Friday, October 30, 2009

One Question Friday















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.















It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.














Your question:


SOME of the answers or ALL of the answers?



*photos by flickr
**Congratulations to BINA for winning the tiebreaker for the
String a Story Together Contest (it was close and I thank Bina and Christina for being such good sports!) Bina, send me your address please.
***Zip over to
5 Minutes for Faith for a devotional I wrote.
****I’m going to go have a birthday this weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Have Something In Common

Do you ever feel like this?



Watch more Two-Headed Turtle videos on AOL Video

*Thanks to AOL Video

**Remember to turn off my music if you want to hear commentary

***There is still time to vote to decide the tiebreaker in the String a Story Together Contest

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Step Right Up To Vote

I need your vote to break the Tie! Let’s conclude the String a Story Together Contest together.

Christina and Bina constructed additional paragraphs, incorporating a fourth picture into their creative stories. Please vote on the winning prose and provide a reason for why you voted for Bina or Christina’s paragraph. * = paragraph you're voting on.

Bina’s:
It's funny when I see her now. I know she is all grown up and that she is moving on to start her life, but when I look into her eyes all I can see is who she used to be. I can still see her sweet face, knotted up in fear and frustration when she was "lost" at the zoo. It was only 15 minutes but to her fragile four year old mind, it was an eternity that began when she followed the "bootiful pea-tock" off into the corner of the petting area. She was so little, so frail and so much in need of me to be the one who made the world ok again. So as I see her now, atop a magnificent beast and in complete control, I wonder where the time has gone and just when it was that my baby became a woman.

*But at the thought of "my baby", my heart recognizes the trespass I have made, both in my mind and in my presence here today. She had asked me to meet her at the corner of 5th and Main and I knew it was because she felt that my coming to this crowded event would make it seem as though I actually still existed in her life. I know she saw me just now as she turned so regally towards the risers, making me think that she could sense my heartbeat here among this sea of talkative strangers. I know that there will be a price to be paid for my dismissal of her wishes today but when I saw where she wanted to meet, I couldn't help but think that my place as her mother deserves more respect than an almost random meeting at a soggy phonebooth downtown.

Christina’s:
The little girl in blue was blue. She'd been told she was the prettiest of all but then she spied the peacock. His blue was brighter and his lacey tail swirled as he walked. She stood and spun yet couldn't get her own dress to dance as beautifully as the peacock's plumes.The lady watched from a distance and knew instinctively what the little girl was feeling. There will always be someone or something prettier, she thought to herself.

*But beauty is not always what it seems. Like a shiny, red phone booth without a phone, a finely feathered bird that has lost its song or a grandiose cathedral where no one roams, beauty without soul is useless.


Well strung, ladies. Clever. I await the votes and I’ll announce the winner of the foot soak as a * on Friday.


*photos by flickr
*voting ends Thurs. PM

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Need To Talk


Come here. Sit down for a second. I need to tell you something. Yes, you can sit there in that seat. I know it’s a school chair with a desk attached to it. I know it wobbles and that it looks ancient. That’s beside the point. I need to talk to you. Look, I just have to tell you…


  • Your fly is down.
  • You’ve got something in your teeth.
  • You’re characters are naked—and by naked I mean, your characters could use a little character.

So, how do you do it? The above is clearly written in jest, but all of us live in relationships and all of us have felt the tug to tell the truth. And some of us are even asked advice on a regular basis. When the time comes for you to spill it, I want to know, are you confident and to the point? Do you beat around the bush, hemming and hawing before you talk? Do you avoid telling so and so because it would embarrass them or it might hurt their feelings? Of course I realize it depends on the circumstances, but in general, as a critique partner, a friend or as a mentor…how are you with telling the truth when the truth isn’t always comfortable to share?









*photos by flickr

Monday, October 26, 2009

Strung Well

In this envelope I hold the results to the String a Story Together Contest. (Ripping envelope open, watching little bits of paper flutter to the floor)

And…

It’s a Tie!

Bina’s prose was selected for its cohesiveness.
It's funny when I see her now. I know she is all grown up and that she is moving on to start her life, but when I look into her eyes all I can see is who she used to be. I can still see her sweet face, knotted up in fear and frustration when she was "lost" at the zoo. It was only 15 minutes but to her fragile four year old mind, it was an eternity that began when she followed the "bootiful pea-tock" off into the corner of the petting area. She was so little, so frail and so much in need of me to be the one who made the world ok again. So as I see her now, atop a magnificent beast and in complete control, I wonder where the time has gone and just when it was that my baby became a woman.

