Thursday, April 30, 2009
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 5:35 AM
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
- Hot Air Balloon Operator
- Hospital Chaplain (with a focus in crisis management)
- Novelist (Freelance Writer, Journalist, Musical Lyricist, Blogger, Essayist...anything to do with putting words on a page)
- Food Critic
- Mail Carrier
- Youth Pastor
- English Professor
- Boat Person (is there a job where you can just ride around on a boat all day...a sailor perhaps? That's what I want to do and get paid for it of course).
Most Repulsive Jobs:
- Anything to do with Money & Numbers (Accountant, Banker...you get the drift)
- Administrative Assistant
- Assembly Line Worker
- Kindergarten Teacher (hey, at least I know my weaknesses)
- Flight Attendant
- Road Worker/Cementer
- Dental Hygienist
- Gastric Endocrinologist
For anyone who does the latter 10...I respect you and I feel for you. For anyone who does the first 10...are you hiring (especially for the boat person job)?
What makes your list of engaging & repulsive jobs?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 9:07 AM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 11:17 AM
Here's my dilemma:
- I have one novel completed (being looked at).
- I have two other novels at least 50 pages in, but life took over and I stopped writing them (I plan to complete both in the future).
- I am well into a non-fiction work (with a goal of completing the first draft in Oct.)
All of a sudden a new character keeps banging on the door of my brain and this morning I began to write her story. It fires me up. I know it's original & intriguing and I'm being infiltrated with character details about her...(the idea surfaced months ago...but now the details are surfacing).
Here's where I need the help of my writer friends--Advice:
Do I stick to completing the non-fiction work? Do I "go with this new character"...b/c I'm not sure she'll allow me to stop anyway and continue to write this new work? I know most publishers/agents encourage writing in one genre anyway...so my mind's a flood and I'm asking for your input. Has this ever happened to you? If so, how have you brought it in and focused? Should I just work on what excites me at the time?
Monday, April 27, 2009
- Ask for the blessing. Go to whomever you plan to write about and ask about their comfort level. If they are adamant about your not writing about them, don't--at least not for publication. It's not worth it. It's not worth damaging relationships in order to have a supremely published piece of gritty non-fiction. There are millions of journals out there where you can let the gunk out.
- You've heard the saying, "Turn that frown upside down." Well do that but instead, turn non-fiction into fiction. Change details, add subtle stand-outs that don't resemble loved ones. Be creative...it's what writers do! Write what you know, but know it differently. (*Disclaimer -- The books I'm working on don't represent anyone from my family. The characters aren't you...if anyone from my family is reading this. :D )
Finally, an important point about Pandora. Hope is still in the box. She left it in there. That's the good stuff. We can open up our own boxes when we write, letting Hope fly out onto the page and turn our history, our past filled with pain, tragedy and skeletal bones into something beautiful, original and free from condemnation or guilt.
This brings me to Ezekiel 37. If you've never read through the Bible...I'm telling you it's filled with highly creative stuff --stuff beyond the imagination. Anyway, check out Ezekiel. The bones, you know the ones I was talking about...those skeletons...God makes them walk! Here's a teaser before I go:
"This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life..." Ezekiel 37:5
Write Freely and Often!
Also, I stopped by here today to write a little something. Feel free to check it out.
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 9:47 AM
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I'm not sure anyone has caught me in a dead stare and said, "You know, you look just like..." I'm just not convinced my "twin" is out there anywhere.
Recently I came across this website, My Heritage. And well, you know me. I jumped right in trying all kinds of face recognition experiments. Really, why can't I just do something casually? Why do I have to throw myself into things so?
Anyway, if you feel like having a little fun, navigate over to their site, upload some photos and have good laugh. I realize I don't look all that much like Meg Ryan. But I'm not sure I look like the other results either, Sara Evans, Kim Cattrall, Kate Winslet or Helen Hunt. I will admit I do think I look a bit like Robin Wright Penn (I think she's still married to Sean). Maybe a little like Amanda Peet too, if I had to choose.
Just having a little fun with you today.
Hope your weekend is blessed.
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 5:09 AM
Friday, April 24, 2009
Brian Welch, formally of Korn, offers a succinct answer for the hope he now has. I know this hope. This is what happened to me. Different scenario…same spiritual path.
I’ll juxtapose this video (please watch it, it had me in tears yesterday) with the song my daughter sings at preschool:
There’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are his. The rivers are his.
The stars are his handiwork too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty.
There’s nothing my God cannot do…for you!
Good Friday to You!
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 3:53 AM
Thursday, April 23, 2009
1. “Suit up.”
