like a Spanish dub-over with a sore throat. And the woman? Imagine James Earl Jones trying to sound like a sexy woman.

The story is a whodunit and I have not laughed so hard in a while.

Thank you, God, that girls and boys have different voices.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love. L.o.v.e. LOVE!

It is an inescapable fact of the human mind that, although not bound by tangible boundaries, there are still limits to what it can contain. Left to our natural abilities, our minds can stretch to a point, but they rebound afterwards. Not to the same shape as original, for all grand concepts leave their print, but to a perspective far smaller than the concept.

I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study on the Holy Spirit. I won't even get into the nature of the Trinity because that makes my synapses hurt. No, today's concept was love. On any other Thursday, love would bring to mind my family, my niece, the hero du jour of whatever book I'm reading, and God. It would be a sweet thought like buttercream icing; a wonderful addition that makes life richer.

Not today. Today I read out of Song of Solomon. We single gals tend to avoid SOS for obvious reasons. I mean, how many diabetics hang out in a candy store? However, reading this through the lens of God writing to His beloved I mean, the book is a glimpse into the richness that God had in mind when he thought up marriage. But I also think marriage is a metaphor for His great passion for his church.

To get unapologetic, specific and passionate love notes like that from anyone would put my body soul and spirit ablaze. But to receive a declaration from the Most High God, who created stars for my whimsy and His glory, who spun flowers from nothing, who conceived all the senses, who invented color and determined the exact requirements of content and time to birth the perfect diamond, and who knows where they all lie, the God before whom none can stand, for whom angels sing unending harmonies....that God is love. And all of who He is loves me.

That is a big idea. One too big for my head. It makes me want to laugh and cry. I want to dance for joy and to just be still and revel. It is far too grand to grasp for more than an instant. But each time I'm graced to comprehend for a moment this precious and stunning truth, I am forever altered.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Download is 50% complete

Having recently returned from a inspirational weekend regarding all things writing, I've been like a woman obsessed, intent on tidying up my manuscript so I can send it out. I want nothing more than to plunk down at a cafe table in Panera with my laptop and and a refillable cup of Hazelnut coffee, and write, write, write, all the live-long day.

Alas, as I am not an heiress, lottery winner, or possessor of a benefactor or sugar-daddy, and as I have grown accustomed to creature comforts including food and shelter, I can't. Somebody's gotta pay the bills. That sneaky voice in my head tempted me to stay in PJs and edit all morning, but I put on slacks and a sweater and even makeup. My characters must wait until obligations have been met to come out and play.

Typically, I spend a workday of energy on professional endeavors, then scoop the remnants of creative juice in my palm and dribble it over my work in progress. It can be slow going at times. Thus, it was a double blessing when my workday started with the installation of a printer driver. Sounds daunting, no? In this case, no. The lengthy process left me with little to do guessed it, write! I got to start my day with Eden and the gang and my, how much we accomplished while the lenovo chugged along.
Here I was, resigned to tuck away my "other world" while I create value for my employer. And I do believe God honored my commitment by giving me the best of both worlds!

I don't expect this to happen again. I don't anticipate enjoying morning writting except on weekends. However, with this fresh fire making my bones ache with a desire to write, it was an especially bright gift. And imagine if I'd put my own desire ahead of my obligations. I would have missed out! All my creative juice would be spent before I faced off with the printer, and that would have made for a long and dull day for this cog in the corporate wheel.

The moral of this story is, do your work first and keep a notebook nearby. That way you can capture the droplets of creative juice that drip throughout the day. And, when you have to install a printer driver, celebrate!

Monday, September 20, 2010

ACFW Rocketh: Thou Shalt Write

This weekend I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers' national conference in Indianapolis. Over 600 people with my same compulsion for story gathered to glorify God by investing our Talents (see Matt. 25:14-30). There was some amazing fellowship, killer classes--both figuratively and literally--and opportunities to network with, and present our work to, leading agents and editors in the industry.
There are few places in which it is okay to discuss what body count is acceptable and where inflicting trials and tribulations upon others is a good thing. A writers' conference is probably the safest one. It was pretty cool to hear people who've been publishing longer than I've been alive talk about the craft. It was cooler still to build new friendships and meet some people who I truly admire for their skill, their stories, and their hearts for showing God's love.I got to meet my critique partners in person for the first time. We laughed and joked and encouraged and prayed over each other. We celebrated good meetings and comforted when fear or stress threatened to overcome hope.

I was struck this weekend by two things. First, God has his hand on this. But He is most glorified when I am willing to strive, sweat, and toil. My labor is part of the gift He gets when a project made for His glory is born. I have oodles of notes and techniques that I can't wait to start applying to my work. In one sense, it is terribly daunting. I mean, we're talking about picking through an entire manuscript with a literary lint brush to clean it up. But, I've seen what it can do, and I wouldn't walk around with dog hair on my bum, so why would I let my novel do so?

In a grander sense, to be with people who share your passion, who understand the unique gravity that draws you to story demanding to be told, is like finding your place in the crayon box. Our God is Creator. He spoke things into being. Jesus told stories in His sermons. For me writing is not a mere hobby, it can be an act of worship. I am reflecting my Creator God. He has not just given me stories, He has put in my heart a rhythm that beats most true through written word. To stand shoulder to shoulder with so many hearts beating in tandem is a profound thing. And it sparked my desire further to perfect this art form in the name of my God.

So, thank you, my God, for story. Thank you for planting the love of story in my soul. Thank you for the writers you have formed and those you are forming now and for bringing us together. Thank you for the knowledged, encouragement, and opportunities this weekend afforded and thank you for letting me go. You are God of all Creativity, the Word, my Lord. I love you more today than yesterday. May I glorify you always.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who 'dat?

Technology has taken us far. There is no question. I was talking to a guy from the Sticks the other day about the olden days when folks didn't have answering machines. (I think the olden days just recently ended in the Sticks, but they, too have iPhones now.) Now you can skype with people half-way around the globe in real-time.