Christina’s prose was selected for its overall striking imagery and strong message.
The little girl in blue was blue. She'd been told she was the prettiest of all but then she spied the peacock. His blue was brighter and his lacey tail swirled as he walked. She stood and spun yet couldn't get her own dress to dance as beautifully as the peacock's plumes.The lady watched from a distance and knew instinctively what the little girl was feeling. There will always be someone or something prettier, she thought to herself.

So now what?

A tiebreaker, of course. And I need your help voting.

Bina and Christina, you will have until Tuesday PM to construct four more sentences or less in an additional paragraph, incorporating this fourth picture into your creative stories.



Once the new tiebreaking paragraphs are written, I’ll need your help to vote on the winning prose. Voting ends Thursday PM. Please provide a reason for why you voted for Bina or Christina’s paragraph.

Well strung, ladies. Thanks for all who entered this contest. I look forward to reading as the stories go on and I await the votes.
*photos by flickr

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Question Friday












Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.


It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.








And now you get to answer the one question I know you’ve wanted me to ask since I began One Question Fridays…








Which came first, the chicken or the egg?













*photos by flickr
**Last call from me to enter the
String a Story Together Contest. What a chance to show off your creative prowess! Contest closes Sunday pm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Is Unseen

Watch this video and open your eyes, open your ears. Be reminded that we have a God working through the chaos, a God doing things unseen. An old friend posted this link on FB recently and this week, as I’ve been addressing the word order, I found it fitting. Watch and enjoy! (Reminder to turn off my music)


Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.



Don’t forget to write something for my String Together a Story Contest. Wiener (sorry, couldn’t resist again) gets a free foot soak.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18



*thanks to mind of Jarbas Agnelli for video and to Vimeo

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Order

Most mornings I wake up within the exact same ten minutes. Even on the weekends, I find it difficult to sleep beyond that ten minute time frame. How’s that for order of circadian rhythm?

All this order talk made me think about other things that run with such impeccable order and precision, like the ocean with its lulling waves rolling on shore one after the other.

I also thought of the human body and how intricately scabs heal over and how systematically the body operates internally without any medical or scientific help. Our immune systems and digestive systems are examples of two well-oiled machines within us.

But then of course, I thought of my children waking me, breaking that circadian rhythm. And tsunami’s in the ocean crashing on land, wreaking havoc among the roiling and angry waves. Finally, my mind landed on cancer and pancreatitis, disorder to the body, affecting three of my family members currently. Was it supposed to be like this?

I’m going to get a little philosophical on you now, so if you don’t feel like entertaining thoughts like these, hop on over and get creative in my String a Story Together Contest. And if you feel like being philosophical, think on this one and then go be creative in the contest.
~~~That is the question of the hour though, was it supposed to be like this? With the exception of my children waking me (that one was just for fun), was the earth supposed to have tsunami’s? And people, cancer? Order turned to chaos. Off the top of my head I can’t quote anything or provide a Biblical answer for this. I have my suspicions, but if you have a strong opinion and even better, if you find something in Scripture that discusses this, I’d love to know.

When did order get whacked and was that always in the cards for earth and for the human body? Or did biting into that one apple throw the whole world off course?

Sometimes I feel like the only one with young children who thinks about such things. Prove me wrong.


*photos by flickr

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

String A Story Together

Have your children ever asked you to tell them a story when your brain feels like a deflated air mattress? You’re out of ideas for the day and here your little whosit wants you to be creative, something you normally thrive on, but you’re zapped. I hope what I’m asking isn’t the equivalent, but instead proves to be an enjoyable exercise for you.

I feel like giving you something. It’s not exactly free, but close. I’ll give you foot soak powder from Pier 1. Here’s what you need to do:

View the three pictures shown below and create a story. I’ll have my writer friend read through your stories and select one that she finds most compelling and creative. The goal is to write a paragraph (in six sentences or less) tying the pictures together, turning it into something fluid and connected.


Little kids string beads together. We string words together.

Reminders:
Six sentences or less.
Tie pictures together into flowing, cohesive prose.
Only play if it will be fun. If you’re head is a deflated air mattress and you don’t feel like playing, feel free to place your vote in the comments.
You have until Sunday to string your sentences. Monday, I’ll announce the wiener (did you see them on a line outside a market?).

Have at it. String away.

*photos by flickr

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Shambles

Sometimes posts really stick with me. This one written by my blogging friend, T. Anne did. I’m having a gathering at my house tonight. There’s no better way to describe my house than to write it’s in shambles. I’ve given myself one day to clean the entire house. Oh, quit laughing. I know you’ve done it, too. What singes my synapses is that perhaps the state of my house has been influencing my behavior, my writing, and/or my overall sense of order. I remember about a decade ago when Feng Shui became the new way to decorate. People got really into it. From what I understood, the root of the decorating craze existed in that, people crave order.
~~~And here’s where I admit I don’t own a laptop and our only computer is located in THE PLAYROOM. Order, ha! We tackled some of this room yesterday and I have to say sitting here at the computer typing away, I feel more calm and less chaos.