3. “How YOU doin’?”
5. “Good night, John Boy.”
7. “Well, isn’t that special.”
8. “No soup for you!”
9. “De plane! De plane!”
10.“Where’s the beef?”
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:16 AM
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Take static or kinetic for example. Normally when you refer to these two words, you're talking about friction. I keep thinking about static and kinetic people, as in their personality types.
There are those who "go with the flow" and then there are those who create the flow. I've been doing a little self introspection to figure out which of these I'd be considered and it didn't take much thought to realize I'm kinetic all the way. I think I was born with ants in my diaper. People often ask how I was able to write a novel with a one-year-old and the best way I know how to answer them is that I think I would have gone crazy had I not been writing it.
If I'm not participating in some outlet of creativity, I'm willing to wager I'd combust (or I'd just be really crabby all the time...which might be worse than combusting). Somewhere in the Bible it describes how the rocks and trees would cry out if the people remained silent. I know if I've been quiet for too long, speechless and void of conversation, then I have sort of a mind dump that pours into my writing. Can you relate (if not with writing, with some other creative outlet)?
All this said, I'd like to state that I think there is wisdom that comes from being static at times and for me it's almost a learned art form. I'm learning to be quiet and to enjoy stillness with my creator. I'm learning to watch the ants parade on the ground and to ignore them as they aggravate my pants to move. I'm learning to slow down and I won't lie, this is difficult.
I like to move it, move it (sorry, we've watched Madagascar 2 too many times this week). Really though, being still takes effort. I know this is hard for some people because it forces them to stop and evaluate themselves, to reflect and face some things about themselves. That's not it for me. I think I know myself too well sometimes. I think I like movement because it's often meant growth and change and excitement in my life and I'm attracted to those things.
So, while I appreciate all the energy God has wired me with, I sure hope he educates me on how and when to be more of a static person.
What about you, are you static or kinetic?
By the way, Happy Earth Day! Be kind to it. It's our home for now.
Quick Update: The Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms Expo went really well. It was an honor to sign books, speak and most of all to meet other moms out there just doing the best they can.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 5:00 AM
Monday, April 20, 2009
Why is it that our culture has such a confused definition of beauty? It led me to think of all the other things that don't hold to a noble or consistent meaning anymore, such as success, stillness, quality, rich, awesome or amazing, invest, comfort, integrity or even respect.
What are some words that you think have changed in definition so much so that you aren't even sure what they mean anymore in our culture?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:50 AM
Saturday, April 18, 2009
He had my attention. Go check him out and the next time you read an honest and vulnerable post on self-doubt or fear, guide the writer to these pictures. I know I'll be looking at these photos again.
Happy Balancing Acts to You!
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:45 AM
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Thankful his word is living and active!
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:13 AM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:59 AM
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Anyway, I think writing is like Play-Doh. You have the freedom to make anything you want of words. You can twist them, break them up and mold them until they suit your fancy.
Sometimes writing comes out like worm pies and snakes. And then, then there are times when you flatten a bright violet piece of Play-Doh on the table, flatten it thinner than a pizzelle and you place your thumb down making a soft indent, but a noticeable one nonetheless. And there it is. You’ve done something original. No one can duplicate your thumb print.
And so it goes with writing something truly innovative and fresh. If you write it well enough and with enough conviction and craft, perhaps you’ll leave such an impression that the reader will want to take a bite.
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 8:15 AM
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I’ve noticed it, have you? My writing lately has taken on spiritual undertones. I have no apologies for it, instead I delight in it. Why? Because it means that is what I’m thinking about. I’ve vowed to write this blog based on what I’m thinking and lately my writing has been laced with ideas of faith. Whoopee!
I don’t know if this trend will continue. I won’t lie, I hope in some form and fashion it does, again because it’s an indicator of my thoughts.
So, you know The Apostles’ Creed? I’ve been thinking of three lines over the last few days.
“He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
I imagine because we are approaching Easter these thoughts have surfaced. I can’t seem to shake the image of Jesus as a horse. Stay with me here. It would be the mere (mare, ha) opposite of anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics to nonhuman things, animals, etc.). Or at least it would be a mixed up version of it, really I just love the word and wanted to use it so badly. But it kind of fits in flipped form. Keep with me. Jesus, fully God and fully man--as a horse. Why a horse? Read the second line of the Apostles’ Creed above. He descended into hell. I don’t think any of us spend a lot of time thinking too deeply on that one.