The next exciting techno-leap will let us actually be there in real-time. But, until the IT wizards figure that one out, me and Dirk the Blue Impala blaze trails to and fro. Dirk's kinda quiet, so I often listen to books on CD, a minor technological miracle in their own right. I'm currently listening to a book--written by a man, may I note--in which undead children live as ghosts and their ghostly bodies look like the child remembers himself or herself. If their memory gets distorted, the child's metaphysical self does too.

May I please take a moment to qualify my book choice: I'm getting to the end of Cracker Barrel's stash and this was one of the few that for obvious reasons hadn't yet made my reading list.
Anyway, as I was saying, this concept of appearing the way you see yourself probably seemed "crazy, dude" to the writer. However, as a woman may I submit that this is just a glimpse into what we deal with on a regular basis.

For instance, we all have those days when you put clothes on in the morning, smile warmly at your reflection, and sashay into the world feeling a solid point above normal on the standard ten-point scale. We smile at strangers, coo at babies, and toss our hair the way that girl does on the Pantene commercials.

Then, after a quick lunch you dart into the ladies' to find the fickle mirror has played some trick. You do a double take and an awful version of your reflection sneers back. When did my hair start looking so greasy? I swear it was clean this morning. My pores are so big you could park a Buick and still have room. Is it possible to gain ten pounds by peeing? And I thought I put on lipstick, but the only thing glossy is my forehead. Ugh.

Well, I had one of those days. Which made me so glad that perception is not, in fact, reality. I was listening to Joyce Meyer on podcast and she talks a lot about not letting our feelings rule us. She notes that a study found the voice we believe above all others is our own. The words we say to ourselves ring most true.

That's scary and powerful. It means if I let circumstance or a mean-spirited mirror color my thoughts, I will believe it. Even when it's not factual.

So, today I'm thankful that God is absolute truth. That righteousness is not a philosophy and my purpose is not a variable. I am thankful that my God is bigger than my own perception and as His child I am anchored throughout eternity to Him. I am also grateful for the principles by which he governs this world. And I'm grateful for soft stretch-cotton PJ pants. It is impossible to feel anything but cozy in stretch-cotton PJ pants.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Worshiper number 10004909

I get a lot of things from church. My favorite is the Eucharist, but I also enjoy the music, knowledge, encouragement, and snacks in the volunteer room. Somehow fun size candy bars taste better when you don't have to buy them.

This week, I received mail from my new church. I was expecting a "thank you for attending, we hope you'll get involved and feel welcome" or some-such note.

Instead, I got a barcode. Yes. Really. There was a card explaining this would help manage my family checking in and out of stuff. Being as my family right now is me, (unless I make my younger brother go to the nursery when he visits, but as he's over six feet I don't think that would fly) I don't really need a barcode to track movement.

However, I went ahead and attached the little tab to my keychain. It now dangles next to my gym barcode. The experience made me think about how convenient those things are. Can you imagine standing in line at the Kroger while somebody read little price tags and typed it in? I can't even keep track of coupons, which thanks to another plastic card I don't need to. Or having to sign your name or do a hand-reader at the gym? I mean, who knows where everyone's hands have been? Wait. Let's not dwell on that question. What about at work? I just scan my card and the door opens. No keys, no waiting to be admitted by a secretary, just beep and go.

So, while managing the body of Christ with a 9-digit number and some vertical lines seems a little sterile, all in all, I appreciate the concept. The engineer in me wants a high-five for the efficiency.
I don't have a good analogy for how this relates to the deeper things of humanity. Anyone have a thought? But, I am grateful for this small thing today.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Many good things are only good in a specific manner. Example: pudding. Only good cold.

Some are a little more diverse, like milk. It can improve a bowl of cereal or a latte.

But, among good things, there is one that is almost impossible to demean.

I give you, the grape.

Delicious fresh ( as evidenced by the naked stem I now hold). They have a unique texture among fruits, that firm skin that explodes with flavor when you bite down. Yum.

And let us not forget grape juice, nor its prettier cousin, wine. I could write an essay about the symbolic and vibrant complexities of wine, but I'll save that for another day. Suffice it to say, it's a balanced, rich drink that has the added benefit of making one feel a little fancy while they enjoy it.

Now, many things are enjoyable in their youth, but grapes and people are among the few life forms that can grow sweeter when they get dried out and wrinkled. Raisins are the grandmothers of the fruit world and who doesn't love that? They make salads and cookies all the better. Dip them in yogurt, (the raisins, not the grandmas) and it's hard to quit munching.

So, today I am thankful for grapes, for the bottles of wine resting in my wine rack, and for the fruit I'm about to get out of the fridge.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Get Connected

Do you ever have a day where it seems like your attention fixes on a particular aspect of your experience? Where as you go about the typical, you suddenly become aware of the rare and precious that has been embedded there?

This morning I drove to Stown (stown: n, the geographical area spanning the narrow region halfway between The Sticks and Town.) I got lost on my way but when I called the lady I was meeting with she just laughed and then guided me in by cell phone. She didn't have to stand on the front porch and wave. She didn't have to give her enormous German Shepherd a biscuit so he'd leave me alone, and she didn't have to be so patient. But she was. We had a great talk that mostly focused on business but ran the gamut of things familiar to us both as well.

Then, this afternoon I was leaving Starbucks when a stranger approached and with no ulterior motives, paid me a sweet compliment. I smiled all the way back to the office.

So this afternoon, when I spoke with a renter's insurance agent via the phone, I was acutely aware that on the other end of the connection was a person. A real, live person with a real life, with dreams and losses and that innately human need to connect.

It wasn't even that I was inspired to be patient, it was that nothing was important enough to make that call a nuisance. As we assembled my policy, one endorsement at a time, we chatted about regional accents, places we've lived and the great Northwest which was the only region we had in common. It wasn't a long conversation, and I doubt we'll speak again. However, instead of a mere transaction taking place, for those moments we were connected.