Here’s what I want to know, how much does the order of where you write influence your writing? Do you need order to write well or to live well? I’m beginning to believe I need it more than I thought I did. Not just mental order, but physical order as well.

*photos by flickr
** Congratulations to
T. Anne for receiving honorable mention in Nathan Bransford’s first paragraph contest
***I’m over at Live Beautiful today, once I get the room cleaned up some more

Friday, October 16, 2009

One Question Friday











Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.


It is my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.























When reading a book:


The Beginning or The End?














*photos by flickr
**looking forward to Iron Sharpens Iron conference tomorrow
***I'm over at 5 Minutes for Faith today

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When I’m 64

My birthday is coming up. And I believe I’ll land somewhere between thirty-three and thirty-five.

I began reading Water for Elephants yesterday. Here are the opening lines to Chapter One:

“I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other. When you’re five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I’m twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It’s a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I’m—you start to say confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you’re not. You’re thirty-five. And then you’re bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it’s decades before you’ll admit it.”

Very well, then. I’m preparing to embrace the beginning of the end.

On another note, literary agent, Nathan Bransford is holding a first paragraph contest and it has surged thoughts in me about what I like and don’t like about first paragraphs. I’ve wanted to read Water for Elephants for years. And now I see why. Paragraphs like the one above make me want to take a bath with the book. Let me explain: When you are five you know your age down to the month, but you also get swept up in another world in the bathtub. I remember my people toys really getting into those fish and chips at the shop suctioned to the bath tile. When a bath is that good you don’t want to leave it. You don’t want to step out into the frigid air. I want to bathe with this book, I tell you (I’m not thinking my friend who let me borrow it would much appreciate that, however). But even after reading the first few pages, I’m lost in it and tucked in. It excites me to think of reading a page over and over, my mental equivalent of sopping soapy water over the bath toys in a LaLa Land of literary bubbles.

So, I may be getting old. We had family pictures taken last weekend and my crow’s feet decided to make a strong appearance. I may be getting old, but books…they are cleansing, age-defying and timeless. And they provide a nice distraction from thinking about the beginning of the end. Bath time! Who needs a rubber ducky anymore?

Two questions to choose from:
What age did you hit before you said, “I am getting old?” or what age will you hit before you say those words?

OR

What book has made you feel like a five-year-old kid in the bathtub, soaking up every word and drifting to another land altogether?

*photos by flickr
**and somehow it all connects: elephants have wrinkles, wrinkles come with age, and long baths produce…wrinkles. Here’s to wrinkles!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Five Words


Kristen Torres-Toro gave me five words (thanks, Kristen). Five plump words to build a post around.

Here goes:
Animals
I grew up with three Norwegian Elkhounds. They ran in packs attempting to kill deer. So sadly, we had to give one away. We also had two cats, a pond full of other creatures, several birds (one imploded somehow) and two hamsters, Ben and Jerry (I’m pretty sure both were male and Ben ate Jerry).

Today, we own a Samoyed who is turning into a grumpy old lady, incontinent and prone to barking when she wants to come in. Barking to come in? Like I said--old and persnickety!

Family
Are you wanting to read my memoir now or should I save it? :D Ah, family. They make us, they break us, they build us, they tear us down and they often see us when we forget to close the door when we’re on the p
otty. Nothing says vulnerability like trying to do your business while toddler stares up at you asking, “What you doin’?” Sort of puts a damper on Joey’s line.

Family of origin: My favorite thing to say when people ask about my three siblings and my folks is, “Come to our house at Thanksgiving. We’ve got a little of everything and I’m not just talkin' about the food.” I love every single one of them and am grateful for how much they continue to teach me.

Family God currently has me plopped into: A husband who is fiercely loyal and who could qualify as my exact opposite on some sort of personality scale. I’m thankful for his nudges, those pushing me on in life and those more sensual ones too (oh yes I did)! Three little girls thrill me and humble me daily, as they continually remind me that eating a meal without interruption is a luxury in life. They also have found a path to the deepest and most loving part of me.