I think of Jesus as a horse at the starting gate there in hell, ready for the call, “and they’re off” to race back up to heaven to sit at the right hand of his Father where he belonged. I think of him posed to get back home. Mentally I see the horse, the nostrils blowing out air, the hoof stamping, all the typical expressions of a horse eager and anxious to run and it makes me think of Jesus on this “in between” day so many years ago, the day he hadn’t yet risen.
I’m not a Bible scholar, so I’m not claiming any perfect truth about what I’ve just written, but a thought was planted, that image of the horse at the starting gate and I couldn’t shut it out of my mind. Jesus, who once said he was the gate, stood still waiting for his Father to open up the gate so he could return, so he could run and do what he was made to do…deliver himself home.
And that’s not the end. Because he endured what he did, made the sacrifice he did, Jesus becomes the gate once again, “I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved.” ~ John 10:9. I can just see both Jesus and God seated together, giving high fives, cheering, preparing to call out and celebrate as we contemplate and receive Jesus as our Savior. I hear the trumpets heralding, the race ready to begin. I can just see them cupping their hands to their mouths ready to holler out, “Any they’re off.”
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 4:53 AM
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
You’ve probably seen one of those lotto machines with balls bumping and popping around inside the plastic dome. Sometimes my life is in that dome. You’ve probably heard someone describe their life as though they are juggling balls or plates, but in those examples the juggler is in control. I’m not saying I’m out of control (though at times it feels like it) but what I’m saying is with a house full of three little girls, my attention continually drifting to how I can help my aging parents, while I’m trying my best to maintain a healthy marriage, it can feel like it’s all balls bouncing to and fro at whim.
I haven’t even mentioned my writing. Oh, my writing, my passion. Currently, I have one completed manuscript and two other fiction manuscripts over 50 pages in. I love the characters. I think of them often. Not a day goes by without my thinking of characters I’ve already written or of new story ideas. I’m working on a non-fiction book now (I know I need to stick to a specific genre…but I’ll just tuck this one away until the time is right). I often feel like “Verbal” Kint from The Usual Suspects when I’m getting my material. It comes from everywhere, all around me. As a result, I have pieces of paper in all shapes and sizes, Hello Kitty pads, notebook paper, sticky notes, etc. that have scrawled story ideas and strong lines all over my house (and car).
So what of it? I guess it all comes down to keeping the air flow in my machine. If I do that then one of those balls pops down for a reading and gets the focus for a moment. If I do that things work as they should. Can you imagine if all the air got sucked out of one of those machines, if it just stopped? I can. I’ve seen it. All the balls drop. To me that represents when I’m worn out…when the “life” has been sucked out of me because I didn’t keep the air in.
If you’ve read any of my other posts you can guess, my “air” is my faith. If my focus is on God then the balls (the things in my life) do what they are supposed to do, bounce all around and eventually the ones I’m to focus on land in the ceremonial spot. They become the winner for the moment.
What are you doing to keep the air in?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 5:46 AM
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Whether it’s Michelle Obama’s fashion sense or the flood of commentary following a red carpet event, we are bombarded with what people wear.
I see how other moms dress their children, like something straight out of Cookie Magazine or a Gap Kids catalog. While I make efforts, some days I’m lucky if I’ve helped remind my girls to put on underwear. It’s a good day if I’ve remembered to wash their face before they’ve walked out the door. And I’m okay with that. Why? Because think of how many people stare over pictures of themselves in brown and orange mismatched 70’s getups and laugh at the clothes while reminiscing over the good times. Do they really care how they were dressed? No, the clothes actually become more of a conversation boost and something to bond about.
Do clothes matter? Are we what we wear? There’s no denying that I feel more accomplished and “with it” on the days I actually change out of my PJ’s. But don’t you think our country goes a little too far with defining people by their apparel choices?
Take Michelle Obama for example. Why on earth is what she wears even a hot topic? I think I’ve heard more about what she wears than what she’s accomplished as First Lady. That’s just not right. And why are there hundreds of pictures in magazines each week depicting ladies in Hollywood in their dress down, sloppy-wear. Why are we surprised to see them that way, or rather why does it send a reassuring chill down our spine to celebrate that we aren’t the only ones who can look sloppy? I won’t even mention Jessica Simpson’s choice of the 80’s style mom-jean. Ohps, just did.
I’m not saying that a sharp outfit from J. Crew or a beautiful ensemble from Ann Taylor doesn’t do it for me. I’m all for class (and comfort too by the way) but I don’t think it should be what defines us. I know, I know, appearances count, make a good impression, put your best foot forward…blah, blah, blah. I agree, it’s just something laughs inside me whenever I see someone like Bjork in her swan dress at the Oscars or when I think of John the Baptist gnawing on a locust in his sandals and perhaps a loin cloth. I’m secretly thrilled by it. Why, you ask as you begin to worry about me again. I like it because it shows they didn’t care.