Human connection is a beautiful thing. A blessing in a form that cannot be replicated. And for this simple gift, today, I am very thankful. God, you have made us humans with so many quirks and foibles, needs, strengths, tender spots. And while You alone satisfy the soul, I thank you for making our hearts to interlock. All my love!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

'Tis the Season

I didn't last very long this year. I tried to hold out, I said, "Kimberly, wait another month. Just one more month."

But I couldn't.

This morning--on a Tuesday that felt more like a Monday in January, with rain dribbling down the windows and my computer processing data slower than a toaster-oven could--I hit play and held my breath until the opening refrain of Oh Come All Ye Faithful broke the shadows to smithereens with it's clarion of joy.

It was sweeter than the first drop of water after running a marathon through the Gobi.

My jaw relaxed, I smiled at strangers, I saw the beauty in the way different shades of gray swirled in the clouds and admired the romance of a million raindrops cascading endlessly upon the earth.

It's true. It is September seventh and I'm so thankful for Christmas carols! They are like chocolate chips: they make everything richer. Including Tuesday mornings.

So, thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth as a baby. For all you did after that I am grateful, but it is so precious to have a reason to celebrate that is purely, unutterably joyful. So joyful, that any day in which your birth is honored is instantly better. All my love.

And a quick shout out to my sister, Courtney, who has her actual birthday today. Coincidentally, her middle name is Noel.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Swiping it.

Today I returned a book on tape to the Cracker Barrel. A lady with "Rising Star" printed in gold on her brown apron gave me back change in cash. Actual bills and change.

It took her a while to count it out and it took me a while to figure out where to put it. Now my purse is a little heavier.

In the process of moving, I gathered up nickels, dimes, and even the odd quarter from around my apartment. This money had been ignored largely because it was, well, insignificant. But all together, it added up to almost twenty bucks that I didn't even know I had!

Which is why I'm grateful for debit cards. My little blue card fits easily in my wallet . It doesn't jingle when I walk or make one pocket sag. I don't have to count it. And, if at the end of the month I want to know how much I managed in Starbucks coffee, my card keeps a record and I can look it up. (Mostly I ignore that number, but it's nice to know it's there if I want it.)

What may be even more convenient is that I can autodraft my bills and such. For we, the forgetful, autodraft is on par with the invention of penicillin. It keeps my scattered self on time and avoids ugly late fees and the guilt of finding a three month old tithe check still tucked snugly in my wallet.

Sure, I see the value of actual money, particularly when parking by a meter or on the rare occasion a gumball craving hits. But, as handsome as those presidents are, I still think my debit card is prettier!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Me, God and the tissue vs. the spider and the centipede

If there is one thing I am not grateful for, it is bugs. Pretty much anything with more than four legs is on the bad list.

In the past, I have been known to screech and hop on something or duck--depending on whether or not the beast is winged--and wait while the nearest rescuer handles the situation. I had one notable confrontation with a cockroach paratrooper that tried to ambush me from above. He won the battle, but God and my roommate's shoe won the war.

Well, now I live all by myself. Or so I thought.

Three times in the past week, I have been ambushed in my apartment. A wasp has taken up residence in my kitchen cabinet. Fine. I'll buy my own box of crystal lite.

The other two times have caught me in a rather vulnerable position in the bathroom.

Which is why I'm grateful for bathroom tissue (Toilet paper just sounds declasse.) It is soft enough and thick enough that you don't have to get too close to an insect as you exterminate, and it muffles any tiny pleas for help. Then, you just dump it in the porcelain bowl, flush, and voila. It is as if a multi-legged invader never existed.

This is just one example of how God provides for us in the moment. Go with me here. If anyone else had been in the apartment, I would have delegated the distasteful task of extermination. But no one was. And, while I wouldn't fancy coming upon an insect anywhere, God timed the little nasties to cross my path when my trusty, two-ply weapon was at hand. What would have happened if, say, I'd found a creature...okay, this path is making my skin crawl, so I won't imagine all the less convenient places to find bugs, but you get the idea. I don't keep bathroom tissue anywhere but the bathroom, so I was ideally armed for battle.

And for the wasp, well, I'm still praying it dies soon, but how convenient that it would make its way into a cupboard before buzzing loud enough for me to hear. If it had buzzed before then, I wouldn't have thought to lure it into a confined space, I would have just waited outside with the doors open and a spray bottle of tile cleaner until it left. Seriously.

So, do I like bugs? No. I wish I didn't have to deal with them ever. But since bugs happen in life, I'm glad God is there with me when they do and that He gives me not just the spiritual fortitude to rise up and conquer, but the practical tools as well. David had his stones, I've got my tissue. God is on our side and we are more than conquerors!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

See through.

I drove through farmland today. The crops were short green things with reddish yellow tips, which I later found out is soy. Huh. Who knew.

Overhead a crop duster twirled like an old-time air show. It was quite pretty. Romantic even.

Or at least the dragonflies thought so. I lost count of the number of amorous bugs that were, ahem....distracted, and didn't see me and Dirk come cruising up. And every time a pair of insects became a stain, I was thankful for my windshield. You know, I look through it but never really at it. However, if it weren't there I'd sure as heck notice.

I think there are probably a lot of "windshields" in life. Maybe even some people who rarely get seen but would be sorely missed.