Nature
After reading Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Pathways, I discovered that both this word (nature) and the next word (music) are two of the ways I most connect with my God. Set me sail and tell me you’ll see me in a few weeks and I’m one peaceful mama. If it’s outdoors, I’m in. Hiking, camping, boating, walking a nature trail…in, in, in. The only exceptio
ns might be: skiing (not so much), skydiving (not anymore) and bungee jumping (no appeal). But anything else in the sweet outdoors and sign me up, Smokey (the bear, you know the one encouraging us not to start forest fires. Oh forget it. I might have been alone on that one).

Music
I’m aware many people aren’t huge fans of automatic music on blogs. I’m aware of this and yet I leave mine. Can’t…stop…the…music! I’m a dancing fool and a music lover and as David Crowder once put it, “I’ll become even more undignified than this…”
Sing on, play on, ROCK ON!

Favorite Holiday
Major toss up between Easter and July 4th. So, I propose we start setting off fireworks and lighting sparklers on Easter and if we could just turn the temperature up about fifteen degrees and throw a burger on the grill, we’re good. Why I refuse to budge away from Easter as my number one…It changed everything! It changes everything and that kind of change calls for a celebration! And I’m all about celebration!

In fact, to end this post I’ll just say that: I want my life to be a day by day celebration. Even when my meals are interrupted, someone walks in on me on the potty, my dog eats a deer, my hamster eats a hamster, “a little of everything” at the Thanksgiving table doesn’t feel like passing the gravy, I have to go skiing, you don’t know the David Crowder song I referred to, you didn’t get the Smokey joke or the temperature is unable to ratchet up a few degrees on Easter…I will celebrate because the celebration is in me now and it’s going to find a way to bust out no matter what. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes out dancing!

Let me know if you want me to throw five words at you.



*baboon and flower picture by flickr
**so curious your thoughts about Westbow...but I'll wait to ask

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Word Chuck

Some words are no fun. They are not fun to say or to think about. Their definitions aren’t fun and they’re not fun in the way they make you feel. They’re not fun with a fox and they’re not fun in a box. Some words are just no fun.

Today’s the day we can chuck ‘em. Pick a word, any word and we get to do a National Word Chuck (maybe we’ll start something here?). Just for today, we’ll metaphorically toss the words to the wind and let them drift away.

And you don’t even need a reason for why you want to rid of the word you choose. If you do have one though, of course I’m curious to know what it is.

My words and the reason they are being chucked today:
Smarmy: It means creepy and oily at the same time. I think that is enough of a reason.
Rage: Obviously I’d love to throw hate and anger and bitterness to the wind, to chuck ‘em too, but I know chucking the word doesn’t extinguish the actual problems. I picked rage because I couldn’t resist choosing a word rooted anger.
Zit: Pimple or blemishes have a much nicer ring.
Cadaver: Weird imagery and weird word. It’s not fragile enough somehow.

Feel free to select one or more than one.
Have fun, because after all, if nothing else, words should be fun!


*photos by flickr
**tomorrow I play around with 5 words given to me by
Kristen Torres-Toro

Monday, October 12, 2009

In My Dreams

My mind is active at night, a Cirque du Soleil of thoughts. Last night I dreamt I was a guest at a wedding and at one point during the reception a man stood, surprising the guests. He read a satirical poem about college and you know what? It was good. It was really good. Guests applauded. I sat in my dream seat and contemplated just how good the poem was.

Mind you, I’m not exactly sure what purpose a man reading a well-written poem about college served at a wedding, but dreams are like that aren’t they? At least mine are. Dots need not always connect.

Here’s where it gets odd. I woke up thinking about the poem and how erudite the man must have been to come up with such lines. HA! Erudite. Why I write that is clearly I came around to recall that I wrote the poem. The poem originated in the corridors of my own mind.


No worries about me puffing up too much, though. Here’s how the rest of the dream played out…
After the thunderous applause slowed, I stood and made my way to the restroom (as all ladies do at such events) and promptly got vomit on me. I’d decided to help someone who’d been getting sick and splat. It somehow had landed on my neck. Blech!

I’m not in the mood to pull a Freud, trying to decode what every little thing meant, but I will say that I like how God humbles me, even in my dreams.



Dream anything interesting lately?



*photos by flickr
**I’m attending the Muse Online Conference this week, so I might not be as out and about in the blogosphere (the Wally World for bloggers)

A Book Is Born—THE AFTER GLIMPSE

At book clubs I’m often asked where my ideas come from. The concept for THE AFTER GLIMPSE (available now) was first sparked in an ice c...