Now, maybe I’m going too far to the other extreme…but that’s what you have to do with the pendulum sometimes…you need to swing it so everyone can rest easy in the middle somewhere. That middle for me would be the desire to present yourself well, spirit and mind first, appearances following, with the wherewithal to know when you’ve placed too much emphasis and importance on how you look.
Are you what you wear?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 10:33 AM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I’m thinking of prom. Not my prom, though I must say whatever memories I have are sweet and special. The guy I went with became a pastor and is doing wonderful things at his church. This doesn’t surprise me. He always had a kind heart; he was prepared and eager to follow God’s lead.
I’m thinking of prom because I’ve been talking to the group of teenage girls I lead who are getting ready to go. Flashes from Pretty in Pink come to mind. The dress hunting, the high school DRAMA…so much of it, especially on the night of, and most of it fabricated and drawn out to make the night more “interesting” I suppose.
I’ve heard Beyonce’s song, Halo on the radio and have wondered how many proms will have that as the theme song. It’s a pretty song really, the melody, the pounding beat…but the lyrics…oh those lyrics. They make me nervous.
“Standing in the light of your Halo
I've got my angel now…
Baby I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace
You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away…”
(It will fade away by the way…).
I had all kinds of relationships before I met my husband. I was primed to pour my heart into any guy that made me feel special and that’s why these lyrics make me nervous. A boy, a guy, a man or any qualifier of the opposite sex cannot save us (nor can we save them).
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that guy you’re dancing with, he’s just as screwed up as you are. He can’t get you out of your feelings, can’t make your life less complicated for you, or can’t carry you away on a white stallion (he can barely afford the car payments to his folks). Men weren’t made to save women. Women weren’t made to save men. We have but one Savior.
I’m a sucker for romance and I’m inclined to tell myself to chill out. The lyrics, the song – it’s pretty…it’s no big deal. Yet, anyone who has placed someone else (or has been placed) on that pedestal, as that filler, as that person to take them away from it all, the one to heal or to save, well, they know. They may not know now, but someday they will. It’s a dangerous and unfair place to put someone. They’ll fail. They weren’t made for it and worse, you’ll feel you’ve been deceived in your romantic fantasy, from your dream and your hope of relationship when really it was never supposed to be like that.
You can’t put a halo on the head of someone it doesn’t fit.
Ask my husband, I crave intimacy, physical closeness and deep connection and I can be just as sappy as the rest of them in my cravings. I know though, only God is able to meet certain needs. My husband can be a glimpse and a reflection of relationship with God, but even in all the ways he loves me, sacrificially and intimately…it will never come close to the way God loves me, to what he sacrificed for me.
I have two visions of God’s halo.
His halo was the crown of thorns pressed into his skull as a mockery.
His halo lights up the world.
And that…that makes me dance.
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 8:13 AM
Monday, April 6, 2009
Part of the reason I liked Western Civilization is because of stories like Hannibal's. I still wish we learned more about what was going on with the women at that time...but I'll get back to Hannibal's conquests. My husband and I watched a fascinating documentary on Hannibal the other night. I'll make no excuses...I like a good documentary every so often. And this one was good, more because of all it reminded me of than because of its intrigue.
Hannibal, the Carthaginian military commander of 200something BC headed for Rome defeating his rivals in battle after battle. I love how he garnered credit and praise for bringing the elephants. The idea of him and his thousands of troops marching over the snowy Alps with their line of elephants does wonders for the imagination.
Towards the end of the documentary, history experts shot off their opinions to why they believed Hannibal was as successful as he was. Strategy, surprise attacks, the elephants...all kinds of reasons were provided for his success. However, when one expert said the following words I was at full attention. He said, "Hannibal knew how his enemy would fight."
Bang. There you have it. I realized that statement about Hannibal is a foundational spiritual truth for anyone of faith. While you are at your weakest, do you know how your enemy fights? Do you know what makes you most vulnerable and what strategies might be used against you?
I couldn't shake the thought really. It's crucial for us to realize what we're up against. When we do realize and choose to tap into God's power and strength we are invincible, not in a reckless teenage, "I'm immortal" way, but instead in a "I have the same power in me that raised Jesus from the dead" way. That is living in victory.
Do you know how your enemy fights?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:21 AM
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
But I did appreciate how, based on those experiments, I've learned to conduct litmus tests in my life. It's my way to keep myself in check.