God, please help me see today. To look at blessings, not through them, and to show appreciation for the lives that touch mine in small and large ways. All my love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Water, (or here in the South, Waw-dur)

So in the process of getting to know my new town, I decided I should check out the recreational opportunities in the area. I live about 15 minutes from a state park now, which means I'm going to be a hiker. How could I not?
I talked my dad into going with me.Nevermind the 100 degree heat. Humidity? Bah. I wanted to see the sights!
We each hefted a water bottle roughly the size of my bathtub, chose the East Quarry Trail and set off. By the time we reached the top of a peak and could see a wide swath of river cutting through the variegated green hills, my shirt was the same shade of deep red as my new Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt. Red is a much prettier color on a t-shirt than a face, but as long as the air, scalding thought it was, continued to flow in and out, I was satisfied.
The view was pretty even through the purple spots clouding my vision and flecks of sweat dotting my shades.
By the time we made it back (which seemed more uphill than it should have...) my water was down to a lukewarm dribble. Which made me more grateful for H2O than I have been in a very long time.
If not for that bottle I may very well still be sitting on a stump along the trail waiting for someone willing to throw me over their shoulder and haul me back. Nothing else sounded as good right then. Much as I love Diet Coke, it wouldn't have done. Milk? Ugh. That's just a nasty thought.
But water? Totally hit the spot.
Thank you, God, for water, for making the oceans and streams out of it instead of a less refreshing substance, and for the smart people who put it in really big bottles. All my love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I am officially a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas. And I feel like I imagine a salmon would if pulled from the crystalline waters of the Hood River and relocated to a swimming pool. There is nothing wrong with a swimming pool, but it does take some adjustment when your favorite rock isn't there and the current that rippled steadily through your days has been replaced by the motionless slosh of water with nowhere to go.
If I sound freaked, I am.
Which is why I'm so thankful for Dirk, my trusty Impala (who just got named ten seconds ago). Dirk has got it going on in the back end. His trunk is enormous. Which means, along with a few breakables and enough clothing to hold me until the movers come, I have with me now an aromatherapy oil burner, my pitiful movie collection, and enough books to keep me company through the initial shock. I also have my pillow, of course, one lamp with which to enjoy said books, wine glasses--also to be used in conjunction with the books--more shoes than anyone could wear in two weeks' time, and a few coffee mugs (again with the books, and in the morning, and when I just want something of mine close by).
If Dirk were one of those scrawny little things that get full with a tennis ball...I shudder to think what my initial days in this strange new land would look like. I might very well find myself putting East to reclaim my safe familiar life.
But not me and Dirk. We're bold adventurers on the hunt for new opportunities with our coffee mugs.
Um, so I guess in a small and material way, Dirk reminds me of God. God never runs out of the goods and He is with me always, even in the foreign environs of greater Little Rock. He has room for all my baggage and then some. And he has everything, EVERYTHING, I need, not just a trunkful. So, thank you God, for Dirk, and for books, and for being with me each mile of the way. You know I need you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Free at last

Have you ever wished you had another hour in the day? Well, I got that.
The Bachelorette is officially over! Ali found love, and I have all this free time on Monday nights now to do whatever I please.
Now, one could argue that I didn't have to watch one woman's quest for love. But, that's like telling an alcoholic they don't need to drink. Sure, in theory you'd be correct. But, we addicts see the world from a thirty degree tilt, and that path around temptation isn't visible from where we stand.
So, I'm just so grateful that the temptation has been removed and my Mondays are once again liberated.
As Braveheart so applicably put it, "Freeeeeeeedooooooom!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

drum roll please...

Here it is! The Famed Boll Weevil statue.
And the official historical monument sign

Monday, August 2, 2010

Size Matters

I am in a town the size of my thumbnail. In South Alabama.
South. Alabama.
Until Wednesday.
The town of Enterprise does have one claim to fame. A statue of a woman draped in a Grecian robe, holding aloft...a boll weevil. And not just any boll weevil. This thing is the size of her regal head.
Apparently in 1919, the Mexican insect wandered North and found itself in weevil heaven. In about three years it decimated the cotton crop, then smacked its lips and asked for more.
So, the farmers scratched their heads, hung their hands on their suspenders, threw in the cotton towel, and said, "Let's do peanuts."
Bam. Turns out peanuts were the economic giant of their time. The proverbial facebook of the early twentieth century agricultural world.
So, the farmers erected a monument to thank the bug that invaded their town and ate their world.
I love that.
I love the hopefulness it took to take a situation where their livelihood was literally devoured by the enemy, and not give up, or get mad. But to look higher.
I love that instead of bitterness, there was an admittedly strange and mildly disturbing display of gratitude, even for the ugly in life. Because the ugly was necessary to make room for growth. It was like the deep South's version of Job.
Thank you, God, for always making a way. Thank you that even when I face the ragged remnants of my cottony life, you have peanuts in mind. Give me the faith to seek your bigger and better way when destruction comes. Give me the hope to see beyond a lost moment to immense, faithful You. Give me the courage to let go when I need to of what I have always known, and plant a new crop.
And thank you that boll weevils aren't as big as my head in real life. Amen.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I have had a few long days and so I treated myself to a facial today. Ahhh. Bliss.
My brain got to relax, stop lifting weights, untwist. I found that it went to unexpected places when it was finally set free.
In the midst of a refreshing, orange-peel scented exfoliation, my mind started to riffle through the people I'd met this week, including hairy men. And I found myself suddenly grateful that I do not have facial hair.
How much harder would it be to achieve a dewy glow (which I can't say I've yet accomplished) if you had to worry about a five o'clock shadow. Ugh. I mean, I suppose with all the leg-shaving we ladies got the short end of the razor anyhow. But it would be worse, I imagine, if the spots you miss, like your kneecaps, were on your face. Or if you put your chin on your hand and got scratched.
So, thank you, God, for a fuzz free face.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Have you ever been doing something totally fun and a little bit risky, and then it happens.
For a split second you know.
You are about to get some serious pain.
Then, sunlight turns green and sound is drowned out by the spines of agony ripping through you.
That happened to me at the lake this weekend. I fell off a jet ski and hurt not one, but all my knees at once. A few seconds passed before I could inhale. A few more before I could emit sound. A few more before I could emit intelligible sound at a reasonable decibel.
I got back up and they held me, but slowly as the night passed, purply marks appeared around the caps.
So, today I am grateful for ice. It makes a lot of things better, like soda and abused knees. I've enjoyed it in both capacities lately.
While I pray that nothing has come detached, I am faithfully icing my knees. It sense the most pleasant, breezy releasing sensation through the heat that builds up during the day and gives me hope that one day soon, my poor knees will forgive me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The anti-perfectionist

My job as a consultant is to look for ways to help my clients do better. To find the narrow spot in their defensive layers and spackle over it.
Sounds nice, right? Except when somebody sees me charging in and pictures their least favorite science teacher wielding a red pen with fingers itching to sketch out an F. More than once I have offered well meaning advice only to get a scathing rebuttal.
The thing is, I get where they're coming from. There are times in my life--or more accurately regions of my life, I guess--where one of two things happens. I either feel so abysmal that any advice is only a reinforcement of my own inadequacy, or I feel like I'm in a pass/fail position and anything less than 100% is a feed-her-to-the-lions thumbs down.
Well today I met with a safety guy who talked for twenty minutes non-stop about the measures he has put in place. And then, when I noted a potential thin spot and offered a few ideas, he was eager to hear them. His goal was to be the best he could be. And he was neither disillusioned enough to feel like he was there, nor defeatist enough to feel like it was out of reach.
It is so much easier to jump off either side of the boat than to balance in the middle, and today I'm grateful for a reminder that it's not just possible, but the best position to be in.
I love that God is not a pass/fail science teacher. He doesn't own a red pen. Pink maybe, but not red. And he doesn't fail people even when we fail him. He just says, "not yet passed," and continues to educate us and love us through the lesson. When I won't settle for less than perfection, he doesn't lie and tell me I'm there. He just waits for my tantrum to end, then helps me get up, dust off, and keep trying. When I feel like it's out of reach, he gives the encouragement and perseverance to strive until it is in reach.
Thank you, God, for not expecting perfection, and not accepting the status-quo. For forever giving me what I need to strive on, and for journeying with me, loving me, each step of the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I am the last person in America--or at least the last person below the Mason-Dixon--to read Kathryn Stockett's NY Times Best-selling debut novel, The Help.

I'm only about 1/6th in but it has made me laugh out loud, and frown in a way that's bad for the long term status of my forehead. Set in the 60's, the novel is written from the perspective of Black women serving in white households, and the white women who grow up in this kind of environment.

And, today, I am so glad for change! The engaging thing about this novel is the way it tells the rose and gray on both sides of the racial divide. It makes me so grateful for the progress we've seen and hope for the progress we can still see as we strive to love the world like God does. It makes me grateful that "in Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free." My internet is slow, being as I'm in a hotel, but if biblegateway ever comes up, I'll give the reference.

Life is better when lived rightly. Sure, the short-cuts and easy routes upon the backs of those at our disposal look simpler upon a glance. But really, truly, life lived as God intended, a life of love, is the best. May God grant us the wisdom to see this, the courage to pursue it and grace for the times when a short-cut leaves a footprint between our shoulderblades.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Licensed for Trouble

The Bible says to work as if you're working for the Lord. Sometimes, that is kind of natural, like when usering at church. But there are days when you just know it's going to be harder than swimming the Atlantic with your feet tied together by a ten pound weight.
Today was one such day for me. I am exhausted, but for a good reason! I stayed up way past my bedtime and read Licensed for Trouble, the 3rd installment in the PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren.
It. Was. Splendid.
So good, in fact, that after lights out at 2, I laid there for about an hour processing.
Which meant that when the alarm went off at 7 (I gave myself a grace hour), I was,well, less than enthused.
While I always pray that God will help me work hard and well, today I was literally facedown on his mercy. This girl wasn't going to do anything well today on her own.
And what did God do? He came through! I had to go in to the office to avoid the temptation of "just a brief rest on the couch with one eye closed" but it paid off. The hours collapsed in on themselves, folding into neat piles of completed reports. And I got to see my mentor, who's got enough cheer to make Eeyore dance an Irish jig.
So not only did I get to call it a day after adding some tick marks to my to-do list, but I got to smile in the mean time...and mull over a riveting plot and heart-invading characters again while I did so.
Thank you, God, for your people who work diligently and craft stories that stir our souls. Thank you for helping me today to work diligently and create...reports. May you be glorified in all the endeavors you put before us, creative and otherwise. All my love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time is on my side

I got a "please pray" email about seven hours after it was sent. One of my dear friends' mothers had a serious surgery and I didn't even know this was coming.
So, I prayed intently that God would protect her and help things go well. My first inclination was to be upset I hadn't gotten the email earlier. But then I remembered something important.
God is not bound by time. Nay, indeed, he made it, so he has dominion over it. You know that very intense "bing, bing" that the show 24 uses to remind us that time runneth out? God doesn't here that.
So, I kept praying hard, fully confident that my God would hear and acknowledge my prayers for an event I had, in this one dimensional version of time, missed.
A few hours later my friend called and said things had gone very well. YAY!
And this is the other kicker. It's one of those antique-style friendships, that you collect in your youth and only gains value as the years pass. We don't talk with great frequency, but we know each others' hearts, so when we do talk there is no stiffness or artifice. Just connection. I sent the email today for a rather trivial reason, thinking I was writing out of the blue.
But wouldn't you know God would inspire my "I think I should touch base" sense with the day of his mother's surgery. Wow.
So, I'm grateful that God is bigger than time and can work in it and around it as He sees fit. That He inspired the call this morning and honored my prayers, and those of countless other saints, on behalf of a daughter who sings His praise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rodeo Girl

A friend gave me this sign. It's pink and has some sparkles and says Rodeo Girl. I love it! It has to do with my WIP (work in progress for the non-writers) and it sits in view of the kitchen table. What I love about it, aside from the aforementioned color and sparkle, is that it's a reminder of my goal. My work. My calling, if I can be so bold.
Every day there are discouragements, both from the world at large and my own wavering thoughts. All worthy pursuits entail some uncertainty. Nothing that tugs at our heart is guaranteed, or we'd have it and, I think, it would lose a critical element of it's allure.
All relationships, all callings, all art, all the pieces of us that cry out to be explored require us to take a step toward an end without Google turn-by-turn directions to guide the way.
What we do have is a desire that makes it worth it, and a promise of what could be.
But that's not enough.
The word support is so overused I fear it has been cheapened. Two syllables hardly contain the power of friends and family who know your goal and can see your progress even when you'd be blinded to it. Who can wrench your focus from the rocks on the path and remind you of who you are, who God is, and why you started this blasted, blessed trip to begin with, be it with words of encouragement, hugs, verses, or pink signs. It this invaluable support that keeps the weight of the journey from paralyzing us.
Thank you, God, for fearsome callings that are bigger than us, and for giving all the support we need to rise to them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Smell...