My litmus test for whether I'm keeping things in perspective is as follows:
- Have I been turning matters of relationship and reaching out into items on my "to do" list? It's all well and good to make a note to remember a friend's birthday, but it hit me today when I came across a note that's been on my counter for the last three days to write a note to my daughter's preschool teacher to comfort her after the death of her father. I don't want that kind of thing on my "to do" list. I want to do it without needing a reminder.
- Have I allowed any one thing to be the sand upon which I stand? Sinking, sinking, sinking. A rejection letter, a sharp word spoken, even "a look" from someone I care about. When I've placed any one of these things or a list of other countless things higher than where I'm at with God and what he's trying to teach me...sinking, sinking, sinking.
- How crabby I am. This one needs no further explanation.
- How quick I am to swear when something angers me.
- How oblivious I am or I become to judging others.
That's my litmus list for perspective. Those are some of the key indicators to me when I'm off kilter. Fortunately, I know the way to get back "on kilter." I get back up on the rock when I remember who I'm here for and why I'm here.
Do you have a litmus test for perspective?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 6:08 AM
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I won't claim to know what most mothers of preschoolers think about during the day, but I do doubt they spend as much time pondering over the kinds of things I do. Doctors are still trying to figure out what's wrong with me. That being said, I really wish I could sit down with all of you so you could see my expressions and be able to tell when I'm just joking.
Okay, onto my latest thought--Adam and Eve. I've been thinking of them, but not gallivanting about the garden or gnawing on the apple type of way they are usually discussed. I've been thinking instead of them as parents. I've been imagining their response, their shock, and their sadness when they learned one of the their sons killed their other son. What did it do to them to know Cain killed Abel?
See, we do that don't we? Often when we hear of a tragedy or a violent act we think of the victim and the perpetrator. Hardly ever do we think of the rest of the family. Growing up, I had one older sister highlighted in the local newspaper for glamorous reasons, while another older sister made the paper for not so glamorous reasons. Townspeople probably thought about my sisters when they read news of them...but I wonder, did they wonder about my folks at all? Did they think what it might be like to be the parent or sibling in such circumstances?
Why is it that I've never heard any commentary on Adam and Eve as parents? I've been trying to picture their moment of discovery...the reaction to the loss of their son by the hand of their other son. Did they look at each other in that certain way, that knowing way, without words because the pink elephant was quite obviously the apple? Did they immediately blame themselves as so many parents do for the failings and stumbles of their children? What did dinner the next night look like? Did Cain go right to Nod, east of Eden immediately after his "talk" with God. My mind is flooded with questions about this story. I think the heart of it for me is thinking about the rest of the family in the aftermath of a tragic event.
Jodi Picoult explores this in her books, Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper. I'm also reading as Swede and the rest of her family struggle through this after the shaken event they endured in Peace Like a River. And I have to be honest...it strikes a cord. Has anyone in my family murdered anyone? No. Have there been tragic events? Yes. Being a witness to tragedy changes you...it changed me. And it gives me empathy for the families of both victims and offenders.
Sifting through questions about the story of Cain and Abel also makes me thankful for the messed up people in the Bible. I'm tempted to tidy up what I just wrote, to make it sound less needy for the Bible to be filled with people I can relate to. However, I'm thankful for just that. Because if God loved the messed up people in the Bible, he also loves those in my family and he also loves me.
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 12:53 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9
I've been thinking on this one today. Actually, I was thinking on it last night when I got up, unable to sleep and went to the kitchen for a chocolate chip cookie. I haven't really stopped thinking of it. Do I believe it...well, sure. But do I sense that God is introducing a spin on it in my life...well, sure.
Uh oh, you may be thinking...she's going to mess with the Bible. No fear. The Word is the Word and there's nothing I can do to change that (nor would I want to). What I am getting at, is that I wonder once we've received the Holy Spirit and are in relationship with God...is there then something new under the SON? Under his direction, can we create and inspire something new?
God's given us spiritual gifts and has wired us with a thirst for creativity. We crave the creative in our home lives, in our marriages and in our parenting. We crave the creative to show up by a work of our hands, our writing, our art and our various ways of expression.
Maybe, just maybe, with God's Spirit, the Counselor his son left with us...we are able to create something fresh, something original--something new. Just chewing on it.
And as I keep chewing, U2's quote, "Every poet is a thief" rings in my ear reminding me what may seem "new" is most often just a form of the old, a borrowed expression, a reinvented something...and I take the circle of of this thought right back to the Bible...is there nothing new under the sun?
What do you think?
Posted by Wendy Paine Miller at 7:50 AM