It's amazing how scent link to emotions by way of memories. How they make you feel something in your soul.
It reaches around corners, over breezes, and under doors with its tidings. A scent is a promise of something to come, a proof that the other senses are about to be rewarded.
Like today, the earthy scent, rich and heavy and tinged with sweet, was the first element of coffee I enjoyed. I paused just to relish the heady scent that blends depth and lightness. Add a dash of nutmeg and it's practically Thanksgiving day with family, belonging and joy swirling amidst the clouds of creamer.
I'm making myself thirsty, so I'll stop here, but not before a quick shout-out to Creator-God for the gift of scents and noses to enjoy them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Classic. Stretchy. Black.

Gap makes these solid color stretchy tees that have a scoop neck and short sleeves. They come in white, gray and, best of all black. I have at least four of these black tees and it isn't enough. They are the t-shirt equivalent to fuzzy socks and yet they look presentable.
I wore one today with slacks for a customer visit. Didn't look half bad if I do say so myself. And, even better, only the lower half of my body nearly suffocated in the humid air of Georgia. It's like wading through a milk jug here.
I love how they have enough stretch to fit a curve without looking like I used a paintbrush to apply my top, and the solid black is forgiving and a little chic.
As crazy as it sounds, they make me feel free.
I don't know if everyone has an article like this, a perpetually good choice. If not, check out the Gap classic stretch tees.
Ideally, I wouldn't need a t-shirt to feel at home in this skin of mine. I'd walk around, swaddled in the knowledge that the Almighty has put me together, body, spirit, and soul and he meant to. It wasn't like he was mid-formation and sneezed.
But, I'm so grateful that, since I'm not at that point yet (haven't bridged the Gap! Sorry, couldn't resist), He inspired someone at a chain store to make black t-shirts.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday! Booyah.

I had berry cobbler for breakfast!

Thank you, Jesus, for berries and roommates.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beyond fine

You know how people ask, "How are you?" You know how they don't really want to know? They're just being courteous and offering a welcome, and in order to hold up your end of the bargain you have to give a firm, double-pump handshake, offer as genuine a smile as possible and say, "fine" or some other bland affirmative?

I'm not dissing the process. It would be weird to start business meetings talking about the weights and joys in my mind. It's an attempt to be thoughtful.

But, sometimes, we're not fine. Sometimes we're ecstatic! Got a promotion! Found a quarter on the ground! Got hit on by the valet guy! (Gotta take what you can get sometimes.)

And sometimes we're tragic wads of humanity wearing a 2-carat smile.

Everywhere outside that beige slice of "fine" it could get a little lonely. Except for the fact that God gets it. I mean, really gets it. He sees it through our eyes. Knows why a broken nail, a diagnosis, or what someone said impacts us as it does. Knows the thrill of getting that email, sharing a chat, or achieving a goal. Knows precisely how all of it feels.

And, even better, he doesn't sit by and watch, but will go with us through it and carry the grief, or throw spiritual confetti. The catch for me is being willing to get past the automated "fine" message. If I don't invite him to the party, He's not going to force His way in. And I love that too because it means so much more that He respects my wishes and wants to come.

Thank you, God for knowing. For caring. For the hankies you offer when I cry, for the high-fives and chest bumps after victories. I love sharing life with you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wow Factor

Fireworks shot from the bow of a battleship. Sounds super profound, no? I thought so, sitting in the fading sunlight on the bank of Patriot's Point in Charleston, SC. I eyeballed the massive ship trying to comprehend that the sedate jet perched atop was designed and built to drop bombs at warp speed on our enemies. To protect the US. That this ship was meant for hostile waters, carrying men and women who have taken up the noble charge to defend their homeland.
Without doubt, the beautiful cascade of sparks dangling in the air above the battleship on Independence Day was moving. But, it turns out, my mental faculties are not symbolic enough to feel all the poignance of the moment. As soon as the first fireworks cast showers of light across the sky, my inner six year-old took over and I grinned and "oohed" and said "I like that one" at least three dozen times over the course the thirty minute display.
Fireworks will always be magical. The way they twist and dance, the gold ones that linger, the unexpected brilliance against a black sky....all of it steals the fullness of my attention and imagination. They are not shells of flame, they are extruded wonder. In a world where awe is hard to come by, seeing a blaze of rainbow light cutting the night always captures me.
Thank you, Jesus, for putting in our midst the elements. For the beauty they possess that can be replicated but not duplicated. For moments in time where it is okay not to dwell on meaning, but just get lost in wonder.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Oh, you're one of "those" people"

One of the cool things about Jesus was his openness. There was never a question he wouldn't answer. In fact, he seemed to relish questions.
Do you ever get the sense that you have been tried and found guilty of belonging to a group that is "lesser?" You are written off completely by someone who doesn't know you because you are in a certain phase of life, age, gender, hair color, etc.
Well, I felt that today. I didn't handle it too well. I was all fired up and ready to let it be known just what I thought about this discriminatory attitude, when...God stopped me. Not like my hands locked up, or my jaw went stiff (geez, that would suck) but He whispered in my thoughts, "Why do you care so much what they think?"
I sputtered for a minute, but I couldn't come up with an answer that would sound anything but trite in the presence of the Almighty, who, incidentally, is responsible for my phase of life, age, gender, hair color, and all of the etcetera.
He then reminded me of the time in when Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" And people, as they are wont to be, were way off base. But then he asked, "But what about you? Who do you say I am?" Good ol' Pete got it on the first try. "You are the Christ, Son of the living God."
Well, today, God prodded me to ask him that same question. "Who do You say that I am?" And the answers were stunning.
Beloved. Child. My portion. Daughter of the Most High. A little lower than the angels. Saint. Redeemed. Precious. Mine.
Jesus knows me. Really knows me. He loves who I am, where I am. To Him I am not a checklist of attributes deemed good or bad.
So, who am I gonna believe? Um, I'll go with the Creator of the Universe, thank you much.
People will call us all kinds of things. I hope most of the bad ones are said outside my hearing, but even when I catch the unkind word, I will let it be just that. A word. Not a definition. Not truth.
Instead, may I always turn to my Father and be reminded of who I am by the One who made me. I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine.

Random sidenote: Blogger doesn't recognize etcetera as a word. how weird is that?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Trend that never Fades

There are some lucky people in this world who can see 20/20 without assistance. However, most of us need a little help. I am in the need help category, or more specifically, the contacts group.
However, there are days when my eyes are having none of it. So I dig through a drawer for my glasses case, rub the lenses on the edge of my shirt, and spend the day trying to avoid the temptation to push them into place by jabbing my index finger against the bridge.
I don't like these days because my glasses are, well, lame. But today I got to order new ones! They're super cute and trendy and will make me look eclectic-er...(eclectic people can make up words, now and then.)
Which got me to thinking about a verse: Isaiah 61:10 "I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
For years when I read this verse I pictured long loose biblical garments and maybe a Mary-esque headscarf. To be honest, as much as I want to be clothed in salvation and righteousness, it's a kind of dowdy picture.
Then one day, it hit me. These are for the soul (and arguably the physical being as well) the height of attainable loveliness. These are the D&G or the Chanel of the spirit world. When we walk around in salvation and righteousness, we're not frumpsters with a Mona Lisa smile. We're "Look out runway 'cuz here we come" stellar. Jesus is the hottest name brand ever.
My new glasses are not that fancy, but they're certainly more along the lines of salvation than the old ones. They make me look better than I would without.
Oh, man, the analogies of being able to see more clearly are pummeling my head, but I'll stop here before I get carried away.
Thank you, Lord, for arraying me in righteousness and salvation. I certainly can't do it on my own and you are so good and so faithful to give me, not just any old covering, but the most beautiful adornments imaginable. You are a good, lovely and generous God.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What have I done?

So, this year, for the first time ever, I dyed my hair. I went fire-engine red for a while, which was fun. Then I went burgundy, which was also fun. Then, on Sunday, I was ready to go blonde again. Well, it turns out that is not as easy as going dark. I freaked out a new hairdresser when I asked her to make my wine-colored (or grape juice colored, depending on your denomination) tresses go back to their natural color. She wasn't okay with bleaching it and recommended I stay with purple because it looked nice. Yeah, not happening.
So, I went to the CVS and bought this stuff called Color Oops. It smells like a fart died, but it did get a lot of color out. It's now the color of a penny.
Today, I went to a professional again (different place) and she said my poor, abused hair needed at least a week to recover and then she would work on it. It's dry and smells.
That made me nervous. What have I done to my poor head? I felt guilty and scared and bought some very expensive conditioner. But the truth is, I can't ever undo it. The hair is changed. The color may be made to look similar, but it won't be my color.
It was a good learning experience, and a small lesson of what life is like. Things happen that can't be undone. I make mistakes, and then in trying to fix them, I could very well make them worse.
Which is why I'm grateful for this promise today, found in Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (emphasis mine.)
How cool is that? I am worried about my poor copper-penny hairs, and so is God. And while I have caused the damage, He still knows the number. I can't bleach his love out or cover it with purple so He loses track of the nine-hundred-and-forty-second hair from the left.
And in life, there is no mess too big OR too small for God to care about. God, Creator of stars, suns, moons, galaxies, ants, zebras, leaves, lightning....God loves you so much, He watches you sleep at night, gathers your tears, relishes your laughter, and even knows the number of hairs on your head, no matter what color they are today.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sitting and looking up

You know how sometimes you feel like you're flying along? God is your co-pilot. The sun is smiling on your heavenly day. You even dip your head and wave at others as you pass by, maybe offer a word of encouragement that they too can be lifted on a holy breeze?
And then, out of nowhere, splat. Chin in the dirt, you look up and think--or if you're really brave, say-- "God, what just happened? I thought we were flying? Why did you let me fall?"
I had a moment like that today. I had been so focused on flying that I didn't even notice when I lost altitude. I'm not sure how long I'd been standing here, mistaking for a holy breeze the air stirred as I madly flapped my arms, before I overbalanced. Okay, maybe I did notice something wasn't right, but I thought if I ingored it, it would go away. Like a zit.
It wasn't until I was scrubbing at the dirt on my chin that I had to own up to the fact that I was sitting, and the scenery looked uncomfortably familiar. I finally, quite literally, cried out to God. And He has been sitting with me since, kissing my scrapes.
At some point I had stuck out my butt and boxed him away from the wheel (or whatever mechanism planes use to steer). I have been so focused on "being joyful in God's will" that I stopped being real in God's presence. I stopped telling Him when I was hurt. That I didn't know where we were going and it scares me. That I can't do this by myself.
Today I finally saw the dirt on my face and was ashamed. And comforted. You see, I'm not supposed to be able to do this by myself. God is. And He doesn't mind me being scared. I think sometimes He's like a date on a roller coaster--he likes that in the dips I cling so much tighter. I don't like the dips at all. But I will hold on, because like it or not, they're coming. Heck, they're here.
My Jesus, cling to me. I need your love. Neeeed your love. I need you to hold me and tell me it's okay and remind me you're in charge. I need you to show me, visibly, physically, that you love me. Be demonstrative. Be big. I need you so. All my love. And, once again, all my trust.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Aim Low.

So, I plan to rent two movies tonight. More than plan, I already reserved them online. I have moderate hopes for one of them, and have actually gotten bad reviews of the other. I hear it's cheesy from people who roll their eyes and scoff. They are probably right, but since I am cheesy too, I thought it might still be interesting.
Now, why, you ask would someone be willing to jeopardize the time and money to see a movie that has a greater than 50/50 chance of disappointing them? I'll tell you why. Because I can rent it for $1. Thank you, Redbox.
Not long ago, it cost $4.79 to rent a movie from Blockbuster and then I almost always qualified for the late fee. One must be a lot more careful when investing that kind of moolah in a flick. But heck, a dollar? I can swing that. My level of satisfaction only has to be 20% of what a Blockbuster movie would achieve for me to get my money's worth.
Three cheers for low expectations! Seriously. If I make it through the opening credits, that's a win! If I watch with mild interest while I paint my toes, double win! And if, by some unexpected twist, I find it genuinely interesting, I'll be like Portugal vs. Korea.
I know the greatest things in this life are worth fighting for. I celebrate that. But it's Friday afternoon, I have a new bottle of Zin, and as soon as I swing by the Kroger Redbox, I'll have a cheesy movie. And what goes better with wine than cheese?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moving On

So, Ben & Jerry's makes this ice cream called Everything But The... and it is amazing. If gold were a flavor, it wouldn't be as good as this ice cream. It's so good that after I had it for the first time, I had a dream about it. A vivid dream. For days, my chief desire (...aside from glorifying God, of course...ahem) was to break the creamy surface of a fresh pint with my spoon.
It was...not a good thing. I had to quit cold turkey before I got seriously, end-up-on-the-street-because-all-my-money-feeds-my-ice-cream-habit hooked.
After a few weeks, it still sounded good. I could still tell you all the different kinds of candy that flecked the ice cream. I still talked about it more than my family.
After a few more weeks, it sounded good, but I didn't think about it often.
Today, I'm proud to say I'm four years clean. (Of only that flavor mind you. Let's not go crazy.)
I don't remember what's in the ice cream. I remember it being good, but my tongue has forgotten the flavor. I don't long for it. And I'm so glad!
Can you imagine if memories didn't fade? If we could recall all we've done with flawless clarity? Man, there are some moments I cherish, but the color in those memories tends to be more robust. Perhaps because I take them out to look at them more. But there are memories that I am happy to let disappear like a Polaroid left in the sun too long. It sure makes living without much easier.
Paul said it well in Phil. 3:13ish-14 "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Thank you, God, for memories. For the way the smell of Monster makes me think of holiday races and the fake coconut smell in suntan lotion recalls Hawaiian beaches. For photos of loved ones, for Amy Grant Christmas CD and the years of trees and presents it embodies. For scars.
And thank you for the memories, experiences and moments that fade. That I am not burdened by the perfect recall of all I've done. That I don't remember Everything But The... You are a genius and I'm so glad you made our minds the way you did. May I treasure the good times and forget what is behind.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Psalm 18:1-3

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Monday, June 21, 2010

There's Music in Them Thar Hills

So, I was in the North Georgia mountains this weekend. A lake is nestled quietly between hills that are too many shades of green to accurately describe. The silver blue of fading day shimmers off the lake until the only lights left are the stars and the occasional glow of a house perched among the trees like a firefly.
There is almost no way not to be relaxed there. Even the boat cops joke with you about farmer's tans when they pull you over.
Being as we were in the hill country, sittin' around playin' corn hole and spades, I got a hankerin' for some good ol' bluegrass. First thing I did when I got home was take a nap. Second thing was to hop on itunes and look for the essence of the weekend in song.
Enter, banjo.
It is impossible to be tense when there's some skilled banjo pickin' goin' on. Makes a soul want to drop the g's on present progressive verbs and stretch vowels like homemade caramel.
I love the power of music to affect spirit. It touches us in places words can't access. It crosses between the physical world and the spiritual and can draw us to places we'd never find without a trail of notes to lead the way.
My new bluegrass songs draw me to the quiet, simple times. To a life that isn't go, go, go. Where the fastest thing moving is the banjo man's fingers. But boy, can they fly.
So, even while I'm pressing near ten miles over the speed limit, my soul is chuckin' a bean bag at a big painted board that done-been cut with a hole. That thur's the three point hole, ya see. If'n y'all git the bag in thur, yer durn good at corn-holin'.
Thank you, God, for music in all it's forms, and especially--today--for the banjo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

God bless the (Insert country of origin)

I think it's grand to see lovers of their country turn out in face paint and wigs at the Olympics and the World Cup. Where we come from largely defines us in ways we don't always recognize, some good and some not so good. It's important to recognize the negative, but just as important to be grateful for the positive.
In an age when it seems to be going out of style, I admit: I am a patriot. I get a little misty when I hear that Lee Greenwood song and I say prayers for soldiers in the airport. I would have cheered on the US of A today as they played Slovenia (what was that ref thinking, anyway?), unfortunately, I was busy being gainfully employed.
However, I have found the time to watch England play Algeria...without inhibiting my professional performance. A British commentator noted that Algeria is playing, and I quote, "above their station."
I know what he meant. They're ON today. They're all systems go. They're catching some breaks. It wasn't that he said it, since I agree, it was the phrasing.
I don't think in stations. Here, in the US, we don't have stations. We don't have nobility who are considered innately more valuable. We tell our kids they can be anything they want, whether they grow up in the sticks or the city, with government assistance or a with a 48-piece set of silver spoons, forks and knives in their mouths.
I'm glad for that. While it may not be strictly true--no matter how on I am I will never be a singer. or a dancer. I've made peace with it, though--I love that we offer that opportunity. That encouragement. That equality. I love that, because of those who have fought for our nation, for women's rights, for civil rights, that I am not considered more or less than any others just because of how God designed me. I love that our soccer team has different colors of hair.
Because of the basic tenet that all of us are created in God's image (or as our forefathers said, all men are created equal), I don't think God loves the US more than any of His other nations. But, I feel very blessed that he set me here.